Sunday, October 26, 2014

medlars and quinces and apples oh my


Two of the most interesting things this week: we had a partial solar eclipse, and the sky cleared enough that it was possible to view it (our plucky heroine used the most simple way of safely seeing it, by projecting the image through a pinhole onto a piece of cardstock) As well, my friend Kada sent me a care-package box with some uncommon tree fruit along with some apples there were quinces and medlars!

I am rather passionately fond of quince as a flavor, and have made both quince jelly and "quincemeat", both of which are lovely and which, when I can bear to give up the delightful scent of the ripening quinces, will be the fate of those lumpy yellow orbs. I simply must manage to plant a quince tree here, since they do well in our climate, and are both beautiful and useful

I have only ever read about medlars, and it will be most interesting to see how they taste... As I only have six, I am not sure what sort of preserve to make with them; perhaps these medlar comfits. There is probably not enough to cook down to make this medlar cheese, or this medlar jelly...

These medlars are not yet ready to eat; they are a little smaller than a golf ball

Raintree Nursery has an assortment of medlar varieties and fruiting quinces; as does One Green World with a slightly different selection of fruiting quinces and medlars. And apparently flowering quince is also edible, with tiny fruits that can be turned into a lemony syrup... browsing in fruit tree catalogs can be enticing...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

wishful Wednesday - pokeweed


in which our plucky heroine contemplates massive pokeweed, taller than my head, covered in pokeberries...
Definitely a Do-Not-Eat (poison), but theoretically the berries make a vivid red dyestuff. From what I have read it works best on wool, and needs mordanted with vinegar. This blog has information about a cold dye process that gave a vivid purple, as well as some data about how fast the dye is.

I am quite tempted to gather some of the berries to try out this process. There are enough large glass jars sitting unused in the lower pantry that one could be reserved for non-food use, and white vinegar is cheap. Some red/purple wool for cardweaving, that uses locally grown dyestuff, would be fun, even though poke is not SCA-period appropriate...



note: There are plenty of things that are used in natural dyeing that are not edible and can be quite toxic. That is why having separate pans and implements is important, as is using good safe protocol. There are plenty of things commonly grown in gardens around here that are just as toxic to humans. (This is by far not the most toxic locally common weed either; Poison Hemlock is very common here)

Monday, October 20, 2014

evensong


Every six months I stop, and ask, please give me yet another sixmonth - and sure I am that I am not the only one with this prayer (the world is chock full of folks asking for yet another day, much less another sixmonth)... There is more that I want to do, more artisanry that asks to be born, and after two and a half years my body and spirit are finally starting to heal. I don't know if I will ever take the bright world for granted, I don't think I ever took the bright world for granted, though there are days now when I don't look that in the eye as directly as the night before my biannual visit to the oncologist...

Monday musings


in which our plucky heroine is slightly dubious...

The autumnal quarter is very slow going; there had been some progress in the things made category, but mostly nothing is completed, which is frustrating but cannot be helped. Computer issues are still plaguing Acorn Cottage, which will also eventually be sorted out, but for now means much extra transit time to and from the library. Am working on a sekrit embroidery largesse project (not something I usually participate in) but it is giving me another chance to track time vs design complexity which is good for estimating in the future. Pictures once it has gone to the final destination.

The boxes for the garment sewing roundabout arrived in the mail today, as did the first installment of the poetry from my beloved mother, which is another project in the works: I will be making up alphabetical illustrations for the different sections. I have a long list, actually, of projects either as worktrade or "pro bono" (would that there was as long a list of actual work projects, or that I was retired!) Nonetheless am continuing effort on as many fronts as can be managed, with the goal still being to fill the Rising 60 SMART chart by the end of the year...
:::

October SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 gown muslin for L sewing machine shelf yardwaste bin
2 sports-bra pattern for B salad table base ----------
3 sports-bra for B small raised bed ----------
4 Norse embroidery pattern wall anchored lumber ----------
5 * shower handpiece
holder replaced
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6 * * ----------
7 * ---------- ----------
8 * ---------- ----------
9 * ---------- ----------
10 * ---------- ----------
:::

Saturday, October 18, 2014

doorway into autumn


in which our plucky heroine returns however briefly...

Have really been missing the ability to get online whenever the mood strikes, to record the daily activities of Acorn Cottage for both my own leaky-sieve memory, and for the friends and family who find me here. This morning on the way to the compost bin the rising sunlight hit this possibly abandoned arachnid home just right, and I was taken with how much the pattern looked both like a shattered windshield and a doorway.
:::

B&K have been visiting here since Thursday; it was quite the adventure for them bringing their electric car all the way from Olympia. Apparently electric vehicles are quite power-sparing when used around town (as they recover energy every time you go downhill or use the brakes and send it back to the battery for further travel) but long distance highway travel uses up power very quickly; they had to stop three times to recharge.

It is a very different experience to ride in a car that is so very quiet both inside and out, conversation is easy when not hollering over engine noise. I will admit, as well, to being quite charmed by the backup camera video display on the dashboard. There is, however, no likelyhood of a car in my future, electric or otherwise. I do appreciate, though, the rare pleasures that others take so for granted as just part of their daily life...
:::

October SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 gown muslin for L sewing machine shelf yardwaste bin
2 sports-bra pattern for B salad table base ----------
3 sports-bra for B small raised bed ----------
4 * wall anchored lumber ----------
5 * * ----------
6 * *  ----------
7 * ---------- ----------
8 * ---------- ----------
9 * ---------- ----------
10 * ---------- ----------
:::

Thursday, October 16, 2014

patience is a virtue

just not one our plucky heroine is particularly good at... computer issues are still a big deal, I have been using the public library resources to maintain contact with the electronic world, and hence few blog posts as well... it will be resolved eventually...

Stay tuned for further developments

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

well begun but not half done


A third of the way through the Fox Paws pattern knitted wrap; while it still requires counting, the repeats become more comprehensible with repetition. Blocking will smooth out the texture a bit once the project is complete. The knitting itself is not that complicated, being mostly garter stitch. The complicated part is counting out all the repetitive increases and decreases, which is what makes the fascinatingly psychedelic topology. If you "unwound" it all, it is simple stripes in five colors, in a varying repeat...