Saturday, January 25, 2014

FLOUR!

I did it! I have flour made from 100% home grown wheat! On Thursday, Kesten and I headed out to our friends' house to grind my Blue Tinge Ethiopian Wheat down into flour (I still have to finish threshing and winnowing the Chinook Wheat). They have a juicer that has a grain mill attachment. 
 We had to pass the wheat berries through the grinder several times, adjusting it to grind the flour finer and finer through each passing.

 Finally it was finely ground and now it is ready to use! I plan on making some pasta from scratch with this batch (it isn't good bread flour) and eating it with the homemade, garden grown pasta sauce I made earlier in fall. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out. I'm almost scared to use it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Search of Trumpeter Swans

Yesterday after nap we headed down to the river to see if we could spy any Trumpeter Swans. Fort St. James is the most Northern location where they overwinter as our river doesn't freeze over. Usually when we have gone to the river, we see at least a few of them, but we had no luck yesterday. With our mild winter temperatures, the river is more open than usual, so the swans are more spread out. When we went last week, we saw a group of 8 or 9. Oh well, we'll have to keep searching.

 All was not lost for Kesten, though. He had so much fun watching the cars over the bridge that I had a hard time convincing him it was time to go home.

 With all 3 chickens laying eggs now, we wanted to try some different egg recipes. Frittatas, crustless quiche, and now creme brulee have all made an appearance in our kitchen. I've never had creme brulee before I made it yesterday. It was pretty rich. I'm not sure I'm a big fan or not. Next up is pavlova (to use the egg whites left over from the creme brulee).
 Also, I've made a new knitting pattern for a little newborn acorn hat. I kinda want to wait to post the pattern until I have a little newborn to model it on. We'll see.
And that's it for now! Freezing rain and fog are making for a yucky kind of day.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some Randomness

I have at least three recurring dream themes that get repeated often. One of these themes occurs in late winter/early spring. I always dream that I go swimming in a lake or ocean and it is unseasonable warm. These dreams are so great, like a mini vacation into summer. The second dream theme involves me returning to the place in Mexico where I lived for 6 months to see all my friends and the children from the orphanage (who are now teenagers!). The third dream involves me seeing a whale, often an Orca. The scene and scenario are always different, but the theme remains the same. It is such a thrilling dream and I am always disappointed when I wake up that it did not actually happen. I just really want to see an Orca in the wild. I've seen them in aquariums, and I've seen grey whales, dolphins, and even porpoises in the wild, but the Orca just seems to haunt my dreams. Do you have any recurring dream themes?

In other news, I've sewn a quilt top for the new baby, which my mom is going to sew a border and backing to. The theme of the room is yellow and dark browns. It is looking lovely so far!
 Kesten and I have been keen on finding animal tracks and identifying them in our book (which has become a favourite of Kesten's). This was a particularly HUGE track (just smaller than my outstretched hand) and although there are no visible claw marks, we think they are the tracks of our local wolf-dog. We just need some fresh snow now, so that we can do more tracking in the woods!
 And lastly, we've all been tired. Kesten actually fell asleep giving me a hug yesterday and I let him nap in my bed for a bit.
Now I should really consider going to bed early tonight. I'm far too tired, but sometimes that time to myself after the baby is in bed is just not enough.  Sigh.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Knitting!: Northern Whale Cowichan Sweater - Toddler's Cardigan

 Here it is!  have been so excited to share this pattern with you! It is my very first sweater pattern that I designed and drafted after reading a fantastic book that taught me how to make sweater patterns. There is only one size available -unfortunately I still don't know how to make patterns for multiple sizes. This sweater will likely fit a 2-3 year-old. My averaged sized 18 month old son is modelling it and it is quite large on him. He definitely has a lot of room to grow into it. I've provided measurements with the pattern, so go based off that. The pattern is posted below and I will also provide links for a file that you can download that is easier to print. I hope you enjoy!

































Northern Whale Cowichan Sweater – Toddler's Cardigan

Yarn: Briggs and Little Country Roving, 2 skeins in Light Grey (13), 1 skein in Dark Grey (11), and 1 skein in Snow White (100)
Needles: 6mm straight Needles, 5mm circular needles or whatever size needle to achieve the correct gauge
Gauge: 9st x 15rows = 4 inches squared in stockinette st with 6mm needles
Abbreviations:
k-knit
k2tog-knit two together
p-purl
p2tog-purl two together
rs-right side
ssk-slip, slip, knit
ssp-slip, slip, purl
st-stitches
ws-wrong side
yo-yarn over
Notions: 3 large buttons
Measurements:
14.5” wide
15.5” long
17” arm length (from shoulder to wrist)
29” circumference

Back
With 5mm needles, cast on 32 stitches in Light Grey.
Work 4 rows in k1, p1 ribbing
Switch to 6mm needles and work 4 rows in stockinette st, ending on a ws row.
Switch yarn to Snow White and begin the Colour Chart A for the Back (using Snow White and Dark Grey) for the next 22 rows.
Work armholes:
Switch to Light Grey yarn
Row 1: Bind off 1 stitch and knit to end of row
Row 2: Bind off 1 st and p to end
Row 3: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 4: p
Row 5: k
Row 6: p
Row 7: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 8: p
Row 9: k
Row 10: p
Row 11: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 12: p
Row 13: k
Row 14: p
Row 15: k
Row 16: p
Row 17: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 18: p
Row 19: k
Row 20: p
Row 21: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 22: p
Row 23: k
Row 24: p
Row 25: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1
Row 26: p
Row 27: k3, bind off 12 st, k3
Row 28: p and bind off remaining stitches (reattaching yarn at the other shoulder to complete this)


Right Front:
With 5mm, cast on 17 st in Light Grey
Work 4 rows of k1, p1 ribbing
Switch to 6mm needles and work 4 rows in stockinette st, ending on a ws row.
Switch to Snow White yarn and work the Colour Chart B for the Right Front (using Snow White and Dark Grey) for the next 22 rows.
Work the Armholes and Neck:
Switch to Light Grey yarn
Row 1: k
Row 2: bind off 1 st, purl to end (16st)
Row 3: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (15st)
Row 4: p
Row 5: k
Row 6: p
Row 7: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (14st)
Row 8: p
Row 9: k
Row 10: p
Row 11: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (13st)
Row 12: p
Row 13: k
Row 14: p
Row 15: k1, k2tog, k to end (12st)
Row 16: p
Row 17: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (10st)
Row 18: p
Row 19: k1, k2tog, k to end (9st)
Row 20: p
Row 21: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (7st)
Row 22: p
Row 23: k1, k2tog, k to end (6st)
Row 24: p
Row 25: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1 (4st)
Row 26: p
Row 27: k1, k2tog, k1 (3st)
Row 28: p
Bind off

Left Front:
With 5mm, cast on 17 st in Light Grey
Work 4 rows of k1, p1 ribbing
Switch to 6mm needles and work 4 rows in stockinette st, ending on a ws row.
Switch to Snow White yarn and work the Colour Chart C for the Left Front (using Snow White and Dark Grey) for the next 22 rows.
Work the Armholes and Neck:
Switch to Light Grey yarn
Row 1: Bind off 1 st, k to end (16st)
Row 2: p
Row 3: k1, k2tog, k to end (15st)
Row 4: p
Row 5: k
Row 6: p
Row 7: k1, k2tog, k to end (14st)
Row 8: p
Row 9: k
Row 10: p
Row 11: k1, k2tog, k to end (13st)
Row 12: p
Row 13: k
Row 14: p
Row 15: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (12st)
Row 16: p
Row 17: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (10st)
Row 18: p
Row 19: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (9st)
Row 20: p
Row 21: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (7st)
Row 22: p
Row 23: k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (6st)
Row 24: p
Row 25: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1 (4st)
Row 26: p
Row 27: k1, ssk, k1 (3st)
Row 28: p
Bind off

Sleeves:
With 5mm needles, cast on 16 st in Light Grey
Work 4 rows of k1, p1 ribbing
Switch to 6mm needles
Row 1: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (18st)
Row 2: p
Row 3: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (20st)
Row 4: p
Row 5: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (22st)
Row 6: p
Row 7: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (24st)
Row 8: p
Work sleeve Colour Chart D from rows 9 through 30 while continuing to increase as follows:
Row 9: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (26st)
Row 10: p
Row 11: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (28st)
Row 12: p
Row 13: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (30st)
Row 14: p
Row 15: k1, m1, k until 1 from end, m1, k1 (32st)
Row 16: p
Row 17: k
Row 18: p
Row 19: k
Row 20: p
Row 21: k
Row 22: p
Row 23: k
Row 24: p
Row 25: k
Row 26: p
Row 27: k
Row 28: p
Row 29: k
Row 30: p

Decrease for Sleeve Cap:
Switch to Light Grey yarn
Row 1: Bind off 1 stitch, k to end (31st)
Row 2: Bind off 1 stitch, p to end (30st)
Row 3: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (28st)
Row 4: p
Row 5: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (26st)
Row 6: p
Row 7: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (24st)
Row 8: p
Row 9: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (22st)
Row 10: p
Row 11: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (20st)
Row 12: p
Row 13: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (18st)
Row 14: p
Row 15: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (16st)
Row 16: p
Row 17: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (14st)
Row 18: p
Row 19: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (12st)
Row 20: p
Row 21: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (10st)
Row 22: p
Row 23: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (8st)
Row 24: p
Row 25: k1, k2tog, k until 3 from end, ssk, k1 (6st)
Row 26: p
Row 27: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1 (4st)
Row 28: p2tog, ssp (2st)
Bind off

Work another sleeve in the same manner.

Weave in ends, block and then sew shoulder seams, attach sleeves to fronts and backs, and sew up side seams. I recommend using an invisible weave stitch with one-half stitch allowance for all the seams (except the shoulders).

Front Bands and Shawl Collar
Using 5mm circular needles in Light Grey, pick up and knit 118 st around the right front, back neck, and left front as follows:
Right front to beginning of v-neck shaping pick up 33 st (3 for every 4 rows)
yo, pick up 14st along the right front of the v-neck
Pick up 20 st along the shoulders and back
Pick 14 st along the left front of v-neck, yo
Pick up 33 st down the left front (3 for every 4 rows)
Working in garter stitch, knit the band until it is 1 inch wide.

Working buttonholes
K3, and work a buttonhole in the following way:
Bring yarn to front, slip next stitch purlwise, bring yarn to back. *Slip the next st to the right needle and pull the second st over it and off the needle* Repeat from * to * 3 more times, for a total of 4 stitches. Slip the last st from the right needle back to the left needle and turn work. Move yarn to the back and * insert the right needle between the first two st on the left needle, draw up a loop (as if knitting) and place it on the left needle. (this is the cable method of casting on)* Repeat from * to * 4 more times for a total of 5 cast on stitches. Turn work. With the yarn in the back, slip the first st from the left needle onto the right needle and pass the extra cast-on stitch over it and off the needle.
K4, and work another buttonhole in the same manner.
K4, and work another buttonhole in the same manner.
K to the end of the row.
Continue knitting the band in garter st until it measures 1.5 inches wide. On the last ws row, place a marker (now called the second marker) after the first 33st on the left front (at the beginning of the v-neck shaping) and another (now called the first marker) before the last 33st on the right front (at the beginning of the v-neck shaping).

Shawl Collar Short Rows
Row 1: Work a rs row until 1 st before the second marker. Turn work in the following manner: Bring yarn to front. Slip the next st purlwise, bring yarn to back. Slip the same st back to left needle and pass the yarn to the front. Turn work. (Use this method for all the turns)
Row 2: Work a ws row until 1 st before the 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 3: K until 2 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 4: K until 2 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 5: K until 3 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 6: K until 3 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 7: K until 4 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 8: K until 4 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 9: K until 5 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 10: K until 5 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 11: K until 6 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 12: K until 6 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 13: K until 7 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 14: K until 7 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Row 15: K until 8 st before 2nd marker. Turn work.
Row 16: K until 8 st before 1st marker. Turn work.
Leaving a small tail to weave in, break yarn and slip stitches until the beginning of RS row (the bottom of the right front). Using 6mm needles, bind off all the stitches in the band and collar.
Weave in all ends.
Sew on 3 buttons on the left front corresponding to the buttonholes on the right front.

Your sweater is now finished! I hope the little one you are knitting for enjoys it!
Please let me know if you find any errors and I will correct them as soon as possible.

Download:






Sunday, January 12, 2014

Skiing Into Nothingness

We've had quite a bit of snow over the last few days which has completely covered up any sled tracks in the snow. We didn't know this starting out for our ski yesterday, and we ended up trying to blaze our own trail through the deep snow on the lake. It was eerily foggy too, which made it look like we were skiing towards the end of the Earth.
 At some spots it was so deep, I couldn't even see my skis as they were completely buried under the snow. We found some spots where the snow was hard packed beneath a smaller layer of powder and we tried to ski in those tracks as best we could.
 The going was hard and we turned back after not too long. It was more of a snowshoeing kind of day anyways.
 Back at home, Kesten took advantage of all the snow by sliding down our snowbanks.
 And boy, am I ever excited to share with you what I have been working on! I just finished it today, but I have to finish writing up the pattern and do a little photoshoot before and I can show you, but I am hoping sometime tomorrow or Tuesday! Eeee! I am really proud of this one!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January Snows

I used to really dread Winter. I think there is some primal fear that nags at us when the light starts fading and the days get colder. Will we make it through? Will it ever be warm and light again? And while there is still that old residual feeling, I am finding more and more that I am loving Winter and embracing it, like the rest of the year. It helps to have the right warm clothes and a newly discovered love for Winter sports and activities. And it helps to choose to like it. When you live in the North, our Winters give you a spirit of adventure. It's what sets us apart. It's also wonderful to watch my little boy enjoy it (never mind the amount of time it takes to get us both bundled up!) And another plus is that there is more downtime in the Winter, time to recharge, do crafts, snuggle up to watch movies (or Dr.Who!), read, and take naps. So all in all, I will no longer look upon Winter as a lost or wasted time of year, but I will embrace and enjoy it!

Like today! Mount Pope lit up beautifully this morning for a few minutes while we enjoyed our breakfast.
 Next we headed out for a snowshoe in the woods. I used my husband's snowshoes (since he is at work) and Kesten had to keep reminding me! "Dada's, Dada's!" What a nice difference it is to snowshoe with modern snowshoes, as opposed to the old wood and sinew ones that I used growing up! They don't have the same romantic quality that the old ones do, but you can't beat the mobility.
 I pulled Kesten behind me in his sled, as I stomped along.

 The freshly fallen snow on the trees made tunnels over the trail.
 We had to duck low under several spots just to get through the tunnels.
 We had fun looking for different animal tracks. Deer and rabbit tracks were in abundance. With all the tracks over the trail, it makes me think that the animals break out into a party as soon as we are out of sight!
That was our morning. We went out for a beautiful cross-country ski on the weekend and we have been going skating on the outdoor rink. Just a couple of things that make Winter fun for me.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Frittatas

The other day I found this yummy frittata recipe online when I was looking to make something with our eggs. We absolutely loved it and have been waiting for the chickens to lay enough eggs so we could make it again! Today was the day and not only did we use our own eggs, but we also used our own potatoes, garlic, onions, kale, and herbs.  


We seriously love this frittata recipe and Kesten gobbles it right up. Too bad we are out of potatoes from our garden now. We had to dig in the snow to get the kale and I don't think there is much more of that either. But it was nice to be fed almost entirely from our backyard in January.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Review of My 2013 Goals

I have yet to think up my goals for this coming year, so in the mean time, I'll review how well I did with my goals from last year.



Accomplished!
I made the run bigger and the surrounding garden. 
1. Expand the chicken coop and the chicken coop garden. I want a bigger run so that I can have maybe 4 or so chickens this year. More mouths to feed=more eggs needed! Also, I want to expand the garden around it, as it remains the most productive garden in our yard. I like that it is a mixture of flowers and  vegetables and herbs. Edible and ornamental!




Accomplished!
I got to use my incubator 3 times (twice for myself) and raised 11 chicks (only 3 of whom were hens). I now have three lovely hens in the backyard (only two who lay, the other one never has so far!)

2. Hatch some chicks and raise more chickens.


Accomplished!
I made loads and loads of jam this year! Rosehip jelly, mango chutney, dandelion petal jelly, wild raspberry jam, huckleberry jam, plum jam, and nectarine jam! I also made some sauerkraut and spaghetti sauce, and froze some vegetables from the garden.

3. Make some jam again! Last Summer I didn't end up making any, being too busy with our new baby and we have missed it all year! So this year I want to make my annual batch of nectarine jam, plus jams from local wild berries.


Mostly Accomplished
I made some dandelion syrup and dandelion petal jelly, but I had had plans to make dandelion cake and dandelion pancakes which I ran out of time for.
4.  I'd like to try making more dandelion recipes (I just ordered a book, Edible Garden Weeds of Canada !)


Accomplished!
I did get to drink some of my wine with various visitors this past year (but I had to cut that short when I got pregnant in August :). I also made another batch this Summer, which is still fermenting.
5. Drink some Dandelion Wine. I hope it turns out! I might try making another batch of it this year if it tastes any good!


Accomplished!
I successfully grew two varieties of wheat, harvested it and have threshed about 3/4. I still need to finish that and grind it into flour, hopefully before the new baby gets here!
6. The big project of the year: Grow some wheat!


Accomplished!
We headed out East and learned the art of maple syrup making from a true master. It was a wonderful experience! You can read about it here.
 7. Head out East to make some maple syrup. Isn't this a beautiful graphic?




Failed Horribly!
So, sad story here. Haha. I was diligently working away on my scarf, but getting more and more behind. Then I decided to use the history on the Weather Network to fill in all the temperatures I didn't record, from about March onwards. So I was working away at it, knitting the Summer months, writing down the temperatures for August, when I noticed that the lows were not getting anywhere close to the frosty temperatures we had been getting. Then I noticed the small print. I had been knitting the temperatures for Pearson Airport in Toronto, across the country, because the Weather Network didn't have the temperature history for our small town. They decided to put the temperature for a city 4 provinces away instead. So now I am not sure what to do. There is no recorded temperature history for our small town. Should I finish the year for Toronto? Should I give up and start again fresh this year? Although I know with a newborn and a toddler I won't have time to knit it everyday and I will likely forget to record the temperature... Oh dear. I feel that as the creator of this project, I should have made a scarf! haha. Oh dear, I am still deciding on what to do.
8. Knit my temperature scarf! (Sorry I can't get the image to flip, it is being very stubborn!) Everyday, I will knit one row in the colour corresponding to the day's high temperature (rounded to the nearest 5 degrees). At the end of the year, I should have a very colourful record of our temperatures. It will be neat to see!

And there we have it! On the whole, not too shabby. 
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