Louisa Enright's Blog

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Turkey Tracks: Wool Dryer Balls and Cotton Handkerchiefs

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Turkey Tracks:  November 18, 2014

Wool Dryer Balls and Cotton Handkerchiefs

Here’s a picture of the wool dryer balls that live in my dryer year round:

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And, of the additional handkerchiefs I tuck into a pocket of my pants instead of using a paper product.

The wool dryer balls replace any chemical you’ve been using to “soften” clothes.  These balls never wear out.  They knock lint off our clothes and make everything in the dryer soft.  They also facilate drying so that your clothes dry faster.

I LOVE THEM!

I love the handkerchiefs, too.  Once they’ve been washed a few times, they are soft against your skin.  They are sustainable and sturdier than paper products.

Written by louisaenright

November 18, 2014 at 10:11 am

Interesting Information: Toaster Death Rant

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Interesting Information:  November 18, 2014

Toaster Death Rant

Here’s a picture of the Cuisenart toaster I bought about three years ago and no more than four years ago.

I paid about $70 for it, thinking that buying a “good” toaster was more reasonable than buying a cheap one that would wear out quickly.

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This toaster died this week.

There is one person using it.  One person who does not toast every day.

Can I tell you that I’m pretty sure that my mother had the same toaster for about twenty years.  Maybe longer.

Look at this big honking thing that is now going into the dump.

I will never buy Cuisenart again.  Never.

And I won’ t spend $$$ on a “good” toaster either.

There isn’t one, apparently.

We are now living in late capitalism–where we are at the end of the chain in terms of quality products.  Manufacturers have cut so many corners that they’ve ruined their products totally.  And, these products are using up valuable resources and filling up land fills.  Meanwhile, these products cost the same or, even, more.

It’s INSANE!!!

It’s unsustainable!!!

All the money in the world won’t compensate for a fouled earth.

 

 

 

Written by louisaenright

November 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

Interesting Information: The Nine Ingredients For a Healthier America

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Interesting Information:  November 17, 2014

“The Nine Ingredients For A Healthier America”

Friend Gina Caceci mailed me The Washington Post‘s copy of this opinion piece by Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, and Olivier De Schutter.

The article is all over the web now.

This piece is a call to action to change national food policy so that it is aligned with human health, not industry profits.

At the most basic level, we need the government to separate the USDA from healthy food policy as these goals are massively in conflict.  What has resulted is that, in a nutshell, we are subsidizing soda while “paying for insulin pumps.”  And, too many of us are sick.

This issue has to be viewed from above political party lines–not across or through them.  Surely our health, the health of our loved ones, and the health of our soil and planet will allow us to come together on this issue.

Please, please read this article.  Every word.

And, maybe, email the President and your congresspersons noting the article and asking for meaningful change.

I will.  Today.

Commentary: The nine ingredients for a healthier America | masslive.com.

Turkey Tracks: Sewing/Knitting Projects Update November 2014

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Turkey Tracks:  November 17, 2014

Sewing/Knitting Projects Update November 2014

Late October (that strange blizzard) and early November have brought a fair amount of inclement weather.  It is snowing off and on today, as a matter of fact.

So, I have been snuggling into a whole array of winter projects.

This big quilt is quilted, and the binding is on.  It is just waiting for me to sew down the binding.  It’s 97 inches square, so it will take some nights of hand sewing.

 

 

 

 

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BUT, I’ve been finishing knitting a white linen shawl at night.  There’s a tale here.  I started this shawl on the J&E Riggin in early September.  I had it completely finished but did not like the tension, so I took it apart and went down a needle size.  I’m much happier with it now, and it’s almost done.  Just a few more nights.

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After linen is knitted, one thoroughly wets it, dries it, and irons it.  In the process, the linen turns soft as butter and very shiny.

Our Coastal Quilters and Georges Valley auction took place last weekend–and look what I bid on and won:

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Gail Galloway Nicholson made this quilt, and Joan Herrick quilted it freehand on her long-arm.

Here’s a closeup:

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It gives me such pleasure to have the work of friends and family in my home.  Everytime I walk past one of these pieces I am reminded of the loved ones involved and of all the wonderful energy that they have put into their work.

You can see that this quilt is so, so happy to live on my coral chair!

I am in the process of making other quilts for this downstairs room.  I need quilts that can be loved, used, and washed–in place of the dog-blanket strategies that live in this sitting room/tv room/den space.  So, here’s a quilt top I’ve just finished that’s going to go on the back of the couch–where Rey Rey likes to hang out so she can see the back door comings and goings:

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Fun, huh?  It’s 85 inches square, and I think I’ll just bind it without adding any borders.  I’ll quilt it when I return from Charleston December 2nd.

Here’s the backing–which is especially nostalgic as grandson Kelly Enright picked it out with me this summer.  He’ll get such a kick out of seeing this quilt with it’s lively backing when he next comes to visit.

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This quilt is made with the 2 1/2-inch strips that I cut up from my stash two summers ago.  I had a HUGE bin filled to the top.  Look now:

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OK, I have a few of the darks and mediums out on the cutting board as I’m using them in another quilt top:

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It’s Bonnie Hunter’s Scrappy Trip Around the World version, and I’m having so much fun putting together various sets of 6 strips for each block (at 16 inches).  Here’s two of the blocks I made yesterday:

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I’ve seen so many variants of this quilt now, and I can’t wait to see how mine develops.  I’m sure the blocks will get moved over and over again until I’m happy with the results.

My leader/ender project now is a low-contrast quilt made with a focus fabric and 2 1/2-inch light and dark blue blocks.  I’m mixing the focus fabric into the four-patch/eight-patch blocks.

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Here’s what’s forming on the design wall–in a dark corner of the wall.  I’m playing with creating a center of 8 pieced blocks surrounding one of the focus fabric squares.  I don’t know how this will work out…   I’m just playing.  I may play with some single 4-patch blocks surrounded with sashings of the focus fabric as well.  Or, use another fabric that co-ordinates.  Who knows?  That’s what play is all about…

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I made a big soup yesterday so was able to quilt until I got hungry.  AND, I’ll freeze some of it to have on the night I return.  The meat is from the turkey I roasted earlier in the year–a turkey from last Thanksgiving that came from my neighbors:  Susan McBride and Chris Richmond of Golden Brook Farm.  Sometime last summer I defrosted the turkey, cut it up, and roasted it.  I froze one-half of the turkey breast and am just now using it.

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I used a chicken bone-broth base (of course), the turkey, and what I had on hand:  frozen tomatoes from the summer, onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, rutabaga, some brown rice, and the Indian spices (cumin, coriander, a bit of cinnamon, tumeric).  It’s super delicious!!

My fabrics for Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt 2014–Grand Illusion–are ironed and ready to go!  I’ll get the first clue the day after Thanksgiving, but will not be able to start it until I get home.  But, I’m ready!

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I leave for Charleston, SC, this Thursday, for the Thanksgiving holidays with my family, and, as always, posting to the blog with the ipad is always chancy–but I’ll take lots of pictures and will post when I get home if all else fails!

 

Turkey Tracks: Fall Squashes

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Turkey Tracks:  November 14, 2014

Fall Squashes

I get such a kick out of passing my kitchen counter and seeing the fall squashes assembled there.

I’ve learned the hard way that squashes keep best in a warmish room–not a cold room.  Last year, Melody Pendleton gave me a large pumpkin that sat on the counter until early spring.

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The big guy is, as those of you know who read this blog at all, a Blue Hubbard.  I’ve successfully grown a few over the past years.  But not this year.  Our summer was way too cool and rainy for squashes of any sort.  Anyway, the hubbards are fabulous keepers.  You can, even, cut chunks out and put the rest in a cool spot (which I don’t really have) and it will keep as long as you work away at it within a few weeks.

The long bright orange one and it’s mate, the long green one are pie pumpkins.  I’ll cut them in half, scoop out seeds, and roast them.  Soon.  Then I’ll freeze them.  I like to let all of these squashes sit a bit before cooking them as the “sugar off” and get really sweet

The tan butternut is a common squash in grocery stores and a winter staple.

The striped yellow squashes are Delicatas  They are more fragile and need to be eaten early.  I like to slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, and then slice the halves into strips and roast them.  I like to use red palm oil and lots of garlic.  And I often mix them with a lot of other roasted fall veggies of all sorts.

The green round squash is a buttercup.  It’s a dense, sweet squash that I like to cut up and pair with the last of the green tomatoes chunked up, some red onion chunks, some small potatoes chunked up.  Drizzle all with UNREFINED coconut oil, throw in garlic and fresh rosemary and roast at about 375° until soft and beginning to char at the edges..  Turn once with a spatula about 5 minutes in to coat everything with the oil and turn once more in about…30 minutes?

The purplish round veggies are rutabagas.   I use them like I would a potato.  They are delicious peeled, chunked up, cooked in water until soft, smashed, with lots of raw butter and salt and pepper.  Sometimes I also use them in the turnip, parsnip, carrot, onion/leek, garlic mixture I grate up and lacto-ferment.

 

Written by louisaenright

November 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Poems: “Desiderata”

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Jeanine Gervais, whom I met and enjoyed on board the J&E Riggin windjammer last summer–and we will sail together next summer (July 20-2)as well–along with friend of long-standing June Derr–sent me this copy of “Desiderata.”

Enjoy!

 

DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements, as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful. Strive to be happy.

[Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692]

Written by louisaenright

November 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: The Goldfinch in The Frick Collection

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  November 10, 2014

The Goldfinch in The Frick Collection

 

Here’s a treat for those of you reading THE GOLDFINCH.

Or, who have read it.

We are currently reading it in my book club and will discuss it next week.

I put up my review of this book elsewhere on this blog.  Use the search button on the right sidebar?

Thanks to Joan Phaup for finding this little video.

The Goldfinch | The Frick Collection.

Written by louisaenright

November 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

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