Archive | July, 2008

Dyeing

31 Jul

Since ogling what the vendors had for sale at the Troy Fair, I decided to come home and start dyeing some of the lovely fibers that have been waiting for action here. I did several dye pots with Mary Stepney wool fleece, kid mohair, tussah silk roving and some mohair roving. And one Lamb O’Lakes skein. All the pots had my favorite color mix: turquoise and magenta. As usual, they all came out differently.

Ellie has loaned me her carder.

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Green Beans with Garlic Cream Cheese, Fresh Salsa

30 Jul

This could be seen as a high-falut’in take on the old stand by bean casserole that I came up with from what is on hand.  The beans were large when harvested, but I want to use them so I thought about what would make them appealing.  they were so good for lunch we are having them for supper also.

Make garlic cream cheese ahead: Process room-temperature cream cheese with a couple cloves fresh garlic, a little salt and a dash of lemon juice.  Let sit for a few hours in the fridge. Remove before starting the green beans.

While the green beans are cooking, brown sliced almonds in a mixture of butter and sesame oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring.

Cut and cook fresh green beans in an abundance of boiling water.  Drain and put in serving bowl.
Stir in a few tablespoons garlic cream cheese and top with browned, sliced almonds. Serve.

Salsa
Fresh salsa tonight with sungold tomatoes, garlic, onion and cilantro from the garden.  And a bit of salt and lime juice.  I cut the onion and cilantro by hand and used the Cuisenart for the tomatoes and garlic.

Kids

29 Jul

Miss A visited us Saturday.  We had missed her this summer.

Edible Wild Berries

29 Jul

Yesterday on a walk I noticed how many berries are ripe right now.  Granted, there are not very many of them, and they are usually smaller than cultivated varieties; if you had to live off them it would be a quick weight loss plan; you would soon appreciate why wild game is desirable.  Think of them more as a tasting menu.

First there are the red raspberries: The black raspberries:        The Black Berries:


Note that black berries and lack raspberries are not the same either in look or taste.

Then there are chokecherries.  They are quite juicy, but also contain a large amount of tannin, so the pucker factor is high.  There are more of these than any other berry, since they are tree fruits. All the others are small bush fruits.

And last, but not least: gooseberries.  There is quite a large number of wild bushes up back.  Where I am from there were none.  But we had tens of vary-colored wild cherry trees.  No wild cherries here.  These gooseberries are quite sweet, but beware the spines!

How to make fletchings

29 Jul

Fletchings are the feathers on the end of arrows. We were asked to help up to 30 little children make arrows for a Sunday school class.  We will use 3/8″ dowels, cut 18-24″ for the shafts.  The kids will saw a notch in the end and use sandpaper to approximate a point.  But gluing plastic fletchings on would be no fun, right?   Daren had some old wild turkey wing feathers he had saved for his arrow making.  And since there are new ones coming in each fall and spring from hunts, he let us have some so I did not have to give up the feathers I use on the Christmas tree.

This morning I spent about an hour and a quarter making over 100 individual fletches.  Here is a primer:

Tools: feathers, cutting mat, very sharp meat knife, sharp scissors.  (Dead warbler found on the road optional.)

So.  Take one feather and turn it wrong side up.  Locate the depression in the rachis, the central vein,  of the feather.  Using the long sharp knife, cut through the rachis down its length on the rise between the depression and the longer trailing edge where the barbs are longest.  Only cut the thicker portion of the rachis with the knife; starting from the feather tip, use scissors to cut down the midline of the rachis to meet the knife cut to finish the job.

Now the feather will easily come apart in two pieces.

What you have now are the long trailing edge barbs attached to a thin piece of rachis. All there is left to do is cut the fletches to size.  Separate the barbs and scissor through the  rachis.

I like the look of these fletches, but will make a few templates the children can use to cut them into the more traditional shape.  These will be glued on to the shaft.

Small blue butterfly: Celestrina neglecta

26 Jul

Angela detected up the name.

The Karner blue butterfly is all that comes up when I search for names of small blue butterflies in Northeastern USA. This is not it, even though both this and the Karner have lovely black and white striped antennae.

This kind I have seen twice this year: earlier in June and now in late July, in the lawn and driveway. I watched this one feed from the white clover blossom. It had an enchanting habit of rubbing its hind wings up and down against its fore wings. I did not know any butterflies could move each segment of a particular independently. The inner wing color is more blue. The creature is only about 1-1.25 inches long when the wings are open and about 3/4 of an inch high when the wings are closed.

If anyone can find a name for it, I would appreciate it.

Morning Surf pattern

26 Jul

Susan of the Spinning Bunny has a blog post about the Troy fair, including a photo of a scarf spun from some of her fiber in the Morning Surf pattern.  It really was excellently executed and part of the reason the woman who made it won Best of Show at the fair.  The Morning Surf pattern is free online.

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