making it (but mostly faking it)…and some 52 for good measure

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I envy you, kid.

That’s what I’ve got for the 52 Project this week.

It feels like enough after a fortnight with little opportunity for adequate sleep, and zero opportunity for kickin’ around with comics and a cat. Can I get a do-over on adulthood? I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.

Really, the only part I’m faking is the appearance of maintaining sanity during this time of one step forward, two steps back that we seem to be treading water in. Somehow, I think even that is an illusion, and really there is some forward movement if I watch the replay in slow motion.

But, I don’t have time to watch the replay today, so…

Oh! There was this thing that happened:

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A lovely group of students for some 80s-inspired spinning was the highlight of the blur that may have been March 2014. Denver next month will be awesome, and the EARLY BIRD special ends tomorrow!!!

Oh! And I have re-opened my Big Cartel shop! Etsy is still there, but I’m going to be putting more and more on the new and less and less on the old. Etsy will eventually be exclusively for de-stash and OOAK items, and the BC for repeatable colorways and fiber clubs. I haven’t updated the sidebar yet (one thing at a time, but if you click on the banner here, it’ll take you to my new-ish home on BC:

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Stay tuned for a Hey-I’m-Traveling-Soon-And-Need-Lunch-Money sale! There has been some spinning thrown into the daily life-chaos. Where there’s a will, and all that.

Enough! Happy Monday!

Eleven: 52

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the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeeze(s) every week.

 

O, this week you…

…spent a weekend morning getting the taps in, and enjoyed your first cup of sap for the season.

…said the words “I hate you” in a fit of tantrum rage. I guess we made it nearly nine years without that phrase, and even though I knew you were just trying to get me to change my mind about something and you didn’t really mean it, and you sobbed and looked pretty miserably sorry about having said it, man…it just sucked. It didn’t happen again any of the other times you didn’t want to go to school this week, so maybe a lesson was learned about saying things we don’t mean. It’s ouch, yeah buddy?

…in contrast, lost at Catan and didn’t get upset or want to play again immediately. All smiles and hey, maybe next time. That was nice.

…received a pretty stellar trimester report from your teacher. We’re proud of you, but more importantly, we hope you’re proud of yourself. I thought I caught a wee self-satisfied grin when you overheard me reading it out loud to Papa.

First Ferment

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After a preservation hiatus through the coldest months, it was time to get our ferment on for the first time this calendar year. My mother-in-law sends us a box of Meyer lemons from her tree every Winter, and with the deeply bitter cold we’ve been experiencing, and their 3000+ miles of travel, I was amazed they arrived so perfectly sound.

Meyers are a treat, all mellow sweetness coupled with a reduced acidic bite. They are my favorite for just about everything but lemonade (I like it puckery-tart!), but we chose to use 2/3 of the sunshiny bounty for Moroccan Preserved Lemons. I like to make at least one quart of preserved lemons each year, two if we’re blessed with another shipment. A little goes a long way towards making a simple meal pretty spectacular, so we often make one jar last through the year using it in stews, roast chicken and rice-based dishes.

The past few years, I’ve made it somewhat complicated, trying out different spice combinations and fermentation windows. While these versions have been lovely, I felt ready, this time around, to get back to the simplest recipe for fermenting just about anything: main ingredient + salt.

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I used this nourished kitchen recipe for my ratios, and now the golden darlings play out their alchemical miracle of salt into gold in the dark of a pantry cabinet. btw, I could fit 8 lemons in a quart jar, which left me four for this:

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…because we have duck eggs again. We used this recipe, which calls for blending up a whole lemon, rind and all, along with the juice. You’re welcome.

This evening I’ll be working on my shop move back over to Big Cartel. There will be an announcement and a promo coupon, so stay tuned for that in the next couple of days.

And don’t forget the Snowball event at Wildwood Farm was postponed to THIS Sunday, March 23rd (so, you know, ignore the date on the flyer). There’s still time to get registered and join us for an 80s extravaganza!

cyndi

Nine and Ten: 52

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the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeeze(s) every week.

My working life is a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of teeny gigs that nearly almost make a supplemental income when I get a few of them snapped together. I have little desire for more screen time at the end of a day that largely revolves around hours of it. Even so, I’m not too far behind on a personal project, and that is something. Actually, I’m lying about that. I fished the psycho picture off my phone from a weekend hike and the knitting pic is for this week’s post on the Sparkle Stories blog (I’m there every Thursday). Chronologically, they’re spot-on, but they weren’t intended for the 52 project. I suppose that doesn’t make much of a difference to anyone else.

*Oh, and I feel like I should mention the fact that my son doesn’t run around threatening people with knives. This was a ham-up for the camera. He was chipping ice on the brook with it, which is a totally inappropriate use for, say, his good carving knife, but not for the chintzy 99-cent hardware store almost-not-even-a-knife that he was carrying at the time. I greatly enjoy the contrasting moods of the two images.

O, this week you…

…acquired two new friends for the fish tank, which had been empty for months after a stretch of Aquatic Pet Disappointment (APD). Cheeky and Other Fish enjoy staring out from the same corner all day long, but otherwise are quite lovely and entertaining and, so far, alive.

…allowed me to teach you how to arm knit while I simultaneously taught myself, and we couldn’t stop laughing. Thanks for always being patient and willing to subject yourself to numerous photographs and “Hey, could you do that again?” for my Craft Correspondent job.

…have been ridiculously high energy crazy whoa every night and so I’m contemplating black curtains to simulate 5pm darkness until next fall.

…asked me to go out for a hike with you, when it’s almost always the other way around. It would have been so fantastic if I wasn’t sick with a head cold, but I went anyway so as not to discourage you from asking again.

Facts.

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Birds are hopping about on the thick crust of snow in increased numbers, sometimes it’s still light when dinner hits the table, and I suppose there may be a few other signs of Spring lurking around the corner if I pay attention through chattering teeth. My fingers are crossed for this to be the last night of the season to dip below zero, and it looks like maybe, just maybe, we’re good to go for tapping our trees this weekend.

The Spun Monkey studio has temporarily been converted to the seedling nursery. We’ve started quite early this year, despite having lost the greenhouse, and an impending drastic change in our daily/weekly routine will mean that C is here more during the week to be tending the homestead. I try so hard, but I’m not as intuitive as he is with living things. In past growing seasons, I have been the garden management team only because I was here. I wouldn’t say I have a black thumb, but it’s surely some color other than green, and whatever we’ve harvested has been due to a few parts luck, I’m sure. I can’t wait to see what happens when he has more of his hands in this adventure, because harvesting is my favorite part, and with him in charge, I’ll get to do so much more of that. Fact.

O will try for The Great Pumpkin again, of course, and if all goes well with our Hyssop, there will be goat milk aplenty for an experiment with milk-fed squash. She is WIDE with baby(ies???) and I hope to flood this page with adorable baby goat-ness come May.

And I hope with all my heart that this is our last tribute to make in what has been a very harsh Winter for our male barnyard friends, as we spent most of Town Meeting Day trying to save this guy:

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RIP Funny Chicken. Why did you eat the hay?

He was the meat bird we kept because he was…a little funny. And personable. And attached to our little bantam hen. He stood up while she napped underneath him. I wonder who will protect her now from all those big, catty hens in the coop? She is china-delicate and he was her round, bumbling oaf who somehow never stepped on her or forgot she was there.

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We’ll miss you, buddy.

Oh, and speaking of the studio, this weekend I’ll be re-opening my Big Cartel shop with links to registration for April classes. This will begin an eventual shift over from Etsy entirely. Stay tuned for a big sale to clear out the shop for the move!

 

 

Eight: 52 and Things

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the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeeze(s) every week.

Winter Break: It was quiet, and full even though we didn’t go anywhere vacation-ish. Work and play happened, like any other week, but it was a little richer with friends and warm drinks. A nod to the joys of Winter, yes, but feeling in the end like a readiness to say goodbye. We’re still in it; just a thing we have to admit to ourselves. The position of the sun makes 12 degrees feel somehow more tolerable than even just a few weeks ago, and brightly glittering snow is so much more hopeful than dull, grey snow under an overcast sky, so I think we’ll manage.

I’m deep in scheming and dreaming up a trip out West in April to visit family and teach some workshops. Places I’ll hit this go ’round: Portland, OR, the SF Bay Area, and Denver, CO. I’ve got the latter location covered for a venue, but am still contemplating the other two. A new spinning workshop, and the tried-and-true nuno felt class are on the table. More information will be available soon, but if you have any requests, ideas, venues to suggest or offer, do let me know! All is still in the planning stage.

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In other news: granola. I’ve posted about what I like to call Culture Crunch before, and I totally forgot about how I used to sprout sesame seeds to add to the mixture. Next time! This time, I went back to the original recipe that inspired my fermented granola experimentation and played with some of the post-fermentation wet ingredients. To the honey mixture, which I increased a tad, I added a generous scoop of peanut butter, probably about 3/4 cup for a doubled recipe, and a few heaping tablespoons of raw cacao powder. As soon as it comes out of the dehydrator, I’ll add soaked and dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut, and raisins. A little taste-testing reveals that this is a subtle flavoring, not too sweet, which means it will be perfection once the raisins are added. I wasn’t going for cloying, just comforting. Win!

Seven: 52

52o

 

the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeeze(s) every week.

 

O, this week you…

…enjoyed Snow Days aplenty, which included starting Winter Break from school a couple days early. We’re big into not complaining about large measurements of snowfall. We played in it, consumed it, hiked around in it, and rested in it. February wins.

…started reading The Boxcar Children series on your own and motored right on through the first book. Your eyes grew huge when you just had to tell me about the best part: a “super yummy dinner.”

…helped me out with some fun projects for the Sparkle Stories blog, temporarily donating

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some of your pennies to science. This one went up today.

…discovered Apples to Apples, and many hilarious moments have since occurred.

flash poem: winter (1)

A little journaling exercise: write a poem. Now.

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fragile

every breath like a needle-shard of crystal

some days

 

on other days

i turn upwards to the falling snow and let the chill wash over my face like a baptism

i am renewed

in a lonely sort of way

 

there is strength in numbers, the grey hairs tell me

as i watch them gather together in a growing mass

soon they will be a great force

maybe then, i will feel like one, too

perhaps not even in a lonely sort of way

 

in the meantime

they live under my hat

philosophizing and generally doing nothing of use

 

unlike the cleansing kiss of the snow, which gives me a useful red glow

swirling dream-like vision

and a cold I feel deep in my bones

the kind that aches

and lets me know that i am alive

fragile

but alive

Five and Six: 52

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A pair of weeks, gone in a flash. Sickies and ickies, an entire day listening to and reading books, Snow Days, growing skills, birthday planning, Halloween planning (what? an onion?), multiplication, sitting too close to the wood stove, and gallons of honey-lemon “tea” find us in mid-February. Huh.

I’m playing catch-up after an experiment in discipline. I am now in the habit of early morning yoga instead of early morning writing, so the next step is getting up even earlier to fit in both activities. I’d like to be here at my desk more, but it’s been some other kind of wonderful to spend time in my body, even at the expense of letting other soul needs slip for a while. Here’s to a happy marriage of the two…

…and some snowshoeing before today’s early release from school. I welcome a thicker blanket.

Yarn Along: 2 (and shop news! and a class! and another class!)

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I’m still working on a Christmas present, and I can see in the photo where I need to tighten up a join, but both of those things are okay. 12 stripes down, 7 to go, and the boy can probably wear it without dragging it on the ground in about…6 years. Even so, I’m determined to finish it this weekend just to have one more project down so I can start something else. Now that the sock yarn club is up and rolling and I’m saving at least one skein for myself every month, I think we can all safely guess I’ll be obsessed with knitting socks for the remainder of the year.

The January colorway, btw, is now available as dyed-to-order, and there are a few ready-to-ship on a delightful bamboo blend sock yarn (and handspun and fiber, as well) available in the shop.

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Clicking the pic will transport you to the listing.

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February’s colorway found its way into a sweet tutorial I wrote up for this week’s installment of Sparkle Craft on the Sparkle Stories blog, and will soon also be available as a regular dyed-to-order colorway. In the meantime, club members are enjoying it first, and a few extras found their way to Madison Wool.

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Speaking of Madison Wool, I’ll be the instructor/MC at this year’s Snowball…a spinning technique/80s dance party/costume shindig where we’ll spin up some neon shoelaces, cut up fabric scraps and spin them while watching Pretty in Pink, and corespin our way to a pair of mismatched fingerless gloves. You in? Call Dayna at MadWool for details and to sign up!

And since this post seems to be all business, I’m scouting out spots to teach on a whirlwind trip late Spring/early Summer…Austin, Denver, Bay Area, Portland…please be in touch if we can make it happen for my new one-day workshop, Spinning Your Story (details soon…keeping it mysterious for now). If you have an idea for a venue or just want to say, YES, I’d love to take your class, drop me a note!

I pretty much derailed my own Yarn Along post with news and such, but I think the book stack speaks for itself. A little Spring planning, a little for-pleasure, a little oooh-the-new-Granta-just-came-in-the-mail, and a little psychology about raising boys. Oh, and Jane Austen knitting patterns. A pretty accurate slice of mid-Winter life, right there, I guess…if you add a cup of chai and the fact that I have really no time to read any of this right now, but try to manage a couple pages here and there in odd moments of breathing space.

Happy Thursday!

xoxo