Monday, May 30, 2011

Glory be to God for dappled things

Pied beauty
One of the most fun things about my garden is that it's a genetic crapshoot. I collect seeds wherever I might find them and then see what comes up the next year. Each flower that blooms or plant hat bears fruit is a surprise and I can see why Gregor Mendel would be fascinated by how this works. Sometimes I'll get plain orange or yellow ones and sometimes I get funky blotched or striped ones. Who knows what the progeny of this flower will look like! The marigolds are starting to really bloom now and I get giddy over every one of them.

We had omelets and hash browns for dinner one night last week because Bubby requested breakfast for dinner. She had originally requested omelets and eggs, but we decided that it would be redundant. I am happy to report, however that there are finally tomatoes at the Farmer's market! They're not as good as they will be in a couple weeks, but they were okay.

Along with Spaghetti Sunday, we've also been making biscuits on Sunday morning. I am, of course, teaching Bubby how.

Growing up, I thought that everyone knew how to cook and that biscuits were a basic staple food that every mother or grandmother could make. I had no idea that there were parts of the world that were deprived of fluffy breadly goodness and that biscuits would just always kind of be there.

Of course, in order for them to continue being there, we must continue to make them and I hope that this little one will pass on the skill at some point in her life. I'm not afraid of biscuit-making dying out or anything, but it does happen to be part of my culture and I would be remiss if I didn't pass it along. I'm still improving at it myself, partly because I'm using butter and goat's milk instead of shortening and buttermilk, but they turn out quite tasty.

It's a work in progress, but perhaps I'll get it by the time I'm a granny.

This week, I used Hatcher's Dairy unsalted butter and Noble Springs goat's milk. They were a little flat, but still good and I think that if I kneaded them a little less and rolled them out a little thicker, they'd have been perfect. It's possible they needed a skosh more flour, too.

All in all they were a biscuit success, in spite of their moderate flatness.

In other news, I worked on some piecing this week as well, mainly playing with color more than pattern. I ended up with twenty-eight six-inch squares, twenty-five of which I suppose will be about a lap-sized quilt when it's done.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but I think it will be pretty all the same. The other three squares were odds and ends that I'll make into potholders.

I am having some guilt over not having finished Iris's quilt. The only thing to be done about that, of course, is to work on it, but either my motivator's busted or I've just got too much going on. I suspect the latter.

Pot holders are my short attention span quilting and piecing. They use up scraps and I can make something quick, pretty, and useful. This is a series of ladybug pot holders all but one of which I'm going to put up in the shop when I update. Iris claimed the center one, which had a "flaw" in it. The red plaid square wasn't big enough, so I pieced one. I don't consider it a flaw, really because she ended up liking it because it wasn't like the other ones. Like the marigolds, it was funky and different, which made it cool and desirable. So, she decided she wanted this instead of her usual income for doing a good job on her room this week. I was happy to oblige. I am thrilled whenever she takes a liking to something I've made.

So, of course, she wants me to make her more things. This thing is not for her. This one is for me. I'm not even through the first repeat of the lotus blossom tank and I have a niggling worry about gauge and fit.

I tend to be a "product" knitter rather than a "process" knitter, so of course I want this to be functional and to fit. We'll see how it works out. I'm trying to be mindful about knitting this one in the hopes that I can enjoy the process as much as the potential product.

Nothing is perfect. My marigolds are splotchy, my biscuits are flattish, my potholders are funky, my quilt blocks don't exactly match, and my tank top already has mistakes in it that I'm not going to point out to anyone. Perfection is overrated anyway. Imperfection is far more interesting and within imperfection is the space to learn and grow. I'd much rather have a thousand splotchy funky marigolds than a single "perfect" one.

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
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