Day to day

Every day, hubby and I take a walk. We aim for 4 miles and enjoy walking outdoors when the weather allows. If it is rainy, we do have a 1/9th mile track in the local gym, but 36 laps gets boring quickly. Generally, we walk one of several sections of the Huckleberry Trail, a rails to trails paved path that covers about 15 miles in the county adjacent to ours. One of our walks takes us through part of the Virginia Tech campus and through the Hahn Gardens on campus. The gardens have been beautiful with flowers, shrubs, trees, and art displays that can be voted on, some sculptures, some hanging banners in the trees. When there isn’t an event going on in the gardens, the Pavilion is open with restrooms and a water fountain.

Today while crossing the creek in the gardens, this display of mushrooms was found beneath a tree.

And just on the other side of the creek, a display of ceramic mushrooms.

The bees are being fed 2:1 syrup to help them prepare for the upcoming winter. Two quart jar feeders were placed in each hive about a week ago and today a gallon of syrup was carried down to refill the jars. Three of the jars were mostly empty, one still had a few ounces. The bees were very active around the feeders, but these are the most gentle bees ever. I did wear my veil and gloves, but didn’t remember to put on my boots with my pants tucked in, yet there was no aggression.

While refilling the syrup feeders, I added the sugar trays which give the jars a little extra room, they are the narrow box just below the top boxes under the lids. When it gets too cold for the syrup, sugar bricks will be placed on the sugar trays on top of the top box of frames to give them more help through the winter. If we end up with a week of single digit weather with sub zero temperatures like last Christmas, I may take a couple of kid size sleeping bags we have stored and wrap the hives. So far they are successful this year and it would be nice to keep it that way.

This evening, I had the opportunity to teach a hand’s on soap making class at the museum where I volunteer. Five folks worked to learn to make traditional Lye soap, of course with a bit of history on Colonial soap making and we even melted the lard in a cast iron spider pot on a small fire in the yard.

Fun, a new skill, and great folks enjoyed the evening.

Soapy Day

The schedule has had a soap making day floating around it for several weeks. Today was the day to begin for this year’s supply. My potter friend who loves my soap asked for a batch, Son 1 needs about 20 bars for personal use and gifts, hubby and I are each on our last or near last bars of our preferred ones.

Because it is a home football evening at the University, we went into town a bit earlier, got breakfast and supplied for the week at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and because of the football game, all of the parking near where we wanted to begin our daily walk is off limits, we headed to a more distant portion of the trail and got our walk in. With those daily tasks completed before noon, the Orphan chicks were moved to the outdoors for the day and the kitchen set up to begin the soap making production. Three of the batches were the same scent, so they were done first as it didn’t require significant clean up between batches as long as I tared out the scale before measuring the oils and fats. They all go in loaf molds. The fourth batch for the day using the sheet of round bar molds and is for me, so I didn’t care that a little bit of the scent from the other batches would blend in with my Eucalyptus and Tea Tree which is my favorite, and that batch was also made and the four batches are curing overnight. Tomorrow, if they are sufficiently cured to unmold and cut, two more batches will be made. The molds are all currently in use.

Tomorrow’s batches will make 6 done for this year’s use and all of the equipment will be again packed away until more is needed. With no shop and no markets, less is made these days.

Soon there will be a hands on class at the museum. I need to find another emersion blender before then and order molds that won’t come back to me after the class.

Spindles

Hubby says I have an addiction, not to alcohol, drugs, or other dangerous harmful substances, but to beautiful wood, especially wood that can be used daily.

This basket holds 5 Jenkins Turkish spindles, 4 Finches, 1 Wren, and a social media friend who lives on the West Coast was able to travel to Black Sheep Gathering, a festival in Oregon this weekend and proxy shopped for me today to add a Pear wood Wren to the mix. There are 4 top whorl drop spindles in the house as well, two that get used when dressed in Colonial garb and presenting fiber use in Colonial times, one that was gifted to me but is so light weight I have trouble keeping it spinning, and one purchased to help support a Ukrainian artist.

These beautiful works of art are used daily. For a year, they spun the wool to make the breed blanket in 2021.

This year, the wool to knit the Shetland Hap shawl.

And now, working through about 30 ounces of Jacob/Alpaca blend and Shetland/Nylon blend that will become a sweater when I settle on a pattern. Both of those wools can be seen in the basket above and the plied ball of them together that will be the yarn for the sweater.

He mostly was kidding me, as I have been an easy on the budget wife, I hate to shop, I don’t have my hair and nails done, I love to cook, I wear very little jewelry. But I do love my spindles and the calming effect of making yarn on them.