Monday, 30 April 2012

Me Buddy's Brew Shop (Among Other Things)

Today seems like its two days long. Lord Lipton. Seeing as we were supposed to have snow and the wind was no longer at hurricane strength I started some burning at about 7. That took a couple hours. And an old poppy stopped by to see what my egg sign was all about. He seemed nice. He was out for a walk. But he was a close talker. You know, they keep backing you up as they try to keep a twelve inch space between you. He'd never seen green eggs before today.
We didn't get any snow out here. A bit of drizzle and then the sun came out. The chickens decided they would lie in the sun. They look dead when they do that sprawled out wings all akimbo.
When Himself got home I booted it to the postal shed but they had closed 45 seconds before I arrived. So off to Bay Roberts for some supplies. Went to Me Buddy's Brew Shop. Its the best spot to get supplies. Cheap! And friendly. And I get to barter. Today I got 10 dozen caps and a 1.2kg bag of corn sugar for a dozens eggs. Can't go wrong. Then off to Price Choppers which is in the process of becoming Food land. Which is great if you like air miles but not so good if you are trying to find stuff as they set up the new store in amongst the old. I might not have spuds but at least I can make beer.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Old Shack & The Knitted Shawl

Exciting goings on here at the Compound today. Holy jumpins! But we need some background...why is it the Compound? When I bought the place I knew it needed a name. Nine acres...the size of Jericho...two houses and a shed. On one of the old surveys the house we don't live in is called The Old Shack. So the name The Compound fit and stuck.
So Himself got a new quad today. He has wanted one since we got here so he's like a youngster Christmas morning. But its new and shiny and needs a place to sleep at night. So the retrofit of The Old Shack began. We use it for storage. Recycling, seasonal items like the pool and stuff. And junk that came with The Compound. Good thing we laid the floor last week because that's where the boards had been stored. But now I understand why it was finally laid.
It was gutted today. And the phrase put the side back in the house is apt. So while Himself was doing all that I was completing a shawl for myself...another check on the bucket list.
Just as the rain came, Trikey (I know I know) went to bed in his new home. The snow blower will join him tomorrow.
Phew! I love my shawl. Its alpaca and soft and a lovely greeny mossy colour that doesn't show true in the picture. But back to proper homespun wool and knitting other stuff now....after supper...we are all gut founded.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Full Sail to Birch

Today I finally bottled the beer that I made from the kit my sister sent me. Its been a while...relatively speaking...since I bottled beer. Mostly wobblee pops and wine the past little while. Its the first beer I made using grains and hops. It seems like it turned out pretty good...we shall see in a couple weeks. Its a Full Sail clone. I have never had Full Sail so I won't be able to compare it. But it was fun to make.
After a super speedy bottling session compared to what I'm used to, I went up around to see how the spruce is making out. No new tips on the branches yet so no making spruce beer for another little while. Soooo I decided to start a batch of birch beer.
Last year I started my brewing again after about a fifteen year hiatus with a batch of spruce beer. Now it wasn't very good compared to modern kits. I did it ole timey way with bread yeast and a raw potato. This year it will be awesome. But while I wait for spruce its birch.
So I went up and started harvesting new birch shoots that are everywhere. The chickens came with me. Of course they follow me everywhere. Once I had a pot of branches I pulled up a bucket of water from the well to rinse them and brought my potful into the house.
Boiled the branches for a couple hours...threw in a cinnamon stick for fun. Drained the must through cheesecloth. Sloshed some cold water over the branches. Added sugar and molasses. Checked its temperature and added the brewers yeast. And now we wait. Five days or so and I'll rack it and then wait another week or so...then prime and bottle. Hopefully during the waiting I'll start the spruce. And then we'll be having a garden party.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Signs of Life

What a warm and humid day here on The Compound. The sun is thinking about coming out but even with cloudy skies its warm. Was knitting this morning...and getting distracted by the knitting needles that had been lost and were discovered yesterday. So I need eight sets of hands for what I want to be at. Oh the rain has started...let's go inside.
So anyhoo I was stirring up the compost heap. The chickens were helping with the stirring and making a meal of earthworms while they were at it. I was also raking up the piles of dry grass and leaves and sticks that the Chicken Chain Gang has been scratching out from under the rose wall. They are always helping.
Speaking of the girls...we had three fatalities in the last little while. A murder by Peregrine Falcon and complications from a murder attempt and then last week one keeled over after the Hickeys truck with the wrong address came barrelling up the driveway and decided to turn around on my grassy lawn. They won't be back. Ever. So I am down a few girls. But one of the girls decided to take matters into her own wings. She's sitting on a clutch. So in a couple weeks we will hopefully have some baby chickens. Waiting...I hates it as much as Smeagal hateses nasty hobbitses. So stay tuned.
The leaves are almost out on the roses and lilacs. The gooseberry bushes' leaves have unfurled and the rhubarb leaves are about the size of cereal bowl. Yay! Early spring consists of more of that *grrr* waiting. But April is almost over so we are that much closer to planting time. Hmmm another bonus of knitting is that it fills all kinds of waiting time...that's another reason to love sticks and string.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Success is Relative

A nasty raw day it was. Foggy and chilly and rainy to start. Morning was spent knitting Republic pot covers and drinking tea ans watching Frozen Planet on PVR. That's some show. Its worth watching. The Inuit quest for mussels is death defying. But every episode has amazing stuff. Loves it.
But then the precipitation cleared off. And I decided it was experimental pottery firing day. I only made one pathetic pot and three sets of rune stones (25 to a set). Now I have never gone to the beach firing. Never fired anything. I was a bystander for a Thule pot firing. But I had my plan. And if anything survived the inferno I would be pleased.
Yesterday I covered my burnables and my pit with plastic to keep the wet off. Good planning me. So I got my base fire going and when it got to coals I layered on a mixture of sawdust, moss and little bits of wood. Then quickly I put in the pot and rune stones. Sprinkled it with salt and pennies for potential colour. Another layer of sawdust mixture and then wood. While the base fire was going I had the pottery pre warming in the wind blown heat from the fire.
So smouldering smouldering till the fire started and then the waiting. My pot survived from a firing perspective but my pot making wasn't so good. And I think I might have less than 20% success rate on the rune stones. I have a while to go till I get to the Thule success rate of ~50%. But something survived and I had an awesome time doing it. So I will make more and fire em a little bit different. What fun!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

What the? April?

Bys oh bys. What a weekend! Was it May two-fer? Seemed like it but no its still only April. It was a fine time.
Weird though. Not only the weather. This morning a regiment (a whole lot anyway) of military folks went marching by. In full kit and guns at the ready. When they went by the first time they were in good formation but on the return trip some were in hard shape. But a half dozen read the egg sign and a few called out to Duke who of course was barking them on.
Yesterday during our 14 hour flooring marathon we had a float plane zoom over a few times. I even ran down to the pond to try to get a picture. But I was too slow. But the floor is laid but not totally painted.
Who got some colour? Mostly everyone I'd say. I was out in the sun yesterday while lugging lumber back and forth. Today I sat out and watched the creatures. Grouse...chickens...chickadees taunting Spider at their new feeder. It was nice.
I also had my rune stones out drying in the sun. I can't wait to fire them. Just need the weather to cooperate. If they work out I am gonna whomp up some more. But bottom line it was a deadly weekend and I dare say everyone's beat to the proverbial snot.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Large Day

What a day it turned (turnt) out to be! I had to run down to Bay Roberts for brad nails and a broom and sugar and what not. Wore jeans and a jacket and was cooked by the time I got back.
Today is put down the floor (finally) day. T&G fav. Its been in the old shack for a couple years now aging. So I am the cart the wood over and lean it up person while himself is the cut measure ans nail guy. In between my lugging I put up my new eggs for sale sign and hung out laundry and had wobblepops.
I also hung out some chicken proof bird feeders. Poor little birds have been suffering since the chickens and blue jays started their war. I am down another hen because one of the older ladies keeled over yesterday in between the meter man and the Hickeys truck thinking they were making their delivery here.
Of course himself is inside going off his head because he whacked his skull off the shelf for the third time. Really? Three times? Of you don't learn your lesson after the first time...well no sympathy from me.
But what a day! Its like May two-four. Everyone is at their far as I could tell coming back to The Compound from Bay Roberts. A convoy of ATVs just zoomed past. Noisy buggers getting dust on my line of clothes. Had a float plane do a couple fly bys on the pond...went right over the house...low too. I tried to get pics but no luck. I did however put my feet in the pond today. Not swimming temperature yet but close. And tomorrow is going to be wicked weather wise too!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Clay Day!

So one of the things I did yesterday was swing by Devon House and the Clay Studio. I got myself a hunk of clay to do something with. What I didn't know. But something.
I did a class there a few years ago and made some cups and a two handled mug. It was fun. They have all kinds of fun things to do and look at and buy.
So home I came with my clay. Sam was like what's that in the bag? Clay. He doesn't understand. What odds. He doesn't have to. I was going to play with my clay over the next little while. But yesterday I got word that sealers were ashore and my pelts were waiting...on ice thankfully.
So clay was ramped up. Now you may know about my rune hats. I like runes. I have a set of store bought rune stones that I bought with a little book many moons ago. Holy jumpins it was probably almost 20 years ago now. So what better activity than making rune stones. My technique is improving with each one. Much better than cups or whatnot.
The cool thing about runes is that they have English equivalents and each one also has a name and traditional meaning. They can be used like tarot cards to tell fortunes too. If the are upside down they mean the opposite. Totally awesome. Some look like English letters but aren't. For example the rune that looks like a M represents the English e. Its called Ehwaz and represents movement. Traditionally this meant horse or the movement of the sun. So it can be as complicated or as simple as you like. Those Vikings just didn't raid and pillage...they used runes too. But they weren't the only ones. I tell you one thing...someone is gonna have fun when they dig up the Compound eons from now.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

A Day in Town

Went in to town today. Out to Sin Jawns for gallavanting while Sam was at work.
Down to Mom's where I left with the bloomers I knit out of the Operation Homespun book and a container of Strawberry Bavarian. My first recollection of Strawberry Baverian was during the Dessert Sales we had at Bishop Field School when I was a youngster. It is so good. Last meal kind of good. I ate the whole thing. Probably a good thing I have the bloomers. The bloomers are gigantic. But that's what they wore...and gigantic because they were baby machines. For all those mudders out there...can you imagine wearing woolen bloomers in the third trimester. Wow.
Picked up some brewers yeast for spruce beer and birch beer making. Stopped by the Clay Studio for a hunk o' clay. Lots to do in the next little while. Seal pelts need to be picked up which means I need a sack of salt and another trip to town for books and an ulu.
Saw Salty the dog promoting the Expo at the Glacier. He was pretty perky on the corner of the intersection.
So back on the Compound. Ahhhh. All the creatures were glad to see us but Spider saved up his badness. My friend, Sue dropped by with a rhubarb wine making kit and two cases of jars and a gigantic pot. Awesome! A good day all round.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


So today on the news I saw that moose license applications are out. Thank goodness I save everything because who knows when we will pick up the mail next. So I still had my information to apply from last year.
This is my fourth year applying. I only apply for The Compound. Means I have to wait but when I finally get a license I can go up back and get my moose on my own property. Sweet.
Since the moose have declared a jihad on me its even more important that I get a license. Damn moose. They are everywhere these days. But they are delicious.
Sam wants no part of moose. So if and when I get one I need to call in the troops from the Cove or do it all myself. Bucket list for sure if its by myself. Maybe he will take pictures at least. And it will be downhill anyways.
So my application is in and the wait begins. Saw lots of tracks today up back. Hopefully I will get good news in June.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Time's a'wastin

Its days like today that I think of things that need doing. Its the best of spring days. Sunny again! Warmer than the day before.
The list is never ending. But its a good list. A no stress list. Something to be said for lists of that sort.
We got a good bit of the hill cleared this year. Its a fair sized hill. Chain saw and bow saw got a workout. So did the bodies.
Soon its time to till up the garden and decide what to plant. Spuds, carrots, onions, peas and beans and beets for sure. But we usually try other stuff too.
It won't be the year for the barn. Boy oh boy I can't wait till its the year of the barn. But too much to do yet. Can't get sheep and goats and a pony till we have the barn.
But maybe this year will be the year we build a root cellar and an outdoor oven. I can hope.
So much to do. But when its what you want to be doing it makes all the difference.
Spruce beer again this year. Maybe birch beer too. Would like to get those done before the rhubarb is ready for chopping. Rhubarb time is a busy time. Wine and pickles. And I have a rhubarb network. My own rhubarb yes...but more comes from Broad Cove and Outer Cove. 
Oh one of these days I will have everything situated. Barn and pasture and outdoor kitchens and everything else. But this week I need to get crackin, its spring and time's a'wastin. Oh and the sealers should be in with my pelts in a couple days...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Born and Bred

Newfoundland. I love Newfoundland. I am proud to be a Newfoundlander. I fly the republic flag.
I have the pink, white and green tattooed forever on my skin. Whatever the flag means to anyone else it means many things to me.
It means tromping through the woods and having a boil up. It means flipper pie and seal skins. It means nor'easters and trigger mitts. It means giving Greenpeace and PETA and Harper the stink eye. It means finding bits of the rock wherever you go.
It means salt fish and rocky beaches and foggy summer days. It means berry picking and stouts and losing your boots in the bog. It means singing We'll Rant and We'll Roar at the top of your lungs.
It means Rick Mercer and 22 Minutes and the Babylon Mall. It means Buddy Wasisname. Great Big Sea and fiddles and squeeze boxes. Drums and jigs and festivals in the park.
It means a nod and a wink. A wave to the passerby. It means you belong to this place. It means you have a history. It means hayches h'are lost h'and found. It means Land and Sea.
It means seagulls and turrs. A lop on the pond up at the cabin. It means icebergs and rolling capelin. It means Newfoundland ponies and St. Jacques sheep.
That's my off the cuff ramble for this morning in between the whiles.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Gone Troutin

I told Sam the other day that winter trouting season ends on April 15. Well I should have known.
Off he went this morning to Bay Roberts. Came back with new hooks and called me on the way to dig him some worms. Not likely...I have my own tasks to do.
He had to get his poles sorted out. And his fishing bag. And Spider was helping. Lord Lipton the goings on. Lots of grumbling down in the basement. Which then led to grumbling in the living room. Long rubbers. Plug in the walkie talkies to charge while he's out digging worms.
Now I save containers. Butter cream whips tubs...I keep them all. Sam fires em in the garbage. And then he says I need a tub. I'll give you a tub.
I am sure that Arctic explorers took less on expeditions to find the North Pole. He's out digging his worms. Not so easy when chickens are have to be fast.
So hopefully he will catch a few trout but if not at least he'll be outside and occupied for a couple of hours at least.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Yaffle o' Stuff

What am I gettin on wit today? Well did a bit of knitting, watched some awful movies, did a bit of burning and filled in the craters at the end of the driveway. When Sam came home I decided a trip to Bay Roberts was in order.
Well I got an awesome bunch of stuff. Boring ole groceries too but whatever. Got some salt fish bits and hard bread because I'm gonna have a Nan T lunch tomorrow. She would make me fish and brewis just for me. So tomorrow I will make it just for me and Sam had better keep his paws off. Crap he saw the hard tack so we'll be like the gulls tomorrow.
I also got a seal skin coin purse at The Hands of Olsen. Found out that the Mormons...the ones from Utah...get seal skin bible covers from this guy. He's also working on laptop cases. And he and his daughter have made about 3000 of those little seals with the beady eyes.
I also picked up a plastic owl. Who knew they would have them at the Dollar store. He's gonna try to keep the hawks away from the chickens. And a new republic flag. This is number 3. That wind shreds em....less than a year is all they last.
Oh and I got a new rake. You can never have too many and the old one is around the age of Buckleys goat.
So that was my awesome shopping trip. Now back to the needles.

The Written Word

In this day and age, the written word might not be seen for days at a time. I do tons of touch typing on my phone because I don't have a tablet or a PC. But I prefer paper and pen or pencil.
Now I have to admit I am particular about my writing utensils. I prefer BIC mechanical pencils #2 0.5 mm. But I don't always like using a pencil. I love fountain pens. And fine tip roller ball liquid ink. But it all depends on the paper.
I remember back in the day writing letters to my pen pal Gunilla Dahlgren in Sweden. Had to use airmail paper. It was shiny and thin like tissue paper. Does that even exist anymore?
I still write letters. And I love getting them. They are a nice surprise. And they mean a lot that someone would go through the trouble.
I mostly write lists. Grocery lists...that I usually forget to take. Things to do lists...just so I can put a line through each task and get a smidgen more of a sense of accomplishment. Lists of things to knit...I might still have that list on the go when I die. Crazy idea lists.
But I write down patterns and recipes. I doodle when I'm on the phone. I scribble reminders of when stuff is happening...TV shows...upcoming events..whatever.
Because I hate looking for pencils and whatnot I have a gazillion of them. I want to be able to grab one and go. Even when I have the available technology I still like to put the info on the paper. Paper doesn't crash.
But that's it. Enough thumb work for today. Where's my pencil?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I'll be dere da once

Not too long ago I put out the question of where to get some seal pelts. Not the beautiful finely finished sort but the blubbery fresh off the boat variety.
My Uncle Larry came through. He lives on Mockbegger down in Bonavista. We've spoken a few times now on the logistics of my adventure into pelt processing. Today we got closer to the big day. The boat went out yesterday. They've got fuel and supplies and ammo for a ten day run. They came to the ice 20 miles off Bonavista. So the hunt begins. I hope they fill the boat fast...but it might take a while to get the ~450 seals that make a load. Uncle Larry will keep in touch with the sealers and let me know when I need to in his words get my butt down to Bonavista.
In the meantime, I need to get ulus and scrapers and salt and frames and techniques worked out. Am I crazy? Some people might think so. Sam will certainly have a few words to say on the subject once I get up the nerve to tell him. But what odds you never know if you can do something till you try to do it.
Granted I won't be doing this alone...sealers and uncles and friends and family getting me pelts and ulus and books and advice and vans. Thanks to everyone now and going forward.
So sometime next week I'll be booting it down the highway with a van load of seal pelts. This transplanted townie will start on another check mark on her bucket list. I hope it all works out. But I will try some bark tanning and some fur on tanning. If nothing else it will be entertaining for those of you that follow along my trials and tribulations.
Safe hunting to the sealers!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sitting by the Beaver Pond

I call it the Beaver Pond...I don't know what its real name is but the Beavers have great cell reception so here I am. Once the sun came out I decided to fill up my thermos with tea and take a trek up here.
Most days I go tromping in the woods I follow no path. Just looking around and ending up wherever I end up. But today I followed a path that starts on the road down from The Compound and ends at this pond. Its about an hour round trip walking briskly. There are also offshoot paths.
Last fall I determined that one side of my land end near the path. One of these days I will have it mapped out. This tea is so yummy. The wind is cool today. But its a day that you can feel the heat coming up from the path when sheltered in the trees. You know...its the spring version of the waves of heat you get when your out berry picking in the late summer.
Nothing really growing yet but in some parts of the woods its so mossy green you can almost just almost pretend its summer. But anywho I must drink another teeny thermos cup of tea and head back down to my knitting...which in retrospect I should have brought with me.

Wind, Sun & Firing of Thule Pots

Let's try this again. Cell towers were against me in bloggery yesterday. Wrote a sumpthin sumpthin and it got stuck in lala land.
Yesterday was super exciting. It was sunny and warm albeit with a bit of a gale blowing by 9:30. I had two visitors coming from different directions. And you know I love the visitors...especially first timers.
First on the docket was the sewer of creatures and crafter of jewelry, Ms. Rosalind Ford. She was going into town and stopped in for tea and a tour. It was great to have a gab in a non-fair setting. We tromped around a bit and had a drop o tea. She couldn't stay long but I hope she'll be back.
Next up was flint knapper, archaeologist, and all round nice feller Tim Rast. He was bringing pots with him. He lives in town and when you live in town some things get complimicated. Like when you have Thule pot sherds to reproduce and need to fire said pots. Well I live on The Compound. And that means I have no mayors or neighbors or red tapey crap to worry about. So let there be fire...and seal blood and blubber and pot firing. Awesome!
Now I know little to nothing about Thule (or how to pronounce it) or Dorset or anything. Not to say I don't find all this kind of thing fascinating. Tim has a award winning blog...check it out You can learn all kinds of stuff. All kinds. Trust me.
Now I can't figure out how to add captions to my pictures with mobile bloggery so bear with me. They might not even appear in the correct order. But what odds you'll digger it out. We got the fire going. Five pots went next to the fire. One went in...that was not a happy pot. But it wasn't unhappy for long as it snap crackled popped into bits. But it did produce a sherd that was dark and still showed the pattern. The other pots looked good to almost looked glazed and the seal blood was toasted to a nice color.
I got toasted to a nice colour too...sitting by the fire on a windy blue sky sunny day. I am going to try making some Hodgewater Pots this summer. I also can't wait till Tim has some other project that doesn't suit town...because I hope he'll trek out here with it..and maybe bring Lori with him too.
Don't forget to check out his blog for more about these pots!

Monday, 9 April 2012

A Fine Goings On

Today was a deadly day. The best weather day so far. Early this morning I was doing some knitting but as I saw the temperature creep up on the weather machine I had to go out.
First the chickens stampeded to get out. Away they went doing the half flying running at full speed craziness. Then the clothes had to go on the line. What a day on clothes. I checked out how the crocuses were could almost see them popping out of the ground.
Up to the vegetable patch and turned over some dirt. Found a perfect onion that had wintered under a shock of dried grass. Not as good as the 2L bottle size carrot I found the spring before last but still awesome.
Collected the eggs and boiled up three pots of dog bones from Hallidays. Tidied the fire pit for the Thule pot firing tomorrow with archaeologist Tim Rast.
Then the rains the clothes off the line with just half a sprinkle on them. Got supper going for Nimshy...nothing like fish cakes and home made fries with Mom's turkey gravey. Nom nom nom. Its artery clogging week at The Compound.
Hopefully it'll clear up by tomorrow afternoon but it was some fine day today.