Friday, December 28, 2007

Moving Moving Moving

So the move has swung into full gear and I will be w/o the internet until Sunday evening. My computer is pre built in wireless so I need to get a USB Wireless thing.

The house and Garage are covered with boxes and we move tomorrow.

Here's a grumpy unshaven Eikon (I've been cleaning since the day before Christmas and am a bit grumpy)

Flopper hit a deer on the way to Iowa and so the car will be needing repairs.

Eli as ever is just bemused by all the fuss and in precicely the wrong place when we are moving things around.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eli and Maia

Maia is Flopper's nice here is a picture of her and Eli in Iowa pilfered from Flopper's blog.

It is dreadfully cute.

Coffee Grinder!

So my dear friend Principal Dan has one of the most amaxzing kitchens when it comes to odd devices. Butter churns, crocks, ricers, rumakaka cutters. If its old a kitchen oriented it exists at Dan's farm.
Today after he took me to dinner (I love Pho) he gifted me with one of his coffee grinders which I had been lusting after for the last year. Maxwell House and Folgers never really infiltrated the Scandinavian bastions of the Upper Midwest so these little beauties are common but rather expensive and I certainly didn't have the 80 dollars that the antiques dealers wanted. Judging by the construction and ornamentation I'd say its from the 20's or early 30's.
The top is made of cast iron and is fairly hefty (if these guys get wet they rust). Just looka t those precious daisies :)
You toss the beans into the top.
Then grind away for a few minutes and pull out this little drawer (and its dovetailed ; well grooved)
I even like the handle and grind shaft as well. This is one of the reasons I love old kitchen gadgets they were built to last forever. Seriously barring fire this thing will be around for another hundred years. The grind is course and suitable for a percolator or my preferred variety of coffee a French press. Flopper is getting the one we have though so it seems I'll have to buy a new one. It can be an adventure in Minneapolis.

Another wonderful thing to pack for my move!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Wanna Be Like You

Oh come on a Disney scat duet. How can you say no? This was very 4th grade.

Now I'm the king of the swingers ; The jungle VIP


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Noro Hat

I Love Noro.

I do not love the cost of Noro.

If I knit someone something with it it means I love that person dearly.
This hat is an exercise in self love and my Christmas present to myself.

One Whole skein w/ two feet left over.

Merry Christmas to all!



Ok so my new favourite website is
Revolution is a bit of an over statement but it certainly is a good time.
The idea is it uploads song as you play them out of your I tunes and then constructs charts and matches you to other people based on musical tastes. These people show up a Neighbors and of course you can opt to friend people.

Whats more there are various "radio stations" and every user gets one and a user constructed playlist. Both types of list can be played through the website. I've had a really good time with this site.

My name there is oftheeast


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sourdough pot

Up until now I've just been keeping my sourdough starter in a mason jar. Today when I wandered over to Caribou Coffee they were trying to unload their holiday merchandise and were running a "if you buy ten dollars worth of stuff you get a drink for free" gimmick. I love a good gimmick. So my eyes fell on this sealed jar that is intended for coffee but will serve me well as a sourdough pot.
My pet experiment at the moment is to figure out how to make a sponge that will ferment through the day (ostensibly while I'm at work or overnight) and then a dough that will rise after one kneading in a similar amount of time. So eight to ten hours each.

I'll report if I meet with success.


Sock Scarf Loving

They're making me wear another scarf; at least this one is pretty (says Elias)

The delightful Dickie of Cashmere Blend and I did an exchange. He wanted socks and I wanted a scarf. Unforunately I forgot to take pictures of the socks. they were dtraight forward affairs out of the Nancy Bush boo "Knitting Vintage Socks".

His package arrived at my door yesterday filled with loverly treats.
First the scarf; I'd been meaning to do the shifting Sands pattern for some time and now don't have to. I heart Malabrigo worsted weight.
Flopper had a melt down when he saw the Fanny May chocolate. Apparently this is a Chicago thing; they were all so very tasty and have disappeared in the past 24 hours.
I had a meltdown when I saw this lovely sock yarn. It s Mountain colors in the Red Willow color way. More socks !
Here is a close up of the scarf.
And a slightly less grumpy looking Eli modeling it.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Worsted Weight Socks

I love knitting on anything larger than #5 needles. For instance socks that appear in two or three days.

These are for Flopper's dad who has cold feet and are taken in the even greater than normal mess that our house is on the advent of the move. Now to get to work on my "walking to work in the winter hat".


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Speaking of Angela Lansbury

Try the priest! Problem is we only get it in on Sundays.

Or maybe Bosom Buddies with B


Angela Lansbury

Like most people my age I first encountered Angela Lansbury visa via Murder She Wrote and only later found out that she was in fact a Broadway Goddess on daytime TV. I think she must have enjoyed it. Grandma and I used to watch the show when I visited in the summer.

Flopper and I have talked about how a voice like hers would be passed over in todays theater ( not to mention Ethel)

But she makes me smile and I do love her voice.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Scahat for Earl

I didn't really like how the Swell hat turned out , the gauge is too loose, and so when Earl said it was on its way to becoming a "scahat" (scarf hat combo) I remembered I hadn't made him anything yet this winter and finished it up tonight.

It comes with distressingly long ear flaps/scarves?
Gay ninja powers.
The ability to really confuse Elias.
Or really torment him.

The red is Tweed Aran ad the silver is a cashmere blend from Louisa Harding.

Earl seemed rather excited to be getting it.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Moving right along in teaching experiences

Today was my last day at the high school in Saint Closet so my students in AP government wrote me a good bye note when I wasn't looking on.

It made me smile; the torn out from a note book origin made it all the more adorable.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Poppyseed rolls

Or in the native parlance "Kolachi" and not those Czech abominations that go by the same name. It is a production to make these holiday treats. I started at ten this morning and finished at 5 in the afternoon. I've tried to make poppy seed rolls for the last three years now with varying degrees of success. This year I'm using my friend David's recipe.

The dough runs as follows.

1/2 stick of butter, 3/4 c. milk. 2 eggs (reserve part for egg wash on top), 1/2 c. sugar, 1 pkg. yeast, pinch of salt, flour until it makes a good dough

i think i usually melt the butter in the milk, add the yeast and sugar once the butter-milk mixture is cooled enough, then add the eggs and the rest...
So melt the butter in the milk.
add sugar (I multiplied the recipes by six and used a cup of honey and a cup and a half of sugar)

Toss the mixture into a wide bowl to cool more swiftly.

Add the eggs and the yeast which you ought to have proofed by now but only when the milk/butter has cooled to luke warm. Cooking the eggs or the yeast is a bad idea.
Then keep adding flour (using a sifter) until the dough is workable.
Let the whole thing rise for three hours kneading at an hour and a half.

The rising time will give you plenty of time to make the filling.
First grind a cup of poppy seeds per roll. I used my little mortar and pestle. The idea is to break up the outer shell not to make dust. The seeds won't cook properly if they are not roughed up a bit.

1 cup of poppyseeds, before grinding
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 mushy banana
You squish the banana and milk together. I used honey instead of sugar and reduced the whole mixture in a pot for about an hour on medium.

Now after the filling is ready and the dough has risen roll out the dough very thinly. It's a tough dough to work with so work those arms : ) .
Spread about a cup and a half of filling on the dough and roll it up putting the "Seam" underneath and tucking in both ends. Finally cut four or 5ive slits equitably across the top of each roll to let the pastry breath and not explode. If you want the nice golden brown crust brush the outside of the roll with some egg white.
It gets tossed in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
My first three had one disaster (which we will happily eat) making it a five out of six success rate. Maybe next year I'll avert all disasters. These five will be frozen for the holidays as gifts for select wonderful people in my life.

Kraut Stomper

My latest kitchen toy courtesy of Lehman's (aka the House of Satan).

Because everyone needs a poplar sauerkraut Stomper.

It's so big and stompy. We can also use it to fend off the Tartar invasion.

Seriously compared to using a wine bottle this will be a miracle.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

AP Goverment

My Advanced Placement Government Students did an exercise today in forming "political parties".

The class of twenty split 17 to three into two parties, a mammoth vaguely liberal socialist entity I titled "The Pan Liberal Union and the minority conservative party which jokingly titled themselves "Backwards".

When I asked the Backwards party how they would compete in the election with such an overwhelming majority lined up against them.

They responded of their classmates "Oh they're educated ; they're not our political base."

I nearly choked laughing.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Hunting For Honey

I am in the truest sense of the word a bibliophile. Out of everything I own my greatest love is reserved for my books. Today when I was in the local book store in Saint Closet I saw "Hunting for honey" by Eric Valli on the shelf.
Apparently in Nepal there was once a lowland forest in the foothills of the Himalayas where in several groups of nomadic people lived. With advent of DDT and the subsequent removal of malaria from the swampy forests people have cleared these jungles and built farms. The last vestiges of the traditional Rajji culture hang on with there being roughly 3000 Raji left.

The Raji were semi nomadic and scheduled their year between harvesting honey and fishing when the bees migrated.
They shimmy up these very large trees carrying smoking torches to collect honey.
This is a glorious book with some amazing photography of people in trees festooned with bee hives; ten or twenty hives to a tree. It seems they just sort of hang there. The largest tree in the book had 500 hives. My Apologies for the flash pictures.
Like all indigenous communities they are coping with extremely high levels of mortality, alcoholism, and being dispossessed of their ancestral homelands. Giving nomads farmland is not compensation or as one of the elders in the book put it "The earth used to give us what we needed now we are told we need to fight with the earth to get what we need to feed our children when before one days work fed us for four days time". Its a culture that will probably go extinct inside a generation or two.

I'm terribly excited by this book.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gnarls Barkley Theremin Jam Session

It's just eclectic enough to make me smile at 5 in the morning.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Swell Hat

I made this hat last night at work in about 4 hours and finished off the top of it today.
I like the pattern It's the Swell pattern from Knitty without the ear flaps (I detest Ear Flaps).
I was inspired by this lovely hat made by Shadkitty
and was really happy about how quickly this hat appeared.
My model is cuter than theirs though. : )

I had forgotten how fast working on #10's was. The red is Rowanspun Aran and the silver is Louisa Harding Cashmere Aran. I think next time I'll go down to 9's and knit the large size of 99 stitches instead of using 88 like I did with this hat. It looks just a bit too loose for my liking. Now I have to think of someone to give this to.....