First, the big reveal:
Last Friday, I finished my knitted wool blanket (A Light In The Window by Kay Gardiner, inspired by her friend and co-blogger Ann Shayne’s first novel, Bowling Avenue; made of assorted wool yarns from my stash, some gifts, some leftovers, some handspun, two skeins bought on Bainbridge Island at Churchmouse during a recent family trip west). I am sitting under it now while I write this post, and it’s just as great as that first cup of coffee in the morning.
After this, it’s small knitting projects for me this year! A dear friend has a milestone birthday near the end of 2014, so there might be some secret knitting as the year goes by. I also have months now to consider what handmade gifts to make for my kids for next Christmas and still get them done before December. Despite knitting up a lot of yarn in this afghan, I seem to have plenty of yarn in quantities for toys, hats, mittens, etc. My Christmas tree might need some knitted ornaments, too…
Remember the pot in the south-facing window? I planted greens in it at the end of October. Only the arugula sprouted. I finally harvested it and replanted the pot with lettuce and mache (a green I learned about from Niki Jabbour’s first book) and hope the lengthening days will give me better results.
I remembered to take the lid off the backyard compost bin early in the winter before it froze shut and was able to keep composting until the polar vortex. Then everything got so frozen that it started to look like a small snow-covered mountain back there! So composting is on break until it is slightly warmer. Last winter temperatures were mild enough that the compost bin was able to do its magic year-round. In a few months, I’ll be adding that to the soil in our vegetable garden and flower beds.
I’ll be doing winter sowing with 2 classes at my daughter’s school at the end of the month. Here’s a link from the gardener who developed the technique. I had mixed results trying it at home last winter, but after seeing the results from another parent at school, we are going to do it again. I’m planning a practice run with my own kids soon to find any tricky parts before I do it with 47 kids and a few grownups 🙂 at once. Stay tuned.
In the kitchen:
I’m still having good success with my homemade bread and have sometimes tried to make sandwich rolls or buns. I need to work on figuring out which dough I like best for buns and how much to use. So far I tend to get tough crusts or buns big enough to be small loaves – oops!
After a couple years tucked into the back of a cabinet, my yogurt maker recently has reappeared on the counter. I got a EuroCuisine yogurt maker for Christmas in 2010, and it works really well. I have the version that makes one big tub of yogurt, but they also make one that makes individual glass jars. Last week I made a batch with skim milk and used Pomona’s Pectin to thicken it. Yum! Pomona’s worked fine for jam-making with less sugar, but we found we still preferred our old way of making jam. Pomona’s has directions on their website for how to thicken yogurt, so now I have a good use for the extra pectin I bought last year, and I can make fat-free yogurt at home.