I found a cookie recipe for a shortbread cookie with chopped cranberries and orange zest and in the picture, they baked to 1 cm thick rounds, lightly browned on the bottom. I followed the recipe exactly, the dough seemed a good consistence, it was rolled into the log in parchment paper and chilled for several hours before slicing and placing on the parchment paper lined cold baking tray and put in the oven at the proper temperature. They took about 3 minutes longer than the recipe called for and they spread out to very thin shapes that had to be cut apart.

Shortbread is one of my go to cookie varieties that I make plain, topped with dark chocolate and toffee cumbles, and I thought this. Usually, I press the dough into a lined 8″ square pan and I wish I had this time as well. They are tasty, but so soft they don’t hold together well and may not be appropriate for my planned use. There are still cranberries, I will need another orange, I have the butter, sugar, and flour, so maybe I will try again and press them in the 8″ square pan to be cut into squares after fully cooled. I need a sturdier cookie that can be put in a tin or covered and kept overnight for an event.

My December breed, Charollais for my blanket is spun and almost all plied so I can knit it into a square. The rest of that wool will be used in Gnomes, a cowl or hat stripe. The second wool for the month is a repeat, but is a very dark gray, much darker than the two samples spun before and it is a lamb fleece. This wool is Gotland and I found the lighter gray samples rather coarse, but this lamb is so soft, it will make a pretty last square.

This was taken last night before plying began and before the smaller spindle of Gotland lamb filled up. I need to start a second spindle of it and get it spun and plied as well.

Though I am unhappy with the cookie results, I have thoroughly enjoyed the year long project of sampling breeds, spun on my Jenkins Turkish spindles, and knitting them into squares for the blanket. Soon the 42 squares representing 25 breeds will be fully assembled and shown off here. It seemed so strange to spend Saturday spinning on my wheel after a year almost solely using spindles.

Weeks go by

In the past week, our family celebrated three birthdays and Thanksgiving. One of the birthday’s was mine, entering me into the beginning of my 75th year. Unlike last year when we were all locked in and isolated, we were able to share. We are all vaccinated and the adults all boosted. Last year I took an outdoor hike with daughter and her kids, all of us masked because they hadn’t decided that outdoors was safe without a mask. We drove separate cars because of Covid. This year we took a couple walks with family here for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday and the next night for a Mexican feast.

This year we even went into restaurants for two of the birthdays, but wore masks except to eat. Last year we had Thanksgiving alone, this year we had some of our family together to enjoy the fellowship of preparation and dining.

It is concerning that there is yet another variant to the virus, not knowing how it will impact. Travel is still out for us, except short car trips to visit family.

My focus has shifted from so much crafting to prepping for the holidays. Yesterday and today spent wrapping a birthday gift for Daughter and the Christmas gifts that have been accumulating for the past month or so. I like to have the shopping done, whether in person or online prior to the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post Thanksgiving madness. Now that Daughter has had her birthday, we can begin to pull out some of the Christmas decorations. Fortunately I did a deep cleaning prior to Thanksgiving, so daily vacuuming and light dusting are all that is necessary.

There is still some spinning being done for the Breed Blanket and always having a small spindle in the car. I knit a couple of Christmas gifts, one I’ve shown here, one a fiddly knit, then discovered a pattern for Gnomes. They are quick and fun, so adorable that several have been knit for the Christmas Barn Bazaar this coming Saturday.

Time permitting, another one or two will be knit before Saturday, but I have another square for the blanket to knit so I’m not in a bind trying to finish it in December by the end of the month deadline.

I have been waiting for a warmer day to finish putting the garden to bed for winter. The asparagus tops need to be cut down and a bit of weeding done behind that bed. The tomato, pepper, and tomatillo vines never got chopped up to expedite their breaking down into compost and the greens didn’t get covered, but still seem to be hanging in there. The salad hydroponic was restarted with new salad greens during Thanksgiving weekend and the herb one is producing way more than I am using, so some are being cut and dried for later use.

While Son 1 was here, he and GS3 tackled a couple of big projects, repairing the basement ceiling where the failed dishwasher last winter damaged the drywall, rebuilt a section of the walled garden that had collapsed, and made significant progress on a stone patio off the back deck. Hubby and I had hauled 1500 pounds of sand, six 50 pound bags at a time over a couple of weeks. The rest will be delivered and dumped loose on a tarp to finish back there. Once the patio is done, a dump truck of topsoil will be added to the walled garden to bring the soil level up to the top of the wall and the edge of the patio. That will require digging up the perennials back there long enough to spread the soil as the garden will be 6 inches to 2 feet deeper. The chickens keep digging up the bulbs and scratching around the plants. I can’t keep them out of there and when the soil level is to the top of the wall, it will be worse. Today because the past 3 days, there have been fewer eggs, they were left penned up with a deep layer of hay in their run and a scoop of scratch to entertain them. I am trying to determine if I have one or two hiding eggs or if it is just attrition due to the shorter daylight hours.

The bed along that back garage wall above needs to be redefined, weeded, and mulched, but again, the chickens just scratch it off into the grass, so a means of keeping them out is necessary.

A few nights ago when I went to lock the hens up, I brought their feed bucket back to the garage and filled it, returned it to the coop and turned around to find this.

Pepe Le Pew was between me and the house and headed for the open side garage door. Fortunately he changed his mind and scurried off across the front yard to the cedar thicket. I was amazed at how fast they can move and thankful that spraying only happens when you really harrass them. Though I have smelled them near the house before, that is the first one I have seen.

This was really just a checking in for those of you who keep up with our goings on here. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Another Sunday on the farm

This week’s 24 seconds from the front door is gray, gloomy, bare trees. The weather prognosticators are warning of snow flurries and wind tonight and tomorrow morning. I guess it is that time of year. I’ll lay the two fires in case we lose power.

It has been a fairly productive week getting ready for the Heritage Craft Barn Bazaar on December 4th and finishing this month’s official square for the Breed Blanket Project. A cowl was knit, soaps and salves finished, photographed and put on the website, a square of Jamtland wool from Sweden was combed, spun, and knit into a beautiful, soft, dark chocolate colored square. More of that fiber is being combed for another square and while I am prepping it, I am spinning Zwartbles, a Norwegian wool that is also dark chocolate to become a single square.

A very Christmasy skein of wool was plied yesterday and wound off this morning. It is BFL, an extremely soft wool, spun to fingering weight and about 267 yards of yarn.

With the onset of “winter” here this weekend, I will lay low, spin, try to finish a knitted gift, cook a nice hot meal for dinner and perhaps sit by a fire with a cup of tea.