Rhubarb aka Pie Plant

Outside it’s cool and rainy. Inside, the oven is 400 degrees F and the first cobbler of the season is bubbling away.

For the past couple of weeks, every time I pass the rhubarb plants I’ve been like the witch eyeing up Hansel and Gretel: fat enough to eat yet? Today the answer was “yes!”

Recently I found out that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s misadventure with pie-making in “The First Four Years” involved rhubarb. In the book, Laura calls it “pie plant,” but it’s rhubarb. If you remember back to the story, Laura–a new wife–is cooking for the threshing crew, and forgets to add sugar to the pie. Hello, sour.

If you’d like to check out my favorite rhubarb cobbler recipe, it’s in one of my old blog posts: https://homespunlife.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/rhubarb-how-i-love-thee/

And, since there’s no sun for a photo today, I’ll share a photo I took of a cobbler from seasons past.

• tess •


May 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

Blackberry Lilies

These are the lilies that Tess grew.

These are the lilies that came from the seeds that came from mom’s garden that tess grew.

They came from the seeds
that sat in the pantry
(for a year or two),
not expected to grow,
they were bid adieu,
in dirt that was poor
they did make-do,
lay fallow year 1
made foliage year 2
now look at the flowers!

…that tess grew.

September 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

Tale of the Fuzzy Lime Poncho

In the beginning, there was the yarn. Clearance priced, bright green and fuzzy. And upon huge bamboo needles, I created an expansive rectangle with several dropped stitches and a bind-off just a wee bit tighter than optimal. (It was the beginning, after all.)

The expansive rectangle became the first item of clothing made by me upon knitting needles, thanks to a free Lion-brand yarn pattern.

Eventually, I fixed theholes left from the dropped stitches. Well, not exactly fixed. More like camouflaged. But I was never quite happy with the length. Should have made the expansive rectangle even more expansive.

So, I recently said to myself, “Self, it’s time to fish or cut bait on this poncho. Fix it or Goodwill it.” I put it on for one last time and melted once more into its unbearably fuzzy warmth. (No, literally, I melted. It is summer, after all.) And I concluded that it was worth saving.

Out came the leftover green yarn and leftover complimentary lavender. Out came the crochet hooks. Round and round I circled the bottom edge, making it up as I went, while the yarn added a couple of inches to the overall length.

So, here it is, being modeled by my front steps. On a scale of 1 – 10 where 1 = Frankenponcho and 10 = Work of Art, what do you think?

• tess •

August 8, 2011 at 9:40 am 1 comment

Blog, Interrupted

Dearest Blog,

Hi. How have you been? Lonely, huh?

I’m writing to apologize for neglecting you these many months. The thought of you has haunted me like the nightmares of pregnancy.

I dreamed I put the baby down and then forgot about her for weeks and weeks and when I finally remembered to check on her she had shriveled to the size of a mouse.

It’s not you, it’s me. Despite the buckets and pails of writing I do in my professional life, your blank screen still intimidates me. And then there’s that dang Midwestern upbringing. Will I have anything to write that doesn’t sound self-aggrandizing and less than perfectly humble? How did Garrison Keillor overcome his origins? (Of course, Keillor  writes about his origins, so there’s that I suppose.)

But, in the end, I can’t quit you, blog. And so I’m back. Asking—no, begging—for your forgiveness, and recommitting to our slightly one-sided friendship.



July 3, 2011 at 9:28 am 3 comments

Know Your Wool

Meet Abigail. She’s the warm one on the right. That’s me—the cold one—on the left.

Abby has the most beautiful fleece and I want it. Though, I’ll let her keep it until Spring, of course.

I met Abby and her BFFs on a visit to the beautiful Observatory Hill Farm just after Christmas. She is part of a flock of saucy Corriedales of all hues and colors, but there was something about her carmel-y locks and shy ways that caught my attention. Well, shy until the bucket o’ corn and oats came out. After that she was eating out of my hand. Literally.

Here are some of Abby’s flock-mates running down the snowy hill for supper.

You’ll notice they are all in coats to protect the fleece from hay, burrs, poo and all that icky farm stuff. No, they don’t get too hot. Yes, there is an opening under the tail. :-)  I got the inside scoop on sheep coats from the shepherdess, who also happens to be my sister. And, yes, the coats come in different sizes. See Big Bella coming down just to the right of the lineup modeling her plus-size coat for the full-figured ewe?

So, I’m trying to figure out what to do with my many bags of unspun Shetland so that I can justify getting my hands on Abby’s lovely fleece in the Spring. Some women have closets full of shoes. Some have bins full of yarn. And me? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…with seven or eight more in the basement.

• tess •

February 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm 3 comments

2010 in review

Just when I thought about beating myself up over my spotty blog performance for 2010, the stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com sent me a high level summary of my overall blog health. If mine is a “Wow,” how do they rate the ones that post every week…or every day? Hmmm…methinks that WordPress wants to keep bloggers coming back for more. (And upgrading to the paid features.)

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Here’s What Else WordPress Had to Say

Featured imageA Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 29 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 57 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 27mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 20th with 35 views. The most popular post that day was Chocolate Dogs and Cakes.

The top referring sites in 2010 were healthfitnesstherapy.com, ravelry.com, twitter.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for yarn bowls, yarn bowl pottery, dandelion dye, yarn bowl, and julie knowles pottery.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Chocolate Dogs and Cakes July 2010



Yarn Bowls July 2010



About April 2010


Cast of Characters April 2010


Dandelion Dye Day May 2010
1 comment

Oh, dear WordPress! You have exonerated my mediocre blogging record for 2010 and given me cause to hope for happy, fruitful blogging in 2011. What would I do without you? :-p

• tess •

January 2, 2011 at 11:00 am 3 comments

1 year out from corporate mordor

This blog post from one of my favoritest bloggers, Mary Scott Huff, reminded me that January first marks a one-year anniversary for me. Is is now one year since I jumped from the relative security of a full-time, corporate, middle-management j.o.b. for this life of carefree (hahaha) pursuit of the freelance, homespun life.

How has it been? Careening on the edge, for the most part, with a grand flourishing finale.

How has it felt? Absolutely awesome, with a side of scary, and a deep, satisfying finish.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas I was able to put about 150 Hunger Games-related presents under trees all over the country, thanks to my Etsy shop. I have landed some wonderful new freelance clients. I have made awesome new acquaintances and friends through Ravelry, Etsy, Twitter, and Facebook…some of you even read my humble blog–THANK YOU!!! And, perhaps most importantly, we still own a house, both old jalopies, and are still able to put kibble in the bowls of the kitties and woof. No one had to be sold to the glue factory to pay the electric bill.

It’s not quite what I pictured. I am spending many more hours making PowerPoints than spinning wool and clicking needles. But, the effects of the long, long journey through Mordor are beginning to disappear. The eye is fading. The shire smells sweet again.

Happy New Year to us all.

• tess •

December 31, 2010 at 10:10 am 2 comments

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