Lynn's blog

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What to do with leftover cranberry sauce

apple cranberry pie

Make pie! Yeah, I know, I am the world's worst photographer, but this really was pretty good. No recipe to speak of but this is how I'd tell you to do it:

Take your favorite apple pie recipe and leave out one or more apples. Make up the rest with leftover whole cranberry sauce. Top it however you like, with a top crust or otherwise. Cook as you usually would. I used a store-boughten crust and didn't have a top crust, so I put a "crisp" topping on it--butter, spices, rolled oats. Pretty good!

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Wondering what to get people for the holidays?

How about an Amazon gift certificate? As many of you know, TNH is partly funded by the Amazon affiliate programs; anything you buy via this website from Amazon US, UK or Canada gives TNH a commission, at no cost to you. And it's not just the one item you may have clicked through on; it's everything you buy in that session.

Now Amazon is also giving affiliates commissions on the perfect gift that everyone wants--gift certificates! The link above goes to the US store; UK people, gift certificates are here, and Canadian folks, your gift certificate link is here.

So if you do a lot of Amazon holiday shopping--I do almost ALL of my holiday shopping there myself, they make it too easy to do it any other way--John and I ask you, this year especially with him out of work, to remember to buy through us. Thank you.

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Happy Thanksgiving

As always I'm grateful for all y'all out there. Smiling I hope you're enjoying your day!

ETA: Right! I finally got control of the new camera and took some pictures to show you what I'm thankful for.


Pie! The crust is store-boughten spelt (I haven't gotten the hang of a homemade spelt crust yet) but the filling's mine, from scratch. I roasted the punkin myself last night, and I had enough filling for the pie and a little ramekin--pumpkin custard. psst: the secret to my pumpkin filling success is black pepper! It adds a little bite. I'm also thankful for John, whose hands those are. Smiling

door quilt!
door quilt detail 1!
door quilt detail 2!

Finished Objects! First up, it's the door quilt for the back door. I took an old mattress pad whose sides had ripped out, took out the elastic, trimmed it to fit the door and then sandwiched it between some blue and white gingham and a linen-like garden catalog print. I pondered how to quilt it without a walking foot on my machine and then opted for "prairie sashiko"--just a running stitch in yarn in a grid pattern. I bound it the same way and stitched a pocket for a rod at the top. It works, too--keeps out the cold from the back porch nicely.

scarf detail!

Another Finished Object! This is the handspun scarf that nearly kilt me. So far I've decided to keep it but I may change my mind.

goofy kids!

This picture pretty much sums the whole thing up. Goofy, cute little girls, picture courtesy Gramma. Smiling

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What I'm thankful for, part one

I'm not Phelan. Take care of that finger, girl!

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Not So Crackpot-ty After All

I'm against fluoridated water, which makes me a crackpot apparently. The argument against me is that fluoridation is a good way to make sure that poor people get fluoride for their teeth, and that fluoride doesn't hurt you if you ingest it. I say bollocks to that; fluoride is toxic when swallowed, and I don't like being medicated against my will.

Guess what? The American Dental Association are crackpots too, now that they've released a member advisory that fluoridated water should not be mixed into concentrated formula or foods intended for babies one year and younger. Their problem with it is the ingested fluoride will damage infant teeth.

How long have we known this? Since 1997.

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I'm just slogging through my week, there's no other word for it. John's job search is proceeding. My folks are here, too, which is very good but throws off my pace, such as it is.

What I seem to be doing well with is crafting. I'm flying through a sweater vest for John, just finishing up the left front. I finished the back last week.

I'm almost done with a door quilt for our back door, too. We have an odd little enclosed back porch, sorta like a mud room. It's long and skinny and un-insulated. Cold just comes pouring into the kitchen from that room.

We have had a series of accordion doors on it over the last 20 years. The first one lasted ten years; the next one lasted 5 years; and the last one less than a year. Ah, cheap Chinese crap, I love you so.

The area is too cramped for any kind of hinged door, and we just don't have the money to build a pocket door of some kind right now. Replacing the accordion door every ten months is not an option, and doesn't really keep out the cold that well.

So I took an old mattress pad we had, sandwiched it with blue gingham on one side and a rustic green-on-cream garden catalog print on the other, and quilted it "prairie sashiko-style"--navy yarn in a long running stitch, making a wide grid pattern. I'm currently putting on the binding the same way. I need a third packet of quilt binding before I can finish.

Now I just have to figure out how to hang it; it's HEAVY! And if it doesn't work out? It's a great throw.

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Joy and Concern

At our little UU congregation, we do a thing called Joys and Concerns. In "regular old" churches, I think it'd be called community prayer or something. A person comes up, lights a candle, and shares something good or something bad with the congregation.

This week I have both a joy and a concern to share. The concern is that John (who posts here as JJ) lost his job Thursday. Naturally, we're a little upset.

The joy is that he's started going through his contacts, letting people know he's looking, and the response he's gotten has been more than heartening. John has done a lot over the years to help others--people looking for work, friends down on their luck, or co-workers struggling to learn the ropes. He's been overwhelmed with offers of help. And that gives us hope that we can get through this.

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If you don't vote, you can't bitch.

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Welcome to the House of Hormones

I'm well and truly into menopause. My cycle is fluctuating wildly, settling for a while at an odd but at least predictable 6 weeks and then swinging annoyingly into 3 weeks. I get weepy, anxious, depressed, frustrated, angry in turns for no obvious reasons.

And to add to my joy?

"Mom? Why do my nipples hurt?" says Josie. Hurt how? "I dunno, they just sorta hurt. And my chest is kinda lumpy." I'd already noticed her waist thinning a little and her hips rounding a bit. On closer inspection, it was pretty clear: Girl you'll be a woman soon. Her hair is getting oilier and she's starting to have meltdowns over little things. Based on my own age when I started, the ages of the other women in the family when they started, and her own recent changes, I give her two years tops to join us women.

I'm so not ready for this.

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FO: Stubborn Scarf

Started: 10/24/06
Finished: 10/30/06
Materials: Handspun slubby 2-ply in various purples, pinks and blues, of various fibers--mostly wool with silk, mohair and a little angora bunny; my trusty circular bamboo 8's
Pattern: Feather and Fan/Old Shale

This was a quick knit, once I got the dang thing going, and it turned out nicely. I'm thinking of keeping it. (Update: I gave it to my counselor; it reminded me of her office.)

Now on the needles--the exact same trusty 8s, it seems I make everything on those except socks--is a simple, warm vest for John in good ol' Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb, color Brownstone. It's a really lovely gray shot with a warm brown, and will make a very nice vest. John's a vest kinda guy. After that's done, it's on to a cardigan for Josie in the blue-green Romney I spun earlier this year, though I'm thinking of doing a quickie something for LouLou first. She hasn't had a knitted piece from me in a while, and she could use a sweater actually.

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Everywhere, everywhere, you may go...

When we first started going to our little church (which is uncomfortable about being called a church but coming up with a different term is hard), the other parents told me how important the "archway" ceremony was to the kids. We make an archway across the aisle with our arms and sing, and the children walk underneath and down the stairs to religious education. It must be true, because LouLou is in the other room making little toilet paper ghosts and singing to herself:

Go now in peace, go now in peace
May the spirit of love surround you
Everywhere, everywhere you may go!

It's making me smile.

I will be SO glad when Halloween is over. The kids are driving us, well, bats! Josie found out this year that traditionally people made their costumes, rather than buying them. Well! then we had to make costumes this year, too. I think I gave birth to a traditionalist. She assembled both her and Lou's costumes out of our extensive dress-up collection. The only thing we bought was make-up.

LouLou is going as the Halloween Fairy, dolled up in every fairy-like item we have, and Josie is going as a ghost. She's wearing a white shirt, the white pinafore from her pioneer dress, and a white veil over her head. Someone asked her if she was a particular ghost; she looked down at her pinafore, looked up with that "bright idea" look she gets, and said "yeah! I must be the ghost of Laura Ingalls Wilder!" (That's for you, Phelan. Eye-wink )

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Links for 10-30-06

--The real world?:

So, when was the last time you were beaten up at work? Or a bunch of mom's at the park decide to assualt another mother so they can record it on their cell phones for later viewing entertainment?

Yet, this is the abuse that some insist that children need to experience as an integral part of childhood. I want strong, capably children, but is leaving them in bad company unprotected the way to achieve that end? I don't think so.

Me neither. But then I'm one of those oversheltering, smothering homeschoolers...

--On a happier note, Halloween printables!

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Don't Forget: Pointless Clock-Fiddling Tonight

Daylight savings time is ending. Set your clocks BACK an hour tonight. If Daylight Savings is so freakin' fantastic, why don't we just permanently set the clock and forget about it? All this fiddling makes me crazy!

thus endeth my semi-annual rant. Eye-wink

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Aren't they supposed to be hot flashes?

I don't know if it's menopause or the heart stuff, but I am so cold all the time these days. Sometimes it's just my hands, but lately it's been my core--my torso--to the point that I sorta pull in, round my shoulders, gather myself to myself. Then my chest starts to hurt and I think, "uh oh," but working with my counselor on Wednesday we realized I was just COLD and my chest hurt because I was all hunched in.

Right now I'm thanking my lucky stars for my huge kitchen window. It's a sunny day here, cool but sunny, and the light and warmth is just streaming into the kitchen. I've got my back to it, and I'm just soaking up the heat. I've even turned up my shirts to let my bare skin get the sun (no worries, nothing naughty exposed). aaahhh. At night I've been sitting in the TV room with my "Warm Up Lynn" blankie over my shoulders and another over my knees. And in the shower I am practically bathing in the hot water tank.

It's weird. Why am I so cold? I thought menopause was all about the hot flashes, and I've had a couple of those, but this constant chill...

Suffice it to say I've ramped up my knitting efforts. I'm surrounded by wool, so there's no excuse for me to be cold.

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Links for 10-26-06

--Is the sexy costume thing for women driving you nuts this Halloween? If you don't mind four-letter words, this fake commercial for Girls's Costume Warehouse is hysterical. Again: THERE ARE FOUR LETTER WORDS IN THE COMMERCIAL. If this is a problem for you, or you're at work, don't click. And the whole costume thing makes me crazy. "Sexy pope! Sexy lobster!" [via]

--The ozone hole over the Antarctic is bigger than ever. Human-produced gases are destroying the ozone that protects us from the deadlier forms of solar radiation. yay team. [via]

--The Sierra Club reminds parents to watch out for lead in Halloween toys and props. Hat tip to Asha.

--And while we're on the subject of children's health, mumps is on the rise in the US, with nearly 6,000 cases reported this year. The average age was 22, and the majority of cases were in women. Calls for vaccinating against mumps more aggressively are out, which leads me to ask: do you vaccinate your kids?

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Yarn 6, Lynn 1

I have been swatching...and swatching...and--well, you get the idea--with this slubby stuff I spun earlier this year from some batts I got at last year's OFFF. The colors are various shades of purple from mauve to lilac to eggplant, a soft periwinkle blue, and bits of other oddments. It's mostly wool but there's some angora, silk, and possibly something like soy silk or tencel in there just to confuse me.

This stuff evaded all efforts to be made into something. I swatched on big needles, smaller ones, open patterns, closed, garter, stockinette, in the round, lace--nothing. It all sucked.

Finally in desperation I actually cracked open my pattern books. I don't like using patterns; I hate having to drag a book around or copy off the pattern blah blah blah. Annoying. So imagine my joy when I found a pattern in Scarf Style that barely qualifies as a pattern. It's just a length of feather and fan in fancy yarn.

But! it was just what was needed. I cast on and viola! apparently this yarn wanted to be a feather and fan scarf, because it's working up nicely. I'm not sure if I'm keeping it for myself or if I'll put it in the gift pile. What gift pile, I don't have a gift pile going at all this year. I have a pair of socks waiting for my mom when she gets here next month and that's about it for the gift pile. True, I don't have a scarf, but this stuff fought me so hard I'm not sure I trust putting it round me neck.

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Links for 10-24-06

--Can We Call It Re-goodie-ing? is Parent Hacks's solution to the seemingly endless stream of little plastic crap toys that enter the house. Know what I mean? Trinkets. My mom is always saying, where did all this crap come from? Damfino. We sure don't buy it. This isn't a half-bad idea.

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Links for 10-23-06

--A reader at Get Rich Slowly asks JD, Why Bother with Personal Finance? After all, some of the stories he tells of people trying to be responsible don't end all that well...

--Oh, to be a poor little rich girl: Parents harass a hapless high school coach. Why? Because their little darlings are sitting on the bench. It's like the old saying goes--these people were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

--Firefox 2.0 is here! joyous squeal!

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FO: Giant Peach Tea Cosy

Started: 10/20/06
Finished: 10/21/06
Pattern: Super Simple Tea Cosy in a bigger gauge that the generator doesn't provide. (Sorry!)
Materials: Clover/Tahki Bamboo circ #8, sport/fingering weight 2-ply Wensleydale in an eyepopping yellow and pink colorway, spun from roving bought at Black Sheep Gathering 2005. Oh, and the cording has a strand of green DMC perl cotton, which you really can't see in the picture but which just makes the thing "pop."

This yarn has been sitting in the bin, slowly getting whittled away as Josie's cut little bits off of it for various projects. It was promised to her for a shawl, but slowly we both came to the realization that Wensleydale, as beautiful as it is, is not a garment wool. She gave me permission to use it for something else.

What possessed me to buy this roving in the first place, I cannot say. These are not my colors. But now, spun up and knitted double, I couldn't be more pleased. It makes my English teapot look like a giant peach. The sheen and texture of the Wensleydale is just right in this use. And now I have a second tea cosy and can wash my old one, which is getting pretty ratty indeed!

My new dilemma: I don't have anything on the needles! And I need a knitting project. Oh--well...there is the never-ending pi shawl. Because I'm so uninspired, perhaps that's the project I should be working on...

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Paring Down

I've been putting craft-related stuff that I do over at; this was to have been my site for my knitting and spinning students, but since I'm not teaching any more, and no one goes there (fewer than 20 people a day, compared to thousands here), there's not much point. So I'll be folding all my knitting and spinning stuff into TNH, where it should have been all along, and redirecting over here.

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Links for 10-22-06

  • When it comes to TV appearances, if you're at all out of step with the "mainstream," whatever the hell that is, trust no one. It's not like I really thought Dr. Phil was a stand-up guy or anything, but this just proves it. [hat tip]
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Finished Object: Josie's Scarf

I'm cranking out the finished objects at Knitting 911: My Knitting Olympics sweater (6 months late) and the two scarves for Lou and Jo, to wit:

Started: 9/27/06
Finished: 10/18/06
Materials: Essentially 1 skein of green heather Cascade 220 with pompons in a contrasting heathered lavender.

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City Riparian, Day Two

Sorry for the delay in getting pictures of Day Two up. We spent most of yesterday lazing around recovering, or rainboot shopping for the girls. Do you know there is not a single decent pair of size 2 rainboots to be had in this town? Josie's peeved. Off to the catalog we go.

Here are Karen and Leonard, the people who made all this happen:

Karen put the call out for help for me, and Leonard answered it. I will be forever grateful to them both. Isn't Leonard adorable? He is. I also have to thank Gail. I don't have a picture of her, but she was here through the entire process and my family's great thanks goes to her.

Here is Spencer with his trellis:

Spencer is a crazy boy, also adorable, who was out there building that trellis until 12:30 am the night before. Grapes will be on that trellis. Or something. Maybe squash or cucumber vines. Or all of the above. We haven't figured out yet what's going up the trellis. Talk to Leonard. But ain't it purty?

Speaking of adorable boys, here is JJ in the pond, and our friend Tom helping him:

They emptied it, mucked it out, found the holes that had been draining out water, patched them, fixed the fountain pump, and got it all running again.

Everyone had fun making seed balls:

Inside these balls are seeds for all kinds of flowers, herbs and edibles. Scatter the balls into spots where the world could use some green--empty lots for instance--and voila! instant wild garden with no further input from anyone else. Karen made me a big one shaped like a goddess figure--she's holding it in the top picture--but it broke! I'm going to let the pieces dry out the rest of the way and then scatter them in the front by the kiosk.

At the end of Day Two the group had finished about half of what we've set out to do in the yard.

--The swingset has been taken down, the old garden beds taken out, and five new "guild" style plantings are now in that area, anchored by two apple trees, a nectarine, a pie cherry and a fig. Underneath them are gooseberries and currants. Underneath THEM are medicinal and culinary herbs including "fraises des bois," the little wild strawberries that do well in dappled shade. I have yet to get a good picture of one of these plantings but I'll keep trying.

--A grape has been planted to grow into the laurel hedge.

--The pond is cleaned out, patched and working again. This spring we'll restock it with fish and tadpoles.

--The front of the property has been planted with forest/shade plants like salal and oxalis, and mulched.

--The new swingset is taking shape. As soon as it stops raining later this week John will start that up again, and if the weekend weather cooperates he'll have it finished then.

--The rose and iris beds have been cleaned out and the irises, overcrowded and unhappy little rhizomes that they were, have been divided. You can now get into the gazebo from all four sides.

Still to come:

--Annual garden beds sized so we can put the chicken tractor over them.

--Herb spiral plantings.

--Cane berries and kiwis on the back fence and shed.

--Guild plantings in the western half of the garden, including paw paw trees. Pickin up paw paws, put em in your pocket...

When the rest is going to happen I don't know, but I think it's soon.

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12 and 19

12: The number of years John and I have been married as of Friday. The whole garden thing sorta subsumed our anniversary.

19: The number of years I've been sober as of today.


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City Riparian, Day One

About 15-20 people have been marching in and out of my yard today. Things are winding down so I thought I'd post some pictures of the guild planting and sheet mulching techniques that they're using in the yard.

First they put down cardboard:

You can see in this picture that some of the plants (the big ones) have been planted in holes cut in the cardboard. Some smaller, shallow-rooted ones are being planted right on top of it.

Then they put down a bunch of rabbit litter--straw and rabbit droppings--donated by a gal associated with City Repair who has a whole lotta bunnies:

Another view:

Then in some of the guilds (like the one directly above) topsoil is put on top of that; in all of them, mulch--in this garden's case, shredded tree--is the top layer.

So that's what's going on right now. It pretty much looks like piles of mulch surrounded some little trees; if you didn't know better you'd think we'd just hauled in some piles of wood chips. I have to be careful about letting people step on them, because some of the plants are small.

The thing I really want to show you is the trellis Spencer is building along the side of the house, out of bamboo and pieces of the deceased apple tree. SO cool.

I leave you with one last thing--the garden plan, which I meant to post yesterday. Click on it to get a bigger view:

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City Riparian, Day Zero

I'm exhausted and the build hasn't even started yet.

I spent all day and night Tuesday, all day and night Wednesday and a good chunk of this morning dealing with the server problem, just in time for the start of work on the garden this morning. Leonard was here bright and early with a chipper to chew up the remains of the apple tree, which now sits in a big pile in the driveway along with a truckload of tree shreds from a service. A bunch of volunteers started clearing out the garden in preparation for tomorrow's build.

Plants are arriving: A fig, currants, a male kiwi, grapes, Oregon grape, salal, a nectarine, two apples--one of them a Cox's Orange Pippin, one of my favorites, the other a Melrose, another favorite. Two beautiful trees, I'm excited; I actually clapped my hands and squealed when Leonard told me about the apples. A honeysuckle. Ferns. Strawberries. One by one, two by two, they're trickling into the yard, these plants.

I spent the afternoon clearing out the dirty, messy gazebo so I'll have a space tomorrow for feeding people. I'm fixing two kinds of porridge--vegan and vegetarian/omnivore--and two kinds of soup--vegan and omnivore.

And now I am completely and utterly exhausted. This is exciting and wonderful and I'll be glad when it's over. Smiling

UPDATE: I finally found my card reader, so here are some pix of the end of day 0.

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What happened

The server blew up. I'm having to rebuild it on a new box by hand. I'm very stressed. If your login doesn't work, request a new password; it may be that the passwords got hosed in the transfer. Here's hoping not.

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Portlanders: Learn about Permaculture in My Yard!

City Riparian

If you're interested in learning about permaculture, here's your chance. The City Repair project will be planting a food forest in our yard throughout City Riparian. There will be workshops, too, on "guild" planting, sheet mulching, making seedballs, and spinning yarn (taught by yrs trly). The work/learn party is free; the workshops and nighttime events are suggested donation, but no one will be turned away.

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Links for 10-06-06

--The Nietzsche Family Circus, in which random quotations from the philosopher are paired with random Family Circus cartoons.

--Looking for Halloween knitting patterns? Look no further. via.

--My favorite awards, the IgNobels, have been handed out. I missed the live webcast but wait as always for the day after Thanksgiving when Science Friday will air the replay. People came from France for the ceremony! Hilarious.

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Links for 10-5-06

--Cute and easy tea cozy from Hello Yarn. Well, actually it's this hat, but I agree, it looks more like a tea cozy.

--Via Lifehacker, I hereby present Folding Like a Pro, in which 3 different folding techniques are shown:

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