Work, walnuts and knitting

11 March 2009
With two incredibly busy days at work behind me, I'm happy to be home again. I love my work, love the people I work with, and the students at our Flexischool, but as we move closer to our new building, the days get more hectic with more work to cram into the days I'm there. I have to go back for a meeting tomorrow, but today I will appreciate the quiet and familiar here at home.

We've had Shane and Sarndra staying with us for a couple of days. They were organising a few things for the wedding and wanted to make sure Princess (the cat) and their chooks settled in well. It's a slow process, but everything seems to be going well on that front. I helped Sarndra with the wedding invitations on Sunday while we had a nice conversation about her hopes for their special day and our wedding in Hamburg. They left to go to Brisbane on Monday to stay with Sarndra's mum and this morning they're flying to New Zealand. They'll return a couple of weeks before their wedding in late June. Bon Voyage S & S! One of the wonderful things about blogging for me is that my family can read that life is going on as normal here at home, even though they're far away. I have family members and close friends who read my blog most days so I'll take this opportunity to say hello to Kerry, Sunny, Tricia, Danny, Kathleen, Susan, Wendy, Bernadette, Suzie, Nick, Angie, Billie and Zoe.

So today Hanno and I will be here together with all sorts of possibilities on the horizon. We have bread in the freezer so I won't bake bread, but I'll be sweeping, washing, making the bed, and tidying up; all the gentle things that will bring my mind back home again, and I will make sure I talk to Hanno, smile, relax, sew and knit, enjoy myself and get enough sleep. :- )

We have walnuts! We were given a large bag of Tasmanian walnuts last week - 10 kilos (22 pounds) of them! Hanno and I have cracked a few open with the hammer but today I'll have to do something with the bulk of them. Have you frozen walnuts? I hope to freeze most of them in small bags but I wonder if it will affect the taste. At the moment they're really delicious and I don't want to spoil them. If you know of any other ways to store walnuts, please let me know. Which reminds me, I'll check the pecan tree today to see if any are ready to fall. When I last looked, a couple of weeks ago, they were still green.

And this afternoon, after I feel satisfied with the work I've done, I'll sit with my knitting for a while. I haven't knitted at all since last Friday and I've missed it. For those of you knitting along, I've only done three and a half squares so far. Hopefully I'll do another three before the weekend. The square I've almost completed is an easy one, giving a nice textured look.

Cast on 28 stitches.
Rows 1, 2, 3: Knit to end
Row 2: K 5, P 3, K 3, P3, K3, P3, K3, P3, K2
Row 3: K2, P3, K3, P3, K3, P3, K3, P3, K5
And repeat rows 2 and 3 until the right length, making room to end off with three rows of Knit.

I brought home one of the knitting folders from work yesterday and want to look through it for ideas before I take it back again next week. If anyone has a favourite simple square pattern they'd like to share, let me know and I'll include it in a post later in the week.

Welcome to the new readers, including the knitters. It's lovely having you all here. A warm hello to those old friends who continue reading. I love receiving your comments, I read every one of them, and although I don't often have the time to respond to comments, I do appreciate your thoughts and good wishes. And now I'm off to answer a few questions in yesterday's post. Have a lovely day, everyone.


  1. Have a lovely day too Rhonda and thanks for always being there

    Babs xxx

  2. I have crocheted several squares, they are granny square patterns. They are going to be about lap robe size, my daughter is only 16 but she wants to make sure she has a baby blanket made by me when she needs it years from now, so that's what I've been doing. I'm having a lot of fun with it.

  3. I think you could preserve these nicely by canning them dry. My mom showed me how to do this years ago, though I haven't done it for a while.

    Put the nuts (works well with rolled grain flakes, also) in a clean canning jar. Boil the lids as you would for normal canning. When they are ready, just dip the tip of your finger into some warm water and run it around the rim of the jar to wet it a bit. (Wetting the rim, and having the rubber seal on the lid soft and wet ensures a good seal.) Place the seal/lid on jar, then the screw band. Place jars in cold oven and turn it to 250 degrees F. Leave in oven 45 minutes after it comes up to temp. Turn oven off and let jars cool inside. They should seal as they cool, and can be stored on your pantry shelves for a long time.

  4. Thank you for sharing the simple dishcloth pattern. I noticed my cotton yarn drawer is so full I can barely close it, so it's time I got to knitting some dishcloths. They make nice little gifts; plus I prefer using them over fabric cloths from the store.:-)

    I don't often comment, but I always read your blog. I really appreciate that you take time to share your expertise in so many areas. :-)

  5. You can freeze nuts no problem.
    I use plastic(ick!) ziploc bags and I use these bags over and over.
    Just shell the nuts and place in bag. Grab a handful as needed.
    You don't have to do anything
    special to the nuts prior to using.
    I'm talking about out of the shell.
    I don't know about freezing in the shell. Wouldn't that be a good idea

  6. I have been freezing nut meats for 35 years and they do great.

  7. Freezing walnuts and pecans does not affect their taste at all, though if you put a piece of brown paper in with them (like from a grocery bag) that keeps the taste fresher.

  8. Good morning Rhonda. I've been trying to follow (in spurts) your recipe for mixing dough in the breadmaker and having only minor success. Great success on Sunday! Yay! Thank you! :-D

    Lessons learned:
    1) Don't skip the step of proving the yeast. Mine had a month to go but after proving it I tried fresh. Much better!
    2) Follow your instructions about adding water to get a good dough. I filled a measuring jug and kept peeking in there and adding.
    3) I much preferred the crust and texture I got from baking in the oven. Also I sprayed the loaf with water to crisp the crust.

    Another big thank you Rhonda.

  9. I am on my second square. The first one ran out of wool so is a little rectangle. :-) I am going to crochet the squares together for my blanket so it will be fine.
    Found my wool supply was lower than I thought so will have to replenish. The good thing is that buying a ball here and there often means good prices. Want nice bright colours too.
    It is chilling here a bit now in NZ. Autumn is here. I like Autumn.
    Cheers, Juanita.

  10. brrr it is cold here in New Zealand today. I have just lit the fire.

    I hope S & S have a nice visit to NZ & the weather is kind to them while they are here.

    Love Leanne

  11. Wow, what an incredible blog you have here. I'll be trying bread for the first time soon and have decided to knit along with y'all. Sorry, I know nothing about preserving/storing walnuts.

  12. Yes, walnuts freeze very well. I've also frozen almonds, pecans and pignolis (pine nuts). They always taste great after being frozen.

    I like the idea of canning them dry like Missuz C explained. I think I will try that too!

    I love your blog. This is my first time posting to it.

    God Bless!

  13. Thank you for your peaceful blog. I feel calm each time I read it (and I am reminded that the laundry and cooking, etc., I am doing for my three small children and husband is IMPORTANT and not menial).

    I want to echo the comments of others that nuts freeze marvelously. You can also freeze shelled nuts in lidded glass canning jars if you want to skip the plastic bags (although the bags are AWFULLY handy). And if you want a real time-saver, freeze them already chopped (if that's your usual form of use). I'm jealous of your lovely walnuts! :) kristin (oregon, u.s.)

  14. Hi Rhonda. I'm up to 6 squares so far and with a baby due in September I'm hoping to have a little cot quilt completed. It's nice to be part of a group knitting toward a similar goal.

    Freezing walnuts is the way to go. When you are ready to use them just lightly toast them in the oven and the flavour is incredible.

    Happy wedding planning!

  15. Hi Rhonda

    Sorry have no idea regarding preservation of the walnuts - yum yum.

    I have updated my blog to show you and others the squares I have done so far. I already had a number of Granny Squares done, so am adding to them :-) Will do some of the ones you have put on your site in the next couple of days.


  16. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm enjoying the knitting and getting my husband to raid the attic where I've stashed all my old leftover balls of wool. I'm awfully glad I kept them now. I even took my knitting with me yesterday when I had an appointment at the hospital with Theodore( 4). You never know how long you have to wait at these places.
    I hope Shane and Sarndra have a good flight over here. It's bitter-cold here today, and I believe much of the rest of the country is too, so I hope it's not too much of a shcok fro them after warm Queensland. :o)
    Have a lovely day.
    Rachel L

  17. I'm on my second square of knitting and it's great to think of all the knitters everywhere doing the same.
    I freeze walnuts, I have never frozen them in the shell but would think it should work.
    Thank you Rhonda for your very informative and fun posts.

  18. Have you ever tried pickled walnuts? They're a Christmas speciality here in the UK, and very very tasty they are too. I've no idea how they're pickled, but am sure you could find a recipe on the good old internet.

  19. Why not just leave the walnuts in their shells and crack a jarful for current use every so often? That's what we used to do with almonds. There are lots of interesting recipes on the web that use walnuts, so I am sure you could find ways to use them up before they dry out too much. Perhaps make some walnut butter - like peanut butter - just process the nuts in a food processor until they turn into a paste. This keeps in the fridge. You can make it plain (no other additions), or add a touch of sugar or maple syrup. You might want to toast lightly and rub off the skins first. Also, walnut pesto with parsley or basil and olive oil might work.

  20. I found this excellent Garterlac Dishcloth (entrelac, but all in garter stitch) in my travels on the web - at
    Its quite challenging - I had to unpick a few times before I got it right, but its very absorbing to work on and looks great when its finished.

  21. Rhonda,

    First thank you for your blog. You have really helped me to slow down and enjoy the time that I currently have at home. Last year I married an American man (I am from Canada) and moved here to the States. I am still waiting for my work visa so I am at home all day, everyday. I have never had the opportunity to stay home and always worked at least full-time (except for a 6 month stay when I had my son). This is so different for me but reading blogs like yours makes me realize to enjoy the opportunity that has been given to me.

    I have completed crocheting all my squares already for the knitting challenge and I am currently sewing them together. I used rug yarn and I am making a small patchwork rug to go by my back door. The squares are simply one color each, nothing special as I am still new to crocheting and knitting but will be adding a border when I am finished.

    Thank you for starting this as I feel like I am crocheting with friends from around the world!

    Have a great day.

  22. Greetings from Western New York State,USA!!
    I have been reading along,starting at the beginning and I'm going slowly, but so much times get tougher here, I am studying up your ways. I have days that I feel much more reclusive and wanting to be able to take care of ourselves. Not sure hubby is ready to give up much lawn, but I am hoping to plant pear tree and some blueberry bushes this year and maybe blackberries and/or raspberries to get them started. I appreciate all of your postings and feel blessed to have found you. No chooks in my future, but I so enjoy that you share yours with me. I am only up to March 2008, but I'm reading along...
    thanks again for warming my days

  23. Happy knitting! Thanks for all your sharing!

    cathy c

  24. Hi Rhonda Jean. I am knitting along with you and have finished one square. I wrote you a comment on Sat, March 7. I don't know if you read it, but I asked if you had ever written on your blog the recipe for your orange pound cake? Still wondering, if you've got a minute to respond. Thanks, Mona

  25. Rhonda...walnuts freeze very well. If fact, some advise that's the best method of storage since they contain oil and "if it's got oil, it can spoil." Good luck with the nuts.


  26. Freezing nuts is a great idea. The oil in the nuts goes rancid if you try to keep them too long at normal temperatures, so freezing them is generally considered the best way to keep them fresh for long periods of time. I guess it depends on how fast you were planning on using your pile.

  27. I want to tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog for the past few weeks. I appreciate your sharing all the information. I am from Mississippi. Thanks for inspiring us all!

  28. Hello Rhonda, Yes to the freezing of the nuts. After shelling though. We use an old pliers looking tool. It is a spring loaded gripped metal tool. I'll try to post a photo of it.
    The shells can absorb the freezer air. We contain them in a sealed container. toasting them a bit will bring out that wonderful oil.
    We sugar them with spices and then roast them slowly yummy like a candy

  29. Oh , Rhonda you must think all I do is sit and knit as I have done 10 but it has come to a standstill now as I am knitting a cardigan for my great grand daughter for her birthday . One square I did looks nice and it was quite simple. K2. P2 on an odd number of stitches. Simple to do but looked okay when it was finished.Thanks for giving us so much of your time.

  30. In the Uk, they also pickle any green walnuts they have. They are quite tasty, used the same way as pickled beetroot.


    AM of the bread

  31. I'm part way through my 8th square at the moment, I've been enjoying experimenting with new stitch patterns & seeing what works. I've found a few good patterns to share. I'll try to get the squares scanned soon & put them & the patterns up on my blog soon.

  32. Once shelled, nuts freeze very well. I'm not sure about how they'd do in the shell, however. My mom always stored them in a freezer back in the freezer to pull out when she was baking.

  33. Good morning, Rhonda. I have heard of people freezing nuts, but I have not tried it so I can not verify its effectivenss.

    I must confess that I have not made much progress on my knitting. The last few days have blessed us with some beautiful early Spring weather, so I have been outdoors almost all day long. But there is a cold front moving in tonight that will bring us rainy cool weather for the next several days, and knitting a few squares will be a wonderful way to use my extra time indoors. I'll stop back by and let you know how it is going. Thanks so much for the knitting video links. I have several books that show me the stitches, but watching someone else do it, has been very helpful.

    Also, thank you for the tutorial on the Luffa and the link for the seed suppliers. I ordered a pack from the lady in Florida yesterday, and they should arrive very soon.

    I am enjoying your posts so much, and learning many things that I have been wanting to know.

    Have a great day:-)

  34. This waffle pattern dishcloth is one of my favorites. I look forward to your comments every day. It is nice to see how someone lives in another country. Thanks for sharing! TRINA

  35. Hi Rhonda,
    Walnuts freeze beautifully!


  36. Rhonda,

    I have been looking for the dog food recipe that you make and use for your dogs and am unable to find it. Could you let me know where to find it?

    Thanks for all your information shared and help! Your blog is fantastic! I have been reading it regularly and going through some of the ones from the past.

    Rhonda (Yes, another one! It seems like a popular name on your blog!)

  37. My thanks to all who gave advice on preserving walmuts. Hanno started cracking them yesterday and we'll be freezing most of them.

    Great news, Rose, I'm pleased it worked for you.

    Welcome Umm Omar.

    Rachael, very nice work. Thanks for posting the photos.

    Marg, I like the idea of the walnut butter and hope to do a short test batch soon.

    Debbie, you are knitting with friends. Thank you for sharing your story, I found it very interesting.

    Karen Sue, Hanno was slow to start too. Do a little bit at a time and show him what is possible. Take care.

    Mona, here is the recipe for my orange coconut cake: If you want a lighter cake, use milk instead of coconut cream. I hope you enjoy it.

    Blassom, I make no judgements. I wish I had 10 squares done. Keep knitting. :- )

    Rhonda here is the post for dog biscuits: and wet dog food:

  38. I am jealous of all your walnuts! I keep all my nuts in the freezer and have never noticed a difference in taste.

  39. Hi Rhonda,

    Is it too late to join the knit-along? I somehow missed that post :( Last year I got addicted to to making granny hangers... so this year a rug sounds good! I am not a good knitter at all, so I need some practice.


  40. Rhonda,
    Yes! You can freeze walnuts, and just about any other tree nut. I've been freezing all of my walnuts, almonds, raw peanuts, salted peanuts, hickory, and pecans
    for about 30+ years now. I started freezing them because where I used to live the nuts sometimes would hatch out some kind of small larvae. I suppose it's kind of like freezing flour so weevils don't have a chance. I like Missuz C's idea of canning walnuts, etc. I've been trying to find ways to not be so dependent on electricity; such as the freezer, small appliances, etc. Our springtime is just starting to show through the snow and rain. I'm so excited about gardening and have almost everything I need... those snails aren't going to get the best of me this year!! Have a lovely, relaxing weekend, Rhonda, and thanks for all the encourage-ment and great ideas.
    Hugs, Aunt Bea
    P.S. Hanno looks so relaxed sorting and shelling walnuts!

  41. I freeze mine. Before using, I let them get to room temperature and then I toast them in the oven to give them more flavor.

    We have had alot of walnuts and pecans to shell in the past. We purchased a Lobster cracking tool. I'm sorry I don't know what it is called but it is used to crack open the shell. These work great because they have rubber handles which helps :)

  42. Hello Darling,

    I'm a Freezer Goddess! In fact, that's what my business was all about.

    Of course you can freeze walnuts. Shell them first and package in heavy freezer bags or double bag. I'm not sure about in the shell, however that would be the most logical way to do it. Why not try freezing a few in the shell and see what happens?

    How lucky you are to receive such abundance. Now, tell us what you're going to do with all of them!

    Blessings and Peace to you!

  43. Oh, I forgot to mention, we received walnuts in honey (canned) one year for Christmas. A delightful gift that was delicious on ice cream and waffles/pancakes.

    I suppose a quick search online will find you the recipe.

  44. Just found your blog yesterday, and I've been reading, reading, reading all your wonderful, informative posts. I can't wait to get some cotton yarn and learn to knit some dishcloths! I've been yearning to plant something, and you've made me even more eager. Thank you; and I'll keep reading.

  45. I am wondering if there's a place where we can keep each knitted block so that all the patterns are in the same place? I'm trying to catch up to you and I think I've missed a garter stitch, a stockinette stitch and the basketweave. Is that all you've done so far? I might catch up by this weekend :)


  47. It's been noticeably cooler and the seasonal change makes me want to slow my pace and knit or sew. This was just the right project to have a go at. I'm inspired by the knitted squares rug and have made a good start. Up to 15 sample squares and loving the variety of creative stitches. I used to knit alot but gave it away for about 15 years and it has been a delight to discover the pleasure of knitting once again.


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