Le Hobble Skirt--Preview

This isn't quite ready for its close up--note the orange fur and unfinished waist band. But it's almost there. Now to write and design the pattern. (And procure the right shoes for the shoot!)

Finished Object: A hat was made

There are very few models in the house. So unless I catch Mr. Nake-id in the mood to pose in a girly beret, I'm left with the other men in the house.

The beret is Hannah Fettig's Simple Beret in multiple gauges. Because of the bulky nature of the handspun I was using (and my pin head and limited yardage), I adjusted the pattern beyond the gauges the designer offered. Cast on 52, multiply and divide accordingly. (The yarn: Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures black-white Norwegian handspun wool purchased at Wild Yarns.)

Knitting with handspun is a joy, like knitting with yarn someone breathed life into. An absolute joy. (For me, if not Antone.)

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.)

A sweet New Year

Of course, this is only a fraction of what our tree produces. But aren't they stunning? I love their wabi-sabiness, the scratches and dents and insults perpetrated by squirrels and worms alike. And the color.

Nature does it up right.

We enjoyed a lovely apple cake last night, recipe courtesy of Mama Elaine. I back off on the sugar a bit, 1.25 cups instead of two and split the flour between all-purpose and whole wheat. And use more apples, for obvious reasons.

L'shanah tovah, a happy and healthy and sweet New Year to all our friends and loved ones!

The organic question

Y'all probably read about the Stanford study that compared the nutritional content of organic and conventional produce. The authors of the study conducted a massive review of the literature, identifying 237 for further scrutiny. These studies looked at many variables, including the nutrient content of the produce as well as their bacterial, fungal and pesticide load. None of the studies compared the longitudinal health of populations consuming largely organic or conventional crops.

Based on their meta-analasis of the literature, they found no significant difference in nutritional content; organic produce didn't necessarily contain more vitamins, though there was some indication that organic milk yielded more omega-3 fatty acids. Organic produce tended to have about 30 percent less pesticide residue but was not pesticide free. Two studies on children demonstrated that kids consuming organic diets had less pesticide in their urine than children on conventional diets. But the health benefits or detriments to the kids are unclear.

The researchers were careful to note the limits of their work, mentioning variations in farming practices, weather and soil influences and different testing methods among the studies. And they also were quick to say there are other reasons to buy organic apart from how much vitamin C might be in your tomatos.

Here at Casa de Nake-id we don't buy all organic goods. It makes me writhe to pay $4 for a cup of raspberries or $5 for two cucumbers. Plus Big Organic has a reputation for putting profits over poultry, so the idea of buying organic for the greater good only goes so far when it comes to how animals are treated, especially in large operations.

The food I trust the most comes from our garden. (Though after suffering a wasp bite washing chard, I'm not so sure.) I trust it not because it's healthier (Lord knows what's in our Northwest Denver soil), but because it's here. This time of year, I can often glean an entire meal from what's coming out of the ground and hiding in our cupboards. Apples, kale, arugula, zucchini, tomatoes, herbs.

Our garden is small and not particularly ambitious. When a real gardener shares the fruits of her labors with us--it's a delight. Like slipping on a handmade sweater, there's something about food grown by friends.

I started this post intending to get all huffy about the Stanford study--about how the issue is bigger than the phytonutrients in your carrot and how buying organic puts a big green thumb in the eye of Monsanto. But my point, really is this: The healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is cook. You can take back your palette and your health by learning to whip up a couple of great salads and soups, bringing leftovers for lunch instead of Lean Cuisine and eschewing meat at every meal.

Yes, buy organic when you can. Support farmers who grow organically even if they aren't certified. And learn to make a mean stir fry. If you learn to love cooking even a little bit, you'll be seasoning your food with the healthiest ingredients of all--your care, attention and love.

What to do with all the kale?

Gardens, we're discovering, aren't linear, preditable things. One year the tomatoes are so prolific, you can't manage the marinara production. Another, broccoli abounds to the point you're giving it to the neighbors in bouquets. This year, it's greens. The kale. The chard. The arugula. All bitter and tangy and astringent, the greens are a forest of dark, swaying fronds so dense, the cats can hide and we're nary the wiser.

With some gift funds still available in my Amazon account and in my recumbent state, it's been easy to click "add to my cart" when something promises ideas for these things other than steam, plug your nose and chug.

Which is how this ended up on my doorstep. (There's recipes to be had if you click on the link...)

Spend a few minutes on Sara's site Sprouted Kitchen and you'll immediately notice the care and attention she gives the food and her readers. Glowing with her husband's evocative photography, Sprouted Kitchen serves up plate after plate of wholesome, mostly vegetarian dishes, heaping inspiration and simple goodness into every post.

Her book is exactly the same. A collaboration between she and her husband, Hugh, The Sprouted Kitchen is a dance between Sara's food and Hugh's images: Shot in extreme close-up, the Coconut Lime Tart coyly displays only a corner of the dessert, pistachio and coconut crumbs in delicious dishabille in the foreground. Or the Asian Tofu Tacos with Hoisin Slaw? You'll just want to crawl in between the folds of those whole-wheat torillas and bed down.

I'm up and about some at this point in my convalescence, and while curried tempeh leftovers were on tap for dinner, I snuck out the garden so as to try the Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad. Glistening with parmesan vinaigrette and punctuated with apples (our tree giveth and giveth) and dried cherries (in the pantry), the kale salad seemed just the thing (and so good for the eyes!). I whipped it, up eschewing the croutons in my tender state as well as the chickpeas, and substituted a tiny bit of raw garlic in the dressing for the shallots.

Hearty and packed with flavor, Mr. Nake-id must have eaten three platefuls.

We topped the meal off with Sara's Mango Mint Lassi using lemon as a stand-in for fresh orange juice, adoring its sweet, comforting coolness.

Yes, I'm smitten. Tonight we'll try the Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad, broccoli from the garden, and the Creamy Millet with Roasted Portobellos (topped with kale!)

So happily smitten.

Out to lunch: Native Foods

While Denver/Boulder has been hailed as a rising vegan mecca, it lacks vegan restaurants (with the exception of the indomintable Vegan Van). Yes, there are wonderful places to dine where vegan fare is on offer, not the least of which, the many great Asian restaurants scattered across the Front Range. There's also Watercourse, Linger, Root Down, City, O City, the fabulous Leaf in Boulder, Whole Foods Cafes, Garbanzos, Mad Greens, Chipotle...lots of places to suck down a veg patty, salad or plate of pasta without breaking ranks.

Since I occasionally "leave the farm" for the sake of sociability, I'll also beg family and friends to vegify from time to time. Like Saturday after the Wool Market when I cajoled Mom and Ingrid to stop in Boulder at the newly opened Native Foods for lunch. (It's located in the 29th Street Mall near Pei Wei, fyi.)

Native Foods is a fast-casual dining concept, founded in 1994 by Chef Tanya Petrovna, that's growing rapidly. Plans are in the works, I was told, to open 15 stores in Colorado in coming years. (Why is it always Boulder first?)

We loved it, from Mom's veggie pizza topped with steamed kale and balsamic to my red-beans-kale-and-rice soul bowl and Ingrid's "sausage" and portobello mushroom burger (accompanied by a heap of seasoned sweet potato fries). And there's lavender lemonade, worth the drive right there.

While the food is fresh and intriguing, the brightly painted walls and sassy spirit of Native Foods' collateral all say "fun." This is the kind of place carnivores should visit in the same spirit of trying Thai, Indian, Ethiopian or other exotic cuisines.

Take a walk on the kale side and give it a try. And while you're there, tell them to open one in the Highlands, soon!

PS: Stopped at Atomic Tamale on the way home for a dozen vegan lovelies. Made a fabulous Monday night dinner with homemade guac and South-of-the-Border-inspired cole slaw.