Bicycle-powered juice and other wonders in Salida

It's good to shake things up a bit, clear out the cobwebs and a quick trip to Salida, Colorado for ShedFest was the perfect tonic.

Was completely taken by the young lady above who was selling recycled bicycle-tube jewelry and juice produced exclusively by bike. Note the blender. When her concoction was at the proper consistency, she strained it through a cheese cloth, a process, she claimed that preserves more fruit-and-veg goodness than putting the mess through a juicer.

Also found this. Hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn from local sheep. Plus the artist was right there spinning with her Navajo spindle, how could I not?

We bought some lovely lovely beets and turnips (Nake-id IT has gone inexplicably mad for these bulbous taproots) and a fennel bulb for a dollar. 'Bout fainted dead away at that bit of good fortune.

In town I drug Mr. Nake-id into we stumbled on an herb-and-body shop called Vital Living Herbs and Nutrition, where the proprietress makes her own lines of skincare, cosmetics and teas. Natural lipsticks made in Colorado for $10? Well, let's just say, Spiced Chocolate, is riding along in my bag from now on.

We also popped in to Beeyond the Hive, a darling retail outlet for the 100-year-old Johnston Honey Farm, and came away with a small bottle of local Alfalfa Honey. Mr. Nake-id even offered up our place as a bee ranch. We're hoping it passes muster and that next spring, we'll have our own herd.

What all of these goodies have in common is good old American energy and entrepreneurship; these items were produced by the kind of small businesses most of us identify as such. These are people who have chosen to live in a place where the economy is small, but they are finding ways to make it work.

Inspiring, isn't it? Certainly turned some Nake-id wheels over here. And devilishly easy to support.

 

 

Yarn love

Over the years I've had the great good fortune to sample a lot of yarns. Everything from cashmere and yak to possum and beaver, recycled pop bottles, milk, corn, soy, pineapple, and even humble-but-illegal-to-cultivate-in-the-U-S-of-A hemp have slipped through my needles.

Most are perfectly fine. Some knit up splendidly but make you want to stab yourself in the eye they're so frustrating to work. Many split. Others arrive disheveled like they've just had a good roll in the hay, and why not? It's a good reminder of provenance. Still others are so soft, if you give them a good stare they'll pill.

Occasionally a yarn will find its way into my shopping bag, because they have a way of doing that. Like the skein pictured above. I had spied it at Wild Yarns and, you know, spent the evening rationalizing: Organic merino, hand-dyed by Cheryl herself, great yardage. Called Kelly the next day to hold.

And here it sat, until a happy convergence of twisted stitches, free time and knitted skirts inspired a new design. What's more, it knits like a dream with nary a split or hiccup. Let's hope it swaddles my backside just as well!

Oh, and the name of the yarn? OM by Cheryl Oberle.

 

The hand covering that dare not speak its name during election season

So I'm teaching an accessories project tonight. A particular kind of hand warmer--a cozy winter project the common name of which evokes a candidate for the highest office in the land. In these tense days before the election, let's eschew that four-letter term.

(Incidently that candidate also shares his surname with a popular heritage sheep. Perhaps that explains his predilection for following bellwether conservatives wherever they may lead. No doubt you see the resemblance.)

The project is very clever and can be adapted to fingerless gloves, fingerless non-gloves or completed with flip tops for added warmth.

I had been skeptical of their utility, but many of the cool young people at the local rally for the preferred candidate were sporting similar gear so as to click-and-share photos and maintain their comfort on that chill autumn morning.

However you lean, in coming days, do take your gloves off and vote.

More Nake-id Friday Faves

Purple potatoes. Purportedly packed with phytonutrients. Spudlicious!

This gluten-free gem. The scones get a full OMG.

Would rip your heart out for these.

For the last of the tomato crop. Divine!

This fascinating blog.

The bat that keeps on giving. This sweetheart sells every October. All proceeds benefit Bat Conservation International.

Looking forward to. And.

Teaching this.

Wanting your best ideas for autumnal soups.

Happy Friday.

 

In the snood

Suddenly it's back. The interest. The ideas. The compulsion to curl up and knit and knit and knit. The urge to buy yarn. (Hi, Honey!)

The cool weather is partly to blame. How can you not want to get all cozy with a blanket, kitties and your woolies when the days go all chill?

But, it's also the way of love. One minute he's all cute and orange, the next you're screaming because he's just bitten the old man.

Same with knitting.

My head had turned. Vegan blogs, vegan recipes, unfamiliar, exotic foods (chia seeds, who knew?). Their blandishments about wool...

But seeing my knitting students catch fire with a project and coming in weekly contact with yarn like that pictured above (Herie7 Natural Fiber Teasures black-white Norwegian handspun wool purchased at Wild Yarns), well, the thrill is back.

Is your heart similarly filled?

Cholesterol poster child, part III

Let's do a little oversharing this morning:

When last we left the Cholesterol Poster Child (CPC), she was apparently nursing a case of Hashimoto's Disease and flirting with gluten intolerance.

Two (or was it three?) hundred dollars worth of tests later, it's determined she has neither (a marriage-saver, for sure, given Nake-id IT's predilection for bread). No Hashimoto's, no gluten intolerance. Just high cholesterol.

In other good news, her overall cholesterol was down, slightly. The so-called good-bad cholesterol ratio looked good, and her high HDL is a negative risk factor for heart disease. C-Reactive Protein levels were very low. (C-Reactive Protein is a by-product of the inflammation process.) Homocysteine levels checked out. (Homocysteine is an amino acid and elevated numbers apparently point to the development of artery disease.) And so did fibrinogen, which is a protein that helps blood clot, too much and you're likely to form clots that can lead to heart attacks.

Also, triglycerides were down about 20 points.

For the first time in the CPC's life, a doctor looked at her and said, "Your cholesterol...I wouldn't worry about it."

Please, dear readers, take all of this with a grain of Himalayan sea salt. What the medical establishment doesn't know about heart disease is...a lot. But what these tests have done for me is paint a bigger picture of heart disease risk than the simple LDL/HDL numbers. Cholesterol is a darling of the pharmaceutical industry, but it is not a singular predictor of heart disease. I'm choosing NOT to take statins armed with the additional data enumerated above and proven side effects of the drugs. (There's also this recent study. Girls take note.) This is a very personal decision and one I haven't taken lightly. It may not be the right choice for you.

The Ayurvedic doctor I'm seeing still wants to see less carbs in the diet to continue pushing triglycerides lower (sorry, Baby). And higher vitamin D levels. Like most Northern Hemispherites, mine is low. Yours, too, probably.

And, we're working on tweaking other processes that are best not discussed publicly.

So for now, I'm down one pill and up lots of herbs.

Chard rescue

We were hit with a sudden cold snap, which meant even this most reluctant gardener had to face up to the fact that her salad days were numbered.

A few snips of the scissors and two garbage bags later, the chard was in hand. Giant bouquets of it, requiring washing, stemming, chopping and blanching.

Remarkable how those leathery, luxuriant greens simmered down to just seven servings. Seriously. It took all morning to prepare seven chard balls for the freezer.

That Pioneer Woman's got nothing on me. Except her own show on the Food Network.

The killing freeze came and went and what little chard remains gardenside is thriving, it's hearty fronds stretching toward the sun. The next gleaning will be with a flame thrower.

(For a less snarky take on how to freeze chard, visit this nice lady for her take.)

19 years!

For 19 years of marriage, I've been following this man's skinny butt up many mountains. Still smiling!

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

Attn: Knitters and equestriennes

Meet artist Wendy Persch, whom we had the good fortune to meet at the Ridgeway Farmer's Market. She recently started knitting, and being the inveterate horsewoman, designed this fabulous knitted chaps. I'm going to repeat: Knitted chaps!

Sling them over your jeans at a football game when the wind turns chill or an art opening in Houston. Heck, where them on the streets of Manhattan. So clever and chic. I encouraged her to write a pattern.

To view more of her art work, pay a visit here.

Discoveries from the road

Vacation pictures can be tedious, so will spare you the stunning mountain vistas and autumnal color (so profuse we could barely take it in) and share the relevant bits.

Was completely taken with this flock moving to new pasture on the Last Dollar Road between Ridgeway and Telluride.

Does this look like a happy pup or what?

Bought hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn here.

Imbibed locally made, smoked tequila here.

Took the waters. (And, never you mind!)

Made in the San Juans and dying to try.

Hiked. And shivered. (To the lower lake only.)

Wishing for an annex in Westcliffe.

Fell completely in love with a town.

Hoping for an easy reentry. Sigh.