Archive | April, 2010

April Yarn

26 Apr

Mary Stepney wool, kid merino my parents brought back for me from a Texas ranch, silk.  I dyed, carded and spun it.

Earlier skeins were of a heavier gauge.  Two  2/3 filled bobbins plied together yielded6.25 oz and about 580 yards.    That is a dime under the threads.  About 1500 yd/lb.

Now I am working on laceweight yarn from the same stuff.  Aiming for at least 275 yd/ounce.

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Third Week of April Food

26 Apr

Monday: Salad (greens from the cold frame, farm English walnut pieces, dried cranberries, Parmesan cheese, green onion), mashed garlic potatoes, one large pan-fried  Snappy Griller apiece

Tuesday: We ate out at the big grocery store in town!  I had sushi and the others had subs.

Wednesday: lamb stew

Thursday: salad, lamb stew

Friday: asparagus  from Mom’s garden, salad with cut up small sausage links

Saturday: BBQ chicken breasts, asparagus

More Flowers

23 Apr

Hard frost last night–the plum blooms are all brown.  The apple was starting to open.  The flowering quince and flowering currant are open.  What is noticeable is the forsythia are all still looking lovely.  They have been in bloom three weeks now.

The poor Bergenia has a few blooms.  The Bergenia bed outside the back door has had a hard life since Hawthorne has come; he will run through it rather than around.  He even knocked over the stakes the day after they were put up this week to act as a quasi-fence in his exuberance to come inside.

All the narcissus and daffodils are now open or opening.

The early red tulips are opening.  Primrose, pansies, even one little red dianthus bloom.  The red pasque flower is open.

Trillium, both white and red are open in the woods.  Saw the first trout lily and yellow woods violet open yesterday also.

Jay is putting down the black plastic in the garden for the tomatoes and peppers.  He has planted his new red raspberries.

Mom and Dad are coming down today and I picked lettuce and spinach from the cold frame for salad and kale, mustard, volunteer garlic, Egyptian onions (green onions), and dandelions for a quiche for lunch.  Just made orange chocolate muffins.  Bread is baking.  Will go put coffee on now.  They like it.  I have some leftover chai for Isabelle and me.

Cranford

22 Apr

Just finished Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Amazon has three of her novels together (Cranford, Dr Harrison’s Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow); the so named The Cranford Chronicles. Various story lines from these three books were the basis for the BBC Cranford miniseries.  The women who produced, directed and wrote the series did not use just the novel Cranford.  They wove together characters and their stories from the three tales, a fact of which I was unaware until after watching the miniseries a second time.

It looks as if there is a new DVD, Return to Cranford now, also.

I got the book and DVDs from the library.

The miniseries chronicles a pivotal year of change in the lives of members of the town of Cranford. Modernity is arriving and turning everything upside down!

The novel is more a catalogue of how older women of a certain social strata in a small town lived, and how time and change slowly encroached on a way of life that had seemed unchanged within memory. There is very particular detail paid to manners, dress, social interactions.  Parts are very amusing.

“They joined issue to dispute whether llamas were carnivorous animals or not; in which dispute they were not quite on fair grounds, as Mrs. Forrester (after they had grown warm and cool again) acknowledged that she had always confused carnivorous and graminivorous together, just as she always confused horizontal and perpendicular; but then she apologized for it very prettily, by saying that in her day the only use people made of four-syllabled words was to teach how they should be spelt.”

“…but even Miss Pole herself, whom we looked upon as a kind of prophetess from the knack she had of foreseeing things before they came to pass–although she did not like to disturb her friends by telling them her fore-knowledge…”

In many ways more concerned with particular details of daily life than Austen or E. Bronte,  and midway between Bronte’s hidden emotions and Austens examinations of them, Gaskell gives some insight into the stiff English manners and ‘elegant economy’ of poorer middle-class women.

Second Week of April Suppers

21 Apr

Monday: Squash, carrot, red lentil, potato, chicken cheese soup; kielbasa coins; chocolate bread pudding

Tuesday: garden salad, couscous with vegetables, venison heart

Wednesday: Garden wild greens (dandelions, nettles, mustard, mache, green onions) sauteed with lots of last year’s garlic, last year’s pesto and feta served over Thai jasmine rice cooked in homemade chicken broth with a fresh fried egg on top

Thursday: Baked chicken thighs and baked potatoes with garden salad

Friday: Chicken Cacciatore with chicken thighs cooked in 2008 canned red tomatoes,  two heads of last year’s garlic, and onions, then spices and herbs added along with pincholine olives and frozen swiss chard greens.  Served with the Thai Jasmine rice

Saturday: quiche made with our eggs,  more wild greens, onion and parmesan

Decisions

20 Apr

Some are easy:

1) Isabelle and I will mount a campaign against the house sparrows now that she found a dead male bluebird this morning in the grass.

2) Do not let the broody hen out of the pen when Hawthorne is loose outside.  He almost had chicken for lunch after it ran when he sniffed it.

3) Friday evening shall we go to the opera recital of a friend, or to one of the largest livestock auctions of several surrounding counties?  Friends win.

White Visitor and singer we hope stays

17 Apr

Any ideas what it is?  It comes with house sparrows.  House sparrow sized. Yellow beak and legs.  Too small for a Snow Bunting, and too white.

Maybe just passing through.

The singer is a Mockingbird who was trying out the bluebird, red-winged blackbird, kildeer, robin, crow calls this morning when I was out with Hawthorne.  There are a pair up at the farm.  I hope this one brings a mate and has a family near us!

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