Friday, September 16, 2011


I looked at my harvest yesterday morning.  Here it is (or will be).  Maybe.

One tiny cucumber.

One little tomato.

Aaand ... that's it. 

Here's a look over my garden domain, from the platform down a hill to the garage.  In June, I plopped a few cukes, a few tomato plants and a few basil plants into the ground.  I didn't know at the time, but I had lyme disease.  I did know that I was exhausted!   It was all I could do to dig holes and put plants in.  No soil prep.  No fertilizer.  No nothing.

Most of the plants died, but some of them hung on and struggled through the season, and soon I'll harvest my lonely cuke and tomato. 

Monday, September 5, 2011


I think I have a few posts started but never posted over the last few weeks, so, since it's Labor Day and I'm starting the morning slowly, I'll take the time to post an update and actually get it up so others can read it.

I started a new batch (batches?) of hard cider yesterday.  It's 4 gallons using the same juice from Indian Ladder Farms, but 4 different yeasts.  The last batch I made 1-1/2 years ago turned out to be barely drinkable.  I had made a 5-gallon commitment on that batch, so it took quite a while to drink it all.  This is my third attempt at hard cider.  Just like cheesemaking and yogurt making, I'm beginning to see the point of each step, and it's becoming more of a process and less of me blindly following steps that someone else wrote down.  If I didn't make any dumb mistakes, it will be 2 weeks in primary fermentation, then 2 weeks in secondary fermentation before I bottle it.  Then, it gets better, the longer it's in the bottle (I tried some cider at the brewing supply store that was a year old).  I'll probably start drinking this stuff in about 6 months.

Beer is faster, and I've considered brewing beer.  The problem is that I don't want to drink beer all that much these days, so the idea of making 5 gallons of it doesn't appeal to me.  I DO want to grow hops next year though.  I asked the dude at the brewing store if they buy hops from local farmers, and he said that the output from the average Joe's 2 plants (exactly what I was thinking of growing!) isn't enough to make one barrel of beer.  No matter.  I was thinking of growing it for my own beer that I may make sometime.  Or, since it grows so fast, maybe I could grow it on the sunny side of the house to provide shade in the summer, and do nothing else with it.

Here's an update on progress on the Swedish Heartwarmer Shawl from Ravelry.  Each nubbin is 1 ounce of fiber, 50% merino, 25% tussah silk and 25% angora (yeah, it feels really soft).  I've carded 32 of these and am about halfway through the dying.  The pink is supposed to be red, so I'm going to have to buy more red dye.  The purple is supposed to be burgundy.  The blue piece hanging on the back of the sofa is one of three that I rinsed so thoroughly they kinda felted.  I carded the other 2 of the 3, but am not sure they'll be usable to spin.  I may have to buy more tussah silk so that I can make some more nubbins. 

The pattern calls for 2800 feet of sock weight yarn.  Each nubbin will have to make almost 100 feet of plied yarn (200 feet of single ply).  I've never spun anything that thin before, and am thinking that if I don't have extra fiber, I'll be short on yarn.  Then I'll be months into it and end up buying yarn to make this thing!  I don't want that!