finished MWSI socks aurora headband #2

IMG_0332.JPG DSCN7619

DSCN5904.JPG swallowtail, Saturday morning

An awful lot of what I knit is lace.  The knitted objects that see the most use are lace (the green headband, the flower basket shawl, and the diamond fantasy shawl).  More than half of my (ridiculously long) queue on Ravelry is tagged with ‘lace’.

Nothing wrong with that.

red kale

I love dark green veggies. Red or purple kale, in particular, is great either in savory dishes (especially a saag-style curry) or in smoothies. (Amy Boogie posted a couple of recipes.)  This kale is from the farmers’ market on Saturday, at Landisdale Farm’s stand.

I love making jam. I love the process, and I love being able to taste the best parts of summer in the middle of winter. (It’s a lot easier to appreciate summer when it’s jam in February, when I’m not suffering from the heat.)

raspberry-lime jam from last fall

Raspberry-lime jam, from my dad’s backyard raspberry patch, canned last September on my trip north.

strawberry-rhubarb butter with ginger

Strawberry-rhubarb butter with ginger, canned on Saturday night.


Froth on the cooking strawberry-rhubarb stuff. I love the patterns.

Should you want to make something like my strawberry-rhubarb butter: Take a quart of strawberries [chopped], two medium-sized rhubarb stalks [also chopped], about a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger, and five cups of sugar. Cook until the fruit is mushy and everything is mixed pretty well. Purée with an immersion blender. Return to heat and slowly bring to a boil, allowing moisture to escape.  Maintain at 220ºF for two minutes and then can in a hot water bath.


Even though I knew that MDSW was coming up, I jumped at the chance to order a couple of these batts of Abby‘s when Amy got them in.  They arrived today.  I’m in the middle of spinning some BFL from Handspun by Stefania (pics of MDSW spoils soon), so I’m simply admiring the batts for now, but they’re luscious.  This is going to be fun.


When I turned 5, one of my friends gave me a hibiscus plant as a birthday present. I still have the plant, more than 20 years later, and it’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t flower all that often, but this cutting from it flowered even before I managed to get it into soil.

granola, 6 Apr 2008

I make granola every few weeks (including today). I find that I focus better when I eat breakfast, and I prefer my homemade granola to commercially available granola or cereal because it’s less sweet and more full of nuts. Granola + yogurt + some sort of fruit = awesome breakfast. I use the basic recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book: 10c dry ingredients, 1/2 c honey (I prefer dark honey), 1/2 c oil, 1 c water; bake at ~325ºF until it starts to look toasted.  This batch is about half oats, with wheat germ, wheat bran, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, rye flakes, and flax seeds.


I like fire, on the scale of candles and campfires and charcoal-grill fires. Oh, and gas stoves. It’s pretty, it does magic (melting wax, burning wood, cooking food), sometimes it makes fun crackly noises… I’m looking forward to campfires over MDSW weekend.

(I am also, however, a heat-wimp, so I tend to be very careful around fire.)

P.S.  Tomorrow is going to be a request day.  I won’t promise anything, but if there’s something you want me to post about, comment, and it might get added to the list.

moon over calvary

I’m definitely not a morning person, but I’m not really a late-night person, either.  I have described myself as a “day person”, but my favorite time of day is evening, more or less from sunset to midnight.

This is last night’s beautiful moon over Calvary Church.  (I think I may need to get one of those pocket-sized tripods…)


I was introduced to Discworld while in college. My friends had recommended Good Omens, which I’d read and liked, and Equal Rites was on the syllabus for the only literature class I took (Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was student-taught). Then, while I was in London to visit my dad while he was working in Scotland, I found (and bought) a copy of Witches Abroad.

Since then, I’ve read nearly everything Discworld, multiple times.  But the reason I picked Discworld for the ABC-Along is that I listened to Discworld audiobooks (especially the Tiffany Aching books) a lot last fall–when I was upset enough that being alone with my thoughts was not a good situation, I’d put on a Discworld audiobook as a focus for my last thoughts before falling asleep.  I still like them, and they’re also great to keep me entertained while I do the tedious bits of science, but they’ve meant more to me than that.  (I should also note that, while I enjoy audiobooks, they simply don’t compare to books on paper, and I have trouble listening to books I haven’t read.)

(Those of you on Ravelry might be interested in the Ankh-Morpork Knitters’ Guild.  And here’s a link to the ABC-Along group, until I manage to get the button up somewhere.)

Aw, heck, maybe I should just go ahead and say D is for Dessert.

cocoa fudge cookies with cranberries


I’ve been doing a decent bit of cooking* lately, at least over the weekend, but it’d been quite a while since I’d done any baking. Tonight, therefore, I decided it was time for some chocolate cookies. In “flipping” through my cookie recipe collection (which is mostly on my laptop), I found this recipe, which I’d found at BakingBites. This may be my new favorite cookie recipe, even though it does use butter–I really only use butter in baking, so I keep it in the freezer, and I’m often too lazy to thaw it. These cookies are like my favorite brownies: chewy-soft without quite being gooey, and really chocolatey. I’m also pleased that they don’t use egg, which means I don’t have to worry too much about how thoroughly cooked they get.

Chocolate-cranberry cookies

1 cup flour (I used half whole wheat and half white, as is my wont)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
7 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
1 c sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt the butter in a 2-qt glass bowl in the microwave and then mix in the sugar and the other wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add them to the wet ingredients. Bake approximately 10 minutes on a waxed-paper-lined sheet. I made pretty large cookies, so I’ll probably end up with about 18 (there’s some unbaked dough in the fridge); the recipe suggested using tablespoonfuls** and says you should get about two dozen.

*The latest cookery has been posted over at Farm to Philly, for the February Tofu Challenge.

**I know it’s technically supposed to be ‘tablespoonsful’, but I’ve always preferred pluralizing the ‘-ful’ when I’m reusing the spoon or hand or whatever.

• Cats.

thud sleeping

Thunder was the cat I grew up with. We got her as “my” cat when I was ten, and she stayed “mine” until December of 2004, when she died of a heart problem. (I named her Thunder because she purred extremely loudly.)



Mel you’ve probably seen before, if you’ve been reading long at all. (And there are lots more pictures under ‘small and fuzzy’ if you want to look.) He came home with me in the spring of 2005, and grudgingly puts up with the amount of time I spend away from home because I do, eventually, come back. I often return to find him waiting by the door, asking me why I left him alone for so long.

I’m very much a cat person rather than a dog person or a no-pet person. (…As I sit on my couch, with Mel leaning against me.)

• Camera.



Although I have never seriously studied photography and have only spent a little bit of time in darkrooms, I am very fond of photography, especially when I’m using my “real” camera. My parents gave me this Vivitar about ten years ago; they’d bought it (used) about twenty or thirty years before that. I love this camera. Point-and-shoot is all very well for action snapshots, but I’m something of a control freak at times.

Despite my fondness for this old camera, though, I’m feeling like it might be worth shifting over to all-digital. (I am impatient! And film is expensive!) I’ve heard good things about the Nikon D40 and the Canon XTi. Any other recommendations, or suggestions about which of those might be better? Alas, I fear there’s no chance my Vivitar screw-on lenses will work with either…




When I was in high school, my primary creative activity was making polymer clay beads and making jewelry with them and with glass, wood, stone, and metal beads.  My dad and I set up a craft table in the basement, with five or six lights, a glass tabletop over a sturdy oak table, and even a hot plate that could be set on really low to soften the clay.  (For whatever reason, my mom rarely joined us.)  I continued to do some jewelrymaking into college–I spent my first Winter Term at home, making more intricate designs with polymer clay, and my second Winter Term studying metalworking with a family friend near D.C.–but then I fell further into science and photography, and then I discovered knitting.

I can’t see myself resuming any kind of beadwork in the near future, partly because it’s really not portable, partly because I think it’d work better with a cat-free room, but I do miss it sometimes.

These pictures are of some of the jewelry I kept for myself.  (There are more of them after the jump.)



It’s also for autumn, which goes nicely with apple season. The beginning of apple season, for me, marks the approach of cooler and generally more pleasant weather, plus the availability of one of my favorite snack foods. (Apples are also a major component of my fallback dinner plan of apples-and-peanut-butter.) Since my discovery of farmers’ market apples and the wider selection of varieties available, I’ve grown especially fond of Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Royalty, and Suncrisp apples. Mmmm. (*Crunch*.)


Of course, A is also for axon guidance, to which I devote far more of my time and energy than I do toward apples, but this isn’t a science blog. Briefly, axon guidance is the study of one aspect of neural development, in which neurons send branches to the cells with which they’re supposed to communicate in the developed nervous system; we’re working on figuring out how the cells match themselves up. (If you have questions, I’m happy to talk science over e-mail.)



(Hmf. I can’t get the picture to link to the Ravelry group, but I don’t have time to mess with it now.)