Sunday, June 29, 2014

Esme bits of summer

Making pants

double pockets
22 inch elastic, joined down to 20.5 inches, with 26 inch hemmed length.
About 5 or 6 pairs of these will make a good start for school wardrobe.

I got up this morning and had been doing several things in the kitchen and bathroom - decided it was time to wake Esme up before I go to work.  However, her light was on and she was not in bed.  She was in her spaceship drawing small glyphs of turkeys and other things in pink chalk.. 'There's no little girl in this bed.'  'No, *giggle* I got up early!'  This is the child that is usually at my bedside first thing I wake up saying 'Good morning!'

Mark said he gave her a 'double bologna sandwich' today, with a piece of bread in between the two slices of bologna.  She said to him it was a double AA triple AAA battery type sandwich - with three pieces of bread and two pieces of meat just like the As.

Her math skills are very good.. she has been adding up her eggs every week on Saturday or Sunday, and getting her allowance. 

The other day we were in the house while Esme was outside in her pool with the impact sprinkler on the end of the hose.  She had it weighted down with something on top of the wellhouse spraying water at her in a jet, filling the pool.  We were both getting eaten by bugs and went inside after a bit...  We happened to look out at a certain moment and she had Tink, the black kitten, held up and water spraying on both of them!  The kitten was resigned - not terribly upset..but looking away from the water.  I popped my head out the door and asked her what she was up to, maybe Tink wouldn't like that!  Then she reluctantly put him down, he took two steps away, and shook water off of himself.  He looked slightly offended, sat down to lick a paw, and then hopped around the area back and forth like a spider monkey.  Apparently he wasn't quite as upset by that ordeal as I thought he might be...

She has been sitting in trees with this kitten, as well, having 'Indian parties.'  She always wanted to name him Tinkerbell... but he is a boy.  So, I'm not sure if this is a Peter Pan and Neverland pirates thing or...  She told me Tink has some Indian in him, just like her.  The other day I was in the garden and I hear 'Mom, come see me at the Indian Party.  I'll wait for you.'  Then, less than a minute later - THUMP -followed by .  'I'm OK!'  She is going to look like a warzone when she goes back to school.. we've been talking about it, scratches on her legs, dirt everywhere, cedar needles in her hair, sunburn... I know she wont' be the only one, but I can't keep up!

blackberries in the blueberry cake recipe...

Friday, June 27, 2014

harvest, and bits

 Tink sitting on one of our six week old puppies who are ready to be given away.  He had been asleep there not long before that... but woke up when he heard a camera!

Harvest tonight, squash, a single ear of corn, cucumbers, radishes, green beans and sweet peas.  That one squash really surprised me!  And there are more coming...I think the corn should be ready by the fourth of July, maybe a bit after.

There just doesn't seem to be much time lately... with work every day this week and taking Esme out to the library on Thursday.  They had a Spanish lesson that day that we did not expect - and Esme did VERY well at it.. surprised me quite a bit!  She had been quite good this week, as well - but has gotten very muddy and picking up lots of scratches learning to climb trees.  I guess that is what summer is for?  We convinced her into a bath tonight before we sat down together to watch the first half of 'Prisoner of Azkaban.'  It was very sweet all three of us cuddled up watching the movie.   I'm reading that one now on my Kindle...

I still haven't gotten the two pairs of pants even started that I wanted to... just no time, or no 'loose' time.  I should be doing more out in the garden than I am, as well.. it will soon kick into a production that will swamp us... I think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

tiny bits

 first ears of sweet corn - actually our Mandan Bride flour corn that was taken over by the other's genetics way too early... it's lunch now.

Moonflowers from the woods and daylillies from the yard

Esme is inviting me to come blow cupcake bubbles in her bubble jungle in the land of happiness, which includes puppies and morning sunlight.  I have to work late tonight.  She has been playing in the sprinkler every night after dinner.  Last night while she did I told her the last epic battle in the Harry Potter book and she really listened with huge eyes - I 'retold' it, instead of reading it out of the book, to just catch the biggest points.  Then we watched the movie from start to finish - and she pointed out the things I had told her about in the book and vice-versa.   After it finally ended I was extremely tired, having went to work at 6 in the morning that day...

I have a few 'tiny bits' to do today in between bubble visits and balloon bomb disarmaments... which was what started my morning today.  I was given a shiny helium balloon and told it was a balloon bomb and it had to be fixed so it did not blow up.  My tiny bits of what to do include  a pair of pants for her out of fish fabric - a bath, coffee in between all the cracks and getting lunch soup ready for work.  Very sleepy still - so we did not do the flea market this morning... and it helped by raining some so it probably wasn't a great day for it, anyway.  Yesterday I got two tiny pattypan squashes (things from outer space Esme says), green beans, another long radish and two small zephyr squash.

The Shackamaxon beans on the vertical fence are beginning to produce in the upper middle area- probably the only area the bees are most interested in because it is so crowded and wet and there are lots of other flowers and squash/cucumber flowers to go to instead.  Our tomato plants are breaking under their own weight - even with the cages, in some places, travelling in others, and basically getting ready for the hot weather to explode into ripening.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

bits orange daylillies and nasturtium petals

 lunch today - cucumbers in mayonnaise sauce with nasturtium petals, mint, black pepper and a toasted flour tortilla.  The mint was the big win. I can't say I actually tasted the nasturtium petals at all, but it was the first one of the season, so ... maybe not enough of it.

Recipe: cucumbers in mayonnaise sauce.
It is so easy sometimes I don't remember I had to read it somewhere the first time - cut up the cucumbers as small as you want them... I go pretty small squares.  Then put them in a container with a lid - and sprinkle a little salt over them.  You could wait five minutes or so at this point, if you want to, especially if the cucumbers are kind of dry.    Put about a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise (Miracle whip is okay for this one -- it isn't for a lot of things I like, but it is for this) and put the lid on and shake it.    Some people put other things in this... vinegar, or etc... none of that in this.  I really did like the dried mint, though - it added a lot to this.

garden notes : Ireland creek Annie's are making beans now - they are between the cucumbers and are dry beans, so we will not pick them, even though they will look like they 'need' it... same with several other ones in the garden, like the Kenearly that is starting to vine up a small trellis, and the non Shackamaxon beans on the vertical fence.  I am waiting to see if the 'wax' beans turn waxy... they are not, yet.  The Providers continue to fill up the colander daily :)  I tried to convince some of the tomatoes and beans not to fight - we will have tomatoes soon, I think.

Our orange daylillies are blooming.  A dead armadillo incident happened to our yellow ones this year.. but the orange ones were saved specifically because they were surrounded by weeds and baby mimosa trees etc etc..

My father and stepmother left for home last night - hope they are doing well on the road back to Iowa.  We really enjoyed their visit and need to get pictures of them with Esme next time.. somehow we just kept talking and never did that this time.   They went out of their way to find me a lemon birthday cake and bring it to me on my birthday, which was extremely sweet (them, not the cake).   I admitted by geeky obsession with beans to them and sent them home with one of the more rare ones to plant in the colder climate... and a few other of our Tennessee treasures.  I'd like to order an extra batch of Japonica corn to send them that as an oddity - the striped leaves and purple silks...not sure if they would get any chance to plant that.

Esme and I went to town this morning before it go very very hot.. and took her to the park, and for a hash brown, and for to spend her allowance at the dollar store.  On the way there we talked about lots of things - and she really participated.  We talked about history, and what people did without stores to buy food at, and how they lived through the winter (lots of firewood) - and they need to be warm in the winter (with furnaces and they get wool from sheep and make it into things and clothes and boots to stay warm), and cool in the summer (she thought about shade and umbrellas), and how they do that.. and about droughts, and floods - how the corn needs water but not too much water, and the animals do, too...and many other topics.

She really not only has the information now, but can talk about it, relate things to each other and really understand how to find out what she doesn't know and why it is important.   I told her it was all like science, too - and when I said 'history' she said she knows that one - it was in school.  I related it to the past - when Grandpa's father was a child how things were, and that now was like the Jetsons for him - the future (and outer space)...  The one that really cracked me up was when we were talking about corn - which she saw in the field - and she knew it by the pointy things on top (tassels) and the strings (silks) that made the ears.  We talked about how the tassels and silks work together to make the seeds.. and she made a cross-reference to acorns and how they both grow the same.. she told me about the acorn seed being hard and needing water to break out a tiny vine that gets more water from the earth.  Then we talked about what leaves were for, besides being pretty.. and how the plant makes food from the sunlight on the leaves and the water down below and grows and stores that food in the seeds to grow many many more plants..   I told her that each single kernel on the corn and each single acorn on the tree can make a new plant, and that plant can have lots of new seeds (like a hundred, yes?) and on and on.  She said 'Wait Mom, I know this one - this is math, too.'  I really laughed at that one. 

At the park I read her a little bit of Harry Potter (trying to get out of completely running around in the heat) while pushing her on the swing, and watching her climb the ladders etc etc... then we went for a short walk around the walking path, and climbed a tree and saw the water which was almost dry in the ditch etc etc.. she read signs and we talked about them.  'No Motorized Vehicles' she saw on a sign - and when I asked her what that meant, she said 'You can't drive air-o-planes down here.'... Well, that is technically true *heh*.  She was trying to encourage some children in their Sunday clothes to get dirty in the trees - 'There's syrup up here - you want to see?'  and then we went for a drink and a hash brown.  She is picking up her change amounts a bit better, now.. and was able to slowly make the right change to the cashier at the dollar store - and look at her receipt to see written down exactly what the cost was, what we paid, and what the change was.

We brought a piece of cake and some pork, and one of the orange daylillies, to Grandma Irene, with Esme staying there for a few hours.   I need to go collect her in a few minutes, bring some garden produce to Irene, do chickens, pick beans, start laundry,  feed supper, give her a bath for her speech appointment tomorrow.. and go to bed as I have 6 am work.

It was a very nice birthday, and having today to semi-rest (with a little Minecraft) was a nice way to wind it down.  I have enough canned beans from Mark to last another six months until Christmas again *heh*.. and a few cans of pumpkin, as well.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21st

My father and stepmother stopped by yesterday for several hours to catch up and spend time with Esme.  We had a good time and they saw chickens, garden, puppies, kittens... a very much grown little girl :)

This morning I did my usual birthday thing - and it was very pretty in the sunrise up at the top of the road - the sunflowers were just beginning to bloom.. the bats and birds and bees and other insects were all around, and the world was full of life and waking up.  I took a few hours in the garden - then a nap... as sleeping was not so good last night.

Esme, Mark and I went out and took some photos a little while ago.  She is using the older camera we have in some of the pictures down below.

The following pictures are taken by Esme (or with that camera in a few obvious examples)

She was very proud of the bugs on this one. 

silly :)

And a picture from the visit that Mark caught when I was opening a present.  We really need to catch some more photos next time!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

bits and muses

Got the first Shackamaxon 'green' beans off of the set I had planted on the pea fence.  None of the same variety on the vertical fence are producing yet - but some are flowering.  The wax beans are a bit further along but nothing ready to pick.

Some musing on Native American varieties, after reading several articles today.  For a while I've said that I am drawn to eating the orange squash and beans and - for me - oatmeal together..although in the traditional three sisters it is corn - which we also grow and eat, but not in the same quantities.  Nutritional scientists have been doing a lot of research on diabetes that involves testing the 'three sisters' regular inclusion in the diet vs the traditional 'Western' diet that only has these as occasional foods.  They are finding some reduction in the native populations that return to the 'traditional' diet.  Understandably, it is only natural that they would be healthier with these foods instead of sugar and white bread only etc... but It is really interesting to see the research and a resurgence of native tribes 'taking back' their seeds and growing them out for their heritage farms and generations to come.  I certainly do worry about my mother's diabetes, and our family's heritage that seems to be leaning towards it.  I actually like and feel naturally drawn to these foods - so it is also only natural to be growing them and keeping the heritage seeds in our own garden (which have more nutrition than store varieties).

In our actual garden we have Cherokee trail of tears black seeded wax beans, the Shackamaxon (which are a Delaware tribe bean originally, and were preserved by Pennsylvania Dutch settlers), the Mayflower bean which probably was from the Colorado river tribes, the Mandan Bride corn and several varieties of sunflowers.  We don't have any traditional winter squash planted this year - started some pumpkin seeds but not sure if they are going to germinate...

notes : Diophantes

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heirloom beans at KnitOwl

We just got back from the flea market and talking to lots of people about our seeds.  You can find out more about the seeds we have available this year by going to the KnitOwl shop  I hope we will have a few more days this summer we can take the seeds out and about without rain!  I've posted about seven varieties of beans and some of our corn experiments as well.

I'll be out in the garden checking on things later and might post a few pictures of how things are coming along. 

Went out and planted all but the reserved seeds on the Mayflower beans - in among the corn as I was planning to.  Saw that the Ireland Creek Annies and the Cherokee Wax beans are both getting tiny beans on them - ready to start producing soon.  The Taylor Horticultural are just about there, as well  as the Kenearly Yellow Eye.  I did go and look up the Ireland Creek Annies again and they are dry beans only - but the Cherokee and Pencil Pod wax (in two separate areas) are both useful for fresh beans and for dry beans afterwards.  I noticed the purple Shackamaxons are starting to flower on the fence, as are the 'random' Pintos I put in by the sweet peas.  A few of the black shackamxon 'star' sports are coming up in the corn but not many - that was just not a great time after the rain to plant those?

I looked at the Mandan corn and it is putting on ears and the ears are filling up and putting out brown silks.  It is going to come in long before the sweet corn.  I pulled a yellow summer squash and saw that the Zephyr squash, the pattypan squashes and the yellow cucumbers are all starting to put on fruit, as well.

garden produce

We got a load of beans out of the garden yesterday - well.. compared to any of the days before that.  There were also two cucumbers we hadn't expected yet, some sweet peas, a squash and a radish... it is getting hot for the radishes, so they are worth mentioning that they are still trying.  There are lots of flowers on the wax beans - they may start producing soon, and a few of the Shackamaxons are starting to flower.  The beans we are currently getting for eating purposes are Provider green bush beans - I try to plant those every year specifically for eating - and do have some seeds saved up, usually from the end of the year I let the last bit grow out for seed while the other beans catch up and start providing for the table. 

There are flowers on the Ireland's Creek Annies, as well.. need to read up more on those if they are string or just dry beans.  The Kenearly (I thought it was) is producing flowers and has put out a runner, and I gave it a trellis to go up if it so chooses.  They are supposed to be 'eighteen inch tall bush habit'... we'll see what we get there.  I planted a good handful of those and have one plant!  The Taylor Dwarf horticultural - which is for dry beans - is starting to just put on flower buds...

In the corn, the Mandan bride is putting on ears - and that is very early... I hope we actually get something out of that, but we'll see.

We are out to the Huntingdon Flea Market this morning - with seven kinds of heirloom beans to sell as well as some Indian corn seed... and miscellaneous household items and computer equipment.

Friday, June 13, 2014

tiny garden bit

I cooked up a dry cup or so of the whipporwill cowpeas from last year and put them in a jar for use during the week.  They are very good - although they took longer than black eyed peas to cook through.  When I put them in the jar I put a little extra water in with them - and they absorbed it right up.  I added spoonfuls to my vegetable soup tonight and also to the chili Mark had made. 

The garden also gave sweet peas, two radishes, more green beans and basil, and the first 6 inch zucchini.  All of that and some nasturtium leaves went into some beef broth to make a soup for tomorrow's work.

I am thinking to make up two more half-size net string bags to sell at the flea market next week in Huntingdon. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

day out and potatoes

New potatoes freshly dug

We were kind of worried by how many white spots were in the potatoes.  So, we looked it up. They are 'normal' for newly dug potatoes that have been in wet weather conditions or soil with poor drainage.  The wetter the soil is, the more white spots, or lenticles - or pores, the potato needs for the exchange of gasses.  Also, the more it has - the harder it is to keep for long storage.  So, we are eating these as mashed potatoes tonight.  Esme even ate some - she said that it wasn't like potato - it made her face different, and her skin feel beautiful.. she was sure there was a difference, and even told Grandma so when she went for a sleepover.

This morning we did quite a few errands.  It is important for me to take her out 'on our own' once in a while and have her follow my cues, listen to my directions and boundaries for yes we will do this but not that etc...  I find it hard sometimes to find my balance with this and not rely on Daddy or Grandma, so it's good for both of us to just have one-on-one.  Also, we can sometimes stop and take a timeout for some things she wants (like eating IN at a restaurant, or going to a certain place to see what it is) that we don't usually do with Daddy.  We stopped to see a new city park fountain today, which she loved.  And she ate an entire chicken taco by herself - which I did have to hurry her along with, but is a 'big' thing for her to branch out and do some new things. 

When we are out together, just the two of us, I can use big words, or make funny stories - etc etc... I know sometimes it can be boring, as well, or 'educational'.. like making her try to count the change, or estimate how much the bill will be at the grocery store - down to reminding her to use full sentences when she wants to ask something etc.  She read a story out of a kid's magazine and sounded out author names on lots of books quite better than I thought her level was right now.  But, she had a lot of trouble remembering the names of the children she met, and then it was hard for her to talk to them because she kept mispronouncing their names.  They were all quite older than her, and focused on the summer reading program.  Finally she took that cue and picked several books to read and then I picked a few more to get her limit.  The librarian gave her a special bag to keep her books in since they are on her OWN library card.

The rest of the produce from the garden today was a long radish, green beans, and sweet peas.  Esme got a few sweet peas with her meal, too, and sausage and canned peaches.  She is doing so much better at eating more variety, but it takes work to keep it going.

Now I am going to relax some... and back to work tomorrow.  I have a set of new pillowcases I sewed last night in the washing machine, and have finished the copy net string bag for the person at work.  I got a couple of greek mythology books for me to read, as well - so I can try to tell some of them to Esme as stories.  We did Odysseus and the Cyclops last year or so.. but she doesn't remember.  And last night she watched Percy Jackson, and it reminded me of several myths she should hear the 'first' versions of, just like the 'first' versions of fairy tales we have been reading compared to the Disney versions and Fractured Fairy Tales she has seen on tv etc..

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

1936 French book, signed by Eileen Fealy and her entire class, perhaps from Wittenberg University, Springfield Ohio?

French 'secondary school' reading book for classroom work.
'Sans Familie', par Hector Malot, Edited with Notes, Exercises, and Vocabulary by Albert L. Cru published by the John C. Winston Company, 1934

Dated inside October 9, 1936 'Eileen Fealy', and signed in front (and back) covers by her classmates/students?

I collect French and German books and primers when I find them for not too much money, and delight in reading them.  This one came to me several years ago through a library sale.  The librarian told me it had been donated to a local language group that now no longer used the library, and had donated their collection to be sold in the bookstore.  I didn't look at the signatures a lot then - and have read bits of the book here and there to improve my translation skills.  Last night, I recognized that there were two sets of names in the book that shared last names 'Clarke' and 'Click' - and Mark said, 'That will probably let you narrow that book down to exactly where it was used, what high school, in what town.'  That was an interesting challenge, and a mystery... and I began to look to see if I could identify anything more of the origin of the book I had been reading - and was once read and cherished quite long ago.

Miss Eileen Fealy drew several pictures in the book, as well - mostly faces and doodles.. she kept dates (her Christmas vacation dates, and a running 'x' off of the days she was in class?)  I wonder if she was the teacher or more likely, a student?  Sadly, I found nothing that could pinpoint who she was... but several other names did come up, during a very short span of years, at the Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio - during the graduation years of 1938 to 1941.  The book is dated 1936, and was published in 1934.   It satisfies my curiosity enough to find five signature names in the same college.. that it was probably used there.

For the record, in case anyone finds this and recognizes any of the names in the future - here are the names I can actually read in the book.  There are about thirty-eight signatures in total - but some of them are too hard to read or have been smeared in the back cover.  There are only a few signatures in the back - so I only photographed the front page.  Several of the signatures also have 'nicknames' in them, adding to the charm of the memory.

Eileen Fealy (or Fialy?)
Virginia Lee Kite ?
Oliver Clarke (in yearbook)
Roger Borohers ? "Butch"
Georgianna Cotter
Jeanne Todd
Geneva Davis "Nevie"
FH McNutt "Squirt" - this name shows up in the online yearbooks as Franklin Holbrook McNutt and FH Mc Nutt interchangeably
Reda Lapinsky (a name I found on the honor roll in 1934 and led me to the yearbooks)
Carl DeWitt "Moocher"
Muriel Jaffa
Janice Gold
Philip Goldberg
Betty Baldwin
Bettee Hornar ? Bettee Horner?
Emily Clarke (in yearbook)
Martha Corry
Jeanne Todd
Myra Click
Elizabeth Click "boots" "jooty" ?
Jeanne "Jinks" Johnson
Anna (R, reed, or ruth, or ?) O'Connor
Martha Compton (in yearbook)
Corra Mae Brooks
Abbie Whitaker
O H B "Oh He's a Bum' (funny)
Isabel Sheperd 'Izzie' (also in the yearbooks)
Betty Rowe
Don Williamson
Mary Louise Lyman
Helen Kohl
Jeanne Lawrence?
Carol Fenton (in yearbook)
Doris Thomas
Billy Morris "alias Willie"
Eunice Bryant
W H Hughes
and three or four more I really can't make a good try at -- maybe Richard Smith, Nancy Tulless? Lorna Fatherty? Saint Broca? 

If anyone has any more information - correction on possible translations of names.. I would love to find out more.  Maybe this will just by some miracle make its way to someone who was in this class that might still be alive - or their son or daughter, and they will get to see the signature.  (I am keeping the book, but publishing this because it is an awesome piece of history and someone else might enjoy it)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


A few real beans tonight, a handful, from the Providers.  The salad rose radishes are only giving one or two real radishes here or there, but they were unused seed in the bucket up till then.  We have tomatolings coming... the sunflowers are starting to bloom, zinnias are starting.. there is a tiny zephyr zucchini squash starting.  Planted some more purple hulled peas just as grass control... with the really wet earth they may or may not come up there.

My harvest tonight was beans, a single long radish, nasturtium leaves and a few pea pods.. but mixed that with some frozen squash from a few weeks ago (flea market) and it was good.

Next two days off... working on a copy of the net plastic bag for someone at work.  I have a few things I'd like to get into but nothing specific. 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Garden walk and bean journal

I'll  post the  pictures of the entire garden - and after that it is mostly just pictures of bean cultivars that we are growing - for me, for later.  As you can see our tomato plants (Grown from seed) are really taking off.  There are some tiny tomatoes growing already - but we're not sure if they are 'good fruit' yet.. we have yet to see. There is one in the middle that is a yellow Banana Legs tomato, and the rest are either Principe Borghese or Black Krim.

Over to the right of those square pavers are a few more yellow tomato seedlings that may or may not make it.  I need to find somewhere to put the eggplant seedlings as they are just about ready - but I probably need to dust those as in recent years they get eaten up so quickly.

Corn and sunflowers from the back of the garden. 

Black Eyed Peas (just one set of many) growing out by the ends of the corn rows.

A little 'sweat bee' pollinator having great fun on the corn tassels on the Mandan Bride corn.

I'm uncertain, but the purple tassels and the fact they are tasseling so early (just this back row) might mean there wasn't enough nutrients in the soil for them there... this is the row of Indian Corn I had planted, and all of the rest are Peaches and Creme sweet corn.

The feral carrot from last year I left among the perennials to capture what a 'common carrot' looked like in bloom.  As they are biennials this is not something that is normally seen - but they are just like the Queen Anne's Lace flowers taht grow all over the woods - only, culinary type (ie: not poison)

I think Jackson Wonder bush lima beans are very pretty when they begin to grow.

The Hyacinth bean (ornamental) is also quite pretty - it is growing up in a place near the sweet peas.

 Shackamaxon beans climbing up very high - and Rattlesnake beans to the right of them.

These are the strange white climber I got out of the tree last year and couldn't identify.  They are climbing up the front side of the fence and seem well ready to grab on and go up.  The pods were streaked yellowish with purple stripes.

Ireland creek Annie bush beans by the cucumbers

Bosnian beans by the peas

I planted black calypso beans in front of the Cherokee wax beans... and one Polestar ornamental runner bean by the hyacinth beans.

bits of here and there with rain and frogs

Esme with her pretend frog home jar.  This is a babydoll type night shirt I had finished for her.  It was made from the smock pattern I was trying out.  She had a real frog and grass in the jar yesterday - and we had her let it go just after sundown.  There was rain and flooding all through the area - but I made it home with only a little go-around and one area where the road was nearly washed out.  The sky was very very strange at 5:30 am this morning, with a greenish sunrise light coming through the thick fog.  So, I got up and started poking around doing things.  We might go to the co op today if the flooding has receded -- and there is a load of laundry to fold and things that can be organized to good use...

The smock pattern was not quite what I wanted - but I hadn't tried it yet.  It had a lot of circular yoke gathering... which makes it hang very loose by design... maybe a bit too loose for me.  I could alter it a bit and give it another go around or just go back to my go-to shirt for her and make several of those for going to town this summer etc.    She wants me to make a Mike green alien toy for her, but at one point last night requested a rag doll, too.  I've got some stuffing and one or the other of the projects could be done easily

I am trying out some cooking things today - a squash filled with pepperoni and cheese, a stab at using the old cornmeal mix, and maybe some French madeleine cookies later on if we don't get busy doing other things.  We have lots of eggs from the chickens to try using up, and dogs more than willing to eat mistakes.

I was reading a bit on a minimalist blog of getting rid of things -- but even though our house seems cluttered at times, I am still much more focused on creating things out of the things we have than simply making garbage or 'giveaway' boxes that never get given away.  There are some areas I can clear out paper clutter and such...  I would like to use the minimalist tendencies on the budget where I can, and learn some better cooking with things we have on hand... we have been making very good use of food on hand lately instead of buying lots of snacks etc.

Note.//  I had planned to plant my Mayflower beans in the corn but when I got out there the star sport from the Shackamaxon was all that I planted in four little places - it was dark black beans with a darker stripe over it and occasional yellow flecks - like a cross.. but I'm just not sure what happened there and want to see what comes of it.  They were planted by Rattlesnake beans and Hopi String beans last year - both of which have the stripe thing.

Made the French madeleines - although I used a muffin pan and papers in it.  The beating of the eggs and sugar together for five minutes or more was VERY long... and I think I should have let the butter cool a bit more.  We only have one muffin pan.  Next time I will try to make two runs worth instead of pouring the extra batter into a pie plate.   And I should have cooked them longer the first time - put them back in to see if they would form a crust and they did.  This will be a recipe I will try again to see if I can make it a bit better.. and it used up eggs pretty well.  Our eggs were so yolky that maybe putting in 3 eggs and 2 egg whites would be a better mix than 4 whole eggs.

Recipe :
4 eggs, mixed with 2/3 cup of sugar - beat together for 5 to 10 minutes
add vanilla before the flour
add 1 cup of flour in thirds while beating
add 1/2 cup (full stick) of butter melted and cooled (before you start step 1) in thirds
pour into muffin cups or a madeleine pan 2 tbsp at a time.
bake in our oven at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes instead of the ten in the recipe.

will be an eggy spongey cupcake like thing with a crust on top and bottom from the pan.

I'm thinking we can tackle custard next week - studying up on it!

We lost another chicken today - think it flew over the fence after standing on the garden hose like we had seen it do once last week... not sure, as we were gone to town when it happened.  That puts us down to four hens and a rooster... 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Heirloom beans for sale at KnitOwl shop

I have put two varieties up for the public sale, again.  KnitOwl farm and craft shop

The first one is speckled whipporwill peas.  I am weighing out an ounce of these at a time.
 These are a semi-vining cowpea that improves the soil and produces lots of tasty peas!

 Tennessee Greasy beans - 25 seeds each, these are huge and prolific - but they start a bit late compared to others planted at the same time.  Well worth waiting for.  The pods are purple and the beans dry out white and black speckles at first, then darken to this color over the winter.

And an Esme flower - she says she grew from seeds, too *ha*

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


It was a very early work day today.  After that I was out and weeding more between the corn - it needed it, and with all the grass that was pulled out, it needed hilling up around the stalks, as well.  I am hoping I haven't killed any/too many with pulling so much grass next to their roots.  The grass needed to go, though.

I plan to plant some cornfield beans in there among a few of them.  Did some research on what beans in my collection have been used as cornfield beans in the past - and have chosen the Mayflower / Red Nightfall beans to do that.  They have a history with the Amish and are listed under many names.  In the past I've only planted them on back fences and have been disappointed with how delicate to full sun and how late yielding they are.  This might be the better use for them... we'll see, I went through my jars and actually found a good quantity.  It is nice they are not so rare, too - so if they fail badly I will be able to find more if I want them.  They will appreciate some shade between the stalks as well as be light bodied enough not to pull the corn down with them.  I spent a little over two hours out there today and that was more than enough on top of the early freight day ... without it actually being done to my liking yet.  I had a nice raspberry, eucalyptus and tea tree oil bath afterwards :)

In the house I have eggplant seedlings that still need to go out.  The tomato seedlings from the other day are a little sunburnt but seem to be holding up.  There are little peppers on the banana pepper plant, and the very fringe beginnings of green beans on the Providers, which has a strange black edge leaf thing going on.  I should thin out the salad rose radishes again, as well... 

I did a few more rows on the big gypsy moth colors blanket, as I couldn't think of anything else I had energy for.  The dress I was making for Esme really needs to be tackled again - but I know the gathers will take a bit more thought power than I had tonight.  Esme was really wanting a friend, and playing with her on games she had made up... but there was only so much we wanted to take on there - she ended up disappointed I didn't play her picnic and balloon games to her liking... but then, I was a bit disappointed she didn't help me at all in the garden.  She just kept 'talking to the corn', asking it questions and saying 'uh huh, hmm, sorry to hear that Mama Corn, Daddy corn, kid corns - how are you, are you alright?'  silly... a bit strange, ha.  She did feed the chickens some of the grass and did not step on anything.

Also, halfway through 'Mrs.Lincoln's Dressmaker' book... taking that to work with me daily, and read a little of it at Esme's 'reading pirate party - you can do anything you want' party in our truck bed.  It was getting dark and buggy, though... could not actually interest her in reading her own books at first, then she brought out her Make and Do book which she loves, and went through reading bits in that..  I am planning to take her to the library again on Friday to return her books.  I think I have the second already checked out for after this one, there might be something else in between them, though.  I don't want to put much else on Friday, though... want mostly to stay at home and get things done.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Garden, farm visit and wool roving for yarn spinning

 The floral area of the garden, along with squash and radishes and some beans out there behind the marigolds.  Right at the corner of the 'L' there is a giant carrot plant from last year - it is about to blossom and go to seed.

 I will have to think about which beans we have planted this year... quite a few.
Ireland Creek Annies, -- bush
Kenearly Yellow Eye, -- bush
Blue Black Shackamaxon, -- pole
Rattlesnake, -- pole
Florida speckled Lima beans, -- pole
Christmas lima beans -- pole (but I'm not sure they made it)
Jackson Wonder Lima beans, -- bush
Whipporwill cowpeas, -- semi-vining
black eyed peas -- semi-vining
Purple hulled quick pick peas, -- bush
Cherokee black wax, -- bush
Pencil pod black wax, -- bush
Taylor Dwarf Horticultural, -- bush
Provider, -- bush
a pinto bean that was unidentified in a container, -- pole
a white seeded climber that confused me last year by not knowing where it came from, -- pole
Hyacinth ornamental (climbing)
Bosnian beans.-- pole

I tried a Goldrush (bush) wax bean twice and it failed both times.  I have a Hopi purple string bean (pole) and the Tennessee Greasy bean variant (pole) I have yet to plant.  I'm not sure - do I count the french green lentils as beans?  *ha*

The corn is growing quite tall, the provider beans and the tomatoes we planted from seed are both starting to flower.  The sweet peas (not shown) are really producing a little each day, now.  If we can just keep the grass from taking over we will have plenty of food, soon.  The chickens really like the weeds thrown to them, as well.

The other adventure of the day - besides the hours I spent out here, was going to Dry Hollow Farm, which is not very far away from us and we found on Etsy.  We bought some Jacob's sheep wool roving which I am trying my hand at making into yarn, and got to see the wonderful animals she takes care of.  Her gardens were inspiring, too -- although I have no idea how I could ever upkeep that much space!  That is why I 'microgarden' in comparison - a small space but everything packed as densely as possible.  But, it would be nice to learn how to do the terracing and make even more use of space.

I took the wool to a mock-up spindle when I got home and started an attempt at a twisted single ply.. it was a lovely long staple, so it wasn't hard to get something that appeared to act like yarn... I am thinking if I ply it together with a second ply or with some lace yarn I have not used it will become something I can knit with and make something beautiful.

//Other beans not planted this year but we have for consideration :
Mayflower beans (pole)
Marvel of Venice (pole) ? is this the white seeded one I couldn't identify?
Polestar runner beans (red flowered)
Country Gentleman beans - can't find any info on this one, so I should grow it out to find more
 Beurre de Rocquencourt (wax, bush)
Tiger Eye 
Jeminez (pole)
Coco Bianco (there are bush and pole varieties, mine are not marked)
Dapple grey (bush?)
Good Mother Stallard (pole), did poorly last year
Snowcap (bush)
Soldier (bush)
White Half Runner
Kentucky Wonder Pole beans
'pink' beans (supposed to be semi-vining)
Appaloosa (bush)
Painted Pony (bush)
Dixie butterpea lima beans (bush)
Hutterite (bush) - I only have a few seeds left of this, they did not do well here
McCaslan (pole)
several labelled 'Borlotto' bush types?
Lina Sisco's birds egg beans (bush)
Calypso red and black varieties (bush)
Nightfall red and black varieties (bush)
Colorado river (which look just like Mayflower) (pole?)
Trout beans
Mississippi silver cowpeas
Cream lady cowpeas (grew last year - so very small.. pretty, but not sure will grow out again)

---and more.. of course... I have become quite the collector thanks to the benefactor seed swap from a few years ago, and am always on the lookout for others even though I can't grow them all every year.