Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad news and good news.
You may (or may not) recall that I mentioned I forgot all my patterns at home when I went on vacation and that I was working from my memory of glancing at Sylvia's notes the day I left.
The bad news is that I didn't remember correctly. It's not 15 fans in the expansion, it's 15 repeats of chart B. That is, I don't need 540 stitches on the needles before I go into the fan section, I only need 443.
The good news is that when I stopped to count last night, I'm only up to 13.5 repeats of chart B; I only have 433 stitches on the needles.
And Hurrah! I'm almost ready to start the fans!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When I got back from vacation, I took a break from knitting and did a bunch of spinning. Having finally eased back off from that, I am slowly picking up my knitting again.
When I looked at this block again, I realized that I had three rows (all garter stitch) to go. Humph. Why didn't I finish this up before?
About a month ago (more or less), someone (June?) posted a link to a recipe at epicurious that sounded good, so I printed it out and last night, I actually got around to giving it a try. Let me start by saying that I'm a lazy slob of a cook, so I didn't actually follow all of the directions (big surprise there, eh?). However, even given my shortcomings along those lines, the dish was delicious and I highly recommend it if you like you a salty, savory dish.

The first thing I didn't do, was use boneless chicken breasts with the skin on. These are not available in my average grocery store - the best I could do would be to buy bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, but I hate removing the bones myself (falls under the category of "more trouble than it's worth"). (I notice that they don't include deboning in their time estimate. Humph.) I was worried that this might make the meat a bit too dry, but I seem to have worried needlessly.

The second thing I did was buy the already chopped olive mix from the olive bar at the grocery store rather than buying olives-in-brine and chopping them myself. What is lost in that the already chopped olives dry out a bit was gained in having several different flavors of olives available in the mix.

The last thing I didn't do was bother to "stuff" the chicken. Without chopping the olives finer than they were already, I didn't see that stuffing it was going to be a winning proposition. The directions in the recipe weren't clear (to me) on exactly where to make the incision, so I abandoned that part.

My version of the recipe came out like this:
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, salted and peppered
1/3 cup almonds, skin on
1 cup chopped olives from the olive bar (mix of several types of green olives)
2 T butter
3 T water
2 T parsley, chopped

Melt one T of butter in a skillet. Add almonds; cook over medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove almonds from pan, set aside to cool on cutting board.

Add chicken to skillet, pour in olives. Cook over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, till golden brown on bottom. Turn chicken breasts over, cover skillet and cook for another 5-7 minutes, till cooked through. While chicken is cooking, chop the almonds.

Remove chicken from skillet, add second T of butter and water. Stir till melted and blended. Add almonds and parsley, stir. Pour mixture of olives, almonds, etc. over chicken breasts. Serve with sourdough bread.

This was easy and well appreciated even by the pickiest eater I have.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vacation does something to the gardening mojo. I keep on top of the weeds for most of the summer - and then we go on vacation. Weeds instantly sense this and go into hyperactive mode.

I have an allergy to working in the heat and/or humidity, which means this delicate flower doesn't handle east coast summers very well. My only chance to stay on top of the weeds is to keep weeding every day, for about half an hour each morning or evening. When I leave for a week? It takes me another week to work up the moral fiber to get back to weeding. (Yes I know, that means it's been TWO weeks since I did any weeding - your point is?)

I started tackling it about three days ago and the worst of the worst is almost over. Knowing that this was about to happen, I did take steps before I left to minimize the problem, but there's always one corner of the garden that gets left becaues it isn't really that bad and because I've run out of time. Not that bad. Right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This is the last of my oriental lilies to bloom, and my favorite. Tall, graceful, fragrant... This is actually a picture I took about 10 days ago. When leaving on vacation, I suddenly realized I didn't have a picture of this years blooms and went scooting down the drive to get one. I didn't have time to upload and post then, so here it is now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lac Brompton is a lake very like the Finger Lakes in New York. On a sunny day, it looks gorgeous from up on the hill top. There is a cabin on Outunwiti, dating to the 1940s, but sadly, nowadays a magnet for teenagers looking to make mischief. This year's damage was worse than the usual smashed beer bottles and trash, and we got little maintenance done except for clean up.
The lake is a lovely place to go visit and we always enjoy ourselves. If you click on the picture, you'll be taken to the flickr set and you can look through the rest of the pictures, taken on a day much more typical of our stay this year. It was cool and occasionally rainy, with some thunderstorms.
I got very little knitting done; what I did get knit was finishing up the Baby Surprise Jacket I had started before I left, and in working interminable rows on Hyrna Herborgar. I made the monumental mistake of carefully gathering up all my patterns into a notebook to take with me, and then misplacing the notebook before I got it packed. The BSJ pattern was with the knitting-in-progress, so I was ok there, but for Hyrna I had to go by memory and calculation (15 fans in the expansion x 36 stitches per fan [I hope I remembered Sylvia's notes correctly on those points] divided by 6 stitches per diamond repeat = more stitches than I have even yet on the needles). I haven't had the heart to go check to see if I remembered correctly or not.
I got nothing done on the afghan blocks, having no patterns to work from, and I didn't get started on MS3, ditto.

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is the last of the new (2006 planting) Orientals to bloom this year, and I think at this point I've seen what all of the new ones will look like. The others will be duplicates of ones I've already seen.
I've also posted all of the afghan blocks completed to date. I'm going to be disconnected from the computer for a few days and I hope to have more blocks finished by the time I reconnect!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crossword puzzle clue: Weave (yarn)

Crossword puzzle answer: Knit

Me: Huh?
Rose Elegance is another of the 2006 planting and I'm quite happy to see the way that they are all turning out. A couple of the bulbs did not send up blooms this year, but by next year they all be in good form.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Some more of my new Oriental lilies have been blooming - this was the freebie tucked in with a mixed bag. It's not a color I would have bought separately, but I'm glad I have it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This is a very simple pattern, easily memorized, with short cable runs alternating with plain knitting. Again, a pattern I could see using for an all over pattern on a cardigan or pullover.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Cable Lace pattern was another of the ones that was very easy and quick. Obviously, it's also one of the ones that draws in a great deal vertically rather than horizontally. I think this is the most extreme of the vertical draw-in sort.

I could see having a cardigan with this pattern...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Changing of the campers: Last week I was running around getting K ready to go on a weeklong canoe trip. She's been away, getting back tonight. S leaves tomorrow morning for Boy Scout camp with his troop, so this week has been running around getting ready for him to push off. Busy times.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another potato chip block, the Rice Stitch Diamonds are a lot of fun. I liked doing the rice stitch, and of course cables are always good. The reverse stockinette background wants to curl badly of course, but this block and the previous one are the ones I will probably use as models for blocking size when the time comes. If you look back through the blocks shown so far, you may notice that some are extremely long and skinny, and a couple are squat, depending on which way the pattern stitch draws in.
My plan is to block all of them first to a fixed size, then add the edging. Someday. When I finish knitting blocks. I only have 7 to go (plus the last border on the one on the needles).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

This is another block with those pesky knots. Aside from the knots, it was a fun knit, watching the traveling stitches wavering back and forth.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is one of the 2006 planting that survived, and only one of two that's going to put up scapes this year, it appears. I was anxious to see what it would look like, and then wound up missing the first bloom. Grrr. That's what comes of sending kids to camp - I get a lot done while they're gone, but I lose that time the week before they go, running around getting their oddments together.

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is one of the 2004 planting as well, scheduled for moving this fall.

Originally uploaded by zinlizzie
This is one of the fall 2004 planting. This is one of my favorites. I put these in down by the mailbox, but have decided that they don't seem to do as well there as I hoped. This fall, I plan to move them to a new bed farther back from the street, so that they won't get the salt load in the winter.