Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Biting off more than I could chew - almost.

Yesterday, I woke with plans and ideas, goals and agendas.  Enough of them to fill two days at least, but often I find that not knowing you can't do something mixed with a bit (okay a lot) of stubbornness, means you end up getting it done.

Sunday I knit.  I mean I sat at the table with an audio book and knit. All day.  Except for the few minutes I took a break.  During my break I went to the garden and picked a bucket of tomatoes and a over flowing bucket of apples from our tree.  (It produced better this year - after heavy pruning -  but I need a plan for less bugs so if you know what I should do give me a yell.)  I looked up a jelly recipe by David Lebovitz and I was off.  I chopped them up tossed them into the water, cooked them and placed them in a lined colander over-night as described.  Later, I was reading while knitting and say a recipe for carrot jam.  Ignoring the time - 10pm - and the apple jelly makings already started.  I grated a kg of Carrots. 

If we back up one more day we see the rest of the problem, on Saturday I went to Beaver's award ceremony (more on that later) and then to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival.  I wandered in delight and bought 6# of Frisian wool (dirty) and a small ball of  clean carded dyed indigo wool.  I tucked the wool into my studio and shut the down.  When next I went in it smelled very strongly of sheep, very dirty sheep.  So I needed to wash that wool right away, I noticed this on Sunday.

So I bounded out of bed yesterday with plans!  make that PLANS!  Written it does not seem bad, wash wool, make apple jelly, make apple butter from leftover apple parts, make carrot jam, wash and hang old diapers on line to make into wash rags some other time, run to store and get elastic lace, and a 4H meeting. 

I started in on the wool bright and early, I set up a baby gate with a sheet over it to dry the wool on and got out two pots to wash in.  It was amazing, the day just waking up a bite of cool in the air, hot sudsy water, creamy yellow wool.  In it went.  15 minutes later I was startled to find I had white wool.  And so began the process of switching it to a new pot of water every 15 minutes until I got it as clean as I thought was likely.

In those first 15 minutes while the process was still romantic and the day was brimming with purpose, remember that I had been up for 3 hours, gotten two boys to school and been to Walmart for extra canning lids (none there) and lemons (I bought 2 and needed 4,) I start the apple jelly and realized my mistake with the lemons.  Oh well I get them when I get the lace I don't need them until the carrot jam anyway.  *notice the optimism*

Every 15 minutes I ran outside to change the water on the wool.  When inside I was stirring the jelly to keep it from boiling over or scorching and running all the apple bits through a food processor then a food mill.  None difficult tasks but together too much.  When the jelly was done I was on to apple butter - I use equal parts fruit pulp to sugar - and while I changed the wool it scorched.  I dumped it into a new pot and tasted.  It was still good so I was still in business.  By the time I got that done it was 3:20 and time to start the boy retrieval process.  Once I had them, I ran into the grocery store for more lids and lemons, no time to get the lace as we it was 4 and we had to be eating by 5 in order to make the 6 pm meeting.  I actually got up from dinner to move the last batch of wool to it last pot of fresh water, and carried the whole baby gate thing into the garage before hopping in the car with the boys for the 4H meeting.  On the way home we got the lace, and as I was too tired to think clearly, we got elastic thread, and ribbon and various other things I can use but did not plan on buying. 

It is now 8:30 and I still have to make carrot jam.  I started it so it must be done.  It does not set and does not set and does not set.  When it finally does set there is so little liquid left, I did not feel it was safe to can, so I added a cup of sugar and a cup of water and start boiling again.  It set.  It is 11:30 before I find the bed.

I have 6# of washed wool - drying the rest of the way in the driveway.
I have all the old diaper still (oops) on the line but the sun bleaching will help.
I have 5 1/2 jars of beautiful pink apple jelly.
I have 10 1/2 jars of apple butter.
I have 6 1/2 jars of carrot jam or perhaps marmalade might be a better term.
I have the lace. 

Today's plan, straighten house including mopping and vacuuming, fold laundry, find battery charger for camera, study for class and knit.  I think I'll have the girl's paint and glue then give them a long bath.  I will not make jelly!!!


  1. Good gravy! I would have broken down somewhere around the 4H meeting. Wow. You certainly got a lot done!

  2. Normally that would have done me in too, but actually the meeting was pleasant. The chocolate chip brownies may have helped.

    Carrot Jam is the best thing ever! On a cheese biscuit, on a slice of ham. Oh my, will I be making that again. Maybe for Christmas presents...