Time to uncoop

It has been 6 weeks since our self isolation began, since we have been able to sit with and hug our kids and grands. This week, I was supposed to demonstrate at the museum for classes from one of the local schools. In a week, we were supposed to go to 2 plays at the American Shakespeare Center with Son 1 and family and bring eldest grand back for a weekend basketball camp. In two weeks we were supposed to take 3 of the grands to Great Wolf Lodge for two nights, their Christmas gift from us. None of that will happen. Nor did the trip to see Son 2 and his family, including our youngest grandson who we haven’t been able to meet, but we did get an adorable photo of him with two of his sisters.

Very little additional work has been done on the garden since digging up the mint. I hoped that the Carolina Wren would return to her two remaining eggs, but she has not, so when we have a day that isn’t raining or under wind advisories, I will finish weeding the box she was in, work more on the mint that is popping up everywhere there was a piece of root left, and dig out the area for the corn and climbing beans. We are still about 3 weeks from last frost date and we had a frost Sunday morning that nearly did the begonias in because I didn’t cover them. It also damaged all the asparagus tips that were up and made them inedible. There are more sprouting, so a few days from now, they can be harvested if it doesn’t freeze again. It is supposed to be cold tonight, but not cold enough for frost and we have a wind advisory again. I tucked the begonias up against the house and covered them with a beach towel.

The dogwoods on the mountain are blooming and seeing them and the elderberry flowers on my walks is a pleasure.

The hummingbirds are here and frequenting the feeder in the front. A red bellied woodpecker has started feeding on the suet cake hung with the feeders in the back. Compared to the tiny songbirds, it looks huge, though I know they are only a medium sized woodpecker. I’m still not hearing the owls at night which is a spring and summer pleasure.

When I’m not cooking or baking, I am spinning on the spindles. Working to get enough spindle spun yarn to knit a sweater for me. It slows my production by not using the wheel. The tiny Kuchulu turkish spindle by Ed Jenkins is my favorite to play with, but I can only get about 42 yards of yarn per cop on it.

My isolation mini skein collection.
The shawl is coming along when I knit. I am on the second skein and not until I uploaded this did I realize how neutral the colors were.

I worry about the small local businesses that have had to be closed and whether they will ever be able to reopen, but also worry that reopening while the virus is still spreading will just cause a surge of cases and more deaths. It is a frightening time.

Is it Sunday, the day of rest?

Each morning, I have to look at my phone to see what day of the week it is. They all run together now. It was somewhat of a problem after I retired, but there were a few regular things we did that helped keep them straight.

We woke to a spring frost. It was pretty, but I forgot to cover the begonias last night and they don’t look happy today.

It started warming up quickly and I took string out to make trellis for the peas before they start sprawling on the ground.

After lunch, I tackled a project that has been sitting around for months. When I first started Rev War reenactment, I purchased a skirt/petticoat and some of the other components of the outfit online, mostly from Etsy. The petticoat was a navy and oatmeal checkered patterns and after aligning myself with the local militia group, learned that the pattern was not period appropriate and cotton wasn’t widely used, so I made myself a navy linen one. The checkered one hung over the back of my sewing chair with the plan of using the yards and yards of fabric to make some valences for some of the windows where we had removed the stained and nasty Roman shades. I finally took the time to cut the fabric and sew the seams. I had two pressure rods that fit the windows in question and a job done. I should have lined them, but had no appropriate lining fabric. When it is safe to be out and about again, I will buy some unbleached muslin and add a lining layer.

There is enough left to make a valence for the double living room window as well, but I want to put drapes up first, so the old Roman Shades will hang until they can be purchased and a double rod bought.

Since I had the sewing machine out and still have plenty of the quilting cotton I made masks from, I tackled the fitted kind with a filter pocket. The pleated kind I made first, with elastic loops, pulls my hearing aid out and fogs my glasses. I tried making one of the ribbon with buttons on both ends to hold it on, but it still caused the same issue. The one I made today is tied on with a strip that runs though casings on both edges. I used one long piece of grosgrain ribbon stitched lengthwise in half for the ties.

Using a folded pipe cleaner in the nose bridge pocket, it can be molded enough to not cause much fogging and if I put my long hair up in a high twist, the tie is held high enough to not pull out my hearing aid. Win win. There is still a lot of that fabric, so I think a second one will be made so there is one to wear when one is in the wash. I learned from my mistakes on this one, so a second one should be a breeze.

Our daily bread

The self isolation has prompted a return to bread baking and consumption of homemade bread. When we knew that we would be staying at home and began our supply stocking, some sandwich type rolls and a loaf of sourdough bread were purchased and frozen. A month into the isolation, those supplies are long gone which prompted a resurrection of the sourdough. While the sourdough was being fed and restored, a couple of loaves of no knead artisan bread were made, then the starter was ready and several loaves have been baked, giving one to the neighbor that helped with the mower. This morning, I realized that there were no sandwich rolls left, so the starter discard was put to use to mix up a batch of dough for them. There are two recipes that I use for rolls, one with sourdough and one without. The sourdough ones take longer to make but use up the daily discard. The ones below are the yeast raised ones.

The yeast raised ones are done, the sourdough have 4 more hours plus baking time. Think I will stick to yeast raised for sandwich buns.

The bread making helps pass the time and since we aren’t going anywhere, there is plenty of that. Because flour is a rare commodity, I can’t go out to get it, I’m using so much of it, I ordered fresh stone milled organic flour. It comes from a mill where a blogger friend works and it arrived today. I just sprayed the outer box with 1% bleach spray and will open it with gloves on once it is dry and bring my 4 three pound bags in. Can’t wait to try it, but with one each of the roll recipes rising on the counter that will make 12 buns, and about a half a loaf of sourdough remaining from yesterday’s baking, it will have to wait a day or two and will probably be a loaf of sandwich bread.

This morning, the mower repair people came and picked up the riding mower to take in to fix and when I stepped out to yell up to the guy to see if we paid for the pick up now or when it was returned, I saw our neighborly mower had again jumped her fence and come to visit.

If she is going to come mow, I wish she would at least come down to an area that I have to mow, not an area that is saved for hay. Of course it had just started raining when I called her owner to let her know where “Bad” Penny was. She is due to calf in May so maybe she will stay home and not leave her little one then.

The time at home has my garden in a better place than it has ever been this early in the spring, but we have two days of rain followed by a chilly day and near freezing night ahead, so it will sit idle. The asparagus look like they will provide enough for a meal soon, then they will overwhelm and I only like them fresh, so freezing or otherwise preserving is not going to happen. I know daughter and granddaughter love them and I’m sure she will be glad to come out to pick up a bag full and a dozen eggs. I need to get out between rain showers and string some trellis for the peas.