Friday, December 24, 2010

Knitting progress this year and hopes for the future

I think I actually got more done this year than I thought. Interestingly enough, I did not get done nearly what I thought that I would.

Here is what I did do:
  1. Completed spinning oatmeal yarn and knitted a vest (turns out it is way too big around and also too short, but I might actually be able to fix that.
  2. Completed spinning the green and purple fiber into yarn (all 2 pounds of it) and have completed knitting all but the arms. (Yes, I know that is like knitting a whole front, but I feel like I've made good progress.)
  3. Completed spinning and knitting a small icelandic lamb scarf. It's not good enough to give away as the spinning should have been done all at once and so is very irregular and bizarre. But I need a scarf, so it will be mine.
  4. Completed knitting and felted a pair of slippers. They are slightly lopsided, but very warm and I really like them lots.
  5. Completed two hats for my boys and THEY LIKE THEM!!!! (Nothing like walking a mile in 20 degree weather to make you appreciate wool).
  6. Completed three baby hats for the guild sale.
  7. Spun up lots of odd balls of yarn also donated for guild sales.
  8. Completed Isabel from yarn purchased in Maine
  9. Completed another, slightly larger shawl, from odd balls from my mother's stash (blue and purple sari silk stuff).
Want to complete in the coming year:
  1. A scarf for my dad
  2. Completion of the green and purple cardigan
  3. The correction of the brown vest
  4. Completion of the spinning of the grey lincoln roving.
  5. Completion of the spinning of Alice and Jerry's lamb's fleeces (Alice is almost done)
  6. Completion of the spinning of Noodle's second fleece
  7. A hat for my nephew which includes a bit of black fleece from a school field trip.
  8. Fingerless mitts for my niece
  9. Something woven or knitted from Alice and Jerry yarn
  10. French Press Slippers
  11. An ear flap hat with braids (I don't know why, I just want to do this)
  12. Some kind of head covering for days when I wear a ponytail or bun
  13. Another pair of stranded mittens
  14. A hat for my co-worker who drew this as his holiday gift surprise
  15. Finish the Freya hat
  16. Finish spinning the mohair blend yarn on a drop spindle and knit something lacy with it.
  17. Finish knitting the brandywine shawl that I started from handspun scraps.
  18. Knit another vest (cardigan style and maybe with cables)
  19. Knit a danish tie shawl for wearing around the house when I'm working but cool.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Soaked Apple Pecan Granola

2 cups of organic thick cut oatmeal
4 cups of warm water (or 2 cups water and 2 cups of organic apple cider or juice warmed)
1/4 cup whey (liquid left over from making yogurt cheese) or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 or 2 organic apple(s) peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of Rapiduran Sugar (or 1 tablespoon of molasses)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup crispy pecans (see recipe in Nurturing Traditions)

Mix together all liquid ingredients. Add salt and Rapiduran Sugar and stir to dissolve. Add oatmeal and diced apple to a large bowl and pour liquids over. Stir to mix well. Cover bowl and allow to rest on counter top overnight.

The next morning, drain the excess liquid (if there is any) and spread the soggy oatmeal mix over a food dryer trays lined with either parchment paper or cheese cloth cut to fit. Dry at 115 degrees for 24 hours. If not completely crispy dry, add 4 to 8 hours drying time.

Remove warm granola from paper or cheese cloth and put into a large, dry bowl. Break up the large chunks. Add pecans (or other nuts or coconut shreds as desired). Store in glass jars.

Eat with organic, raw milk yogurt or raw milk.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Moving towards Earth

Over the course of the last month or so, I've been moving towards a healthier bread. I'm not there yet but getting closer. I sprouted organic wheat kernels and dried them. I am keeping these babies stored in the freezer. I purchased organic rye flour (and am searching for organic rye berries). I made sourdough starter. I purchased organic smelt flour. I have only a little all purpose white flour left.

I made two loaves of bread yesterday from all my new ingredients and just a bit of the white flour. I ground the wheat in a coffee grinder (not previously used for anything else). I added caraway seed.

I probably could have let the loaves rise a bit longer, but they seemed very moist and I was afraid they were too fragile and did not have enough active gluten to support a high rise. But they crested the pans a little and I put them in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Oh my, this is really good bread. I don't know how to explain the LACK of rancidity. The flavor is wonderful and I cannot wait to get rye berries and sprout them myself for flour.


I woke up this morning with awful sinus pain. I was transported back a month or so when I woke up every morning in pain. I also could not breath through my nose. Ugh!


Well, two things could be the culprit. I shut the bedroom window three days ago. It was cold when I went to bed. I wanted to sit up and read for a bit. I thought I would read, then get up and re-crack the window because we both prefer to sleep in a cooler room. But I forgot. And I failed to re-open it for the last couple of days.

But I didn't wake up with sinus problems for the last three days. So what was different?

Then I remembered. Last night I got a small snack attack while watching TV. I should have had a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit or some yogurt... but instead I grabbed three of Ken's cookies (they are good quality cookies, but not homemade).

I will avoid those tonight and see if tomorrow morning is miserable.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vision improving?

I'm about a week shy of a month following the Weston A Price food recommendations. I have eliminated soy from my diet altogether. I probably still eat too much grain, but I'm at least soaking and sprouting it.

I have noticed the following:

  1. I can focus and maintain focus.
  2. I have more energy
  3. I sleep better (except for when I have a hot flash)
  4. I am not depressed and am off the anti-depressants and do not miss them at all.
  5. I am optimistic about life
  6. I am using my reading glasses less
  7. I do not have nearly as much gas and no bloating at all
  8. I have regular bowel movements and no hemorrhoids
  9. While I am experiencing a full range of emotions, I do not get freaked out or upset about things that used to upset me and piss me off and left me feeling resentful and angry.
  10. Most of my joint pain is gone (my right thumb still throbs from time to time, but I probably abuse it)
  11. I continue to lose weight (albeit more slowly than at first... now about 1/2 pound a week)
  12. I am not hungry all the time and sometimes don't even notice when it's meal time until someone points it out or I do get hungry a couple of hours later.
  13. I'm eating less at most meals.
  14. I have had no cravings for chocolate, sugar, bread, cookies, donuts, cake or any of the other junk I used to crave daily and often indulged.
  15. I do crave cod liver oil from time to time.
Challenges I'm facing on this new eating adventure:

Finding a source for pasture fed milk has been unsuccessful. I have a source for locally raised raw milk, but it's not organic. I'm not sure if I'm better off with the non-organic but raw or if I would be better off with the Ultra-pasteurized, homogenized stuff from the store even it it is organic. In the spring I will have a source for raw, organic goat milk but will have to make do until then.

As with the milk, finding organic butter is a problem. I can't find cream at all other than the little bit on top of the milk after it sits for a few days.

Ken does not like most of the fermented foods. He will eat the purple cabbage ferment and the beets. I'm hoping as the other foods age a bit, they will mellow and he will be more content to eat them. I like the stuff, myself.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ohno Update

I am delighted to say that Ohno (and Alice and Jerry) have finally adjusted to each other.

And Ohno seems to be recovered from a very severe bout of barberpole worms. His eyes are now nice and pink (the under eyelids) and his who demeanor has changed. Now he boings like a sheep, runs, tosses his head in joy and generally makes a nuisance of himself. Most importantly, he is finally putting on some weight.

These guys get a bit of cracked corn mixed with something call Hay Stretcher from the Tractor Supply outfit. They each get about 2 cups of this mix each evening. In the morning they are getting fresh hay. Starting tonight they will also start receiving fresh privit hedge branches and leaves. This is their winter fodder.

The weather has been ridiculously cold for this time of year. Last year was also crazy cold with entirely too much snow for our area. I fear this year will be the same. Fortunately, all three sheep have put on a good thick coat of wool. Ohno's fiber is very, very soft and he does appear to have a rather critical break in it... but next year we will not have that problem as we will treat aggressively for worms early on and throughout the summer.

I'm thinking seriously of investing in diacotamous earth to spread out there. Short of moving the sheep and burning off the pasture mid spring, I'm not sure how else to get rid of the freaking worms. I will keep researching.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Okay, maybe somebody gets it

I am not happy that they are making money from what is the core of my spiritual beliefs and they are failing badly to admit that there is already an entire religious belief system devoted to this, but it is an interesting article, never the less:

Connecting to Gaia

Monday, December 06, 2010

Spice, K2 and other fake Pot products

News Release [print-friendly page]
November 24, 2010

Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana
Agency Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Five Substances

NOV 24 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

A Notice of Intent to Temporarily Control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action. After no fewer than 30 days, DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to Temporarily Control these chemicals for at least 12 months with the possibility of a six-month extension. They will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.

Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet. These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products. Fifteen states have already taken action to control one or more of these chemicals. The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to emergency schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent public health crisis while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted.

“The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hurry up Solstice!

Sigh... I feel like I haven't seen my sheep in months! By the time I get home from work these days it's dark. The sheep have been fed (thank you, Ken) and are settling in for the night. I do not bother them once settled or it disrupts their whole world.

Sheep are smart, by the way. Jerry knows how to tell time and at 4 p.m. starts pacing the fence line and yelling for his evening meal (they get hay extender with either cracked corn or beet shreds). It's also time for the shepherd to check out the animals.

In the morning I put out hay before I leave for work, but they aren't overly interested in hay and prefer to nibble grass. I know they eat the hay when no one is looking (either that or the birds are flying in to steal it during the day when I'm gone) because it's missing within 24 hours. But they pretend to be uninterested when I put it out there.

Soon, they will start getting privit branches which is their favorite food of all times. They will love Ken with all their hearts and believe him to be bringer of all sorts of wonder until Spring when the privit stops coming and they start getting manhandled for their hair.

But I am waiting for Solstice when the days finally start getting longer again. My internal cycle is shuttling me off to bed around 8 or 8:30 at night and when I don't get home until 6 or so, that makes for a short evening in which to get things done.