I learned something about rag rugs.

I learned something about rag rugs.  They take a long time to do.
And smaller is not better.

I cut all of the first strips about a half inch wide.  I was surprised at how long the strip-cutting took, too, as I patiently worked beside the fire pit cutting long continuous strips out of my rag bag.  The braiding was the fastest step of all, and very satisfying- somehow even the ugliest fabric looks really cool braided against complementary colours.  However, all the work I did to make the strips long and continuous was pointless, because long strips just tangle and fray the more they’re handled.  Short workable strips worked in are the way to go.  And then, the sewing.  That’s where I really learned to start wide at the very beginning.   The tinier the little braids are, the more sewing there is.  I hand-whipped the braid all together in a back and forth rectangle.  The end result is beautiful, but small and not very thick.  It would actually make a really pretty placemat.  My second rug was more respectable, but it could be thicker again.

Tips for rag rugs- start large.  A good two or three inches wide for the rag strips at the beginning would make a respectable gauge of braid.  Always keep one of the strands under two feet long during braiding.  And whip tight.  The braids have lots of flex in them and stretch out to shape nicely.

Phew

Survived the move.  The last couple days of moving were terribly hard, and the two after driving away passed in a daze of aftershock.  An awful lot to do in the days after, so I couldn’t just collapse into a three day nap, although life is much simpler in a 14’ camper.

Two days left to move.

Did a tiny batch of canning today with the last hours of stove ownership.  Gorgeously blood red plums and some pears, although found peeling the green pears terribly tedious.

Kevin showed her first signs of alarm when the fridge left.  I got the WTF meows and tail-twitching suspicious staring at the place where the fridge was.  I was surprised at this.  Whole house has been in furious uproar for weeks and whole rooms are totally emptied.  Even her favorite recliner got taken away, but no, it’s the fridge’s disappearance that gets noticed.  She doesn’t even get fed out of it.  She just sits in front of the door and gets whacked with it several times a day.

And so: a moment of humour.  I didn’t do it!  I just walked in and saw this and tried to get the picture before I died laughing.  She’s still sound asleep in the After picture.

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After.
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Before.

Organization glory

How daunting, overwhelming, and energetically crushing is the sight of a jumbled heap of “stuff” that is patently un-useful unless it is united with others of its kind (loaded bobbins, batteries, etc).  For instance, I never think, “I really need a blue Sharpie.  I’m gonna look in that shoebox of half-finished sudokus, mixed tapes, and not-quite-empty vitamin bottles that’s in the back of the closet.”   No, I’m gonna look in the box of office supplies, and if the blue Sharpie hasn’t found its multi-coloured cousins there, it’s SOL.

Packing continues.

This means, hauling out those dusty embarrassing boxes of junk compilations that provoke soul-searching questions like “What was wrong with me that I sheltered this in my valuable mortgaged home for years?” and returning the pens that still work, the profligate hair elastics, and the errant sewing notions to their proper locations.

And that, it turns out, is shockingly satisfying.  Continue reading Organization glory

Knee surgery

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This blackberry climbs the house with determination EVERY year. Even though it’s beautiful, I think it might damage the roof. Each spring and fall, we rip it all down, redirect it over its approved trellis, but no. The roof is the place to be.

Personally I’m sick to death of the saga of my knee, three major surgeries and a couple minors later, but anyways, an update.

Recovery from this, most major invasion, in which surgeon addressed about 5 different malfunctioning aspects of my damaged joint, is very, very slow.

Upsides: previously unimagined hours spent online, sleep requirements upwards of 12 hours/day, getting waited on and told to stay still.  Downsides: dizziness rising from prolonged inactivity, loss of muscle tone, and limited activity, to say the least.

I feel like I’m melting away, getting so small, but fitting my tiniest clothes is a small consolation for no longer being able to protect myself from a hummingbird.

I can do almost no strengthening yet bc of trauma and swelling, and this last week it’s developed a very alarming new locking-randomly-with-pain-when-attempt-straightening feature.  Not a meniscus thing, but a strange new tissue/muscle thing (I can tell these things by now).  So the hot, heavy foam brace is back on and I stump around like Quasimoto and can be quite effective.  For about four hours.

Unfortunately, this recovery coincides with harvest, summertime, and a moving deadline.  The vacancy date looms, but  it looks like we’ll manage.

Cat contentment

Shouldn’t have worried about Kevin coping with the move.  What with all the shuttling of boxes and stuff, the removal of furniture including her favorite chair, and the general furor, I thought she might feel insecure and fear being abandoned.

In fact, she’s actually become more content.  I suppose these days more closely resemble the construction zone atmosphere prevalent in the last 6 years (which she was quite at home with), than the rigid and sterile home-on-display-for-sale stasis of the past 6 months (which caused much confused querulous meowing: “What, no power tools?  Too quiet around here.”).

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...caught in the act of licking her lips, too

And heaven-above, during moving time, are there BOXES!  Boxes everywhere, boxes galore, boxes of all sizes to try out, new ones added daily!  Box pictured, offering ample stretching capacity, great views of food and water dishes, and overlooking possible fridge door openings, has clearly been “favorited”, so no chance of actually using it for packing.

We’ll probably carry her from the house in it.

It’s zucchini season!

Every year, there’s that time in August when everyone you know asks if you can use any more zucchini, and then lays one on you the size of two footballs.  We did not plant any zukes this year, leaving command of the garden to various squash, which preserve better.

CIMG9903I forgot to take a picture until after using 2/3 of the largest one (seen cut), and a preceding zucchini equalling that size, which has already been turned into muffins.  Muffins are my preferred method of making zucchini edible.  You can’t hide something that size in a salad.  Production is well into the hundreds of muffins made so far, many of which enjoy freezer cryostasis atm.  While plundering local egg resources, I’ve also been using up lots of old rye flour and cocoa in the same swoop – how I accumulated so much cocoa powder is a mystery.

This is the best zucchini muffin recipe I’ve found.  Note- high zucchini to egg ratio, and you can get more zucchini in there than it calls for, too.  Easy combining – I prefer “throw it all in a bowl” instructions to mincing around with delicate arcane techniques like “sifting” and “folding”.  Folding is for bath towels!  And very flexible.  Have added sunflower seeds, pine nuts, cocoa, coconut, oil vs butter, fake eggs, dates, milk, apples, and almonds as they came to hand, and the muffins still work.

A succulence of tomatoes

CIMG9905This is my favorite way to eat tomatoes, en masse!  Wedged, drenched (or is that, “dredged”?) in fresh ground black pepper and swept with sea salt.  Meow!  Definitely can’t stop at just one.  Like spoonfuls of creamed honey direct from the bucket when I was little, I can go through tomatoes like this until I feel ill.

Today my big mission, considering my current limitations, was staking the late tomatoes- the second round of starts that are just showing their first fruits.  I gave the early tomates some love too- doses of organic fertilizer all around.
Most of my tomatoes are in pots but the one with free roots in the garden is eNORMous, with over a dozen thick stems loaded with giant fruit.

I wasn’t fast enough with the camera, but I watched a happy jay pull a peanut out of a tomato pot I hadn’t reached yet. I hope he was surprised as I was.  There were no peanuts in there when I planted!  Mayhap the jay was plundering a squirrel stash.

Happy about living naturally