Friday, March 9, 2018

Athena with Egg #1

There was snow and ice this week, but Spring is right around the corner! The proof is that Athena laid EGG #1 of the season yesterday, a stunning first for this reluctant layer hen. Our other chicken, Heinrich, is still molting, which she started in January this year: oddly late.

Anyway, my iPhone died a pitiful death on Wednesday, and my replacement iPhone is not completely decked out with all of my apps yet, so I'll post the picture of the egg some other day. Just wanted to document the first egg of the season, as I do every year.

Happy Day to All!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nice Rug!

It's Yarn Along day at Ginny's blog, so I decided to keep my monthly streak of posts going. Do go see what all the other crafty people are making (and reading) this month by clicking here.

After finishing my baby watermelon dress last month, I also just finished an ultra chunky rug out of our homegrown Suri alpaca rug yarn. My cat immediately found it, and he looks very possessive here. My Ravelry notes are here.

These rugs are soooo comfy to stand on while brushing teeth or perhaps cooking in the kitchen. I made my husband one last year, and it is holding up well and is a treat for weary feet at the end of a day.

I'm not sure what to work on next... I have a few knitting projects that are in the "deep winter" category and need finishing. I might be ready to do a lighter cardigan, like Amiga, though. My reading at this point in the year is strictly in the musical score department. My school is doing "The Little Mermaid" in May and I get to conduct the pit orchestra this year! Woohoo! So much work, but so much fun!

In other news, some early Spring flowers are starting to pop up in the yard. I'm not sure we're finished with snow and cold, but it sure is delightful to spot bright colors amidst all the grey and brown again!

Have a wonderful month, and see you all next time!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Celebrating Dreams Coming True

I had some friends welcome a long-awaited baby recently, so of course I had to help them celebrate with some adorable hand knits and my favorite book, Mole Music! Here's to many happy years of family life to them!

Notes to my second watermelon dress are here. I got the watermelon bloomers from a shop called "cureasme" on Etsy. I'm thinking about making more alpaca greeting cards as well. They are so fun to send to friends. 

Have a great day!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hobby Fair

Today I was invited to be part of my school's hobby Fair during our Student Resource Time.

It was the first time I set up a small display, and I noticed that with just a little bit of work, we could be ready for some yarn sales at a fiber fair. I am re-invigorated to get the "show on the road" and sell some yarn this year. In the meantime, I had a great time talking to students and teachers about taking care of alpacas, processing fiber, and knitting!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Special Snowflakes

Hello, Yarn-Along Friends!

I've been spending most of the month finishing my second Snowflake Sweater, which was, ahem, supposed to be an early Christmas present. We had a family gathering at Thanksgiving, and I was hoping to gift my two nieces their sweaters then. Oh well, no matching cousins this time around.

This was my first Snowflake Sweater, made for a 15 month old in size 1-2 years. I love that the Cascade Yarn Sunseeker has a metallic thread in it to make the sweaters sparkly! Perfect for showing the glittery quality of snow.

The youngest lady got her sweater in time for Christmas, and her mom sent me an adorable video of her wearing it while playing her new toy xylophone. Too cute!

The second sweater is for an 8 year old girl, but she is tall for her age, so I just decided to make the 9-10 size and use all three skeins of yarn. It's in the mail to her, and I'm looking forward to seeing how big the fit actually is. And yes, I did wash and block it after I took this sweater. I get so excited when knits are finally finished that I immediately take pictures so I don't also have to wait for the sweater to dry...

This is a super fun knit. I really enjoyed thinking hard on the lace for a while, and then having some mindless TV knitting available once the yoke was complete.

Next project: I am making another Watermelon Baby Cardigan for a friends who are expecting a baby any minute. Good thing this is a fast knit! As I am knitting all the purl rows in the yoke, I am once again considering making a little dress to avoid the aggravation of purling. I'll be sending the sweater with my favorite picture book, Mole Music, and some matching watermelon bloomers. Stay tuned for that cute post next!

Finally, check out what everyone is knitting and reading at Ginny's Yarn Along this month!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Will Garden for Peanuts

Last Spring I made an impulse purchase from Baker Seed Company. They emailed some appealing ad that touted a limited quantity of a rare Ecuadorian peanut: Fastigata Pin Striped. I had to have them…

I got my garden in late this last summer, second week of June, but the peanut plants came up within three days of planting and grew vigorously. They have a 3-month-long growing season, so I was really hoping for a VERY late frost. Two of my 8x4 garden beds were amended with peat moss and sand to made the earth lighter. I think I could add more of both next year for even lighter soil.

Indeed, I was lucky, and this harvest was the last week of October. That week we had a very light frost, making some, but not all, of the peanut plant leaves turn brown.

Peanuts are very funny plants: they bloom above the ground and then take a nose-dive to form their seeds under the soil.

After the harvest, the nuts need to be cured (dried) for another month. When I opened a seed pod at the start of curing, the shell was super moist and thick. The nuts ended up curing for two months, thanks to my relentless schedule.

After curing, the shell is dry the peanuts fall out easily.

I decided to roast them without a shell, and that was a good decision as I found a small number of shells that had mold in them. Aren't they just beautiful, with that striped purple husk?

All that work and all that time yielded only 9 ounces of peanuts! I'm sure commercial growers and processors have more efficient ways of preparing the peanuts for the market, but it is always humbling to realize how much work goes into making a simple peanut butter.

I did not show the last step. After roasting, I rubbed the peanuts in a towel to get the that light striped husk off of the peanut, making them look like other type of peanut. The husk has a slightly bitter taste. The final product is indescribably DELICIOUS! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Yarn Along is BACK!

I am so excited that Ginny decided to bring back the Yarn Along! I was not a frequent participant, but I often got great ideas for patterns, yarn choices, and books from all the other lovely folks linking up to her posts. Do go and see what everyone is up to!

My read today is the guidebook for the Knobstone Trail in southern Indiana. I had big plans to backpack it last summer, but alas, other events took precedence. This summer I have some friends to go with, so accountability for showing up is real! Can't wait!

My knitting consists of finishing up some Christmas knitting (*sigh*). The pattern is Snowflake by Tin Can Knits and very fun. I love the mindless knitting that happens after the lace is finished.  

Happy New Year to all! Stay cozy!