Maple Syrup and Bagels

Spring is an in between time in the Gatineau Hills. There is still piles of snow, (there’s a mountain approximately 12 feet high beside my house) but it’s really mushy and muddy where the ground is exposed. You can still ski if you are keen, but there isn’t too many other activities that will take you outside for any length of time. The crows are active, the indoor cats are getting restless, the streams are swollen, and it is possible to sit outside to bask in some sunlight if there is a nearby fire to stay warm by.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Is there any better reason to sit around and knit outside in the snow, than participating in a little maple syrup production? (Not that we really need an excuse to sit around and knit!)
Maureen got ambitious this spring and tapped 12 sugar maples high on the hill behind her house. Collecting the sap and getting it down the hill to the fire is no mean feat. She filled 5 gallon water jugs that are barrel shaped, tied a rope to them and then rolled them down the hill. The rope is the insurance they won’t get away and bash up against a tree or rock. You wouldn’t want to lose a precious drop of the maple elixir. It is a delicate operation slip sliding down the hill on the sugary snow, trying to control the jug. At the bottom of the hill, 2 large plastic garbage cans are filled to the brim with sap and buried in the snow to ensure they stay fresh until the boiling begins. On good friday Julie and I  got the call, the fire pit was prepared and there was soup on the stove.Image

The ski hill in the distance is still open…

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The sap has got a good boil on

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Skimming the sap

Hopefully there will be a good gallon jug after two days of boiling. We had to taste the sap here and there as it boiled. Mmmmm, it is better than chocolate!

Saturday was another warm beautiful day. Much too nice to spend inside. So around this house we had to invent an excuse to spend some time outside by a fire. With no trees to tap we decided why not make our wood BBQ into a wood fired oven and make some Wakefield bagels. You can get a pretty good bagel in Ottawa but the best ones are in Montreal. Well it just so happens that I found a recipe eons ago for bagels from the famous Fairmont Bagel Bakery in Montreal. Steve dug out the BBQ which was pretty much buried in snow and got the fire going. I went to work in the kitchen. A crucial ingredient is malt powder or syrup. I knew we weren’t going to have any luck finding that at the General Store. I was just about to go ahead and make them without it when I had the brilliant idea of asking at the local bakery if they had any. I phone Phil at Pipolinka and lo and behold he had the malt syrup! He actually donated it to the cause although he did wonder if we were going to open a bagel shop in the village.Image

The top of the BBQ sticking out of the snow.

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Poppy seed and sesame seed bagels ready to be baked.

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Bagels cooking in the ‘oven’

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17 beautiful, delicious Wakefield Bagels!!! (one had already been consumed)

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Hannen gets the first one.

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What is bagel without cream cheese?

And because this is a blog about knitting not food here is a picture of the merino singles lace that will be going to Lettuce Knit in Toronto next week. Happy Easter!Image

Big Beautiful Batts

A brand new toy (ummm, I mean tool) came into my studio last Thursday. A Patrick Green Big Batt Drum Carder. The excitement!!! The anticipation!!! I spent Friday dyeing up bits and pieces of fibre so there would be something to experiment on. Julie and I set a date for a carding party, and on sunday we spent the day in fibery heaven. We opened Deb Menz’s Colour in Spinning up to the the carding section and then we got busy.

The carder in motion

The carder in motion

 A batt being formed

A batt being formed

The finished batt!!

The finished batt!!

another batt

another batt

yet another

yet another

Monday we spent the afternoon spinning up our new treasures.

All spun up. 50 grams of incredibly soft gorgeous yarn.

All spun up. 50 grams of incredibly soft gorgeous yarn.

Our spinning companion

Our spinning companion

Now it’s back to the studio. Stay tuned for more beautiful batts, soon to be available at katsriversidestudio.etsy.com

Are we there yet?

Well Kathryn did send me her pictures of our little road trip, so I will continue the narrative…

We stayed with Maureen’s sister and her hubby (lovely and gracious hosts) at Rideau Ferry. Me and Maureen enjoying the view:

Although I already posted some pics of Windblest Farm, here are a few more. You can never have too many pictures of sheep, can you? or adorable farm dogs?

(we were seriously connecting)

(sheepy goodness)

And now for something completely different…

We visited an “antique” store outside of Perth. I am using quotations marks for a reason, unlike the postings on Unnecessary Quotation Marks, plenty of irony intended here.

Can you spot me and Maureen? That hallway was so tight I wasn’t sure I could make it out the other end, so I did a u-ie but, really, almost had to just back out.

Bottles and jars! You want bottles and jars?

Or silver and glass and china and other stuff in plastic bags… Don’t eat that second slice of cake, cause you will never fit through that hallway. And maybe don’t grow higher than 5’8″, otherwise you might brain yourself on some silver or glass or china or other stuff in plastic bags hanging from the ceiling!

Howsabout rusted metal? Plenty of that!

There is a door in that “entrance”. (See above for explanation on usage of quotation marks).

Maybe I’ve been wrong about the whole thing. Maybe this is really an art installation. Or an “art” installation?

Yarn Pics from Riverside Studio

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Superwash Merino Singles Fingering 440 yards 115 grams. I made Making Waves Cardigan with 3 skeins

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on the bed

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Superwash Merino/Silk Fingering 2 ply 50/50 378 yards – 115 grams, beautiful sheen

Here is a top down pullover knit size 36 with 2.5 skeins of Merino Silk

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Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon Sock 3 ply, 80/10/10 378 yards, 115grams…so luxurious!

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Superwash Merino Lace 2 ply 990 yards – 115grams

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Superwash Merino Singles Lace 412 yards – 57 grams a lace weight treat. 3 skeins will make a featherweight cardigan.

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Merino/Nylon Sock 3 ply 420 yards – 115 grams. Perfect for socks, but I made a Paulie cardigan with three and a half skeins!

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I apologize for the terrible picture, and the messy studio in the background.

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Beautiful Blue Faced Leicester Yarn 2 ply, 378 yards, 115 grams. This has a beautiful sheen, and dyes up like a watercolour!

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Superwash Merino Singles Worsted.220 yards – 115 grams.  A thick and thin yarn that’s lofty and so soft.

That’s it for now. Got to get to the studio and dye more yarn.

Happy Stash Building!