[gardening] Harvesting and drying Lavender

Harvested all my lavender last Friday:

Cutting lavender at home to dry

A little late, maybe. It shouldn't quite be flowering this much but I think it will be fine- the open flowers will add nice color to sachets I make.

Bundled up:

Cutting lavender at home to dry

Drying in the stairwell to the basement (I turned the light out after this picture- it's best to dry in the dark):

Lavender drying

Busy weekend. Tried to wrap up as much Tour de Fleece spinning as possible. Went to Hold'n Heaven to buy daylilies Saturday and spent 3 hours on Sunday planting everything (not sure why it took so long but a significant amount of time was spent weeding and struggling with a boulder- on which I broke my little half-sized shovel). Pictures tomorrow...


[gardening] What's blooming late July

I have an extra-special daylily that is blooming now:


I bought this last year at a local daylily sale (to which I am going again this weekend- squee!). It's extra-special because the frilly edges of the petals are trimmed in gold glitter:


Gold glitter!

Gold glitter along the petals of this daylily

This is a specimen that the woman who does her own hybridizing created and it's unreal. I need to ask her how the plant makes gold glitter. 

Other things going on around the flower beds... Bee balm starting in the back yard:


One of the boughs on the apple tree in the back broke off (possibly during a heavy downpour) and is lying on the ground. There are lots of little apples all over it and the deer have been coming up to munch on them. I suppose once the bough is dead and dry, we'll drag it away over the bank. So, like, probably next spring? #lazy

Yo, I heard you like bee balm, so I put bee balm in your bee balm:


Quite a few of the bee balm are mutants (I mean that lovingly) and have a little flower head growing out of the main flower head.

Some red daylilies are blooming now:



Nasturtium, edible, which I plan to pick and pop onto a smorrebrod sandwich this weekend.


Not sure what this is- it's a hitchhiker that came with a clump of daylilies. 

What is this?

It's interesting and I like it. Would be worth separating from the daylilies when I decided to divide them.

One of my chores this weekend will be cutting and putting the lavender up to dry.


Balloon flower:

Balloon flower

Something the woodchucks don't eat, so I should dig it up and divide it as many places as possible.

Can't wait to see what new daylilies I pick up this weekend!


[knitting] Double Cable Twist Socks

My newest knitting project:

Socks started in Quebec. #knitting #sockknitting

Pattern is Double Cable Twist socks. Yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer. Needles US 2. Working up quickly- I did most of that knitting just in the mornings in the hotel room before we would go out exploring. I'll try to remember to do all the cable twists in the opposite direction for the other sock.

I don't think I've finished a project since... April? I keep starting new stuff and the WIPs are piling up. Sigh.


[travel] Quebec City

Back from a quick vacation to Quebec City. This is the third time we've been to the summer music festival and every time is wonderful. Good music, good food, good sight-seeing, good people. 

We stayed down around the Place d'Youville in Old Town this year, right across from one of the outdoor stages. Our hotel room was bonkers: two levels with the bathroom and sitting room downstairs and the bedroom upstairs.




The view from our windows:

Hotel room view. Left a rainy, grey upper valley and finally reached blue skies.

Live music starts wafting in once bands start doing sound check around noon. But by then we're out and about. We love to have Boreale beer:

Sitting outside at a bistro with more Boreale. We are around the corner from a candy boutique and the smell of caramel keeps wafting over. This is heaven.

And there is no bad food in QC. Baklava:


Smoke salmon and salad for Dollar (I had beef tartare- so much yum):

#beclubbistrobar #quebecrestaurant #vieuxquebec #salmon

And poutine (this is 1:30 am poutine after the Metallica show):


Duck confit tortellini:

Duck thing tortellini. Perfect fork-tender duck meat.

Smoked salmon flatbread:

Salmon fume pour moi. Neapolitan pour le garçon.

We did lots and lots of walking and sight-seeing. Down in lower Old Town:


Building mural in old town.

To the museum of fine art:






But the main raison d'etre was the music. We saw The Who Thursday night but I really liked the opening band The Struts. They were en feu. Metallica was the next night- awesome but soooo crowded. Gorillaz was great the next night. And the last night was Muse. Some of the crowds:



All around the city were street performers and walking back to our hotel one night, we caught Transe Express. Six people making up a human mobile, suspended from a crane, singing and playing music live:

So this happened in the street last night walking back to the hotel after the Gorillaz show. Transe Express performance. Six people (a singer, four musicians playing violins and a cello, and an acrobat) ina human mobile suspended from a crane. #transeexpr


They were eventually swung over to a band that was playing on a flatbed truck (dressed like skeletons with a couple acrobats teeter-tottering over the drummer):


I can't really explain it. The whole thing was surreal.

Merci, Quebec. Until next time...

[spinning] Tour de Fleece, progress

Tour de Fleece progress so far:

Yarn so far. Two skeins on the right done, two bobbins top left to be plied, one full brown bobbin (and another to make just like it). #spinning #tourdefleece #teamcatitude

Hopefully I'll ply the blue/white bobbins at the top left of the picture tonight. That brown bobbin is 50% of a mystery wool/silk blend. Have to fill up another bobbin just like that and then ply. The two skeins on the right are all washed and done.

We got crazy fast internet installed at the house yesterday. If you're in central Vermont, you should totally make the switch to EC Fiber if they serve your town. Our DSL up/down speed with Fairpoint (now Consolidated Communications) was < 1 Mbps. After we had fiber installed? 95 Mbps up/down. O. M. G. We struggled forever with streaming shows over various apps, trying to watch videos, installing updates for video games. The speed now is unreal. Faster than at work.

Stopped at Kilowatt picnic area in Wilder, VT earlier this week:

@jdsalx recognize this? Was down at the Kilowatt picnic area. Was in Wilder to see your old neighbor to pick up craft stuff she was unloading.

Looks like a Bob Ross painting to me. Which reminds me- I need to carve out some time for painting.

The CSA continues to be awesome but also challenging and a lot of work. For instance:

Salad for supper last night. Zucchini, eggs, radish, cucumber and greens from the CSA. Homemade dijon maple vinaigrette.

Salad greens, pan roasted zucchini (green and yellow), egg, radish, and cucumbers are all from the CSA. The pickled beets and tuna are store-bought. The dressing is homemade maple-dijon vinaigrette (so good!). 


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface, ruining the window screen:

Murderface. Ruining the screen.

Nice weekend. Chatted with an old college friend, whom I haven't spoken with in over a decade. I was soooo nice to hear her voice again and talk like the old days. She had sent me some chai tea that she blended herself- which made amazing tea. I enjoyed it al fresco Saturday morning while we caught up:

Chai al fresco! Thanks for the hand blended tea, @meghnak23

We may start a recipe sharing blog together...

Speaking of which, I'm back on the smorrebrod train. A while ago I made some beet picked eggs and added some thinly sliced onions to the jar. This past weekend, I put together an open-faced sandwich:

#smörrebröd wheat toast, caper dill remoulade, beet pickled eggs, beets, shrimp, radish, lettuce (pretty much to add green to what was a very pink open face sandwich)

I make a remoulade of mayo, dill weed and minced capers. Schmear some of that on dark toast. I topped with beet pickled eggs, beets, radish, mini shrimp. This was a decidedly pink sandwich, so I just threw on some torn lettuce to add green. Oh now I remember what I did Saturday afternoon- I took a nice, long nap after having this as a late lunch. It was a great nap.

Sunday I had to have another smorrebrod for lunch:

S'more #smörrebröd

Some of the leftover remoulade on dark toast. Plain white hardboiled eggs, radish, some sliced leftover cold roast zucchini (green and yellow) from the previous night's supper, beet pickled onion on top. 


[cooking] CSA cooking

Dinner for me, when Dollar is gone to band practice:

My dinner while Dollar's at band practice. Kimchi jjigae, sautéed garlic scapes and broccoli rabe (both from today's CSA pickup). 🍲

Kimchi jjigaeb and rice, my all-time fave.

I got a couple bunches of garlic scapes in the CSA delivery this week. I found a recipe for Korean stir-fried garlic scapes: maneuljjeong bokkeum. Literally just toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and maple syrup. That's my Vermont twist on any recipe that called for honey or rice syrup or really any kind of sweetener. I always substitute maple syrup to no ill effect. Because there is always a jug of maple syrup in the fridge... and a back up jug in the pantry. #vermontlife. This is a great recipe and completely mellows the pungency of the scapes.

The broccoli rabe (also from the CSA) I slowly sauteed in the same pan after I took out the garlic scapes, just adding a little bit more toasted sesame oil.

Next jjigae will be doenjang- I've got a pile of wee zucchini and squash.


[spinning] Tour de Fleece 2017

Tour de Fleece started July 1 and I've already spun up 8 oz of fiber for Team Catitude!

First, Malabrigo Nube:

All fluffed up and ready to go. #spinning #tourdefleece #teamcatitude

I've blogged about this fiber in the past. It's lovely... once you spend the time prepping it. I purchased some braids when it was first released and the wool is VERY compact/dense. I wouldn't say "felted" because you can open it up and make it nice with some predrafting (which wouldn't be possible with felted fiber).

I decided to spin it all onto one bobbin, light-fingering weight, and chain-ply to finish. This is on my Ashford Joy:

Malabrigo Nube. Spinning into fingering weight singles. Will chain ply to finish. #malabrigo #malabrigonube #tourdefleece #teamcatitude #spinning

Next- a bulky, low-twist single-ply (for some instant gratification), also on the Ashford Joy:

Another 4 oz done. No strawberry picking today because I got distracted with this. Tomorrow... strawberries.

Fiber is 100% Polwarth, purchased as a fiber event a billion years ago. 

Next 4oz of spinning fiber- Moose Manor Hand Paints 'Deep Blue Sea'. Polwarth wool. Going to spin into a bulky low-twist single ply. Quickly, hopefully. #tourdefleece #teamcatitude #spinning

I've moved on to a wool/silk blend on the Kromski Minstrel. I've had a hard time getting the yarn to take up onto the Woolee Winder bobbin, no matter how much tension I add. So, I think I might have to do some WW maintenance.

Murderface is guarding all the fiber that I plan to spin this TdF.