Project 49: A coffee cozy from a stash of granny squares made from odds and ends of yarn

For the last part of our trip, we stayed with my in-laws at the farmhouse where my husband grew up in the Laurentian mountains, south of Mont Tremblant. There were lots of projects that my whole family got involved in. My husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law did a major repair to a huge old barn. My daughter baked lots of bread and desserts. My son learned how to use a wood lathe and made a bowl. He was so taken with it that he and my husband bought a $100 used lathe a couple days after returning home. Those were just a few of the things that kept us happily busy for the last part of July.

Here is one of the projects that I did on a rainy day. My step-mother-in-law, Meg, had been given a stash of yarn that had belonged to her mother. In the boxes was a collection of crocheted granny squares. Her mother had made about 40 of these to use up odd bits of yarn but had no project in particular in mind for them.

a bread bag full of granny squares
coffee pot cozy with bright red squares
cozy on an insulated French press coffee pot
more subdued colours of the second cozy
 opening for handle of the coffee pot

I had garden envy after seeing gardens belonging to my mom, Dan and Meg. Everything was easily two to four times larger than anything I had ever grown in Calgary. The difference was in part the skill of the gardeners, the soil and compost, longer growing season and the hot humid weather. It was not unusual to awake to mist and fog in the mornings. That just doesn’t happen in Calgary – land of the dry heat.

Raised bed gardens with garlic, parsley and greens

We had some beautiful salads and vegetables. The Swiss Chard and kale was as large as store bought but much more tender. Also ready to eat were peas, snow peas, lots of lettuce, spinach, radish, carrots, herbs, onions, lots of raspberries and even a few blueberries. One lunch featured kale two ways, stir-fried and in a salad! My kids were not as enthusiastic. One day I prepared a bunch of lamb’s quarters (weed) that I pulled up. I cooked it like spinach. There is no need to eat the lamb’s quarters when the swiss chard grows the way it does, but it did taste good. I was inspired to do so by friend Swati, who told me that it is commonly eaten as a vegetable in India. I have also heard that advice to eat the lamb’s quarters from Calgary gardeners. Lately, I have let the plant grow when I see it. I wonder if I can get enough to cook and eat.

snow peas, swiss chard, and perpetual spinach

Back at home, my garden was kept alive by Mary and Marj. It was a hot dry July in Calgary and if they hadn’t watered, I would have returned to crispy brown plants. We arrived past midnight with an overnight temperature of 25°C. I was stunned by the exuberant growth of the plants. They grow a lot in 3 weeks time. The U of Saskatchewan cherry bushes were happy. I have Carmine Jewel and Crimson Passion cherry bushes. This is the first year that they have produced more than a handful of cherries. The raspberries were just enormous. My garden envy was replaced by astonishment and gratitude.

Carmine Jewel cherries – almost ripe
I picked them a bit early and made a sour cherry sauce for waffles.
giant raspberries
I’ve been picking a tray full of berries every couple of days.
Self-seeded bachelor buttons that have taken over my vegetable garden. I have been cleaning things up and even have a few beans starting to grow.
I took 8 pounds of unripe apples off of the September Ruby apple tree because the branches looked overloaded. I pruned mini apples earlier in the year, but clearly not enough. The Zestar apple tree did not produce as many fruit to begin with and the size of the fruit on that tree was about 3 or 4 times larger than on the other tree. That would be my last observation of “less is more”. Be more severe in the spring when pruning apples. One apple per cluster is enough.
I made some apple and date chutney (loosely following this recipe), some pectin and an apple cake using the apple sauce left over from making pectin and I froze some apple slices to use in cooking and baking. To keep the apples from turning brown before freezing, I used a trick that a friend’s grandmother used – dipping them in salt water. I think it helped.
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