Tag Archives: freeze

OLIO – November 12, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

This hasn’t been a particularly busy week, 2 days home with a sick almost 6 year old, daily walks the other days, fairly consistently getting the 10,000 suggested steps each day and our speed up, walking 3.7-4 miles per hour, not bad for two oldies but goodies.

Car time was spent finishing up another pair of fingerless mitts for the Holiday Markets and the shop.

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Hand spun Coopworth by me and the green is part mohair from a friend’s goats, blended commercially with merino maybe and dyed by the friend.

A few nights ago, we were threatened with our first hard freeze, we have had several light frosts, so a harvest of mint, oregano, flat leaf parsley, and lemon balm were made to dry for teas and culinary uses this winter.  They are scattered around on trays on the hutch top and shelf to dry.

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A couple of sprigs of rosemary were brought in and put in the rooter ball in the kitchen window to root before potting.  The intent was to put row cover over the plant in the garden and over the rainbow chard, but intent and action didn’t meet.

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I probably should have.  If it perks back up, I will harvest a fair amount of it and freeze it then cover the plants and see if there will still be fresh greens for a bit longer.  It looked even worse this morning when I went out to feed and water the chickens.

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It has been cold enough the past few mornings to warrant the big ugly pink hooded barn coat and gloves.  It is ugly, but it is warm and there are two pair of gloves, depending on the chore and temperature, a pair of leather rough out work gloves and a pair of thick insulated Columbia fleece gloves that used to go winter camping with me.  With the sharp drop in temperature the other night came very strong wind.  It flipped our gas grill over two half barrels of herbs in the yard, tipping them over as well.  Other than a dent, it seems undamaged, but it will be moved well away from the house before it is lit to be sure.

Recently a friend, who is also a blog friend, posted a finished beautiful shawlette/scarf called Hitchhiker.  Years ago I knit one and the grandkids said it looked like a Dragon’s tail.  Though I was pleased with the knit and the shape, I didn’t like the color that I had chosen for the yarn and it sold in a prior Holiday Market.  I commented on her blog post and she encouraged me to knit another.  It seemed like a good project to take when we travel in February as it is one that can be picked up, put down, fairly easily memorized so good for airports and planes.  I started looking for yarn and couldn’t find anything that struck my fancy.  I had been spinning a lovely colorful Merino on the Spanish Peacock drop spindles, but feared it would look muddy plyed on itself.  If Navajo plyed, it wouldn’t give me enough yardage for the pattern and would be a bit heavier yarn than desired.  I realized that the Hearts of the Meadow Farm Coopworth that I am spinning for a sweater was a great color match, so a bobbin of it was spun fine and the spindle singles was plyed with the bobbin singles to produce a 155 yard skein.

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I like it, just 350 more yards of it need to be made to complete the project.  That will be my spinning project for a bit, except for Thursday when I am at Smithfield House in costume for a large Homeschool group.  I will resume spinning the oatmeal colored Coopworth that day.

Knitting, I am working on a Wonderful Wallaby, a hooded, pocketed sweatshirt style sweater for daughter.  I have made many of them for grandkids, this is the first adult sized one.  The body is done up to where the sleeves must be attached so the sleeves were begun last night as they are knit separately and then knit onto the sweater.

In spite of the very cold morning yesterday, we bundled up and ventured out to breakfast and the Farmers’ Market.  There are still many vendors there with produce, a few with meat, a couple with coffee, candles, artisan breads, and other goodies.  We came home with some produce, sausage as the house will be brimming at Thanksgiving, a loaf of bread, and a small bouquet of flowers for the table.

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While there, I met up with the Market Manager, and Ian told me that our Holiday Market conflicts with a 12:30 home football game at the University, the last home game of the season.  Typically, home game days are not good market days as the parking around town all gets taken up by game goers, several of the larger lots that are on campus become tailgate sites, including the one across from the market where we typically park our cars and trucks, it will be closed to our use.  Jim may have to deliver and pick me up and I shouldn’t expect this market to be a good one.  December should be better.  I almost didn’t do the November market to do one at our local elementary/middle school.  Maybe that is what I should have done, but what is done is done.

After the market and the grocer and all was put away at home, we ventured to the local trail around the big pond to do our walk and it was still only in the low 30’s.  It was brisk and made us move quickly to keep warm,  Today is supposed to be a bit milder, up into the mid 40’s.

Another week on the farm, the mountain looking like winter, the leaves down, the trees barren, the little flock of finches, Tufted Titmice, and Chickadees frequenting the feeders, the chickens cleaning up what they spill and “weeding” my flower beds with their scratching.  I love life here, even in winter.  Must get some firewood though.

A Tribute to a Mountain Man

Today a true mountain man was laid to rest on the hill overlooking our home.  The banner photo at the top of my blog was taken almost from the spot where he was buried.  He was one of the first people we met upon buying our land.  He was wary of us and we of him at our first meeting, but he quickly became a friend.  One of the characteristics of Appalachian men is to not to talk to women outside of their family.  He, though shy, was never like that.  He would stop when he saw me at our mailbox or mowing the top field and chat.  A nature lover, he would point out the hawks or the baby raccoons that he could spot before we ever saw them.  As a veteran, he was proud of his country and his service to his country, generally wearing a ball cap that stated Viet Nam Veteran.  He was a simple man that didn’t care what other people thought of him, he marched to his own drummer, but would do anything for you if asked.  In the past couple of years, he first lost a leg to circulatory issues and finally his life to Pneumonia on top of COPD, he failed fast and will leave a huge hole in his family and his neighborhood.  His request was to be buried on his farm, on his hill where he spent many hours day and night, watching the wildlife or the stars.  At his graveside, he was given a 21 gun salute by the local American Legion, VFW and National Guard.  His family presented with the flag from his coffin.  Like in life, he was buried in simplicity, in his hunting clothes, his Viet Nam cap and a simple pine box.  He will be missed on our mountain.

His passing allowed us to meet people who had just been names to us since our move here.  Our farm sits in the midst of hundreds of acres of farmland owned by his family, his brother and cousins, only a few of whom we had met.  It is a sad way to get to know them, but nice to be able to put faces with the names we have learned.

After the service and a dinner at the chapel, we hurried home to try to harvest what was left in the garden, one of his cousins, our closest neighbor coming down to help and visit.  We are expecting winter to arrive tonight and have snow flurries expected this weekend with nights in the 20’s.

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Darrell helped harvest any pumpkins and winter squash that were hanging from the compost bins, the ones on the ground we left to see if the leaves will die off in the freeze.  A box of mixed peppers, another of the remaining tomatillos and some greens were harvested, the pepper and tomatillo plants pulled and tossed in the chicken pen, the chard covered with row cover to try to save it for a bit longer.  The two cayenne pepper plants were pulled and hung upside down in the garage to see if the rest of those peppers will turn red.  He left after visiting and having a cup of tea with a box full of some of the goodies.  As we were cutting the pumpkins, we realize that there must be 35 or 40 more in the garden.  I need to find more recipes other than soup and roasted winter squash.