Monday, September 30, 2013

Signs of Autumn

While the autumnal equinox arrived more than a week ago, I've been noticing more and more signs that autumn is really here. In the garden, the tomato vines are rapidly senescing, but they're still valiantly producing tomatoes.

The tomatoes are getting progressively smaller and greener.

Brussels sprouts are sprouting. I'm not a huge fan of the taste of these little buds, but their growth habit is kind of amazing.

Of course, changing leaves are another signal of fall,

along with acorns,

and ubiquitous mums.

But I know autumn has really arrived when I feel compelled to bake

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ten on Tuesday


10 Books On Your To-Read List

I'm not much for dancing, so I was completely at a loss with last week's Ten on Tuesday topic, but not this week! A quick glance at my to-read list on Goodreads shows me that I have 126 titles there, so the tough part will be choosing the ten I most want to read.
  1. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Her writing is incredible, and I enjoyed her novel The Namesake even more than her short stories, so this one may be on my ipod very soon since its publication date is today!
  2. One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. I will have to wait (probably impatiently) until Oct. 1st for this one, but I think it will be worth it. Bill Bryson is a terrific author and an even better narrator, so I'm fairly sure I'll be in heaven listening to him narrate One Summer for 17 hours!
  3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The Secret History was dark and interesting so I'm anxiously looking forward to this one on Oct. 22.
  4. Shadows by Robin McKinley. The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are two of my favorite books so I can't resist a new book by Robin McKinley.
  5. Magnificent Principia: Exploring Isaac Newton's Masterpiece by Colin Pask. I need to make sure I have the time to invest in reading and understanding this 500 page nonfiction work so it's on my to-read list for the winter.
  6. Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem. I'm always interested in the dichotomy between how we imagine cuddly, cute animals and the reality of survival of the fittest in nature.
  7. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This one is something I just haven't gotten around to reading, but with all the rave reviews, it certainly looks like I should.
  8. Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant. The only thing keeping me from reading this is that it's been a bit hard to find a copy, but I think I finally have one located.
  9. When the Air Hits Your Brain by Frank T. Vertosick. Despite the vaguely discomfiting title, this sounds like a good mix of the science of neurosurgery and the people involved in it, both doctors and patients.
  10. The rest of Louise Penny's Three Pine series. I read and enjoyed Still Life, but many reviews speak about how the characters are growing and the series is getting even better. Books 2 through 9 sound like they'll be satisfying winter reads.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yarn Along

Print Reading: The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, both by Robin McKinley. I'm rereading both of these in eager anticipation of her new book, Shadows.

Audiobook: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. This is also a reread for me, but it is a lovely story and was available at the library when I couldn't seem to find anything else I was interested in. I could use a good book recommendation or two, so please feel free to recommend away!

Knitting: As Yet Unnamed; I would also welcome your creative project name suggestions for this sweet scarf with wonderful yarn.
I was excited to finally finish my Huckleberry Hitchhiker! I loved both the pattern and yarn so much I got carried away, kept knitting and ended up with 53 points! It's terrifically squooshy and I'm looking forward to wearing it in cooler weather that's hopefully right around the corner.

What are you reading and knitting this week? Join in this week's Yarn Along, with Ginny at Small Things.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yarn Along

Kindle Reading: Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter
Audiobook: Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett
Still Knitting: Huckleberry Hitchhiker (I may have gotten carried away with points!)

I just finished Archangel by Andrea Barrett, and this is the kind of book that is so good I'm compelled to urge everyone else to read it. If you like science and fiction (this is not science fiction!), no one writes better than Andrea Barrett and I think Archangel is a must-read. Here's a link to my Goodreads review in case you're looking for an exceptional book to read.

What are you reading and knitting this week? Join in this week's Yarn Along, with Ginny at Small Things.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things You Miss About Your Own House When You Go Away 

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is both timely and just perfect for my situation - 10 Things You Miss About Your Own House When You Go Away. With a combination of vacation and helping Older Son move, I was away from my own house for all but one day in August. While I enjoyed my travels, I'm also finding it lovely to be back home.

Clearly a winter picture, but it's also one of my favorite pictures of Our House.

Here's what I missed:
  1. My own kitchen. I know where things are (when someone else doesn't put them away!) and I really enjoy cooking where I feel completely at home.
  2. My own coffee/tea mug. I love everything about this mug, the size, the handle, and the fact that it has the first 23 digits of pi inscribed around it. No other mug seems "just right". 
  3. My knitting/reading chair. I did enjoy knitting on the dock at Keuka Lake and in the spot I claimed at Older Son's house, but my butt fits best in my chair at home.
  4. My bath sheet in my bathroom. I dry my laundry outside on the clothesline most of the time, so my towels at home can be a bit scratchy, but they are bath sheet size and absorbent, both of which I love.
  5. My clothesline. I enjoy the process of hanging my laundry out to dry; I love knowing I'm not paying the electric company for dry clothes, and I love the smell of line-dried clothes. I don't have the luxury of my clothesline when I'm away from home.
  6. My garden. I'm not sure I miss the work, sweat, and bugs of gardening, but I do miss easy access to really fresh vegetables. I have been home in time to catch the waning of the garden and some beans, tomatoes, turnips, and carrots.
  7. The sounds in my home. I live in an old house so we have squeaky floors and doors, and the lovely clanking and comforting hissing of steam radiators in the winter. 
  8. Knowing my own house so well that I can easily find my way around in the dark.
  9. The enveloping, protective feeling that coming home to my house always gives me. 
  10. All of the wonderful memories that have been made here in our house over the past 24 years. Our house is a very, very, very fine house!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Kitchen is the Heart of My Home

I've been home for almost a week after helping my older son move, and today I realized how much of my time is spent in the kitchen. Some of this is by necessity since there is garden produce to process, meals to prepare, and dishes to be done, but my kitchen is also where I choose to spend much of my time. 

I have a dishwasher, but honestly haven't used it in many years. This is partly because it leaks and is noisy, but mainly because I like the quiet, calming process of washing dishes by hand. This was more important when I was doing many more dishes with two teenage boys in the house, but now that they're "mostly" moved out, the quiet is sometimes too much so. I still enjoy doing dishes by hand because I just like the spot.

I have fun family pictures, the ceramic snail my younger son made for me, some grocery store orchids that I haven't yet killed, and the Christmas cactus that was my last gift to my mother.

I also have my rainbow stained glass and a view of the garden and back yard that always makes me happy.

Above the sink, I have handprint cookie cutters from when my sons were three and five, 
on the wood valance my father-in-law custom made for me.

 On the windowsill, I have basil, my wishbones (because you never know when you might need to make a wish!), and jars of marbles from my grandparents. I also have an even better view of the garden and my back yard from here.

My kitchen table is a great place to spend time. My husband and I found the table at a yard sale and refinished it; my kids and family have grown up around it.

It holds quilted placemats made by my mother-in-law, a lazy susan and napkin holder made by my husband, salt and pepper shakers from grandparents and great-grandparents, a ceramic turtle made by my older son, ceramic bowls full of fortunes made by my younger son, and a wooden bowl and spoon made by my brother-in-law.

Because we live in an old house, there are doors everywhere. The kitchen has four of them, and each son had a door where their school work, pictures, and "stuff" was put up, to be appreciated and cheered. Younger son is a junior in college, so I don't get much school work to put up on his door, but there is still a piece of his from first grade that I love.

Older son just started his Ph.D., but I do have some of his "school work"
 (his first article in a peer-reviewed journal !) on his door.

I don't know if I've surrounded myself with so many possessions that remind me of family because I spend so much time in the kitchen, or if I spend so much time here because it's a place that I can hold my family close even where they're not here, but my kitchen really is the heart of my home for me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yarn Along

Print Reading: The Garden Month by Month by Mabel Cabot Sedgwick (You don't run into many Mabels these days!)
Kindle Reading: Small Kindnesses by Fiona Robyn
Audiobook: Early Decision by Lacy Crawford
Knitting: Huckleberry Hitchhiker (so close to being done!)

What are you reading and knitting this week? Join in this week's Yarn Along, with Ginny at Small Things.