I Fibbed a little

and my obsessive compulsive side partially won. As I pulled the rough, quick, down and dirty basket down off of the refrigerator to take out a couple potatoes tonight, I decided I couldn’t live with it that way. Not having a finishing rim on it and the ovalish shape, bothered me. I had plenty of the thicker reed that is flat on one side and curved on the other, and I didn’t like the tall handle that was disproportionate to the diameter of the basket. While waiting for the oven to heat, I soaked a piece of the thick reed and a couple strands of chair caning reed, cut the handle off level with the top of the basket, bent the heavier reed around the basket and anchored it on with the caning reed.

Still far from perfect, but I’m happier with it, it is more round, more rigid, refilled with potatoes and covered back with the tea towel on the top of the refrigerator.

Only two hens are laying, two Olive eggers, so all eggs are green and have good hard shells. With the extended free range time, the yolks are dark orange, firm and round, but because they are feasting on grass seed and insects all day, they don’t want to go to the safety of the run before we let the dogs out to run.

Another basket of peppers were picked and strung yesterday. There are at least 100 ground cherries, but they are all too small to pick and it is going down to 31f Friday night, so I guess this isn’t the year that I get to try them. I will plant early next year. The pepper plants will be pulled Friday afternoon and hung upside down in the garage so the remaining peppers will ripen. The peas will be covered with plastic in hope for some fresh peas as the daytimes will still be mild.

The bees were busy on the marigolds, the only flowers still blooming except for one errant Stella day lily.

The lawn area should be mowed one last time before freezing nights. That means purchasing more fuel and pumping up the tire again. It may get done, it may not.

I finished the monthly Jenkins spindle challenge with 182.04 grams of singles spun for the month. The entire 4 ounce braid of Shenandoah colorway purchased at the virtual fiber festival with two small samples of BamHuey, a bamboo/merino blend, and 4 turtles of rare breed fibers, Moorit Shetland and mixed Jacob to round out the month. Now on to ply the Shenandoah Falkland on my wheel in preparation for the November challenge. The scale says 187.04, but I had to subtract the weight of the two plastic cables and two paper tags.

Another month in the life on the farm with the fading garden, many walks while the weather is nice, lots of spinning, a bit of knitting, and sewing mishaps. The sewing machine that wouldn’t work is being checked out, the new leather band for the antique treadle machine should be here tomorrow and I will finish sewing the masks cut out over the weekend using foot power instead of electricity.

Stay safe everyone. “Chose science over fiction.” Joe

And the spirits have retired for this year

The Wilderness Road Regional Museum for the past 3 years has had an afternoon/early evening event near Halloween, with two gorgeous Belgian horses pulling a wagon through the Museum property and streets of Newbern to be greeted by “spirits” of historical figures from the region, including 3 tiny, young kids portraying the Shawnee and an equally tiny Werewolf. The first year, I volunteered to help with tickets as no reservations were required that year, and to help with serving hot cider and directing some crafts for the kids in the outdoor kitchen, but the elderly woman who I had driven over to portray Mary Draper Ingles got cold very early and had someone take her home. I stepped in to do dual duty, helping to get the wagon loaded, then running in period clothing around the museum to be Mary on the opposite side of the property before the wagon got there, then back around to help prepare the next load.

Last year, I was asked just to be Mary and enjoyed playing the role of an anxious woman, fearful of getting caught out after dark. Then going into the museum and demonstrating spinning between the wagon loads.

When it was announced that they were going to do it again this year, with reservations and masks for all visitors, knowing that I was outdoors on the porch and in the front of the building, that I felt safe enough to dress in my period outfit, grab my shopping basket, and visit the spirit of the proprietor, Henry Hance, the founder of the town and shop keeper. We tweaked our part a bit to include more conversation between Doug (Henry) and me (Mary) and twice he caused me to turn to the wall laughing when he told Mary not to worry about the “Indians” that they were adorable. I didn’t set up to spin indoors this year, the museum part was closed to control the number of people inside, and to allow us to close off the old store for us to be able to safely go in as part of my skit sends me in while Henry finishes his part. This worked well, except for one “Karen” who felt entitled to come in with her group even after being told the museum was closed and the area we were in shut for our safety. She had donated something in that room and felt it was her right to bring people in to see it. Though she had to have a mask for the ride, none of them had them on in the museum. I stayed on the porch, wrapped in a wool shawl and masked between skits that occurred every 30 minutes for 8 wagonloads (about 70 people total).

It was good to get out and do some living history, see some of my living history friends again. I look forward to the day that I can return to more activities over there, to set up and spin, to work with camps and school groups on spinning and fiber usage during the late 18th and early 19th century.

Market Day and Repairs

Another week has drifted by in isolation with a few woods, pond, and rail cut walks. Another gray and drizzly market day. It was raining lightly when we left the house, but it hadn’t reached town when we got there. There was still some sunshine and a few broken clouds, but it was raining lightly by the time the market pick up was done and breakfast in the car eaten. There were more vendors at the market today and more people that were just browsing, too many people not respecting social distancing. Social distancing is difficult when you stand back 6 feet, then have someone “cut” in line in front of you because they don’t realize there is a line as happened to me today. I allowed it to happen instead of saying something to the two young women who shouldn’t have been there when I was as they hadn’t pre ordered, nor were they 55+ years old. Then a young man, also not meeting the prerequisites to shop that hour stepped right up next to my shoulder, again, no respect for distance. Everyone is masked and I know the young volunteers at the information table don’t want to challenge everyone with a question about whether they had pre orders or were old enough. Today made me somewhat uncomfortable in the crowd. I guess I need to go back to the beginning of the first hour and take my chances that everyone is set up. But this below is why I like our Farmer’s Market.

This is a sampling of the goodness that was brought home today, thanks to Riverstone Farm and Greenstar Farm for the veggies, Whitegate Farm for the butter and sausage, and Williamson Farm for a pound of grass finished ground beef. No bread this week since I baked during the week. As we were heading off to get breakfast, I was discussing with hubby how some of the issues could be handled, not that anyone asked me. There are three rows of vendors in an L shape. One row is under the shelter below, facing the green.

The second row backs up to them and the third row is across the lot from them, no cars are permitting on Saturday mornings except for the vendors to unload in the morning and reload in the afternoon. About where the roof changes heights, there is a two way opening to try to direct traffic that causes congestion and has people coming and going between the rows. My idea is to close in the first row with vendors filling that opening and the corner opening and making traffic one way. You enter at the first vendor in that row anyway. If they did that and shifted the last vendor in that row a couple of feet to open a path to the rear rows as the exit is currently in line with the entrance behind the first row. One way traffic would help alleviate some of the congestion.

Once the goodies were home, a basket to hold the potatoes on top of the refrigerator was sought from my supply. It needs to be away from the sunny window where the wire hanging tiered basket is that holds onions and garlic that isn’t in a braid. The one I was going to use was one of my earliest ones made and stained with Walnut stain. I used to be very good about hosing my baskets off about once a year to remove dust and dampen the reed to keep it from getting brittle, but I don’t think that most of my handmade baskets have been given that treatment since moving in to this house 15 years ago. I had noticed some broken reeds in the weave of several of the baskets, but that one was the worst. When in the basement to pull out ceramic pumpkins and the ghost to decorate with a couple of weeks ago, I spotted a plastic bin with a partially made basket and reed in it. That unfinished basket must be 18 to 20 years old. I remember the day I was teaching Son 1 and friends how to make baskets, in the back yard of the house we sold in Virginia Beach prior to building the house here. We spent a couple of years renting while plans were made, house was started, and finally completed.

The reed was checked for soundness and size. I needed narrower reed than what was there, so after soaking it and the most damaged basket, it was cut to width and the basket was repaired. That inspired me to inspect the other baskets and do more repair. There was some narrow chair caning reed that worked perfectly on the blue and natural apple basket that was made by my friend that took the class with me. The wider reed was right to repair the largest basket. The odd shaped unfinished basket was made into a very crude, misshapen basket that went on the top of the refrigerator for the potatoes and covered with a small tea towel.

Two baskets still need a rinse, but they are too large for the sink, so they will go out to the yard and get a quick hosing down. It would have bothered me when I started making baskets to not make the one on the right perfectly shaped and properly edged and the unstained reed on the stained basket would have stressed me, but it shows that repair and keep using is more important than perfection and I kind of like it.

The two winter squash with the last pumpkin from last year’s harvest were put in a wooden trencher that hubby gave me years ago from a craftsman at a fair. They will be used for meals in the next week or two and the pumpkin will make pies for our isolation holiday meals as we can’t have our kids here and since the garden did not produce pumpkins this year. The local pumpkin patches are open but they aren’t any fun without grandkids along.