Lightened Up Egg Salad

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I love eggs.  One of Nature’s wonders of the food world.  I would love to eat them everyday, but my family history is peppered with heart health issues so I only indulge when I really, really, really have a craving for them.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I came back from a bike ride and while cooling down from the physical exertion, I started having a hankering for egg salad for lunch.  Not keeping any mayo in the house (high in fat and calories) I Googled whether or not I could sub fat free Greek yogurt for the mayo in egg salad.  Why yes you can!  Duh. I have already been replacing mayo in a lot of other dishes (chipotle mayo for my fish tacos for example) so I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner to replace mayo with yogurt in egg salad.

Probably because I hadn’t had a craving for it in a very long time, until now!

So I took my favourite egg salad recipe and just swapped out the mayo with the yogurt.  You know what?  You would never know it wasn’t mayo!  I am going to have to splurge a little more often on egg salad, it was just too darn good!

For anyone wanting my egg salad recipe, here it is below, but most recipes that you find online are pretty close unless you get into some weird flavour combos.  Me, I like plain old egg salad. Nothing fancy for me.  I am a purist when it comes to this long standing traditional dish.

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Deborah’s Egg Salad Recipe

Ingredients
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced green onion (green parts only)
1/4 cup (or more to taste) of Fat-Free Yogurt
1 Tbsp mustard
1/4 tsp chile powder (I like to use either chipotle chile powder or pequin chile powder)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together mustard and yogurt, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let sit in fridge for at least 60 minutes to chill.

Serve on buns, wraps or whatever vessel you prefer. If you are doing the no carbs thing, lettuce bowls make an attractive presentation.

Enjoy!

Deborah

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CopyCat Deep Dish Shroom Pizza

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This is 2 years in the making.  Well, technically dreaming of making it over the last 2 years, but the other day I finally had an epiphany about the mushrooms in this pizza.

Hubs is back working in NY state temporarily on a special project and pretty much the first thing I asked was if Uno’s Shroom Pizza is still on the menu.  Sadly no, they pulled it off again.  I can see why because of the amount of cheese used as well as the time it takes to make this pizza, or more importantly, the time necessary for marinating of the mushrooms.

I knew the little round scrumptious fungi were marinated in something, but I couldn’t figure out what.  Until the other day.  I was minding my own business, trimming my herb garden when it hit me.  Thyme, there has to be time in it along with the white wine.

After gardening chores, I pulled my tablet out and googled “marinated mushrooms”….BINGO.

A dozen or so recipes came up, pretty much all the same with slight variations.  So I picked one and got to work.  The mushrooms need to marinate overnight, hence why I think this (and the amount of cheese) is why Uno’s Grill only brings it back for a short time.  Definitely a loss leader for them, I am sure they try to sell more beer/liquor to make up for it.

Anyway, back to the shrooms!  Marinating the mushrooms is THE key to this pizza and this must be done 1 day earlier.  As for the deep dish pizza crust, I like Uno’s 12-grain version but couldn’t find a copycat out there (another thing to work on) so I just used my own pizza dough recipe here: http://www.ournorthernhomestead.com/how-to-make-your-own-pizza-doughand-make-it-healthier-too/

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CopyCat Deep Dish Shroom Pizza!

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (recipe link above, or google Deep Dish Pizza Dough recipe)
1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and stems removed
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 lb Button mushrooms (if buttons are not available, quarter larger mushrooms)

For Marinade:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar (or White Balsamic Vinegar)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme (or 1/2 Tbsp dried)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse mushrooms and slice a layer off the stem end (if mushrooms are larger, quarter them); bring a pot of water to a boil, add mushrooms and reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain mushrooms and rinse with cold water, set on a towel to dry.
Meanwhile, whisk remaining ingredients together in a container large enough to hold all the mushrooms and marinade. Add mushrooms and combine. Seal up container and place in fridge overnight.

Directions

Prepare Pizza Dough (see recipe link above), this will make 2 small pizzas or one large one. If making 2 small, use a 9″ cake pan or a deep dish metal pie plate. For a large pizza, use a large, cast iron skillet.
**Note – if making 2 small pizzas, divide toppings in half between the 2 pans

Grease skillet/pans with Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 500F

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Roll out dough and lay over the pan, gently press dough down and up along sides to the top edge. Trim an excess dough. **Let dough sit for 20 minutes before filling**

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Drain mushrooms from marinade (reserve marinade – see footnote) and place in bottom of the pan on top of dough.

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Layer spinach (I actually used chopped chard from the garden as I didn’t have spinach, which is an excellent substitute) over the mushrooms.

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Add mozzarella cheese and top with parmesan or asiago.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (for 9″ size), up to 35 minutes for a large pizza **keep an eye on the top crust so that it doesn’t burn)

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes and serve!

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Voila! A thing of beauty!

Deborah

*Marinade Footnote – Marinade can be used for roasting beets, trim beets, place in a baking dish and pour marinade overtop.  Cover and roast for 35-45 minutes in a 400F oven or until beets are cooked through.  Let cool, peel and chop.  These are FANTASTIC on salads!

 

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Fuerig The Baby Alpaca

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I really wish I could have met Fuerig in person.  With his glossy black locks and cool demeanor, I could envision him strutting around the paddock like a camelid version of Fabio, beckoning to the ladies housed in the next pasture over with a “hello gorgeous, come here often?” line.

Since the owner sold him for breeding stock before I arrived at the ranch, the next best thing was to acquire 2 of his fleeces.  The first fleece being his ”cria” fleece (cria is what a baby alpaca is called) with a 4 1/2″ long staple length and slight crimp, the lustrous jet black locks are incredibly soft and as fine as angora bunny fur.  Unfortunately it is full of VM (vegetable matter) and the processing mill had sent it back as they didn’t want to deal with all that VM.  I figure I have plenty of time to painstakingly pick out bits of hay knowing full well that the end product will be well worth the effort.

DSC05876The second fleece was from his next (2nd) shearing, it still needs a light skirting as well as a bath but it is currently housed in an airtight tote bin while I finish processing his baby fleece. I have big plans for both fleeces, but first I was itching to spin some of the baby fleece as its reputation of being an exceptionally soft fiber is prized by knitters the world over.

For those that have yet to spin alpaca (or other camelid) fibers, the weight and feel of alpaca yarns are nothing like that of yarn made with sheep’s wool.  Wool fiber ranges from rough to ultra soft, depending on the breed, they have somewhat denser locks but with a distinct bouncy feel.  Alpacas don’t bounce, they just lay flat out on the ground and snooze and their fiber feels exactly the same, heavy and with great draping qualities.

10351730_10152717633959054_2321268615927224487_nAfter a week of picking, washing and drying, the silky black locks were ready for further processing.  I automatically chose to use my hand cards for this one over the drum carder for two reasons.  First being the drum carder was up north at the cottage and I and the fleece were not and two, the fineness and length of the staples called for a delicate hand while carding so as not to damage or break the fibers.  Combing could have been another option for processing, if I had a pair of hand combs that is, but I don’t, so hand cards are the weapon of choice.

I spent a wet and dreary Saturday afternoon picking and carding 2 ounces of fiber to spin for a test skein.  Once prepped into rolags, I divided the batch in half and eagerly sat down with my antique Nova Scotian wheel and got to work.  Wow, this fiber spun with ease.  So soft and silky and at times a little slippery, but it was a real pleasure to spin, with the exception of stopping to pick VM out occasionally.

I wanted the finished yarn to feel as close to commercially spun baby alpaca yarn as possible.  Once your fingers touch one of those soft, squooshy and smooshy hanks of yarn, it’s impossible to put it back down and next thing you know it’s in your shopping bag and your wallet is noticeably lighter.  So the trick to getting that baby soft feel is to keep as little twist to the yarn as possible.  Only add enough twist to hold the single together if you are keeping it as a single.  If you are plying with 2 or more singles, then add a tich more twist, being careful not to add too much though or you will end up with a skein of kitchen twine.  Desirable only if you have a turkey to truss.

After I spun a few meters, I pulled a length of the single back off the bobbin and plied it against itself for a sample.  Perfect.  It was turning out exactly as I envisioned.  It was about a light fingering weight for the 2-ply, but that will most likely change with wet finishing, so for now I cut that off and added it to my control card and then spent the next day spinning up a couple bobbins, each holding an ounce of fiber.  I let the bobbins rest for a day, and then plied them together into a gorgeous hank of jet black, shiny yarn.

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I ended up with 177 yards out of the 2 ounces of fiber and after a wash and set at the salon, the yarn bloomed to 12 wpi, about a DK weight yarn.  I was aiming for Fingering weight, but overall was happy with it as the intended project is a shawl and gauge isn’t terribly important in shawls.

With the test skein of Fuerig’s cria fleece complete, I need to finalize what shawl pattern to use.  Normally I spin for an already chosen project, like my Fert & Palladin Alpaca Throw Blanket (http://www.ournorthernhomestead.com/meet-fert-and-palladin), but acquiring this fleece at the last minute left me with no time to search for the right pattern beforehand.  I was also somewhat affected by the ‘oooo shiny’ syndrome of wanting to play with the fleece immediately after obtaining it.  I am sure a lot of fiber enthusiasts out there can relate or attest to the reality of the ‘oooo shiny’ syndrome, it often afflicts even the most disciplined fiber-holic.

Now it’s time to cruise the internet halls of Ravelry, window shopping for shawls from the comfort of my arm chair with a cup of tea in hand, then back to finish spinning up the rest of Fuerig’s fleece…… unless the ‘oooo shiny’ syndrome strikes again.

Deborah

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Squash & Black Bean Quesadilla

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Tonight’s dinner was a snap, especially when you already have 2 of the star ingredients cooked and on hand.  In this case, it was the squash and beans.  I am a bean snob, I prefer to rehydrate and cook my own vs canned beans, something about starting out from scratch that has always appealed to me, in whatever I do.

Anyway, back to quesadillas!  and yes, another (say it with emphasis now)… a-nother!Mexican flavor inspired recipe.  I had already made the beans for another batch of my black bean and wild/brown rice enchiladas and the squash was leftover from dinner on Sunday, so I was looking through my recipes for quesadillas and landed on my empanada recipe and thought…why not switch out the sweet potato for the squash and slap the contents into a tortilla?!

Bravo! We have a winner!  A couple other changes and the whole thing was on the plate in less than 15 minutes.

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Ingredients
1 Cup cooked black beans
1 Cup roasted butternut squash (if cubed, mash slightly)
1 small clove garlic, peeled and mashed
1 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
3 Tbsp chopped red onion
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Large 10″ Whole Wheat floour toritilla
Olive Oil
1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Juice from one lime
Avocado
Sour Cream
Cilantro

Directions

In  skillet set over medium heat, lightly toast cumin, coriander, salt and pepper until fragrant (about a minute), add oil, onion and jalapeno.  Saute for 2 minutes until onion softens, add garlic and lime juice. Stir constantly for about a minute or two until garlic softens.  Reduce heat to low and add beans and squash.  Combine thoroughly and let contents warm through (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove from pan and set aside.

In same skillet, turning heat up to medium-low, place tortilla in the pan and add cheese to one half.  Add squash/bean mixture over the cheese.  Fold tortilla in half and cook until the bottom starts to brown (about 2-3 minutes).  Flip and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from skillet and serve immediately with cilantro, sour cream and avocado.

This recipe makes one serving, size up as necessary!

Salud!

Deborah

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Duvet Cover Wrestling

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I am sure I am not the only one that hates wrestling a duvet into its over-sized pillow case periodically.  Been doing it for years and always procrastinate about washing the cover just to avoid the impending wrestling match.

As I was mentally getting psyched up for the task I had a brain wave, a storm surge, an epiphany….whatever you call it, this GREAT idea popped into my head.

CLOTHESPINS!

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Why don’t I insert the duvet up to the top corners of the cover and using clothespins, pin them together to hold, then travel along the length of the top pinning as I go.

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THEN, you can grasp the top and wildly flap the whole dang thing around the room to shake the cover down over the duvet without it sliding back out. In the time it takes to say “Bob’s Your Uncle!”, the duvet is smoothly nestled into its cover with nary a sweat broken or curse word spoken.

Brilliant I am.

Hopefully nobody has thought of this idea before, ’cause if I find out it was already out there and nobody told me, I am going to be pretty upset.

Deborah

 

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First Garden Produce Of 2017

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Radishes are always fast producers as they prefer the early, cooler Spring days to germinate and grow.  I pulled these beauties out this morning and after a dip in a bucket of water to get the dirt off, I squirreled them off to the kitchen for further washing and get them tucked into the fridge.
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If left too long in the ground and once Mother Nature heats up, radishes will bolt (go into flowering mode) and the root will then get woody.  So best to harvest these ruby gems as soon as you see a large portion of the root sticking up above the soil.
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The remainder will be harvested over the next week which will then give the Tiny Tim tomatoes some room as you can hardly see them nestled between the rows of radishes.
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Meanwhile, the peppers that I planted last week are diggin’ their new digs so much that flowers are opening and I even have one teeny-tiny pepper starting!
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I finally learned the secret for planting happy peppers.  Start them a month earlier than I normally do.  Usually mid-March is seed planting time, but to give the slower growing peppers more time to mature before going in the ground, I started them mid-February.  Definitely my strategy is paying off this year.
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Looking forward to a fabulous harvest this year for not only radishes, peppers and tomatoes, but chard, beets, carrots, garlic and green onions too.  If I can scrounge up a little space after I harvest the garlic in early July I may just plant some more kale too.  You have to be careful with kale though, it grows rapidly and soon you are leaving baskets of kale on the neighbour’s porch whether they like it or not.
Like zucchini ….. a little goes a long way in the kale world.
Happy Gardening!
Deborah
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Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms and Kale

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DSC06088I think last night was one of the best creative nights in the kitchen that I have had in a very long while.  I turned out a fabulous vegetarian dish packed full of vitamins and protein that can be used as a stand alone meal or be a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or salmon.  Sometimes I amaze myself with my ingenuity.  Believe me though, I have had major flops too, so I take this win as a small victory.

Looking in the fridge I knew I had a container of leftover roasted squash, not enough for soup, but enough to be added to….something.  So the chef hat went on as I gathered ingredients out of the fridge.  Mushrooms…yup, have to use those.  Kale, absolutely (I was bitten by the kale bug last week again, I always forget how much I like it). Then what to add as “filler” I pondered.  As I was staring into the pantry, there sat a jar of black quinoa – perfect!  A few other odds and sods pulled out of the pantry and fridge and a game plan was forming.

As I prepped the kale and chopped some onions, I wondered if quinoa could be cooked like a risotto? Short answer, no, but dinner did take a long time to cook as I discovered that fact (I will explain later), but since I was starving, it was time to get cooking!

Ingredients

1/2 dry black quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked squash (roasted and mashed)
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp good red wine (don’t buy “cooking wine”, use the good stuff!)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in a saucepan over med-high heat; add onions and cook until just starting to turn transluscent (about 3 minutes), add mushrooms, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms are tender (3-5 minutes).

Add quinoa and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add broth and wine and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to med-low, cover and simmer until quinoa is cooked (about 15 – 20 minutes), remove lid and raise heat back to a boil.  Boil off any remaining liquid.

Turn heat to low again and add the squash, mix until combined.  Taste seasonings at this point and adjust to your liking.  Add kale, stirring to mix in, then cover and let the kale steam for 2-3 minutes until bright green.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings as a meal alone or 4 servings as a side dish.

What I found with trying to cook quinoa as a risotto (seriously, don’t waste your time trying) is that the quinoa needs to sit in the liquid and cook at a lower heat or it won’t plump up.  After 30 minutes of adding liquid and stirring it was still rock hard.  Once I added more broth, lowered the heat and covered the pot, the quinoa cooked.  Lesson learned!

Meanwhile, I am having the remainder of this dish for lunch today, simply outstanding!

Deborah

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount per Serving
Calories: 184
Calories from Fat 45.0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
7%
Saturated Fat 0.49g
2%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 99.65mg
4%
Total Carbohydrate 26.38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 8.46g
33%
Sugars 3.39g
 
Protein 5.31g
3%

Est. Percent of Calories from:

Fat
9%
Carbs
57%
Protein
11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories need.

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Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

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Yay!  I am finally getting my world-famous Fish Taco recipe on the interweb-thingie! You know, that thing that a certain Billionaire said wouldn’t catch on?  I wonder what he thinks about that statement now?

Anyway, back to fish tacos….yum..yum..yum! Ramona ~ This is for you, so go ahead and share away!

This recipe is great when you need to whip up a dinner fairly fast, the only part that needs time to percolate (love that old fashioned term) is the salsa, it’s basically being pickled to develop the favours.  It is also fairly waist friendly when the chipotle sauce * is used in moderation,  for an even lighter option, check out the * tip at the bottom of the page.

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Chipotle Fish Tacos ala Deb!

Ingredients

1 Haddock fish filet per person (or any firm, white fish), sliced into 1″ chunks
2 Cups shredded iceburg lettuce
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced red or green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced radishes or jicama
1 Tbsp finely diced jalapeño
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (recipe below to make your own)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
1/4 tsp (or more to taste) of Chiptole Chile powder
3 Large whole wheat flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro leaves
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

1. At least 4 hours before serving, prepare the salsa by combining the radish (or jicama)   , peppers, onions and the juice of 1 lime.  Stir to combine, cover and keep refrigerated until time to assemble.

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2. Thinly slice the lettuce into a bowl, cover and chill until needed.

3. Prepare the Chipotle Mayo by combining the mayonnaise, chipotle chile powder and 1/2 tsp of the fresh lime juice.  Stir to combine then refrigerate until needed.

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4. In a frying pan set over med-high heat, add 1 Tbsp of Olive oil and sprinkle half the cajun seasoning all over the bottom of the pan.  Add fish and liberally sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the top side of the fish.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until fish starts to brown on the bottom, flip fish and cook until the bottoms start to brown.  Add remaining lime juice to pan and cook for another 2 minutes or so until the juice cooks off and the fish flakes easily with a fork.  Remove from heat.

To assemble Tacos

1. Warm tortillas by zapping in the microwave for 15 seconds.
2. Spread a tsp of chipotle mayo in the middle of each tortilla.
3. Divide shredded lettuce evenly among the 3 tortillas
4. Divide the salsa evenly among the 3 tortillas.
5. Divide the fish pieces evenly among the 3 tortillas.
6. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

We roll our tacos up burrito style, but these would also be good in hard corn tortilla shells but way messier!

Note ~ This makes 3 tacos ~ 1 for me and 2 for hubs,
so increase amounts for feeding more people.

* To lighten up the chipotle mayo, sub fat-free yogurt for the mayo.

Make your own Cajun Seasoning

In a mortar and pestle, combine the following ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

1 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp dried Oregano

We have ours with a large side salad, but these would also be great with a side of Mexican rice. Enjoy!

Deborah

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Not So Rainy Day Blues

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As the skies opened to overdue and highly welcomed rains on Friday morning (we have been in a drought of late) and the rain forecast for well into Saturday, the outdoor gardening tasks were wiped off the whiteboard for the weekend to be replaced by indoor ones.

Hubs had a passle of work planned for us in the crawlspace, but the deluge of rain meant the inevitable rise in water down under and within a couple hours, there was an inch of standing water in the front portion of the crawlspace.  He still managed quite a bit of work down there, but it wasn’t the weekend results he wanted.

For me, I could only help so much, so with a  lot of free time with no garden chores to do in the pouring rain, I settled into a quiet rythym with my Spin-Well spinning wheel finishing up a gradient yarn project that turned out exactly as envisioned.

My lovely daughter had given me 3 coloured rovings from KnitPicks for Christmas and after mulling over what to do with them, a plan emerged to spin half of each colour with itself and the other half with the next colour in line, blending one shade into the next creating a visually appealing colour run from light to dark.

Studio_20160711_095028_medium2Here they are sectioned out, ready to go with the first colour already spun.  Studio_20160815_100536And these are the final skeins of yarn, looking even better spun and plied than their bare state counterparts.

I have been cruising various knitting websites looking for the perfect pattern, hopefully one jumps out at me soon, meanwhile, I think I will leave these on display, like a bouquet of flowers, and at least yarn doesn’t wilt after a few days.

Happy knitting!

Deborah

 

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Strawberries and Spring Water

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Here in Canada, June is a special month.  It is when our strawberries come into season.  The short, and I mean a very short season lasting barely 3 weeks, weather depending.  So when the berries are ripe, people come en masse to pick their own or buy ready picked baskets and gorge themselves until there are no more.IMG_20160630_084240

The local berry farm is about a 10 minute drive away, down a dusty dirt road made dustier by road reconstruction along the way.  Arriving at the farm, I pull into the gravel lane and head over the front lawn which serves as the farms parking lot and back the car into a spot, immediately taking notice of several deer flies cruising around the side mirrors.  The only draw back to berry season are the deer flies…the things we must endure to get luscious, ripe berries.

I grab my floppy hat, 3 empty baskets and my trusty bug zapper.  I never go anywhere without it, otherwise you will soon be needing a blood infusion and headed down the laneway towards the strawberry fields.  There is a “bus” to take folks to and fro, but I prefer to walk (and swat) for some exercise.

Once I find where everyone else is picking, I quickly get to work filling up the baskets before the heat intensifies as well as the deer flies swarming.  In and out in about 30 minutes with 3 baskets of fresh, ripe, tasty morsels of summer.

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I head back to the entrance, pay for my goodies and hop back into the car.  On to the next stop on today’s to-do list, filling up 5 x 20 litre jugs of Spring water.  The natural Spring is a few kilometers from the berry patch and down yet another very dusty gravel road (so much for the car wash yesterday while at the dealership getting a tire fixed).  There are no signs for the Spring, just a hose coming out of the thick bush which, so I am told, is a mile or so back in.  I have no idea who owns the land or operates it, but we have been using this water source for the past 30 years, learning of its existence from the locals when we started coming up to the area before we purchased the homestead property.

As I drive along the dusty road, I slow the car down while approaching a farm that was built a few years ago, and not just any farm either.  We (ok, me) had been keeping tabs on what the owner was doing as he cleared the land of bush and started to fence in what looked like pastures.  My first thought was cattle as there are quite a few cattle farms in the area, but was I surprised one day when I came around the bend and saw alpacas!  Kismet, fate, whatever you call it, this fibre geek was thrilled to see these cute as all get out critters living so close to me.  One of these days I still have to go up the driveway and introduce myself to the owner, and maybe smuggle an alpaca into the car while there, but I digress, as I rounded the corner and slowed the car, there they were, freshly shorn and stuffing their faces full of grass.  I stopped the car, got out and took my phone out for a picture.  I whistled at them, trying to get them to look up, nope, heads down, they kept stuffing their faces.  Perhaps they are used to people driving by and whistling at them.

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I hopped back in the car just as a horsefly whizzed by my ear.  Summer is wonderful, but I sure could use a little less of the biting insects.

I headed down the road, arriving at the watering hole with no one else around.  If you try to get water on the weekends, there are cars lined up waiting, better to come during the week while it is quiet.  I turned the car around and pull up just in front of where the hose is.  As I turn the car off, I look at the side mirrors to see more deer flies swarming.  I popped the trunk lid, put my jacket on (even though it was 20C and getting warmer by the minute) pulling the hood up over my head, then I jammed my floppy beach hat on.  I may look like a total goob, but I wasn’t looking forward to getting bit on the back of the head which is where they like to for whatever reason.

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I step out of the car with trusty zapper in hand and immediately started swinging, perfecting my backhand and forehand and loop-de-looping-hand.  I start filling jugs, all the while, swatting.  After eliminating 5 or 6 of them, it quieted down and I was able to fill a couple jugs in peace.  Then another car pulled up, rats, for some reason, deer flies know cars = people and follow them.  Soon I was madly swinging the racket again.

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The fella stayed in his car until I was done, he wasn’t a newbie that’s for sure.  Once the jugs were filled and hauled out of the ditch and put in the trunk, I hopped back in the car sweating like crazy from having so much stuff on, pulling off the hat and peeling off the jacket and tossing it on the passenger seat.  There, done, time to get out of dodge before the flies pick the car up and carry it away.

I headed back to the homestead with the trunk full of jugs of Spring water and the inside of the car smelling like strawberries.  With the off-site to-do list done, I can get on with the rest of the chores, but first I must enjoy a dish of freshly picked berries.

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Deborah

 

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