Pause for News from the Homefront

It's time for a little break in the Chronicles of Maui for a post from the Real World.  Since I last reported from HPNC, it has gone from Summer to Fall....at least on the calendar.  After several weeks of unseasonably hot, dry weather, we got over 3 inches of rain last night...although nothing like they received Down East in Wilmington (nearly 9 inches of rain...and still coming down at last report), and the temps have dropped from the 90's to the 70's.  Gee whiz...feast or famine.

Go Panthers! 
Mr. T and I have been to three football games since my last report...with no joy generated by any of them.   We have season tickets to Duke (a lot easier to obtain than basketball season tix, for sure...:), and so far we've watched the Blue Devils get whomped, first by Alabama and then by Army.  Then, Sunday we headed to Charlotte for our first of two Panthers games this season, with this one against the Bengals. That's a photo of us (right) at the beginning of the game...and yes, we are wearing rain gear and trying to stay dry...an almost impossible task.  As one of the other fans muttered "It hasn't rained here in over a month, and it has to rain like this today?"  Oh well, we've enjoyed tailgating on all three occasions.

A Peck of Picked Peppers
Back here at Casa 3917, the garden has been surviving on sprinkler-applied moisture...until this week, that is.  The tomatoes are still producing, although the fruit is smaller.  The peppers have just gone wild, with the cayennes on a rampage in the heat...and the green peppers producing loads of smaller, firmer fruits. Even after sharing some with our neighbors, I put up three freezer bags of diced, sliced, and whole green peppers (for stuffing) yesterday, and packed three quart jars full of the cayennes before pouring hot vinegar over them and sealing them.  Oh, yeah...they will be good in chili...and veggies...and those greens...and just about anything that needs a little kick this Winter.

The Greens are Growing in the Garden
We cleaned up the last of the summer squash and re-worked that section to put in lettuce (3 different kinds) and 57 onion sets (!).  I've got another row all ready to put some spinach in, too, hopefully this weekend if we get a break in the weather.  Across the center path where the corn used to grow, I've got a nice stand of turnip greens (Seven Tops, right, grown just for the greens) and some broccoli.  The Purple Hull peas are almost finished for the season, but the English peas are just starting to produce...hooray!  The lima beans have had a difficult time surviving the heat and lack of rain, but I still hold out hope for a limited crop.  The strawberries continue to produce a bumper crop of runners and will soon be ready to be moved to a more permanent location in a week or two. And, the sweet potatoes continue to grow larger and larger; I hope they can stay in the ground until the first frost, so they'll be even sweeter. 

I read somewhere that Fall was some gardener's absolute favorite time of the year.  While you can't grow corn, melons, cukes, or summer squash then, there are so many things that like the cooler temps, like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, greens, peas, etc.  Plus, and this is a big plus in my book, the pests are at a minimum this time of the year.  Well, this is the first year that we've put in a Fall garden, so I'll keep you posted on how it's going.  So far, so good!

And, in response to a faithful reader's comment that I haven't mentioned my knitting in ages, I'll add a report in this post.  Over the summer, when it was just too hot to work with wool, I did manage to finish a pair of socks for Nana's BFF AW.  She's such a good friend to our whole family really.  I hope she'll enjoy wearing them when the cooler weather arrives.

I called these Chasing Cables...and if the yarn hadn't been so scrump-dilly-icious, I may never have finished 'em.  I got this hand-dyed yarn called Princess Rose on etsy.com, and I loved it from the moment I first touched it.  But, I did a foolish thing by casting on just one sock...instead of the two-at-a-time that I've been doing.  I almost developed Second Sock Syndrome, an affliction that knitters get, causing the inability to complete the second sock after the first one has been bound off.  But, I finally managed to get that second one done, thank goodness.  Whew!  And that's it for my Finished Objects (FO) report.  [Actually, I've finished a couple more projects, but as they are going to be Christmas gifts, I can't mention them here.  Ask me about them in a few months...:)]

Now, for the Unfinished Objects (UFO) line-up...as usual, this list is much longer than my FO list:

  1. A pair of socks using the Plum Tones Panda silk yarn by Crystal Palace that I got in Hillsborough, NC.  These will be for CW, BFF AW's daughter, who has reportedly threatened to "borrow" her mom's new socks (above, left).  I'm making her a pair of her own.
  2. A vest in a really red Savoy yarn by Tahki Stacy Charles...which is a lovely blend of 52% silk and 48% merino wool...so soft.  It's another gift, so I won't say any more about that yet either.
  3. A lace wrap using a Feather-and-Fan pattern, size US4 needles, and Andrea yarn by Schaefer.  This is yet another silk yarn, so it appears I'm on a silk kick this Fall.  [I must say that this is my least favortie project at the moment, as I find lace-weight yarn to be "fiddly" to work with.  Is that a word?  It certainly should be.]
  4. Oh, and lest I forget:  a sweater in Blueberry Mix Ultra Alpaca by Berroco, using a pattern called Picchu-Picchu.  This one is for me (!), so I can talk about it all day long.  The yarn is so soft (although not as soft as that Savoy silk blend!), and the pattern is really different.  You knit the back and the back of the sleeves, all at the same time; then, you knit each front and the front of each sleeve; then, you three-needle join the tops of the sleeves and add cuffs.  Can't wait to see how this one turns out!  Right now, I'm on the back/sleeve portion, with 267 stitches on my needles...whew!  Thank heavens for Addi Turbo circulars!!
OK, that's all the projects that I'll admit to, for the moment.

Before I close this post, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Nana/Momma/Edith.  Many of you have asked about her latest health issue (torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder).  She has the proverbial good days and bad; fortunately today is a pretty good one.  While the heat and humidity of Summer are hard on her, making her breathing difficult, she says she's not looking forward to the cold, damp days of Winter, with those stiff joints.  Could we just have Spring and Fall, please?

Ah well, so much for the Real World report.  Come back in a few days and join me back in Maui, when I post some more about our trip and eventually get us back to the Mainland.

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