Thursday, July 15, 2010


I assumed the hardiest part would be the tiny hand stitches binding this quilt together. It's actually the most soothing.

Though there were are some failures in the garden, bitter cucumbers, stunted jalapenos, squash bugs that took over and brought quick destruction on all but two squash plants, the tomatoes are nothing short of a miracle. Three times the weight of these gigantic plants have caused them to fall over, though they are caged and steaked. They're incredibly sturdy and the stalks are thick. I've been most impressed with my Brandywine for their size and flavor, the Beef Steak because it was the first to produce a ripe tomato at the end of June and is also the sweeter of my big varieties, and my Mexico Midget, which is so loaded with tomatoes it worries me a little. The Cherokee Purple was a big disappointment due to the fact bugs like it more than the others, it's very slow growing, and looks the least healthy. The Better Girls must have been planted to late because they've done nothing but grown a few inches over the past month and a half. Most of our tomato plants are over 6 feet tall. Our garden has inspired us to create some truly delicious meals.

Spicy sausage, summer squash, and goat cheese pasta with basil
Summer squash and tomato gratin with sauteed onions and thyme
Roasted tomato and garlic soup with homemade croutons and fresh basil (the secret is to roast the tomatoes and garlic low and slow for an hour and saute the onions in butter not oil)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Quilting is taking up most of my free time this summer that would otherwise be occupied by watching the Golden Girls or rereading the Harry Potter series. It has been, big surprise, frustrating. Only impatient me could manage to screw up sewing 200 some rectangles together. It's only a straight line for heaven's sake! Most teachers have until August, but being at a year round school, I've got three more precious weeks. I've finished piecing the front and will start quilting the batten and back this weekend with assistance from my mother-in-law. I have my doubts about finishing it.

It has been a pretty great summer, especially compared to the none stop work and uncertainty of last summer. I didn't get to all the projects I wanted to, but if I finish this quilt I'll consider that an accomplishment. I'll remember this summer as one filled with new and exciting music. Here are some of my new discoveries:
Gregory Alan Isakov (really really love!)

Nothing beats an outdoors concert that welcomes quilts and homemade food. Music in the Gardens at the Duke Gardens has been wonderful this summer! I'm really falling in love with Durham. Living 45 minutes away all my life, in a rural town, I heard horrible things about a Durham with the "highest crime rate"in North Carolina. My preconceived notions have been proven wrong time and time again.

I haven't baked anything spectacular lately. Bathing suits make me think twice about using butter and sugar. My favorite baking recipe I've used this summer is for granola by Molly Wizenberg from the June Bon Appetit. It's the perfect balance of nuts, sugar, salt, and spices.
Simple Granola:
3 cups of old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped pecans (but I do half pecans and half almonds)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
3 Tbl. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbl. vegetable oil (I like grape seed)
1 cup assorted dried fruit (Dried cranberries are yummy!)
Preheat oven to 300 and mix the first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the honey and vegetable oil in a saucepan until the two have blended and warmed. Pour warm honey and oil on to ingredients and mix. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes to make sure the oats are evenly cooked. I also added a few more drizzles of oil to get a little more crunch. Add the fruit once the oats have cooled. It's great for breakfast, or even lunch.

The only thing that's missing this summer is watermelon and the ocean. Nothing late July won't cure.

A precious quiet moment with a crazy kitten.