Thursday, December 24, 2015

Final canning and dehydrating of 2015

Well, 2015 is winding down.  Here's my last batch of food preservation for the year:

Final canning of 2015

Left to right, that's

  • five pints of dehydrated cremini mushrooms
  • eight pint-and-a-half jars of cranberry juice
  • two quarts of dehydrated homegrown tomatoes
  • eight quarts of amazing turkey stock
  • one pint-and-a-half jar of turkey meat with the last bit of stock

This is the first time I've dehydrated mushrooms in a couple years.  The first time I tried, it wasn't successful at all.  The mushrooms dried fine, but they are so hygroscopic when dry that they started rehydrating immediately just from the humidity in the air.  I tried storing them in Ziplocs, in jars, and in Ziplocs IN jars.  Nothing worked to keep the moisture out, and they got leathery and floppy within a couple days, and moldy within a month.  Very disappointing.

This time around, I immediately sealed them in jars using the vacuum sealer attachment of my FoodSaver.  This worked brilliantly.  A week later, and they are still crispy dry and rattle in the jars.  Success!  I love my FoodSaver.

The cranberry juice is the leftover liquid from making dehydrated cranberries (which are still finishing in the dehydrator, but I estimate there will be three pints). I prepared the cranberries by boiling them in water until they popped, then soaked them in an orange juice and honey mixture for an hour to sweeten them before dehydrating.  The cooking/sweetener liquids had too much good flavor to waste, so I mixed them and canned it up.  Yum!

The tomatoes, well..... I'm still processing tomatoes.  You can see in the background of the pictures that I still have garden tomatoes ripening in my dining room, and I've been dehydrating them as they ripen.  I think this is it, though.  We're getting ready to go on vacation for a week and a half, so the last batch that's still not quite ready to dehydrate will be bagged up and tossed in the freezer.  I'll probably sauce them some time after we get back.  Not bad, to still have fresh garden tomatoes at the end of December!  I am officially calling my 2015 tomato harvest a RESOUNDING success.

The turkey stock is also a first for me- the first time canning it, anyway.  I've been freezing stock for years, but I'm out of room in my freezer and am delighted to have pressure canning in my arsenal now.  This batch of stock is one turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, one chicken carcass from several months ago, and four steak bones from some point this summer, plus a big bag of mixed veggie trimmings collected over the past few months.  I was cleaning out the freezer, obviously!  The stock is gorgeous and flavorful, and I'm very excited to have it on hand.

I did the single jar of turkey meat because I had 3/4 pound left over from the batch I got out to make soup the other day, and I knew it wouldn't last in the fridge until we got back from vacation.  So I jarred it, added the last bit of stock that wasn't enough for a full quart, and topped it off with water. Easy peasy, and ready for another batch of soup.

Canning and dehydrating is so satisfying.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Be still.  Be at peace.  Light has returned.

Solstice quiet.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Turkey soup and BreadOnSunday

It was blustery today, with snow showers off and on all day, and I felt like making soup.  I never got around to making turkey stock after Thanksgiving, just pulled all the meat off the carcass and tossed it in the freezer along with the bones.  Today I pulled out the package of bones and did up a big pot of stock.  I'll can most of it, but took out some to make soup for dinner.

This soup is entirely from my food storage shelves and freezer: dehydrated corn, peas, celery, carrots, and potatoes, half of a 1-pound package of frozen turkey meat, and homemade stock.  Not shown are the home-grown dried thyme and oregano, home-dehydrated onion and garlic powders, and frozen grated ginger.

Turkey soup "fixins"

The recipe was so easy.  I just put two cups of stock plus two cups of water into a pan, threw in a scant handful of each of the veggies, the chopped turkey meat, a tablespoon-ish of the thyme, oregano, and ginger, and a hearty dash of onion and garlic powders, simmered for 20 minutes until the potatoes were rehydrated, and voila!  Dinner is done, with enough left over for my lunch tomorrow.

20 minutes later, turkey soup accomplished!

And because it's Sunday, we had already made bread earlier, which went great with the soup.  The pineapple was dessert.  Yum!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I may still be a kid...

Emma and I are going to see Star Wars VII this afternoon, and despite the fact that I'm a 44-year-old mom with a job and a mortgage, I am ridiculously excited.




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Macro with an iPhone

Dude.  DUDE.

The clip-on macro lens for my iPhone came today.  This is going to be so much fun.

This is an uncropped photo of the spike on the Lepanthes telipogoniflora, taken with full iPhone zoom through the 12.5x macro lens.

Lepanthes telipogoniflora closeup with 12.5x macro lens!


To compare, this is the same shot with the lens off (though it shifted slightly when I unclipped the lens),  My poor phone was so confused and distressed.

No macro lens, same distance

And this is an uncropped photo of the closest the phone could focus without the lens.  Even this is pushed in a bit too close.

Closest focus without macro lens

And just as a point of reference as to the actual size of what I'm photographing, this is the flower spike with the edge of a dime.

Lepanthes telipogoniflora closeup with the edge of a dime.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Two-week terrarium update, and an experiment

It's been two weeks, and my terrarium is still looking good.  And in the last week, several little mushrooms have popped up from the sphagnum!

Shrooms in my terrarium

I like the way it looks- hopefully the fungi won't get out of hand.

Glass globe terrarium update

The Lepanthes in the glass teardrop is also doing well.  The spike (or leaf, I'm not entirely sure which) is growing.

I took this picture through the 5x portion of my magnifying glass, which was only moderately successful.  Still fuzzy, even with my little tripod. I ordered a macro lens for my phone, and though I'm somewhat skeptical that an external lens on a cell phone will actually be worth using, it will be interesting to see if I can get clearer closeup photos.

Lepanthes telipogoniflora spike

I have also started a moss experiment.  I got these pieces off eBay, where they are marketed to go in aquariums even though terrestrial moss doesn't usually do well submerged and I expect that most people who buy them kill them almost immediately.  I sure did when I didn't know better and bought a piece for my aquarium many years ago!

The plan this time around is to grow them in the air, not submerged, with the goal of putting them in my terrariums.  We'll see.

For now they're just in a recycled clear plastic takeout box, to see if they even grow.  These are Plagiomnium trichomanes on the left and Tortula ruralis on the right. Or at least that's what they were sold as, who knows if those are actually the species.

Moss growing experiment

I got these because supposedly they stay short and will grow in cultivation.  I can't find much info online about Plagiomnium trichomanes, but what's funny is that I know Tortula ruralis has a world-wide distribution and is probably found in northeastern Oregon.  Who knows, maybe some of the moss I collected in the woods last week for the Lepanthes telipogoniflora terrarium is this species!  There are a couple clumps that look similar to a Tortula species, but I don't know mosses very well at all.  I need to get a good guide for this area (if there is one)!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Computers are stupid

My current laptop is an HP run-of-the-mill Windows dealie, and I got it in November 2010 when the motherboard and other mysterious bits fried on my previous computer, which was just over five years old at the time.

Lately, I've been seeing signs that my "new" laptop, which is coincidentally just over five years old, is suffering the occasional head cold and has difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

I realize that a five year old computer is considered rather geriatric these days, but this is still SO FRUSTRATING.  A piece of equipment that costs multiple hundreds of dollars should not wear out, become obsolete, or otherwise become useless after only five years.


One of the most annoying things recently has been trying to use the internet.  Web pages were taking between two and five minutes to load, which is a short space of time in real life, but is eons and eons when there are Things To Find Out About Stuff.  And don't even try to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime video.  Not happening.

I've used Firefox for years and it never let me down until recently.  So I tried Internet Explorer (yuck, even worse) and finally settled on Google Chrome as the best of all the horribly slow browser choices.  Hilariously, I did discover that if I uncheck the box in the Google Chrome settings called "use hardware acceleration when available," the browser runs better.  In other words, turning off the acceleration makes it run faster.  Huh.  Whatever.

Yet still, the internet is slow, programs randomly freeze, and sometimes shut down altogether.  I don't even try to read email on my computer anymore, it's just so much easier on my phone.  My laptop has also decided that it no longer recognizes my phone and iTunes won't talk to it at all.

I have virus-checked, malware-checked, cleared caches, eaten all the cookies, offloaded unneeded files to an external hard drive, and done All The Things.

And yet still a web page takes an excessive amount of time to load and I can't watch movies on my laptop without them catching and seizing a few times a minute, and the video lagging behind the audio.

I'm afraid that I will need to buy my quinquennial computer soon.  I have been seriously considering a Mac because I'm so fed up with PCs.  Macs seem more reliable and the people I know who have them really like them.  And I really like my iPhone, iPad, and iPod.  Apparently, I'm an Apple aficionado in iDenial, since I've always said I like PCs better.

I'm just having a really, really hard time wrapping my head around spending that much money (OMG, Apple products are so expensive) on a laptop that doesn't even have a CD/DVD drive built in.


So many first-world problems in this post.  Sorry.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Yes, another.

I am so enamored with my little Lepanthes telipogoniflora that I have at home that I got another one to keep at work.  This is a plant that likes lower-light conditions, and I'm hoping that my office lighting will suffice.  If not, I have a window in my office that will work, or I'll bring it home.  I'd really love to keep it next to my computer, though, where I can look at it between paragraphs.

Leoanthes telipogoniflora #2, at my office

It's just so tiny and cool.

Lepanthes telipogoniflora #2, at my office. It came with two spikes started!

I looked at this one with my dissecting microscope (well, it's not mine, but it lives on my desk at work...), which certainly makes it easier to see what's going on with this tiny, tiny plant.

It has three flower spikes started!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


Since...forever, Emma has not liked to be alone.  She has always stuck pretty tight to me, first as a baby/toddler and especially after things blew up between Shaun and me and he moved out.  That was a really tough thing for a six-year-old to process, and for several years her way of dealing was to pretty much always have me in sight or earshot, and in arm's reach at night since she would only sleep in my bed. For a long time, it was to the extent that if I went out to the garage or yard and didn't tell her, she panicked.  Totally understandable abandonment issues.

Off and on for the past year or so, I've casually asked if she wants to stay home while I run to the store, or go up to the Tomato Annex, or do some other short errand.  She always refused and rushed to put on her shoes to come with me.  She wouldn't even entertain the thought of staying alone.  She turned 12 in September, but I didn't push it.  If she wasn't ready, she wasn't ready.

There was a little progress last summer when she walked six blocks by herself from swim practice to Kids Club (daycare) so I didn't have to leave work every morning and pick her up.  I got her a phone and she talked to me during that entire half-mile journey.  She wasn't entirely comfortable doing it, but it was mostly OK except for the times when she was nervous about a dog or a person or it was raining or whatever, and begged me to come get her.  And I did, because she is my daughter and I love her, and she trumps any work project.  Besides, I live in a small town and work for an understanding company, and taking 10 minutes off to drive across town and pick her up was not that big a deal.

Since school started this fall, her swim practice time has been soon-ish after school, so she just takes the bus to the pool and hangs out there until practice, then I pick her up after.  She's been a little burned out on swimming recently, so I told her she could take December off.  Now she suddenly has no activities after school, except that I said she needs to come to the gym with me (I joined a gym again!) a few times a week to still get some exercise.  The original plan was to have her go to Kids Club after school until I was done with work.

Last week, however, she confronted me with A New Plan.  Out of the blue, she said that she felt like it was time that she started learning how to be comfortable staying home alone.  She said that.  Herself. Unprompted.

Her plan is to walk to the town library on two days a week and hang out there for an hour and a half until I am done with work, then I would pick her up and we would go to the gym.  On two other days, she would have a friend walk home with her after school, and they would stay here at the house while I finished work and went to the gym.  On Fridays she could go to Kids Club.

"Eventually, Mom, I'll get used to doing stuff by myself."

Well, wow. My girl is growing up.

I accepted her plan, secretly glad not to have to pay for her to go to Kids Club every day in December, and implementation started this week.

Monday she went to the library.  She called when she got there at 3:15, and she called at 5:03 to make sure that I was coming to get her, since I said I'd pick her up at 5:00 and I was late.  :-)

Yesterday she and her friend walked home from school.  She called when they got to the house, and there was much happiness and laughing on their end of that short call.  I finished work and went to the gym.  Did my workout, headed home.  It was the weirdest feeling ever to pull into the driveway, see the lights on and know that Emma had been there with no grownups for the past two hours.

It wan't until later that it fully hit me.  I had done something by myself, for myself, during a time when I would normally have had to make care arrangements for Emma. This time, she took care of herself (with a friend for company).  It was a little wrenching and sad, but also exciting.

I think this was a watershed moment in my parenting journey.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Could it be?!!!

EEE!!  I think my Lepanthes telipogoniflora has a bloom spike! I'm so excited!

Possible Lepanthes telipogoniflora bloom?!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving thanks

Emma was with her dad for Thanksgiving Day this year, so I was on my own.  I celebrated the holiday by going for a hike and making a pizza when I got home.

I went to one of my favorite places, Catherine Creek State Park, about half an hour from my house.


Over the river and through the woods...


It was a lovely day, about 30 degrees out and no wind.  This is such a pretty half-mile path between the bridges over the creek.


I walked the mile there and back, and wasn't ready to go home, so I walked the other way up to the top of the hill as well.  That's a bit more of an effort, but the woods were so beautiful.

Even though I got out there at 1:00, the days are so short now that the sky was starting to turn sunset colors.  It was fully dark by the time I got home at 4:30.  Less than a month left until we turn the corner into longer days.

I am so grateful that I live in a place where I can just go walk in the woods for a couple hours, enjoy the silence, and breathe the free air.  I didn't see anyone else during the entire three hours I was hiking.

I am grateful that I feel safe.

I am grateful that I have food and water and a roof over my head.

I am grateful that I have a good job, albeit sometimes a frustrating and overwhelming one, that keeps the bills paid and the savings growing while allowing for hobbies and other non-necessities.

Most of all, I am grateful for Emma, who is my joy and is growing into a beautiful young woman.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Looking like a terrarium

I put the live sphagnum moss in the terrarium, and it's so pretty!  I think this will really help with keeping the humidity up for these cute little plants.  Right now all that's in there is the Lepanthopsis astrophora on the rock and the Haraella retrocalla on the stick.  I still can't decide if I want to take the Haraella off the stick.  It's pretty firmly attached, and seems very happy where it is.

Terrarium: Lepanthopsis astrophora on the rock, Haraella retrocalla on the stick

And here's the Lepanthes telipogoniflora in its own little glass teardrop with some sphagnum.

Lepanthes telipogoniflora in its glass teardrop home.

These make me smile.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bread on Sunday

Emma says that we should make bread every Sunday.  Who am I to argue?

Crock-pot pot roast. Oven-roasted veggies. Home made cinnamon swirl whole wheat bread. Yum.

This is the same recipe as last week, but swapping out 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour for part of the white flour, and adding a good sprinkle of cinnamon in the middle before rolling it up to shape the loaf.  Mmmm.  Adding the whole wheat flour was an improvement, and the bread is really good.

Add in a chuck roast cooked on "low" in the slow cooker for 9 hours (with thyme, lemon balm, salt, and pepper added in the last hour), potatoes and carrots roasted in the oven for an hour with rosemary, thyme, pepper, and olive oil. and WOW.  The roast was succulent and falling-apart tender, the veggies were so sweet, and the bread was amazing as only fresh home made bread can be.


Friday, November 20, 2015

New orchid babies

Just like everything else in my life, I seem to do orchid-growing in obsessive waves.  I mean, the orchids are always there, they will always be there, just not front and center all the time.  Then something special blooms (Aerangis punctata!), and suddenly I'm obsessed again.

(Stop laughing, Rachel!)

For the past few weeks, it's been orchid-fest here (and amaryllis, but we won't talk about that right now).  I caught up on the online bulletin board I follow, I researched different species, I browsed pictures on Flickr, I daydreamed about how broke I would be if I had a greenhouse.

And I had to get a few new pretties- here are the four most recent.  These are miniature species, which is good because I really don't have all that much room for new plants (especially after also getting five new amaryllis, but we won't talk about that right now).

I just really love having plants around me.

New orchids

First up is Haraella retrocalla, also known as Haraella odorata.  It's native to Taiwan, and has enchanting little yellow and red flowers that are sometimes fragrant and bloom one at a time.  My plant came to me with two spikes already started, one visible on the front of the plant below the third leaf from the top and the other hidden behind the leaf next to my index finger.

My new Haraella retrocalla (odorata)

The second plant is Lepanthopsis astrophora, native to Columbia and nearby Central and South America.  It produces spikes of little electric purple star-shaped flowers.

My new Lepanthopsis astrophora

As you can see, these are getting smaller and smaller.  The next is the tiniest of all.  It's Lepanthes telipogoniflora, also native to Columbia. It has amazing orange flowers that look like tiny satellite dishes.  You can see the remnants of a previous flower stalk there, and I can't wait to see this one bloom.  It's so tiny and perfect.

Tiny, so very tiny! My new Lepanthes telipogoniflora.

And last but not least, a mystery.  This is supposed to be Pleurothallis lewisiae, but it looks nothing like what I was expecting.  All the pictures I've seen (and the ones I saw in the wild in Costa Rica almost 20 years ago) had tiny 1/2" round flattened leaves that crept along the branch and hardly stood up at all.

I have a feeling this is not that plant, though the label says it is.  I could be wrong, though, and have emailed the grower to see what's up.  Whatever it is, it's a beautiful healthy plant and I'm feeling myself growing attached in the four days I've had it.  I'm curious to see what the blooms look like.  I just want to be sure I can give it the right conditions.


All these species, especially the last three which are in the Pleurothallid group, really need to be grown in a terrarium environment with high humidity.  Particularly here in eastern Oregon, which is very dry for much of the year.

Luckily I have this 10" glass globe vase that I've been lugging around for 20 years and finally have a use for.  It will be a mini-orchid terrarium of sorts for the Lepanthopsis and the Haraella.  The super tiny Lepanthes will get its own globe thingy, one of those glass teardrop window hangers from a craft store that came with a bromeliad air plant in it. I may or may not take that one to work so I can look at it all day.

So here's the start of the terrarium.

Terrarium start.  Note please the tailor-made orchid nook in the rock.

I found this lava rock on a hike a couple years ago, and it very conveniently has a little nook to hold a small orchid.

Lepanthopsis astrophora situated

There's the Lepanthopsis all nestled in.  The rock eventually will sit on a bed of sphagnum moss over a layer of expanded clay pellets to provide drainage and keep the moss from actually sitting in water.

It's a work in progress, and that's all I've done so far.  The Haraella is hanging from the rim of the glass globe for now because I can't decide if I want to take it off its stick mount, and the "Pleurothallis lewisiae" is too big to fit so it's in the aquarium (no water, just an enclosure to keep the humidity high) with my Angraecoid orchids for now.

Plants are fun and these are so special.  I really hope I can keep them alive.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Thanks to They Might Be Giants, this has been the theme song of my day.

 "This is where the party ends
 I can't stand here listening to you
 And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend."

To be honest, I'm not a very political person.  I vote, and do my research beforehand, but political discussions are not something I enjoy.  It doesn't help that any of that sort of conversation with some (not all) of the people I'm in contact with on a daily basis tends to infuriate me.

I generally try to let it roll off my back and tell myself that a diversity of viewpoints is a good thing, but I reached the end of my tether this morning. I left the hallway conversation with this song running through my head.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Home made dinner

Today I gave my KitchenAid stand mixer a workout.  First I made bread, trying out a new recipe from the interwebs.  It's a basic white bread, but has a great balance of density and airiness, with a nice texture.  I think the recipe is a good place to start, but next time I'll add some whole wheat flour because I'm not really much of a fan of white bread.


Then, since it was SNOWING,

First snow in the yard this winter!

I decided to make pasta.  I had 22 eggs that a friend had given me a little while ago (from her own chickens), and I knew that there was no way that we would be able to eat them all in time unless I made something with them, considering that Emma doesn't like eggs unless they're hidden in something and she can't detect any cooked-egg texture.

So I took 4 eggs and made a double batch of plain narrow linguine with just white flour, which works out to about 8 servings for us.  The KitchenAid pasta roller attachments are just so slick!


That was so fun that I took 6 more eggs and made a triple batch of narrow linguine with half semolina flour and half white flour.

Pasta pasta pasta

Those 10 eggs gave me about 20 servings of pasta.  I put 18 of them in the dehydrator, and cooked two of the semolina bundles for dinner (and had a bit left over, so that "two serving" portion was really more like three).

Home made pasta, home grown and canned tomato sauce, home made bread, and grocery store frozen peas that I dehydrated in August 2014.

Home made pasta, home grown tomato sauce, home made bread.


As Emma was eating her pasta, I was astonished and a little taken aback to look over and see that she was actually teary.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she couldn't believe that we made all these things ourselves, and the pasta and sauce just tasted so good.

If that isn't a proud moment, I don't know what is.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kuchulu and cashmere and silk

I wanted to spin last night, but I didn't want to leave My Chair, even to sit at my beloved Schacht-Reeves wheel.  Solution? Kuchulu.

I love Kuchulu spindles because they're so perfectly tiny that I can spin while reclining in My Chair, watching Netflix on my computer, blissful in my productive slothfulness.

Cashmere and silk (Abstract Fibers) on a snakewood Kuchulu spindle (Jenkins Woodworking)

This is a Kuchulu spindle by Jenkins Woodworking, made of snakewood and weighing 12 grams, which I got at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in 2013.  The fiber is natural colored cashmere and silk from Abstract Fiber, which I got at the Hood River Spin-In last month.

What a gorgeous spindle.  What a gorgeous bundle of fiber.  I feel like I'm spinning silver.

I feel like I'm spinning silver

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Aerangis punctata blooming!

I'm so excited- I have another orchid blooming!

Aerangis punctata

This is Aerangis punctata, which is originally native to Madagascar although mine was propagated in a lab.  I got this plant last fall, and it came to me with the stump of one spike where it had bloomed previously.  They only bloom once per year so this is the first time it's bloomed for me (and with two flowers!), and it also grew one new leaf this year. It must be happy.

Aerangis punctata

It's a delightful miniature species- the plant itself is only 2" across, and the flowers are just over an inch across, with a 4" long nectary.

Aerangis punctata

Along with Aerangis mystacidii, this is one of my favorite houseplant-orchids.  I just love the way it looks, whether it's blooming or not.

And speaking of my Aerangis mystacidii, it bloomed with FOUR flowering spikes this year! A total of 51 flowers!  (Last year it only had one spike.) But alas, I didn't take any pictures.  I've been so busy with work this fall that I didn't even realize it was blooming until it was almost done.  Waaah! I missed it!  Ah well.  Next year.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Oh yes, I did.

Today I made this.

Fresh homemade mozzarella

That is home made fresh mozzarella cheese, my very first attempt ever at making cheese.  It was so easy, and tastes fantastic!

Then I took a quarter of the cheese and made this:

Caprese salad. Home grown tomatoes and basil, home made mozzarella.

Three kinds of home grown tomatoes, home grown basil, home made mozzarella, olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper.  Oh, my.

Then, since Emma was across the street playing with friends, I ate it all up by myself.  Yes indeed I did!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spinzilla Day 7 and Final Results

Here's what I did on Day 7, and a wrap up of everything.

I found the jumbo flyer for Emma's Ashford wheel and started to ply the alpaca/silk, then I realized that it was going to take approximately a billion years to get through the whole skein because the jumbo flyer only has one very slow spinning ratio.

So I decided to ply on my Matchless and just make two skeins- at least it would all get done before the end of the day. But I'll be darned, the entire 6.5 ounces fit on the bobbin!

Well I'll be darned. It all fit- 6.5 oz alpaca/silk 2-ply. Spinzilla Day 7.

After I plied that, I looked at the clock and decided that I maybe had enough time to do one more bundle of fiber, so I pulled out a Fiber Optic gradient. This is a gorgeous set of greens, and I not only had enough time to do the singles, I also plied it.  This one had to be chain-plied (3-ply) rather than a regular 2-ply in order to preserve the color gradient.

Spinzilla Day 7

I love the way a gradient looks when it's in cake form. This is 4 oz. (1125 yds) of Fiber Optic merino/silk "Saint Patrick" 3-ply and 6.5 oz. (1165 yds) of Friends in Fiber "Weeping Willow" alpaca/silk 2-ply.

Spinzilla Day 7: 4 oz Fiber Optic merino/silk "Saint Patrick" 1125 yds 3-ply (chain ply) ; 6.5 oz Friends in Fiber "Weeping Willow" alpaca/silk 1165 yds 2-ply

So that's the bulk of what I did yesterday, plus plying several cakes of singles from earlier in the week.  And here's my final result for seven days of spinning.

Spinzilla 2015 results:  11,251 yards of yarn equals 34,278 yards of Spinzilla spinning credit

A total of 53.2 ounces (3.3 pounds) of fiber gave me 11,251 yards (6.4 miles!) of yarn, equaling 34,278 yards (19.5 miles!) of Spinzilla spinning credit (length of singles plus length of plying).

I'm quite pleased with myself.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Spinzilla Day 6

Here's what I did yesterday on Day 6:

Spinzilla Day 6: 6.5 oz of alpaca/silk singles

I finished spinning the bundle of alpaca/silk into singles, and somehow managed to fit it all on one bobbin.

I also wound it off into a ball last night, in preparation for plying, and it barely fit on the ball winder.

Spinzilla Day 6: 6.5 oz alpaca/silk singles

I was planning to ply this into one skein, but there's no way it will fit on either one of my Schacht wheel bobbins after it's plied.  I have a jumbo flyer for Emma's Ashford, and may dig that out if I have time.  Then I can say I used all three of my wheels during Spinzilla!

Time is ticking away on my last day, so I'd better get to it!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Spinzilla Day 5

Here's what I did yesterday on Day 5 of Spinzilla:

Spinzilla Day 5: 4 oz merino singles, 3 oz 689 yds BamHuey 2-ply, 1.7 oz alpaca/silk singles

That's 4 oz of merino singles, 3 oz of BamHuey "Fruit of the Vine" plied to 689 yards of 2-ply, and 1.7 oz of alpaca/silk singles.

I also took the time last night to ply a couple cakes of singles from earlier and measure all the plied yarn.  Right now I'm standing at 4,782 yards of finished yarn, which gives me 14,346 yards of Spinzilla spinning credit (length of singles spun plus length of plying).  I may break 20,000 yards for the week once everything else is finished.

Two days left to finish the alpaca/silk bundle and ply everything that hasn't been plied yet.  I think I can do it.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Spinzilla Day 4

Here's the result from Day 4 yesterday.

Spinzilla Day 4: 3 oz BamHuey Wisteria singles, and 4 oz merino/silk dyed by me, 1720 yds 2-ply

Yesterday was possibly my most productive day of spinning in my entire life.  This is 4 oz of a 70/30 merino/silk blend that I dyed last year, and 3 oz of BamHuey merino/bamboo.  While that's not much in terms of weight, these are both spun pretty fine, and the merino/silk is already plied.

I couldn't stand the suspense and had to measure that yarn right after I plied it, and it came out at 1,720 yards. Almost a mile, finished length. In one day.  Plus the other singles.

Feeling pretty chuffed.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Spinzilla Day 3

Here's my Day 3 result from yesterday:

Spinzilla Day 3: 5.5 oz merino singles, 0.7 oz Abstract Fiber yak/silk singles

I didn't have much time to spin last night, so I only got 5.5 oz of merino singles and 0.7 oz of the yak/silk blend from Abstract Fibers spun.

The yak/silk is gorgeous fiber, but is spinning very slowly.  It really doesn't like long draw, which is odd since yak normally works very well with that technique.  I think the yak and silk fibers are just too different in length.  I may bail on this fiber for Spinzilla, just measure what I've already spun, and offload it to a storage bobbin.  It will be spectacular yarn, but I'm after speed this week.