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Monday, January 5, 2015

Becoming More Cultured Here In The Foothills

That's right, we've added more culture to our lives and couldn't be happier about it.

But first, I've been crocheting and knitting a few scarves and wanted to let y'all know where to find the free patterns.  This one is crocheted and called the Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf.  You can make it long or short;  I chose to made this one short and used the same yarn the designer used, Red Heart Boutique in Tidal.

I had two skeins of the blues/greens yarn and really like it so I used it for the To Infinity And Beyond Scarf, also, and crocheted until it was six feet long then sewed the ends together.  Beware there are a few mistakes in the pattern, but the corrections are in the comments of the same post with the pattern.. For a better look at the lacy pattern and to see it worked in several different yarns just click on the link.

This little Aquafire cowl was a quick knit,

but what I like about it most...

 is the way it drapes and hangs like jewelry as shown below.
 Now for the culture.  I hope you weren't thinking I've finally gotten some class or something. o.O  No, we're talking fermenting here.  You may remember I've already blogged here about making sauerkraut and how wonderfully easy and fail-proof it is using this type of jar...

as it allows the gas to escape (see photo) but doesn't allow any bad bacteria to enter the jar.

Now, today I want to introduce you to a similar, tasty way of adding more probiotics (good bacteria for a healthy digestive system) to your diet without spending a lot of money on supplements.  And you can use a regular canning jar, too. It's easy, fun and an age old way of preserving vegetables.  And it's not a bit scary as some would have us think.

The simple fact is if it were not a safe method of preserving vegetables I probably wouldn't be here to tell you about it, and you wouldn't be here reading about it, either, because this method has been used for a loooong time.  It's ancient in fact and very likely that our ancestors used it.  This is the fermenting method using salt as the preservative.

For this batch I sliced carrots, cucumbers, radishes, cauliflower, and jalapeno peppers and packed them in the clean jar then covered them with brine (a mixture of 3 tablespoons sea salt to each quart of water).  I let the jar of vegetables set on the counter for 7 days to allow it to ferment.  After 7 days I put the jar in the refrigerator, and it will keep for several months...if it lasts that long.  They're very good and a nice break from cooked or completely raw vegetables.  The flavors meld together and are delicious, and this is a great way to use produce that might go to waste otherwise.
 For more details and specific directions for fermenting vegetables there are loads of articles if you just google the words: fermented vegetables.  Here are a couple of links to help you start your own journey to a healthier, more cultured lifestyle:   How to Ferment Vegetables: The Basic Culturing Process or Lacto-Fermented Pickled Vegetables

Have a great week, Y'all!
Shared at:  The Art of Home-making Mondays, Roses of Inspiration, Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Monday, November 3, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

My post today is my part of the Around the World Blog Hop.  I was invited to participate by Kay Pennington, a talented Special Ed. teacher in Bakersfield, California.  She blogs at Quilted Time Posts, one of my favorite blogs.  I started reading Kay's blog when I began learning to quilt just a few years ago. I was awed by the fabrics with vibrant colors and the techniques she uses to make her award winning art quilts.  They are very unique so it's always fun to follow as she progresses through the making of each one.  If you appreciate quilting I'm sure you'd enjoy her blog, too.
1.  What am I working on?
Once in awhile I run across a crochet pattern that screams "This is it!"  I really enjoy quick projects that come with a big dose of instant gratification, and this one has just that.  This free dishcloth pattern is quick, has lots of texture and actually looks something like its namesake. Zinnia.

The best part is they are useful. They can be used to wash dishes or as a washcloth.  They stack well and never need folding...yay!

Look at all that color and texture.  They look good just laying around, too.  It's a great pattern.  Go ahead, make your own fun stack of cloths.

The colors I used for the cloths were inspired by this photo.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Actually, questions like this never cross my mind.  I just make whatever I like.  Remember these dryer balls?  :))

3.  Why do I create what I do?
My projects either make me happy or are useful in some way.
Dyeing yarn for one of the cloths.
4.  How does my creating process work?
It varies with the project.  Sometimes I use patterns, other times I just wing it.
Speaking of winging it, yesterday Goodman and I visited a birding park in our area.
More info on the park here.

Here's a photo of the barn at the entrance replete with a bluebird barn quilt.  Love that barn quilt.

Monday, November 10, Tanya Breese who blogs at Around Roanoke will continue the blog hop.  She has a daily photo blog that features beautiful pictures that range from nostalgic to what's-happening-right-now.  I hope you'll visit her blog and see what she has to offer on Monday.
Have a great week, Y'all!
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The Backyard Farming Connection, Good Fences

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In the Garden and A Quick Handknit

We are vacillating between chilly and summer-like weather here in the foothills.  Winter usually sets in here sometime in December. This is bee balm that bloomed in June.
Bergamot, bee balm, horsemint are all names for Monarda didyma
I've been piddling in the garden beds a bit and gathering herbs for wintertime use.  This is the common herb mullein that I dry then use as a remedy for chest colds and coughs in general.  It works - true story below...

Several years ago Goodman and I both had the flu at the same time. It was rough to say the least and ended with really bad congestion and a wracking, seemingly endless cough.  A Cherokee friend told me that Native Americans had used wild mullein for centuries to help rid themselves of lung congestion.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
I had some on hand, so I immediately brewed us a batch of tea and added honey and lemon for flavor. Even though he was coughing his head off Goodman was doubtful it could help and wouldn't try it. A few days later he had to see a doctor and take a round of antibiotics. Ahem, I did not. ;)  Within hours I was better, and the cough was gone completely in a few days.  I'm convinced it's an uncommonly good herb to have on hand.  Nowadays, we both have a cup or two of mullein tea when we get a bad cough. I use 1-2 teaspoons of dried mullein per 8 ozs. of boiling water, let it steep for 15 minutes then add honey and lemon to taste.  Disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor so see your physician for any serious medical condition.
Sidenote:  The leaves of the mullein plant are large and very soft;  hence another name for mullein is Cowboy Toilet Paper - just sayin'.  o.O

I found a silly fox in my strawberry bed...

It somehow escaped from the hangin' tree in the backyard.  (Okay, it didn't really escape.)  If you'd like a quick-to-knit, fun scarf pattern, this one is it.  The free pattern is here.  Just scroll down the page at the site for the English version.

The June-bearing strawberry bed that I started anew back in the spring produced over eighty runners! (Yeah, I counted 'em, lol.)   I've rooted and potted some of them to make a few more beds for next year.  

We planted carrots this year for the first time.  Gardening experts say keeping the seeds moist for the first few weeks to a month is the key to germination.  I did that and, lo, they are growing.  I let them get to the size you see here then planted garlic between the rows of carrots.  By the time the garlic needs more room the carrots will be long gone giving them plenty of room to grow next season.

Okay, that's a wrap for this week in the foothills.  Leaving you with a photo of the cool split rail fence at the entrance of Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Talk to you soon the Good Lord willin'.

p.s.  Next Monday I'll be participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  If you're not already committed and would like to participate please let me know, and I'll send you an invitation.
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays,  Good Fences, FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop