[foraging] Morels

After heavy rain last weekend, I noticed a mushroom on my lawn. 


Whaaaaat. It looked like pictures I've seen of morels but I couldn't believe one would just pop up on my lawn when I've never seen one in the wild before. I saw another nearby and picked them both:

Found two morels in front yard after heavy rain last night. First time ever finding them. Taste and smell not unlike maitakes.

The clearest indicator that you have a morel and not a (deadly poisonous) false morel is that true morels are hollow on the inside from bottom to top:


False morels have a solid stem and the brain-y cap is darker, wrinkled differently and not completely attached to the stem.

I was 98% percent sure these were real morels, so I sliced them lengthwise and sauteed them in butter. I added an egg to scramble with it. I ate it after giving Dollar a short "You may have to take me to the hospital" warning. It was really good. But you know what? The smell and taste were nearly the same as maitake/hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, which I can readily buy at H-mart. I'll definitely keep picking and eating all the free ones that appear in my front yard (and I hope more show up!) but I won't yearn for them like I have for years.


[knitting] Drumstick Bag

I made a felted drumstick quiver for Dollar and wanted to make another for a drummer friend. Here it is knit up, prior to felting

I used a different yarn but made it the same size. I think. I don't do things like "count stitches" or "measure" or "record details for posterity". Pssh.

Of course, after I ran the bag through a hot, soapy wash a few time, it came out too big. Whereas the first quiver was shaped like a Pringles can, this one was bigger. While the fabric was still wet, I laid it flat to dry and pleated the top opening, folding either side in, and put a heavy cookbook on top. Once it was dry, I added a snap closure so that it's more of a storage bag for drumsticks now.

Felted Drumstick Bag

Felted Drumstick Bag

Felted Drumstick Bag

It also doubles as a mat for cats to catloaf on. Santana approves with her disapprove-y face: 

Catloafing on the drumstick bag

Once the bag was gifted and brought to it's new home, my friend sent me this picture of her cat Leo:

Recommended by 2 out of 2 cats.

Recommended by 2 out of 2 cats. I think I need to whip up some felted beds for the cats now. 


[spinning] Dog Fur Yarn

I finished spinning a few skeins of the siberian husky fur that I carded with merino wool. Here's my first attempt:

Siberian Fur Yarn: Ice Blue

Bulky weight 2-ply. A few guard hairs in the mix- they are the more distinct white (and sometimes brown- but I tried to pick out the brown ones as I spun) hairs. They are more wire-y feeling than the soft undercoat that gives the yarn a pretty halo.

Siberian Fur Yarn: Ice Blue

Next, a dark blue:

Siberian Fur Yarn: Dark Blue

This is spun into a worsted weight. The fur is blended a bit more evenly into the yarn. Only a few guard hairs in this. They're easy to spot- they're the thicker white hairs.

Siberian Fur Yarn: Dark Blue

And a light blue:

Siberian Fur Yarn: Light Blue

Siberian Fur Yarn: Light Blue

Each skein is only about 2oz. I have yellow, brown and white left to spin. 


[gardening] Winter Sown Perennials

My back yard has been littered with winter sown perennials in plastic jugs:

Winter Sown Perennials

I put almost everything in the ground this past weekend. Some of the seedlings just needed more room to grow. The jugs started out with 4 inches of soil but after months of freezing and thawing and rain, that soil had compacted to a mere two inches. The seedlings I started in taller 6-inch food containers grew the tallest because there was more room for roots to grow.

A few things needed much warmer weather to germinate- lavender, chinese lanterns (I know, I've read the horror stories- I put these into a container), catnip and a few others only germinated a week or two ago. I had about 8 - 10 containers (out of 40+) that didn't germinate at all. I still put this soil into the ground- to see if something happens someday.

The things that did best for me: shasta daisy, gloriosa daisy, black eyed susan, sweet william, snow in summer, hollyhocks, lunaria, lupine, delphinium, coneflower- cheyenne spirit (NONE of the purple coneflower germinated!), feverfew, red salvia, yarrow, lavender. I got a few blanket flower, datura, russian sage, false indigo. I'm not expecting too many blooms this summer, I just want everything to grow and do well.

I need to start amending my soil- I didn't do anything this year but wherever the seedling don't grow and I need to put in new plants, I'll start working peat moss into the soil. At this point, after so much digging and planting, I'm certain that my soil is very much on the clay end of the spectrum.

Other than all that, the siberian lilies are coming up well in the new bed where I put them last year. I stopped by a plant sale Saturday morning to pick up new (well established) perennials- coreopsis, green wizard coneflower, ajuga, lily of the valley and hens/chicks. 

Now I just want to get a new hobby and forget about everything for 4 weeks. Checking on every single plant multiple times everyday makes me think of the watched pot never boiling. I'm trying to come up with a list of fast and easy knitting, spinning, crochet, cross-stitch projects to keep me preoccupied.


[knitting] Aran Afghan Square #8

Another finished and blocked square:

Aran Afghan Square #8

All the blocks are generally the same size, with slightly differing cast-on/cast-off numbers of stitches. This is one of the larger ones. It will take a bit of math and tweaking when it's time to sew everything together.


[knitting] Aran Afghan Square #7

A finished and blocked afghan square:

Aran Afghan Square #7

I definitely have enough yarn for 12 squares. I might try to make 16, for a 4 block x 4 block blanket (3 x 4 might be more of a lap-ghan). But that means I'm less than half-way through the blanket. :(


[crafts] DIY Bottlecap Tray #2

Since I have 25,000 bottlecaps and the first bottlecap tray that I made only used about 80, I decided to make another tray. This time without grout because that was a pain to add.

Bottlecap Tray

The tray is from a Joann craft store. I added several coats of Mod Podge: Hard Coat to the interior, just seal up the joints and edges. I was sure the resin would leak out of the joints and edges where the wood pieces came together.

I hot glued the caps to the tray and poured the resin.

Bottlecap Tray

No grout this time, which was actually quite detrimental to the finished project. Air pockets under the caps released bubbles. You can actually blow on the surface of the resin as it dries, to pop these bubbles but the resin takes hours to cure and I can only huff toxic fumes for so long. I left and came back to hardened craters:


When you feel the surface, it's pockmarked. Had I added the stupid grout, it would have prevented the bubbles escaping from under the caps. So. Back to the drawing board. This tray is fine for me to use at home- I just won't be giving it as a gift like I had originally planned. 

Time to go hunting for new trays.


[crafts] Presidential Coasters

Some boring coasters of Presidents that I made:

President Coasters

I'd like to add more things to the coasters, collage-style. Maybe an axe or a big cherry to Washington's outstretching hand? Taxidermy heads to the wall around Roosevelt? A bullet behind Lincoln's head? (Oooo, too soon?) I think I might stop by the craft store for appropriate stickers, and then Mod-Podge over the surface again.


[misc] Kitty Monday

What an awesome weekend! The weather was amazing. I weeded a bit, planted a bit, watered a bit, divided some day lilies, got dirty. I came inside and poked my head into the bedroom:

Lazy Sunday morning

Yeeeeah. Three kitties and the lump in the back is Dollar. 


[gardening] Spring as Sprung

The cactus seeds I started in small terracotta pots inside have germinated:

Growing #cactus from seed.  slowly...

I started these seeds in March. This is going to be a sloooooow process. From what I've read, they'll be ready to transplant when they're the size of a marble- from 6 months to a year after germination.

It's so nice to be working outside again. I'm preparing the beds around the house to transplant all the things I've winter sown. This past Saturday I weeded, moved some day lilies, added stone borders to a couple bed, planted seed tape.

Moved day lilies. Added stone border. Planted alyssum seed tape, nasturtium seedlings. Gourds in pots. #nomorefrosts

And the daffodils I planted last fall are currently blooming!

Daffodil. Bulbs planted last fall.


[vermont] Foraging

It's ramp time! I hiked up to the big patch with my sister:


On the way, I saw trout lilies and picked a few:

Trout Lilies

These are edible as well. They get their common name from the mottled coloring- like trout skin. They're a little labor intensive to pick (a lot of work for little leaves) so I didn't pick that many. They have a slightly bitter taste- good to add to salads.

We picked and picked and picked ramps. I washed them right away:

Ramps, washed.

And as it happened, I bought a small vegetable CSA share this year from a local farm. They were having an open house on Sunday. I went to pick up a bonus May share of greens:

First CSA share of the season.

Clockwise from bottom left: spinach, collard greens, baby bok choy, arugula, mustard greens, kale.

So. We have lots of green stuff to eat. Time to make pesto!


[misc] Lifeguard

Penny, making sure I'm safe in my bubble bath:

Penny checks on my bubble bath. #lifeguard

After doing a ton of yard work Saturday and foraging for ramps on Sunday, I was sore. A bubble bath was in order. Penny comes to watch and can't seem to figure out why I want to lay in a big bowl of hot water.


[misc] Penny Paws

Saw Penny on the couch making silly paws:


I finally have some crafty stuff to show (spinning up the dog fur, cross-stitch biscornu, afghan squares), I just haven't taken pictures yet. 

The weather's been dreary and rainy but most of what I've winter-sown has germinated by now. I've got to start cleaning up the flower beds and figuring out where I'm going to transplant everything.