[cooking] Pork Pie

Made a pork pie last night. The dough and filling:

I love you, food processor. Chopped pork chops, potato, onion and apples for the filling in two minutes.

The dough is 50% butter, 50% bacon fat. The filling was a breeze to bring together with my food processor. I chopped up raw pork chops, onion, potato, apples (picked from outside) in a minute. Then I mixed it up with some cooked bacon, salt, pepper, sage, Worcestershire sauce and a little boiled cider.

Patted it all unto the pie, covered and cut a piggy face:

Pork pie

Baked at 425 for 15 min then 375 for 50 min.

The finished pie:

Pork pie so good, even the pig is drooling. 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Was good but maybe needs work. Dollar said there wasn't much pork taste to it. I think next time, I might cook the pork chops in a pan first and then chop it. When I make these meat pies, I usually use leftover pork loin or roast beef, which probably has more flavor than the raw meat.


[knitting] Bed socks

Last night I wore handknit socks to bed for the first time this fall:

First night sleeping in wool socks. Went for the Frankensocks. #knitting #sockknitting #frankensocks

I really don't wear my handknit socks with shoes. Maybe with slippers around the house but I definitely don't just run around the bare floors with them. I've mended or thrown away too many of Dollar's handknit socks due to blown-out heels and toes. For his socks, I don't mind making more- they are worsted-weight plain vanilla socks and quick to work up. My handknit, fingering weight, patterned socks are usually only worn in bed or when I'm lounging. They'll last longer that way.

Still working on a pair of mittens. They really shouldn't be taking this long but my knitting mojo is low. I got out all my weaving equipment and watched some refresher videos and tried direct-warping... but the warping peg fell off the thing I attached it to halfway through and I felt all "F you, F me, F this, FML, F everything". I just need to practice weaving more. I want to do it but I just need a better process and more practice.


[cooking] Homemade ramen

First attempt at homemade ramen:

First try making homemade ramen last night. Needs tweaking but good. #ramen

Broth is chicken stock and bone broth, drizzle of ponzu and brown rice vinegar, minced garlic, a couple carrots (simmered in it), a teaspoon of doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste), salt. Removed the carrots when I added the ramen noodles to cook in it. Topped with sauteed trumpet mushrooms, pan fried pork belly, scallions, soft-boiled egg. The egg needed a couple more minutes- I'm happy I was even able to peel it- the yolk was completely runny as soon as you pierced it with a chopstick. Not bad but not the intention.

Overall, we enjoyed it. I would like to add more toppings- maybe some blanched spinach, a couple shrimp, kimchi (for me), seaweed. And a splash of toasted sesame oil to the broth. Nicely filling and warm dinner that we'll have again since the weather is cooling. Must remember to preheat the bowls in the oven a bit first.


[misc] Murderface Tuesday

All my items and ribbons from the fair, piled up:

Everything I entered in the fair this year.

After I put the ribbons away, I came by later to see this:

Finally, Murderface can lay on all my knit stuff and get fur all over it.

Murderface loves my handknits the most. I moved the brown skein of yarn up by his head and he used it as a pillow.

I decided to enter a few things to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival contests this weekend. I have a shawl, a pair of socks and handspun yarn that I didn't enter into the Tunbridge Fair this year- so I'll enter them in the festival. No overlap of items, which is nice.


[gardening] Hello, autumn

We had a hard frost at the house the past two mornings. I've started sleeping with a light down blanket under the cotton one I use in the summer. Penny has started tapping me to get under the covers to sleep. I've seriously considered turning on the heat in the house. So, yeah. Fall is here.

Hard frost the past two mornings.

Saturday morning I went down to Dartmouth at 8am to see the blooming corpse flower (amorphallus titanum):

Went to see the blooming corpse flower "Monty" at Dartmouth this morning. And it does smell that bad. πŸŒΊπŸ˜©πŸ˜«πŸ˜– #corpseflower

The species, native to Indonesia, is the largest flower in the world and only blooms about every 6 years. There was a line of about 30 people and they would only let groups of 8 people in at a time. It smelled terrible. Kind of like rotten fish to me but you kind of get used to it after a while. I took my pictures and left.

Back at home, I walked around to see what was still blooming:


Butterfly weed.

A few daylilies still going πŸ’›

Tiny mums.

The Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend and I can't wait! I signed up for 2-day class on how to process raw fleece. I also cashed my Tunbridge Fair winnings and a bowl of spare change at home for Festival spending money. I've been (fairly) good about only buying yarn at Festivals rather than online, so I can't wait to buy new stuff!


[cooking] Apple Pie

I used half of the wild apples I picked to bake the first apple pie of the season!

Gonna nurse my hangover with an apple pie.

First apple pie of the season. Used wild apples from the front yard. 🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎

I gave Dollar the first slice, saying, "I had to walk all the way half-way down the driveway to get these apples!" Homemade crust + front-yard apples = loooooove.


[gardening] What's blooming mid-September

Having last Friday off work was so nice. The days are getting cooler and shorter. In the late morning, I took a walk about the front yard. First, I picked some wild apples:

Not gonna let the deer get all the apples. Picking these for a piiiieeeee. 🍏🍎🍏🍎

I had to grab and shake some of the branches, to get some big, ripe ones to fall. Wanted to get big ones to make an apple pie with. There were some pretty mushrooms growing on one of the mossy apple tree limbs:

Fungi on the apple tree limb. #Vermont #mushrooms #mycology

I went down to the large flowerbed to check things out. The purple bee balm is blooming a bit more:

Purple bee balm. #monarda #vermont

I like the soft lilac color these turned out to be. After googling "purple bee balm", I was expecting a strong magenta but this light color was a nice surprise.

Dew was still clinging to everything. I put in two different asters over Labor Day weekend, one of which is just starting to bloom:

Purple aster sparkles with morning dew. ✨✨✨✨✨

Love the dew making it look so sparkly!

There are lots of wild asters blooming now to keep the bees busy. Here's a nice, thick group along the edge of our yard:

Lots of wild #aster blooming now.

Dewy cobwebs hung from several branches of this forsythia:

Cobwebs on the struggling forsythia I put in this summer. Hope it bounces back next spring.

This forsythia is looking a little shabby- I put it in mid-summer and we've basically been in drought all summer. Hopefully we'll have a super-snowy winter (yay, snowmobiling finally!) and this shrub will bounce back next spring.

It was so nice to walk around, take pictures and check everything out in the late morning. I was like, "Ugh, if only I didn't have to work, I could do this every day!" But I'm sure that's what everyone thinks. I should just take 4-day weekends more often ;)


[knitting] Baby PomPom Hat

The night before the first day of the fair, I saw that the weather was going to be cool- high of 66! So I through my handspun stash to make a quick baby hat:

Stuff dropped off at the fair! Gonna speed knit a bulky hat for my niece, it's gonna be chilly tomorrow. Should be able to do it while we watch Captain America Civil Waaaaaaar!

This is bulky weight handspun that I spun at the Tunbridge Fair 2 years ago, when I volunteered to do a spinning demonstration outside the sheep barn. So I thought it was nice to use for my niece's first visit to the fair.


D'awww. Finished the hat last night, made the pompoms this morning. Yarn is handspun I made doing a spinning demonstration at the Tunbridge Fair two years ago. #knitting #handspun #babyknitting

No pattern. I just cast on 48 st, work 2x2 ribbing for an inch, work plain intil 6 inches in length, kitchener the top closed, add pompoms to the corners. I made a bulky handspun hat for Dollar's niece years ago and it was so cute on. Here's the recipient in hers:

Ripley tried on the hat but the weather was too nice to keep it on.

So. Cute. It only takes a couple hours to make. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the sun was shining all day and it was too warm to wear the hat for more than a few pictures. But winter is coming...


[vermont] Tunbridge Fair 2016

Pictures from the fair! I went with my sister and niece on Thursday. The weather was gorgeous. First we stopped to admire the horses (Morgan horse judging had just started):

Morgan horse judging #tunbridgefair

Then we went to the other end of the fairgrounds to check out the animal barns. All the pigs were napping:

Swine love πŸ–❤️πŸ–

A couple steers relaxing:

#barnlife #tunbridgefair

We got some fair food and saw some of the harness racing and pony pulling. We went through the craft barn but they were still judging items. I did see a quilt that I wanted to bring home:

My favorite quilt! #tunbridgefair

Friday night I went with a friend to the beer hall:

#tunbridgefair beer hall

Saturday we went back for more revelry. We got some lunch and sat in grandstands for the cavalcade.

Livestock cavalcade. Steer presentation. #tunbridgefair

Then the vegetable barn:

Good use of different gourds!

All weekend long I had been making a joke that I needed one potato to make a Korean doenjang jjigae. I had the doenjang, onion, squash, scallions, stock, etc. I just needed ONE POTATO. Standing in the vegetable barn, I see the blue ribbon, best-in-show potato... sitting there on a paper plate... And I start fantasizing about using it in my stew. #potatofantasies

Best watermelon:

Best Watermelon

These pumpkins looked like they had peanut shells all over them- and they're called Peanut Pumpkins (this French heirloom variety is actually called BrodΓ© Galeux d'Eysines):

Peanut shell pumpkins

Apparently the more peanut-shell warts the pumpkin has, the sweeter it is!

More animals:

Tunbridge Fair

Tunbridge Fair

A ferris wheel ride:

Tunbridge Fair

It was a long day but so good. Saturday afternoon is when I went through the craft barn again and saw the Best in Show ribbon for the first time on my socks. Sunday evening I went to pick up my items and premium check (not even going to deposit it- going to cash it and use it as my spending money at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend!). 


[vermont] Tunbridge Fair

Took a long weekend for the fair- went all four days (Sunday just to pick up my items). And I got this:

BEST IN SHOW! #tunbridgefair

More photos to come but I'm still basking. When do I start planning for next year?


[misc] Framing and Buttoning Things Up

Crunch time- gotta finish all the finer details of the things I'm entering to the fair. Framing paintings:

Framing a few paintings...  One is going to the fair.

Sewing buttons on to the sheep sweater:

Sewing buttons... πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Ta da!

5 pewter buttons sewn ⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️ Now it's a real sweater. ❤️🐏❤️🐏❤️

I bought these buttons at a Bartlett Yarn booth at the Slater Mill Knitting Weekend marketplace this past January and I just looooove them. The website is here and I'm tempted to get more. The ones I used here are the Celtic Swirl pattern.

Gotta bag everything up and bring it to the fairgrounds tonight! Aaagghh! Going to the fair with my sister and niece tomorrow.


[knitting] Magic Mirror Mittens

Working on a new pair of mittens, which I will not be able to complete in time for the fair:

Working on cabled mittens...

The yarn is Lana Grossa Chiara, which is a silver chain yarn with a purple halo. I'm using rather dull US 4 needles, so cabling without a cable needle is a little difficult but the mittens are progressing well. I've finished the thumb gusset and after trying on the mitten thus far, the fabric is to die for. So light in weight and so, so, so soft. I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear these mittens to bed when they're done.


[knitting] Great American Aran Afghan- finished!!!!

It's done!

The afghan is done. Cabled border complete, washed and dry. Ready for the fair. #knitting #greatamericanaranafghan

Cabled border knit on, washed/blocked and dry. Currently spread out on the guest bed with the door to the room shut, to avoid attracting cats.

Just a few things to do before I have to drop off my items for the fair Wednesday evening- sewing on buttons, spray-painting a frame and then framing the actual painting, making some maple candy to enter...


[cooking] Wild Grape Cocktails

My reward for all the picking/boiling/straining of wild grapes:

Wild grape cocktails! πŸ‡πŸΈ

Some muddled mint, vodka and grape concentrate shaken, poured over ice, topped with seltzer and mint garnish. So tasty. The grape concentrate is tart and only slightly sweet. The color of these drinks were great.

Supper was pan-roasted duck breast with rice and homemade kimchi.

Duck breast and kimchi. @jenmac1818



[vermont] Wild Grapes

I noticed a couple months ago that some wild grapes were growing in a couple locations around the property. I wasn't able to get any blackberries this year (thanks, wild animals!) so I wasn't planning on being able to get any grapes either. But, I went out yesterday and they looked ready to be picked:

Foraging for wild grapes. πŸ‡

Wild grapes

The most important part was to identify these as grapes as not as moonseed, which is poisonous. The leaves can look a bit different (grape leaves have serrated edges, moonseed leaves have smooth edges), grape vines have tendrils, moonseed vines do not. The surest way is to check out the seeds. Moonseeds have one crescent-shaped seed, grapes have multiple teardrop-shaped seeds.

I popped open one grape to check out the inside:

Checking to make sure these are grapes and not moonseed. I found four teardrop-shaped seeds. Moodseeds have a single, crescent shaped seed inside.

 I found four seeds, each covered with red pulp (not unlike pomegranate seeds). I've rubbed the pulp off the two seeds on the left. The two seeds on the right are how they look when I first pinched the skin off.

So, feeling confident that these are grapes, I picked and picked and picked:

#wildgrapes #foraging

Then inside, I picked and picked and picked the dark grapes off the stems and the them into a pot to boil.

In a pot, ready to boil. Oh my aching, purple fingers.

They look like blueberries.

I covered the grapes with water, plus another half inch. I boiled gently for 30 minutes and occasionally used a potato masher to gently press/pop the grapes. I tasted the juice and it was crrraaaaazy tart, so I did end up added one cup of sugar. I strained it all through a jelly bag into a pitcher. It's pretty concentrated and tart. Will be using some this afternoon for cocktaiiiiiils!


[vermont] Green Frog

Around our house, we have a nice little (overgrown) pond, brooks, wetland, marshy areas, which is all great for amphibians. This past weekend when I was weeding the new flower bed, this guy rushed out at me. I saw something move toward me but I kept weeding. Then I felt something ram into my ankle. I looked down and it was a frog.

I backed off and we stared at each other for a while. I retreated and started to weed a few feet away, looking at the frog. He obviously felt like master of the universe for running me off, because he sat in the mulch, watching me. I got up and left to go back up to the house for my phone. I came back and, with me looming over him trying to take a picture, he jumped face-first into the tree stump.

He didn't like me weeding around his tree stump. 🐸

Then he made his way around the stump and hid under a rock step. He may be mad at me for weeding the jungle of cover he formerly had.

Dollar spent the entire weekend mowing. Here's looking down on a side lawn from the corner of my shade bed:

One section of the lawn mowed, looking so nice. ❤️ @blabpipebassist

It looks so nice. We never even use that section of the lawn and you can't see it from the driveway or house. But he still mows it.

As for knitting, the afghan border is complete and the project is done- apart from washing/blocking. I've started a pair of mittens which will hopefully be done in time for the fair next week.

*EDIT: I mistakenly thought this was a Northern Leopard Frog but it's a common Green Frog. I submitted it to the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and they corrected me. In the past, I've reported snapping turtles and the painted turtle that we saw in the road early in the summer. I saw a big fat toad in the vegetable garden a couple weeks ago and now I'm regretting not getting a picture. This is like real-life Pokemon: I want to catch pictures of rare ones!