Monday, September 21, 2009

Farm Boxes

I came across a brochure at our county fair for one of those services where you can have locally grown organic farm produce delivered to your home and although I had heard of CSA programs before, this one really got my attention. It was very customizable and there were lots of price choices/combinations to choose from as well as delivery schedules. I reviewed their website thoroughly and even read all the archived farm e-newsletters! The more I studied on this particular service the more I wanted to be a part of their program. So I signed up and the first week in September we received our first box. I was thrilled with the contents -- just what they had said would be in the box. Now, there was one item in there that we had never tasted before - Candystripe Figs. OMG! They were gorgeous and sweet as candy! I was definitely a happy farm box girl :). Yes, all the other fruits and veggies were good too. I ate the figs so quickly though (well I let a couple of other people have some too, and even my parrot got some), I didn't get a photo of them.

Fridays, the list of what will be in next week's boxes comes out so I eagerly looked to see what would be in the next box. Hmmm, mission figs the next time. None of the other boxes were scheduled for Candystripe figs either. So the next week's box arrives and it was a new variety of goodness -- a mix of fruit and veggies and greens and a bunch of fresh thyme -- all of this, except the thyme, grown on the same farm. I eagerly looked forward to the announcement of the next box's contents -- mission figs again, but wait -- if I change my order to the next larger box -- it would come with CANDYSTRIPE FIGS :). So I happily upgraded to a larger order. And now I have a photo for you.
The inside looks like raspberry jam :)
I already know that this week's box won't contain Candystripe figs, but I'm still a happy farm box girl -- I know that I'm enjoying all the food that comes in the box, and as it changes weekly due to what is in season and being harvested I can continue to look for new things to come in my box. This week there will be a Galia melon! And now lettuce is in season so there will be more greens to make green smoothies and salads too.
If you live in Northern California, and want more information on Farm Fresh To You, please visit their website at Wherever you live, please do support your local organic farmers by buying from local farmers markets or searching for a CSA program in your area.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sunset picnic

We had one of the unusually warm days here where it even felt muggy and so we headed for the coast. We stopped at the market to pick up items for an improptu picnic on the beach and we couldn't resist staying to watch the sunset. Then right at dusk, the shorebirds appeared and added to the magic of the evening. The colorful sunset is no doubt due to the large fires raging around California. The picnic was simple -- a selection of gourmet olives from the olive bar, some flax crackers, some fresh raspberries and some Gone Nuts! snack nuts. The music was provided by the waves breaking on the shore :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New beginnings

Finally released today is my new set of tools for hand spinners. I have been making the WPI (wraps per inch) tool since the beginning of KaratStix, but the diz and the plying templates are finally in production after having been tested and approved of by a very nice supporter of KaratStix - Destiknit - since I am not yet a spinner myself, although I desperately want to be :). She also has an excellent podcast where she shares lots of great information for knitters and spinners and reviews lots of good stuff. You can find her podcasts here:

Another item, which is still in R&D is a stand to hold interchangeable knitting needles. And, I'll be working on ideas I have to do something similar for DPNs and straights as well. I personally have a few glass vases that I store my non-circular needles in (OK, I confess, there is a couple circular needles stuck in one of them too) and it is annoyingly untidy to look at, and I'm always trying to dig around to find just the one I need (I use them all the time to test my needle gauges). It would be so much easier if they stayed organized with their mates and looked nice and neat too, and would be so much more efficient for selecting the right size. I have been wanting to work on this idea for years, but now a couple of interested people has suggested that it would be great if I would try to do this so I have finally begun.

This one is a team effort with my brother -- I did the disk layouts and gathered the materials together (the bottom is cork and the pillars are bamboo chopsticks) and Tom, my brother modified the layouts to incorporate the chopstick pillars and cut everything out and glued it all together. This one is sized for the Hiya-Hiya interchangeable needles (so it fits size 2 up to size 15 needles). The diameter of the disk (not counting the protrusions that support the pillars) is just 3" and the height is approximately 3.75". It's a needle gauge and a stand :). The cork bottom ensures that your tips are cushioned should you point them down, and protects your furniture. The top layer has the US size markings on it and the bottom layer has the metric size markings on it. Of course there is room in the center for a sheep :).