Friday, March 30, 2007

What have I gotten myself into NOW?

There once were 6 bloggers who knit;
And their stashes were causing a fit.
So a game they did play,
To give yarn away,
(Now, whose yarn will YOU git?)

They took turns being Swap host,
Beth, Lauren, Michele all did post.
Now it's my turn, you see
To show yarn to the three
(Who will bid to win what I post?)

(Honestly, sometimes I don't know where it comes just spills out. Sorry.)

Here's the thing - my stash is mostly sock yarn. I can't seem to go anywhere without picking some up. I go nowhere without my DPN's, and have several patterns committed to memory so I can start right up if I find an especially nice skein. That might leave some of you out in the cold, since not every knitter does socks. (To make, I mean. Most wear them at least...) So here's what I'm gonna do:

The fastest bidder, (Stephanie or Anne K. by my count, right?) can choose either a fingering weight or sport weight, hand-dyed skein of 100% merino superwash. That way, if they're really not into socks, it makes a baby sweater, or who knows what. Oh, yeah - 430 yards. That's a skein - enough to make a pair of women's socks. Color? You call it. I'll dye it as close to your request as I can. Like give me some general color guidelines (e.g., "I hate purple", or "Let's try pink, yellow and black together", something like that...)

If you are really unable to think up a color combination on your own, you may cheat and go to our website, and choose from what we have posted so far.

Now, the other reason I am breaking from the true "stash" swap yarn, is to further make up for the fact that I cannot stick to the noon bidding deadline, as I will be sitting in a gymnasium filled with 160+ little karate people and their parents, waiting for my daughter's two minutes of fame. So let's say 6:00 p.m. EST. If I'm not home by that time, then something has gone terribly, terribly wrong and I will have sworn off karate forever.

The good thing - I can knit pretty much uninterrupted for many farm-chore-free hours while we're waiting...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Curse you! Global Warming...

(Warning! Politics ahead!) It rears its ugly head more and more these days. We are screwing with things we don't understand and that are far more powerful than we little, humans. I just read an article about the declining production in maple syrup, due in large part to the shortening sap season. But it's a variation of the same article I read last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Do you know commercial syrup operations use pumps to literally suck the sap out of the trees, instead of waiting for it to drip out? All in the name of more and more reliable production.

For us, we take the shortening season in stride, as I can find 700 other projects to busy myself with. But think about this - what if you had to survive on this as your source of sugar for the year? Americans, with our gluttonous need for sweets, would never make it.

But I'm not talking about anything that certain press has not been telling us for ages now. Is anybody listening? According to a report published by the World Wildlife Fund, "For more than 20 years we have exceeded the Earth's ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is unsustainable..." this is due in large part to Americans (and other "modern" countries' ) huge per capita emissions of carbon dioxide.

But here's a thought: Cuba is the only country in the world that has a high level of development, including good health and education systems, and does not use up more resources than is sustainable. Hmmmm.....

Sap log:

Wednesday-10 and 1/2 gallons
Thursday-18 gallons
Friday-19 gallons
Saturday/Sunday-12 gallons (warmer temperatures, sigh....)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Rituals

Well, there's no doubt Spring is here...the work has begun! The seedlings are popping up, and needing immediate transfer to larger digs under the grow lamp...

Who knew they'd sprout so fast? The heat mats I got worked wonders! Now if I could only re-pot a little faster...

(Ran to the garden center to stock up on organic plant food and more sticks to ID the pots.)

Oh yeah, and the sap is running again. An overly warm snap followed by a too cold run shut everything down for a week, but we are back in business. I collected over 10 and 1/2 gallons of sap this afternoon, and I expect the same or more tomorrow, so we're lighting the fire as soon as we get home. Meanwhile, I finished off the first mini run and split it between bottling and the house supply.

Real maple syrup has no equal. Ahhhhh.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Egg-citing news...

Well there's egg-citing news from the coop...What's that? EGGS?
Finally, after a winter of growing our chicks into a laying flock, the day length has arrived that heralds the coming of eggs. That's Eagle, a complete, un-identifiable mutt chicken sent to us by Ideal Poultry in an order we placed a year or more ago. Although she remained un-identified as a breed until the end of her days, she was a favorite of my daughter's. We lost our original flock to a dog attack last September, and we lost many friends as well on that day.
We are back on track, the customers are happy, and thank God! no more sub-standard eggs from the grocery.
BTW, we've collected 5 1/2 gallons of sap on day one, 3 gallons on day two, 9 1/2 gallons on day three, and frankly, it's raining too hard for me to go out and haul buckets around. There's always tomorrow. The resulting almost-syrup is sitting on the stove, awaiting bottling.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Finally, the maple season is here! We tapped about half the trees today. We didn't get home until late, so the others will have to wait until tomorrow. But it hit the requisite 40 degrees today, and every tap flowed instantly when I drilled it.

Some trees, like this big maple, still get the traditional taps and buckets. The gentle "ping, ping" as the sap hits the bottom is very satisfying. But we live on a mountainside, and several of the maples are so hard to get to with buckets, we've gone to plastic tubing and a collection tub. We're shooting for 25 taps this season. That requires tapping a few new trees that we discovered on the fringes of the property this last Fall. Twelve taps so far in 6 trees. This also means a visit to the kitchen supply store Monday for a pan for the fire, and ordering a few more taps and filters, and finding the sledge and wedge for fire-building, and getting on-line to order bottles and jugs, and still looking for the perfect digital thermometer...

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