Saturday, March 07, 2015

Winter Time

I have been working like crazy completing unfinished projects that were screaming at me so loudly that I couldn't walk through the house without feeling guilty. So, I sewed a rain poncho with a pattern I bought from Nancy's Notions and a navy blue knit jumper and skirt for Lara; did all the mending; and, I finished my first "real" quilt. Every stitch in that quilt is hand sewn. It is certainly not perfect, but I'm proud of it.

I also straightened out the basement so you can at least walk through it. The next big project (for next winter) is to cut up all the old clothes into strips or fabric squares for future quilts or whatever I think we need. I am definitely going to make Ed a hobo quilt.

The weather has been weird to say the least. This winter has not been as brutal as last year's winter, but it certainly has been cold in a brutal way. That is to say, there has not been much snow, but the cold in the wind has been simply bone chilling. I certainly find the wind hard to tolerate and that is why I've spent so much time indoors this winter.

I'm getting pretty good at making kombucha. Some people say I'm actually making something called "jun" tea because I use green tea and chamomile tea, but I call it kombucha because I use kombucha culture.

My neighbor, Beth, gave me some great crabapple puree and I made a batch of apple fritters with one quart (no picture because they were inhaled as they came out of the frying pan), and I made crabapple brandy with the other quart. It's pretty good!

Beth also sent us a box of citrus from Arizona for Christmas. It was wonderful! I made more fermented lemons (the small jar) with the lemons. As you can see, my big jar from last year is half empty, but looking good still.  As a matter of interest, when I strained my apple brandy I thought it would be a shame to discard the puree, so I decided to make an applesauce cake with it. The recipe called for lemon extract, but instead, I omitted the salt the recipe called for and replaced the lemon extract with one slice of fermented lemon that I first rinsed and soaked for 15 minutes in a bowl of hot water to draw out more salt, then finely minced it before adding it to the batter. Talk about good! The chickens didn't get any of that cake.

My chickipoos started laying in January. That was a real surprise. I didn't expect them to start till February when the days noticeably start to lengthen. But we love eggs around here and eat them all the time. The chickens have handled the winter very well and the ladies like the new next boxes I made them.

 I have been experimenting with the dehydrator Tom bought me for Christmas last year. I bought a book called The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook and I have to say that my interest in dehydrating is definitely piqued. The quart jar on the left hold FOUR big bunches of celery and it's only half full! The jar on the right was all the small onions I planted after I got off crutches last summer. I plan to use that dehydrator a lot this year.

Our Ed turned 28 and Tom's birthday is right around the corner. I just can't believe how fast the time flies. It's also a year now since I broke my ankle.

Oh, I have to tell you about the fireball I saw today! As I was locking up the chickens for the night (about 5:00 p.m.) I looked up at the sky and in the WSW I saw what looked like a big comet, tail and all. It was SO bright. Then I realized the object was actually falling to earth. I watched it for a minute or so before it dawned on me to run and get my camera to try to get a movie of it. I thought to send it to The Weather Channel. Of course, by the time I found my camera and got back outside, the object had disappeared behind clouds and I didn't see it again. It seemed pretty big although far away from our location, and I waited a while expecting to feel at least a gust of wind from its impact, but nothing came. I don't know what happened to the object. It was pretty exciting to watch and I wonder if any ham radio operators were able to catch some contacts on the scatter.

I have seedlings growing in the basement, and trees and seeds on order. I'll tap a few maple trees in a day or so and start boiling down sap soon. And I'm still studying for my Amateur Extra ham license. I sure hope to be able to take the exam this year.  All in all, I cannot say that I've been bored this winter.

May you all be safe and well!