February 2008


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Yes, there’re snowdrops blooming (with no snow around them), and the daffodil leaves are several inches high, and the tulips are even starting to come up, but my favorite February flower activity is witch-hazel.  I’m so glad there’s still a witch-hazel bush on my route to and from the library…

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I was introduced to Discworld while in college. My friends had recommended Good Omens, which I’d read and liked, and Equal Rites was on the syllabus for the only literature class I took (Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was student-taught). Then, while I was in London to visit my dad while he was working in Scotland, I found (and bought) a copy of Witches Abroad.

Since then, I’ve read nearly everything Discworld, multiple times.  But the reason I picked Discworld for the ABC-Along is that I listened to Discworld audiobooks (especially the Tiffany Aching books) a lot last fall–when I was upset enough that being alone with my thoughts was not a good situation, I’d put on a Discworld audiobook as a focus for my last thoughts before falling asleep.  I still like them, and they’re also great to keep me entertained while I do the tedious bits of science, but they’ve meant more to me than that.  (I should also note that, while I enjoy audiobooks, they simply don’t compare to books on paper, and I have trouble listening to books I haven’t read.)

(Those of you on Ravelry might be interested in the Ankh-Morpork Knitters’ Guild.  And here’s a link to the ABC-Along group, until I manage to get the button up somewhere.)

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Having learned from my experience with Foliage (and really wanting a sweater before it becomes spring), I’ve resumed work on Salt Peanuts.  As of the end of November, the last time I’d knit on SP, I was a few rows past the lace.  I clearly have a lot more knitting to do, but it’s nice to see progress.

I think Mel is mostly interested in the dangling yarn, here, and possibly the dangling camera cover (just before this photo was taken).  I’m impressed that the yarn is apparently so fascinating that he’s willing to sit on the blocking pins I used to keep the needle from curling and bending the sweater-back in half.  They’re the rounded-top double-pin kind, but they’re still metal…

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This is another sunset from the lab next door. (It was beautiful–it turned lilac and then mauve before going all dark, but I couldn’t keep taking off my gloves and pulling out my camera.)  I love the views we get from here.

(In case you were worrying about my vision: I was hiding my eyes behind the windowframe, which is just to the right of the edge of the photo.  There are some advantages to the point-and-shoot digital camera as compared with the manual film SLR.)

I don’t think I’ve ever been as focussed on finishing things as I have been lately, with my WIPs staring at me from the top of my project page. Granted, the things I’ve finished lately have all been small, and some of them have had associated deadlines, but I’m actually finishing them rather than either getting distracted by new projects or letting them sit around while I work on big projects.

This comes up because I stayed up late last night to knit the last few rows on the green lace headband.

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It’s too wide to tie, and I don’t like the idea of a button or pin where it’ll just get tangled in my hair, so I’ve sewn the ends together. For now, at least, the seam’s only about 2/3 of the width of the thing, so my hair doesn’t get pushed up in the back, but I’ve left the ends so I can decide what to do after wearing it a couple of times.

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Oh, no!  I thought I’d spun up all of the orange wool-mohair, but I just found more…  (Yes, this’ll be good when it’s done, but I don’t really want to spin it right now.)

Aw, heck, maybe I should just go ahead and say D is for Dessert.

cocoa fudge cookies with cranberries

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I’ve been doing a decent bit of cooking* lately, at least over the weekend, but it’d been quite a while since I’d done any baking. Tonight, therefore, I decided it was time for some chocolate cookies. In “flipping” through my cookie recipe collection (which is mostly on my laptop), I found this recipe, which I’d found at BakingBites. This may be my new favorite cookie recipe, even though it does use butter–I really only use butter in baking, so I keep it in the freezer, and I’m often too lazy to thaw it. These cookies are like my favorite brownies: chewy-soft without quite being gooey, and really chocolatey. I’m also pleased that they don’t use egg, which means I don’t have to worry too much about how thoroughly cooked they get.

Chocolate-cranberry cookies

1 cup flour (I used half whole wheat and half white, as is my wont)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/16 tsp salt
7 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
1 c sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt the butter in a 2-qt glass bowl in the microwave and then mix in the sugar and the other wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add them to the wet ingredients. Bake approximately 10 minutes on a waxed-paper-lined sheet. I made pretty large cookies, so I’ll probably end up with about 18 (there’s some unbaked dough in the fridge); the recipe suggested using tablespoonfuls** and says you should get about two dozen.

*The latest cookery has been posted over at Farm to Philly, for the February Tofu Challenge.

**I know it’s technically supposed to be ‘tablespoonsful’, but I’ve always preferred pluralizing the ‘-ful’ when I’m reusing the spoon or hand or whatever.

I finished my plying!

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That’s 200 yards of icelandic lamb/angora (~1 oz, mostly laceweight) from Frelsi Farm, purchased last September at the VT S&W and 130 yards of wool/mohair (maybe 1.5-2 oz 1 oz, approximately fingering weight) from Three Waters Farm, ordered in the fall of 2005 after I spun the fiber I’d bought at MDSW.

This means I’ve completed one entire goal and maybe a fifth of one of the other goals from last month’s priorities post. Sure, they’re two of the easier ones, but I am pleased.

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Gah!  Two days later, I have discovered more of the orange wool/mohair!  I’m not done…

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