Monday, July 28, 2008

Casa Blanca Blooms

I have been watching the buds swell for weeks and now they have started to open into magnificent blooms! There are about a dozen open and probably 50 more buds, on just 6 stalks!

See the pink freckles?

I just have to share one more view.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A back, a left front and a tiny bit of right front is as far as I got on my Tour project. Here's the left front:

I consoled myself with homemade blueberry drop scones for breakfast this morning.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Week Goes By Fast

It's hard to believe I haven't posted in a week!! I have been so busy with fun things and getting quite a bit done...on everything but knitting!

Here is the (dismal) progress on the left front of my TdFKAL project.

In the yard, I've done a lot of weeding and mulching to make the patio area nicer since we are using it every day. Jeff picked out a great hanging basket plant to go on the shepherd hook. I might be late getting this stuff done, but you get great sales on plants this time of year!

Here's the hanging basket, a plant with delicate white blooms. (The chair cushions aren't out in this pic, I just put them out when we are using them, so they stay nice.)

And here's a glimpse of some of the mulch I have put down. It took quite a bit of work and several days to prepare the ground and then get the mulching done. I still have to do a little more along the barn and one side of the house!

Fortunately, it's not all work around here. We've been out to the movies with friends and went to another polo match with friends on Saturday. This time, the Newport Club was playing Ireland which is an especially popular match as there are quite a few people of Irish heritage living around here.

We got there an hour early and were still a row back from the edge of the field, but we had a really nice view down the field anyway. We spread out a blanket and our chairs, a basket of munchies and a cooler with drinks and our friends joined us a bit before the match started.

Here's Jeff reading the polo news.

Some of the play.

This time, we made sure to get up close to the rail at the end to give high fives to the riders as they galloped past on the ponies. It's fun to be that close!

The ponies really seem to love the game and are excited right to the end.

After the match, we played some Frisbee on the field to pass time before the prizes were awarded and while the traffic thinned out! It's a little chaotic with lots of people playing games and kids frolicking, but it's a good time.

We've been grilling daily and our friends came over for dinner after the polo. I have to say that the marinated chicken and marinated portabello and pepper recipes in the July/Aug issue of Everyday Food are great! I should have taken some pics of those things with the green and fruit salads and multi grain bread we had, but we were hungry and dug right in! To finish it off, we had some pies from the bakery down the road as I didn't want to have the oven on in the house for any baking. They were delicious apple/apricot and strawberry/rhubarb! So summery!

I did manage to snap a pic of tonight's dessert of vanilla ice cream, topped with strawberries, raspberries, kiwi and peaches and a generous amount of whipped cream!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Butterfly Season

I will try not to run out of steam on the KAL knitting, but I am so easily distracted from it. I can spend a lot of time just following butterflies around the yard! I managed to get a couple of pictures of a monarch today, drinking from a purple cone flower.

Btw, the green in the background is the Casa Blanca which is still forming buds.

We have so many butterflies around now that their favorite plants are blooming.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Fun

I haven't done much knitting so far this weekend. There is just so much to do this time of year. Even the dogs are busy with play dates.

Their friend Sydney visited today. Silas shared the pool, but he would not share the ball...not even with Saffy! Fortunately no one else really wanted it that much anyway. They all had a great time and are exhausted from all the playing.

Sydney is the Golden Retriever on the right of this picture and she has a summer haircut.

We had a little more excitement after dark when one of the neighbors set off a lot of fireworks. They were so big, I actually got the camera and managed to get a picture to come out pretty well, a nice 'star'.

We had dinner on the patio of grilled pork kebabs with an apricot glaze. We've been eating outside every night lately and the weather's been perfect for it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

TdFKAL Progress

I have a finished section to show today. It's the back. Pretty easy so far as it was lots and lots of stocking stitch and I just had to remember to do the raglan shaping on each edge.

I'll work on the left front next.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DIY Barn Door Project

Excuse the buckets and piles of debris in the foreground, here's a picture of our new barn door, almost installed!

Jeff is going to work on the spring tension a bit more and put the handles on the outside.

This was a pretty big project and I'm so happy to have it nearly done. Between the pressure washed siding and the new door, the old barn is looking pretty good! It predates our 1920's house as it was actually moved from the neighbor's property when the house was built. Sometime I'll have to take pictures for you of the chicken door, the feed shoot and the little trapdoors in the upstairs floor for dropping the hay down to the cows. I love those little bits of history in it.

Next, I have to work on my 'potting shed' area inside, so it will be ready for next season.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

TdFKAL Cooking ?

I'd like to make some French food to celebrate Le Tour, but it's been too hot lately to cook any of the recipes I know. I did make some US style crudite: carrot sticks with a sun-dried tomato dip. Can I count that?!

I think this hot weather is here to stay, so my next attempt at French food may just be a baguette, chevre, grapes and wine on the patio!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Tour de France KAL Knitting Begun

I'm making some progress and am liking the Mirage fiber. Despite its appearance, it's hardly splity at all! I've started with the jacket back section and gotten far enough that you can start to see what the yarn looks like knitted up. This will be a nice cool fabric to wear during the summer.

The lower back section.

A bit of the rice stitch border.

So far, this Bergere de France pattern is well written, but it is a very simple top, so there isn't much to the pattern. Typically, if I get confused about a pattern it is at the neckline, but that is a ways off at the moment. I'll keep you posted about it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Freshening Up

The general theme of the past week was 'freshening up'. Jeff took the week off work to mentally refresh. Early in the week we did very little, played a new game on the PS3, read, visited with friends and things like that, but we eventually got out to a couple of stores to get some things to freshen up the house and yard.

First, we stopped at the local Linens-n-Things that happens to be closing, just to see what was on discount. I've never tried any of the Rachel Ray cookware (I use Cuisinart and Le Creuset), but these non-stick skillets were cheap and I've been wanting some non-stick ones for making omelets and frittatas.

On the 4th, Jeff and I bought a pressure washer which we've been needing for awhile now. He tried it out on the barn siding first and then scoured the patio bricks and furniture. It really gives everything a face lift! I don't know how we managed without one! He even did the dog house...though the dogs didn't seem to notice.

Here you can see the back of the barn, which was the dirtiest part of the buildings, by far. What a difference!

The dampness is a big drawback to living near the ocean. Everyone around here battles the green grot that forms on the siding and decks. Here is the back of the barn all done. We've been sitting out there to admire the cleanliness!

He even used the pressure washer to strip the paint off the porch, so it can be redone with a couple of fresh coats of paint in the next week or two.

These are the backyard chairs that we use out by the butterfly garden. They are light plastic and easy to move when I mow the lawn. We actually have a set of four and a little matching table too.

To go with the freshly cleaned patio furniture, we got some new cushions as the old ones were pretty tired looking after 8 years. The old ones were green and white striped and the new ones have a more colorful red stripe pattern. It's kind of fun to have a change. We still have to sweep a little fresh sand over the patio tiles to fill in between the bricks. The pressure washer took most of the old sand out, but fortunately we have some more.

The lilies are in the bed behind Jeff (who was enjoying some coffee with me this morning), but the Lollipop ones are through and the Casa Blanca are not flowering yet. There is some Coneflower starting to bloom though.

In the bed on the other side of the patio, I have some herbs. They were getting overwhelmed by the oregano, but I gave that a haircut, so things should do better there again.


Horehound with some pink Lavender behind it.

Thyme which was the most smothered by the oregano.

Feverfew, a doubled variety.

The dogs have had a lot playtime lately.

I love the way all the ears are straight up in this pic!

We relaxed and enjoyed watching them being goofy.

We had dinner on the patio tonight. Jeff did a great job grilling some chipotle marinated kabobs for us.

We even saved a few little pieces for the cat and dogs, who don't seem to mind the chipotle flavor at all!

I've managed to get a start on my TdFKAL project and will probably post a quick update about that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tour de France KAL '08

I'm set to cast on for my second Tour de France KAL and have chosen the yellow jersey category again. I've picked a project that should be pretty easy and hope to make a lot of progress on it during the Tour, if not finish it. I've been assigned to Team Lampre, lead by Kristen.

In the spirit of the KAL, I am using a pattern and fiber from a French Company, Bergere de France, though I placed my order for supplies from a UK source called IntoKnit.

I'm planning to knit the 'Getaway Jacket' which is in the Spring/Summer Mag, number 511.

I've purchased the yarn shown in the picture, a cotton synthethic blend. I hope I like it ok! I don't have experience knitting with fibers like this, but it seems like it will be light to hold which is important for knitting in hot weather. I just hope it isn't too splity.

The pattern and materials are practically sold as a kit, so I opted to also buy the black buttons shown in the picture.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Just thought I'd share what's blooming in my garden today.



Bee Balm

Empress Tree

And, check out these blueberries! Should be ripe soon!