Category Archives: Olio

Olio 2/13/17

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

And this is all over the place today.

Yesterday it was spring and the wind howled, taking out the power for a few hours before we got home. Last night it got very cold and the wind howled, rattling the dog run dormer on the back of the house and whistling through the edges of the metal roof.  This morning was crystal and the wind still howled.  Out to start the car to warm up for the grandson run to the bus stop and this was the view.

sky

 

The sun higher each day, rising above the ridges in the east and lighting the tops of the other ridges while our hollow was still in the dawn and the waning moon still high in the western sky.

As grandson was grabbing his coat and pulling or pushing on the bi-fold hall closet door, it sounded like someone dropping tinker toys (do you remember them, I do).  Most of the doors in the house are beautiful doors handmade by eldest son when he was finishing the inside of the house, but rather than make a door that opened out into the hall, we opted for a bi-fold on that closet.  This is what happened.

Door broke

 

The top separated from the side and the slates came tumbling down.  Thanks first to my Dad who taught me to tackle most repairs, from replacing the insides of a toilet or even a whole toilet, replacing garbage disposals when in the city and they were used, installing faucets, door locks and knobs, and on and on.  Next to  eldest son who will set me to work on a job with some instruction, then go off to do a different job himself, the door was taken down, the slats were carefully put back in the slots, lined up top and bottom and the door hammered back together with a new glue joint and a screw for good measure.  The pilot hole drilled, the screw set, the door rehung, good as new (hopefully).

Fixed

 

The day’s mail brought the parts to the first antique spinning wheel that was bought.  The repairs are wonderful and there is a second bobbin.  The wheel was put back together, the instructional video watched twice before attempting to put the double drive band on, and she was taken for a spin.

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The front near leg still splays out a bit too much.  When the wheel arrived, that leg had an adhesive spongy material on one side of it, a shim of sorts?  That repair is on me to resolve.  The wheel does spin and draws in the singles, but it has a tendency to throw the drive band after about a dozen rotations.  Some adjustments must still be made, but my knowledge is too novice to know what so it has been thrown out into the ether for answers.  It is a beauty, but it needs to be functional.

For as long as I can remember, each Valentine’s Day, my Dad sent each of his girls from wife to great granddaughters a kid’s type valentine card.  When he passed in December of 2015, I knew I wouldn’t get any more of them, but Valentine’s Day 2016 came and there was an envelope with a card for me, one each for daughter and granddaughter and the envelope looked like it could have been written by him.  I cried, daughter had to open it, my younger brother had decided that he was going to carry on the tradition.  Today the envelope arrived and this was inside, again with that oh so familiar handwriting.  His handwriting is eerily similar to Dad’s.

valentine

 

Yes, it made me cry again, but tears of sweet memories.

Olio

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Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

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Now that the silk is spun, plyed, and ready to knit, I have returned to spinning Priscilla. She is a Leicester Longwool sheep that belongs to a friend, owner of Sunrise Valley Farm, raised locally.  I stumbled upon her delightful wool at our Farmers Market one Saturday morning.  I purchased a small bag of 8 ounces of the roving and fell in love. At the time I didn’t know it came from Priscilla, but after I bought the second 8 ounces, I was told and I asked for more.  I have spun many ounces, dyed some with Annatto seed and with Country Classics wool dye.

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The yellow gold and the lavender are some of what I dyed and the white is the natural roving.  Initially, my plan was to knit a Fair Isle pull over sweater to wear on a ski trip to Colorado this winter.  Those plans have had to be aborted and the yoke of the sweater was so heavy that the yarn was pulled out, rewound, and is now being worked into a Fibonacci Infinity Scarf instead.  You see the beginning of it in the photo above and more of it below.

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I am working the third sequence at this point and will switch to lavender and natural at the end of this sequence.  I am much more likely to wear the scarf than a very heavy sweater.

That said, I have enough of Priscilla to still knit a sweater for me, but I will use a different pattern and larger needles to make the fabric lighter and more drapey.

I have hopes that this spring, once the lambs are born, that I may have the opportunity to drive to the farm and see the lambs and perhaps finally meet Priscilla.  I was invited last year and never made it over.

Night before last, another friend, a country neighbor that is the lead blacksmith at the Smithfield Plantation House where I sometime get to spin, came over with his wife and he was able to straighten the metal crank part of my antique spinning wheel so that the vertical part of the footman no longer walks off when I treadle it.

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It still requires a leather washer, but each repair gets the wheel closer to being a working wheel.  The parts that I had to ship to Bobbin Boy have been repaired and are in the mail back to me.  I had hoped that they would have arrived today, but not yet. The split in the upright that hold the wheel has been glued and if that doesn’t hold, I will try some lashing near the point where the shaft of the wheel hub rests.  The last resort will be to ship that off to Bobbin Boy to have a new piece manufactured by them.

Today is another day of mud and gloom.  The prognosticators indicate that it may partially clear off this afternoon, but expect heavy rain on Sunday and Monday.  The chicken pen is a muddy mess, the coop not much better.  I think a bale of straw is needed in the coop instead of the pine chips I had to use last time I cleaned it, and a heavy layer of spoiled hay around the outside of the coop to try to tame the mud and muck.  To walk into the pen is taking your life in your hands right now as it is sloped, slick, and soft enough to suck your boots clean off.  Most of the spoiled hay that was put down after the snow has been scratched into the mud.

No more mice have been caught in the car fortunately, but with the wet warm weather, they are trying to get into the house now.  The utility room trap has been busy of late. This morning, after dropping granddaughter off at preschool, I stopped to get the oil changed in my old lady.  I’m really trying to keep her going over 200,000 miles and we are getting close to that.  She will be a dozen years old in a couple of months.  The mini lube place that I took her always try to sell you more services and when the guy brought the cabin filter in for me to see, it was truly fowled between the dusty road and driveway (when we aren’t in monsoon season) and the contributions from the mouse that I caught earlier in the week in the car.  They did vacuum the cab and remove the last remnants of the little mouse’s nest that I had removed prior to setting the trap.

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The young Buffy roo is testing his voice. I don’t name the hens, but I do name the king of the coop.  He is replaced each year or so as his spurs get long and dangerous and he gets more aggressive.  There is always a new cockerel out of the hatchlings that can be put in with the girls after breeding season, and the old tough guy goes to the stew pot at son’s house.  We have had B’rooster, Cogburn, and a couple others.  This guy is Mr. Croak.  Maybe his voice will mature, but now he sounds like an adolescent male whose voice cracks.  He is about 7 months old, beginning to show spurs, has a nice plume of a tail and a funny voice.

Olio – 12/23/16

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

Very early this morning in the wee dark hours, eldest son and his family arrived for Christmas.  Yesterday was spent cleaning up as much dust and animal hair as possible with the vacuum and a lightly dampened mop to try and reduce the allergen level of the house.  The process was taken down to the basement as well, where there are no rugs, granddaughter helping by collecting various tiny lego pieces, parts of her “kitchen” and other random toys that were not put away.  The bed in the bedroom down there was made with fresh sheets, as was the futon in the sitting area for grandson.  The last of the gifts were wrapped and sorted to be put under the tree.

After fixing sausage gravy and biscuits this morning, we visited until Jim had finished his PT and daughter has finished teaching her class and we all met for lunch out and split up in the various cars for errands.  Jim taking grandson for a haircut, daughter bringing granddaughter home to finish their laundry and to pack and load the car to await son-in-law to arrive home for them to begin their drive to Florida where they will spend Christmas with his parents, pick up the grandson who has been with his bio Dad for the week, and then on to have a Christmas vacation for the kids.  Son and I made a few stops for items on his list.

When we arrived home, a footstool box pieced and taped together with enough foam sheeting to wrap the house and holding my new antique spinning wheel was sitting on the table.  This excited me and I carefully opened the box and found all of the disassembled pieces inside.  We pulled up a photo and began reassembling it to make sure it is all there.

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It is all there, with a few flaws that may have to be addressed, such as two of the whorls missing a chunk out of them, but I think I can still use them.  An arm of the flyer has been broken and reglued in the past.  The legs had been removed for shipping and need to be reglued for stability.  The parts are pegged together and the leather that holds the flyer on the mother of all is dry and too wide in one place, covering the orifice hole, so it hasn’t been used in a long time.  I suspect it has been mostly decorative.  It is a double drive wheel and the only twine that I had to test it with isn’t beefy enough to do the job and frayed very quickly.  The bobbin is so tiny, but the wheel is gorgeous.  It was made by a Canadian from St. Andre, a wheel with screw tensioning.  Paradis was born in the early 1800’s.

Daughter’s family is on the road.  Son’s family shared a pot roast dinner with us and now they are off to a movie with Jim.  I elected to have some quiet time at home with a cup of tea and bake the pies for our Christmas dinner.

We traditionally have our Christmas dinner on the eve with turkey, country ham, and all the trimmings.  Tomorrow, we will avoid the last minute madness, just enjoying each other’s company, sharing a festive meal in the evening and do our gift opening after a big Christmas breakfast on Sunday, before they leave for daughter-in-law’s parent’s home to have Christmas with them as well.

Our house will be very quiet after they leave for more than a week, just Jim, me and all the animals.

Have a very Merry Christmas to all of you who check in on us through my blog.

Olio – December 13, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Last year this time, I was with my failing Dad.  He passed before Christmas and I moved through the holidays last year in a fog.  This year I can’t get him off my mind and the tears are never far from the surface.  Apparently, I put the sympathy cards in with the Christmas cards and put the box of them away together.  Pulling them out started it, then every ornament or Santa that he and his wife gave me triggered it again.  I will get through.  The family, not me, but others close to me have struggled with some health issues in the past month and that has produced it own level of stress.  All will be fine in the long run, but not right now.

I did get the house decorated.  As our daughter was born right after Thanksgiving, she insisted that no decorations be put up until after her birthday when she was growing up. That rule still applies.  Sometimes it is the day after Thanksgiving, sometimes a week later.  With a late Thanksgiving this year, the decorating was late.  The Santas and snowmen are adorning the shelves, windowsills, and table tops.

Little tree mantle more santas Santas

They get tucked all over the great room and kitchen, this is only some of them. Saturday, Jim and I drove to the city and partied with his HOG group, staying the night in the hotel where the party was held and on Sunday, drove home to go out with the kids for lunch and off to buy a Christmas tree from one of the cut your own lots.  Last year, we let the grands pick the tree and came home with a 12-13 foot tree.  This year, I picked it and it is only about 8 feet tall.  Last night, daughter and her family decorated the tree with their family decorations.  We put one for our annual ornament, one that we have joked over annually that came from a good friend a couple of decades ago, the three little soft gnomes and daughter insisted that the tree be wrapped in the yarn candy cane rope from our box.

When I went down a couple of days ago to put an empty decoration box in the root cellar part of the basement, I saw a puddle of water.  This happened a few years ago and I did not know what was causing it until I talked with my son.  The air handler condensation tube drips into a floor drain.  The floor drain has a pipe that runs under the slab and out the back of the house, through a PVC pipe that goes 18.5 feet straight back off the stoop, then at a 45º angle off for another 10+ feet where it terminated in a shallow pit fill with gravel.  Twice the end of that pipe has gotten clogged with dirt, the gravel pit also filling up and the condensation backs up until the entire pipe is full and the puddle forms on the slab.  The first time it happened, I had no idea where the pipe was or how far out from the house it was laid.  I started at the back door slab and dug a shallow trench from where I could find the pipe until I found it’s terminus.  It was sleeting and snowing that time.  Today it was just a cold rain and I knew approximately where it was so instead of a trench, I only needed a series of shallow holes to follow the path to the terminus.

dig

When I found the end, I cleaned out the mud, left an open hole and drove a stake until I have a warmer, drier day to redig a pit and fill it with gravel.  I think I will mark the terminus spot with a larger flat rock so I can find it even faster next time.

One of my pullets began laying this week.  She is a half Buff Orpington, half Americauna.  She looks mostly like a Buff Orpington, just a bit smaller and only slightly darker.  I was curious what she would lay and her eggs are small and olive colored.

eggs

We are now getting about 10 eggs a week, half blue ones and half olive green ones.  The Buff Orpingtons which are generally winter layers, have not resumed from their molt.

Saturday is the second Holiday Market.  The forecast is abysmal with an 80% chance of precipitation starting as freezing rain.  It will be about 22 when I leave home to drive down.  It may reach the mid 40’s by the end.  It will probably not be the best Market, but I have the soaps, lotion bars, salves, knitwear, and yarn, so I should give it a go.  I will dress warmly, figure out how to put two sides on my tent and hope the wind is calm.

 

Olio-December 2, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The winter is setting in.  After much very dry weather with burn bans and hardly a sprinkle, we had two days of fairly continuous rain, much needed, but none the less uncomfortable to have to be out in taking grands to their bus stops or preschools, running errands, etc.  It wasn’t a warm spring type rain, it was cold, blustery, and wet.  It is the rain that helped the Amherst County and Tennessee fire fighting effort.  Living in a rural area with tree covered mountains around us, we fear fire when it is dry.  In 1902, the community that provides our zip code was virtually destroyed by a sweeping wildfire that consumed all but a small handful of now historic buildings and homes.

The rain helped relieve some of the tension that the very dry period had caused, though the heavy downpours gouged out gullies in our unpaved state road again and swept the leaves that had filled the ditches into mounds in the road and along the sides of the narrow road.  After the first day of heavy rain, I stopped and hand cleared the leaves from the ditch just above the culvert that runs under our driveway so that the rain could flow freely through and down to the run off creek.  Our driveway is pocked with run off gouges that will fill back in as we drive it.

The chickens never have started laying again since their molt, so I am getting 1 green egg from the Americauna that didn’t molt about every couple of days.  The Buff Orpingtons will generally lay some during the cold weather, but they have not resumed. They enjoy the sunshine when it is out and forage through the lower garden that is theirs for the winter at least.

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Every time I have planned to plant garlic in the past few weeks, I have been distracted from the task by other chores or the weather.  This morning, I got my bi monthly newsletter from the host of my garden planner and it indicated that it was not too late.  After picking granddaughter up from preschool, I bundled in my barn coat, muck boots, a knit hat and toughed the cold blustery day to get the job done finally.  I knew that if I did not do it now, that there would be no homegrown garlic next summer and fall.  A 4 foot square cedar box was planted with about 90 cloves of garlic to provide the heads for next year.  There were two kinds saved for planting, Redneck Riviera and German Red.  Next year, I think I will also locate and plant a soft neck variety too.

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The first box of the new garden plan is planted and mulched.  My purchase plan of two boxes a month has been put on hold until after Christmas, but there is a stack of cardboard in the garage to use as mulch base between the boxes once they are purchased.  I still have plenty of spoiled hay to use on top of the cardboard once it is in place around the boxes.  I probably should place a layer below the second box in the above picture before the weeds decide to move in.

Once back in and thawed, I resumed plying the 4 ounces of Alpaca and Merino that I have been spinning for the past couple of days.  I had about an ounce on one bobbin and needed to finish spinning and plying it so that I have the bobbins free for this weekend.  It ended up a beautiful 250 yard skein that will be so warm and cozy as a cowl or hat with the 70% alpaca content.

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I will be spinning in the historic Smithfield Plantation House during their Holiday event this weekend.  Their theme this year is based on products that they produced such as hemp, honey, and fiber.  I am taking some washed unprocessed Dorset wool and hand carders, as well as some already processed Dorset wool roving to spin during the event on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  This is the last of the events at the site until it reopens in the spring.  I have enjoyed my afternoons volunteering there this late summer and fall.

Olio – November 20, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

I haven’t done an Olio post in a while and today I am scattered all over the place, so it seems appropriate.

Today is my step mom’s birthday.  It has always been difficult to think of this friend as a step mom, though she was married to my Dad for more than 27 years until his passing. I was 40 when they married, and she is only a year older than my hubby, so our relationship has always been as peers.  She made my Dad very happy for those years and for that I love her dearly.

This is the week of birthdays here.  First her, then me, then granddaughter, then an adult nephew, and finally daughter.  Granddaughter and her best friend are 1 day apart in age and today they will celebrate a joint birthday party at the roller skating rink.  Daughter is an amateur cake decorator par excellence and she always asks her kids and her husband what kind of cake they want and how they want it decorated.  Granddaughter has definitely become a Virginia farm girl, she wants a tractor in the snow with a pink and purple cow.  This is probably the most interesting idea that daughter has had to create, but when you are turning 5, you know what you want and nothing else will suffice.  The cake is strawberry, the decoration is “Otis” the tractor from the kids books with a pink and purple cow.  Now mind you, none of the cows around here are pink and purple, but she wants what she wants.

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The snow flurries of yesterday and last night left the first snow on the ground, just a dusting, but I’m not ready for snow yet.

 

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To go with this dusting, it is below freezing and the wind is howling through the hollow, making it even colder.  The wind is to continue until late tonight.

One of my purchases at the market yesterday was the last pound and a half of Priscilla.  Priscilla is a Leicester Longwool sheep that belongs to one of my friends and a fellow vendor at the market.  I bought 8 ounces of her fiber and loved spinning it.  It is the skein that I dyed with Annatto seed a while back.  That was my first experience dyeing fiber.  Later a friend taught me how to dye in a microwave and I started dyeing more.  Back to Priscilla, after the first 8 ounces was spun, I bought more.  That is when I found out that the fiber was Priscilla’s, though I have yet to meet her.  Over the summer and through yesterday, I think I have purchased more than 4 pounds.  Along the way, I decided that Priscilla was to become a Fair Isle yoked sweater for me and I dyed some more skeins and knit a hat to determine gauge.

Hat

 

This hat kept my head warm yesterday standing in the chilly wind at the Holiday Market.

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This is the pound and a half that I bought yesterday.  Once the sweater is finished, I will knit a matching Fair Isle scarf to go with the hat and sweater and dream about what else I can knit with this wonderful fiber.

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This is the sweater yoke.  Only about an inch more and I divide for the sleeves and begin on the body.  This sweater will be only for the coldest days, skiing, playing in the snow, or standing out in cold wind at the markets, it is going to be heavy and warm.

Eldest son came this weekend for the first weekend of rifle season for deer.  He sat out for a while yesterday morning and could hear them in the woods, but no safe shot.  Last evening, he sat out from prior to dusk to full on dark.  The herd that has been coming into our hay field at dusk came out, but the rogue heifer that belongs to one of our neighbors (one that he can not capture,) chose dusk last night to visit again and stood right between son and the first two deer out.  Then the heifer galloped across the hay field and investigated right where son was laying in the edge of the woods.  The rest of the deer herd came out, but son was too distracted by the cow to focus on a safe shot.  He will try again when he returns with his family for Thanksgiving.

We were going to put the culls in freezer camp today, but he is suffering a migraine and it is just too cold and windy to want to work outside unnecessarily.  The 6 birds got a reprieve until midweek, though they took their food and water in the Chicken Palace as the wind has blown the protective netting down again.  He will be here for several days during the Thanksgiving weekend, and we will take care of them then, after the wind has died down and perhaps the daytime temperature rises above freezing.

The day draws to a close on this frigid mountain day.  Still loving life on our mountain farm.

 

Olio – October 24, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

It was a beautiful busy weekend, that spilled over to today.

Yesterday, the asparagus bed was trimmed, weeded, and heavily mulched for the winter.  A few peppers were picked, but there are many more soon to be ready.  Some of the tomato vines were pulled, but I ran out of steam before the job was done.

I gave up on trying to stop the randy cockerels from escaping, but made the hen’s pen more secure so that at least they can’t get in with them.  I don’t think letting them coop up with the hens for the next 3 weeks is a good idea, I’m afraid it would incite more fighting between them and maybe they would even attack the fairly docile cockerel that I put in with them.  So far the hens are not letting him anywhere near them.  The molting season is full on and the yard near their pen looks like I had a pillow fight with someone.  Because of the mature hens molting and the pullets not yet laying, I am only getting 1 egg a day.  Hopefully that will change soon and we will start getting more eggs with the holidays approaching and baking to be done.

It was a good weekend to start making soap again.  I have an order for a full mold of a scent I don’t put in my shop anymore, and I needed three others for the upcoming Holiday Markets.

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Two batches were made over the weekend, unmolded and cut yesterday.  Today I was going to make the other two and got one made, the kitchen a mess and realized that I don’t have enough of one of the essential oils to make the other batch.  Granddaughter is napping and I don’t want to get her up yet.  Grandson has to be picked up from the bus stop in a bit more than an hour.  Both of them need to be dressed and taken to Taekwondo by 5:15, so I guess I will buy the oil then and make the other batch tonight.

For a while, I have been watching the not quite 5 year old granddaughter ride down our dirt and gravel driveway and across the sloping yard on her balance bike.  Daughter and I had discussed that she was about ready to learn to ride a real bike without training wheels.  I am not a fan of training wheels.  I feel that once a kid has a comfort level with the balance, either on a balance bike or on a real bike on a gentle grassy slope, that they are ready to start pedaling.  She was taken to the elementary school where I taught her cousin to ride a few summers ago, and wasn’t there long before her Mom sent us a video of her riding on her own.  She still needed someone to help her start. Today, she asked me to take her riding again, so we went to the old high school track that is available for the public to walk or run on and she rode great loops around the track, into a head wind and then while I was approaching to help her start off, she did it by herself.  She was so proud of herself.

I have continued to work on the Christmas stocking for the newest granddaughter.  The chart that is used for the design is very poorly labeled and it violates every rule of knitting color work by spanning 10 or 12 stitches in a color change.  I have cut short lengths and wound many bobbins to avoid it, but as it is going to be lined in the end, there are some places where I just spanned too many stitches and did the color change.

chart mess

When doing a chart, each little box either has a symbol or lacks a symbol and there is a key to let you know what color, the symbol represents.  This one has a key, but the key does not match the colors in the photo (the yarn does), so it has been a challenge of flipping to the photograph to see what color the symbol is supposed to be.  To make matters worse, two symbols represent two different colors depending on where in the chart you are.  As it is, I am going to have to double knit a small section to “repair” a mixed up color from the chart.  The right photo is of the back of the stocking with all of the little bobbins and balls that I have to keep untangling.  I have reached a point where I am only using 4 colors now and soon only three, then to join in the round and knit the heel and toe.  Each stocking that I have made is lined.  For my children I did stockings that were crewel work, each grandchild has either a quilted or knitted one.  After they are finished and lined, I add a little cross stitched tag inside near the top that says, Made with love, (name they call me) and the year it was made.  I hope they treasure them as much as I enjoyed making them.

 

Olio – April, 21, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

After a lot of cold and wet, we are now warm, dry, and windy.  The burn pile sits unburned.  There are or have been many brush fires in Virginia this spring and I sure don’t want to contribute to this.  Though the pile is in the middle of a grassy area, an errant wind borne spark could be disastrous, so the pile sits for longer.

Yesterday, after taking granddaughter to preschool, I left the car in the lot, met a friend who took her grandson to a preschool a block away, and we walked through town to a local coffee shop, enjoyed a beverage and each other’s company and then walked back to my car to retrieve eggs and some soap making supplied that I had bought to share with her, she was my soap making instructor.  From there to her car, to drop off the items and pick up a book she needed to return to the library, I needed to check out a book I had on reserve and we walked on to the library.  It was a pleasant morning out.

Today I had an appointment to get the oil changed and a state inspection on my 11 year old car.  I had hoped to get in, have it done in an hour or so and leave.  I did have a problem for them to diagnose, as after they replaced my airbag in a recall, the SRS light on the dash lit intermittently and recently, on more than off, which means that the airbag system is disabled.  Well, that little glitch meant that the car would not pass inspection as they do not carry the seat belt part that controls that in stock and had to order it.  Then they informed me that the ball joints needed to be replaced and the car realigned.  I left knowing that I can’t drive my car except when absolutely necessary until the part comes in (at least it is a warranty job) and that they want more than a grand to repair the other.  Thus my dilemma.  The car is 11 years old, has 185000+ miles on it.  It has been a great car.  The cost of the repair is less by far than going in debt for a new car and it will pass inspection this time once the SRS situation is fixed.  I fear that this is the beginning of other big repairs.  I will look into possibly having it repaired at an independent mechanic instead of the dealer, maybe it won’t cost quite as much or continue to drive it until later in the year and decide what to do then.

I have been spinning a lot the past few days.  The Merino that I bought and blended at the spinning retreat was finished, way over 400 yards of soft deep eggplant color with hints of twilight blue and gray.

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When I finished that one, I spun the other fiber that I purchased and blended at the retreat, an Olive and Teal blend of Jacob, Mystery Ram, and Alpaca.  It is over 114 yards of yarn that will probably be used to make a hat if the yarn itself doesn’t sell on my etsy shop.

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Both of these are available at CabinCrafted on Etsy.

After a couple of years of reading primarily ebooks, I have returned to the good old fashioned bound book.  Having recently read Solitude Creek by Jeffrey Deaver and The Memory Man by David Baldacci, I heard a review and author interview on The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida.  On a recent trip to the library, seeking that and two other books, all unsuccessful, I did reserve the last and am currently enjoying this author’s style and the story.  It is especially intriguing as she spoke in the interview about the beginning of the book being based on a real life event to her.

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I will likely seek out her other books to read as well.

On my local walks, which due to Spring Gobbler hunting season have been confined mostly to the road, I have seen many spring flowers, some burned by the last late frost. These walks are now being logged by a community walking group of individuals who are adding their miles together each week and tracking a walk across the country and back from our town to other towns and cities of the same name through out the country and even abroad.  Such fun to be part of this event.

 

 

Olio – 3-28-16

It is really trying to be spring time.  We are having more warm days and mild nights as not, but the threat of frost is not passed, nor will it for a few more weeks.  The tiny tomato plants have secondary leaves and the two of the four types of peppers are thriving.  They spend as much of each sunny day outdoors as they can, often tucked in a sheltered area as the spring wind is strong in this hollow.  The remaining two flats of still ungerminated peppers have been left indoors under cover and soon flats of basil and fennel will be added to that tray.  We can start putting these plants in the ground in another month.

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There are 4 comfrey seedlings, so I should have plenty of comfrey leaves to dry for salves, to feed to the chickens, and to use as mulch on the beds.  I love their huge shading leaves and purple flowers.

I have continued spinning on the Merino batts I blended at Hawk’s Nest and have produced several hundred yards of a beautiful royal purple yarn with gray and blue highlights.  It has spun and plied to a very soft fingering weight yarn.

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Skein winding off the bobbin.
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The first skein plied, but not yet soaked and hung to set.

On my drop spindle, I have created and plied a skein of the Romney that I received as my March Tailfeather’s Club installment.  It is beautiful too, but is going much slower than what I am creating on the wheel.

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It is light fingering weight.

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Wild yeast sourdough starter

The wild yeast sourdough starter was a tough start.  After about 5 days, I saw no activity, so I discarded most of it and fed it again.  Still not too much activity was observed, but daily stirring disbursed the odor that it was beginning to ferment.  Saturday, I again discarded most of it and fed it again and it bubbled happily yesterday.  It has a delightful fruity odor and nice development.  Today I fed it again and tonight, I will make the ferment and soak the flour for tomorrow’s bread making.  I am excited that I have developed a nice wild starter from just flour and water, some patience and a good daily stirring. Tomorrow, we will have sourdough bread of just flour, water, and salt.

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Our house was built with three dormers on the front.

Two of those dormers are in the living room and high up in the heavy timber roof line. They face north and are magnets for wasps and stinkbugs to gather during the daylight hours.  After a few days, the wasps will move down to the south windows and doors on the ground level and can be swatted and removed from the house, but yesterday, I realized that there were not one or two, but a dozen or more in those windows.  I hauled the 8′ ladder in, climbed to the step below the top and swatted wasps in both sets of windows.  I had hardly put the ladder away until I spotted another.  I must figure out where they are getting in.

 

Olio – March 22, 2016

Olio – a miscellaneous collection of things.

Spring came in cold and wet, but no snow accumulation, thank goodness.  The last two nights predicted to go into the upper 20’s f didn’t, so no damage to the herbs on the deck.  The planted part of the garden is showing life, peas and radishes are up, the garlic is standing tall.  I’m still not seeing any asparagus in my second year bed, but neither is my friend in hers, so maybe it is still a mite early.  At Farmers Market on Saturday, I purchased 8 cabbage starts, already hardened off and they need to go into the ground, perhaps this afternoon.  More comfrey has sprouted, also more peppers, but two varieties are not showing yet.  Today, I dug a spadeful of the old comfrey plant and moved it beside the garden.  I hope it will take root there and spread.  It is another plant that likes wet feet and I am thinking about moving some up to the creekside with the daylilies that are there.

This is the first week of daughter’s new HR job and both of her kids decided that this is the week to test Mommom’s ability to deal with little ones not feeling well.  N wasn’t feeling well on Sunday, but seemed ok yesterday.  She had a dentist appointment for a cleaning and was quite a trooper, though Mommom was rattled as in the excitement of the new job, the trip away for the Taekwondo tournament, and N not feeling well, the insurance card and already filled out paper work was forgotten.  I had to text daughter and SIL for the information, but for some reason, daughter’s return texts were not getting through but with SIL’s help through text messages, we muddled through. Maybe the paperwork wasn’t all filled out the way daughter would, but it got done.  We had left the dentist, gone another town east for lunch and got a call from A’s school that he was in the nurse’s office and would I please come get him.  Back across to him and he was brought him home to rest and drink lots of water for his headache.  He lets himself get dehydrated and gets a headache on occasion.

This morning, he was put on the bus to school, N was dressed for preschool and we went to town to get a breakfast treat first.  She seemed fine and chipper until she sat town with food in front of her.  She is back home, did not go to preschool today, is carrying around a bucket when she is awake and felt too bad to bother getting up in bed for her nap.

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Hopefully, when she awakes, she will be able to keep something down.

On Thursday evening, I will be having two friends over for soap making lessons.  Though I am still working through a big tub of Palm Oil, I have wanted to phase that oil out of my soap making for ethical reasons.  Palm oil is obtained by slash and burn of rain forests, then planted in the trees for palm oil and once they are of sufficient size, the entire tree is cut.  The laborers for this industry are very poorly paid.  Though coconut oil has some issues too, in that harvesting the coconuts is dangerous, they don’t cut down the whole tree and there are fair trade versions of the product available.  To begin to play with the idea of palm oil free soap that is still vegan, not containing lard or tallow, I put together a recipe yesterday, scented it with lemongrass and sweet orange essential oils to see what I would get.  That recipe made a mold full, plus 5 silicone muffin tins full.  It was unmolded and cut a few minutes ago to begin curing for my use or maybe to go in my etsy shop.  It smells delightful and the scraps made a nice lather.  If it cures hard, I will begin the switch to the palm oil free soaps.

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Slow roasting pork is in the oven.  Preparing sides and cornbread will follow later to nourish the working family, kids and us.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful so another gardening day will be in order, hopefully everyone will be healthy by then.