Thursday, August 28, 2008

indigenous yums!

I had once heard that yucca blossoms were edible, and that in fancy schmancy resturants out in California, you paid good money to eat them in salads. I even Googled them, but didn't really find much information to satisfy my curiosity-some long gone trendy diner menus, and some Indian dude touting the cool factor of the Plains Indian diet. That was about it. What I did find told me to be sure not to eat anything but the blossom itself, as yucca contains saponins (which I understand to be a form of soap, and as such, quite bitter and narsty.) Indeed, an Indian acquaintence of mine once swore up and down the very best shampoo in the whole world came from washing with the root of yucca. But I digress.

In June, the whole area around Spearfish burst into blossom and the yucca was everywhere. So I stopped and picked a spike. If you decide to try this next year, please don't be the ass I was, bring yourself some gardening shears to sever the spike from the plant. It's very very tough when using your car keys to cut it.

One spike will provide an ample amount of blossoms for about 6 people. I found that my favorite part was the bud, or the pistil and area fo the flower where the little embryonic seeds rest -it's quite sweet. I would liken the taste to that of a snow pea. We ate our salad with a lemon, basil and garlic dressing that was really outstanding.

Isn't it purty?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Hey did ya hear? Pyrotechnics Guild International is holding their annual meeting in Gillette WY this week. Each night had fireworks events, but the culmination is the "Grand Public Display" this Friday night at the Camplex. This is one of the largest fireworks displays in the world and will contain many handmade fireworks you'll never see done commerically. All the cool kids are goin' - even National Geographic will be on hand to film for an upcoming documentary. (I bet its about people who blow their fingers off playing with gunpowder.) I think we're gonna go, and I predict our lifetime supply of oooh and aaahs will be all used up by the end. In fact, I suspect we'll be ruined for all other fireworks displays ever. Heh.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Un-freaking believable

Two months of work
Two minutes of frogging
Aw ....fuck a duck

Title Omitted for Reasons of Public Decency

I had to leave the title of this post blank, because I'm attempting to be a bigger person than my natural instincts dictate and I'm trying to write relatively cleanly. What I'd like to do is throw a huge temper tantrum, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets start at the beginning.

I talked a good friend (you know who you are) into sewing some microfiber inserts for me since my sewing machine has decided to go AWOL and hide from me in my storage unit 350 miles away. I was desperate. I was worried about having enough inserts for my child to stuff in her diapers. Fear of running out of diapers will make you do irrational things. I agreed to knit SIZE ELEVEN socks for someone out of this crazy fun yarn her sister had dyed up from laceweight yarn. The colorway is called "Covered in Bees" a reference to a standup bit by everyone's favorite British cross-dressing comedian, Eddie Izzard. She would have knit them herself, alas, she is a crocheter.

I cast on, and found I was knitting at either 10 or eleven stitches per INCH. Do you have any idea how many stitches that represents? That gauge is so fine it's not even ON my sock knitting chart. I increased my needle size to a 2-and normally knit on 0's. This barely allowed me to make it to nine stitches per inch-just on the chart. Each repeat seemed to take ages... I felt like one of those hamsters on a wheel, spinning in place. This was compounded by the fact that I have an infant at home. I don't knit much. By the time June was gone, I had only finished about 2 inches of cuff. I felt guilty. The recipient is coming home from work at camp at the end of the summer. I'd never make it by this rate. She worked her butt off to sew me inserts before she left for camp-in the midst of finals. The least I could do was come through on my end of the bargain. I reapplied myself, resolving to spend at least some time each day knitting on them, and put all other projects on the backburner, even my pretty summer tank I wanted to finish before the season was done. I wasn't always successful at this goal, but by yesterday I'd gotten to this point:

I was pretty pleased. Knitting comes slowly with a new baby around. I was still very concerned about finishing before the end of the summer-I was really only 1/4 of the way through, afterall, but at least I was making progress. Rayelle (no stranger to large feet at size 10.5's) causally picked it up last night and said "GEEZE! who are you knitting the enormous sock for?!? That's not gonna fit ANYONE-certainly not Rachel!"

come again?

Ex-squeeeeeze me?!?

"Look at your gauge! What is that-six stitches to the inch?!?"

I have size 6 feet. I'd never really paid attention to just how big this thing is turning out to be. Surely Rachel, even at her most swollen and footsore, doesn't have arches that are 17 inches in circumfrence, does she? DOES SHE?!?

It looks like I was knitting at about 6.5 stitches per inch. Note to self: When swatching for a sock- please swatch in the round.

Rachel, please note the pleasing change in the amount of "bees" as we proceed through the ball of yarn in the former photo. It may be the closest you ever get to your hand knitted socks.

Un-freaking believable.