Posts Tagged ‘vermiculture’

As you can see, I’ve updated my recipe ticker to reflect the 4 recipes I’ve made.  But more about that in the In The Kitchen section.  The Olympics and Ravelympics are over.  I’m both relieved to have the deadline met and behind me, but my knitting is feeling a bit aimless these days.  I’ve already knit a pair of slippers since Closing Ceremonies and I have a shawl I could work on, but without the entertainment of the games and the pressure of a deadline, well, it just isn’t the same.  I did have a good time making the slippers though.  =)  They are the Bunny Hop Slippers from Craft Magazine.  Mine aren’t pink bunnies though, as you can see.  I couldn’t find a pink chunky yarn that I really liked.  The colors just weren’t right.  So, I bought some green Plymouth Galway Chunky and then dyed up some fiber in some coordinating (I hoped) green dyes and decided to go for it.  Where is the green dyed fiber?  Why, inside!  They’re called thrums and you knit them in as you knit the slipper.  They add for extra cushion and extra warmth.  I’ve tried them on several times and they are definitely cushy and they immediately began warming up my cold toes.  I haven’t actually worn them around the house.  They’re still too new.  =)  These slippers knit up super fast and probably cost $13 to make with $12 being the cost of the yarn.  The buttons were cheap buttons from JoAnn’s and the thrums were cheap wool bought from The Sheep Shed Studio.   So, the project was fun and cost effective!

In The Kitchen

I’ve been cooking in the kitchen again.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of two of the recipes I made.  The first recipe was called Hutspot.  It is a dish from Holland and seems like it is a basic “boiled dinner.”  The recipe says you can either use boneless beef chuck or venison round steak for the meat and I chose to use beef.  If my brother was somewhere nearby, I might have chosen to use venison since he hunts and does a fabulous job preparing deer.  I simmered the beef for about 2 hours in 2 cups of water.  Then added potatoes, carrots, and onion.  When everything is fully cooked, you remove the meat and mash the vegetables with milk and butter.  It was a warm, filling meal, but not as flavorful as we’re used to eating.  With this dinner, I also made Au Gratin Cabbage.  This was a perfect way to use up leftover cabbage from the borscht.  Again, it wasn’t the most flavorful dish, but it did use up the cabbage and some carrots (add some milk, egg, and cheese).  The milk and egg mixture seemed to settle to the bottom, but the cheese stayed on top and was a nice addition to the dish.

So, that was last week.  This week, I made Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos and Apple Carrot Salad.  The burritos involved dicing up 3 cups worth of sweet potatoes and some onion.  After that, it was super easy.  You add black beans and then wrap the mixture up in tortillas and bake for 20-25 minutes.   Spices included cumin and cinnamon, so there is the flavor we were missing last week!  The Apple Carrot Salad is made up of shredded apples and carrots (of course) and mixed in a dressing of honey, lemon and orange juice.  You also add some shredded mint and raisins.  Again, a more flavorful dish than last week.  The fruit salad definitely balances out the more heavy burritos and is a wonderful salad for a rather dreary day.  The lemon and orange juice tastes like pure sunshine!

Out to the Garden

The worms are doing well.  We had a bit of difficulty figuring out how much moisture they needed.  I think the bedding gets dryer here faster than we were expecting.  We added some water to their bedding last night and they are definitely more active today!  I went down to the Worm Bin after making supper this evening to add the carrot and apple scraps (more moisture) and there was plenty of movement in the bedding.

Books, Books, Books

I quickly wanted to mention a website I joined late last year.  Goodreads is a place to keep track of the books you’ve read, books in your library, books you’d like to read as well as a place to meet people with similar reading tastes and to join reading groups to discuss books you’ve read or are reading.  I’m currently reading “Persuasion” by Jane Austen (with CraftLit) and am still reading “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte for a reading group I’m participating in.  You can participate in discussions and the social aspect of Goodreads as much or as little as you’d like.  Go take a look.

In the Dye Pot

Nothing is in the dye pot yet, but I need to get started on my fiber for my dye exchange which is coming up this month.  I’ve already got my fiber and my dyes, just need to get started.  Hopefully I’ll have an update for that in my next post!


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I’ve crossed the finish line for the Sweaterboard Cross in the Ravelympics. Yay! Here is my finished Slinky Ribs sweater drying on the blocking board.  Whew!  It feels really good to have one event out of the way.  Now to concentrate on the Fleece-to-Finished-Object event/Sock Hockey.  Here is the finished yarn I spun.  Pretty, no?  I’ve already started knitting up the socks in one of my favorite patterns.  I just have the toe left to knit on the first sock and then I’ll immediately cast on the second sock.  Pictures when those are completed.

Of course, no blocking project would be complete without the requisite deposit of cat hairs.  Sophie has decided to be the contributing cat on this one.   I spent most of the afternoon chasing Pumpkin off the sweater and then, in the evening, somehow Sophie managed to sneak up there.  Sigh.  Oh well.  What’s a few cat hairs among friends, right?

In The Garden

The worms for our worm bin arrived yesterday.  Yes, they came through the USPS.  Here they are still in their box and bag.  I had already prepared the bedding in the worm bin since I had been notified they’d were on their way.  The bedding is coconut coir, soaked in water and excess water squeezed out.  I then added a couple of handfuls of dirt from our yard so the worms would have some grit to help them process their food.  I also added a small bunch of potato peels buried in one corner so they’d have a snack if they were hungry.  Then, I introduced the worms to their new home.  In other words, I dumped them in!   Yep, that’s a pile of worms you see there.

I spread out the worms, breaking up any clumps as I found them, and settled down to watch them as they began digging their way down into the new bedding.  After watching for about 10 minutes or so, most had disappeared.  I put the lid on the bin, turned off the light, and left them to their new house.  It will probably take them a few weeks to recover from the traumatic journey to this new land, but eventually they’ll settle in and begin eating my vegetable scraps and getting on with making me some lovely compost/fertilizer for my garden.

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I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that there’s only a week left in January 2010.  I don’t know about you, but January zipped by for me.  Good grief, before you know it, it will be time time to start putting seeds out in the garden and I’m nowhere near ready for that yet.  I haven’t even ordered any seed catalogs.  I might have to skip those this year.  I did, however, get my new worm house.  (grin)

Gusanito Worm Composter

This year we are going to try worm composting.  I had thought to try building our own worm house, but then The Husband surprised me with one of these Gusanito Worm Composters from Wormswrangler.com for Christmas.  So, we now have the house, the coconut coir (fibrous coconut husk which holds water so the worms stay moist), and dirt.  Next, we order the worms!  We’ll be ordering Red Wrigglers from somewhere in Utah so they will hopefully be used to our cold weather.  Of course, until it warms up a bit, the worms will be staying in the house in a spare bathroom in the basement.  As soon as it’s warm enough, they’ll go outside in some nice shady spot close to the door, convenient for disposal of kitchen scraps.


I’ve finished up the first installment of the Crown Mountain Farms fiber club.  It’s even plied!

AwakeningsThis picture doesn’t really give an accurate portrayal of the yarn.  In the picture it looks very pastel-ish.  In reality, there are spots in the yarn that area really quite vibrant with reds, brilliant greens, and deep purples.  I’ll try to skein up the yarn later today and see if I can get some pictures that better display the gorgeous dyeing job Klaus did.

Next on the wheel, well, I’m not sure.  I’m planning on spinning for the Ravelympics and I’m not sure I have time to get another project done before February 12th.  I’m hoping I can get another sock yarn finished so I can practice for the Ravelympics, but I don’t want to do much spinning and end up with sore hands.  Here’s the fiber I’m planning on spinning for the Ravelympics.

The fiber is from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep to Shoe kit and it is just lovely!  I can’t wait to get started spinning!

Dyeing Experiments

I finished up the dyeing experiments last week.  I was working with a couple of different dye materials for a presentation I was giving to my spinning guild on natural dyeing.  The last experiment involved dyeing with cochineal bugs.  Yep, bugs!  Shiver.  First I ground up an ounce of the bugs (which I bought while I was at SOAR from A Verb for Keeping Warm).  Then I placed the ground cochineal in a non-bleached coffee filter and tied it up in a pouch with undyed organic cotton twine.  I simmer this in a liter of water for about 20 minutes, added another 2 liters of water and some pre-soaked fiber and slowly brought the temperature up to a simmer over an hour.  I then simmered the fiber for an hour and let it sit overnight to cool.  I was able to dye several ounces of fiber from this one ounce of cochineal.  I didn’t use a mordant for the fiber an got a lovely lilac color.  I also overdyed a bit of fiber that I had tried dyeing with the elderberry and had added some alum as a mordant to see if that changed the way the elderberry solution was absorbed.  In the picture below, you can see both the fibers; the one without any mordant (lilac) and the one pre-dyed in elderberry with mordant (red).

Again, this isn’t the best picture as the pinkish fiber should really be a more lilac color.  Anyway, I have several ounces now of fiber in this color and will probably try to spin it up for a pair of socks or possibly some bunny slippers.  =)  So, my experimenting in natural dyeing is nearly done.  The only thing left to do for this year’s Fiber Exchange is to buy my 2 pounds of fiber and dye it.  So far, the plan is to buy some Earthues dye extract in logwood purple for the dyeing, but all those other colors are pretty tempting!

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