Our weather has been fairly cooperative with a few showers here and there, but a lot of dry weather as well. The skies are cloudy, but bright. It seemed a good idea to put my Fitbit efforts toward walking outdoors and absorbing some of that light, and so that was my first effort. I took the camera along, not really expecting to see anything picture-worthy. Nevertheless, I'm rarely disappointed when my camera walks with me.
For one thing, the second blossom on one of the echinacea plants is almost fully opened. My friend Felicia and I were discussing whether this is the Cheyenne Spirit variety (as I've been calling it), or the PowWow Wild Berry. The Cheyenne Spirit is mostly made up of orange and yellow flowers, although the picture on the seed company website shows some pink ones as well. (In case you're wondering, I had these tagged, but the writing on my tags faded in the sunlight, and now I can't read it at all. It's an excellent example of the best laid plans going awry.) While it's tempting to think this is actually the PowWow Wild Berry, the seed company website shows that as being a much more saturated pink, nearing purple. That's my long-winded way of telling you I really don't know which variety this is, and it hardly matters.
Every spring I plant snapdragons in my annual pots. As it turns out snapdragons are perennials, and I know this because they come back every year. Last spring, I didn't plant any, and they came back on their own. This year, they've decided the pots are too constraining, and so they're growing all over the garden and the field now, coming up like weeds. That's okay by me too.
The ones in pots are finished blooming now, but the ones that have broken free are blooming like crazy. I think there's some kind of lesson there, don't you?
Wet Oregon weather would hardly be complete without our friends, the slugs. Here's a big fellow, but it's not as big as some others I've seen. Impressive, no? A little olive oil, rosemary, and some oregano and you could have yourself a nice meal there. But let's not and say we did, okay?
These days, when I go outside, I always invite Smitty to come along. He loves running up on me from behind at about 60 miles per hour and passing me by to run up a tree. Clearly, this is a game to him, although I haven't figured out my role yet. I think I'm just supposed to keep walking. Usually, he's chilled enough when we're finished that he wants to come back inside when I do. Yesterday, when I stood at the open door and called to him, he looked like this:
I believe he's saying, "No thank you." When I've been walking, I always spend 20 minutes icing my knee, and he invariably comes to the glass door to be let in before the time is up. He always gets treats for coming inside voluntarily, and he likes his treats.
So once I had my knee iced down, I was heading into the sewing room when pickles happened. Pickles are a serious distraction sometimes. There were radishes from our CSA two weeks ago, Hakurei turnips from last week, and Daikon radishes from this week's CSA. I never know what to do with all of the above, but pickling makes quick work of them.
Earlier this summer, I pickled some Daikon radishes, but I didn't care for the recipe I used. They were vinegary, without having much flavor beyond being painfully sour. The recipe I tried yesterday used rice vinegar and a little more sugar. Also, this is a red Daikon radish, which makes them prettier in the jar. This is a quick pickle, and so they're stashed in the refrigerator now...no processing required. I'll have to wait three days before I can taste them. (Drums fingers on table top.)
This next one is another quick pickle made from Hakurei Turnips. Again, I tried this recently, but thought they needed something beyond their very vinegar flavor. These too are made with rice vinegar, sugar and pickling salt. I liked the idea of adding in the red pepper flakes for a little kick. These only required 24 hours before tasting.
So, just as I wrote those words, I ran downstairs to do just that, and they are amazing! Really, really good for a 24-hour effort. This is the recipe I used. I should mention that the recipe suggests using warm water from the tap. I wouldn't do that. When you get warm water from your tap, it's coming straight from your water heater, which isn't exactly, um, food quality. You're much better off using cold water and heating it on the stove top or microwave. Also, while I like the kick from the red pepper flakes, the pickles are very spicy, and so I think I'd use less next time. I could also see doing away with the red pepper flakes altogether and instead thinly slicing crosswise a jalapeno pepper or something similar. It would spice up the mix, and it would be pretty to boot.
Finally, I made the same pickled radishes from earlier this summer. This time, I opted not to process them (because I promised myself that I'd slit my own throat before I canned one more thing). It will be interesting to see if the pickle is any different without processing. These have to wait two full weeks before I can try them. The canned ones were delicious, and we ate them so fast, I'm almost not sure I didn't dream them up. You can read my earlier blog post where I link to the recipe and talk about my adaptations right here.
And so I was fresh out of things to pickle at that time. Briefly, I looked at Smitty and Sadie, but then, who would hold down my fabric?
And whose little black face would warm my heart?
Actually, I needed to get at that fabric in the bin, and so I offered Smitty the alternative of the flannel quilt awaiting patching. (The patching story is the saddest story ever told, and so I won't go into it except to say that this flannel quilt is probably going to end up as a cat quilt.)
Since it was late in the day by this time, I was only able to finish three of the five blocks for the Hobo Quilt. I'll finish up the other two today. These are the three from yesterday:
The book includes little vignettes from people who have stories to share from this "Riding the Rails" Great Depression era. This next one had a vignette, but it didn't really provide a good explanation for the meaning of the sign.
So did this mean fake an illness to get some desired objective? Was someone faking an illness to get something from one of the "travelers"? I don't know. But right after I wrote those words, I consulted The Google (my best friend on the internet) and found this link that says a little more about it. Here is the block to represent the sign.
Finally, this one:
It was a full day. The weather is looking good today, and so I'll do some more walking outside to take advantage of it. Then I'll get back to work on the blocks.