Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Maberga style

So, three days ago I was taken ill.  So ill that I haven't been vertical for more that the 20 seconds it takes for me to walk from any horizontal post in my house to my bathroom.  Yes, I think I'm dying...but then, A) I tend to be a big wimp when I'm sick, B)  I also tend to exaggerate, and C) well, I hate to break it you all, but we are all dying, eventually.

Yeah, ok.  So I've been taking some medication as well. 

Anyway, since I don't have the brain power or the tremendous wit to form my own New Year's Eve post tonight, I would like to direct you all to an awesome blogger who I've recently discovered.  I find that her New Year Post says all that I really need.  GO HERE.  Thank you, Emma.  And I hope that you knitters in the reading pool will check out her patterns.  Cool stuff.

Happy 2012 to everyone. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

from Maberga

Is that or is that not the most Charlie Brownish Christmas tree ever?  Yes, thank you, it is.  That's really the look we were going for.

If you find it as completely lovely as I do, and would like to replicate the effect in your own home next year, here's what you gotta do...

1.  Liberally, and I mean LIBERALLY, trim your olive trees.  Strew all the just cut branches around your property for inspection. Pick the biggest and the best one (duh.).

2.  Put the branch in a basket in your bedroom.  You don't need to put it in water.  As the branch dries out, all the leaves start dropping thus enhancing the overall feel.

3.  Hang a couple old and dried out chili peppers from the garden and the 4 christmas cards you received on the branches of your branch.

4.  If you feel exceptionally creative, you can make a few ornaments like this Star of David that I made (6 pointed stars are easier than 5, plus it really confuses people why you'd put a jewish star on a christian icon)

It's that simple.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So, David and I fell asleep on the couch last night listening to a Radiolab show.  If you don't know Radiolab, check it out and enjoy!  Anyway, I was saying that we fell asleep on the couch.  I woke up at about 3am, wide awake with jetlag...or maybe because I've been doing nothing but sleeping ala a narcoleptic since I've returned home.  I got up to get a glass of water and stepped on this...

That's a tooth, by the way.  A really big tooth.

When David woke up I asked him if he had any idea where this came from....hoping to god that he didn't say "my mouth".

"Oh yeah, yesterday Q found a skull while we were playing lemon."

I don't know what's stranger - that, in the middle of the night, I stepped on a big cuspid from an unidentifiable animal or that I know what playing lemon means.

Actually, the strangest thing is that having a dead animal's skull appear in our garden and having our dogs play dentist on it didn't make headline conversation news for my husband. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

No, no, no.  Don't be ridiculous.  I've haven't died from a tick bite.  Although that little bugger's head is still in my leg.  Should I worry about that?

I hadn't been writing because I was hanging out with family.  That's a pretty good excuse, I think.

But now I'm back ...

Home sweet home

Monday, November 28, 2011

So I've been in the States for about a week now.  Yesterday evening was the first down time since arriving what with Thanksgiving and all the family and what not. (If you're wondering why that sentence sounded funny, it's because I'm trying to take on the vernacular of the know, to try to blend in). Sunday evening down time means relaxing with a little football, some leftovers, and some knitting...basically lying around the house in comfy clothes recovering from the long weekend.  I grab some leggings out of my suitcase, borrow a big sweatshirt from mom and get busy on a new poncho. 

A couple hours later, I feel an itch just below my left knee.  I drop my drawers to have a look.  Hmm...looks like I cut myself shaving.  I don't remember cutting myself...I don't remember shaving my legs.  It's nice having the extra warmth that leg hair provides, what with it being late November and winter  and the Midwest and what not.  Anyway, I have a closer look and damn if I don't recognize what that little itchy spot on my knee is.  Yep, a tick.  A tick was trying to suck blood from my knee.  Unsuccessfully, I might add, what with it being my knee and what not.

I guess you can get the girl out of Maberga but you can't get the ticks out of her leggings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

So, on Friday we celebrated the end of another year of knitting together.  Wait, I don't think I phrased that quite right.  I don't mean that we were celebrating because we were ending but rather we were celebrating another year together, that is now ending...whatever, you know what I meant.

Have you ever noticed that when the topic of knitting comes up randomly at dinner parties, as it always does...or maybe that's just dinner parties I go to...anyway, have you ever noticed that everyone's connection to knitting comes in the form of a grandma?  Like this, "knitting?  Oh yeah, I remember my grandma clicking away in front of the fire."  That's the men's response.  The women's response is almost always this, "knitting.  Yeah, my grandma tried to teach me when I was a kid.  I hated it."  Upon hearing this latter response, of course, I pick up my glass of wine and move to another end of the table. 

As it happens in our little knitting group, every member has done her part to keep the world population in check.  Yep, three grown women, not a child among us.  This of course means that it will be very difficult for us to be someone's knitting grandma forcing our wooly obsession on sharing our artisanal skills with the offspring of offspring.  So we just pick people up off the street and teach them to knit.  Christine found this one....

She's called Jane.  No really, that's her name.  
Christine and I let Mette have the new meat...


so that we could concentrate on turning the second heel on Christine's dad's socks.  Wait, I said that's not the second heel, it's the first heel on the second know what I meant.
I gave Mette a couple little friends that she had asked me to make.  

They are gifts for babies "born in November" Mette said, 3 months ago when she asked me to make them.  Yeah, the kids came out way before I cast off the tails on these guys.

Mette made us an awesome lunch 

and served it in her beautiful dining room

Thanks for another year of knitterly friendship, Ladies. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Letter of the Law or Spirit?

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know that getting myself to 100 posts this year by putting up a new You Tube video everyday doesn't really meet the spirit of my challenge BUT, I got this one from Mette today that had me on the floor laughing.

I want to be that girl.

Thank you to everyone who wished me well  congratulated me on my fruit sauces.  They were a big hit at the italian Thanksgiving. 

And many many thanks to the hosts for a day to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday night in Maberga - part 3...the last one for tonight, I sincerely hope

NOTE:  If you haven't read "Saturday night in Maberga" parts 1 and 2, you won't have a clue what's going on here in part 3.

Is it just me or does this look absolutely disgusting?

It's supposed to be cranberry sauce.  Here, look more closely...

Gross.  But it's finished.  And ya' know what?  At six minutes to midnight, that's really all that's important.  I'm not all that concerned right now that it looks like a colony of worms infested a bowl of kidney beans.

Let's move onto our third and final recipe for my Thanksgiving,  Other Stuff : Brandied Cranberries.

Here's what I have to do

yeah, whatever.  See this...

that's some dried cranberries, some sugar, some brandy, some clementine juice and a little water.  I'm simmering it until, well, until I want to stop simmering it.  I'm sure they will be delicious.

Well, then.  Thanks for hanging out with me on this lively Saturday night on the mountain.  You guys feel free to stay up as late as you want but I'm hitting the hay.  I've got to get up early tomorrow to make an apple pie. 

This year, I am thankful for my friends Christine and Valerio who are hosting our Thanksgiving dinner and doing EVERYTHING involved in serving a huge turkey dinner, except for a couple sauces and a pie. 

Saturday night in Maberga, Part 2

NOTE:  If you haven't read "Saturday night in Maberga, Part 1" you might miss some of the plot happening here in Part 2.  Head on over to Part 1 here.

So, while my "other stuff #1: cherry sauce" is simmering, let me ask you guys a question....

Are these not the coolest looking measuring spoons you ever seen?

Yes, they are.  When I left home after graduating from college, at that eager, hopeful and ignorant age of 21, I loaded my car to head know, to find my fortune and all that (that plan didn't really work so then I came east....but I digress).  My mom had packed me a box of kitchen stuff, that she thought I would need to stock my first kitchen...some new utensils, some extras from her own kitchen (my dad did the same with garage tools but that's a whole different blog post).  These measuring spoons fall in the latter category of mom's extras. I wonder how old these spoons are?  They've been with me now for 20 years.  Mom, if you're reading this, do you know when you got those spoons?  And how did you ever part with them given their incredible beauty and ultimate coolness?

Oh shit.  Mistake one..."simmer 5 minutes", it's now been about 10 as I was wallowing in my teaspoon memories.  Hold on, let me go check on things...

Um, actually it's been 12 minutes and that sauce is supposed to "slightly thicken".  Hmmm. Mine, not so much. 

Other stuff #1: cherry sauce  - FINISHED ...some questions remain:   It tastes ok, but a little sweet, should I add some of my burnt pepper oil you know, just for a little kick?   What the f#%@ are we going to do tomorrow at a dinner with 9 people and approximately 6 teaspoons of cherry sauce?

Oh yeah....good song just came on!  Here, join in with me....

Ok friends, time to move on to Thanksgiving Other Stuff #2: Cranberry Sauce.

So, um, I don't actually have any cranberries but I do have these

Very much appreciating the internet tonight, I've actually found a recipe for my not actually cranberry cranberries.

It looks like this

I need these ingredients

Whoa, those dried cranberries weren't very dry...more like oiled cranberries.  Check this out!

Look at my hand!


So, well, while my cranberries are plumping up shall we start the next and last Thanksgiving Other stuff:  Brandied Cranberries?

yeah, just hold your horses. 

PS.  it's now 11.20 pm and I've done one and a half sauces.  Is it just me or is this taking a really long time?

Saturday night in Maberga, part 1

It's a hoppin' Saturday night in Maberga and you all are invited to join me for the evening.

I'm alone and cooking.  Should be hours of fun and hilarity.  Did I mention that I have The Essential Journey album in the background? Yep.  Saturday in Maberga. 

I've had a secret goal of hitting 100 posts for the year.  It's November 12 and I have 72.  It's not looking good unless I get my ass in gear.  So tonight, I will be posting periodically, separate posts for the various stages of my cooking.  

Tomorrow is the surrogate Thanksgiving in these parts.  I'm off to friend Christine and Valerio's for some turkey and stuffin'.  I said that I'd bring my usual apple pie and  "some other stuff".  I'm working on the "other stuff" tonight.

So,  head to the kitchen,

grab your apron,

and put on some Journey,

'cause here we go...

Oh yeah, I'm also having a beer.

Feel free to get your own beverage of choice.

Thanksgiving Other Stuff from the kitchen of Lynn

Other stuff # 1:  Cherry sauce.

Here's the recipe I found.

So, I'm off to the stove now.  Obviously I only have to numbers 1 and 3 above.  Christine is making the turkey part. 

I can't really screw this up, can I?  yeah, well, stay tuned.

If you guys out there want to add extra fun by starting some betting pools, the following are possible wagers:

--it's 8.44 now.  What time will I finish this little cooking/blogging extravaganza?
--I'm going to attempt 3 "other things" recipes.  How many "other things" will I be bringing to Christine's thanksgiving tomorrow?
--I'm on my second beer.  How many will it take to get me through this evening?  Wait, no, don't do that one.  It could be embarrassing.

Talk to ya soon....

Friday, November 11, 2011

As always happens when I go too long without posting, I've got emails from some of the OliveKnitting regulars.  You know, gentle nudges to post.

It's surely been such a long time since I've posted that the nudges this time have taken the form of fun videos.  Obviously intented to perk me up and inspire me.

I'm happy to share these two videos...which both have perked me RIGHT up.  Obviously not enough yet to write an original blog...but I'm getting there!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

So, the cinghiale got my orto.  Actually it happened several days ago but I couldn't write...I've been in mourning.

BEFORE                                                                                                                                    AFTER

Fuckers.  Actually, it was just one fucker.  A baby fucker.

Excuse my language.  I'm still going through the mourning process.  I've reached the anger stage.

Upon noticing the damage, which is not hard to miss even for a novice gardener like me, I called Augusto.  
"Ciao, Augusto.  Bad news."
"Lina, cosa c'e'?!" 
"Cinghiale.  They took everything."
"I'll be right there."
We walked the whole area looking for how they got in.  Finally we saw this.

We surmised that it was one little guy who squeezed his chubby little wild boar butt in under my fence.  And proceeded to feast on my fave...and peas....and onions.  He was very thorough, gotta give him that.

He did leave me the broccoli, proving that children of all nationalities and species don't like broccoli.
For dinner tonight I will eat broccoli.  Only broccoli. Given the time and effort I've put into the orto and the money I've paid Augusto to prepare and plant this garden, I'm pretty sure that this will be the most expensive meal I've ever eaten.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

what's in a verb?

Quite a lot, so it seems.

Take these two phrases, for example:

Save for a rainy day

Plan for a rainy day

I always kind of thought they meant the same thing but ohhhh noooooo. Save Plan -- two different actions completely.  Let me show you...

Saving for a rainy day

 That's my stash for a rainy day.  I'm a saver.

PLANNING for a rainy day

 That's my neighbor's stash for a rainy day.  He's a planner.

As you can guess, when it actually rains, you'll wish you had planned not just saved.  Saving without planning leaves you with a bunch of wet wood that means shit when you want to start a fire.

I am happy to report that my husband is the planner to my saver.  He stashed some wood inside for me...planning for the first rainy day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So it's a beautiful autumn Sunday in Maberga.  The sky is brilliant blue,  the olives on the trees are plump and black, and the sun is providing the perfect warmth to balance the chill in the morning air.  The dogs and I are having our morning walk.The morning walk rule is that everyone gets their needs met.  This means I go up to the terraces to watch my fava beans grow, Q does a circuit of leaps and runs to explore, and Ruffino stands three terraces below me, waiting for me to do something exciting. 

After about 15 minutes this morning, having been distracted by the beauty of the day, I notice that the dogs are no where in sight.  I call them.  Q immediately comes bounding back to me from God knows where, completely wet.  It seems she felt she needed a bath this morning. I'm not exactly sure where she found a body of water but... whatever, individual needs and all that.  More calling because Ruff's still not around.  Hmm.  Q and I go searching, walking through the tall grass (of someone else's terrace, not mine of course because mine are now all clean!!!) and I hear some chewing.

There's Ruffino, basking in the golden morning sun...with a big freaking bloody bone in his mouth.  Lying just beyond him is the severed head of a baby goat.

I'm not so sorry to tell you that I did not make a photo of it.  If you can't form your own mental picture, be thankful...or think of the horse head scene from the Godfather, but with a smaller head and no silk sheets.

Ya know, a gorgeous fall day can just as easily be enjoyed from inside the confines of one's own fenced in garden. 

Happy Sunday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

So, maybe you've noticed that I've been a little spotty in the blog posting.  Yeah, well.  I've been busy.  It's looked something like this

Remember my Maaema Scarf from the creative Denise at Lost City Knits? Yeah, well, I still haven't finished it.  I got about 3 feet into it and then something distracted me.  Kind of like this...

And then....the other day a very special package arrived in the mail. A wonderful, amazing gift just for me!  I know it's just for me because it was my birthday gift to myself.

Check this out!

Yep, that's some really awesome sock yarn all the way from Oklahoma.  Let's just admire it again... 

I ordered it from Lost City Knits.  So when it arrived I remembered my poor Maaema scarf and, with the willpower of steel that we all know I possess, I'm determined to finish the scarf before I let myself fondle knit with my new treats.

Look at what the colors are called...

If you are a knitter or know a knitter who you would like to make really really happy,  check out Denise's yarn.  Her colors are amazing.