Sunday, December 25, 2016

Of Christmas' Past

Christmas with Maile (the dog) and Jade (the cat)
Early 1990's, Los Osos, CA

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Central Coast Christmas

Thursday, December 25, 2014
A Bravo Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2015
O, Christmas Tree

Best Wishes and Blessings
all the good things
today, tomorrow, and every day.
SLO Yarns 2016


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Good Karma

So there I was, minding my own business and Civic Duty came knocking on my door. It came in the form of a Jury Summons. I was scheduled to appear just before my requested time off for the Thanksgiving Holiday, but hey, what the heck. I'll just be required to make a telephone call a few times, they'll release me from service, and we'll call it good for another few years. Right?


I was instructed to make an appearance at the Paso Robles Courthouse. This did not bode well for me. Over the years I've had to appear only two times but both times I was selected to be an Alternate Juror.

The twelve Jurors had been selected the week before and had pretty much exhausted their own jury pool. The judge brought in our group the following week as fresh meat prospects. Three Alternate Jurors were to be selected; the trial was to last about two weeks.

I sat stunned when the Judge introduced the three Alternate Jurors. Wait. What? It's a medical trial why would they want a nurse? Why would they want me?

The high point of that day was when I noticed the shackles under my chair. Ooh, shiny.

FAQs - Superior Court, SLO: Weapons of any type will not be permitted into any court facility. Items such as: knives (including pocket knives), guns, stun guns, pepper spray, mace, scissors, knitting needles, corkscrews, or any item that may be used as a weapon are not permitted.

I asked the Security Officer about the knitting needle rule and he offered to take a look at my knitting needles if I brought them in. That night I went through my collection and even asked The Man for his opinion. The Man suggested the big fat wooden bambucha needles, as they look the least shiv-like out of the bunch. Luckily they're US 17, the same size I use for knitting Comfort Scarves.

The next morning Officer Darrel gave me the go-ahead to bring my knitting into the Courthouse. Civic Duty and Charity Knitting, talk about racking up those karma points.

It was truly amazing to have a group of complete strangers be so compatible, generous, kind, and respectful of one another. Over the span of three weeks, during our very frequent breaks, the fifteen of us shared life stories, recipes, restaurant recommendations, tasty treats, and Crock Pots.

Cindy brought me her spare Crock Pot when I mentioned I had cracked my Slow Cooker's ceramic liner.

The beginning of the fourth week of the trial found me at home on standby. In the late afternoon I received a call from the Court Clerk and was released and thanked for fulfilling my Civic Duty. Although I had heard the whole trial I was not needed during jury deliberation and was grateful for that. I was surprised when Madam Clerk asked if I wanted to know the Jury's decision.

If we are ever to be judged, we should all be so lucky to be judged by my fellow Jurors. Oh, and if you get summoned before a Holiday, you might want to defer till another time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Super secret stealth iPhone pic (can't discuss it yet).

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Yoghurt Yogurt

The other day I noticed our 2% milk was quickly approaching it's sell-by date and we had almost a full gallon left. That was a lot of milk to drink so I thought about how best to use it up. What about Corn Chowder? Nope, the weather's been too warm for soup. How about Macaroni and Cheese? Nah, too hot to turn on the oven.

What about yogurt?

Why, yes, that's a good idea. I've been meaning to try a batch in the Instant Pot. All it takes is milk and starter culture and I just happened to have a freshly opened container of plain Yoghurt that contains, "Billions of live and active cultures." Perfect.

Although I could make the yogurt directly in the Instant Pot's stainless steel liner I decided on just a few jars in case I messed up and had to toss my culinary science experiment. I watched a couple of Youtube videos and read a couple of recipes for Instant Pot yogurt. Easy Peasy.

First the milk is steamed for one minute. Then cooled down before adding the live cultures because you don't want to kill the little buggers off by adding it to too hot milk. Unfortunately, I got distracted and by the time I checked the temperature of the steamy milk it had already cooled to 107°. I was aiming for 115°.

I was pretty sure I messed up and would be drinking thick sour milk from pint-sized canning jars.

Oh, well. I went to the next step anyway and added a couple of dollops of Yoghurt and stirred it into the milk, pushed the "Yogurt" button, and used the machine's preset time to incubate for 8 hours. I watched the Instant Pot count the hours and minutes, and then it displayed the word "Yogt" when it hit the eight-hour mark.

 Ta-Da. Smooth, thick, and creamy.

I gotta say The Man is not a fan of plain yogurt though he was a good sport about trying a few spoonfuls of the stuff and making appreciative (I thought) mmmm sounds. But eventually he reached his limit and declined any further tasting, ie. "I'm not going to try it anymore, it tastes like sour milk, quit sticking it in my face."

Okay. Right. Maybe plain yogurt is not the end all for a few some most people. I like it "as is" but I guess I could add a little fruit, maybe use it in my cooking, or add it to smoothies.

But you gotta admit, it's pretty cool to make yogurt from yoghurt.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall Back

End of Daylight Savings Time, we're changing our clocks again. You would think I would get used to the idea of it after five years of living back on the Mainland but it's still incomprehensible to me and so for the past week I've been quizzing The Man at all times of the day by asking, "So, right now, the clock says it's [insert time here], what time is it going to be on Sunday?" "How dark is it going to be?"

It's hard to believe a year has passed since we've gone through this annual mind-bending ritual. Last night, The Man replied (a little wearily I thought), "No one will know what time it is."

With any luck next year I'll remember not to sign up to be on Call during this weird clock-changing time. My friend Sandee reminded me that I was on Call last year too. So while everyone else gets an extra hour of sleep, I add an extra hour to my 24-hour Standby time. Yup, a longer night of restless sleep, anticipating a ringing phone. Great.

This morning I got up bright and early and decided to resume writing and posting weekly to SLO Yarns blog. No real reason other than I miss talking to myself in the language of the written word. When I casually mentioned my decision to The Man he nodded but didn't say anything and of course I knew what he was thinking, "Grrreat ....".

So we'll change our clocks tonight and everything will be wonky for awhile. In the meantime, here's a few firsts that occurred during those missing weeks that I didn't post a story. You know, just so we're back on track.

Chimney Sweeper (aka The Man) getting ready for cooler days under blue skies.


First salsa verde with roasted poblano peppers and tomatillo (Note to self: tomatillo does not rhyme with armadillo).


First fall baking - Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies from the recipe on the package. You know, my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe circa 1980's uses Crisco shortening. I think I like butter better.


Greening up after the first rain (~ .5").


Last weekend began with a freshened Saturday morning after our second rain (~ 1.25").


It was a perfect day to bring home another motorcycle ('06 Suzuki V-Strom) for The Man.  The V-Strom is highly-rated to be a comfortable bike for two people (2-Up). I drove The Man's truck home from South County. It was the first time I have driven his truck, even though he's owned it for about fifteen years. Before I got on the road I practiced driving in an empty school parking lot. The Man's main concern was that I could reach the pedals. It was all good.

Yesterday, another typical fall morning. Beautiful, simply beautiful.

7:44 am

7:45 am

8:26 am

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pompom Optional

Several people have asked me the same question: "You have a knitting machine? Isn't that like cheating?" Before I answer their question I glance at The Man, and sure enough, he's got the "I told you so" smirk on his face.

The circular knitting machine (ahem) machines are called addi Express Professional with 22 needles and addi Express King which has 46 needles. My bright idea in acquiring a circular knitting machine was to be able to crank out knitted hats and other tubular creations, lickety-split.

If you think it's cheating, well then it's only half cheating, my hats are both machine knit and hand-knit.

Basically I cast on to the addi Express King with waste yarn, crank for awhile, then cast off with waste yarn. When I remove the waste yarn the stitches are "live" and ready to be picked up with my knitting needles. Then I knit a 1x1 rib brim on the bottom and a knitted decrease for the top. The body of the hat - the middle section - is knit by the machine.

Sounds easy-peasy but there was definitely a learning curve for using the device and I'm still tweaking the pattern to get a good-fitting hat, i.e., one that is not too long, nor too short, you know, just right. It's not instant knitting but it's fun to see what I can create in a few hours as compared to a few days.

Right now my completed hats are squeezed in between eight Comfort Scarves and nine colorful skeins of soft fuzzy yarn.

The big box of yarny goodness is ready to be mailed out to Leslye Borden of Handmade Especially for You charity. The five knitted hats are intended for the children at the Women's Shelters.

You know, come to think of it, I don't think I'll worry too much about what people say about my knitting machine. Oh, and the pompoms? They're made with a pompom maker do-dad.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Instant Love

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Amazon Prime Day, July 12, 2016, I was counted as 1 out of 215,000 people that purchased an Instant Pot. The multi-functional 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker was the top seller of the day. The funny thing is I didn't even know I needed one, heck, I had never even heard of an Instant Pot and I wasn't even a Prime Member. But I got one anyway because, well, I did need a new rice cooker.

The first thing the User Manual recommends is to boil water as a test run. Thataway, you get used to the device, it's features, and to make sure "your unit is working perfectly". I decided to watch it work perfectly from a safe distance.

The Instant Pot is amazing. It was especially perfect for summer cooking when it was just too hot to cook. I could set it, forget it, and spend my time outdoors.

Beef Stew

3:30 pm

6:05 pm

 Roast chicken

Browned on Saute Mode in the IP

Fall off the bone tender

Not Re-fried Beans! (recipe included with IP) and chicken soft tacos

I have also made Spanish rice, Pot Roast, Chile Colorado, St. Louis Style ribs (check out Flo Lum YouTube videos), hard boiled eggs, steamed veggies (potatoes, artichokes) slow cooked Kalua pig, Minestrone soup, and the easiest pan gravy.

I love my Instant Pot. The Man loves my Instant Pot.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Summer, Goodbye

Fall is here. For the most part the days and nights are getting cooler though you wouldn't know it from last week when San Luis Obispo peaked at 108°, it was the highest temperature across the nation.

The cooler weather makes for great baking weather. I spent the last two days in the kitchen churning out yummy goodness: Zucchini Bread, Brownies, and Fruit Cobbler. Most of it is being given away but I've made sure to save a slice and bite for The Man. Oh, and of course the Cobbler needed to be paired with homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. Of course.

Our newest additions to the herd and flock have settled in and now that Mama Legs and Edie have proclaimed themselves "Queen of All", the rest of the critters seems to have resigned themselves to their ruling. I'm just grateful the daily drama of bickering and fighting have subsided.

We've had losses over the summer and said goodbye to our two good hens, Baby and Tandy, and also, Molly the cat. They were all very good girls.

Another loss, surprising to say the least, happened last Monday night at 11pm. We were suddenly awakened by an immense CRAAACK.

Mattie asleep on the floor next to me jumped up. I jumped out of bed. The Man jumped out of bed after seeing a cloud of dirt drift past our open window.

Armed with flashlights we went outside to view the damage. When I came back in the house a few minutes later Mattie looked at me expectantly. "A branch fell down." She turned around and headed back to her bed. To her retreating backside I said, "A really big branch." And it was.

We were up at first light to survey the damage and begin the clean up in the cool morning air. This time we got off easy. The only damage sustained was a section of wood on top of the retaining wall.

So here's the thing: it's called Summer Limb Drop, a phenomenon that happens in late summer, quite suddenly and without warning, and it can be catastrophic. During a hot day the oak trees suck up a whole bunch of water and release the moisture through their leaves (evapotranspiration). But when the temperature difference is so great - 100° during the day and quickly down to the 50's at night - the oaks don't get rid of the excess water, leaving their branches heavier than normal and apparently too much to bear. The Man noticed how water-logged the branch was when he started cutting the thick limb, it dripped with water.

Now that we know about it we'll add Summer Limb Drop to our BE WARY LIST (right under Mountain Lions and Rattlesnakes).

~ ~ ~

And here's a note from me:

After much thought and consideration I have decided to spend a little less time on the SLO Yarns Blog. Currently (and for the past four years) I have posted a story every week. Starting this week I'll be cutting back to every other week. I think this will allow me more time to be truly out and about and I'm hoping to spend more time with The Man 2-Up. Besides, except for the occasional giant tree limb falling out of the sky not too much happens around here. wink wink

~ Lynn

Saturday, September 24, 2016

SnapShots: Back Roads Idaho


Bannock Ghost town


Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

the Lewis and Clark Trail,

rode through beautiful 

met up with
current friends,

made many new

Hanging garlands of wild hop vines

Participants in the IDBDR video (Seattle, WA)

Stefan and Jayne (Forest Grove, OR)

and graciously
the kindness and hospitality of 
fellow travelers.

BBQ Chicken with Richard and Terri (Longmont, CO)

Who left this on my picnic table?

Surprise! from the C. Family (Missoula, MO)

August 20, 2016 - September 4, 2016