Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Down to the Last Beet

Well, I have tried every trick I can find to rotate this photo upright, but it isn't moving.  Please stand up from you chair, move one step to the right and tilt your head 90 degrees to the left.
   Behold!  Shannon is holding the last beet in our seemingly never-ending journey to the 6900th jar of pickled beets & strawberries!  The time was about 1:30, just before the p.m. crew came in, happy to see that they were done peeling beets for at least the next few months.  If you've never peeled a beet, you don't know that their skins are tough and dirty.  It's hard on your hands and, as you can see by Shannon's gloves,  a purple, messy ordeal.  
  By the time I finish this post, Melanie and Karl should be well into processing the last of the jars.  We needed 333 at the start of the day, which is right around what I expect them to finish tonight.  There are enough beets brining to give Shannon and I another few hundred to make tomorrow.  Then, the celebratory potluck will be on Friday!
  We are all a bit sad to be losing our temporary helpers, Shannon and Karl, but we all still work on the same farm and can visit without pickling together.  I have Melanie's and my production P.B. (post beet) scheduled for the next few weeks, including 500 more jars of granola and 250 jars of barbecue sauce.
  Christmas is almost here!  I can't believe I'm all done shopping, everything is mailed, nothing left to do but enjoy the rest of the season.  I hope you all have a wonderful, possibly white Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Busman's Holiday

Today was chilly, windy and in the morning, cloudy.  A perfect day to completely cover every square inch of counter space I have with flour, eggs, butter and lots of other baking detritus.  My sister is always bugging me to make her cookies, but I never do.  They never taste as good two days after they're baked!  But this year, I was at a loss as to what else to give her, so I made some.  Lots of them, actually.  I made peanut butter blossoms with Hershey's kisses in the centers, marmalade cookies with tangerine glaze, butternut squash-walnut cookies, cranberry-walnut-orange bread and mincemeat coffee cakes. Those of you who were at the Clinch Valley Handweavers' Guild Christmas party yesterday tasted the lovely mincemeat coffee cake that Ginny Shaner brought.  I emailed her this morning and asked for the recipe.  Instead of the brown sugar glaze she used, I used up the remaining tangerine glaze, and also made some lemon glaze.  My mincemeat has a lot of candied lemon, orange and grapefruit zest in it, since I made it, so the glazes should be good with it.  

 And what would my Sunday be without bread?  I made some sourdough bread today, using only sourdough as the leavening.  I'm not always brave enough to try it without adding yeast, but I had all day today for it to rise three times, and it came out fine.  The crumb structure was more dense than I wanted, but the sour taste with the white whole wheat was lovely with leftover chili.  
  Everything is wrapped and jarred and cleaned up. The gifts are ready to give out in the coming week. Everyone have a sweet week! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is what greeted me this morning as I ventured out to work.  After not being able to walk down my sidewalk to my car, I made the necessary text messages, phone calls and emails to let everyone know I was coming in to work late, and not in a ditch somewhere.
  The ice on some things is pretty, viewed through the gray light of morning.  My new crepe myrtle and the two year old red bud are doing fine, so far, and look quite picturesque.

  Not faring quite so well are the butterfly bush and the beautiful, brave little dogwood.  I actually screamed a little scream when I saw the dogwood, the first damage I noticed from the ice storm.  I don't know if I should try to knock the ice off, or if it will be more fragile now than if I let it warm up a bit first.  It breaks my heart to see it bent over like that!  I put the stakes on either side of it when I planted, but then read how staking trees is not the norm anymore, and in fact, discouraged.  I see now I should have gone ahead and tied it to the stakes.

As is normal for this part of the country, all schools are closed, and the roads are treacherous, so I will sit tight until nine this morning.  My job doesn't involve the guests in the hotel, so it's not as important that I'm there as it used to be.  There are, however, 1692 jars of pickled beets & strawberries left to go, and I so want to get them done by next week!  Not worth risking my life for, but oh!  How I want to make something else!
  If you're in the ice storm area, be careful out there!

Update:  I got within five miles of the farm and turned around.  It's melting here in Knoxville, but it was getting icier and colder, the farther I went into the mountains--duh!--so I decided to come back  home.  Stay warm!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are You KIDDING Me???

So, I was weaving along, happy as a clam, giggling to myself as the pattern progressed, until... Do you notice how the left side of the yellow is wider than the right side?  Remember when I had to wind more threads?  Yeah, I didn't need to.  I just miscounted the left side of the design, as I threaded right to left.

And here is where I am now:  cut threads, getting ready to pull out the offending extra threads and shift the whole side over.  I think it's nap time, don't you?

What's Going On?

  I have no photos to post this week for this blog, but if you go to today, you can read what I've been up to today.
  Other than weaving, I've been busy at work, making pickled beets & strawberries.  We finished the 6852 jars of peanut butter in 8 days--my staff is amazing!--and got back into the pickling business.  It's going slowly, but we do have over 4000 jars done.  The goal is 6900, which I wanted to hit before Christmas, but I just don't know if it's going to be possible.
  I spent yesterday teaching a friend to make bread, but didn't take photos.  It was really fun, but made me realize how small my kitchen is.  We had a good time, though, and lots of bread was made.
  Back to the loom!  Have a great week!