Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In a jam

The mountain is wooded, and because it's so shady, i haven't ever managed much in the way of a garden.  But this time of year, the mountain gives me berries: first black raspberries, then wineberries (invasive, but at least they're tasty - i'll do my part to keep them from reseeding), then blackberries.
The black raspberries - my favorite - are in now.  There aren't that many canes, so i particularly treasure what i get.  These are right in front of my house - i also venture as far as the sides of the road down by the mailbox.  When the wineberries are in, i'll have gallons and gallons of berries, but i only managed a quart and a half, maybe two, of the black raspberries.  I resisted the urge to eat them, one at a time, paired with chocolate chips.  I saved them for jam.  The jam is fine as jam, of course, but it's also really excellent as a flavoring for ice cream (with chocolate chips, naturally) - but that's a post for another day...

Today was the day for the first batch of jam for the year.  First, i sorted and rinsed the berries.  Gorgeous little things, aren't they?  I fished out the mulberries that i'd tossed in when i didn't have a separate container.  The mulberries will probably be squeezed for juice, and i'll add that in with the mixed berry jam i'll do later...

Then it's time to mash the berries (always a little bit discouraging, because you loose so much volume - but the colors are just wonderful) and add the sugar.  Jam season is rough on the supplies of sugar - probably time to go see if Costco still has the giant bags of organic sugar...

I'll likely freeze a few berries for baking and such, but it's awfully nice to know i can have fruit sitting on the shelf and not worry about space in the freezer (which is often full of beef, since we buy from a local farm) or power failures in bad weather.  So i have a few little jars, some of which may get given as gifts, and some of which will probably be hoarded until next year's berries are almost in sight... but i'll have a little taste of summer on my shelf!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Field test

Last night, we played for the Twilight Garden Walk at Surreybrooke - we've done it for a few years now, and while it's not exactly a big source of income, it's a nice, laid-back gig, and an awfully pretty spot, with lots of friends playing nearby.  Theory & Practice played a set, but before that, the spouse played a set of (mostly) mid-19th century tunes with a new band - and a new (old) fiddle - here he is with the junk shop fiddle from the last post, fixed up and put into a G cross-tuning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuning up

(AKA "Coming attractions for Pressing Needs")

So this week, i'm trying to juggle making new designs for the new shop, getting ready for a music gig next weekend, and, oh yes, dealing with Lyme disease...

What with all this, i haven't been quite as productive as i'd like, but i did manage to carve this new block today, and make an initial run of prints:
 It's the scroll of a fiddle - that part (i hope!) is obvious - but this particular fiddle is one i found at a local junk shop, and i stopped to have a look at it because it appeared to be basically sound, and because it always amuses me to see the ridiculous prices on battered instruments that just aren't that uncommon or valuable.  To my undying amazement, though, they only wanted $25 for this one.  I checked it for cracks, bad repairs, any sort of serious damage, and didn't find any, so i rang up the spouse (who's the fiddler in the household - i pretty much stick to winds) and asked if i should bring it home.

After a little care and feeding, it turns out to have a fairly decent sound; it was probably made in France in the early years of the 20th century.  With factory-produced instruments of that period, you get some that are junk and some that are really quite nice; at any rate, it's not a bad price for a spare fiddle.

My favorite thing about it?  The tuning pegs.  Between the four of them, there are three different styles of peg, at least one of which appears to be a hand-carved replacement.  The tailpiece made out of something very much like Bakelite is a close second, though...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's hot.

Too hot for a proper blog post.  I'll let Hellion explain visually:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coming attractions

A quick peek at a few highlights from the batch of patterns i'm getting ready to list at Fripperie:

Sometimes the art is half the fun - e.g., the ubiquitous tobacco use on the men's pattern - and sometimes it's pure retro fashion fabulousness.  Are those not just about the cutest maternity tops you've ever seen?  The 1942 housecoat from Advance makes housework seem oh-so-glamorous!  And that '60s dress with the raglan sleeves... i can imagine my mother having sewn that one (the lines are similar to dresses she made that eventually ended up in my closet).

[Don't ask me why Blogger is doing random things with the spacing of the photos... i fought with it for hours, and this was the best i could get it to do.  Guess i need to learn to be more comfortable with editing the HTML; maybe then i can bend it to my will...]

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Here's Miata - she's a 25 year old Chicoteague pony mare, and here she's in the last straggly stages of her winter coat, and has had a wonderful time getting covered in mud:
When she gets through shedding (and the mud's brushed off), she's a palomino paint with the most gorgeous dark copper (dappled!) spots.  I've looked after her since she was eight, and owned her since she was ten.  She's shed out now, so i'll see if i can't catch a good picture of her when she's actually clean, so you can compare.