Monday, August 24, 2009

Let the weaving begin again!

Okay, I have been spending way too much time not working in my work room. I have been inventorying yarn, filing papers, paying bills, ironing linens but I haven't done a bit of weaving in that room since I took it over. My true intent for HandAndHeartWorks was my weaving with hits now and then of other handcrafts. All I had on hand was the sweet little bags that I listed earlier this spring. If I want to list scarves then I must weave them! Somebody's got to do it...

Of course now I wish I had bought a bit of that amazing boucle last summer at Dotty's. I'll get to rummage through the stash to see what boucle's I have hidden away...

As ready as I am to weave again it was even more fun having a mini workshop w/one of the college girl's best friends. She found the set up process not very exciting or interesting but as the random strands of wool and mohair came together and formed the fabric of her future shoulder bag her enthusiasm built. We still need to set a time up to block the finished fabric, make the cord and sew the whole piece together. It's going to be lovely when finished! Yay - yarn is so wonderful!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just like migrating birds

In that twilight stage of sleep this morning I awoke to the sound of Canadian geese talking with one another as they were flying south in their quintessential V shape. The image of migrating birds in flight and the vocalizing they do is such a marker for me. We, just like migrating birds, fly north for the summer and fly south for the winter. This morning HJ flew even farther south on her winter migration back to North Carolina for school. It was a bittersweet morning.

It has been such a beautiful summer season in so many ways. HJ and dad had a very productive fishing season. Having her on the boat with him kept him working hard and they had such fun working together. With the forest fires inland there were some breathtaking skies.
It was also beautiful to watch HJ pick out a pattern and yarn for her first sweater. She has been after me for years to knit her a sweater. Now that I am knitting her one she has been inspired and is also excited to knit for herself. A fellow knitter shared her college knitting history; she knit on the same sweater all through graduate school. HJ is inspired by this thought - it is a romantic notion to her (me too!). She will likely work this sweater at much the same pace as Riki shared and hopes to go to grad school with one sweater under her belt already!

While the college girl was lightfooting it around Madrid, Barcelona and Ibiza her dad and I had a beautiful summer in AK. I still never tire of watching the red salmon in the murky waters of Power Creek and picking salmon berries along the side of the road hoping to spot an eagle feather or 2. Well the salmon berries were pretty slim and the feathers were a total bust but we did find this really beautiful fungus. I was really excited to get a new pic to add to my selection of mushroom and fungus images. It's been awhile since I have added to it.
There is one more member of our little flock that has yet to make his migratory flight south but for now he is still putting in his time on the Flats trying to fill his net with silver blue slabs of cohos. I wonder how much longer he can resist his instinct to fly home...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Road trippin' the AlCan

So every summer as the school year ends we gear up for our summer "Up North". We pack our bags, clean up the house, pre-pay a bunch of bills, suspend a few services, arrange for the yard to be watered, and the cat to be fed and loved. We jump on a plane and head to our summer life. With all the changes this year in my sweet little family of course summer had to change as well. I put the college girl on a plane a month before I was scheduled to head North. Instead of leisurely mornings sleeping in or early mornings secretly making wild blueberry muffins for mom and dad she got off the plane, headed straight to Redden to get new rain gear, to AC to get a fishing license and on to the boat to go fishing. The Flats aren't really her favorite place to fish with dad but this was her summer of "Work". Her introduction into the adult world of earning your living.

I spent the next 3 1/2 weeks wrapping things up at work and home and geared up for an road trip with a few of the Fisher Wives. The 4 of us congregated in Missoula, MT, packed up the Sportsmobile and headed North to Alaska via the Canadian Rockies. The agenda was hot springs and fellowship and more than 3000 miles for the next 9 days. Our first day we spent the morning visiting the campus of Univ. MT at Missoula. What a great town and and looks like a great school... I began to visualize my girl walking to class and hiking the nearby mountain and studying in the library. Sure is alot closer than North Carolina... hmm I wonder... Kathryn, Ben and Lola were such great hosts and guides. They had good input on our first days drive and we heeded their advice.
Our first hotspring was Fairmont in Canada. We had a nice evening soak - the hot pool was glorious and the cold pool a bit too cold to spend much time in. For a developed hotspring it was nice but not fabulous. I still enjoy the undeveloped ones best but the developed ones are of course so much easier to access! The goal became a hot spring each day...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cooking School (part 1?)

Another response we’ve made to the uncertain economic status these days is to reduce dining out. This really bums me out on one hand because I’m a minor foodie. I love to have a great meal from someone else’s kitchen. On the other hand it has been fun to remember how much I love to cook. Now that HJ is home from school it has been nice to have someone to cook with since He is up north. We all love gyros so dinner tonight was gyro inspired: Lamb meatballs with Couscous and Tzatziki and homemade lemonade. It was really fun to cut our own fresh mint, rosemary and flat leaf parsley for each component of the meal; it was too bad that I didn’t have any fresh garlic to pick. I really enjoy watching her learn to cook. It is nice to see her confidence and skill build. Now I just have to teach her how to clean up after herself but cleaning up the kitchen was a welcome chore in this case!

I don’t often use a recipe when cooking, although always when baking!, but here’s generally what we did:

Equal portions of ground lamb to leanest available ground beef

1 or 2 eggs

2 cloves garlic crushed and minced

Good handful of chopped fresh mint

Good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

½ to 1 t of chopped fresh rosemary

Probably a ¼ to a 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs

Mix well with your clean hands and form into meatballs. We cooked our batch at 350 for 40 mins. In the past I have gone 375 for 30 mins. They just need to cook. You’ll know when they are done.

Couscous – so easy!

Equal parts boiling water to couscous, cover and let stand a couple of mins. or follow directions

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tomato diced

Small handful of fresh mint and parsley chopped

Drizzle with good olive oil to taste and sight


16 oz plain yogurt – you can drain in a sieve overnight if you can plan ahead, I can’t.

1 cucumber peeled and seeded then dice
Good handful of chopped mint with some parsley thrown in
A splash of rice wine vinegar

1 clove of garlic crushed and minced or as much as you like to your tastes

Dinner in under an hour - Yum!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Victory garden sure sounds better than Recession garden.

Okay, I know, my garden isn't a Victory garden but with this whole recession hysteria I just need a prettier verbal image for my first vegetable garden in 16 years than "Recession garden". (see recession hysteria here)

Our migratory summer schedule has generally precluded us from any substantial gardening over the years but I decided that it certainly couldn't hurt to give it a shot again. He hasn't ever really done much veggie gardening so even though he wouldn't be here for the summer harvest I decided to buy starts early this spring and do a small planting just for his visual delight.

4'x8'x18" raised beds filled with 5 years worth of household and yard compost 4 weeks later

You may notice very few white strawberry blossoms in the strawberry bed. It pained me so to snip them off to encourage good root growth this first year so much so that I made my mom snip them off for me. I will be happy about it next summer when I can go out to the garden after work on a warm summer afternoon and pick nice big warm from the sun strawberries to snack on!

my easy herb garden wintered over really well with our strange weather this year.

When I get home in August I plan on direct sowing my fall and winter garden. Hopefully he will come home to a garden full of fresh yummies in September and October and even a few may stretch into the later winter! Check out this fabulous winter gardening book. I think it's out of print and pretty spendy but you could luck out and run across it somewhere for cheap. Spinach, Kale, beets, carrots, lettuces, onions, garlics, potatoes, broccoli and cabbages are all great cool weather crops - there really are a great number of cool maritime weather crops to plant for the fall.

I really want a nice big berry patch too. Tayberries. They are so uncommon here in the states. They are going to be my mission for next year!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Work Work Work

HJ goes to a “work” college which means that every single student works in some capacity on campus a minimum of 15 hours per week. First semester she was assigned to the campus safety crew. They worked out of an office and were available by phone or handheld radio for potential campus emergencies or basic situation. As a brand new freshman and a new student to the area I was surprised to find out that she often drove fellow students off campus into the surrounding area to various appointments and such in a school van. She even once drove a student into a neighboring county for an appointment.

Overall I expected that this would have been a great job for her, not that any particular aspect of the job suited her but because most often there wasn’t anything pressing in their office and so there was a lot of time available to the student workers for school work and study. Boy did I turn out to be wrong!

Second semester she had some sort of hubbub with her crew boss and she was able to get onto a different work crew. She got onto the landscaping crew. At her groovy eco conscious school this is a very popular crew and hard to get onto. Being part of that crew has impacted her college experience like I could not believe a job could. She is outdoors every day working a physical job in the open air. She loves her job! She now loves her school and her community and she feels truly a part of it. It has turned out to be a life saver for her. She had really been struggling with not feeling part of the community even in to second semester and was really contemplating a transfer. I am so happy for her that this work crew has welcomed her in such a specific way and that she has learned from being a part of it.

When she got home this weekend she said that she really wasn’t quite ready to come home and that some of her work crew actually stay on a work contract over the summer. I teased her that she could be on the landscape crew here at home no problem and no contract required! (I am in dire need!! Weeds weeds everywhere!!)

She said that she understands now that helping maintain something and working on building something with others invests you in it. It builds community something that we are all looking for. She says she will gladly be on the landscape crew here at home! We’ll see how it fleshes out – and I only have her for a few days before she heads north to go fishing. I’ll work her while I can though!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lord be good to us, for the sea is so wide and our ship is so small.

Yesterday was the first day of the season for fishing. He sounded more excited about fishing than I have heard him in many seasons; maybe it was the "pep talk" we had after receiving the student's tuition bill, or maybe it was the drawings for a proposed art studio in the back yard or maybe it was just the beautiful surroundings. For whatever reason, I am thrilled! I have to dig way back in the memory banks to remember the excitement that permeates the town on those days leading up to the opener but it was also nice to find a couple of pics in my folders that my daughter took the season before last coming back to town after a successful fishing period. I imagine the weather they had yesterday was equally nice as He said he even put sunblock on!
I think it is about time for me to join Him again. It is such a thrill to see the fish hit the net and haul in the net full of glorious blue and silver salmon. They are such beautiful fish. I never got very good at picking the net but I'm not to old to learn. Watching Him do this job He is so good at makes me so happy. He is such confident man on His boat and on the water. It is His element. He said he cleaned the boat out good enough for a girl this season so hopefully when I get up there in July it'll just need a freshening up in order to welcome me aboard! I am sure that our girl will not tolerate much of a mess overall so there is hope. I am so excited for her to fish this season. My hope is that now as a pre adult she will look at this season with fresh percpective and see the possibilities in it. She is such a wild at heart girl... and a turd bird... she sure makes me smile!
My respite is almost over. She will be home from her first year of college tomorrow. I am so proud of her growth, her accomplishments, her bravery and her spirit. She inspires me. She also drives me nuts and I am going to enjoy my clean and quite home tonight like you can't believe!