keeping on

has been along time since I’ve posted.  Greenhouse doing great. lettuce fabulous.  geraniums have been overgrown and clipped back and propagated two more pots for friends and neighbors. eaten the first of the broccoli and see my garlic is starting to sprout in their beds.  Winter has had plenty of cold, lots of rain (for Arizona) and now we’re having delightfully warm temps.

and I’ve been knitting.  Socks for the most part.  Have discovered Cascades Pacific, a wool/acrylic mix.  Same weight and colors as Cherub Aran (which has been my sock choice). Find the Pacific is warmer and will chafe less under my hiking boots.  Since it’s the same colors as the Cherub Aran and has no nylon, am using the latter yarn for the heals and toes and to differentiate one from the other, am doing the heals and toes in Cherub Aran RED.

Knit the sweater below out of Beracco’s Remix.  This is all recycled yarn, a mix of cotton, acrylic, nylon, linen and silk.  Started out using the measurements from another pattern and then figured out the gauge with this yarn.  Picked up several balls of this in different colors during sale days at the yarn shop and was starting with a yellowish color. Since only had 2 balls of the yellow and wasn’t sure how much was needed to do this sweater, went to this color as I had 4 balls of this.  The sweater took a little more than two.  It’s a little short for my taste but not too short for summer.  Obviously the ends still need to be woven in.  Wanted to check it before finishing in case I needed to  frog it!

IMG_0672    IMG_0673

Gauge is 3.5 stitches/inch on #10 needles.  Cast on 60 for the top and knit down 6” then began slight increases for armhole, ending at 7.5” by adding an inch on either side.  Decided that 7.5” (pattern) wasn’t going to be enough for me, so went back to the top and added another inch in garter, bound off for the neck, then kept on going to do the back.  at 8” joined front to back and continued in a loose stockinet stitch.  When knitting at my usual tension find back and forth is 3.5 but in the round its 4, so had to consciously knit loose to keep the gauge.  at 22” switched to garter to finish; this matched the top and keeps the lower edge from curling.

Will not start another in the yellow, but will make that more of a tank rather than shell and may also go to a larger needle for a looser stitch.

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turkey leftovers

I’m not at all fond of turkey.  Don’t even like the smell of it as it cooks.  But every thanksgiving I dutifully cook us a 16lb or more bird.  There are only two of us, although we have 3 regular guests.  With sending some home, I still get enough meat to last us for quite a few meals – which is great, cause then I don’t have to smell it cooking for those meals. But turkey carcasses, when brined carefully, yield lots of good tasting stock!  While I still have a package of meat left over from T’day, we finished the soup that bird left us.

turkey stockThis year the husband wanted turkey again for Christmas.  So more meat in the freezer and last night we had big bowls of turkey tortilla soup for dinner.  and this is the stock left over.  I’m not canning this, just sealed it hot and put it in the fridge as it will be the base for soups for the next few weeks.

New Year’s day will be a ham.  and since I have canned split pea soup and lentil soup, I’ll probably make a stock of the bone so I can make some navy bean soup and have some stock left over for something else thick and rich one night.

These are the meals that make me glad for cold winter nights!

Posted in canning, gluten free, homesteading, legumes, prepping, preserving, recipes, self-reliance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment



bee priestess

found a source in Arizona for live bees for sale.  A little further south from here, lower altitude. But they will drive up here in April/May 2016 and deliver a package.  Hopefully NOT africanized, although I don’t know how they keep that from happening.  Anyway, looking forward to once again having bees. have learned a lot since the first time, may it be a successful hive

Posted in bees, container gardening, gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, top bar hive, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter Sweater

Was able to do a test knit for someone I know on Ravelry: Petra Breakstone, Crema Cardigan.  It was a lovely slouchy loose knit sweater, which I translated into a bulky slouchy sweater for winter wear.  and I didn’t like it when done.  When you look at the pic you’ll think that’s kind of cool, as long as I wore it just like that.  But once I tried fastening it together in anyway, the amount of material that made up the front panels was just too much.  Plus the weight tended to pull it off my shoulders.

sweater Crema cardigan per pattern. Buly yarn, bulky body, not appealing. Picture looks okay, it didn’t feel that great on!

It was just not to my taste so I took it apart and refashioned it into a more mundane cardigan.  Had already realized the bell sleeves of the original design were not going to cut it and had shifted the design to create a cuff. took out the sleeves, unraveled the collar and one panel then reknit.  The panel I’d pulled apart had stitch increases, which were left out of the remake.  Then I made shoulder seams, before picking up the rest of the neckline and creating the collar. Added nearly an inch to every other row through stitch increases for a total of 7”.

cremafinished sweater, unblocked

crema1using a shawl pin to close the front – actually it’s a hair piece

ne day I may try this again, using a lighter yarn with big loose stitches for an entirely different look.


it was a very educational experience.

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winterizing the greenhouse


greenhouse150 gallon water container installed and filled


using some old cotton drapery panels on the north side for a little extra insulation

greenhouse6greenhouse5 found in the greenhouse         front                                        back

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garden update

been awhile since I’ve updated the garden activities.  Am still working on switching out and rearranging my grow bags and containers in the eastern garden.  Did get the low big grow bag (50” x 12”) swapped out for a 36” x 20” one and planted with garlic and onions.  My south bed is planted with Shallots and another 36 x 20” grow bag is planted with garlic.


Some of my freshly planted asparagus kicked up shoots.

nov garden 001We’ve had some light frosts so far this season, but nothing that touched the garden plants.  That may change this week with our first winter storm barreling through, so harvested the last of the ripe tomatoes, the zucchini and chard you see here.  Plenty more green tomatoes, more chard, and some spaghetti squash out there still.  The squash is far from developed, so a hard frost will take that all out.  If not, they can continue to grow!

Had a reminder today of how important it is to stay in shape!  Went to gather some small wood for the fireplace this morning and just a few strips with small branches totally exhausted me.  How will I carry logs when we get to that portion of the program??

Posted in asparagus, container gardening, gardening, garlic/onions, grow bags, homesteading, organic, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

tomato sauce weekend


tomato sauceThis picture proves that despite strange and weird weather, overall, the tomato harvest was better this year than last.  Twice as much sauce when all was said and done, and there are still tomatoes ripening on the vines!  Last year had a total of 5 containers of frozen tomatoes which yielded (and I didn’t note the exact quantity!!), about 9 pints of sauce (4.5quarts).  This year, had 5 full quarts of plain marinara, and 6 pints of meat sauce (only 5 in the photo – one jar is a pint and a half, and the other half pint just went into the fridge to be used with lunch today).  Tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, a touch of balsamic vinegar and a touch of lemon juice, oregano, sage, basil, and for the meat sauce, some fresh ground pork.

Posted in canning, container gardening, gardening, garlic/onions, homesteading, organic, preserving, recipes, self-reliance, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment