Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nifty Nettles

I first learned what nettles were in Girl Scouts on a hike. I had walked through them and my legs started to itch. That's why they're called "stinging" nettles. I didn't think much more about the plant until years later when I became interested in nutrition and herbs. I found out that nettles are full of chlorophyll, vitamin C and vitamin A, minerals, including calcium, silicon, and potassium chloride; protein, and dietary fiber. Nettles have been used as a nutritional tonic for many things including anemia and as a dietary source of calcium. They grow in my yard and I have used them on and off over the last several years. I find that I feel more energetic when nettles tea or infusion is part of my daily routine. Nettles rinse is also very nourishing for the hair!

So imagine my surprise when I found that this trusty plant had also been incorporated into a new yarn! Classic Elite Woodland is 65% wool and 35% nettles. The animal fiber and the plant fiber take on the dye differently giving the yarn a rich heathery look that is very appealing! And the combination of both wool and plant fiber together gives the yarn a quality that neither has alone. I very much enjoyed knitting with this yarn and think you would enjoy knitting anything out of this new collection.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pickles Pickles

I planted three hills of bush cucumbers this spring. Even with all the shade from the surrounding trees, cuks seem to do very well here. I was noticing the profusion of yellow flowers on the vines one day in early summer, with just some very very tiny baby cuks starting to grow. We had five days of rain in a row. I decided to check under the leaves and cuks were everywhere...large and small. We've been eating cucumber, tomato, and basil salads, and sweet refrigerator pickles.

Our son Wes requested some *real* dill pickles, so we cut up seven cuks into a gallon jar and added one hot pepper and some dill and garlic from the garden, plus some fancy spices we had in the cupboard. They sit on the counter for 2-3 days to ferment, then into the refrigerator until they are gone. Yum!