Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Beaniest Month

We had our Little Looms Weaving Group Holiday Potluck at the beginning of the month and I have been obsessing about beans ever since.

Julie L. brought a beautiful dish with large beans, "It's just Cassoulet". I've never had it, never heard of it, and went back for seconds.

Four days later I was giving Cannellini beans an overnight soak and ordering three Holiday 2023 Gift boxes from Rancho Gordo. One box was for me and, yes, I did add my name to the Rancho Gordo Bean Club Waitlist. (The Waitlist is super long but it's surprising how quickly three or four years goes by.)



To the pot of Cannellini beans I added The Man's halibut, kale, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, loosely following this recipe minus the shrimp and the spices.

Red Kidney beans for Chili. Dried beans cooked in the Instant Pot. Presoaked 6hrs: 7 am to 1pm, IP 25 minute.




The day after Christmas, more red kidney beans, this time an overnight soak. In the morning boiled for 5 minutes then moved the pot to the woodstove cooktop for 2 1/4 hours of simmering till the beans were done.

Yesterday it was 12 oz of Lompoc Black Beans (no soak) in the Instant Pot.



The cooked beans then went into the Crock Pot for four hours . . .  Quinoa Tacos.



And, lastly, today I cooked Cassoulet beans from the Rancho Gordo gift box.



I presoaked for five hours.


Then the beans and the soaking water were added to a mirepoix.



 A boil on the stove for 5 minutes then I moved the pot to the woodstove cooktop for a nice slow simmer.



Three hours later the Cassoulet beans have doubled in size. They are mostly whole, tender, and creamy inside. Wow.


Tomorrow I will use the beans to make Smitten Kitchen's Vegetarian Cassoulet.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Bright Spot

Under gray drizzly skies here there be color.




Friday, December 29, 2023

Reverse Chronology

 Here is my Sock Kit.



Two Sets of Chiaogoo Twist Shorties with Mini accessories, Tape measure, Bic 4-color pen, Post-It note, Lacis Locker (Knooking) Needle 2mm, Tom Bihn Cubelet.



Cable Organizer, Lambtown 2023 Stitch Markers, and Chiaogoo Mini end stoppers.



Adding a ribbon.


Reusing the stickers and filling the pockets: Bamboo Circ Fixed 9" 2.5mm, 5" Cable (in use), 6" Cable, 8" Cable.


Cutting up the vintage 35 mm Slide Holder page. (These binder pages currently hold DMC floss on cardboard "bobbins".)

Oh no, a Lambtown 2023 Stitch Marker squirting out of a hole. All the various Chiaogoo cables, Mini accessories, and Stitch Markers are kept in this bag. It would be nice to have a better organizer.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Stash Acquisition

I have been knitting a lot of socks lately. Right now I have 3 pairs in progress: 4 socks with newly turned heels and 2 socks awaiting toes.



Fortunately the depleted Regia sock yarn stash received a little boost last week.



Wednesday, December 27, 2023

No Joke

On Sunday my eyes popped open at 5:09 am. I wanted them to close again but instead I dragged myself out of bed and out the door into the cold foggy morning.



The mountains were shrouded in thick drippy fog, I couldn't see anything. Luckily I looked up.

The SpaceX rocket had launched right on schedule at 5:11 am. It would have been a fantastic launch to watch had it not been for the thick fog. I did manage to get glimpses now and again.

I was hoping to hear the Sonic Boom but The Man said all sound would have been absorbed by the fog. Drats and I waited till 5:30 to hear it.

When The Man got up he asked, "How was the launch?" He was joking. He didn't think I had gotten up. I told him about it and showed him the pics I took - photographic evidence.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023


Rudy, the cat, was staring at the BBQ Grill. It was odd. He didn't move or look at me when I came out on the deck to see what he was doing.


In hindsight I shouldn't have been so quick to get down on my knees to take a look at the underside of the Grill's side table. It could've been a critter - a mouse, a bat. Too cold for snakes, right?

I saw two pairs of eyes looking back at us, my own, and Rudy's. We were looking at our reflection. His ears were flat on his head and his tail huge and puffed-up, something he does when he's scared.

I smoothed his tail down and herded him into the garage before Buddy showed up and got involved. Who knows what he would have done, it could have turned into a brawl.

Monday, December 25, 2023

To You and Yours

Happy Holidays from The Man and Me. Make it a cozy one ~



Saturday, December 23, 2023

Fly The Lightning

Yesterday morning we watched Firefly Aerospace successfully launch their 4th Alpha rocket (FLTA004) from Vandenberg SFB. The launch window opened at 9:32 am and the YouTube Livestream began at 8:32 am. It was all very exciting. Too bad the skies were overcast and clouded over. We couldn't see a thing from our usual vantage point.



Nevertheless, we still watched the successful launch, glancing back and forth from the gray skies to the iPad in the garage. To me it felt like something special was happening.



On September 2, 2021 6:59 pm we watched Firefly's first Alpha rocket launch (FLTA001) Mission: Dream. We also watched the rocket flight terminate at 7:01 pm.

Or - as The Man asked - Did it just blow up?





Friday, December 22, 2023

Cookie Mystery

Someone put a pretty package of homemade Christmas cookies in our mailbox. They went to a little trouble maneuvering the package into our Mail Boss locking mailbox so that no cookies were broken in the process.

Nice. But. There was no tag with the package.

The next day The Man checked the area around the mailbox and checked inside the mailbox again. Nothing.

We texted Stacey and she said she couldn't take the credit for the cookies. We texted another neighbor and he said No but to check with Stacey.

I couldn't bear to throw away the mystery gift so I stuck the cookies in the freezer.

Today The Man talked to Amy and she knew about it.

Amy's House Sitter put the cookies in our mailbox by mistake. Our locking mailboxes, both black, sit side by side. The House Sitter knew of her mistake when she put the cookies in the wrong mailbox so she made another batch for Amy.

Cookie mystery solved. (No, Amy said, she didn't want any more cookies.)


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Fall's Last Day

Today at 7:37 am.



It's 8:51 pm, we have slipped into Winter.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Empty Spindles

Spinning nightly on the Bosworth Book Charkha eventually filled up all the Charkha spindles. I had five that were ready to wind off to storage bobbins. In fact, it had become a nightly mantra as I spun, "I need to wind off spindles, I need to wind off spindles ...."



Today I emptied all five spindles and practiced two new techniques.

First, I was able to combine several spindles onto a single storage bobbin with nice strong joins.


Another new technique for me was winding off with the spindle held in my hand. It made the whole process quicker, that's for sure. Kate Larson demonstrates it so nicely.


When I was done I made sure to tie off the tail so it wouldn't become buried (ask me how I know this tip).

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday Sharing

A lively group of gals at Spinners' today with much sharing of fiber, fibery talk, and all things craft.


I brought the EEW Nano and Hipstring's Base12 Spinalong Kit. The Spinalong officially started December 12 but I'm just starting now. Lupe did the honors of opening the first package: "Abalone", a hand-carded batt with Merino and Shetland wool/Tussah and Mulberry Silk/Tencel fiber.


The holiday baked goods were ah-mazing.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Just the Start

Today was just a taste of the rain we'll be receiving this week, not even half an inch yet.

The goats tried to stay dry, the cats were in their heated house all day, and even the chickens spent the day perched on their roost in the coop.




 It's going to be a long week.


Sunday, December 17, 2023

Cozy Up

The weather forecast is calling for a week of rain so after lunch I mentioned to The Man that I thought we needed more firewood brought to the house. He had already stacked two additional rows of wood but I said if we're stuck inside the house we will need a fire going to keep it cozy.



He went to get more wood.


While he was wood-gathering I decided to bake some Oatmeal Raisin cookies. He has asked me twice if we had any left. No, ahem, I ate them all when you were gone last week.



I follow the recipe on the Sun-Maid Raisin package but also add chocolate chips and walnuts.


A double batch of cozy.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Good and Simple

 I put up a few Holiday decorations on the fireplace mantel.



There's a beautiful shimmery blue cone also on the mantel. My Guild friend made it for me on her 3-D printer, it took 9 hours to fabricate. I tried to decline - my Kickstarter EEW Cone Winder package came with 60 cones - but Kathy insisted and said, "It's a gift". 

I stopped talking.

"Thank you", I said.