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Almost the Equinox.

The weather has turned the corner into cooler temperatures and possible rain, with snow in the higher altitudes. It snowed overnight in the Cascades, so it’s just a matter of time before it smucks us. But in the meantime, a favorite time of year is here!

Fall harvest.

We picked some strawberries, a good double handful of Swiss chard, and some really pretty jalapeno peppers which are on the left side of the strawberries. The strawberries will be our afternoon snack, and the other vegetables went into a tofu scramble this morning, along with other vegetables from our garden. All together I used onion, bell pepper, potato, carrots, Swiss chard, jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes. So delicious! The purple jalapenos are neat! They look like miniature eggplants on the outside but are a very pretty green on the inside. We’ll definitely grow those again next year.

We had a beautiful, but fleeting, sunrise this morning. One second it was just clouds on the eastern horizon, and the next we had color! I grabbed the camera and darted outside, almost not in time to catch anything.

It looked like the whole eastern sky was on fire.
The Ash tree is starting to turn yellow, too. It’s a nice contrast with the cured grass which is just waiting for little birds to harvest it over the winter months.

By the time I got out to where the Ash tree lives the color in the sky had already started to fade. And by the time I got back in the house, the color was almost gone.

The house felt so warm and cozy when I got inside; it was a balmy 40F outside, and it still hasn’t warmed up all that much yet. Today we’re getting our winter supply of heat in the form of three pallets of pellets for the heat stove. The time for regular use of the pellet stove is coming fast. Right now we just use it in the morning to take the chill off the house.

“Pogo” has a lot of answer for in terms of warping our brains.

The world famous knit model is hard at work, as usual.

Row 200 completed yesterday. Already up to 208 now and that’s officially one third done with my project.
The twins are still hanging around and they are getting so big!

Both are still really spotted but almost as big as their mom. One of the babies decided to have a little siesta in some tallish grass by the garden, but his sibling was bouncing around in the grass to the east of the garden and keeping this baby’s attention- he couldn’t even really settle in and relax with all that going on.

A look of concern on his face.

A moment later, he couldn’t stand it anymore and ran off to see why his twin was running races without him.

Nothing else going on around here. We are enjoying the nicest late summer/early fall weather we’ve ever seen around here. All the smoke from fires has cleared out, the sky is a brilliant blue and temperatures are in the 70’s. Fall colors are starting already. Some of the Rocky Mountain Maples are turning. Lovely.

100 Rows and counting.

First 100 rows are finished. Lots more to do but since I’m being really entertained, this is a good thing.

The bottom border is completed and the first inner border is in progress.

My knitting is being professionally modeled by Mish.

“Why are you bothering the model?”

He’s a bug in a rug, one of his most favorite places for the second afternoon nap on the couch.

Nothing else is going on around here, other than watching flocks of migrating birds making their way south and stopping off at the bird bath for a drink, a bath, and a party.

Red sky at morning?

Sailors take warning, but what about when you’re in the middle of mountains? It doesn’t mean anything good here, either!

We’ve been under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger for several days due to high temperatures of 100F and over, and strong winds. It’s a perfect recipe for forest fires if people are careless and/or stupid. What are the odds of people being careless or stupid? Just watch YouTube!

No new fires near us but there are quite a view in the vicinity and they are making their presence known by giving us smoke. We can tell the fires aren’t near because it doesn’t actually smell smoky outside, it just looks awful.

Sun coming up over the trees, just barely, and it was dark orange.

Unfortunately the camera on the phone sort of blocked out the sun so it isn’t visible in the picture. The smoke is not thick enough to completely erase the mountains to the east, but they are very foggy and indistinct looking.

All the grass is so dry it kind of crunches when you walk on it. And a bazillion grasshoppers fly up around our feet. Where are the herds of turkeys this morning? They need to get busy feasting!

So all the humans around here are walking on eggshells and keeping an eye out for fires. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 20 degrees cooler and that will help a lot! Rain may come our way on Monday. That will help a lot too as long as it’s without lightning and winds.

We still have two hummingbirds hanging around. All the others have hit the highway south. Fall is almost upon us. Tomatoes are getting ripe and we’re enjoying feasting on them.

Only 239,788 to go

Not counting ripping rows back when I space out and make a mistake.

Size 1 needles and ultra fine yarn.


We have three fawns that we see every day, a pair of twins and a single. When they all get together in our front yard they demonstrate the scientific principal of kinetic energy as they bounce off each other, the ground, blades of grass, and the occasional (ha!) grasshopper. Obviously their mothers are friends. The babies also try to nurse off both does which doesn’t exactly work out the way they think it should. It’s quite funny.

Their moms drop them off in our yard. We are running a nursery!

One of the twins laying in the short grass next to the house.

They are such beautiful little guys!

Both fawns, one is laying down in the much taller grass.

This fawn has figured out his picture is being taken, so he’s posing nicely.

Even in short grass they sort of blend in.

Their mom was in our driveway by the gate while the babies were kicking back for a quick rest break. Shortly thereafter their mom must have called them, and they both joined her for a quick drink of some milk, and then they all wandered off. They were joined by the other doe with her fawn so much fun will be had by all.

The drought has turned all the grass very dry and brittle. Fire danger is now very high. But on the bright side it’s not extreme fire danger! A few more days of over 100F degree temperatures will do the trick.

We will be harvesting all the sweet onions this weekend and I’ll be processing them for eating this next year. With any luck we’ve grown enough to last until the next year harvest is completed!

Tomatoes have turned white! Reading about why this happened, it appears it’s a combination of intense sunlight and high temperatures. We don’t know if they will still turn red, or stay white. Strange!

The grasshoppers are here in great numbers and we have two hen Wild Turkeys with eleven half-grown babies between them. One hen as eight and the other has three. Obviously the one with eight is a better mom when it comes to protecting her chicks, or she is just luckier. They move through the grass nibbling on seeds and catching grasshoppers and everybody is quietly talking excitedly about how cool it all is.

Make zoodles out of them!!

Never tried this before, so another experiment from the garden produce.

I have a mandoline slicer which can make little matchstick widths out of larger materials. A bit of research and a helpful link from my friend Antara, and lunch was soon to be served!

I match-sticked a whole zucchini, while my usual marinara sauce was cooking, then I sauteed the zucchini noodles in a little of olive oil which had been infused with some garlic and red pepper flakes, for four minutes.

Put some zoodles in a bowl, add some sauce and a tiny sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Yumm. The verdict was “Well, if you have to grow zucchini I guess this is a good use for them.” Ringing endorsement. 😀

Also making bread today. First a batch of whole wheat bread out of the bread machine. Have to say the smells from a combination of lunch cooking along with baking bread was heady, to say the least.

Whole wheat bread is done baking and cooling on the counter.

Next, start a batch of gluten free bread.

First clean the baking pan from the bread machine thoroughly to make sure all the gluten from the whole wheat flour is out of picture.

Ingredients for the gluten free bread all lined up on the counter in the order I will use them.

Really it almost takes longer to get the ingredients together than it does to toss them into the baking pan from the bread machine.

Ready for action! A scale to weigh ingredients, the baking pan, and the bread machine waiting patiently on the side of the countertop.

Toss everything in the baking pan, in the order specified by the recipe. Then plug the machine in and press Start. In another two and half hours we’ll have another loaf of bread, plus more good smells from baking.

It’s very hot outside. Yesterday it hit 100F in the evening and stayed there for a couple of hours. Today is more of the same, and tomorrow, too, then it will cool off. The plants will be glad of the break from these high temperatures and so will the humans and various birds and mammals. It’s a good day to stay inside and do inside stuff, like cooking, reading, listening to music, playing on the computers.

Boring. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Those zucchini will get huge if you don’t pay attention to them for a day or two.

These veggies from the garden ended up in a lasagna I made last night. And the zucchini plant has five new for me to pick. Very soon.

I may take them to the post office and add them to their collection of free fruits and vegetables. If I end up taking hundreds of zucchini to the post office, will they stop letting me in the door? Got to worry about things like that.

Peas, please.

Dan picked all the rest of the peas yesterday and I shelled them. We ended up with three cups of peas for me to do something with. So… dinner and breakfast!

Ruh row.

The clouds looked a wee bit rowdy when I went outside to dispose of the pea pods and moments after I completed the task, really high winds arrived. It peeled a lot of the delphinium flowers off the plants in the gardens.

There was some lightning in the neighborhood as the electricity kept blinking off and then back on, but the winds might have been the cause of the outages. Then the weather settled down to just pouring. Yay! Rain is good.

Back to peas.

Yukon Gold potatoes diced and then boiled, with the addition of roughly half of our pea harvest.

Then I made a bechamel sauce, and combined it with the potatoes and peas, and baked it for half an hour.

Dinner is served!

This is something that my stomach likes, and it has great subtle flavors, plus it makes great leftovers for another dinner or several lunches.

While that was cooking I chopped up vegetables for breakfast cooking.

Seeded and diced jalapeno pepper.
Diced half a sweet onion.

This is cool because it was the last sweet onion I’ll have to buy this year. All the onions in our garden are growing really well and some of them are large enough to start harvesting.

Seeded and diced red bell pepper goes in the bowl next.
Seeded and diced green bell pepper.
Remaining peas in a different container.

Everything went into the fridge for the morning.

So tofu scramble time was today. I put all the chopped vegetables and peas into a large skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of ground chipolte spice, and cook over low heat until everything is soft.

Using super firm tofu, dice it up and put it in a food processor and make it finely minced. Transfer the tofu to a larger bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and mix together. Then add the tofu mix to the cooked veggies and combine well. Cook and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes, and then add slices of Chao cheese on top and let that melt (a lactose free cheese which is also tofu based and melts great!!!!) Fix toast. Breakfast!

Pretty colors, and really delicious. Plus the best part of all is leftovers for a couple more breakfasts!

While breakfast was cooking we had company. A Long-tailed Weasel was on the front porch investigating everything, and following the weasel was a baby bird!!! We kept telling the baby that was such a bad idea but nobody was harmed. By the time I thought about getting a picture of the beautiful little weasel who was dressed in his summer finery, he ducked under the deck to continue with his hunting. So cool!!! We hadn’t seen any of those little guys here yet, even though we know they are in the area.

Today more rowdy weather is planned for the afternoon. Hopefully we get as much rain as they are predicting and no lightning to spark off a forest fire.

Fun with berries.

Our berry harvest for this year is basically complete, such as it was. The strawberries will have another batch of flowers later, and the raspberries should give us a fall harvest but nothing yet. So these are what I had to play with and I decided to make something with them, rather than just eating the berries, also a good option.

From left to right around the outside of the plate are Strawberries, Gooseberries, Josta Berries, Black Currants, Red Currants, and Black Raspberries are in the middle.

The Josta Berries are a Scandinavian cross between Gooseberries and Black Currants, and you can see that they sort of show their heritage, being in size between the two parent fruits. When you cut them open they kind of look like a Gooseberry inside but have the color more like a Black Currant.

Not a huge harvest by any stretch of imagination but I think it’s enough for two tarts, so that’s my goal for the day.

I cut the Gooseberries and Josta Berries in half so they would release all their flavor readily. Tarts don’t cook all that long and I didn’t want under cooked berries.

Berries with a little sugar and cornstarch for thickening, and a pinch of salt.

Then I made a pie crust dough and created two tart crusts. I blind baked the tart crusts first, then added the mixed berries mixture and put it back in the oven to bake some more. They baked for about 25 minutes.

That left me with some pie crust dough to play with while the tarts were baking. Always a good plan to have extra pie crust dough to play with!!

Cookies to be!

First I roll out the pastry dough, spread soft margarine on top, sprinkled it with white sugar and cinnamon and rolled it up. Then I cut the rolled pie crust dough into roughly one third inch thick slices and baked them for 12 minutes.

They bake at the same temperature as the tarts, which is convenient. And they are done cooking first so of course we had to eat some of them as soon as they cooled enough not to burn.

Finished pinwheel cookies minus some that got eaten.

They are delicate and crisp, so delicious and easy to make.

Baked tarts.

The berry mixture smells so amazing; it will be very interesting to see what this tastes like because it is a total experiment.

Update! I will definitely be doing this fruit combination again next year to make tarts or maybe even a whole pie. It was berry berry good!!!!

Next year we should have lots and lots of berries to play with, mostly it will be destined for jam and jelly. And if this turns out good, some tarts as well.

I wonder how long it will take our tiny blueberry plants to do something. We need to acidify the soil around them and picked up a mixture to do that today.

Tomorrow we’ll pick all the rest of the peas. I learned something good about those! I added some to a tofu scramble recipe that I make all the time and it turned out to be a really great idea. I’ll do that again, most definitely.

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