Productivity Catch-up

While I’ve been quite, I haven’t been too lazy! I did get a bunch of wool spun up and wound, washed and re-wound, I ended up with about 2500 yds total spun up so that’s encouraging. The Jacob fleece is about half carded and soon I’ll hopefully have that spun up!!

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There is about 700 yds of the green/orange which I dyed from the shetland fleece I bought two years ago (FINALLY!) and 1000 yds of the deep purple, which was a free bag of wool which I wasn’t excited about when I got it, but when I started spinning, I couldn’t figure out why, because it was lovely. And two random bits of merino which will go up in the shop eventually, about 3-400 yds each of a purple sock weight and a green sport weight. Busy!

All this was partly to avoid the Cherry sweater. And this is why…

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See those little balls? They were salvaged from a little surgery to shorten the sweater a tiny bit when I discovered two things. (1) there was no way I had enough yarn and (2) it was about an inch too long. When one door closes, another opens… Each part was the same amount too long, so I think they were all measured correctly according to the pattern, but perhaps the pattern is an inch too long? Anyways, I did my fancy take it apart, extract some yarn, put back together trick and then came the part where I had to cross my fingers and hope it was enough. I was not up for dealing with the possibility of being a few feet short of enough yarn until two nights ago, when I decided it was now or never… And I’m pleased to say that there was in fact JUST enough yarn. Probably within 3 yards. Phew! And it looks great. It’ll be blocking tonight… Yeah! What next?

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Part II: In which a ridiculous amount of Jam is made

And so our heroines return from the farm famished, but luckily there is salad to be had and naan and everyone recovers from near-monster-hungry.

Now this is the same sister with which there was the 800+ Christmas cookie extravaganza. From this you should take that under or just-doing it is not our style. Give me overdone or give me death. And so we began hulling the strawberries. One quart. Two Quarts. At some point it occurred to us to look up a recipe, which we determined called for 2 cups of puree and 4 cups of sugar. We did some quick mental math and some measuring and decided to stop pureeing at 4 quarts because, well, that’s a lot of sugar…

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We then walked across the street to the grocery then I proceeded to embarrass my math skills, which I swear are good. The recipe claimed to make 5 pints. We had 4 recipes worth… and the tupperwear held things like 1.25 cups, or 2.25 cups, and I felt really dumb. At any rate we came home with 4 packets of pectin, what we assumed would add to 40 cups of jam worth of containers (plus what I’d brought from home, futilely thinking would be enough… it was like 5 cups worth) and proceeded to hull, boil, mix, wait, pour, and stack Jam. Luckily for us, since my math was lousy, it made 5 CUPS not 5 PINTS. Minor detail. Anyways, we had a shit ton.

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I show the second photo to elaborate on the herb picking. I mentioned we picked herbs. What we really picked was more forest like. And since we’d previously, on the drive home, over-zealously declared “fresh pasta!! With Fresh Pesto!!” of course we then set about doing that. But not before we tried to heroically use the rest of the strawberries… With cake.

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This is strawberry cake. It comes from food-porn blog smitten kitchen. You should make this. It is delicious. Sadly, it consumes less than 1 quart of strawberries, leaving us with 3, but totally worth it.

Anyway I digress. And so we made pasta. And pesto. It was delicious

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Freakishly delicious and totally worth it. After 12 hours of picking, cooking, baking, pasta making, and eating, I toddled on home and recovered with my remaining 2 pints of strawberries, which have since been frozen in sugar, awaiting daqueries or pancakes… because I couldn’t muster the strength to make strawberry leather as I’d intended. Alas, overdone must stop and some point.

In Which City Mice Wear Inappropriate Footwear

Herein lies the first installment of a multi-post memoir of a fabulous day of picking, cooking and eating.

My 1/3 lawyer of a sister is a member of a CSA based in central Massachusetts. As such, she is entitled to pick-your-own privileges. She brought up on a Friday her desire to go pick things on Saturday, and despite the rain forcast, I thought it was a fabulous idea. And so, in the rain, we embarked on the drive out there. I was thinking ‘WTF, that’s a long drive’ but then what else was I doing? So we drove out, through downpours, wondering about our questionable footwear as we went and discussing future trips to Europe and pastry classes, and were soon there.

We pulled in and there immediately decided it was the greatest idea of all time. We were there to pick 8 quarts of strawberries, 2 pints of peas, and as many herbs as we could carry. And so we began.

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We began with Peas. At first we weren’t quite sure about it, but after we traveled down the row we discovered there were in fact plenty of peas. They were delicious. Being organic Peas, I tried more than a few just to be sure they were Very Good Peas, which of course they were.

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We then proceeded to the Strawberries. There were thousands. Millions. Probably more. They were delicious and super red and small and did I mention delicious? Because I also sampled these, you know, just to be sure. They make such a satisfying popping snapping sound when you pick them! We discussed craft beer, and if we were in fact peasant stock meant to work in the fields. We determined we were in fact peasant stock, but need stronger backs.

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There were other people there, several kids in backpack type things, and lots of strawberry picking. After we filled our 8 quarts, we went in search of herbs.

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Everything was perfectly labeled and plentiful, we came home with chives, thyme, basil, oregano, mint, marjoram, parsley, maybe something else too, I’ve lost count…

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When we were done the Very Nice Lady let us use the hose to rinse off our questionable footwear and feet, and we were off back home for Part Deux: In which a knitter and a 1/3 lawyer make a ridiculous amount of jam. Stay Tuned…

Walking Around

I’ve been doing some wooly things, miraculously, but have no photos. I’ve also been doing a lot of walking around, reveling in the not-snow and warm weather. I’ve been bike commuting and getting an inordinate amount of pleasure from it. It’s surprising me. It’s been too hot to do much this week, but I have a photo journal of last weekend to entertain you on this great Friday-eve.

One place we enjoy walking is around the community garden at a local university here. It never ceases to amaze me that people can actually grow things. So far we haven’t killed our lettuce, but our basil is sad, and the mint never did come back. I did in fact kill that somehow…

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Someone is having great success with strawberries, I wish it were me! I’ve been eating them like a strawberry fiend though. They’ve been delicious.

Possibly because I’ve been doing so much of it, but I’ve been noticing bikes everywhere lately, and I like it. I’ve run a few errands on my two-cycle, and I find that it’s fun. Fun, like little kid fun, like I haven’t had fun on a bike in a long time. I found one with a fantastic old lisence plate on a rusty fender. The bike had seen better days, but it was damn cool anyways. So far I’ve biked in 4-5 days for the past 7 weeks and it changes your perspective. And allows for more yummy foods 🙂

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We finished off the weekend with a nap and a read at a nearby park. The weather was so fantastic, you just had to be outside.

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There was also a cricket game going on, but every time we thought about going over to see what it was all about, it was a water break or end of game or something. I still don’t know how to play cricket but it looked like they were having fun. That’s about it, hopefully I’ll have a sweater to display soon!

Another Weekend Has Arrived

And I’ve been a blogging slacker mcslackerpants. Sorry ’bout that. I’ve been doing things though, I swear!

Last weekend was the first weekend at the beach and while it was cold and damp for part of it, just foggy others, and two great afternoons, it was perfect. My 1/3 lawyer sister brought two kitties she was kitty-sitting and I’m shocked that she left with them. As in that I didn’t steal them. They were so freakishly cute and tiny! And such lovebugs. We arrived and within 3 minutes of sitting on the couch, Boomer had come up, climbed on my lap, and then plopped himself down for a nap. We played string and tops and just generally kitten play, they were entirely too entertaining to be believed. They also thought knitting was a neat trick.

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Scout, the adorable still-pees-when-he’s-excited newest member of my family was also there. He was pretty sure he was the most attractive puppy there, getting a little older and mature looking, but still not quite very brave. He was OK being on the pier, but any suggestion of getting on the finger-pier attached to it which moves was definitely sounding too dangerous to him. He was pretty sure that was a bad idea… He did go swimming though, and went all the way in to his belly! Putting his head underwater is still right out though. I learned that Scout likes to eat wool, also, since he wouldn’t leave me alone when the fluffy stuff was around and I pulled more than one handful out of his mouth…

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We also checked out a fantastic restoration place where old tubs and doors and windows and mantles and anything else that comes out of demolished houses go to live. It was amazing. An entire factory floor of over 500 tubs of all shapes, sizes, clawfoot and otherwise, it was great. Went antiquing in New Bedford as well, which was entertaining as always. After spending the first 29 years of my life without ever seeing a cast iron stovetop waffle maker, I saw no less than 3, I loved them!

I also got a bunch of carding finished and while I have no photos of wooly pursuits, I did get further along in my carding endeavors and am working my way through some wool I’ve had sitting around for at least a year that I’d like to get through before I start on the new wool, that’s my incentive to get through the old stuff!