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.

Living History and School Groups

The museum, Wilderness Road Regional Museum, where I get to dress up in Colonial Period clothing and teach about spinning, fiber, fabric, and clothing in the Colonial Period is always fun. Even more so when it being offered to young people. Today, we had about 100 sixth graders from Blacksburg Middle School. And 9 stations including the film about Wilderness Road and Henry Hance, a couple in the loom house, a blacksmith, an herbalist, a militia man with his muzzle loader that he fired off after talking about his kit and uniform, one volunteer was portraying an enslaved woman and talking about slavery, one allowing the students to shell corn and a safe William Tell sort of game with the apple on top of a plexiglass shield and the arrows, a child’s set with suction cup tips, and me as the spinner. The groups rotated through the stations to get the presentations and ask questions.

My station was in the log kitchen, a newer replica of the original Newbern houses, a 16 foot square log structure with a loft and fireplace. The students were well behaved and had many great questions.

The spindle, wool, combs, cards, teasles, flax were all in the chair. Unfortunately due to the space, my back was to the kids when demonstrating the Great Wheel. It was a great day with well behaved, engaged, inquisitive middle schoolers.

I love doing this.

Week end Olio – 10/31/2022

Every morning that there isn’t extra family in the house, I prepare myself a protein/berry smoothie. As I only make about a cup, the equipment of choice is an ancient (more than two decades old) Magic Bullet. This morning it quit. The motor still runs, but the plastic cog that spins the blade in the jar exploded into many tiny shards, contained below the blender cup, but rendering the motor useless. I can’t say it owed me anything, but this morning’s smoothie was not stellar as the frozen berries did not get blended into the liquid, ground seeds, and PB2 powder.

When I told hubby of its demise, he suggested I should replace it. Yesterday while in the grocer, I saw a “smoothie” maker that was basically a plastic jar with an attached immersion blender. This morning as we were headed to town to try to get our daily walk before the rain resumed, a look at that tool was in order. As I was about to add it to my basket, sitting back on the shelf near it was the newer version of the Magic Bullet (twice the price of the immersion blender). I hope the new one holds up as long as the old one did. It comes with one less blender blade and one more blender container, but otherwise looks very much like it’s predecessor.

Though not a big fan of electric small appliances, this one certainly gets nearly daily use.

And today was soap making day for us, and to have a few bars available at the Christmas Bazaar at the museum in early December. A couple of batches were made and are curing. It is a messy proposition that even after cleaning up requires an additional day for the pot and tools to finish saponifying before they can be cleaned tomorrow.

With daughter available to check in on hubby, I was able to attend a Fall Festival at a local State Park on Saturday to be the demonstration spinner in Colonial Costume and sell some of my wares, the next to last event before the cottage business shuts down in December.

The day was gorgeous, a couple of hats, some fingerless mitts, and a skein of yarn were sold along with a few body care products. November’s spindle challenge is using some of the yarns that have been spun and a couple of hats and more fingerless mitts will be knit from some yarn that has been previously spun and made available at the Christmas Bazaar.

Another routine week ahead with two trips to “the city” for appointments. Today is rainy and no walk was done, but time to clean up from the weekend and make the soap that I have been putting off for a couple of weeks.