Monthly Archives: January 2013

BOY did it rain last night!!

Our normally sedate river was raging when I woke up this morning.  I knew it would be wild.  Last night it poured and the wind BLEW.  It was still windy today.  74 yesterday.  Today I think it may have been in the high 40s but the wind made it feel much colder.

I know I have mentioned before how much I love living literally right across the street from the river, especially this time of year...not so much in the summer when everyone starts gathering and invading My River Space....

We are high enough to feel perfectly safe, so I can enjoy the power and sometimes unpredictable personality that defines the Rappahannock.

Our house is located right on the Fall Line, the point where the river was no longer navigable by the tall ships.  Just down stream is the tiny, now almost non-existent town, of Falmouth.  Falmouth and Fredericksburg were MAJOR ports during the eighteenth century.  All the local growers would roll their hogs heads of tobacco down the dirt and rocky roads to the ports to be shipped off to England.  Living here now it is difficult to imagine the hundreds of ships that would be docked here.  The river is tidal, and the silt build up over the years hardly allows the small paddle boat to make it to the City Dock.  (Oops!  Sorry for the history lesson, once an historian always an historian I guess!)

I especially like watching the geese.  I have never seen them in the water when it is raging like this.  Today proved me wrong.  This group was having a ball.

The six of them (obviously three very adventuresome couples into extreme sport) would fly upstream to a calmer area of the river....

Situate themselves with their backs facing downstream....

And just ride the current.....

Then they would call to each other, and fly back up stream to do it all over again! (Layla tugged on the leash as I was trying to take this picture...but you can see the geese in flight there in the center if you look closely.)

Luckily our new place, though not just across the street, will be an easy walk to the river path.

And SOON we will be moving in!  They are working on the last few details...and we are still waiting for Dominion to put the line in to my studio.  But the house is nearly there!!

One last thing....I can't help but boast.  Tiny A Story about  Living Small, the movie made by my niece Merete and her friend Christopher has been accepted into the SXSW Film Festival!  I am just so damn happy for them.  Such a creative, talented and motivated couple.

Makes me feel like it's time for me to get back into the studio and do some creating myself!!!

Black And White Reflections …



On a tofu kick

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I have really been craving tofu dishes this winter and I’ve done many variations on the crispy tofu dish. I thought I should change things up a bit lest Jason get tired of weekly tofu. This baked tofu dish was really delicious and I think he appreciated the change. I left my tofu in a block rather than chopping it up and I added some miso to my marinade.

On Loan

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Do you lend your books? Are any out on loan right now? Do you have any that have been loaned to you? Do you put a time limit on these? Do you think people should make an effort to read the loaned book quickly?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Yarned by You: Sabine Gallery #2

I’ve been working on a new Sabine sweater (Swatch (washed and blocked)- Check!, Cast on – Check!, Knit first 5 rows – Check!) and that made me start looking at what other Sabine garments were floating around on Ravelry. Here’s what I came up with:

I love sweaters with just a bit of lace and this Rusted Root knit by poddlegirl in 06 Sea Glass is right up my alley! She knit it in just seven days!

One of the things I love about Sabine is how it is really multi-seasonal. Shawnna must agree with me because she calls her Tinder (knit in Sirius) The Perfect Fall Cardi.

Let’s look at some hats! This Shore Hat, knit in Foliage, reminds me of Downton Abbey (which of course I adore!) and sparker is definitely rocking it.

newick knit this Kiri hat for her friend Courtney in Sirius. It is designed by Marie Grace for the 2012 yarn line and you can find the pattern for free right here on the JMF website!

knitnotes23 made this Bamboo Stalks for her brother in Berry Farm. I love how the diagonal purl bumps breaks up the ribbing!

AmandaLinnea knit up a very cheery Hawthorne for her friend JellenP using Limeaid. It would certainly cheer me up!

Some people (cough, cough, Susie) don’t understand why people nowadays would wear capes, but I LOVE my own cape and I could easily see myself wearing this Ice Skating Cape that AndeeKF knit in Sirius (common colorway, hm?)

I can’t wait until I can share my sweater with you! I think you’ll love the design as much as I do! What have you been knitting in Sabine? What do you want to see here next?

For Little Ones in Need

Knit and Crochet For Little Ones in Need
Ever since her birth back in October 2011, I've been following little Maia Cavanaugh - the daughter of two people I grew up with - and her progress with her many medical complications: Down's Syndrome, heart surgery, gi tubes, etc.  This adorable little girl's story is not only inspirational, but also impressive because she and her family have survived so many things in the past 15 months.

When checking email while on vacation, I was shocked to find that she had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Lukemia (AML) requiring 6 to 9 months of inpatient care!  Many friends and family have stepped up to help with meals and care of Maia's older brother Noah, who is Vincent's age.

Since we fiber artists have a lot of causes that we like to contribute to (ie, The Linus Project, etc.), I wanted to ask if anyone would be interested in knitting or crocheting items for Maia and her brother, Noah.  They are likely to be going back and forth to the hospital during the next several months, most of which during the winter and spring.  Before starting any projects, please let me know if you are interested by responding in any of the following ways:

A friend of their family is coordinating a lot of the physical help they will receive and I have been in touch with her.  Should we get a lot of interest, items that Noah and Maia can use will be sent to them directly and the remainder will be donated to Children's Hospital in Madison on Maia's behalf, because there are plenty of children in need of something to help brighten their day during a particularly difficult time in their lives.

Potential items include:
  • Hats
  • Mittens
  • Blankets
  • Cardigans (I will check on sizes for both of them) - please, no pullovers because Maia has tubes and wires for treatment
  • Yarn - maybe - for example, if you don't have time, yarn can be donated to other members of the fiber community to knit/crochet donated items
More details to follow as we get an idea of who is interested and the potential for donated items.  I wish there was more I, personally, could do, but unfortunately, I am unable to donate blood or marrow due to my own autoimmune condition.

If you'd like to read more about Maia, please visit her Caring page at:

Potato soup


I was intrigued by this recipe for potato soup which incorporates roasted cauliflower. It was quite tasty but the roasted cauliflower gave it a less than pleasant brown tinge so next time I’ll steam that cauliflower for a “light and creamy soup” that looks creamy. I did not stir in yogurt or creme fraiche because it tends to separate out in the leftover soup. Instead we put a little dollop on top as we served our soup.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup

Are y’all bored of me blogging about soup yet? I ask because my sister said she is bored with my posts about my auto-immune disease and my friend Kris has made it clear that she has read enough about my tatas to last a lifetime.

I know I write about soup a lot but there is a good reason for that- it is one of the few things I can eat with my auto-immune disease and it warms up my tatas! [HA! See what I did there?]

Seriously though, I do love soup in the cold months. I could eat it every single night! This week, I seem to be getting a cold and once again, I find myself away from the farm and my freezer full of homemade soups. Sadly there is no chicken soup delivery service in Fort Worth, Texas. As little as I felt like leaving the house, the rule when you have Crohn’s Disease is that if you feel like eating something, you should eat it because the Lord only knows when you will feel like eating anything again. To the grocery store!

I was still mulling over whether to make my standby (and beloved) Chicken Soup or the always-good-for-a-cold Roasted Garlic Soup when inspiration struck- why not combine the best elements of both?

I don’t want to be braggy but I have to say that this is far and away the best soup I have ever tasted. It’s a little more work than you may want to do when you have a cold but I strongly encourage you to make a big pot of it when you are healthy and to freeze a bit for future colds. It’s truly extraordinary.


4 heads of garlic, separated but unpeeled
3 sprig of thyme
2 large onions, diced small
4 large carrots, diced small
4 celery ribs, diced small
2 rotisserie chickens
1 sprig of rosemary
2 quarts of chicken stock (preferably homemade from your own hand-raised chickens)
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the garlic cloves in their peels in a small baking dish and scatter with thyme sprigs. Add 1/4 cup of water. Seal the pan tightly with foil and roast until the garlic is roasted and mushy but not browned, about an hour.

While the garlic is roasting, gently sautee the mirepoix (2 parts onions, 1 part carrots & 1 part celery) in  a little bit of safflower oil until they are tender but not browned.

Time to tackle the chickens! Shred the chickens, removing and discarding the skin but reserving the bones.

Tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate until needed.

Pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot. Add the reserved bones from the chicken and the rosemary and bring to a simmer for at least half an hour; an hour is better. Remove the the bones and the rosemary from the stock.

When the garlic is tender, squeeze about half the garlic from the skins, setting the rest aside for now. This is a terrible, sticky job but it’s totally worth it.

Put the roasted garlic into a sautee pan with a little olive oil over low heat. Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, work the garlic into a paste.

Add the flour and stir, making a roux. This may seem weird but it is going to add body and thickness to our soup. Stir together over heat for at least a minute, and until you have achieved a consistent paste.

Remove 4 cups of hot stock from the stock pot and slowly add the stock to the garlic paste, whisking continuously as you do. When the stock is fully incorporated into the roux, bring to a simmer for two to three minutes, then return the stock/roux mixture to stock pot.

Slip the rest of the garlic cloves from their skins and add them whole to the stock pot.

Add the softened mirepoix, shredded chicken and red pepper flakes to the stock pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Once the flavors have had half an hour or so to blend and mingle, taste the soup and add salt as necessary.

Once the soup is heated through, it’s ready to serve, although this is one of those dishes that improves overnight in the fridge. I served the soup over cooked couscous and it was the perfect compliment. You can try it with noodles, pasta stars or wild rice as well.

Probably something you would like…

Actually, in this case, it’s probably something that would make you say, “What the hell is going on here?”.

So that’s Tom Cruise, Bruce Jenner, Nancy Reagan and Cher. Together. In one picture.

Yup. That happened.

(Via my friend JellenP.)

Winter Beach …

Gay Head – February 1989