Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine made it through another week in seclusion...

I haven't a lot to say right now, the isolation combined with the heat of summer is wearing on me.
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 34 ~
this month in the Tiny Rag Doll World group on Ravelry, the challenge theme was "historical or traditional clothing"... since Nandina already has a Viking Age set of clothes, I decided instead on the 1960's. I decided that these were her mom Kenya Ogidni’s clothes (saved from her own younger days) - a dashiki and a miniskirt.

I used the pattern for Dawn’s Short Sleeve Blouse as a starting point, and then altered it to have longer sleeves and be tunic length. I sewed it from thin white linen, and the fun part was looking at lots of different images of dashiki fabric online and using my collection of sharpie pens to draw on the shirt to get a suitable effect. I colored the fabric after I turned the top to the right side and pressed it, but while it was still flat, before I stitched up the underarm seam.

The big challenge with the sharpie markers is that the ink sort of “wicks” into the fabric, which makes it a bit difficult to control, and makes a lot of the edges sort of blurry. I have three different sizes/types of sharpies, the regular “fine point” ones, the “brush” markers, and a few of the “extra fine point” ones. The good thing about the sharpie markers is that the ink is alcohol based, so that it will not run if it gets wet, and if you use a really light touch, it is possible to use one marker over another. I did that to the color of the red quarter circles, and then to add the black really fine lines of decoration.
※※※

have some lovely pleasant sounds for today:

" Mickey Hart is an American percussionist and musicologist. He is best known as one of the two drummers of the rock band Grateful Dead. He was a member of the Grateful Dead from September 1967 until February 1971, and again from October 1974 until their final show in July 1995. He and fellow Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann earned the nickname "the rhythm devils". "
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 129:
there were two bees, but one flew away...
※※※

this seems like useful mental self-care information... "Move Over, Love Languages: Do You Know Your ‘Route of Safety’?"
※※※

a sweet little fun aside : "A Parrot Needs A Box Fort"
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine yard waste bin
6 Kestrel mask removed comfrey
yard waste bin
7 7 pints of plums filled planters recycle bin
8 2 pints plum syrup transplants in x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 tiny knitting bowl x x
11 book cloth
x x
12 Nandina clothing
x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - homegrown tomato goodness! I had the best BLT supper ever tonight - a large Oregon Spring tomato, warm from the backyard sunlight and deep red, almost as big as my (albeit rather tiny) palm, sliced onto some local sourdough toast, with some bacon pulled from the depths of the chest freezer where I stored it away in March (from the massive pre-pandemic shopping trip) knowing that there might be summer tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine attempts not to melt...

the temperature just reached triple digits on my front porch Monday afternoon. Although, my efforts to hand carry water to the pet tomato plants in the backyard are literally bearing fruit, as there are delightful sun warmed red globes large and small becoming ripe. (#totallyworthwhile)

I have been slowly making progress on the bookbinding project, following along with the medieval Islamic bookbinding class online. This weekend I learned a new, if modern, way to DIY bookcloth, using tissue paper and wonder-under. (probably not archival, but super fast and easy)
※※※

inspired by Book of Hours France, Saint-Omer, between 1320 and 1329

first step in creating an SCA scroll is to plan out the calligraphy, since that fixed space needs to be known before adding any borders.

once all the calligraphy is inked, I start drawing and inking the border decorations, looking at medieval Books of Hours, and other manuscript images from the time period*, as my reference for possible imagery...

The theme for the 48 hour challenge was "pollination & partnership", and I enjoyed figuring how to combine those concepts with the interests and heraldic imagery of my recipient

first step in adding color to the scroll is the goldwork, in this case I am using Finetec mica based paint, "Arabian Gold". The original artwork only has five colors: blue, a bright warm red, pale red, a small amount of green, white, and metallic gold. 

I tend to add the various colors in one at a time, in order to distribute them evenly around the page, so as to not create unwanted focal points... here I have added the blue, and the bright red, and barely started on the green. There will also be a pale red, and then a few specially mixed colors for certain details... Finally at the end, there will be whitework lines and decorations to enrich the surface

A closer view of this stage of the decorated capital "A"

I found a flax spinning woman in the Rutland Psalter, that with a bit of adaptation would be perfect here

※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 33 ~

Close the book


where are comforting arms,
and a velvet voice to tell me
that it all turns out well in the end

Outside the library, samaras spiraling down
Mommy peeled one open and stuck it on my nose
now I'm a unicorn inside a tale

we left that town, that gentle life
Moms link arms against the guns now
freedom is a fever dream now
the planet burns now

I long for a different story
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 126:
Nandina in jasmine vines
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine yard waste bin
6 Kestrel mask removed comfrey
yard waste bin
7 7 pints of plums filled planters recycle bin
8 2 pints plum syrup transplants in x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 tiny knitting bowl x x
11 book cloth
x x
12 Nandina clothing
x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Long ago when I was a young person, I had a best friend Vanessa, from when I was in 5th grade to when I was in 9th grade and moved away. I have been thinking about her often these days, as I wander around on my sanity strolls and look for places to photograph Nandina.

Vanessa and I played with our Barbie and Tutti dolls, but rather than the "prescribed" way with clothes and fashions, ours were proto-survivalists cast away on another planet, and we roamed the neighborhood foraging for foodstuffs found on various plants, and made clothing from leaves... We built habitats from lashed together sticks, and rocks, and whatever else we could salvage under the shrubbery in her yard.

May she rest in peace and in power, she died in 2012...

*

Friday, July 24, 2020

a few Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine takes a short "vacation"

So in the interest of mental health, I'm taking the weekend off from all my chores except watering, and off of work as well. I signed up for a 48 hour scribal challenge, instead, and will be creating a custom SCA scroll for a recipient who has been on the "backlog list" for years. (There are almost 40 people taking part in the challenge, so a lot of recipients will get a pleasant surprise) Scribal projects are one of the things that rests my mind and spirit, being a thing-to-do that takes up enough of my capacity to keep me from fretting. A kind of in-the-moment activity, like meditation for a plucky heroine that cannot bear to sit still and do nothing.
※※※

Earlier this month I was chatting online with my friend Arion, who started making fascinating wind chimes from assorted pieces of metal scrap, and cut apart donated objects, and I mentioned how much I was impressed and wished I could do something similar...  These where their tips about sound quality:
The key to scrap metal windchimes is drill at a harmonic node so that the piece continues to vibrate after being struck ... one node is at 1/4 of the length-ish ... I hold it between my fingers and tap it ... if you are on the node the vibrations run up and down ... if you are off the node, it goes clunk and is done. For the jumbo staple I just tied off at the 1/2 node There can be a 1/3 node, but that is less reliable...once you start looking, the universe sends scrap metal your way.
and so, yesterday while out on my sanity stroll,  sure enough... there were all these large heavy turnbuckles and eyebolts in a box to be discarded. I carried three whilst walking home (each turnbuckle weighs 2kg, I weighed them when I got home!), and decided to hop on my bike and ride back to get the rest before they disappeared... There will eventually perhaps be some wind chimes, and I can also finally make some progress on my self-closing screen door project as well, as this hardware will work well as weights!
※※※

That was super annoying, but ended well nonetheless. I needed to renew an ongoing prescription medication, and instead of allowing me to do so as I have done for years, Medicare required me to physically present my card at the pharmacy, even though I have done so prior, and they have the numbers on record... but nope, nothing but the actual piece of paper or no meds. Well as you know, I have been in seclusion since early March, and have no desire to go into any store at all, much less the drug store!! I offered to take a photo of my card and email it to them, but they are not set up for suchlike.

Fortunately the pharmacy tech had the brilliant initiative to ask for permission to be able to meet me outside the store... still closer than I want to be to another human, but needs must. I wore a mask and gloves, rode over there on my bike, had the necessary paper card in a small ziploc, and the clerk was also gloved and masked. I had to stand and wait outside the store, trying to maintain as much distance as possible from the assorted customers going in and out, and eventually the clerk returned with both my cards, and with my prescription. When I got home, I did what I basically never do, and filled out the customer service survey... that man deserves a medal for thinking and taking action!
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 122:

particularly excellent chalk art
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine yard waste bin
6 Kestrel mask removed comfrey
yard waste bin
7 7 pints of plums filled planters recycle bin
8 2 pints plum syrup transplants in x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 tiny knitting bowl x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - we've had several days of delightfully moderate temperature, where walking has been a delight, and it remained cloudy for most of the morning... more like early June is supposed to be than late July! And I was able to sign up with the virtual "Cooling Workshop" through the Community Energy Project next month, and they will be distributing kits to help keep cool this summer, and so there may well be an additional box fan coming here in August, right when it would be most needed!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

sweetness is where you find it

in which our plucky heroine does a bit of urban foraging...

that magical time of year when the first ripe figs intersects the still ripe blueberries... (no photos because they were in my breakfast, and then in me before I thought of the camera... but I promise, it did happen and it was wonderful)
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 32 ~

Miniature knitting needed a tiny yarn bowl... a large acorn cap was the raw material. I cut away the stem and flattened the base so it would sit neatly, then took coarse and fine-cut files to smooth the surface, and finally a bit of work with the jewelers saw to cut the curved channel in the side for yarn.
※※※

gosh, I am glad I did not go out for a short walk just before bedtime Tuesday night, like I was going to, just up and down my street, because it has been hella hot all day and finally cooler... right when I was masking up and about to go out the front door, there was a LOUD explosive sound not too far away, like some of the mortars folks were letting off during the 4th, or like some large caliber armament. Ummm plucky heroine decides discretion is the better part and all that and shuts the front door again. WTF!?! am wondering if what I heard is related to the violence against protests at the police union building nearby... or just random craziness?
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 121:
food for thought on the power pole
seen today on my sanity stroll...
※※※

as the weather this morning remained cool, I was able to get to a bit more of the backyard gardening, and even a tiny bit of the yet undone pruning of the parking strip (cutting back the parts of the forsythia and the persimmon that were starting to hang over the sidewalk; someone broke off part of the black elder that probably was doing the same thing). I removed the gone-to-seed parts of the euphorbias, and filled in the two empty planters in the back yard with fresh soil from the half-yard that H & B brought here for me a while back.

New homes for the rest of the transplants: the two small tomato starts, the nasturtium, and the purslane... still need to plant the remaining shiso, and I'd really like to plant some radishes, because radish pods are the best thing, and one radish plant can make a myriad of pods. I would like to try pickling them, if I manage to grow some...
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine yard waste bin
6 Kestrel mask removed comfrey
yard waste bin
7 7 pints of plums filled planters x
8 2 pints plum syrup transplants in
x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 tiny knitting bowl
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - here and there are abandoned fruit trees, like the fig I found growing in a parking lot planting; I harvested a few of the ripe ones for breakfast.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Monday miscellany

in which our plucky heroine enjoys a harvest...

I put the two large tomato starts I acquired into the big pots on May 10th. I had the first ripe Stupice tomato on July 13th. This one is Oregon Spring, and is more than twice the size, a proper slicer! I could barely wait to taste it, and it really lived up to my hopes.

I think I am going to have to grow both of these again next year, as they both have an excellent "big tomato" flavor, and it feels really great to have guessed correctly about what I would enjoy eating. Plucky heroine is very picky about tomato.

They need to not have horribly tough skins, and they need to be more meat than seeds. Cherry tomatoes are not a treat, beefsteak tomatoes are, and roma tomatoes are. These are neither, but as beefsteak style tomato do not grow well here, this will do just fine.


※※※

I have the tools - duh! and can make hooks from metal, probably some scrap copper wire, that will work for my "improve the apron" project!  I had been thinking that I would need to order some plastic swivel snaps online, and no one sells them in quantities smaller than a half dozen. I only need two, and back in Earth That Was, I would simply go to some outdoor store like REI, or a fabric store like Bolt, and find them.  Now that this challenge is solved, I'll have to check if I have any suitable tablet woven bands that are long enough for what I need, otherwise I will have to set up and weave something. We shall see. The aprons and revised bapron that were sent up to Olympia were a successful project as well, I got some happy smiling face photos earlier tonight.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 120:

this appears to be a wishing tree
※※※

while out for my truncated sanity stroll (it was really hot much too early today) found a whole bed of nigella gone to seed, and collected a bunch of seed pods, figuring that with literally hundreds of them outside the fence, whoever lived there would not mind my picking a dozen or so...  I would dearly love to have it growing in my yard, and must look up what sort of conditions it likes.
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine -
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 2 pints plum syrup x x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - right now I am thinking about the ER doctor who stitched up my face after my bicycle accident at age 19. I had run into the back of a parked car and hit it face first. Bent the forks on my bike as well, and fortunately for me my eyeglasses went flying, because otherwise I would be blind. The ER doc on duty happened to be one who specialised in faces, and did such a great job of stitching up the places that needed it, that now you really cannot tell it ever happened. For that I am grateful indeed, especially when I compare it to the new scars from my fall on May 7th. I will likely bear those scars across the bridge of my nose for the rest of my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine appreciates tiny joys...

lyrics oddly/sadly relevant these days as they were back in the 60's...

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 31 ~
Handwork is always my respite.  Currently sewing the secondary endbands on the little notebook I've been working on... the actual width is about ½". And this is a good thing, since I somehow spaced that the class time today was moved to 9AM instead of 1 PM... Hopefully they followed the syllabus, (today was supposedly about sewing the endbands), as I have no way to contact the instructor and ask... Next week is supposed to be about cutting out and the cover boards and beginning to turn the book-block into an actual book.
※※※

just went out in the backyard this morning after my walk, and saw two things that made me happy... first was how splendid and tidy it is after Farbjorn's efforts yesterday cutting back the overgrown weeds, and then when I was watering the tomato plants, I noticed blossoms on the zucchini, so went to take a closer look... there was a honeybee inside the first one I looked at, and while I was standing there, the bee zipped into the other open zucchini flower! Go lil pollinator go!!
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 119:
I keep on walking around in circles, ever widening circles around the neighborhood, with Acorn Cottage as the hub. This is probably (aside from when I lived on Beacon Hill in Seattle) the place I have lived where there are more people of all skin colors than most of where I grew up. There are many yards with gardens, and yards with plantings of flowers, and yards gone feral and tall with whatever grows there... There are yards with garden art and parking strips with "little free library" kiosks; some yards have interesting arrangements for hens... some have tall solid fences with no way to know what is inside. My part of the city is an old working class neighborhood, parts are still an "urban renewal zone", it is a place where everyday people live and do their best to get by.
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine
-
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 2 pints plum syrup x x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -  Yesterday I participated in a virtual SCA event, that took place via Zoom, Athenaeum. The folks who set up the online structure, the website with individual pages for the presenters, the zoom host room nexus with break-out rooms for individual discussions, and the themed group "salon" rooms, made it into a surprisingly functional and pleasant experience. I learned, the night before in an instructional orientation, about how to use the "share screen" function of Zoom, and that can be Really Useful in other contexts as well... old dog/new tricks

It was actually less chaotic than the real event I attended last year, where there were a myriad of presenters all in one large room, like a school gymnasium each with their projects on tables and an equal myriad of interested observers and commenters milling about talking all at one time. I always learn things from talking with other artisans in the SCA, and look forward to continuing my aquaintance with some of the folks I met, and with trying the recipe for Roman chickpeas that I had described to me...

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine continues to learn new things...

despite the cognitive dissonance of sitting in my quiet house, listening to the peaceful splashings and cheerful voices of my neighbors in their backyard swimming pool, and knowing that only a few miles away all sorts of horrors are happening in our downtown, I somehow managed to have a productive day today. In addition, there are two more ideas for Tiny Postcards of Hope that are going to be in the works soon. One will be "Equity" and the other will be "Black Lives Matter" in a manuscript style.
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 30~
I made progress on my bookbinding project. Last weekend a seven part series on "Medieval Islamic Style Book Binding" started, yet another interesting online SCA content offering, and seemed like a fun way to learn more techniques, and also to make a small pocket size notebook (one can never have too many notebooks). Since tomorrow is all about Athenaeum, working "ahead" in the class will make up for what I may miss. Fortunately there is a blog post, as well as several useful YouTube videos posted by the instructor. I learned about stitching endbands, which I have never done in my previous bookbinding experience.

※※※

Today instead of a sanity stroll I did pruning, and managed to fill the yard waste bin with lengths of grapevine that were formerly starting to take over that side of the yard. I wish that the grapes were table grapes, but beggars can't be choosers, and Feral Grape is a nice way to partially cover the chain link fence. I might try and preserve some of the grape leaves for future dolmas...
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 118:
these are mullien flowers... these were growing sticking out of long fuzzy grey spikes that look like nothing more than tall rolled out stalks of drier lint. Very Seussian. I suspect this is either a mutation, or a specific special variety, as usually they grow out of a tall fuzzy stalk but not as coated in grey fur as this one. edited: apparently this is Verbascum bombyciferum (silk mullein), and not Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
※※※

one other good thing, I found my long lost bone folder (a bookbinding tool seen in the first photo above) which I have had since my college days, and figured was gone forever. For some reason I had put it in with my stash of bone pieces used for jewelry making, rather than in my box of bookbinding tools??? anyway, it is now back where it belongs, and where I would/will look for it in the future.
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes yard waste bin
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done recycle bin
5 three aprons for Mud Baypruned grapevine
-
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 2 pints plum syrup x x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -  Last night I learned a bit more about zoom and how to do "screen sharing" which could add a noticable amount of function, as it may be possible to show one another what projects we are working on with better resolution than a webcam. "Proficere lente sed proficere"

Thursday, July 16, 2020

tired Thursday

in which our plucky heroine perserves...

first, the good things - My dinner tonight was delicious. I had to try some of the lamb I just bought, and so there were two chops pan-cooked with some thyme from the front yard garden, and a greek-style salad with another small homegrown tomato and some of the arugula from my Mud Bay pals. I walked 4½ miles this morning before it got hot and sunny out. The backyard garden plants are all still alive, and there will likely be a good crop of plums this year, and quinces.
※※※

The situation here in Portland is both dire and alarming; I am both appalled and terrified! I am really worried about the intense and increasing presence of police and now Federal officers ramping up violence against peaceful protesters here in the city where I live. Our elected officials here have not requested this Federal activity, and have asked them to leave. This is all political theater, just using armed militarised action to cause harm and havoc in the hopes of making Igolf Twitler look better. Would that I could go somewhere - anywhere else, but here is where I am. I’ve been secluded in my house since the beginning of March, save for shortish walks around my neighborhood while trying to avoid other humans. I miss contact with non-urban nature, I miss my friends, and I don't expect any improvement for probably a year or more...
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 29 ~
Last night instead of doing large knitting while in an online zoom group, I decided that some tiny knitting would be less warm to work on. Next maybe a tiny knitting basket to put it in, or a tiny knitting bowl for the ball of yarn? Hmmmm... (I think that the technique that Ann Wood uses to make tiny dishes would work for a tiny yarn bowl)
※※※

The new Blogger interface is so not an improvement! It is much more difficult to edit my posts, particularly in the HTML view, which I normally use even more than the "compose" view. I switch back and forth between them, to edit out code artifacts that proliferate whenever you change something in compose view. The new HTML view now has the various aspects of the code in different colors (red+blue+green+black) all over the same page, which is much harder to read.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 117:
sometimes,
in the middle of what looks like the end,
seeds of new growth begin to sprout...
※※※

I've been reading "How to Be an Antiracist" and participating in an online book group. We are reading two chapters each week, and then discussing the reading. I've never been in a book group before, and am still figuring out how to be a good participant, not to mention that the reading is a challenge. My dreams are affected with situations I then need to navigate, so sleep is not as restful as it once was. Still, the learning, the shifting perspective, the challenge is good and needful.
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes -
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done -
5 three aprons for Mud Bayx -
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 2 pints plum syrup x x
9 tiny knitting x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -  old dog can learn new tricks, I think... tonight I learned how to "share screen" in Zoom, and I predict that this might be useful in a number of different scenarios...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

a pint's a pound the world around...

in which our plucky heroine has lots of paper to recycle...

Federal, state, and city taxes done (just under the wire), checks written, and all four envelopes went on my bike ride to the local post office where I put them in the outdoor mail drop. Yay me! Now to do something more pleasant, like oh... wash the dishes from yesterday that were left in a pile, because taxes!
※※※


do what you can, with what you have, where you are, right now!
※※※

After processing the seven pints of plum chunks Monday night, there was still quite a bit of plum liquid leftover, which I then put in the crock pot overnight for safety sake, and to encourage it to cook down somewhat. In the morning it was reduced by a third, and it seemed like a good plan to put it up as plum "syrup". I added a tiny amount of almond extract, and a good glug of port, before putting it in jars. Two more pints of plummy goodness for future treats, the syrup will be good as a yoghurt topping, or could be mixed into water with a little bit of vinegar added as a kind of faux sekanjabin.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 116
I never get tired of seeing all the different artworks that folks decorate their yards with... these people are apparently ceramic artists, as this is only a small sampling of the decorative pottery that they had on display.
※※※

The lamb I ordered last week arrived just before lunchtime on Tuesday, the delivery and transfer worked smoothly, driver was masked, and refused my offer of a tip. My efforts the previous night to deal with the plums were spot on... there was enough space to put the two large boxes of lamb (packages restacked for tidy space filling) with room to be able to still move things around and retain access to the rest of the freezer contents. I am looking forward to lamb meals once a week for a long time to come...
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes -
4 2 jars orange marmalade all the taxes done
-
5 three aprons for Mud Bayx -
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 2 pints plum syrup
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - my ability to put up preserves of various kinds was encouraged by several friends when I was younger, and also by an online year-long "CanJam" challenge back in 2010. The skills I learned have stood me in good stead ever since.

Monday, July 13, 2020

just plum busy...

in which our plucky heroine continues trying to catch up...

Currently canning plums just cut up into chunks (in extra extra light syrup) because I need space in the freezer. Ten pounds of plums in six ziploc bags will end up as many seven pint jars full of plum pieces in the pantry instead, and still be good on cereal and used as ingredients in things like plum sauce condiment. Plus there's four pints of syrup left after canning the plum pieces, currently in the crock pot overnight as at 1:30 AM I was too tired to do any more, and cooking down the extra light syrup+plum essence into a thicker consistency will create another useful pantry item/trade goods...

The only difficulty is that I have to process the jars one at a time, as the only pan I have that is tall enough and fits on my crappy stove is what I suspect is intended as an "asparagus steamer" a very tall skinny pot that only holds one tall pint jar. I normally process 8 or 4 oz jars, which fit nicely in my maslin pan, but the maslin pan is currently FULL of plum, (and isn't tall enough to hold 16 oz jars).
※※※

had an interesting discussion this morning, after I admired the windchimes my friend Arion is making, and had posted video of online. I adore wind chimes that sound like deep bells, as some of what he has been making do, and I mentioned that someday I would like to make some, if I can forage suitable materials.

He offered me this Very Useful Hint:  "...the key to scrap metal windchimes is drill at a harmonic node so that the piece continues to vibrate after being struck ... one node is at 1/4 of the length-ish ... I hold it between my fingers and tap it ... if you are on the node the vibrations run up and down ... if you are off the node, it goes clunk and is done." If while I am out and about on my sanity strolls, I happen to find discarded scrap metal, there may be possibilities. Pre-Pandemic, I would simply have gone over to The Re-Building Center and browsed in their scrap metal section...
※※※

tried a Google Meet video class for the first time last night, and it is definitely inferior to Zoom. Given that I am using the same setup for whatever online content I view, the video quality and sound quality was poor in comparison, and the interface was less useful in comparison. I understand that there are reasons why some people need or want to use a different system than Zoom. If I had not also watched the YouTube video associated with the class, I would have had a very hard time figuring out what the instructor was showing us.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 114:

sleepy bumblebee and linden blossoms
※※※

I ate it, I did not stop to make it photo-worthy, it was too taste-worthy for me to hesitate that long. There was no bread, so it was a BLT salad instead, and sooo delicious indeed. Stupice tomato, how do I love thee!! Big tomato taste in a modest and early package... they taste like the big ones, not like a cherry tomato, and if you are me... that make you a very happy camper.
※※※

small whinge - I've finally made a start on my tax paperwork, due to be postmarked on Wednesday. Will probably spend most of tomorrow also working on that. In past years, it would have been an easy thing to ride my bike to the copy store and make all the needed paperwork available, but not now, though fortunately the kludgy workaround to get Venerable Printer to print is still possible.

larger whinge - the protests continue, and the horrific police violence against the non-violent protesters, medics, and the houseless people caught in the situation continues to escalate. Mostly downtown, but there are also ongoing protests less than a mile from here. Somehow in all my years living in Portland, I never noticed that the police union headquarters is on one of the main traffic streets nearby; I must have ridden my bicycle past there at least a thousand time or more... Now, when I hear booms in the air, I don't think oh someone thoughtless is letting off fireworks, but instead worry that it is more police violence against unarmed brave individuals. Last week my friend Sarah, who lives closer to there, had tear gas inside her house, just because she had the windows open on a summer evening...
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes -
4 2 jars orange marmalade x -
5 three aprons for Mud Bayx -
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 7 pints of plums x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - all day today I have been eating salads. My Mud Bay pals sent me lettuce. Tomorrow I will be making up some kale kasha feta salad, and enjoying that for dinner

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine ponders a conundrum...

Dare I to eat this? Is this garlic? It smell like garlic when I cut it open... has an outer skin like a single clove of garlic... the two fallow self-watering planters have a lot of these growing in them, and I am about to plant other things in there and wondering if these could become a surprise harvest? note: I grew garlic in these planters in 2019...

※※※

There were quite a bit of ongoing fireworks/boomtown for most of the past week after the 4th, gradually tapering off, so finally we can resume our regularly scheduled lives here in the New Normal Pandemic Panopticon.

My initial plan for a week ago Sunday was to spend the day doing studio work with kiln and torch... ummm not so much, as brain was not up to usual speed due to lack of sleep and bad toxic air/smoke... Instead, I gradually got caught up on housey chores, and also did some preserving of fruits that were getting a bit post, still good, but now they are jars of applesauce and marmalade and can sit in the pantry for later.

Next up on the preserving list is turning the frozen plums remaining from last year's harvest into canned plum chunks, to make room in the freezer for the local lamb that should be arriving on Tuesday. Even though I cannot safely go to the farmers market, this is one way I can continue to support local farms.

In addition, I made some work aprons for my Mud Bay pals, as well as a sushi cat mask for little Kestrel. The aprons for the adults were each decorated with suitable graphics:

an octopus for Ariadne


a pomegranate for Maeva


and a sawframe and hammer for William
※※※

I am feeling less like my insistence on staying isolated is freakishly excessive: Six feet is not far enough to be safe...
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 28 ~
Nandina is still living atop the bookcase, and will be for a while. I am slowly gathering and laminating pieces of cardboard shipping boxes to eventually build her a home of her own. I am going to use the techniques in this video, but make a somewhat different style of house. I realised that the little tin sewing machine (intended as a holiday tree ornament) is exactly the right size for her!

I was rather confused as to why I suddenly got a lot of new people looking at my Instagram, and then I found out that Ann Wood, who created the Tiny Rag Doll pattern, had included a photo of Nandina in her most recent blog post, that featured some of the tiny creations made by folks....
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 113:

even in seclusion, we can still find ways to blossom...
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruningrecycle bin
3 3 jars applesaucecut unruly rose canes -
4 2 jars orange marmalade x -
5 three aprons for Mud Bayx -
6 Kestrel mask x
-
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - an entire box of homegrown produce from Mud Bay pals, including this lovely bouquet of fresh herbs -



Saturday, July 4, 2020

boomtown

in which our plucky heroine hunts for earplugs...

Usually I try and be out of town on this particular day/weekend. Not an option this year. Before I moved to the PNW, more than half a lifetime ago, I had never lived in a place where fireworks were legal for home use. The barrage has been pretty constant here since about 4PM today (6 and a half hours so far) Last night it went on until around 1AM. As much as I hate it, I feel even worse for the local pets, and even more for the veterans. If this sounds like what I imagine wartime might, how much worse is it for them what know and remember it...
※※※

~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 27~
Does this count? I think it does... cutting lots and lots of little pieces of wire, and then bending them into loops, and teardrops, and arches, and flower petals. I have a commission for a set of eight enamels, unset. Going to be working on this over the next week
※※※

very excited to see the first sign of color on a backyard tomato here at Acorn Cottage... Stupice is in the lead! This morning I went out to the backyard, pulled some weeds, cleared out the rest of the pea plants and the string trellis, and managed to get two of the three zucchini plants into the former pea plant locations. I think I am going to clear out the remains of the california poppies in the front yard, and put the other zucchini there, maybe with a trellis to keep it from the sidewalk. I forsee lots of carrying water in my future. I actually felt good about being out there making small progress. The yard absorbs as much attention as I can spare, there is still a lot of pruning to do, and the weeding is never ending.
※※※

beauty in the time of isolation - day 105:
alstromeria aka Peruvian Lily
※※※

July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 deerskin pouch sage prunedyard waste bin
2 bone needle casesome plum pruning-
3 xcut unruly rose canes -
4 x x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - My Crafternoon Zoom pixel pals, who show up at random on Saturday afternoons to hang out and chat. Without you I would be even more isolated here...