Saturday, 24 February 2018

A busy week

 I've started spinning the 60% Merino/40% Alpaca batts.   I am spinning to get somewhere around the knitting worsted or a bit finer.   We'll see how much bloom this yarn has.  It is very white, so if I'm going to make something for me to wear, I'll have to dye it.  

The guild has a green challenge for the March meeting; to make something green or with green in it.   I'm weaving what I hope will be a guitar strap, however I put it on the floor loom instead of the inkle loom which has both good and bad points.   First, it's easier to treadle than to keep lifting and pushing down the threads,  especially since this thread is fairly sticky and because I still haven't made heddles for the inkle loom which are the correct size.   It's hard to keep it from pulling in too much.   I have it set at 40 threads per inch, but it should likely be a bit wider sett.    The contrast isn't quite enough, but since I was working with a green theme, the only other colour I had which would have worked was pink.  I was fairly certain that the recipient wouldn't have wanted a pink and green guitar strap.   There is a threading error, but the backside is correct, so I left it.  
I found sausage casings in the grocery store of all places.   They are salted and in a little plastic salad takeout type container.  I wanted to only soak half of them, but they were actually knotted up in the container.  I was worried both about ripping them, and how to store the ones I had separated but was not using.  I ended up soaking all of them.   I know now that since the sausage casings are heavily salted, I can just pack them and the salt back into the container and store in the fridge for several months more.  Luckily, they still had some this week, so I purchased another packet of them for future use.  These things are fairly difficult to source in this area.

I was soaking them because I'd found pork loin on sale and turned one of those huge slabs of meat into sausages.   Next time I'd use more fat, but although a bit dry they are tasty.   I was playing around with fat content because I really am not fond of those really fatty, drippy 50% fat sausages.  I'd read you could go as low as 20% fat, but I don't think I had quite that much in this batch.  They were awfully good with gravy though.    I'd purchased a sausage stuffer attachment for the stand mixer at a ridiculous price, but there were only 2 of them in the store and I'd never seen them before.   It was worth every penny of that ridiculous price as I was able to grind, mix and stuff the sausage casings by myself.   It was a bit fussy and for sure, would have been easier to do with 2 people, but wasn't necessary. 

The weather has been warm enough that the maple tree sap is running.   We've only got 6 buckets up right now as it is still early in the season.   We've already got about 80 litres of sap collected so we're doing the first boil today.  We would have done it last night, but it was raining.   The only good thing about rain this time of year is that it has been warm enough that it isn't snow.  I shudder to think of how much snow would have fallen if it had been just a few degrees colder.   Then we wouldn't have that flooding which has been causing horrendous damage  in the area, but no more snow right now-  yay!

1 comment:

Woolly Bits said...

I'd love to do my own maple syrup, but unfortunately there are no sugar maples over here:( and we're supposed to get snow now! it's nearly march, I could well do without that, but luckily for us this time it's the east and south that'll get the brunt of it:( typical for ireland: wind causes little concern, it has to go up to storm force at least to make people move. cold however and snow is a different story: as soon as the first flakes fall, the country goes into a lockdown of epic proportions! temperatures hovering around zero are "arctic conditions" and anything below that - makes for horrific news every 20 minutes:)
and I wish I could get sausage skins here, but I'd have to buy them by the (big) box from a halal company here. too many for us to use! I do have a meat grinder, but unfortunately the company doesn't offer one of those sausage makers as well, so I'd have to do that by hand. not sure it would work too well! I'd like to make my own, because most of the commercial sausages here are dripping with fat:(
well, enjoy the snow free time you're having and all the sausages you make:)