Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jane: a great Southern Weekend

Every fall needs a road trip, and mine was a trip to Atlanta to see my sister and her family.

Actually it wasn't a road trip, but an air trip! I flew down on Thursday and spent Friday with my niece at her school--it was "Grandparents and Special Friends" day, and I got to be the "special aunt"! Gabi showed me her school, her classrooms, her locker, and I got to meet her writing teacher, too. (Gabi has gotten awards for English the past two years, a niece after my own heart!)

Gabi had a youth group trip that weekend, so my sister and I saw her off at the church on Friday afternoon. The rest of the weekend was grown ups only--we had dinner out Friday, and then on Saturday went on a real road trip through rural Georgia.

First stop was Warm Springs where FDR had a cottage called the "little white house." There was also a very nice museum there, but the house intrigued us--it was so small and ordinary!

After that we went to Callaway Gardens, yes, the home of Victory Garden South, back in the day. What they used to show on Victory Garden is only a very tiny part of Callaway Gardens. It's actually a huge park--acres and acres--with lakes, woods, a golf course, and some houses at the edge. Apparently Mr. Callaway bought the land, which had been ruined by too much agriculture, and planted native trees and plants. It's beautiful now.

My brother-in-law took lots of pictures. You can see some of them here.

I got back on Sunday to a houseful of sick guys. Bruce just had a minor cold, but Eli's sinus infection was back, and Robbie had influenza! Yikes. Robbie's back at school today, but Eli's still home (but on some antibiotics). We are hoping for a return to health very soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jane: Beautiful Iowa Fall

Iowa isn't a beautiful fall color state. Mostly our trees turn tans and yellows.

But in town, there are some pretty colors. Here are some fall colors from our yard.

The last picture is of my little plumbago plant that I got from a friend. It had bright blue flowers on it all summer long, and now in fall, its red stamens and colorful leaves make it just as pretty.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jane: Lots of reading

Lest anyone think all I do is crochet, cook, and garden, here are some books I've been reading recently. I'm on 2 book committees--the First Year Book committee at Coe, and the Linn Area Reads committee with the Cedar Rapids Public Library. It's very fun. So I've gotten to read all kinds of things! The last three on this list were read for those committees.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa by R. A. Scotti. Story of the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa,which was, of course, recovered but many questions remain. Told like a detective novel--fun to read.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Precocious chemistry-loving girl from an eccentric English family tries to find the perpetrator of a mysterious murder for which her father is being considered a suspect.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Why do some people succeed and others do not? Gladwell examines the cultural forces behind success in a breezy book.

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein. Memoir that chronicles lives on a street in early 1900s Lancashire where Jews were on one side, Christians on another, and a cross-side love affair brings tension.

Population 485 by Michael Perry. Reflections of a writer and volunteer firefighter on life in small-town Wisconsin, especially on the lives of those disrupted by traumatic events. Humorous and thoughtful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jane: Crop Circles?

We wondered if an alien spaceship had landed in our front yard this morning.

The lawn was all torn up right near the front porch.

When we looked closely, we noticed that the turf had been peeled back, as if something was looking under it. . .
Eli and I rolled the turf back over the dug up spots, but it's still a mystery to us! Any ideas, anyone?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jane: My new socks

I wore my crocheted socks today. They looked great with jeans and clogs.
I take no credit for the cute stripes. They just appeared as I crocheted the variegated yarn!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jane: Homecoming Photo

Couple (really large) photos from the Homecoming Parade last week. And how about that mega-bonfire?!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jane: WHSMB video!

In case you didn't get to any of Washington High School's home games or band shows, here's your chance to see (most of) the award-winning show!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jane: Doing things with peaches

Twice in the last few weeks I've gotten fruit from the store which was . . . less than decent. Once it was nectarines, the next time it was peaches. It's such a disappointment when you bite into a peach or nectarine expecting it to be juicy and sweet . . . and it ends up being rubbery or pithy. Ugh.

Not wanting to waste fruit, I've tried baking with these less-than-decent fruits, and usually that works fine. Even a not-very-good peach will bake up nicely.

First time I made a little tart with the nectarines. I only had 2 of them, but that was all I needed with this recipe I found somewhere online.

Today, I had peaches--3 big ones--that were rubbery and not juicy. I made this Peach Crisp, using an apple crisp recipe and substituting ginger for cinnamon. I can't decide if I should put it in the freezer for later or just eat now! I'm thinking the boys will decide that for me :-)

Jane: Crochet Sox

I've been working for some time on a fun crochet project: socks. My knitting and crocheting friends have been sending me links to websites with crochet sock patterns, so thought I'd give it a try. As you can see I've completed one and gotten past the "chain for heel" stage in the other.

This one is from Mrs. D's blog, and the pattern is very easy to follow. I had to alter the pattern a bit to make the toe tip wider and the instep higher, but other than that, I just follow the pattern. The yarn is Red Heart's Heart and Sole yarn ("with aloe"), which she recommended, and I'm using a D hook.

I didn't think crocheted socks would come out so satisfactorily. I figured they'd be stiff and nonstretchy, but they are great. Maybe not as stretchy as knitted ones, but they're soft and I think will be warm and comfortable on a cool day. I had thought I'd wear them to Friday night football/marching band shows, but it hasn't really been that cool . . . oh, plus, I'm not done yet :-)

Today I got a long stretch of time to work on them while I was at the Urgent Care center with Eli. A bowling ball dropped on his finger yesterday, and we were there to get it checked out. No break, just a nasty bruise, and 2 hours at the medical place. Plenty of time to crochet, though. And two people asked about what I was making! I guess crocheting in public is a good way to spread the word about how fun handcrafting can be!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jane: Trombone Suicides

Robbie enjoyed the Homecoming game last night despite the rain and despite the fact that the band didn't get to play.

Why was it fun?

Trombone suicides.

I wish I had a movie of Washington's band doing them--it may appear eventually on YouTube. But here's another local band's version.