Monday, May 04, 2009

Busy as a Honey Bee, All Weekend Long

Beginning Saturday morning with a visit to Twist Fair and culminating with a JamFest (the kind you eat) that's lasting into today, this was not a slacker weekend by any definition. We even had a dead chicken scare on Sunday morning culminating in a chicken rising from the dead. Well, sort of anyway.
On Saturday morning I'd planned to meet up with Rue, Kristen and Sara and head on up to Twist Fair, which " an exciting event showcasing original handmade goods and art, held twice a year (May and November) in Northampton, MA." It's put on by the talented Ms. Lexie Barnes and her equally brilliant husband Cory, owner of Spire Bags. The stuff last time was awesome. I was ready to shop this time.
I am nothing if not impatient, so at about 10:01am (look, I waited as long as I could, I swear it) Kristen and I set off for Twist leaving a note on my car that indicated by lack of patience. I just, sometimes, cannot sit still and wait. Saturday was one of those days. What I didn't know is that Sara had no idea where Twist was being held and this time unlike when she got lost on the way to my house, Rue was not there to guide her. Oops. Restless MMO Syndrome strikes again. A little technology, a little direction and all was well.
As a result of my Adult-Onset ADD (I think I like Restless MMO Syndrome better. Votes?), Kristen and I and Kristen's daughter were lucky enough to receive the most awesome swag bags! Early birds were rewarded with a reusable muslin bag stuffed with all sorts of good things.Seriously good things. Among the goodies were an embroidery transfer from Sublime Stitching (and mine is about as perfect as could be, I got Sushi Bar!!), a copy of Things I Learned from Knitting, and a $10 gift certificate to Pinch Gallery. There was loads of other things, including a Lexie Barnes Venus luggage tag, a really good Webs coupon, and a Twist Fair poster.
My first objective was Celadon Studio. I love Malea's stuff and I'd seen a couple of mugs I really wanted to get my hands on. But then I saw this cup, and was lost.Cup, mug, same thing, right? I love the dragon flies. What I really love, and you can't see, is the wonderful glaze splashed on the inside. Love this one, inside and out!
Wandering on Kristen discovered these adorable little origami stars, in a cute kit, and I had to have those, too. Because I have so much time in which to make origami stars, right? Also at this booth was a lamp made from drink umbrellas which I adored, but had not planned for. I am planning for the future, and hope to see Bright Lights Little City back again at Twist in the fall. I will plan for a lamp next time around!
Next I found the self-proclaimed fuzzmason (I love that) Jessica Fafnir Adamites who's so local to me I could probably throw something from the front yarn and it'd hit her (ok, maybe I'd have to get up on the roof, but still, next town over really!), and was compelled to buy a woolly envelope. A difficult decision in terms of color, really. I wanted them all. I love the idea of it as a wee little gift carrier.You can find the fuzzmason's (I really love that) wares at her Etsy shop - check it out, she's got some really lovely felted vessels and wall art in addition to the very charming and useful felt envelopes.
We saw the talented Tina, measured with spoons, creator and purveyor of the darling-est jewelery, which always makes me wish I wore the stuff. I particularly love that she used wrapping paper Katy gave her a gift in to make jewelery from. Tina gave me a pin that says "no. but I could have." which pretty much could apply to about anything I am wearing or carrying on any given day that causes people to say "Did you make that?". I think there should be a coordinating pin that says "why yes I did, thanks!"
I'd seen these adorable Beehive Kitchenware spoons on the Twist website before the fair, and was determined not to buy one. Really. I told myself before I left home that I did not have a baby, nor was I planning to have a baby, nor did I know any baby who did not already have spoons.That worked. Rationale on this one: it's a chicken, and I have grandchildren. Please, enable me. tell me that makes perfect sense. I sort of wish I'd bought their lemon juicer, too.
In keeping with the 'handmade holiday' theme that we're working on for Christmas 2009, I bought these charming painted vintage tea towels. They'll accompany some handmade trivet tiles we found earlier in the year.Their blue handpainted stripiness just makes me happy.
At Bill Pickles Dog Co. I snagged a new collar for Dazee and whole wheat peanut butter and carob treats for Boo. He knew exactly what they were for before I'd even opened the package. Dazee's new collar is perfect, too. It's wider so you can see it. Her little one gets lost in all that hair. Boring. I can SEE this one, green with orange and pink circles. She may need more.
Oh the yum. Bunny Butt Apothecary makes the most delightful things. I succumbed to two pots of whipped cream, not the edible kind. This stuff smells decadent. I got Pirate Booty and Masala Chai. You can find their things on Etsy as well. The only way to describe their fragrances is as they do themselves: delightfully smelly!
Mel really enjoyed my return from Twist Fair. So much so that he decided that any and all tissue paper and paper bags? Were his. But with a face like that, who could say no? (Not me, that's for sure)
Sunday morning began sadly, when during morning dog-walk we found these feathersin a pile by the garden fence. Even absent any blood, this many feathers is never a good sign. Celia, Girl's little bantam Silkie hen who's been kicking about for nine years now was obviously gone. Nine years is a long time in chicken years. She'd been refusing to come in at night and we'd been unable to find her to put her in ourselves. She must have been found by something smaller and slippery who could squeeze into wherever she'd been holing up at night. She'd always been a bit of a flake, really. A great auntie for me to introduce unsocialized chicks to the concept of grown-up chickens, and a lovely little brooder with a penchant for sitting on anything and everything, and the best "mom" hen I ever had in spite of her extremely diminutive size, she would be deeply missed.
With a heavy heart I headed for Greenfield to take my mother shopping and to run errands, and give her a Dazee visit. Somewhere along the way, I believe at lunch on Saturday, Sara had mentioned violet jelly. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my mind I have an image of this as something I'd heard of, probably from Sara last spring, and wanted to do along with lilac jam. I had never quite managed to get around to, and now, reminded, was insistent that it needed to be done. I headed to Greenfield's Market for unbleached cane sugar. It makes the jam a bit darker, and jellies aren't as crystal-clear as some like them, but I feel a bit better about what's in them. The optically dazzling white stuff gives me the creeps, really.
As I parked at Greenfield's my cell phone rang. On the other end of the line, Mr. Wonderful said "Uh. I think we counted your chicken before it was dead." I said "What??" and he said "That chicken, I don't think you'll believe me, but she's right here. I am staring right at her." No way? Yes way! Celia lives. I didn't believe him until I came home and saw for myself. And see her I didevery fluffy hairy-feathered little bit of her, alive and well in the yard, as if nothing had happened...except for the part where she's got hardly any feathers left on her tushie. Difficult to tell, since she's got no shortage of them to begin with, but trust me she's down by a good predator-sized mouthful of feathers back there. My guess is that whatever was after her was as young as she is flakey, and it really didn't know how to do what it was trying to do. She somehow managed to get away and hide. She's been through more than one traumatic incident in her abnormally long life already. One more does not seem to have effected her nearly as much as it probably should.
Happily I turned back to my original afternoon plans - jam! - with periodic checks out the window to verify that we weren't seeing things in chicken land. Using Sara's Violet Jam recipe with a couple of modifications, thesebecame this.Obsessed with jam and with the 5 sterile jars sitting here staring at me, I moved back into the yard and procured thesewhich I handed to him to pull the green off of, leaving only yellow petals behind; 2 cups worth.I then sat down to help, lest you think I work him too hard, poor sockless man. When all was said and done we each had a waste pile, and I had 2 cups of petals.Go ahead. Guess who's waste is whose.
I added some ginger and lemon to the dandelion recipe, and set it to cooking.All of these are cooked jams and have been processed in a hot water bath. There's a lot of steam, and boiling, and yelping when hot things hit me, but I love it. It's very fulfilling.
This morning I extended the jamfest into Scary Berry (just strawberry but made from store-bought gargantuan and unnatural looking California berries deeply on sale making it impossible to resist) and my new favorite, Lemon Ginger (without dandelions).Next up? This evening when Gene brings me more jars, I'll put up Lavender Berry Jam using some berries from the freezer and a handful of lavender flowers from a farm in Dublin, NH.
And Celia? With some quick thinking on Mr. Wonderful's part last evening we managed to get her indoors for the night. The rest of the chickens will now need to stay in their yard for a couple of weeks until Celia remembers where it's safe to sleep
if she can remember. And I hope she can. I've grown accustomed to her little brown face!
I've been toying with some more jam ideas. Every now and then I look over the backyard and ponder savory jams using garlic scapes and nettles and things, or more sweet ones. And maybe more dandelion. And the lilacs are coming soon. I love to forage. There's something amazingly satisfying about bringing in things from our own property, some wild some we plant on purpose and incorporating them into our lives. It's a feeling I wish I could share with the world.
Next time - knitting, crocheting, and how potholders and the internet can be dangerous to your work-life.


Anonymous said...

i love this post.

booksNyarn said...

I love how the blog expands all the snippets along you FB/Twitter posts!

The pictures of jam are killing me, but farmers markets start next weekend, so I will be patient. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

My husband is bringing me home jalapenos tonight. For what?, you ask - for jam, of course. It is spectacularly awesome on meatloaf!

And just because everyone needs one more laugh in their day, whether it has been great or not:

Ass, jazz hands.

Kathleen C. said...

Violet jam? I've never eaten a violet... what does it taste like?

Yarnhog said...

What a cute little chicken! I'm so glad she's okay.

My husband really, really wants another pet chicken after ours went to visit the dogs next door and didn't come home. But we can't get another until we resolve the "wandering chicken" problem by doing something--what, I don't know--to keep it in our own yard.

Oh, and rose petal jam is my all-time favorite. I ate pounds of it when I was in Istanbul.

tina said...

this was the absolute happiest post. I really enjoyed the virtual travels. And the jams? COME ON----- how incredible they must be!!!!!

jealous, verrrrrry jealous here!

Jean said...

I really did enjoy the story of your remarkable hen. Also your jams bring back fond memories, when I used to make jam with a dear friend with the fruits from the trees in her yard. She had the most amazing pantry that I still envy to this day.

ME215 said...

Sounds like a great weekend.....and yes, I'm playing catch up. I'm so far behind.

Oh and you've got yarn on the you can throw something at the fuzzmason from the "front yarn" ;)