Month Ends, Challenge Begins

The last quarterly spindle challenge begins tomorrow. I couldn’t sit idle from several days ago when I submitted my end of month total, so I used a top whorl spindle to continue spinning the mixed Jacob roving and spun another 33.55 grams for the month that won’t count, but I had plenty official spun.

The scale says 35.55, but the ball has a 2 gram felted ball in the middle around which it is wound.

I will probably go ahead and ply the Jacob on the wheel and leave it on the bobbin until I finish with the almost 3 ounces left of the fiber. I was unsure what I wanted to concentrate on in October until I went to the virtual Shenandoah Fiber Festival and Wild Hare Fiber Studio, one of the vendors I would have sought did a Shenandoah gradient dyed fiber for the weekend. I ordered it, I had to get something significant from it, I also ordered from my friend at Hearts of the Meadow Farms. The Shenandoah was shipped Monday and arrived today and it is the perfect decision for the month.

The colors toward the center of the braid match the figured Big leaf Maple spindle so well they just go together. The fiber from my friend is white and a white and burgundy which will be nice colors for the cold of December. Yesterday I logged on to Facebook, just in time to see that Yarn Tools website, the ones that make the Jenkins Turkish spindles were having a shop update of spindles in the size I prefer. I’m not usually lucky enough to catch the updates, but I was and purchased a Honduran Rosewood Finch, it is heavier than the Olive Finch I own. Then later in the day, the group update showed they would be having a lottery for the right to buy 1 of 18 spindles. In the lottery, you can select 2 to enter and I put my name in there too for two small spindles. I’m not generally lucky there, but who knows.

Today we went back to the museum to pick up my knits, yarn, and soaps that didn’t sell. I was pleased to see that I did sell some items and the museum purchased more of my salves as they seem to sell there. In talking to my friend that organizes all of their events, we discussed that two of the hats are really too large. I am toying with whether to run elastic thread through the ribbing or just frog and reknit them. One has a zigzag pattern of colorwork and I may cut it below the zigzag, pick up the stitches, decrease about 10 or 15 stitches and knit the ribbing in reverse to make it better fit a “normal” head but maintain a slightly slouchy top. I have to decide if I am that brave. The other just needs to be frogged and reknit with fewer stitches and/or a smaller needle. That is the only hat in my stock that I actually followed a pattern on.

Hats don’t usually sell in my Etsy shop, maybe I need a wig model to show them off better.

Waste Not, Want Not

Last evening before it got dark, I ventured into the garden with a single basket. It proved to be too small. There were a few red tomatoes, a few turning red, and 7 pounds of green tomatoes on dead vines. There are still two determinate type slicers growing with a few fruits on them. The Thai and Serano peppers had a couple hands full of red ripe peppers and the Jalapenos had a hand full of pickling size, and fortunately I had on a jacket with big pockets to hold them. The basil got cut again, maybe for the last time. And about a dozen Tomatillos ready to harvest.

The basil was stripped to dry but the rest was just left on the table until this morning while I tried to figure out what to do with 7 pounds of green tomatoes. All of the recipes I saw online were for salsa you broiled the tomatoes, onions, and garlic then food process mixed them for a refrigerator salsa. There were too many tomatoes for that. One of my favorite canning cookbooks to the rescue.

First, I pickled the jalapenos, blanched and froze the Tomatillos and ripe tomatoes. Put the ripening ones in the window to finish ripening. Strung the red Thai peppers to start the third string of them drying.

Though her recipes are generally for a few half pints, I have successfully doubled or tripled them for pints. The recipe for a canned Green Tomato Salsa called for 2 pounds to make 3 half pint jars, I tripled it and realized very quickly that it was going to make way more than 4+ pints, so 6 pint jars went into the canner to heat up and as I was filling them with a very thick and chunky salsa, added a 7th. The recipe called for a half poblano pepper. I don’t grow them, they don’t have any “kick.” I had harvested Serano and Thai peppers that had no immediate use, there weren’t enough Seranos and no red Jalapenos to make Sriracha style fermented sauce, so I just chopped them up with the Thai’s and added them to the 6 pounds of chopped green tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices. The suggestion was to remove it from the heat when it was thick enough and taste it to adjust the salt and hot peppers if needed. Well, I think I will name it “It might make you cry” Salsa, it made me cry. Son 1 likes it hot, hubby likes it hot. Between them, I’m sure all 7 pints will disappear in short order, but I won’t be eating any of it.

The last pound of green tomatoes were layered in a box with a ripe apple in hopes that they will ripen and can be added to the bag in the freezer to use later in the winter and a recipe calls for whole or diced tomatoes.

For years, we have had an indoor/outdoor thermometer system. They last 4 or 5 years before they give out and quit working. Our last one quit about two weeks ago. It is funny how you learn to rely on something. I can check the weather forecast, but the station that reports for us in located somewhere in the county in an area that seems to be more extreme temperature changes than we have. I have checked to see that it was reporting as much as 10 degrees colder than our unit said when it worked. The outdoor part of ours in on the inside of a post of our north facing covered front porch. Tractor Supply carries a variety of thermometers from ones you hang on the porch and either try to read through the window or brave the elements to go out and look at it, to the indoor/outdoor ones with all sorts of reporting. I got us a medium range one that shows temperature, time, indoor temperature and humidity, barometric pressure, high/low temperature history, and supposedly, a prediction (we will see on that feature).

It is hanging near the front door, so we can see how many layers we need to put on before going out. The high/low feature won’t kick in accurately until it has been up 24 hours. It is a pleasant 72 today, the high for the week. We had a quick rain shower but have a couple days of soaking rain due tomorrow and Wednesday. While picking up the thermometer, we also picked up a roll of heavy mil plastic sheeting that will cover the fig and if necessary some garden plants if a frost is predicted this week.

I need to go find space on the pantry shelves for the salsa.

Stay safe all.

Tools and preparation

As I finished the fiber from August and September, it empties my tools in preparation for the October challenge. The three Jenkins spindles were emptied, the Bosworth which I can’t use for the challenge was called into play to ply who small turtles of CVM, making 45 yards of 2 ply yarn that will be used as trim. The Jacob that I finished prior to recording my total was joined with a second turtle spun since the reporting and the two were wound into a ply ball and set aside to be added to before it is plied for use.

The tools in and by this wooden bowl are the ones I use each day, making yarn the slow, meditative way. Sometimes I use purchased prepared roving, sometimes I comb fleece that I washed and once in a while, I just spin from locks.

The second skein of shiny Shetland/Bombyx was washed and dried. It turned out to be exactly the same yardage and weight as the first skein. I couldn’t do that intentionally if I tried.

It ended up 933+ yards of lace weight yarn and is now in my shop for sale. It is gorgeous, but I don’t knit with lace weight yarn, though that seems to be what I spin on the spindles.

Since there are still a few days until I can begin official spinning for the challenge, I will spin on the Bosworth top whorl spindle and just add to the ply ball. The gray ball in the bowl is the Jacob. There will be enough finished yarn when it is all spun, to make a simple watch cap and fingerless mitts.

And while we talk tools, I attacked the tall thick grass on the riding mower, mowing with the deck set at the highest setting and doing half wide passes. It looks better, but still somewhat rough. We have a couple days of potential rain, then I will go after it again, set at the usual setting and doing full width passes and see if it can be neatened up before cold weather sets in. Some of the areas need to be brush hogged as they are just too tall and too deep for the riding mower.

We are threatened with widespread frost on Wednesday night. I need to find a solution to protect my fig, ground cherries, tomatillos, and peppers. We should have almost another month before we have to worry about frost. As for the tomatoes, I am going out to pick anything left on the plants. Red ones will go in the freezer, ripening ones set in a window to ripen, and green ones may become green salsa or if slicers, I might enjoy a few more fried green tomatoes. The plants will be pulled and added to the shred/burn pile. The last three sunflower stalks have browned and they also need to be pulled down. Newspaper will be saved to finish the aisles that never were finished in the spring and some sort of mulch applied to hold it in place to hopefully prevent as much growth there as I had this summer. Most of my weeding time was spent on three paths.

We have given permission to a young man who grew up in the area to bow hunt on our lower field when the season begins next Saturday. He and a buddy put a game camera down in the woods and it lasted two days before a big bear swiped it off the tree. The camera got a photo before and during the swipe. We saw the bear early in the summer, but haven’t seen it since, but it must traverse our woods without us seeing it. In exchange for the permission, he and his brother came over today and re-secured a gutter on the back of the house that had sagged enough that water was pouring over the outer edge in heavy rain. He said they would return and fine tune it if today’s repair was not enough. In the theme of today’s blog, they used my long extension ladder and cordless drill to facilitate the repair.

Stay safe out there.