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The Back Forty
3:47 p.m. - 2013-06-13

This year the spouse finally talked me into taking out the filbert tree. I had great hopes for that tree, but it never produced a nut that we ever saw, though once or twice I would find a half-eaten immature nut in the yard. I gave the tree one more chance and kept a close eye on it all summer and fall but never saw a single nut on the tree. Well, the spouse dug the tree out and suddenly the whole right back section of the yard was filled with sunlight and good earth. He also had taken out the huge ivy hedge, so the neighbors chainlink fence is all that remains. We call this section The Back Forty. After it was dug up and the soil amendments added, it just about doubled our good garden acreage. I planted about twenty winter squash plants along the fence, and they are already climbing up. The rest of the space is planted to bush beans, pole beans, summer squash, basil, beets, parsley, cilantro, and arugula. I still have some large areas to plant in the other two garden areas, and hope to get the spouse to help me this weekend.

WSP took a week's vacation to Cape Cod in order to help his mom with the plane flights. It sounds like he really took advantage of the time off and had a nice relaxing time. My MIL had a great time, too. They were staying at a vacation house owned by a family member, so as vacations go, it wasn't too expensive. I took advantage of being home alone to work on some projects and to finally sit down undisturbed at the serger I got for a present two years ago and learn how to use it. My dad started going downhill right about the time I got the serger, so I had to put it on the back burner for awhile until I felt like tackling it. I built up quite a mental block about that serger, but during the week WSP was gone, I made myself spend an hour with it every day. In a few days, I was stitching. More importantly, I'm not afraid of it anymore.

Not much sewing going on here though, since I am still knitting. So far, I have finished the assembly of the navy jacket with garter borders, the variegated raglan cardigan, and the emerald green jacket with garter eyelet borders. They have joined the gray/gold fair isle sweater in the 'I Need The Buttons Sewn On' waiting room. Still waiting to be sewn together is a lemon yellow raglan cardigan.

I was reading some blog or other about a girl and her husband who have gotten into that Paleo eating fad. She mentioned all the coconut oil they eat and that Costco sells a big tub of it for a reasonable price. I went and got some, not to eat (because the verdict is not in on whether or not it can adversely affect cholesterol and lipid levels) but to try as a lotion and hair cream. As a lotion it seems to be fabulous, and I am testing it on my hair for the first time today. At least it smells good. One of these days, though, after my next cholesterol test, I am going to try making some popcorn with it.

Abby is having another tea party soon, and I am supposed to bring the little tea sandwiches. I have some canape molds that produce little loaves of bread that yield slices shaped like hearts, flowers, or sunbursts. Last time I used them, I had a hard time getting the loaves out of the molds, so this time I decided to try something new. I got out my tin of shortening, which I only use to grease pans, and melted some in a small skillet. I used a pastry brush to liberally coat the inside of the molds, then sprayed them with cooking spray. This really worked, and the loaves of bread came out without any tearing or effort.

Also while the spouse was gone, I went to the thrift store in Sebastopol and got quite a bit of good knit fabrics in white and cream. After I serge them into garments, I am going to try dyeing them different colors just for the fun of it.

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