Saturday, November 28, 2009


We had a wonderful potluck Thanksgiving here in Gothic in Maroon Cabin.  Lots of great RMBL people came and brought delicious food.  Our contribution was bread: a loaf of challah bread and 24 buttermilk rolls.  Here's a view of the challah (using Oppeneer's recipe).  It is quite a stunning loaf, thanks to the braiding and egg wash, and it makes tasty toast!

[T - I was in charge of the rolls, mostly.  They were perfect thanksgiving rolls!]

Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo of the rolls before they were eaten, but I think you can imagine what rolls would look like. 

[T - they were round, with a raised top and flat on the bottom, in case you can't imagine what rolls look like.  Oh, kind of a floury brown color.]

They turned out really light and fluffy, with a delicious buttermilky flavor.  We made the dough the night before and warmed it up and shaped it the morning of Thanksgiving.  The night in the fridge really helped the flavor develop, I think.

[T - there was also turkey, green bean casserole, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, wild rice with mushrooms and almonds, stuffing, cranberries, egg nog, and pumpkin pie!  It was yummy.  Kind of weird to be around so many people - definitely not used to crowds]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Warm woolen things

Our cabin, as you would expect, becomes very chilly overnight.  Waking up to 45 F room is not entirely enchanting.  It's especially bad when we have to get up early.  Otherwise, I just hide out under my thick down comforter until the sun starts to warm up the cabin (which happens pretty quick, as our cabin is covered in south facing windows).  However, for those times when it's not as warm as I'd like it to be, I made myself some cozy wristwarmers.

[T - Jessica gets cold a lot.]

The yarn is a thick and cozy angora/wool blend from Peace Fleece.  Thayer's Aunt Ranae sent it in a wonderful early Christmas package (also including Minnesota-produced cheese, maple syrup, and coffee- yay!).

[T - it was a really awesome package!  Did you get my email thanking you for it, Ranae?]

For the cold floors in our cabin, I made Thayer a pair of felted slippers.  They're knit out of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes.  Unfortunately, until I buy some leather soles, these puppies are SUPER slippery on the wood stairs.

[T - Jessica also neglected to mention that they're still about a size 30 slipper.  Our front-loading washer is an uncooperative felter, as most front loaders are.  They are insufficiently agitating for the likes of felting projects, although the slippers are MUCH smaller than originally.  They start out as hats for giants that could each fit both of my feet at once.  They've been through the wash three times already.  They get to ride again with our next load of laundry, hopefully down to a little snugger size, although I wear them just fine as they are.]

Carolyn and CR generously gave me some gorgeous qiviut lace yarn for my birthday.  Qiviut is wool from muskoxen, which is combed off 'domesticated' muskoxen by some very brave souls in Canada, Alaska, and Greenland.  As you can probably guess from their range, qiviut is extremely warm yet lightweight and soft.  It's just lovely stuff.

I knitted up a cowl for myself, and it is just the softest thing I've ever felt.  This is a pretty bad photo- the color is actually much greener.

And one more knitted item, if you can stand it.  A mini Christmas stocking!  Knit from leftover Knit Picks Essential sock yarn.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Yesterday, we went into Crested Butte and Gunnison.  And now, thanks to the Crested Butte post office, we are both finally finished with graduate school applications!  The last forms have been sent in and now it's just time to wait.  If you're curious, I applied at Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Cornell.  Thayer applied at Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth, and Oklahoma.  Now we wait until January/February/March to get things in the mail from these schools.

The car had been left at the trailhead, so we had to walk a few miles to get it.  On our trip, we came across the same North American Porcupine that we saw on our last car trip, but this time, I remembered the camera!  The porcupine was sitting in a bush, busily stripping it of bark.  When it saw us, it very clumsily climbed/fell out of the bush and tried to 'hide' in the base of the bush.  Porcupine 'hiding' pretty much means making sure that their head is covered, since the rest of their body is covered in quills.

And a picture of its little face.  He had done quite a number on the bush- om nom bark.

And here is the view of the road we walked along

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Chicken" Pot Pie

Yesterday, I woke up with a craving for chicken pot pie.  After doing a quick kitchen inventory, I decided that we probably had enough ingredients to cobble something together at least resembling chicken pot pie.  We had frozen veggies (corn, peas), crust ingredients, mashed potatoes, veggie gravy, and veggie chicken cutlets.  Thayer's mom sent us a recipe and we got started on the pie.  The crust was a little sticky and finicky at first, but I managed to get it into the pie tins.  We then spread a healthy helping of mashed potatoes on the bottom, spooned in the gravy/"chicken"/veggie mixture, and carefully placed the top crust onto the pie.

[T- next time we're going to make gravy on the side to put on the slices...]

After baking for about 35 minutes, we had a faux chicken pot pie!

It tasted absolutely delicious- fabulous comfort food.

[T- so good!]

With the leftover crust, we made little pie crust cookies.  Thayer cut out cute shapes and we decorated them with butter and cinnamon sugar.  After a little bit of baking, they were so fabulously buttery and tasty.

[T- the actual name of them is "pie crust dealies."]

A Tyrannosaurus and an Apatosaurus (not a Brontosaurus)!

[T- I also made a bunny, but Jessica ate it, so you won't get to see it unfortunately.  Jessica made a star, a heart, and then a bunch of lumps.  Cutting shapes out of pie crust gets old after the first few.]

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009


The snow has continued to pile up since yesterday.  It's still coming down as I write this, and likely will be until tomorrow.  We did a little bit of cross-country skiing today, and we made a snowman!  Here is Thayer adjusting its hat.

[T - It seemed like kinda sticky snow (it at least was sticky enough to stick some to our skis) so I wanted to make a snowman.  The snow here is different though - it has a very low moisture content apparently, so its not very sticky.  It's kind of dusty and difficult to pack, so getting our snowman body segments was really hard to start.  It kept kind of disintegrating on us.  Once we managed to get them rolling though, things went a little smoother and our balls managed to get big enough.  By the time it was time for the head, the sun was going down and it was getting colder, so the snow was way less sticky and we had a heck of a time packing one together.  Then we got some carrots for the mouth and ears, charcoal briquettes for the eyes, a stick for a nose, some cow parsnip stems for arms, and an oil funnel for a hat.  Jessica found a scarf in the closet that someone had left here to complete the look.  Actually, the scarf was the first thing Jessica went and got.  It seemed so perfect!  Earlier today we also saw an adorable beautiful ermine leaping around in the snow, hunting.  It would completely disappear under the snow and then pop up in another spot, almost like it was swimming!]

And the final product!

Friday, November 13, 2009

We were greeted this morning by flurries and a pretty dusting of snow on the ground.  This was part of a larger storm that was supposed to dump a foot or too but ended up passing us by.  According to Billy, this might be the snow, meaning that it might stick!

Luckily, I had just finished a pair of mittens for myself!  This mitten is knitted off a traditional Latvian pattern from the district of Kurzeme (from Lizbeth Upitis' Latvian Mitten book).   I've been working off and on (but mostly off) on these suckers since last winter.  The red stripey yarn came from a store in London.

And another view

On cold mornings I'm so happy to have my French Press cozy to keep my coffee warm.  I made it this summer out of my hand-spun yarn (the brown nubby stuff) and beautiful yarn that Carolyn brought me from France (the blue-green).  It's just a tube that I felted, but the two yarns felted differently, and this is what I ended up with....

A knitting friend commented that it looks like something the Weasleys (from Harry Potter) would have in their house.  I have to agree.

Friday, November 6, 2009


We made bagels yesterday!  They ended up being more work than either of us thought they would be.  I used the recipe from Baking With Julia (which I just got from the library) because it had very detailed descriptions and even photos of how to shape them.  First, I made the dough (a pretty standard bread dough).  Then it had two risings- the second of which was in the fridge.

[T-it was fun to poke]

It got a little overexcited, thanks to the altitude.  Then half of the dough got shaped into bagels.

Once that half was bagel-shaped, they were boiled for a few minutes.

Post boiling:

They got an egg wash and toppings (fried onions, sesame seeds, salt).  After baking, they looked like this.

Here is one of the sliced sesame seed bagels.  They're very tasty, but maybe not worth all of the work.

[T- I found them pretty delicious, especially fresh out of the oven, but it was the most work of anything we've baked so far, I'd say.  Also, so many dishes from the process, many of which were le grodos.  I made a cheesy omelet breakfast sandwich with one, and it was good!  Don't tell Julia though, I didn't use copious amounts of butter for cooking the omelet.  I also didn't manage to make it in 15 seconds and I didn't manage to flip it over solely through one handed pan wrangling.  I used a spatula]