Fava Feast

It is spring and tons of plants going in the ground. That means it’s time to get rid of the winter cover crops. For us that means FAVAS!

I pulled all the plants from one of our beds and chopped up the root to let it nitrify the soil. The stalks got piled onto the patio table to be defoliated and stripped of edible size beans.

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I came away with roughly 4lbs of beans and 1lb of braising greens. A few years ago I made an incredible fava and citrus salad. This time, who knows.

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I’m open to suggestions!

Artfibers yarnsplosion!

This post was supposed to go up February 14th but yet again, I was foiled by technology. The following was written while in line for a total of 4 hours.

It’s a sad day when an incredible yarn company goes out of business. The only bright side is the sale. At 9am February 14th they opened the doors to their workshop in order to clear out the last of their stock, supplies, and equipment. Fortunately this closing was by choice, not hard circumstances, and the owners are moving on to new projects and less responsibility. That means no guilt for those of us benefiting from their closeout!

I came with a budget and am blowing that out of the water but it is well beyond worth it! I have pounds and pounds of silk, viscose, modal, bamboo and alpaca undyed yarn cones coming home with me along with a couple amazing super-skeins of luxury yarn that I would normally never be able to afford.

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Of course I’m not the only one who came to Vallejo, CA to score. I am 2/3 through the line and have already been waiting nearly two hours.

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We’ve camped out in yarnville and kind coconspiritors have taken to passing around cookies and holding places during bathroom breaks and last minute additions.

Suffice to say I’m excited and will of course be starting up my active knitting life again. One project has already been completed.

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This scarf for my partner Michael is made entirely from my handdyed and handspun yarns. I’m proud of it despite it being messy because it’s the first project I have finished in a couple years. I’m expecting many more to come.

Puppy-Time!

Please welcome our newest addition to the family, Otto! He came us in October when this post was originally supposed to go up. I’ve updated everything with new photos and anecdotes.

At 2am I get a text message from my mother (who I live with) that says this: “careful not to let the new dog out” with this photo.

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I groaned and rolled over to settle into bed. To understand that reaction you have to know that my teenage years were filled with stray dogs and fostered pups. Every month or two I would come home to a new dog that we had found or had been abandoned with us or once had actually been offered to us on the street by a distressed woman who was at wits end and moving to where she couldn’t keep her pooch. It was an incredibly rewarding but heartbreaking emotional roller coaster as we fell in love with those wet noses and dirty paws and repeatedly had to return them to their owners or find them new homes because they never meant for us to keep.

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I fell in love right away. I called shelters and advertised on Craigslist to make sure he wasn’t missed anywhere else. It’s been a few weeks now. Without any answers to his origin, I’m pretty sure he’s mine.

[edit] Months later he is definitely a permanent member of my family. We have had him neutered and vaccinated. Treated and cleared of the tapeworm and fleas he came to us with, Otto is a healthy and happy dog.

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He loves nothing more than cuddling up with us in bed or on the couch and gets along famously with the family dog, Shadow.

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Hey there, Honey!

A couple days ago, I joined my friend Kitty Sharkey in extracting her honey. Last winter she lost her bees but was able to save the frames of honey in her freezer. If you’ve ever stored honey, you’ve probably noticed that it crystallizes if it gets cold. Interestingly though, it only does that between 40-32 degrees Fahrenheit. Below freezing however, the water crystalizes and leaves the sugar in suspension and when thawed it returns to its liquid golden state. That’s what Kitty did with her frames to store them for a time when extracting the honey was actually a possibility.

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One of the perks of my job at the Biofuel Oasis and Urban Farm Store is that I have access to the equipment needed to extract the honey from the comb, so I offered to help her out.

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Together, we uncapped the comb and used the extractor to spin out the liquid gold. The honey runs through a filter to remove all the stray wax, leaving only pure raw honey in the bucket.

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Unfortunately my recent back injury made me unable to finish the project with her and she was up til the wee hours of the morning before she was done, but overall, the haul was around 45lbs from about 20 frames. Not bad for a lost hive.

Of corse this called for celebration so we dipped glasses under the stream of unfiltered honey and filled up with bourbon. Cheers!

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I’m back with a vengeance!

It was a rough spring but my midsommer appears to be a time of change.  I moved in with my mother and brother a month ago and a busy month it has been!

Beautiful things to see while sipping tea.

Beautiful things to see while sipping tea.

When I moved in, the spare room was a wreck, having been untouched except by mice for a period of years. There were four serious holes in the lathe and plaster walls hat needed patching and paint peeling on almost every surface as well as some  damage to the hardwood floors. All this was covered in waist deep clutter and garbage as well as a thick layer of dust. For three weeks I worked every day on clearing and repairing the room meanwhile sleeping on the living room floor. I got some amazing help from my family members, both by blood and by choice. I rather regret not getting some before shots because its hard to relay just how ruined this room was but now I’m sitting at a newly finished desk on a newly painted and refinish room.

roooom!

The new projects upcoming are mostly outdoor ones. Much like the room, the garden here has been untouched for a years. My mother is a landscaper, but as they say, “The cobbler’s children wear no shoes.” and the landscaper’s garden grows only weeds!

There's a garden under there?

There’s a garden under there?

 

I’m trying to change that now, and she and I have been putting in regular work to bring back the beauty and production this garden has seen in the past. We’ve planted One bed and have started a second. We are trying to apply permaculture principles as we create the new garden, interspersing aesthetic dahlias with more useful perennials and self-seeding annuals. The first completed bed contains a black dahlia, a lavender dahlia, a mullein, 6 different types of basil, a purple culinary sage, echinacea, and catnip.

Shadow surveys our progress.

Shadow surveys our progress.

While cleaning the yard, We found all kinds of fun things. Some we appreciated simply for their age…

Weathered to monochrome.

Weathered to monochrome.

Some we appreciated for their beauty…

A forest of amber glass and old tiles.

A forest of amber glass and old tiles.

And some were just a little odd…

This guy was happy to see the sun again.

This guy was happy to see the sun again.

I injured myself something nasty the other day when I tripped over the dog on a walk and have no choice but to take a break from all my efforts. I’m in a lot of pain and all but something positive has come from it. i am being forced to slow down and look at all I’ve accomplished. So now I get to sit in the half-finished garden with my tea and my breakfast and feel happy with the life I have come into.

The breakfast of backyard champions.

The breakfast of backyard champions.