Rockin’ the Rain Day

My boy is in pajamas and a helmet, a knight in the night, dutifully putting away the things of a rainy day. Books and a log cabin, his uncle’s old game of Mousetrap. I will tend to the dripping raingear later…this afternoon he tried to dig a hole in the mud large enough to make a lake for his boats, but it wasn’t raining hard enough to fill it. Maybe tomorrow…

A good day, slow and gray, and now that it’s just about story time, I can cuddle up with the Fuzzy Beast:

Laura, Mary, Ma and baby Carrie are waiting out the blizzard for Pa to come home, with icy snow blowing into the house and onto their bedcovers…while the Boy and I are snug, he with his story wax in hand, me with my knitting and C’s soothing voice in our ears. We are two chapters away from finishing book four, btw…and after reading the third, Farmer Boy, which I enjoyed immensely, I find the trials of the Ingalls family almost unbearable. And how, tell me please, did they not die of malnutrition eating corn mush and white bread all winter long???

Speaking of fooooooood, today was Baking Day. Since our Pa’s the workin’ man now, we’ve been trying to think up healthy snacks to make for him to grab on his way out the door in the mornings. Inspired by this granola bar recipe, we imagined up our own variations.

The only failure was in that the above picture should be showing you a slice of a granola BAR. Instead, we ended up with just plain awesome granola.

Basically, we followed the recipe, but with our own flavor variations. I’m not a fan of corn syrup, so I chose to replace it with honey or maple syrup. Perhaps it is the “glue” ingredient that prevents the bars from falling apart?

Flavors we invented: Cashew Orange…for the 2-3 cups fruit/nuts we used 1 1/2 cups cashews, 1 cup sesame seeds and 1 cup currants. We added orange peel (2 oranges) extract instead of vanilla and used a combo of butter/honey and our homemade pecan butter.

Pecan Coconut…1 1/2 cups pecans, 1 cup coconut, 1/2 cup currants. For this one we used a combination of butter and coconut oil and used maple syrup instead of honey and our homemade pecan butter.

Peanut Butter Chocolate…(we doubled this recipe) 2 cups currants, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup coconut, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup sesame seeds. Butter/coconut oil/honey for the liquid ingredients plus 2 chopped up semisweet chocolate bars.

I realize now that we forgot to toast the dry ingredients first…we were a little too excited about our project! I’m sure that would have improved the flavor slightly, but it’s hard to say as these are all Wicked Awesome.

I will leave you with a Perfect Sky, since ours will be dark and dripping tomorrow:



Where I’m At

The boys are baking brown bread.

I’m staring at this:

…and I know it’s not everything. Four moves in one year has dispersed much of my paperwork throughout countless hastily packed boxes. I tried my best to keep it all accessible, but there were times when it just was not the priority. I’m sure in a few months (she says hopefully) when we really truly really unpack our things again, I will find a pile or two of receipts I could have written off, but oh, well. It’s not as if the government gives a fig if I short-change myself.

I should just get on it, get it over with and move on.

But I’m just so easily distracted.

There are things to finish and photograph and list and make and do and and worry about and there is a small person gleefully licking batter off a spatula to my left, the sun peeking through the clouds to my right…all signs pointing to the fact that there are better things to do with my day than sigh heavily at this stack of papers.

I will shrug it off to go play for a while, but I will dwell on the fact that there are pieces of paper hiding out amongst the rest of our things in boxes. Like our dishes. Those receipts are hanging out with the dishes and I want to unpack them. I miss the sound of them, the weight of them and the comfort in simply knowing where they are. You can replace “dishes” with any number of things one has in their home that makes it cozy and undeniably theirs.

This time next year, I will be taking my neat files out of the filing cabinet, where they have been sitting in the same place for many months, quietly accepting deposits. Everything will be right where I need it. I will be home.

I don’t have much to complain about then, do I?

Wool calls.

The Results Are In!

It worked! Check out the raw silk fabric on the right…a true black!

The fiber on the left is suri alpaca…I did not soak it in the vinegar/rust mordanting bath as it would likely have damaged the fiber. I am going to keep my eyes out for an iron pot or cauldron so as not to need the vinegar in future.

The silk, however…I’m just thrilled with the results. Before we boil it down for writing ink, I’m going to try to find some raw cotton and linen fabrics to put in before the bath gets funky…

…not that it will be difficult to find more galls:

We weren’t feeling very inspired for Baking Tuesday this week…the sourdough starter is getting goooooood (C harnessed some wild yeast, so has grown his starter without store-bought. It’s very exciting), but oftentimes it’s nice to make something together that we can all of us eat. C and the Boy will bake their bread, but the other day we imagined up a Lunch Pie. Kale, potatoes, onions, eggs (I can tolerate pastured eggs every once in a while now…healing is occuring!), raw goat’s milk and cheese, pastured locally-raised bacon and a gluten-free crust. Of course, the fun was in that crust…lions and bears and stars and birds, oh my!…cookie cutters must be made of pure joy. While the pie was baking and then cooling, an entire hour was filled with pushing flour around the rolling board with the cookie cutter “graders.”

A new yarn style in the shop you will be seeing a lot more of:

Charlotte – a little bit of everything, carded up and spun using the long-draw technique. Light and fine, for your lace-y knitting pleasure.


Don’t Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk…

…isn’t that what Lux Interior always warned us about?

So, choose the safer route and just eat stuff out of your own backyard. Like, these rubbery space-alien entrails, for instance:

Really, I thought these mushrooms were quite fascinatingly beautiful…Black Elfin Saddles aka False Morel. This is a photo after boiling (to release potential tummyache-inducing compounds into the water), and before cooking, and the photo doesn’t translate the seaweed-y quality very well, all the infinite, curling folds. They were plucked from the backyard, served with dinner, and the several members of the household who tried them were less than impressed. Not much flavor of their own, but a decent enough vehicle for delivering butter and garlic to your mouth. If I’m risking potential discomfort, though, I want my socks knocked off, so we’ll probably be leaving the rest of these in the ground.

Yesterday, the Boy actually asked for his embroidery and we spent quite a bit of the late morning stitching away. It has never held his attention for so long and while he stitched away, something happened in my own hoop that prompted C to make a comment that, in turn, prompted me to say, “What if we collaborate on _______?” And so we will. I am filled to bursting with a thousand and one ideas for this project that we have already reserved a little corner of Etsy for. It’s one of those why-did-we-not-think-of-this-before kind of ideas, and it promises to be FUN as well as challenging and fulfilling. We will open in February, and that’s all I’m telling you for now.

As for the “real job” hunt, C has some glowing letters of recommendation headed his way and some contacts to pursue. I’ve also put feelers out to a few online friends up and down this coast because, well, you just never know. Someone might say something in a coffee shop or at the park or anywhere, really, or see an ad and pass the information along. We’re throwin’ it out there, Universe, and we’re actually enjoying it. Here is our opportunity to start a brand new life and we have no idea where it’s going to happen. Instead of allowing myself to be terrified of the Unknown, I’ve decided to really get into playing this game…absolutely anything can happen!

Since things didn’t work out on the farm, I am donating every penny of last year’s raffle to an organization that helps the homeless…I had held off because I believe the most important way to be of service is within one’s own community, and I was waiting to become part of a community again, myself. But, since I’m here in the Bay Area for a short while longer, I am part of this community and so I will make my donation here, most likely to the Contra Costa Crisis Center or the Bay Area Rescue Mission or a combination of the two. I’ll contact all of the participants and let you know where your dollars have gone!

Today, we will bake (gluten-free romano crackers), paint, spin and explore the Shell Ridge Open Space (this has become the Boy’s favorite spot, which is awesome, because it’s one of ours, too). Phone calls have been made, messages left, and so we shall fill our day with the riches that surround us. And quiet.

Sea Creatures Eat Love Buns

Just remember that next time you’re trying to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.

However, if you’re not planning a trip to Scotland with Moravian Love Buns in tow, you can knit your own Nessie and call it a day:

I LOVE IT when customers send me pictures of what they’ve knit with my yarns.* So often, I send yarns like Biohazard out into the world and never know what became of them. It is always a pleasure to see the end result of our collaborative effort. Thank you so much for sharing, Jenny!

Jenny’s Flickr is here where you will find reference to the designer of the pattern she used as well as photos of her other lovely projects.

So, about those Buns…

The baking has not stopped around here. In fact, we try to make every Tuesday “Baking Day,” and yesterday was no exception. C was inspired to bring out an old family favorite, Garden Way Publishing’s Bread Book: Recipes for All Seasons. Sadly, this book has been out of print for a long time, and I can’t find any info on the web unless you want to pay over a hundred bucks for it used on Amazon. It’s full of amazing bread recipes, including these:

How can you go wrong with “large puffy sweet rolls of ineffable goodness?”

Even though we decided not to make this an experiment of the gluten-free variety (read: no buns for me), I got plenty of satisfaction just watching the boys at work:

…and, of course, the glee-filled Boy enjoying a warm bun with his breakfast after the overnight proofing.

Tomorrow, I will share my resolutions, send off some packages and make good on some lingering obligations. There is much to look forward to in the New Year, and I’m ready to start it off with a clean slate and a fresh, shiny positive attitude. Whoot!

*so, send more! If you have a project, I want to see it!