Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This week's CSA box has greens, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots rutabaga, turnips, onions, garlic and parsley

Field Notes.  Ken is watching the temperature in the greenhouses, and will be starting seeds to transplant and planting soon. The full season onions red, storage, Walla Walla and leeks are up.  Each year they amaze me as they pop up bent and then spring open like a chorus line!  This year we had poor germination on one variety - the seed company is sending us a new packet from a different lot

We are going to be part of a UW trialing open pollinated varieties.  We await the arrival of seeds.

From the Kitchen.  Monday was a full moon and we culled some poultry - a tom turkey, two geese and some larger cockerels and older chickens.  Today we had the first meal of the turkey stuffed with sauerkraut.  On the side mashed potatoes, squash, and a green salad.  This is what local eating can look like year around!  
The turkey is large enough we will have meals of pot pie with vegetables, soup and stew and a la king as well.  Most of the root vegetables are the culls from root cellar harvest today.  This includes a winter squash with a blemish, an odd shaped pair of potatoes, crooked carrots, one or two turnips and rutabagas, and onions that are staring to sprout. 

'Til March 9th, Judith

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Rug Weaving Progress

I am working on two projects on two looms.  

Downstairs on the main floor I am weaving denim and over dyed denim with a warp of deep saturated colors.  
I am at about five feet today.

Upstairs I am using up two different warp fibers and trying something new to me - weaving woven wool. These are old blankets and coat lining

Bowls Next

Yesterday Ken was making bowls - what he calls soup bowls.  He measures out clay and forms balls

Then he centers the ball of clay.  
Next he goes down in the middle.  
Then he brings up the sides.  
Then he shapes the bowl
Then he finishes the edge with a piece of chamois
He cuts it off with a wire 

and sets the bowl on a bat on a ware board.

Then when the bowls dry enough, he trims the foot of each bowl
He puts the bowl on the wheel and anchors it with clay.
He establishes the outside of the foot.
He establishes the interior of the foot
He trims the bottom of the bowl from the center out to the foot
He smooths the foot
And sets the bowl on a ware board.  then he moves the ware boards to a cabinet.  

If needed he covers pots in the cabinet with plastic to control humidity

Once he has trimmed all the bowls, he lets them firm up for a few hours and then signs each bowl

Friday, February 12, 2016

Plates, Plates, Plates!

Ken is one of few potters who make plates.  They require a lot of kiln space, sometimes they warp, sometimes they crack, he could fit several pots in the space of one or two plates ... So why does he do it?

Ken is committed to making useful functional pottery.  And  he spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday getting his plates trimmed, signed, and moved.  Then Friday evening he will clean the studio and get ready for his class tomorrow morning

Trimming is a multi step process.  first Ken trims the outside of the foot.

Then he defines the inside of the foot.

He trims from the center out to the foot

And he uses a rubber tool to smooth out the bottom of the plate

Lots of steps making plates

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This CSA box has potatoes, tomatoes, salad and braising greens, cabbage, carrots, celery root, rutabaga, radish, turnip and parsley

Field Notes.  Exciting news here.  Last harvest day Ken went up to a meeting in Superior.  We will be participating in some U W Extension variety trials with an emphasis on organic - non-pesticide production!  This is the first time any one involved could remember funds specifically targeted at this type of project!  We will trial several varieties and have access to results of all the participating farms.

Ken has started planting full season crops with the onion family.  Soon our germination cabinet will be over flowing and then all the large windows!  Ken has been monitoring the greenhouses and once they are warm enough he will be planting there as well

From the Kitchen.  This seems to be soup season.  All the culled vegetables from the root cellar go into soups or sauteed medleys.  First beef barley soup with turnips, rutabagas, carrots, red onions and some soup stock and tomato juice.  Then Ken made a delightful curried squash - pumpkin soup from a Penzey's recipe.  

I have been doing a medley of vegetables - I start with a red onion in some oil or butter, add julienned carrots, then daikon or turnip, and top with some sliced cabbage or braising greens.  Then I decide what topping goes best with the rest of the meal.  For example I would do a cream sauce if I were serving a spicy acid tomato beef as main course, but would do an interesting balsamic or sherry vinegar with a creamy chicken main dish.

'Til February 24th, Judith  - and Big Red looking in at the winter greens

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weaving Upstairs and Downstairs Progress

After repairing the aprons on the cloth beams on the two rug looms, I tied up the sectional warp on the main floor and started weaving denim for a couple of rugs that were ordered since I last was weaving

I am doing darker denim with hit and miss over dyed denim  - how I use up the faded denim

Then I warped up the loom upstairs and started a rug from old wool blankets.  Wool packs more easily than denim.  

This loom has light later in the day and it also has a seat, so it is a good way to end the day!

Making Pitchers and Honey Pots

Ken has been finishing up the pitchers and honey pots - sugar bowls.

After he throws them, he sets them aside so they can dry up a bit and firm up.  

Then he trims the bottom of each pot, 

and he also trims any lids.

Then he makes handles

And puts the handles on the pots first the top of the handle

and then the bottom of the handle

Lots of steps to get this far and more to go before they are finished!