travel projects, plum jam, birthdays and old letters

July 18, 2021

 


I went to Maui last week to visit my BFF of 58 years. We both celebrate our birthdays in July and this was a big one. We celebrated our birthday dinner with 8 friends at Mama's Fish House. It was a super fun night; no surprise as we always have a blast when we get together.  I brought a bag of old pictures and letters with me so we popped some Champagne and giggled over the hairstyles and clothes, but when we got around to the letters, we could only get through a few. They made us cry! The two girls who wrote them and read them so long ago are different people today and we got too emotional going back in time. I packed them away for another day. Maybe.

I choose my travel knits carefully and decided on the Alpine Hat, a free pattern from Blue Sky. I used leftover Woolstok neutrals from my stash and a newly purchased bundle of mini skeins in cool colors. I made a hat on the flight to Maui, a second hat while in Maui, and the third hat on the flight home. This is the first three of 8 hats I hope to make for Christmas gifts. Links:


Before I left for my vacation I made two batches of plum jam. My neighbor has a giant plum tree in her front yard and every year she sends out an email when the tree is laden with fruit. It's a beautiful sight and it's so big, you can literally pick boxfuls and not make a dent. If you've never made jam, this if the time to dispel the notion that making homemade jam with all that fresh fruit is somehow healthy. Nope, it's loaded with sugar and there's no getting around it! Because I make this every year, I don't follow a recipe but use equal amounts of chopped fruit and sugar, squeeze in the juice of a few lemons, then boil and stir until it hits 220F on a candy thermometer. For the first batch I used about half tart fruit and half fully ripe fruit and that batch was the best. The second batch was almost all fully ripe fruit. I'm hardly a jam expert, but it seems to me that plum jam likes a good mix of ripe and unripe. Ill try to remember that next year. Are you making any fruit jams this summer?




Pickles again--whole garlic dills this time.

Even though I was only gone for 5 days, I came home to a garden full of changes. The large tomato slicers are in and we now pick every day and soon I'll be making batches of tomato sauce. We've been harvesting squash and cucumbers all along, and now the peppers are ready too. I'll pick the first poblanos tomorrow and stuff them for tomorrow night's dinner. Perhaps the most exciting thing is that my new dahlia bed is blooming. We rototilled an unused patch of dirt on our side yard. Over the 35 years we've lived here that hidden patch had been an herb garden, an artichoke patch, a biennial flower garden, then we just left it alone for years. Last spring I planted 40 dahlia tubers and most of them have come up and most of those are blooming. Gorgeous!









The perennial flower border is looking spectacular. The shasta daisies are at their best and the zinnias are just starting to bloom.  I planted the entire Queen Lime series and am getting very excited to see what I'll get. I'll make a post when they are at their best. Zinnias and tomatoes are the stars of my mid and late summer garden.



Zinnia, Queen Lime Red

Zinnia, Queen Lime

And lastly, a very special little someone also has a July birthday. The kids gave him a big 4th birthday party in our backyard last weekend. He was so excited and had a smile on his face and a giggle in his voice all day. About a dozen of his friends came with their parents, and with siblings and family friends we ended up with 50 people! My son had set up 5 elaborate water features with slides and pools and sprinklers; the day was hot and everyone had a blast. Grammy and Papa were delighted to see him play with his friends and to finally meet all the children he talks about. Darling boy. Grammy and Papa wish you the best that life can offer.



I had to make him a new school sweater as a birthday present of course. I'll get him to model it when the weather cools and tell you all about it. It's a fabulous pattern to have in one's library.



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10 comments

  1. Great blog, love your garden!
    Margie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's a good time of year to live where we live!

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  2. Kristen, are my eyes playing tricks or is his sweater made up w some sort of ombré colorway?? Garden looks amazing as usual!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's an ombre white/beige. Good eye! Skacel Simplicity Spray in color Vintage.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your reunion with your friends. Your grandson is adorable. That cake looks delicious.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY To All The July Birthdays.
    Marilyn

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! He loved his super hero rainbow cake!

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  4. Your garden is amazing. The flowers and tomatoes are unbelievable! Carter must have had the best time at his birthday. He is a lucky boy!

    Carole

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yes, he had a blast. I think all the kids didn't really know what to expect because at their age they don't remember ever going to one or having one. It was a fun day for all.

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  5. July birthdays! My son was born on 28th 1976. He is now the happy father of 3 - 2boys and 1 girl. They live in the UK and so love the woolen knitted jumpers and beanies I send. His wife, Victoria, who shares my name, is not a knitter; and she loves all the woolies I send. They met because she had the same name as me and her father is named David. What alovely way to meet.

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    Replies
    1. July 28 is a good day--my dad's BD too! And it's nice your son was kind enough to give you four grandkids that you can knit for!

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