Update: 09-26-18 – Cooler weather is here!

Welcome back to my readers! My reminders on my calendar come up, and then a choice has to be made: write a blog post, catch up on chores/projects, or craft? The first is a choice that I want to make, however, the second frequently insists on being addressed, and the third is my favorite, but does not happen as often as I would like. With cooler weather for at least a week now, I am sneaking in a few more minutes on crafting. Mornings are anywhere from 37° F to 55° F and coffee has become a nice start to my day. I try to get up with DH unless he goes in to work early (2 am) and at least let him know that I appreciate all he does for our family. Most of our days are in the 70s, though we are being told that this weekend we will have two days of the low-80s. We have plenty of sunshine, though we certainly could use some rain as the ground is quite dry.

Canning and preserving has continued and will most likely continue off and on until at least Thanksgiving. At the moment, we are in a lull until we pick/glean apples for applesauce. Since my last post, four heads of cabbage were purchased along with five bulbs of fresh garlic. On the 7th of this month, I shredded all four heads of cabbage, minced four bulbs of garlic, and mixed together with pickling salt. This was then packed very tightly into 16 pint jars which had lids and rings put on them. The lids were not screwed on tight to allow for fermentation. All 16 jars were then placed in a small plastic bin in a cool spot and covered to keep dark so that they could ferment for a week. On the 14th when I checked the jars, there was a bit of liquid in the bottom of the plastic bin and a nice smell of sauerkraut. Everything was sealed tight and cleaned before I began processing the jars in a water bath to finish canning. One jar was kept in the refrigerator and sampled. I am still enjoying it with various meals. Since no one else in our immediate family likes sauerkraut, I should have enough for this winter.

With the cooler weather, DH and I decided that it was important to start harvesting more of the garden and pulling out plants in preparation for seriously cold weather. On the 11th I picked the last few cucumbers and all the peppers. The cucumbers were eaten fresh and the peppers were dried before being put in my blender to make a seasoning powder.

On the 13th DH and I went and gleaned two five-gallon buckets of peaches from a nearby orchard. The peaches were nice and big. Since they were still ripening for the most part, we left them in the buckets in the kitchen until the following Tuesday, the 18th, when I made 21 pints of peach jam. There were still peaches left and since we already had canned peaches, I loaded up the food dryer the next day and set them to drying.

Finally, DH and I found the tomatoes had not ripened in the garden so we are watching the temperatures in case we have to pick them and bring them inside to ripen. The sweet potatoes have not been harvested from their bucket, however part of the butternut squashes have been picked and will be added to their box in the garage after this weekend. The butternut squash vines have spread everywhere in the garden and there are still quite a few to be picked so we should have plenty to bake and eat.

On the crafting front, I continued to work on “Cat Lessons” by Lizzie Kate. There were some stops and starts as I had to order another skein of “Caterpillar” thread to finish off the lettering on three words. The last stitches were put in last night and a picture taken, although it is in desperate need of a good pressing. 20180925_203010I hope that DD likes this one. Changes were made to the colors because DD is not fond of orange, except for the goldfish. She preferred that it be subbed out for a purple. Her cat is also black with green/yellow eyes, so the cat was changed to reflect her current kitty, Scooter! DMC threads were substituted everywhere except for the purple (Weeks Dye Works), Caterpillar (Classic Colorworks), and the turquoise (Classic Colorworks). Stitching was done on a 32 ct so it will be a reasonable size. Hopefully I can show this in FFO form before long.

A pair of short socklets were finished. These are the Lace Diamond Toe-Up Socklets in a bamboo cotton yarn that I hope never to use again. It is called a Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace Yarns and is so splitty that when I finished the second socklet (finally!) I threw the remainder away. They are pretty, but it was an awful yarn to knit with.

These will be summer socks. I have no idea how well the yarn will wear so we will see come next summer.

Lastly, my BFF brought her hairpin lace loom and yarn with her when we met for coffee on the 19th. This has been something that we have both wanted to learn and over the previous weekend, she had played with it while she was with her husband visiting the coast. Unfortunately, her loom came apart (it has the snap together over the rods type frame) and the 100 loops that she had finished fell off. We played with it while talking and drinking coffee and I came home to see what kind of loom I had and whether or not I could get busy on the project chosen (Women’s Hairpin Lace Shawl by Redheart Yarns). Thankfully, the loom that I had purchased a number of years ago was just a couple of bars that slid up and down on the two rods. It was pretty tight so after a bit of work and reading the directions on the back of the card it came on, I set to work to see what I could accomplish. As of the 24th I completed two of the strips (only one in the picture below) and last night I started on the third strip after finishing “Cat Lessons”. The yarn being used is Caron Cakes in the Macaron colorway. There needs to be five strips that will be crocheted together with other stitches to complete the project.

This goes fairly fast so I am hoping to finish the project soon. When done, this will complete the Advanced Crochet honor through our Pathfinders program with our youth.

In the next two to three weeks, we will be incredibly busy with travel, inductions, two spiritual retreats, and planning for future events. This does not include all of the projects at home for family, nor the studying that needs to be done by both DH and I. With time proceeding quickly towards Christmas and the holidays, I am going to have to somehow organize my time better and pick up the pace. We also will have apples to glean soon and put up. Wish us the best of luck.

Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Hopefully, I will be able to post soon again. Work is being put into DS’s stocking (a transfer to a Q-snap is being tested to see if that will help for portability). An order is expected next week from Knit Picks for DH with a couple of items for me to knit along with him. I’m not sure when we will get to his knitting as he is fast approaching the finish line on his Masters program.

All engines must be full speed ahead! 🙂

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Update: 9-6-18 #2

A little bit of cross stitching has been happening on the Cat Lessons by Lizzie Kate, though not nearly enough. I am hoping with the blanket done I will be able to get back to the cross stitching and maybe even some short socks that need to be finished. Here is where I am at on Cat Lessons: 20180906_153127That row with the thread is the last row on this side. I have moved the Q-snap down and as soon as I am finished with that section, I will move to the top right and see how much I can get done. I would love to finish this and frame it for DD for Christmas, but we will have to see. I also need to get DS’s stocking back out and get my act together. Anyway, back to the above project, I am pretty sure that I will not have enough thread of one of the browns to finish the entire project. I think it is the darker brown, but whichever one it is, it is a specialty thread so when I get close to finishing/running out, I will have to place an order to 123stitch.com. Of course you know that a skein of thread cannot travel by itself so I am sure that something else will come with it as well.

And yes, I have not forgotten the chick! She is currently not on my happy list. We believe that it is a hen which is about the only thing she has going for herself at the moment. Approximately two weeks ago, we opened up the access between the main coop and the run that was connected to the brooder box. Mom and chick had been having daily access to the run and were anxious to go mix with the flock. It was time to make the change and chick was big enough to not slip under places and escape.

The first few days, chick took much coaxing to go all the way outside from the brooder box. She would run through the area in between and then stop just inside the coop. Since this was her only way to access the outside, we knew she had to learn how to get in and out. We mixed the feed so that she would get what she needed and after a few days, she seemed to do ok–other than she didn’t always like to go back inside at night. I wasn’t sure if it was because she and Mom were not allowed in by the other chickens until everyone else was in and then they had to walk the “gauntlet” between everyone to get to the brooder box or what that kept her from going inside some nights.

Last night it was after dark when I was able to slip out to shut everyone in the coop. A phone call had taken longer than hoped and so I got my headlamp and headed out. When I went to make sure that everyone was inside, guess WHO was not inside? Yes, chick had decided this was not a night to go inside. Mom was inside and called to her, but chick decided to hide and hope she would be left alone. She was just outside the brooder box with her beak tucked into her feathers trying to be as hidden as she dared. When I found her and poked her gently, she set up a squawk and a fuss and began running around the pen. Normally the chickens and even chick can be guided into the coop, particularly if the door is wide open and not just the “hen” door. She decided it just was not going to happen. For 30 minutes I followed her and moved her out of one hidey hole after another. She went by the door twice and just kept going. After the second time I decided enough was enough. If she wanted to stay outside then she could and we would just hope she did not get eaten. I left the “hen” door open and secured the gate. I do not know whether she went inside or not because when I went out early this morning to feed and water the chickens, everyone was outside. I will not chase her again tonight so if she decides to disobey her mom and not be guided inside, she will need to fend for herself overnight.

She is a pretty chick though it is hard to see from this distance. 20180829_140356So far we have determined that she is part black Astralorp, but I am not sure what else she is. Her papa, the rooster, is a mix of all kinds of chickens, so anything is possible. We are hoping that eventually she figures it out. I do think that it is easier to get them all going where they should be when you have a whole group of at least four because they tend to follow each other. For now, we will just see if she can get it together. Next spring or late winter we are going to get some new chicks as this momma has an issue and only seems to want to let one egg hatch/live. We want to replace most of this flock as they are getting older and not laying eggs so much. That is a problem when we are feeding them garden food, pellet/grower feed (depending on chicken), scratch, cracked corn, and lots of cool well water. The garden goodies are especially good right now at the end of the season and they like them.

Pathfinders is going well with the new season. We start visiting clubs for inductions this weekend and will continue through the first of November. At least we do not have such majorly big events as we were in charge of last year. We do have to start planning for a trip back to Wisconsin next August for an International Camporee. That will be a three week trip and while we aren’t in charge of planning and implementing the whole event, it is still a big project as we will be helping teach at least one and maybe two honors. We also have to figure out how to get as many of our kids back as possible as it is a wonderful experience. DH and DS went four years ago and I am hoping to go with DH this time. Plans have to be made as to whether we will drive back and camp our way there and back or will we have to fly in and out? Time will tell. I know that right now I need to get my $195 ticket purchased for access for the week of activities and meetings.

That is all for now. I am going to see if I can either knit on a short sock while catching up on some more Flosstube, or work on cross stitching.

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Update: 09-06-18 – Sigh

Good intentions to blog were just that! It was easier to spend time crafting than blogging. During the last nine weeks, I have been working on the Study in Texture CAL from the Crochet Crowd and Yarnspirations. With my focus mostly on finishing up the blanket, blogging was ignored. After all, no one wants to see a partially finished project, right? Especially if you crochet a little bit faster and attempt to finish it sooner. However, the 7th clue kept me busy and I thought I would never reach the end. Then, last night I dug in and not only finished the 7th clue but also the 8th which was just a picot row around the entire blanket. Today I have woven in the ends and it is done!

20180817_091324

August 17 – 6th Clue 1-6

This project was completed from Premier Sweet Rolls in two different colorways. The outer edge was a darker colorway with no white in it. The inner lighter section is only four skeins, while the outer darker section is comprised of six skeins. You can see in the top of the last picture on the bottom right that a bit of yarn chicken played out last night. Thankfully, I was able to complete using all but that tiny ball.

So a quick comment/complaint: This is not aimed at the designer in any way. When I originally started working on this blanket, I thought it would be big enough to cover the bed. It was using 10 skeins after all! As you can see, it is quite a bit smaller, though definitely lovely. The temptation is there to buy more of the darker yarn and make it go out farther, however I don’t have a clue how many skeins I would actually need, so I’m stopping at this point. It is big enough for a blanket on a sofa to cuddle up to read if you are NOT tall like DH and DS, but not big enough to cover the bed. I enjoyed the pattern and am looking forward to seeing if I want to pursue the fall CAL from the Crochet Crowd, or if I will stop for now and get back to other projects.

So what else has held me up from getting more done? Did someone say there were lots of blackberries and cucumbers to can? For the first year since we moved in (7 years ago), we have had cucumbers growing and producing like crazy. This variety is long and burpless. And best of all, no bitter ends even when it was hot and dry weather with tons of smoke blowing into our valley. So far I have put up 50 pints of dill pickles with four of them being an experiment. Those four have sliced jalapenos in them to see what they do for the flavor. I also canned 19 pints of peaches and 13 3/4 pints of blackberry jam. Numerous quarts of blackberries were frozen and I still have 8-10 of them to turn into jam. 3-4 of them will be given to my BFF to make jam from as she didn’t get any this year.

 

 

I am hoping to purchase at least four heads of cabbage in the next week or so and put up some sauerkraut. Even though I am the only one that likes it, I hope to at least make 12 pints for this next year. Following a friend’s advice, I will be adding fresh garlic to each pint as it tastes so very good!

Unfortunately,  while my beets grew well, they did not produce very much. I was able to pull, cook, skin, cut and freeze enough for one quart. I wish that we could get more seeds to plant for a fall crop, but by the time I would get them, it would be a waste of seed.

We also had a good batch of basil to dry and I am hoping for more. My holy moly papers as well as chiles and jalapenos are producing nice and big peppers. The ones below were sliced and dried before being turned into powder to season dishes and soups this next winter.

As summer turns into fall, the garden is slowing down a bit. Our tomatoes have actually set a bit of fruit and the ONE butternut squash plant is trying to take over half of the raised garden. There are lots of squash on it that we will pull in to store for eating this winter. DH even whacked a bit of the longest vine on it when getting rid of weeds just to try and keep it somewhat under control. Lastly, our bucket of sweet potatoes is still doing its thing, I think. We haven’t tried to harvest it yet and may find that there is nothing there, but that won’t happen until it gets a bit cooler. For some reason we have climbed back into the 90’s again. At least our nights are cool.

If you have made it this far, thank you for your patience with me. There will be at least one other post as an update on one cross stitch project and the baby chick.

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