Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Egg Hunts

Hidden eggs, are an early sign of spring. Currently, the popular place for laying eggs is in the goats' hay rack, and that's well and good. One hen insists on laying her egg in the nest box on top of the saw horse. Fine. But this morning, one egg was tucked beneath the old mini-robot tower base, and another was in a barrel garden... the one they keep digging up! Poor chives and perenials. Tomatoes are not eggs, but these sprouts are hinting of spring, too, popping up in unlikely places. If there is a local family that would like today's eggs, I would be happy to share our find. First to call "dibs" is the lucky one. I'm going to see about transferring this spoon-tomato to a pot so I can take it to Spencer, Bex, and Simon.
Thinking of creating a socially distanced crafting lesson took me on another sort of hunt, for wool, needles, and foam bases, things I havent much looked at since Maria and I taught needle-felting at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Musuem, almost two years ago. I was happy to find, eventually, everything I was looking for, and thrilled to, at long last, come across some of the handkerchiefs I'd embroidered. Those have been lost to me for a long while. (An unfortunate, recurring, theme, post-drunkladydriver... my memory suffers.) And by the way, I know I have promised hand printed napkins to some of you, but I can't get at those supplies just yet, and it's too cold to work on the porch. I'm sorry. In the meantime, I will be curled up on my bed, evidently, and either felting, or stitching, until warm spring arrives.
Yes, crafting, and feeling clever, I might add, because I came up with a pretty and practical means of transporting and sharing sharp, barbed felting needles. Little woolen kabobs, all ready to go.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Some Rosiness

Cyclamen, from Ruth.

We had a visit from Holly, who came with a delivery from Ruth, and this makes it officially the longest celebration of Christmas in memory, which is very welcome in this still Stay at Home Season. In fact, we will be celebrating a bit more, when the package, or project, or something, that William is waiting on finally arrives. Slow mail, and other odd-effects of a global pandemic, may have caused delays, but I honestly appreciate spreading out the fun, extending the observances, exchanges, and tokens of love. So little else is going on, that we all relish an excuse to make a fuss, or enjoy some novelty. Have I mentioned? We have enjoyed at least 6 Thanksgivings since last March! That is, whenever we include stuffing and cranberry sauce, gravy, and potatoes, green beans, plus a fresh table cloth and the mix colored wine goblets on the dining table, it's Thanksgiving!

I found a very old and thin handkerchief, and decided to tempt fate by adding a dainty ratty-rat, maybe some flowers. The fabric really is too thin to mess with, so I hold my breath with each pass of the needle and floss. Just look at the lace work on the edge! It's so romantic, so soft and pretty. And I love the pulled thread border. How is that accomplished? It's unfortunate... I didn't have the patience to learn these fine skills when I was younger, and now I have the interest, I am less dexterous, and my eyes protest!
I had to remove the small cup of water and camellia from the dining table. Feynman, resident phycist, wouldn't stop pulling the flower up, then trying to drink from the cup. He's not allowed on the table, and naturally that is where he spends the happier hours of his day. He's the sort of cat that expertly, devotedly, tests the laws of gravity, frequently, unrepentantly. He also bangs and clatters empty food plates, steals chairs, and he is also first to the table for dinner... not his, ours. I am sure, when lockdowns are over, when we get the all-clear, he will immediately reform, and no guests to our home will be shocked, nor offended. These things work themselves out.
She needs a collar, some flowers, some pink, some rosiness.

Monday, February 08, 2021

In Bloom

Yesterday I walked all around our property with a can of flower seeds from Renee's Garden, the seed company. I was looking for a good spot to scatter the wildflower seeds, where they'll get sun, and attention, and have a decent chance of not being trampled, nor eaten up. There is an area in the yard that I don't visit as often, and that's where I discovered that our camellias are blooming, again! I love seeing them, for one because they are beautiful, and secondly because they remind me it's February, and winter, and this is the anniversary of the last time we saw Pink Martini in a live concert, and that's when Maria wore a deep pink camellia in her hair. It's just a nice, welcome, chain of happy thoughts. I walked on, and appreciated the peas are coming along, the beets are leafy, the cilantro is plentiful, and the tiny violas, crowded in the garden mix, are stretching themselves to see the sun, and they look so sweet, and earnest, I have to take more pictures of them. Finally, I settled on a few spots in the orchard, along the fence and in other bare spots for scattering the seeds. I raked the soil loose, and patted in the seeds. Rain is in the forecast, so it's only a matter of time, I hope, before wildflowers are blooming, again!
Here is Ventura, one of our three Black Australorp hens, sitting on eggs in the goat feeder. Thankfully she's not actually broody. She just likes to take her time, and nest a little. This breed of hen was new to me, when I brought them home last spring, and I am loving them. They are mild, friendly, and very pretty. I wonder if there is a breed of chicken that I truly object to. I have thought that I would never get a Silver-laced Wyandotte again, because our two, Pepper and Pippi, were such terrors. But after Pepper passed away, Pippi changed moods, and has not been cranky, bossy, or bullying any more. Do you have a favorite breed, for looks, or personality?
Since admitting I don't have a plan for what I would do if we had one less goat, and even stating it that way shows I am still reluctant to be blunt or practical... but I have been thinking about it a lot. I opened up the talk with Geoff, yesterday, and he feels just the same as I do... that it's too too sad thinking of our goats as aging and the dread (and of course, inevitable) prospect of losing one, and having a lonesome loner on our hands, is even sadder. I am not writing this to say that I have a solution, a grand plan, but I am weighing options, and have determined to be mindful. It's a start.

Maria and I got some dough rising for her cooking assignment this week. They're cooking Italian recipes in Culinary Arts, any dish of their choosing. I reminded Maria about the focaccia Samin Nosrat makes in Salt Fat Acid Heat.

Ok. Pause.

I am realizing a goofy thing here. I watched Samin (we are on a first name basis, because I follow her on IG, and have watched the Netflix episodes of SaltFatAcidHeat, two times) and in the Fat episode is when Samin makes the focaccia. So, the goofy thing is, having watched the focaccia segment two times, I have been making what we, around here, call focaccia, and I attribute it to Samin, and SaltFatAcidHeat, but now I am researching things, it dawns on me there is a Recipe. A written, prescribed, specific recipe! I simply took my own bread making experience, and adapted it to be pretty much what I saw Samin do on that video I've watched, and that's kind of goofy of me... I never read her recipe. I never wrote any notes, or even played the segment while I tried following along. There is nothing really wrong with how I cook, with making things up, inspired by what I have seen, but I am amused and a bit contrite that I had not even considered following a recipe. It's such an obvious direction to head: Follow a recipe, get measurements, and guidance. Duh. And! Maria is in a class and following recipes, learning techniques, is the point of it, but I just said things like... "Moosh it down, but not too flat. Let's add these tomatoes! I found olives!" And there wasn't a recipe in sight! It's ok, I believe. She's learning online, remotely. Her classroom teacher will impart some of the things he knows and believes and practices, and every other person she cooks with, or is inspired by, will do the same, and so long as she is paying attention, she will learn how to cook, what works, what she prefers, what could be better. Happily, I notice Samin has notes on the focaccia recipe: "Adapted from Diego with the help of Josey Baker." I like that Samin acknowldeges where, or from whom, she took inspiration, that recipes and cooking are dynamic, collaborative, that they evolve. I do that, too.
Lunch! And homework. If this looks yummy to you, you can follow Samin's recipe, or take inspiration from our bread making experience, or both.