Author Archives: Ev

About Ev

Living and loving life in the beautiful Okanagan!

If Time Is Flying, I Must Be Having Fun. Right?

I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post. To be honest, it’s been a month of ups and downs. Although I’m generally enjoying my time at home, I’ve been feeling the constraints of having to stay close to home, not having the freedom to take myself out for lunch, not being able to pop out to the mall for a bit of window shopping, things like that. I even miss my job. I’ll admit that I’ve had a few pretty dark days this past month.

All in all, though, we’re doing well. We’re enjoying each other’s company, laughing more than we have in a long time. We’re even coming up with the same ideas at almost the same time. Just the other day, I took chicken out of the freezer for dinner and not five minutes later, John suggested that we take chicken out of the freezer for dinner. Things like that have been happening more often; it’s a little freaky sometimes!

I’m still trying to find a routine that works for me. Most mornings, there’s not a lot of incentive to get up and so I’ll sleep later than I normally do. There isn’t a lot to do during the day (that I really want to do), so motivation isn’t really there to do anything. Which means I end up spending way too much time on the computer. That said, though, I’ve been baking a lot of bread and buns. We really enjoy the homemade hot dog and hamburger buns! As a matter of fact, there are hot dog buns in the oven as I type.

John’s been spending time outdoors, working in the yard. As he’s the only man in the house now (we live in a 4-plex; each of the other three suites are occupied by single women), the yard work has landed squarely on his shoulders. I don’t think he minds as much as he lets on.

Life goes on, doesn’t it? One day at a time.

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Positivity 101

One of the first things I decided to do is to get up at the same time each morning, except perhaps on weekends. Cuz.. weekends. To that end, I’ve been getting up by 7:00 a.m. this week; I know, it’s only Tuesday but it’s a step in the right direction. Once I’ve had my coffee and caught up on the internet, including the Daily Crossword on our local city webpage, I feed my Sourdough Starters.

Last week, on CBC’s The Current with Matt Galloway, they talked about a Citizen Science Experiment with Sourdough Starters. I decided that, since I already have a starter, I’d join the experiment. Coincidentally, the day before I heard the interview, I had started an experimental starter of my own, using rye and all-purpose flour rather than just the all-purpose flour my original starter was made with. My three year old starter just seems to be sluggish these days even though I’m getting decent bread. I just wanted to see how a combination starter would fare.

Anyway, my two little starters for this experiment, one with Rye flour and distilled water and the other with All-Purpose flour and tap water that’s been standing for 24 or so hours are bubbling away. Today is Day 8 for both of them and they’re really starting to take off, as you can see here. The black mark, incidentally, is where they were after their morning feeding.

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At one point, I didn’t think the All-Purpose Flour starter was going to amount to anything but it has proven me very wrong. It also surprised me at first that the Rye/Distilled water starter hasn’t been more active than it is. In thinking about it, though, the rye flour has less gluten than the All-Purpose flour so I suppose it makes sense that it doesn’t rise as high.

Anyway, enough of the science-y stuff for now. Suffice it to say, it’s becoming a part of my morning and evening routines – feeding three sourdough starters.

I’ve also decided that I need to get out of here for a little while each day. Whether that’s going for a walk or heading into town to pick up some groceries, I need to get out and about. I did go out for a few minutes this morning to pick up a few items at the grocery store. It was a good time to go; there were very few people in the store and I was able to peruse at my leisure. I needed one more ingredient to make these, something I had decided to bake yesterday.

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Peanut Butter Cookies, from one of the America’s Test Kitchen magazines. I’ve made these a few times now and they are really good. They’re not too sweet, with plenty of peanut flavour and they’re made with crunchy peanut butter and added chopped peanuts. A triple whammy of peanutty flavour, you could say.

And it isn’t even noon yet.

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Day Whatever It Is – The New Normal

Yep, it’s come to that. I’ve decided not to post statistics any more. It’s becoming a little too depressing. I’ve also decided not to count the days any more. This is the new normal around here and I’m not sure I like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the reasons behind it and I’m quite happy to go along, to do my part in stopping this virus if I can. But… I don’t want to concentrate on the virus; I don’t want it to be the thing that controls my day to day. I’m not saying I’ll no longer abide with the new rules and regulations. I’m just saying I refuse to concentrate on the developing situation. I refuse to listen to news that only has stories that revolve around Covid-19. I refuse to listen to radio programs that are only about how this virus is affecting our lives.

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Sourdough Rugbrot (Rye Bread), one way of taking my mind off our current situation… baking it, not eating it (it IS good, though)

I need to concentrate on what my new normal is going to look like. I think there was a part of me that didn’t want to accept that this is going to last months, not weeks. Now that I’ve been off work for a full month, I need to decide what I want to do with my time. It’s been fun baking or cooking every day; even doing the dishes every day (we don’t have a dishwasher) has been, dare I say it, enjoyable. I don’t mind the day to day chores that need doing but it doesn’t fill my days. I don’t want to be sitting at my computer all day or sitting in my recliner knitting either; that said, I’ve been finding it hard to get motivated to go for walks even though I know the exercise and fresh air is good for me.

What about you? How do you fill your days? How are you feeling in the middle of this pandemic?

I do know what I’m doing tomorrow, though. I’m baking Peanut Butter Cookies. Just cuz I can. An extra pound or two be damned!

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My spider plant loves its new home in the kitchen. It’s even sending out a new shoot!

 

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Day 23 – Pamper Yourself

Today’s numbers – 2,034,425 total confirmed cases, with 133,261 deaths and 509,569 recovered, leaving a total of 1,391,595 active cases world wide.

It’s getting to the point where I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing from day to day. There’s just so much cleaning one can do in a two bedroom suite and I’m not ready to start cleaning out the kitchen cabinets just yet. There’s just so much baking I can do because, as good as it is, we’re starting to feel it; clothes just aren’t quite fitting the way they used to. And, as much as I enjoy knitting, I really don’t want to be sitting around that much.

I could be making more soap but the future of the local Crafter’s markets is a little uncertain at this time and I don’t want to be stuck with more soap than I can use in one lifetime. On the other hand, though, I could make the argument that, once this is over, people may be so pleased to get out that I might not have enough soap on hand. That’s a dilemma.

So, I decided to pamper myself a little today. Some of the recipes I have come from a lovely Etsy vendor. Every one of her recipes that I’ve tried has been wonderful. Some have made it into my line of products, others I make just for myself. One of those is the Foaming Mud Mask. It’s made with Canadian Glacial Clay and I love this stuff! My face feels so smooth and soft after a facial with this mud. John always laughs at me when I use it but he likes the results. And it isn’t just for your face either. According to the recipe description, it can be used as:

*Foaming Facial Mud Cleanser
*Deep Cleansing Facial Masque
*Foaming Mud Bath
*Body Wash
*Scalp Treatment Shampoo
*Spa Pedicure and Manicure Soak
*Spa Pedicure/Manicure Masque

Personally, I’ve used it as a facial cleanser, a facial masque, and as a scalp treatment. It’s scented with a lovely Sandalwood fragrance oil, which just seems to go so well with the earthiness of the clay.

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The second product I used today is a new one to me. I’ve had the recipe for ages but never had all of the ingredients to make it. In reviewing the recipe today, I realized that I now do have all the ingredients, so I made it. It’s called the Fruit & Cream Angel Bath. I left it uncoloured and unscented but it would be lovely with a relaxing fragrance in it, too. Because it has a little baking soda and a little citric acid, it does foam a little when it hits the water and it leaves your skin feeling moisturized and definitely pampered.

With both those products in hand, I had a lovely, relaxing bath. I’m feeling very spoiled.

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Day 17 – Thursday, right?

Today’s sobering numbers – As of 6:38 a.m., there have been 1,502,618 confirmed cases, with a total of 89,915 deaths and 339,775 recoveries, leaving a total of 1,072,928 active cases world wide. I wonder how high the numbers will go before this is over. And how long it will take before we see a downturn in the numbers.

One of the main topics of conversation around here (besides the stock market) is food. What should we have for dinner tonight? What would you like for dinner tomorrow? What kind of treats would you like? What shall I bake today? Cooking and/or baking is definitely my go-to when I’m home, whether I’m bored or not. I know I’ve said it before but for me it’s almost meditative and everyone likes to be on the receiving end when someone else cooks or bakes.

Yesterday, we decided on steak for dinner and I came across a bag of pork belly in the freezer so I took it out to thaw as well. We recently tried a small package of pork belly from Costco; I had no idea what to do with it but found a recipe from Momofuku restaurant. Wow!! It was amazing! So, I did it again. John had purchased a larger package this time, and divided it into two packages. He’ll have to get more next time he’s in Costco. The recipe is so simple and the resulting pork is so tasty and so melt in the mouth yummy.

I applied the salt/sugar/pepper mix yesterday and left it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I baked it low and slow (290ºF) until the internal temperature is 190ºF. Now, it’s out of the oven and I can’t (don’t want to) stop nibbling. Seriously, this is SO good!

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Now, I just have to decide how to serve it for dinner. Either that or we just keep nibbling until it’s all gone. It is keto friendly, after all.

The best part of yesterday was spent with my tablet, reading. Every now and then I enjoy doing that. It gets to a point, though, where I just want to finish the book I’m reading and get on with other things.

Today, though, I think I need to get outside. It’s supposed to go up to about 20ºC here today. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and it looks like a great day to be outside. I think a good walk around the block is in order.

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Day 14 – It’s What Day?

Today’s numbers – 1,289,380 confirmed cases worldwide, 70,590 deaths and 270,372 recovered, leaving a total of 948,418 active cases worldwide.

One of the things I’m beginning to find is that days flow into each other and I sometimes have to remind myself what day it is. There really isn’t much to separate one day from the next; we do the same thing day after day after day. The only real difference is that the markets are closed on weekends (John watches the markets and does a lot of research) so he’s not on his computer as much then. For me, the days are pretty much the same. I’d like to try and change that. I’m not sure just how yet but I’ll be working on that.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending more time baking and more time knitting. The raisin bread was amazing; there are still a few slices left in the freezer but it won’t last long. We did stop in at a local market to pick up some Gouda cheese; one of my favourite ways to eat raisin toast with with a nice slice of medium Gouda cheese. So yummy!

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As much as I love raisin bread, though, I also craved some regular white bread. Not the grocery store white bread but a good sourdough sandwich bread. So, on Friday, I made bread again.

Check out the bubbles in the left hand jar! The jar at the right is the discard, which I used to make Sourdough Waffles on Sunday (was that just yesterday??). The bread turned out really well, as usual. I’ve had the recipe for the Sourdough Bread since I was first married, in 1975, and I’ve been making it off and on since then, with a couple of minor tweaks (there was a typo in the recipe; no bread recipe I’ve ever seen uses 2 tablespoons of salt).

Then, on Saturday, we decided to have Hot Dogs for dinner. I know, I know, that’s not a true dinner; in our defense though, we’d been nibbling at leftovers in the fridge most of the day. There was just one problem; we had no hot dog buns left. So…. you know I had to bake again, right?

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They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. This time, I used the Heavenly Yeast Rolls recipe and shaped them into hot dog buns rather than dinner rolls. Both John and I were very pleased with the final result.

In knitting, I managed (I think) to repair the circular needle and will be working on the Orkney Pi Shawl later this week. In the meantime, I’ve frogged and re-cast on for the Cobweb Lace Doily.

I’m about three rounds away from the leaf edging now and would like to have it off the needles by some time this week. There’s no rush, obviously, but it’s a goal and goals are a good thing, right?

I’ve also been reading; I had the Jean M. Auel’s final book in the Earth’s Children series, “The Painted Caves” on hold and just got it on Friday afternoon. I spent a couple of hours reading yesterday and have made good progress in the book. If today is anything like yesterday, I could have it finished by tonight or tomorrow. That said, it’s a beautiful day here in the Okanagan and I (we) have every intention of getting outside at some point. Spring has definitely arrived, along with seasonal allergies. I must remember to keep taking the Claritin daily.

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Day 10 – Practicing Physical Distancing

This morning’s numbers – 962,977 confirmed cases minus 49,180 deceased and 202,935 recovered, leaving a total of 710,862 active cases world wide. Probably by sometime this afternoon/evening, the total confirmed cases will reach the 1,000,000 mark.

Last night, I practiced safe social distancing and it was kind of fun! One of our local yarn shops hosted a Zoom meeting with other local knitters. At the peak, there were 15 ladies in the meeting, all of us chatting and sharing our works in progress. One of the ladies commented that it was nice to be able to “get together” with other women when we can’t actually get together. She was right.

I’m sure it was a little strange for John, who was watching the Tiger King on Netflix, knowing that I’m in a Zoom room and not saying a lot and then suddenly speaking out loud, especially since there’s no one else in the (physical) room. Although, I suppose it’s not really that much different than a phone call.

Anyway, yesterday wasn’t a good day for knitting. The Pi Shawl is going well, thankfully. The needle is holding up well for now; I managed to get a total of 2.5 rounds done. I also worked on the doily, which was going along quite nicely. I had it to the point where I could get it on to a circular needle, did a couple of rounds and was going to work on it during the Zoom meeting. Operative word there is “was”. I was about to start knitting on it and accidentally pulled it a little too hard and about five stitches came off the needle and immediately ran down. I looked at it, trying to decide if I could pick it back up, realized I couldn’t and frogged the whole thing.

I found some relatively mindless knitting and worked on that instead.

I did mention yesterday that I took the Sourdough starter out of the fridge, right? Well, when I fed it this morning, I decided to use the discard right away to make a loaf of Sourdough Raisin bread, from the King Arthur website. I’ve made it a couple of times and it’s really good! It came out of the oven just a short while ago and John is eagerly waiting for me to give him the Okay to cut into it. If it was up to him, he would have had a couple of slices already.

I think I’ll make some sandwich bread tomorrow. I’d like me some white bread.

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Day 9 – Uh Oh!

This morning’s numbers – Total confirmed cases – 885, 225, with 44,216 total deaths, and 185,377 recovered = 655,632 active cases.

I have a small update to yesterday’s post. John managed to get the Kobo and the computer talking! People, this is huge! You have no idea. I’m usually the computer geek of the family but I couldn’t figure it out so I set him up on my tablet. He doesn’t really like the tablet as it’s about twice the size of the Kobo. This afternoon, he figured it out. He’s happy. I’m happy! (And he’s gloating) 😉

I’ve been working on the Orkney Pi Shawl over the past couple of days and very much enjoying it, although it is a bit of a beast. I pretty much need to be in the recliner to work on it so I can rest it on my lap. Each round takes about 3/4 hour to work; I figure that, at this rate, I should have it done sometime around Christmas. Unless, of course, my needle doesn’t co-operate.

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This happened yesterday. Yes, the end came out of the needle’s end cap, or whatever it’s called. I tried to glue it with Gorilla Glue but I used it a little too soon and it came apart a second time. Being persistent, I glued it again and left it overnight. It seems to be okay today; I’ve done 2 1/2 rounds since this morning with no issue. Hopefully, it lasts until the shawl is finished.

In the interim, I wanted something small to work on so I started another (small!) project. It’s one I had started before and never finished.

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It, too, was in the trunk. Unfortunately, stitches had been dropped and I couldn’t remember (are we noticing a trend here?) which book the pattern was in so I frogged it. Then, I checked my Ravelry projects. It turns out the pattern was from “A Gathering of Lace”, which I have in my library. I tried to cast on last night… tried. I don’t recommend casting on a project like this when you’ve had a couple glasses of wine. It did not go well.

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In the light of day, though, it went just fine and I’m off and running now. It’s a much more portable project, not TV knitting by any stretch but I can work on it at my computer or even outside, if the weather were to co-operate (it’s sunny but cool out, not quite sit outside weather).

Just so you don’t get the impression that all I do these days is knit, I pulled this out of the fridge today.

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It’s my Sourdough starter. I started it about 2 (or was it 3) years ago. Every now and then, I take it out of the fridge and get it going again. We’re well stocked with Flax Seed Bread (from Cobs Bread) but, now and then, I like a slice of white sandwich bread that isn’t just fluff. I decided that this is a good time to get it going again. I just thought the texture of it was kind of interesting. Hence the picture.

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Day 8 – One More Finished Object

Today’s numbers – 809,608 infected, with 39,545 dead, and 172,869 recovered, for a total of 597,194 active cases. I wonder how high that number will go before we see a decrease.

I finished John’s socks! The knitting was finished yesterday but I didn’t do up the toes until this morning. Yesterday was spent trying to update his Kobo after the latest Apple upgrade. What a nightmare! We kept going round and round in circles, trying to get the Kobo and the Mac to talk to each other. Both showed that they were authorized to talk to each other but neither would. I finally set him up on my new tablet (bought at Christmas for the upcoming market season) so he can read. Once everything is back to normal (whatever the new normal will be), he can go to the library again to see if they can help him get it set up again.

While working on the second sock yesterday, I noticed this…

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A dropped stitch about an inch down from where I was. I will admit there were a couple of bad words. Then, I grabbed a crochet hook and went to work.

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There’s a bit of a lumpy section but once the socks are washed, that will even out and it won’t even be noticeable. It was either use the crochet hook or rip it back to that point and I wasn’t ready to do that.

This morning, I closed the toes and wove in all the ends (there weren’t that many) and presented John with his new pair of socks. I love the look on his face when he gets a new pair; it’s almost like he can’t believe I did that for him. It’s one of the things I love about him.

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The yarn, as you can see is Lang Super Soxx Color, 75% wool and 25% nylon. I’m not sure if I’ve used the Lang Super Soxx before. It’s a little “rougher” than others I’ve used but I think it will soften up with washing. Feels good to have them off the needles and done.

Now, I can work on the Orkney Pi Shawl. Yesterday, I took the risk and drove to the print shop (where I worked) to print the file, all 29 pages! (According to my co-worker, it’s been really quiet, with very little to do.) I’ve found my place in the pattern, attached the new ball of wool and will start working on it again later today.

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Day 7 – Feels Like Saturday All Over Again

Today’s Covid-19 numbers: As of 7:04 a.m. there are 741,030 total confirmed cases with 35,114 deaths and 156,838 recoveries, leaving a total of 549,078 active cases worldwide. I wonder how high that number will go before we start to see it come down.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a very productive day in the knitting department. I picked up a pair of socks that I’d started for John a few months ago. The first sock was already off the needles (still needed the toe to be Kitchenered closed) and the second had about 5″ of the leg knit. I managed to turn the heel and make it almost halfway down the foot by the time I went to bed last night. The foot is the completely mindless knitting part as it’s all just knit, no patterning at all, easy enough to do while watching YouTube videos on the laptop. If today goes anything like yesterday, he’ll have another pair of socks by end of day today.

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He’s so appreciative of his hand knit socks that I enjoy making them for him. I usually have a pair on the go as they’re a nice small project that can be worked on pretty much anywhere. Not that we go anywhere right now… you know what I mean. The best part is the pattern is so simple, I have it mostly memorized. There’s just one spot that I need to refer to my notes for – the first two rows of the heel turning. Apart from that, I don’t need to refer to the pattern, which also helps to make it a very portable project.

The days are beginning to flow into one another now. As the title says, every day feels like a Saturday. There’s no real routine right now. I do get up around the same time every morning and still have my usual morning routine – coffee and computer time until I’m fully awake. Then, it’s time to putter around here, do the dishes, make up the bed, tidy up… you know, all the stuff I used to do on a Saturday morning.

Speaking of YouTube videos, while searching for ways to block a large circular shawl, I came across a YouTube channel that I just had to subscribe to. If you’re a knitter, you might enjoy it, too. It’s Fruity Knitting (not sure about the name but, oh well) and each video episode is over an hour in length. I watched three episodes yesterday.

Andrea & Andrew are an Australian husband and wife team of knitters, living in Germany. In each episode, they share what they’re working on, go for a walk and some “Extreme Knitting”, and have segments with knitters from around the world as well as in depth interviews with crafters. I watched an interview with a couple of Shetland lace knitters, another with a woman who makes Dorset Buttons, and a third with a woman who teaches Peruvian knitting. All were fascinating interviews. It’s definitely something to check out if you’re at all interested in knitting.

I still haven’t found any information about blocking (or dressing) a large circular shawl, though, so if you have any information on the subject, please let me know.

Stay safe and wash your hands!

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