Another Glorious Day

It is clear and crisp, cool enough for a light wool in the mornings and evenings, and a light long sleeved shirt when working outdoors during the day. This is my favorite time of the year, after it cools off, but before it gets cold.

The Asian Pear Marmalade was made yesterday afternoon. It took forever to cook to jam consistency, but it is thick and a beautiful golden color. The 3 pounds of pears and an orange, filled 4 half pints plus a quarter pint jar with just enough left over to enjoy warm on a biscuit remaining from Friday night’s dinner.

Last week, I began a ferment of some of the small Eggplants that I had gotten at the Farmer’s Market. It has been sitting on the back of the counter all week with the ferment weight and ferment lid, all covered with a small towel. I hadn’t even peeked at it all week and decided to check it this morning. What a gorgeous color it turned and the ferment is so good. I have to thank a local friend for introducing me to fermented eggplant many years ago, and a distant online friend for reminding me of it now that I ferment so many good foods. I bought zesty salad mix and radishes at the Farmer’s market yesterday and a block of goat milk Feta cheese last week. I think a salad with those items and some of the eggplant and a tomato if I can find a ripe one will be a nice addition to dinner tonight.

As soon as the morning sun and wind dry the garden leaves, I will pick beans and any other produce ready to come in for the freezer. Soon, the remaining beans will be left to mature and dry to save for planting next year. I have planted this variety for a couple of years and they perform very well here. Last year I didn’t save the seed and had to purchase seed, but bean seed is so easy to save. When the peas start producing, I will harvest to enjoy and also let them mature and dry for saving. Some packages of seed I use have so many seed in them that the package will last two or three years, and some seed is so tiny and difficult to save, I just purchase when I need more. I suspect I will have volunteer tomatillo all over the place next year and have in the past, dug them and relocated them where I wanted them to grow.

Since my newest spindle arrived during the week, I have been spinning mostly on it to get used to it’s size and weight and because when it spins, the wood grain of the figured Bigleaf Maple makes the most interesting concentric circles, very mesmerizing. This is the second turtle of fiber on it. It would hold a lot, but I am trying to keep the colors of the braid consistent enough that the plied yarn will be similar to the first half of the braid that I finished last month.

And There She Goes Again

Fiber equipment, I think I am settled then stumble on to a spindle or distaff that just yells my name. I keep my flock/herd of spindles to 5, 3 that I use regularly and two that live in my living history basket to demonstrate the different types and styles. If I were doing more living history, which is on hold during the virus, I would likely have several other styles that people could handle. The three I use are all Jenkins Turkish spindles. I have had others, but if I find one that I like the wood more, or the weight is in my preferred range, one leaves for the new one to come. They vary in size from tiny to small with one in the middle. The tiny lives in a 4 ounce tea tin in a custom made drawstring bag in my “take it everywhere” tote and gets used when I’m passenger in the car or waiting in the car during dental or doctor’s appointments. The medium small is my go to spindle, used with my first ring distaff holding my fiber. The new small one is the size I ply on and maybe since this one is lighter than the one I sold, I will be able to spin on it as well. The second distaff is because I have learned to use the ring distaff and it takes strain off of my wrists as I spin, so I wanted a second one to put with the tiny spindle in my bag.

This is a return to the beginning as I first learned to spin on a drop spindle, long before I purchased and learned to spin on a wheel. It has become more difficult for me to knit without pain, but spindle spinning doesn’t bother me. Now I just need an outlet for the yarn I am creating.

Sunday, Sunday

Our television is in our loft which has three windows plus two double dormer windows across the vaulted ceiling over the living room, so the large open space can be very bright when the shades are up. As a result, the Roman shades on the loft windows stay closed. Yesterday was the first NFL games of the season and hubby had the TV on from 1 p.m. until long after I left for bed. I’m not much of a football fan, or television at all. I played in the garden for as long as the heat and humidity allowed, weeding and harvesting, bringing in a very full basket and an armload of produce and basil.

I sat at the dining room table and stripped the basil to dry in another basket, sorted out the beans from the peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos. Then brined a quart of Jalapenos, strung the Thai peppers to dry.

Then filling my iced tea cup, I came up to spin or knit while football played on. I mentioned that the shades stay drawn so there is no glare on the TV which makes for poor lighting for knitting, but it was just basic ribbing on for the bottom of a grand daughter’s sweater. I alternated knitting a few rows, then spun some yardage on the spindles. The old wrist break and the arthritis it has caused, prevents me from knitting for very long any more. Spinning on the spindles doesn’t seem to bother it.

After the first game series ended, I went down to make hubby’s favorite meal, homemade enchiladas and tacos which involves frying tortillas into taco shape, shredding cheese, dicing onion, making the enchilada sauce, so a fairly intensive and time consuming meal, as the football games continued above.

After the meal was completed and cleaned up, left over beans, sauce, and taco meat packaged up for the freezer, I returned to the loft. Only I put on my headphones to block the games and continued with my crafts. As it got darker and more difficult to see what I was doing, I realized that three rows back, about half a round in, I made an error, knitting when I should have purled and thus the ribbing was messed up. Too tired to continue with it and not wanting to try to rip back three rows and picking up 134 stitches in the dark room, I tossed it in my basket, spun for a while longer and retired to bed with my book.

This morning in the brighter light, I surveyed the damage.

For some odd reason, it was half a round and only in the row down three rows, so this morning, I dropped each stitch back three rows one at a time and picked them back up correctly. It may have taken longer to do that than to just frog three rows and pick up the stitches, but the yarn is superwash, so slick, the knit not very tight and I didn’t want to risk having to frog all 2 1/2″ and starting over. At any rate, I can continue knitting the rib for another half inch then begin on the body of the sweater. This sweater has a pouch and hood like a hoodie sweatshirt, so the fiddly pouch will have to be picked up soon. I have knit this sweater at least a dozen times in various sizes for daughter and her kiddos, but that pouch always causes me pause, plus I need two needles the same size and only have 1 so I will borrow one from daughter, after all, the sweater is for her daughter.

The eggplant purchased at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday was salted, wept, and brined to ferment on the counter for several days. I had fermented eggplant a few years ago at a fiber retreat, it was made by a friend and I hadn’t thought about it for a while until an online friend made some. Since eggplant is like a sponge and absorbs flavors, I used fresh basil, fresh oregano, minced Thai and serano peppers, and crushed garlic to flavor it. It should be delicious in a salad with Mediterranean food in a few days.