Waning Summer

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Its the last days of summer, finally.  I thought I’d never get through them.

The Autumn Equinox is near, and I thought I’d enjoy a nice afternoon walk up the ridge and take some photos of the landscape in the waning summer.

Wild peas  continuing to bloom unusually late…
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As I got higher up the ridge where the bad burn is,

I notice so many sprouted trees, as this baby knob cone pine, about 8 inches tall …

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Sprouted right beneath the scorched parent tree, full of pine cones….

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In a blink it will be the Autumnal Equinox , only four days!  Knowing I am near to being in a far better place mentally with the anniversary of the wildfire so soon to pass, I am so very eager to be grateful again and excited about life’s good things.

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Sweater Success !

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I didn’t make it all the way to Calistoga for the actual Lincoln Street locale, but we improvised in St Helena instead.  After meeting at St Helena Roastery, for coffee (please tell me you don’t notice the drop of chocolate syrup from Miss Fifteen’s mocha, spilled on her Lincoln Street before the photo shoot… lol!),  we then took the photos against the stone of the St Helena Catholic Church, then went to Lolo’s Consignment Shop. Lastly we had lunch at Villa Corona, and walked around the Main Street a while too. Absolutely colossally wonderful summer day spent together with my nieces!

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Now you can make your own Lincoln Street sleeveless …

and the pattern is available !

Details are HERE.

 

Invincible Summer Lemonade

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” In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”                           — Albert Camus

In California in winter you might very well witness yellow lemons fattening on the branches of the Meyer Lemon tree, bringing summer into winter.   This is so at odds with one’s expectations, that I found the quote by Camus to be perfect!

And now for a little fun research on the extraordinary & delicious Meyer lemon ~~ ​In the turn of the last century, American “agricultural explorer” Frank Nicholas Meyer collected a sample of a native​ lemon plant on a trip to China​, which was believed by him to be a hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin orange. He introduced ​it to the United States in 1908.

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The Meyer lemon is commonly grown in garden pots as an ornamental tree​, I personally have one, and feel they are delicious and wonderful potted citrus to have.  California Cuisine chef Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley  rediscovered this fruit in the cuisine revolution of the 90’s, as did Martha Stewart when she began featuring them in her recipes.  I remember that era & the popularizing of the Meyer lemon very well. ed4eb8cff64f736b233f46e4813b5fd7

“The Meyer lemon fruit is yellow and rounder than a true lemon. The skin is fragrant and thin, colored a deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe. Meyer lemon fruits have a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the more common Lisbon or Eureka varieties. The pulp is a dark yellow…” read more …

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Happy Summer Solstice everyone ~~ and on this first day of summer, I give to you my very own extremely delicious sparkling Meyer lemonade recipe ~~ having just renamed it just for this solstice  “Invincible Summer Lemonade” ! ​ This recipe will make you  a couple of tall glasses of delightful ice-cold lemony refreshment, so dig out your zesters and make sure there’s plenty of ice in the freezer.

  1. Pick 1  ripe fruit from your Meyer lemon tree, or from the produce stall at the market, but really, any kind of  fresh lemon will do,  just avoid using old stale lemons.
  2. With a zesting tool, zest outer skin of entire lemon, only the yellow part, avoiding the bitter white of the peel if possible.   If you don’t have a zester, then use a grater, but more often than not, too much of the peel is lost to the grater.
  3. Into a glass quart jar or liquid measure, combine 2-4 tbsp organic sugar, and lemon peel and let sit for 30 minutes, while stirring once or twice while sugar is leeching out those tasty essential oils from peel, the signature flavor in this drink.
  4. Now juice the peeled lemon and pour juice over sugar-zest mixture. Stir well until all the sugar dissolves in the lemon juice.
  5. Pour into juice 2 to 3 cups sparkling mineral water ( or a combination of sparkling and cold water).  Add more sugar if desired.
  6. Pour lemonade through strainer over ice into pitcher or glasses & enjoy the best taste of summer you’ll ever have.   Perhaps while contemplating the following text by Albert Camus …

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back. Let the situation be as cold as winter but the heat lies within you. “

Mid August

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August is such a stale time of the year. No cool breezes, no moisture, perpetual aqua blue skies, and a lot of anxiety about wildfire. The grasses stand crisp and golden, and so picturesque, but really it is just in suspended limbo until the rain comes, there in the bleaching hot sun day after day while even the moss in the forest turns brownish and, like the grasses, is frozen in lifelessness for months.

Mid August is even more stale than when the month arrived, and by the end of the month I am usually quite fried,  dreaming of verdant countrysides in far off lands.

I have been thinking about my knitting trail, and ideas.  So far it’s just staked out and haven’t walked it very much, but I need a grand plan, and I need ideas. I was hoping for some from you readers.

Now I will make myself a fresh iced coffee and wait for a little conversation to begin…

Busy

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Knitting aside, I’ve been busy as a bee hive this summer. Mostly running down off of the mountain every day to water or weed or do some laborious task associated with home-improvement (of another house).  Only this morning I was scrubbing a bathroom of tile & grout  for hours with bleach, oh joy. Not.  Feeling rather tired in fact, and looking forward to Autumn with a great yearning,  but it is  …   sigh  … only the end of July.

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Anyway, aside from the ‘town’ house  project and my trying to keep the garden up here on the mountain alive through the hottest months of a Northern Californian summer,   I am getting a little knitting done in spite of it all.

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I am now done & dusted with Wee Hearts Tam,  in Isager Tweed Moss & Pink  ( from last post’s mention of pattern merge). Not bad I think. But I am thinking I am now ready to test this design for a full-on Fair Isle approach, with many color changes, and warm foreground colors play against cool background colors sort of thing. I’ve been studying the great Fair Isle designers, ready to make simple Wee Hearts sparkle with about seven different colors of Hebridean 2ply…

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So thankful for my yarn stash,  I am ready with what I already have, and off I go, on a major color adventure!

Highway 29 & Pattern !

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My latest design “Highway 29” is named after the  main road running through Napa Valley from Napa to Calistoga. This old highway is dotted with wineries and famous restaurants enough to make you dizzy, plus some added hot-spots where we locals trek to frequently, beginning in the north end of the town of Napa getting sweet around Yountville, then Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena, and continuing clear on up to Calistoga.  As a local, coming down off the mountain from Oakville Grade when I am going upvalley, I often stop at the very unique Oakville Grocery , founded in 1881, just an old rural ‘backroads’ grocers of a bygone era,  is now a highly trafficked stop-off for locals & tourists alike, with an exceptional coffee bar & deli for drinks, gifts & goodies-to-go.  Until recently it doubled as the local post office, now it offers…. um…. wine tasting

I believe my nieces and I were talking about Oakville Grocery & Post being the inspiration of forthcoming Autumn design, and second in the Napa Valley Collection.

After Oakville you pass a bunch of wineries, and then of course, St Helena where I often knit-in-public or meet friends at  Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, as its the coffee shops I seem to be most familiar with, loving to knit and visit with friends.  After that it’s a stretch of countryside to Calistoga with places such as Bale Grist Mill, founded in 1846…

a working renovated grain mill which is popular for historic reenactment parties and has old-time live music often (one of the bands is my brother & sister-in-law, my nieces dad & mom) , offers tours & grinds corn to sell. It is in front of the entrance to the Bale Grist Mill where these photos were taken for Highway Halter, on the old wooden fence,

The favorite photo spot in recent couple of years for my nieces is Castello Di Amorosa, a medieval Tuscan castle transplanted stone-by-stone in recent decades…

Ah, but it is  here at ‘ The Castle ‘ where you’ll recognize the stone from merely the carriage house where we actually have many of our photo shoots…

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Right off of Hwy 29, this carriage house is at the entrance to the castle gate, erected more recently I think to use some left over stone & brick perhaps, and it houses the ground-keepers tools & provides a place for the chauffeurs to park, and I think some offices devoted to castle business. Here some shots from this spot…

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Passing more breathtaking scenery, one finally lands in Calistoga as if by accident.

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This is the town from which you may recognize many backdrops to my nieces & my photo shoots.  For example, the left on above photo is Brannans Restaurant,  and right across Lincoln Street is the mint-green bank building we have included many times…

But there are many photo memories of Calistoga and not enough room to post. Anyway, enough of all  of this Highway 29 – turned to- Memory Lane,  and all the treasures found along the way… and now it is time for Highway 29 Halter which I’ve just written a pattern for, and which my nieces do real justice to !     In previous post I talk about the significance of naming the latest design “Highway 29” ,   which really is a possibility to start a collection…. I mean, if I’m going to really go through with it… anyway, my nieces  seem to think we should.  If not the name-sake for the design will stand on its own. We will just have to see what comes.

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You can find the pattern for this design on Ravelry HERE .

… or click the Hwy 29 road sign to arrive at the pattern page.

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California Highway 29 road sign in Napa Valley

Lazy Hazy Dog Days Of Summer

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Well folks, we’re in the dog days of summer.  Such a funny expression…. ‘dog days’ … let me look it up.
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dog days
noun
  1. the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star).
    • a period of inactivity or sluggishness.
      “in August the baseball races are in the dog days”

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I can bet that Emma is as tired of them as I am.  Everything dry as parchment outside, and no rain in sight for another month.  Another month or longer !

This early morning we are pacing ourselves …
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At the very  least… er…most… there’s lots of knitting going on.
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How is your summer going? ( Or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

What are you up to?

In The Kitchen

jenjoycedesign©noodle-making As I mentioned in previous post, my nieces came for a visit for a couple of days.  We mostly ‘chillaxed’ around together with our EDC’s (electronic devices of choice: iphone, kindle, laptop) but with plenty of time in the kitchen, just the way the last days of summer vacation should be spent, after a very busy one they had.  Both nieces had a busy summer, but Miss Eleven had and an incredible growth spurt ~~ and this visit was special, as for the first and last time, we are all three the same height !

Two days, one night, and four times we flung flour. jenjoycedesign©making-noodles The first time was making noodles (flour & egg) for upon their arrival they were good and hungry and I had some home-made chicken soup all ready for their expert noodle work.  By the way, Miss Fourteen could easily win a chicken-noodle-soup-eating contest … hands down! jenjoycedesign©bakers Second time, made Amish moon pies ( flour & butter) with apple filling I had made ahead of time waiting in the freezer , and came to life good & proper with their very experienced moon-pie-making magic touch.  How many moon pies did I personally eat? Don’t ask, I lost count! jenjoycedesign©making-moon-pies jenjoycedesign©moon-pies! Third time, pizza for dinner (flour & yeast) which means of course, pizza dough… and lots more flour (sorry , no photo of pizza) .  Fourth time, next day repeat noodle making for to finish off the chicken soup. Thats about it, a whirl-wind couple of days flinging flour and exhausting relaxation.  We three girls thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and that’s certain.

What totally killed me was in our last hour before I had to bring them back to Calistoga to meet their mom,  Miss Eleven says ” Lets bake something ! ”  Can you believe that? C’mon kid ! She cracks me up. Anyway,  we will leave you with our humble little noodle recipe . . .

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~ My Niece’s Way of Noodle-Making ~

Crack one egg into bowl. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe pepper and other herbs & flavors ‘to taste’~ whatever strikes your fancy. Add flour and stir with fork until ball forms. Add only enough flour to keep very moist wad of dough so that you can pick it up with your hands, the rest of the flour will be added from well-floured hands and surface. Break off small chunks and roll out with your hands. When all rolled out, into a pan of rapidly boiling water, or chicken broth, or soup, add all noodles quickly and at once,  Stir , then let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Eat and savor the hand-made goodness.