Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yarn along - milk sweater and a distraction

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along.

I spent all day yesterday working on this. This however, is complicated as, which thing do I mean. The knitting of course! I am reading Northern Lights by Nora Roberts, which is paced very slowly for her. I realized about halfway through that I have seen a movie based on the book, the book is better, and luckily, I can't yet remember the ending. The Backpacking book is the latest one I am reading to gear or perhaps gird up to a hiking trip we are taking in August. I really should start walking to prep rather than just reading! I read Becoming Odyssa earlier in the week and it is very good, it is a retelling of one woman's journey both internally and externally while completing the Appalachian Trail.

Looking forward to seeing what you ladies are working on! ~ Julia

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

the me I expected to be

Back when I knew everything, aka when I was a teenager, I had an idea of what adult me would be like. Which flaws, or things I viewed as flaws, of my family and friend's families I would avoid and which things they did I would keep and incorporate into my life. I was very opinionated. Often I was right.

  • I still believe that eating a small amount of a 'real' thing - butter, bacon, Parmesan, etc - was better than eating a lot of junk. 
  • I still believe that freshly baked bread is better tasting and better for you than store bought. 
  • I still believe that cake tastes best not from a box.
  • I still believe that family is the most important people in your world so keeping a pretty house and good dishes should be everyday not just for company.
  • I still believe that a book or radio is better than tv.
  • I still believe that every yard should have a garden and the whole family - kids included - should be responsible for working it.
  • I still believe in meals at the table, made fresh from ingredients. 
  • I still believe that laundry should be done often, not just when you are out of underwear, and it should be dried on the line. 

I still believe a lot of things, but I recently got to thinking about this and my implementation of my beliefs is very spotty. So I am calling myself out.

  • Put down the candy and store bought doughnuts.
  • Bake bread more and not just the one plain white recipe, experiment.
  • Baking the kids a cake, make it real, if it is an everyday cake fruit is better than 7up.
  • Clean up a little everyday - maybe the kids will notice and help. Get out the good dishes. clean your own room rather than just trying to get the kids to pick up their rooms. Show them they are important with more than cuddles, games, and words.
  • Turn off the tv, especially at night. I will often stay up later than I want to not because I am watching something interesting but simply because I am too tired to make a decision for I flip from channel to channel watching bits and pieces of something. 
  • My husband doesn't like to garden, and truthfully I don't like to in the middle either. I love planning, cleaning the garden,  and planting. I really love harvest and processing the fruits and veggies, but that middle bit you know weeding and watering not working harder on that limits my garden greatly. I need to mitigate my response, either by planning a lower maintenance garden or by doing that dreaded middle work.
  • Actually, dinners every night at the table we do, but I'd like to teach the kids family style and table settings.
  • My husband does most of the kids laundry up to a point. That point is folding it. He doesn't. I usually end up waiting until there is a mountain, then being irritated by it. He does a lot of work and I should appreciate more it rather than being worn out by the mountain. Hopefully I can try to keep up instead of catch up and that will help.
Hopefully, I can catch up with my teenage self. Today, when the kids got home we had tea, with scones that were ready and still warm. I always saw myself as the mom who would have everyday tea parties with her kids. They loved it and it got snack-time over quickly too. I am thinking gingerbread for tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A new technique

Picture batt from California trip with Beaver, Navajo plyed!

 My guild had a program on Navajo plying. I was really interested in learning the technique but my back has been hurting like crazy, so I couldn't haul my wheel along with me to the meeting - heck I had a hard time picking up my purse when it spilled on the floor - I almost decided not to go. I am glad I went.

Basically this is a method of taking a single strand of yarn and plying it into a three ply - stronger and more round for knitting. It also allows you to play with the changes in a colorway while plying to either keep them together or to blend them in the ply.

I have practiced on two skeins now. I really like it and go way to fast. My grandma nearly despaired of ever teaching me to so because I have a lead foot, apparently it is two lead feet Grams!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bits and bobs from this month

This is Badger, we hit a great park to play in while waiting between husband's cousin's wedding and reception. We spent almost two hours playing at North Beach Park in Racine. This is an amazing park.

Mom knows everything. I hope they always think so. They found this feather in the yard. Who lost it? I don't know. Guess who I asked, my Mom.

This is the star jasmine plant I bought myself as a remembrance of my trip to LA with Beaver. He wants to go there for college (not yet!) and had the opportunity to meet some people who might be able to help and have his work reviewed. He wants to do set design/monster creation type work.

Every year I help a friend harvest her grapes and she helps me harvest my apples. I took home a big bag of green unripe ones she was not planning on using. I found a recipe for sour grape pickles. We shall see.

I made jam out of the rest of the unripe grapes, it is tarter that the ripe ones but these grapes are seriously candy sweet so that is not a terrible thing.

Mouse surprised us all with wanting to go out for Cross Country this year. We asked if he knew it involved exercise and being outside... then agreed quickly. He loves computers, and unless we force him would be on them all the time, so this was a surprise. He loved it and worked hard. He came in at the middle of the pack and his school took 3rd over-all. He is the one with the curly hair.

Triangle loom weaving project. I enjoyed it but will need a much bigger loom to make anything not for my girls.

Butterfly reading her birthday card from my sister. I have a beautiful new nephew.

He is moving so he is blurry but that is Beaver. He loves his team.

Sheep - BFL

Bluefaced Leicester affectionately known as BFL.
BFL is originally from Northumberland and was primarily raised for meat. However, its fluffy wool is a hand-spinning favorite. Fleeces average between 2.2 –and 6.6 pounds. Rams weight between 200 and 250 pounds with Ewes weight between 150-175 pounds. BFL is often used to add hardiness to other sheep breeds.
This is a long-wool breed with a staple length between 3-6 inches and a micron count of 24-28. It is semi-lustrous and quality fleece will have no kemp or hair fibers.
The sheep is said to have deep blue skin with white wool. I am unsure if this means blue in the same way a Russian Blue cat is actually a grey cat, or if they are really blue, but I plan on checking at sheep and wool, live and in person. I am hoping for blue, blue! The breed does carry a recessive gene for dark wool and can present with soft spotted tones or fully darker wool. It should not ever have clearly defined spots.
This breed has no wool on its head, belly, genitals, and utters. It is considered to be an athletic breed with a bold carriage and Roman nose.

Brewing in my kitchen

Well, it is not actually in the kitchen anymore as my Husband requested it move so he could make dinner, but you get the idea...

And the idea is that I am making beer. This is my first try at all grain brewing. An all wheat beer with Cluster and Czech Sazz hops, Orange peel and Star Anise. The first tasting - right before the yeast was pitched was kind of gingerbread-y, so I am hoping that continues.

This is right after the yeast was pitched. Yes, I hate the tiles!

The next morning the yeast monster has awoken.

The foaming spilling overflow, this is my first time using a blow off hose too. I love it. No worries about cleaning beer off the ceiling. 
I have siphoned this to the secondary now and tasted it again. It lost a little of the gingerbread-i-ness and was weak at 3%apv, so I played. I brew wine and cider and mead too so rules are really guidelines. Sorry Germany. I boiled up two cups of simple syrup with cinnamon sticks, star anise, orange peal, and ginger. when that cooled I strained it and added it to the beer. Which technically, might not exactly be beer anymore, but hopefully will still be tasty.