Monday, January 25, 2016

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This week's CSA box has greens, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, daikon, turnips or rutabagas, carrots or beets, squash, onions, garlic.

Field Notes.  Well, Planting continues for the winter mixes.  Ken has finished his germination - growing cabinet.  He has worked with heat mats and windows for years, and now he hopes this cabinet will solve the variables in temperature, humidity and light.

This month I sort seeds and also at the end of this month or start of February Ken starts full season crops like onions and celery and celery root.

From the Kitchen.  During the cold weather we had the wood stove and cook stove going a good part of the day, so it was time for baking and slow cooking. Baked roasts with roasted vegetables, or braised pot roasts on the cook stove with vegetables.  I also pulled some blemished winter tomatoes an made a sauce for pasta and also soup.

Cabbage is such a versatile vegetable.  I cut a head and use part for one meal and more for the next day.  Some of our favorites - Save the bacon fat, fry onion, saute the cabbage and add an interesting vinegar like sherry or balsamic.  Saute onion, add cabbage add a little flour and some milk for creamed cabbage.  I also add cabbage to soups and stews a few minutes before serving.

Pottery - So Many Steps! Finishing Casseroles

Making a pot takes many steps.  Most people think of someone sitting at a potter's wheel throwing or turning a piece of clay.  That is only one step of many - the most photogenic and dramatic part of forming a pot.

Of course there is mixing and wedging clay before sitting at the wheel.  And After forming a pot there are more steps before the pot is fired.  When Ken makes casseroles, there is not only throwing bottom and lid, but also trimming bottom and lid

And then after fitting lids, there are handles on the bottom 

and a handle on the top

And at some point I always say, "Keppers, Get a handle on it!"

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weaving - Slow Progress

Well!  This year I have taken some time to repair wear and tear on the fabric aprons on both looms.  First the one downstairs with a long sectional warp that I have been weaving various denim combinations the last couple years.

Then I repaired the apron on the upstairs loom.  And then I got warp on that loom - probably only enough for a couple rugs.   was using up the warp I had used during a Scandinavian Weaving class I took a couple years ago.  It is a heavier natural warp.  I also tried some new techniques I learned in that class.  Although I made a few mistake, It did go more smoothly.  Thanks to Ken!  It goes so much more smoothly and quickly with three hands.

First I put the warp on lease sticks.

Then I spread it out on a raddle.

Then I threaded the heddles.

Then I switched reeds and sleyed the reed.

Finally I tied on and wove some old t-shirt fabric to spread the warp.  Ready to go.

Then I returned downstairs and started weaving - only to find a problem so I had to take out and fix.

Now I am ready to go!  On both looms!

Ken in the studio

Ken usually makes pottery during the winter.  This year he is teaching pottery classes on Saturday mornings.  

After the class and during the week before the next class Ken returns to the studio and makes pottery.  this week he made casseroles.

And more casseroles.

Then he made lids.

Once they were done he got them under plastic so they could dry evenly

Pottery Studio in January

Ken has been in the studio - He started pottery classes on January 9th and will continue through February.  First week we had some fun pinch and coil pots.  

After class Ken went to the studio and made two large coil pots.

Then week two students learned slab and we had more pots.  

Ken made cups one morning this week.

This week students worked on the wheels and some got "keepers!"

Saturday afternoon Ken returned to the studio and made casseroles and then lids.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This week's CSA box has greens, cabbage, onions, garlic, winter squash, winter tomatoes, potatoes, daikon radish, carrots or beets, and parsley

Field Notes What an interesting season!  After a warm fall and grey December we have moved into the deep cold of winter.  This signals the end of harvest in the greenhouse.  Ken is planting for winter salad mixes  - shoots leaves and sprouts.  He has been working on a germination and growing cabinet as our grey December affects size of greens.

Seeds are ordered and have arrived.  Soon Ken will planting onions for early transplanting.  We have been making plans for next season as well.  We try to plant enough, but not too much.  Each season's weather varies so often size of crops also varies.  Two years ago the onions were small and this year the onions are larger,

From the Kitchen.  Ah. winter!  We include micro and mini greens in the winter boxes.  With short days and long nights and the cold, growth is dramatically slower than spring through fall.  So, although the volume of greens is smaller now, the nutrition is great - all that seed's energy is in the green - a power house of nutrition.  I add leaves and grated roots like carrots, radishes and celery root for a mixed salad.

Winter squash is a mainstay of our January diet.  I cut and remove seeds and cook either on stove or oven.  First meal is hot with butter and then I peel and save for warming in butter or sesame oil or  even a bit of curry.  Then Ken might use some for a pie or I might make squash bread or cookies.  And then it is squash soup - nothing better!

'Til January 27th, Judith

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weaving Season Begins!

Each year I do the tax preparations and the seed order and other paper work and then I reward myself with weaving!

This year I had some warp left on the sectional warp beam on the loom on the main floor. I had a repair job to do before I could start weaving.  Last year when I had woven enough to start winding the rug on the cloth beam there was a rip  in the apron on the cloth beam that just kept going.  I did a quick patch, but the fabric of the apron had begun to disintegrate.  

So, rather than patch the patch, I got a piece of canvas from Ken and seamed up a new apron. 

Today I had the chance to tie the warp to the new apron.  Here is a photo of the sectional warp beam - where the warp unwinds.

Here is the new apron with warp on it 

And here is the start of weaving - a bit of old t - shirt to spread and even out the warp.

The loom upstairs is not warped.

But before I warp up that loom I want to repair that apron on the cloth beam as well.  Years ago I tried using grommets in the apron on the cloth beam, but they ripped badly.  I will do what I did downstairs - a few seams to form a casing for a rod so the tension is more evenly distributed.  I saw this on a loom at a class a couple years ago.  My old looms were not set up that way when I got them, but it seems like a very good system!

Next photos will be of rugs in progress!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pottery Season Begins!

After a long, warm autumn, Ken has cleared and cleaned the pottery studio.  Today was the first day of pottery classes.  After they left, Ken wrapped up some tasks, did evening chores and headed to the studio.

He is making a coil pot on one of the kick wheels.  He rolls out coils

Then he places them close to the pot.

He then runs a toothbrush with slip on the top of the last coil on the pot, and then he adds a new coil.

He pushes it down into the coil below so the fit is tight

Ken keeps adding coils 

The pot gets taller

Ken smooths the outside as he goes.  The pot is taking shape!

And here it is!

Here is the start of the second pot - doesn't look like much yet!

Ken starts pot number two - he makes it look easy.