Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, I know that Thanksgiving was yesterday, but I can give thanks on more than one day. Today I give thanks for a family that loves me and friends who don't think that I'm totally crazy (or if they do, they hide it well). It was a quiet day here. We were all set for our tradition of breakfast out followed by an early trip to the mall to see Santa. Then, Young Man announced that he was tired and wanted to go home instead of the mall! We aren't quite sure if any meaning should be inferred from this other than that he is fighting a bit of a cold and really wanted to see some Scooby Doo videos and play with his new Legos. He still seemed quite interested in seeing the Jolly Bearded One when we had discussed this earlier. Dad was relieved because he is sure that he has a nasal infection and he really didn't want to tramp through the mall.

Instead of our traditional making fun of shoppers, we stayed home most of the day. I finished the shocking baby quilt. The addition of a purple border helped a lot.

The afternoon included an errand that took me all the way back to the home of the Thanksgiving Day hosts to retrieve my bag. Said bag held my camera, phone, wallet, and knitting. Eeep! Yes, Mom's Aran Sandal Socks were left alone for the night! To console myself, I started on a Multidirectional Scarf in Noro Kureyon (Color 40). The good news was that the drive down to retrieve the bag put me very close to a yarn shop where I picked up some supplies for a Wonderful Wallaby for Young Man. I did a Homespun sweater for him earlier this year, but it is almost too small and, well, it is Homespun!

In other news, we have achieved Fuzzyfeet! They aren't quite as fuzzy as I had expected. This pair was made using almost exactly one skein of Cascade 220. I may try another yarn for the next pair. Then again, I have a second skein of this yarn so I may just do another pair anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Did I Say, "Persimmons"?

Yes, here is a G-rated recipe for Persimmon Cookies. Two persimmons gave their lives for this recipe, but it was well worth the sacrifice.

First, two persimmons were plucked from the tree and left to ripen until they were almost impossible to move. The stems were trimed out and we were ready to go! Note that these are Hachiya persimmons. They are larger than the Fuyu variety, but not as sweet.

Next, the pulp was squeezed from from the fruit. This is the scene that nearly changed our G rating.
One cup of persimmon pulp was ready for the rest of the ingredients.

The pulp was mixed with 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It would have been a good idea to chop up the larger bits of pulp, but I didn't do this. You could add a cup of raisins or even a cup of chocolate chips (Young Man likes this option), but I didn't do this either.

Next the batter was dropped by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. I used baking parchment, but a greased cookie sheet would have worked just as well. The cookies spread out quite a bit so I left at least an inch between them. After baking at 350 degrees F for 13 minutes, we had a nice batch (3 dozen total) of yummy, moist cookies.
In other news, the Fuzzyfeet are coming together quickly (even if they do look Hagrid-sized at this point).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

So, What Is Up?

Mars! That's what's up. Young Man and a friend had a fantastic opportunity to see Mars at our local science museum last weekend. The line for the telescopes was long, but the view was cool. In a very efficient use of experience, Young Man used the event as the conclusion of his first full-page composition. Ignoring the half-page run-on sentence, it was a very nice piece of work.

Knitting took a backseat to quilting last weekend. I whipped up a quick baby quilt top on Saturday. It is very loud. Extremely loud. See, I don't really do pastels and I'm not fond of pink even if the gift is for a girl. I did purple and green. Bright purple, lime green, and yellow. The border and backing will go on this weekend. The hope is that solid purple all the way around will tone it down just a little bit. The baby shower is in one week. No problem.

Some knitting did go on. After three tries, I finally finished the first sock of the Aran Sandal Sock pattern from Socks, Socks, Socks. This is the November/December pick for the Socks3kal. I think they are for my mother. I'm still not sure if the cuffs will work for her. These are knit out of KFI Cashmereno (discontinued).

In a fit of insanity, I cast on for a pair of Fuzzyfeet. These may or may not be ready in time for Saturday's baby shower. If they don't make it, I'll include them in the package when I mail the quilt to the new mother. It just doesn't seem fair to expect her to lug a quilt home on the plane!

Next up? Persimmon cookies, anyone?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weekend Quiz Time

Who has the time to come up with these things, anyway?

More on persimmons: It's always hard to describe a taste, but the best description of persimmon taste is possibly a cross between a melon and a plum. It's very subtle. The fruit also has to be left to ripen until it is almost mush. Otherwise, it takes way too much sugar to make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Post 'N Run

It's been a difficult week at Chez Engineer. Young Man had a nasty stomach bug last week and then he showed that he has learned well. He shared with Mom and Dad. Both parents spent Monday night splitting time between bathrooms and crash sites (one bed, one floor) and then most of Tuesday sleeping off the bug. This caused an early exit from jury duty for me (trust me, I would have preferred to be in court) and a some time off from work for both of us. All adults are recovering and left marvelling at the ability of children to heal so much more quickly than the grownups.

I was even too sick to knit! Today I picked up needles again and finished off the Mosaic socks from the 6SoxKAL. These were a fun knit and turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself. The yarn is Regia Stretch in forest green and Wildfoote in Ragtime. I used US2 and US3 needles.

I had planned to bake and photograph a batch of Persimmon Cookies or Persimmon Pudding, but my insides aren't up to it yet. For those who were wondering, the fruit is soft and pulpy and mixes well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to make delicious cookies and other baked goods.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Pondering the Season

When I was a growing up in Central Minnesota, the onset of autumn was my favorite time of year. Those first days with the slightest nip in the air meant an end to the oppressive heat and humidity of summer. They also foreshadowed cold, swirling snow, but that was far enough in the future that I wouldn’t worry about it. Instead, I enjoyed the return of sweater weather and the colorful leaves. Since we were out on a farm, we never worried about raking leaves. Returning to school also meant fewer chores. Undoubtedly, my family has less generous memories of autumn. Preparing a farm for winter is never fun, but I was spared much of that. I was much more focused on the future and lazy days to be spent curled in a corner with my beloved books.

After college, I made the big move to California. It must be noted that I probably did not give the decision to move the attention it deserved. California always seemed to be the ultimate destination. Who could complain about a location with no snow? As always, benefits come at a cost. It was several years before I realized that the cost I had incurred was the loss of my beloved autumn. It was several more years before I realized that autumn does show itself in Southern California. Subtlety is not something one expects from this region, but a Southern California autumn is undeniably subtle. Some trees change colors, but the spectacular reds and oranges are few and far between. One neighbor used to have several Liquid Amber trees in his backyard. They were a reliable indicator of autumn. Since they also had the undesirable habit of shedding their leaves in our backyard, I was not sorry to see them go.

The main indicator that we now have of autumn is our Persimmon tree. Some years we only see a few, lonely fruit on the branches. Other years we are taunted by many fruit only to see them pecked away by birds. This year, we have a tremendous harvest and few birds taking the best fruit from us. Our Persimmon tree stands in our front yard. It is not an especially lovely tree. Truthfully, it is a gangly specimen that loses most of its leaves well before harvest time. Fruit that is not picked quickly enough drops onto the ground creating a very messy, orange splotch. However, years like this redeem the tree. We picked several of the fruit just before Halloween to ensure that our visiting ghouls and goblins were not injured by walking into the branches pulled low by the heavy globes. We also picked the fruit that were threatening the roof with orange splats. Still, the tree was full of gorgeous, deep orange fruit for Halloween. It has even earned the nickname of The Pumpkin Tree.

Now, I present, autumn, Southern California style.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

More Quizzy Stuff

This time thanks goes to Sheelzebub. No surprises here.

You are a

Social Liberal
(66% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(26% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Weekend Quizzy Time

You are Kermit the Frog.
You are reliable, responsible and caring. And you
have a habit of waving your arms about

"Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and
"How Green Was My Mother"

"Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the

Sitting in the swamp playing banjo.

"Hmm, my banjo is wet."

What Muppet are you?
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