Peachy

After last week’s blueberry sadness, I convinced the family to go peach picking over the weekend even though I knew I would not have much time to process them.

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We got four half bushels of peaches, which is roughly 180 peaches. I know. We meant to only pick two baskets, but that just took about five minutes with all four of us picking. It’s a lot of peaches, but everyone loves having these peaches in the winter when summer seems like another world away. So, we put other things off and buckled down with our peaches this week.

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Have you ever had a peach fresh off of a tree? It is a sublime eating experience. This year, since we went a week or two earlier than usual, the peaches were smaller than softball sized, but still delicious. And beautiful.

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The boys were a huge help this year with the processing. Look how big they are getting!

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With their help, we put up 16 quarts of peaches. If you look carefully, you’ll see one quart that’s leftover from last year. It’s a sorry sight. Over the year they slowly turned brown, but despite appearances, they tasted fine. This year, I added a teaspoon of lemon juice to each jar before processing, which I hope will keep them from getting that color. I’ll report back to you next year and let you know if it helped. For the peaches, I used a recipe from Food in Jars. The only changes I made were quartering the peaches, which helped us fit more in each jar and only adding one tablespoon of bourbon to each jar.

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We also made 6 quarts of dried peaches, a batch of peach butter, and a batch of strawberry peach jam. I think we are all set now for peaches in the winter. Yay! I feel so much better about winter this week than I did last week. Believe it or not, all of that took care of all but about a dozen peaches. They will become a cobbler tonight or tomorrow, I think. Happy summer, everyone!

A Little Blue

Blueberry season this year has been a little sad for us. We have been quite busy and the one time we were able to make it to a farm to pick blueberries, they were not ripe yet. Picture four very disappointed people wandering around a field of blueberry bushes with hardly any berries worth picking. It was so sad that I did not even take a photo. We came away with just 2 pounds of berries and they were really tart, so only really good for baking. This was doubly disappointing to us because all the cherries in our area were decimated by a late spring frost, so we had none of those as well. There will be no jam gifts this year as I am hoarding every jar of jam I have from last year to get us through this winter.

So, we have been making do with store bought berries, which have been pretty ok. My favorite thing to do so far this summer for a really quick and easy dessert is to take a pound of berries along with a handful of apricots or a couple of nectarines and cut them all up. Put them in a dish with some sugar, just how much depends on how sweet your fruit tastes. Anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. Sometimes, I throw in some lemon juice or zest and once I added some maple syrup. Anything that sounds good to you will probably be good. If you don’t want it to be runny, add a tablespoon of cornstarch.

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Bake this at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until it starts to get bubbly. Then, I put some frozen unbaked biscuits on top. Whenever I make biscuits, I always make enough to freeze some. You can even find frozen biscuits in some grocery store freezer departments now. Bake these for another 18-20 minutes and then remove to cool slightly.

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Serve with a little ice cream. This dish takes about five minutes to prep (assuming you have frozen biscuit dough handy), and 40 minutes to bake. It can be done at the same time as dinner prep if you are pressed and then it will be ready for you after you are finished eating. It is scrumptious with a little ice cream.

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This dish has consoled us a little over our loss of blueberries this year, but it is momentary. I know come winter, we will be longing for blueberry jam, blueberry syrup, blueberry pancakes, and even blueberry pie. Right now, though, we have moved on to peach and apricot season and I am determined not to miss these. I may even have to delay the full school schedule until we can get some put up or jammed for this winter.

Secrets Revealed

Today I can finally show you two projects that I have been working secretly on for the last couple of months. First is a sweater that I made as a birthday present for a dear friend.

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The husband is about the same size as our friend and kindly assented to trying it on. It fit so well that I was a little worried he would not take it off!

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Fortunately, it fit our friend well, too. The pattern is Brownstone by Brooklyn Tweed and is such a classic pattern that I really think anyone would look good in one of these. Even the husband, who rarely wears sweaters and tends towards lighter layers in general, made some noises about how nice this chunky sweater was to wear. The sweater was knit in one piece form the bottom up and fairly easy to follow. I would recommend it for sure. You can see my ravelry notes about it here.

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Next, I can finally reveal another test knit for Thea of Baby Cocktails. Her new pattern, Amaro, has just been released. This is the one I have been knitting with the Shalimar Breathless yarn, which is just heavenly. The silk and cashmere content really make this sweater comfy to wear next to your skin.

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This one is also knit in one piece from the bottom up and with a fun saddle shoulder that gets shaped as you knit. That part was really fun to work on. I love how I always learn something new when working on a Baby Cocktails pattern.

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I think the styling of this sweater is especially nice. It can be dressed up or down and has a nice relaxed fit. Already, I am thinking about the next Baby Cocktails sweater that I want to knit. I have one sleeve of Bailey’s Irish Cream done, but I am not entirely happy with the fit of it, so may rip it out and do it over. I also want to do Rolling Rock because it looks a great sweater for early fall.

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Right now, I am still trying to focus on socks. I have one more single sock done. If I put it with the other blue one I finished a couple of weeks ago, I would have a pair. Unfortunately they do not match. Second Sock Syndrome is something I suffer from dreadfully, which is why I am planning to cast on a pink sock later today. Anyone have a cure for SSS?

A Distraction

I took a little break from sock knitting last week to finish off a shawl.

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This is the Hap for Harriet pattern by Kate Davies. It’s an easy pattern and quite good for travel knitting or car knitting. It does require some good light when you get to the lace parts, so it is not good for knitting in the dark, but there really isn’t much call for that in my life lately. I used a new wool from Bare Naked Wools called Chebris. It’s a blend of wool and yearling mohair and it was lovely to knit with.

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As usual, the shawl was a bit scrunchy while I was knitting it, but it blocked beautifully. The stitch definition with this yarn is fantastic. I love how crisp it looks. It fluffed up a bit as well, and all those garter stitch ribs will trap lots of heat in the colder days to come.

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It was not too cold the day I finished and got these pictures taken, but I look forward to wearing it when the weather turns. Or, maybe I will give it away. I am not really sure yet. I do have one more skein of Chebris, so I could give this one away and make myself another one.

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But, I got a little distracted again and have already cast on another shawl in this super light and soft cashmere. Socks? What socks?

Vacation, Socks, and More

We’ve been on vacation. It was great to get away from home for a bit. Mostly, I did this.

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While the boys did this.

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It wasn’t long before I had this.

And this.

Lest you think all I did was knit on vacation, we also did a lot of this.

There was ice cream almost every day. But, I also ate this.

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And this.

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Now that we are back, we are enjoying a more relaxed summer pace of life. It’s given me a chance to update my etsy shop with lots of new stitch marker sets, including a unique design for a removable marker.

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This design came about from frustration, mostly. All the removable markers I had ever tried either fell out easily or were fiddly to use or so heavy that they tended to distort the stitch it was marking. This is not a locking stitch marker, so it is possible that it could fall out. However, I have been using one on a shawl for the past few weeks. It’s lace weight and it has been dragged around and scrunched in a bag and shaken and it has clung faithfully to its stitch.

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I have looked around a bit and have not seen anything like these being sold anywhere. The boys love the idea that no one else has these for sale. We are having a special offer in the shop for the rest of July. Any order of $20 or more will include 2 free removable spirals of our choice. We are excited about these and hope everyone will love them.

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As you can see, we’re ready!

How is your summer going?

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