Winter preparations begin

Found all my knit hats, mittens and scarves. Chimney swept. Furniture brought in. New snow tires purchased. Yarn acquired. I’m ready for months inside but will be able to get where I need to go with my new snow tires.  I may need them to buy english muffins and cream cheese.

Frozen weeds

I’m baking again and working on english muffins. These look right but there are missing the essential nooks and crannies. I have a recipe for crumpets that makes nooks and crannies but I’m having a hard time finding crumpet rings in the north country.

We’ve finally joined the local CSA – great timing right? – just in time for lots of cabbage, squash and potatoes. But it’s all delicious and fresh and local! Tomorrow is our next pick up; time to clean out the fridge and think of a million things to do with cabbage. So far I only know of cole slaw, risotto and sauerkraut. I’ll have to get that recipe for stuffed cabbage again. I made cream cheese this morning from old yogurt. It mostly tastes like old yogurt but dry. Not all experiments are successful!

English muffins

Rest stop for passing birds

Fly by
The island is a rest stop for many migrating birds. The species have changed during the month. We’ve had common flickers, american kestrels, some from the warbler family and others (unidentified by me).

They dart into open doorways, windows and people. We’ve had birds in the whistle house, donkey engine house and the lighthouse. I hear my children’s ancestors having premonitions because of three birds in the house! Tim and I have managed to get them all out unharmed. One was still in the lighthouse when the USCG chopper arrived. Luckily they were only looking for a toilet and never ventured into the tower.
Touch down
 Really.  A very cute, young USCG, with an English accent, hopped off and asked to use the bathroom. They are all closed up here, so after a brief walk,  he reboarded and they took off. THEY LOVED THE NEW HELIPAD. He said it looked brand new (Ethan uncovered the old triangle of bricks and I mowed it when the rider mower ran). They will be back this week because they plan some work on the light.

I was just getting ready to incubate a batch of yogurt in the lighthouse before they arrived. It turned out to be too cool so I used a combination of a warm water bath in the crock pot and a slightly warm oven. We had homemade yogurt and english muffins for breakfast. Now I am going to try to use the rest of this batch as a starter for the next. And so on and so on…

Yogurt

But Norton, can it core a apple?

Big seas, strong winds, I had a day of domestic bliss – of sorts. First I finished knitting the second mitten of a pair, proudly put them together and discovered the first was two inches longer than the second and the thumbs don’t exactly begin at the same place. Oops. So I ripped back and knit again. They are shocking anyway because I made them from scraps.

Next I discovered some beautiful apples just waiting to be picked. Waiting because they were so gnarly even the birds passed them by. But we haven’t been off the island to shop in two weeks and are out of fresh fruit so…they weren’t as bad as they looked. I made two mini pies, which were pretty tasty. The garden provided a nice salad.

Lastly, I was disappointed by the rider mower, which hasn’t been running since we got here. We have spent two days tinkering with it – checked and added oil, filled the battery with water and charged it, Tim cleaned the fuel filter, I cleaned the spark plug and air filter, tightened the starter and made a tiny adjustment on the carburetor. I got it to run and work for about a half hour and then it laid down and died. Maybe it’s time for a new battery. Now we get to mow with the rickety push mower again. One of our highlights is using the rider mower. Oh well.

Sent fom my Palm

Over the top tart

Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, I have been adding new recipes to my repertoire.  This tart tatin last night was amazing.  It was so pretty, I almost didn’t want to eat it.  But we did.  And it was good.  Years ago my parents gave me a hardback version of The Way to Cook.  I had old bookmarks scattered throughout it but had not used it for years.  Now I refer to it almost daily and find something delicious to make and eat.

So today I have to go out and cross-country ski to work off the calories.  It’s a balmy 20F with some fresh new snow.

On the knitting front, the little Aran cardigan from my hand-spun is coming along.  I have a picture of a sweater that Tim’s mom had made for his sons and am using that as a guide.  Here’s the work in progress. I’ll post photos of the two side by side at some point.  I’m really enjoying working with my yarn and can only hope it stands up to the test of time- and that my gauge is right and it will fit someone. I’m using my mother’s old knitting needles, Tim’s mother’s design and I really feel connected to the older generation.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday it snowed in the morning and then rained and was windy. Somehow,  the fog rolled in and the Fire Island Lighthouse, which is only a mile away, disappeared.   Here’s the view january-2813from my deck today, when the skies cleared and yesterday.  january-289In fact, it was so nice today that a charter fishing boat was out.

Since I didn’t want to go off island yesterday, and we needed bagels, I tackled bagel baking again.  I have tried this in the past, twice, with mixed results.  My last batch looked great until I boiled them, the water was a rolling boil and it disintegrated the bagels.  This time I boiled them at a low simmer and they were a success, from The Joy of Cooking.january-2812

I’m still working on my daughter’s Duxbury cable sweater and the yarn and the pattern are beautiful.  I’ve been working out the math since I made some pattern modifications and think I have a plan.  On the spinning front, I plied my 50/50 merino/alpaca blend and it’s luscious.  I played around with a “longer” draw and had some success.january-2815