Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Going on a little trip

I'll be gone for a while. Hubby and I are getting away for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow. He'll be working part of the time, but I'll be sightseeing for the whole of it and he will join me when he can : )

Some of the places we'll visit are Paris, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, and the medieval walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I'm so excited to see these places during the holiday season. And I'm so looking forward to lebkuchen in Nuremberg!

If we happen to have Internet access while we're away, I'll post some pictures when I'm able. So far, the weather over there looks about like what it is here - 40's and rainy.

Well, off to pack now and run last-minute errands!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Roots, herbs, yarn, and mittens

I've been busy lately drying roots, putting the last of my dried herbs away, spinning yarn for my sister, and knitting texting mittens for my son out of handspun yak down yarn.

Roots have to be dug up, washed off with a preliminary hose-dowsing or bucket dunking, then scrubbed up inside nice a proper, sliced, and then laid out to dry in a barely warm oven. I've been drying two types of roots from my garden, which are harvested from two-year-old plants: elecampane and evening primrose. I use them in various medicinal teas.

My kitchen smells so wonderful when I'm packing dried herbs away. The last of my harvest was mostly culinary in nature, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sweet marjoram. But I also had some late-harvested lemon balm to put away, and some things harvested over the summer which hadn't been put away yet, like heartsease (violas), and peppermint. I've never used heartsease before, but we had so many volunteers spring up between the pavers on my patio - little gifts left from a potted viola I had sitting on the patio table the season before. I let them grow and bloom for some time, until we were having company over for a barbeque and they finally had to go. I gathered them and dried them and will try mixing them with goldenrod to make a salve for eczema.

The yarn I'm spinning for my sister is fingering weight. I'm making a three-ply, so it's spun really fine and takes a long time. Each bobbin takes a couple of hours. I've been spinning a bit, and then going off to take care of other things, and then getting back to it when I can. The project has stretched out over a couple of weeks, but I'm on my last bobbin. Then comes the plying. I like plying best.

The yak down yarn is scrumptious! I really love yak. And the mittens are turning out really nicely. I almost want to keep them for myself : ) I'll try to remember to put pictures up when the texting mittens are done.

What have you been up to lately?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cranberries in the bog

My husband and I recently visited Triangle Lake Bog State Nature Preserve, which is near Kent, Ohio. We wanted to see what the cranberries looked like this time of year. Here's where the cranberries are in the bog (click on any of the pictures to see them larger):

A bit of a closer view:

The cranberries add color to the greens and browns:

Thanksgiving must be close if the cranberries are this red:

Carnivorous pitcher plants grow alongside the cranberries in the bog:

Ooh, this one would go well with turkey and gravy:

Some of the sphagnum moss was turning color, too:

Here's the boardwalk through the bog. The bog would be too treacherous to walk without it:

The ferns have run their course:

The pitcher plants are turning mostly red from their usual green with red accents:

It makes them seem even more unusual:

This one's eating late-season mosquitoes:

The pitcher plants are pretty viewed from the side, too:

Where the bog ended and the trees began, we spotted beaver damage:

This mossy path led us out of the bog:

Thanksgiving will be here soon and I'll think of the bog while buying cranberries from the grocery store and making cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Me with my Christmas book in The Learned Owl Bookshop

My husband and I went out to eat in our quaint little downtown the other night. After our meal we strolled down Main Street to The Learned Owl Bookshop where we found my Christmas book on display in their holiday section. I was so excited, I had hubby snap a photo with his phone:

In other news, I planted 26 cloves of garlic yesterday in hopes of a good garlic crop next spring and summer. I bought the bulbs of garlic from an organic garlic grower at the farmer's market this past summer. Last year I planted about nine cloves, only to have six of them dug up that same night by some animal because I forgot to put a thick layer of mulch over top. I mulched them really good this time!