Eva had a birthday this week. I have always called her ‘Pie’ and this year I got to bake her one for her birthday dessert. She chose blueberry from the Bake From Scratch book.
I follow @thebakefeed on Instagram and was thrilled when I realized our library had their baking book. This is a gorgeous book and laid out in a way that makes the most challenging recipe doable. Thankfully, the blueberry pie was one of the quick & easier recipes. Baking can be time consuming and we had a busy day celebrating. I was glad for minimal ingredients and store bought crust. Eva made the braided crust on the top and did a great job, looks like the picture.
I have never been a fan of fruit pies. This pie ~ I love. I wish I had remembered to make whipped cream for it. Next time.
*I just noticed that the 4 was backwards on her pie, for crying out loud. And they let me home school… Awesome!
We have had drizzle or a light rain shower all day. The feeders are full and the birds have gathered to eat. Our hummingbirds have moved on. Oh, I love days like this. Wednesday night we were out and about wearing fleece and I got to wear a knitted scarf. Yay!
Time to cast on for Eva’s sock. She chose some gorgeous Madelintosh yarn. The toe and cuff will be in the cream. She wants no pattern in the stitches and a full sock, no anklets.
The pumpkin Eva painted with blues and greens has been nibbled on by the squirrels. I sprayed some nasty deer and rabbit spray on the pumpkins but the rain has rinsed it off. Our neighbor has two squirrel houses in the trees of her front yard and several, several piles of seed lining her side walk and drive. The squirrels flock around here. This is the third year we have had squirrels eat our pumpkins, since her first house went up. I noticed yesterday that they had discovered the pumpkin display belonging to the family across the street.
Can you see the white of the pumpkin on the right? Hard to get a good photo on my phone, in the drizzly gloom, and from across the street…
Eva made some cookies and I baked them. This recipe made 40 good sized cookies using the scope we have ~ not sure the size but it looks like the average size you’d buy anywhere. I think this is the first time I did not forget a pan of cookies in the oven. They are chewy and delicious. No need for a slice of bread in the container with this batch.
We took the girls to the roller rink with some friends last night. Mike and I don’t skate so I took Olivia’s anklet along. I still had all the ends to weave in. Junior high memories flood back when we are at the rink. Friday night skating parties with school were a big deal in the 80’s where I grew up. I had my sister’s white skates with pink wheels ~ insert how cool I was here.
Tomorrow I will take four girls to the mall to look at bath and beauty products.
Normally, I’d say ‘It’s October, already!’. But this year I’m saying, “Finally, it’s October!’ There are so many wonderful things about this time of year. I love it. The colors and the smell in the air. I am an autumn and winter girl and today is the beginning of my happy season.
We’ve had such late summer/early fall hot temps. But now that the calendar has turned to October, we have true confidence in the fact that the heat won’t last. It will get colder and it could happen any day. I will be able to get my warm snuggly cowls out. October also starts the holidays in this house. From now until the end of the year we have birthdays and our anniversary, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last night the seasonal movies from Hallmark started. Two of us in this house were thrilled ~ two went to the basement family room and watched a movie about a military helper dog. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end in my alliance for holiday cheesiness.
I love to sit outside in the cool mornings and drink my coffee, wait for the geese to fly over and listen to the train. I wait every year for the geese to fly over when I hear the train. I love the sound of the train in the distance. I remember when I was in my early 20’s I read Jack Kerouac and listening to the train has never been the same. The haunting and romantic hum of the locomotive working its way across the rails from one state to the next. Thinking about the people that have had a life riding those rails in the times of poverty, desperation or pure adventure. You had me at chug a chug a…
There is a pumpkin stand near our house. An old gas staton gets turned into a pumpkin market every year. They have pumpkin varieties that I have never seen. Every shape and color imaginable. The prices are wonderful. I just discovered it two years ago and it has been there for 20 I’m told. Guess I’m not very observant but in my defense it is because we always went to the pumpkin patches. The girls were young and a day at the pumpkin farm was something we all looked forward to every year. Riding the tractor out to the field to pick a pumpkin, roasting marshmallows, enjoying hot chocolate and a slices of pie, getting lost and frustrated in the corn maze…yep, all a thrill! And the apple cider donuts…
I think we will have to make another stop for more pumpkins…
We are messy bakers in this house…
Eva was going to spend the night at a friends house last night and she thought it would be fun to take a homemade treat. September calls for a recipe with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Applesauce too? Even better, you know with that in the mix you will get a perfectly moist cake. We made the Spiced Applesauce Cake. This is a recipe from the Neely’s. Do you remember them? They were on the Food Network for awhile and did a lot of bbq recipes. My youngest loved that show and discovered the recipe while watching one Saturday morning so long ago (not that long since she is only 11). One thing we changed was the 2 cup applesauce amount. We used a cup of canned apple pie filling instead and chopped it small before adding at the end. I make this every year and this was the first year I added the pie filling. I’m so glad I did. Yummy!
Don’t let this picture ruin the recipe for you. I sprayed the pan but forgot the flour coat. The recipe does not tell you to flour but I like to when using a bundt pan. This cake would not even pretend to come out clean. When I tipped it over, only the bottom half came out. And you know that a bundt pan is not a pan that you can easily run a knife around to loosen and release. The brown sugar gives it a dark and lovely color. A scoop of ice cream or whipped cream is a nice side and I discovered this morning ~ cold butter!
I think I may make this cake again today but as a muffin. Maybe put a whole can of pie filling in and no applesauce. Stick them in the freezer for a quick grab and go snack.
While the cake was baking I started on a hat for my mom. Just a simple and classic knit hat pattern by Marja Suomela, Hattara. I think you could easily make this hat with any yarn or needle size you had, just make sure you change your cast-on stitches accordingly. I used a lace weight yarn* (aka ~ thread with fuzz) and a sport weight** with an alpaca and silk blend. This is going to be a very warm and cozy hat.
I love how the combo of the yarn is making a tweedy fabric. I hope to get this finished in a few days and mailed off. I must confess that this was not my first cast on of this hat pattern. It’s my third. My mom has a small head and I tried the kid size first as that is usually the correct size for her. Me too. If you knit then you understand how the fabric gets bigger as you get into a few inches of knitting. This was not happening with the hat and I had to fiddle with the cast on amount. I am at 120 stitches on a size 3 needle. I think I have the code cracked and should be ok. I like to start with double points and then after I have joined in the round I do the magic loop method.
The yarns are:
*Karabella yarns, their lace mohair yarn, the color is 3519 and I don’t think its available anymore. There is a 3518 that looks similar…a very dark navy.
**Amano Yarns, Ayni in Quartz Grey.
Happy September 1st. The wreath has been hung this morning. Looks a bit tired and in need of some new foliage. Off to the craft store then…
…but first some baking and school work.
I was out looking in the back yard and was surprised to see tomatoes growing from our (1) plant. I had given up on our little tomato even though it was growing. There are no signs of withering but there have not been any blooms either. Zilch. We purchased it late, and it has given us one tomato ~ back in June after we brought it home. The garlic chive from last year is just starting to bloom as well. I figured the season was over for these two plants and we would have to continue to take hand-outs of tomatoes from our neighbors. Apparently, we are the only ones that grow garlic chives…and we don’t having anyone knocking down our door for them.
Our raspberries are about to produce again. We have a pair of two-season producing bushes and we love to pick some berries every morning. Blackberries are doing awesome but I think those are fall plants? I’m not surprised by these plants doing so well in mid August.
We did not plant much this summer. First in many that we don’t have pumpkin vines winding and stretching to grab the grass beneath, neither is there a multitude of flowers scattered around in pots, or the three different types of tomatoes we like to eat. I miss the pumpkins and we will plant them next year. I do not miss the tomato varieties or all the flowers. I don’t feel one bit the botanical Scrooge either. I’m what you would call a ‘terrible and forgetful plant waterer’. We had a very dry summer.* When I say dry ~ I don’t just mean lack of rain. We had a strange summer of consistently low humidity which is unheard of in our state. Anything we have growing in our yard is by grace, including the thriving rose bush.
Lack of rain and humidity has stressed the trees. This is what we saw driving home from the grocer. Drastic color change happening here. Yikes!
*(Still can’t figure out why no one is taking about the fact that it has been less than 50% humidity most of this summer.) Maybe they are too focused on how dead their grass and plants are. No amount of watering seems to have helped most of the landscape around town.
This is a very sad tree indeed. When spring arrived, this little gem was full of buds. One afternoon I was looking at it, checking to see when the buds would open and the very next day…every single bud had died. The very next day! Now, I know this apple tree was old. But to die like that the next day? I was baffled and sad.
I took the above picture after a rain storm the other day, feeling the gloomy sky portrayed perfectly our dismal fruit tree
My husband would very much like to cut this huge stick down. I told him if he waits a month or so all the trees in the neighborhood will look like this. Where am I to put my bird feeders if he cuts it down? I am impatient and can’t stand the thought of waiting for a new tree to grow. I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing the hummingbirds and all the little chick a dee’s flitting about. I have cardinals and gold finches, blue jays and red breasted gross beaks not to mention all the little sparrows and house wrens. One year I had and indigo bunting come to my tree twice and the next year I had a cedar waxwing. There will be other birds that I am sure I’ll remember later…red bellied woodpecker, nuthatch, downy woodpecker. Sigh.
This is what the tree looked like last summer…
It’s hideous in the current state and makes me laugh at how incredibly ugly it is. Which is why I have a pretty little wind chime hanging in it. Lipstick on a pig, as they say. We will look for a good size tree over the next few weeks as most garden centers are having sales. Something will fit the bill, I’m sure.