(with deepest apologies to Country Joe McDonald...I just couldn't resist...)
Much to share, so I'll just jump right in and probably break this down into more than one post. The cold is hanging on...one minute my throat is sore and I feel completely braindead, the next minute not...a little cough...nothing to write home (or in my blog) about, so I won't.
Last night, I made Lentil Stew with Sausage from Simply Recipes. It was simply out of this world. I doubled the recipe, because a stew just isn't a stew if you can't eat it for a couple days and then freeze some, right? I'm not a big fan of sausage, but I do love Bob Evans, especially their hot sausage in the red and white package. It's really spicy and almost NO fat when you brown it. So I browned up a pound of that, crumbled it, and added it to the stew. Oh, and because I doubled the recipe, I needed 12 cups of liquid. Wow... When I added all that liquid to the pot, it looked like a thin, watery, disgusting soup. Yikes...nervous time... While the stew simmered, I started reading the recipe's comments, and no one complained about the consistency of the stew, so I felt encouraged. I read and read and twenty minutes later, when I went back to check on the stew, it looked like this:
Yeah...perfect!!! Those little lentils really suck up the juice, don't they? My husband loved it, raving about every bite. Life was pretty darn good. But guess what? Life got even pretty darn better after dinner! The Knitting Gods have taken me into their favor once more!
After dinner, I headed off to check email and found a message from Kristin Nicholas at Getting Stitched On the Farm telling me I won her blog giveaway and would be receiving a copy of Gail Callahan's new book "Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece"!!!
I got way goofy and gushed all over my reply, and she probably thinks I'm about a half stitch off gauge. I KNOW my husband thinks as much, especially after he heard me hollering from my room, "Woooo-hooooooo! I'm gonna dye!!! I'm gonna dye!!!" Which comes out entirely differently when you HEAR it than when you READ it...but I can explain!
A couple months ago, I was at the library, one of my favorite places on this entire planet. We in Columbus are blessed with the one of the best library systems in the nation, as determined by folks who rate these things, and I'm a devoted fan. I was browsing through the knitting books when I spotted a book on dyeing yarn, and little light bulbs started going off in my head. Yeah! I could dye yarn!!! How cool would that be??? I grabbed three or four books on the topic, came home and started reading. I was immediately intimidated and deflated.
Ok...I will need a separate room dedicated solely to the practice of dyeing. Um...maybe the basement? Look, this is a small house, we don't have a "separate room" for anything except necessary bodily functions. We multitask everywhere! I guess I could use a corner of the basement...ok...but wait...I need a separate stove, too. Um...there's not room for a stove in the basement. We don't even have a sink in the basement! And what's this? I need a respirator and goggles? How's about a welding mask? Would that work? You get the picture...I had brief fantasies of turning the falling-down thing we call a garage into a chem lab...but then I just sighed and put the books back in my library bag and toted them back a day or two later. No dyeing in my future...
A couple weeks ago, after one of Wilbur's doggie adventures, I popped into the library to pick up a few reserves. I was in a hurry because Wilbur was waiting somewhat less than patiently in the car - I knew I had about five minutes before he'd figure out how to get the car door open and come in after me. Don't laugh - he's a border collie - he can DO things like this! My library has this area right inside the front door that is, for me, like that irresistable candy bar display at all the grocery checkout counters - the featured books area! I cannot walk into the library without stopping there, and I have found some of the best reads of my life in this wonderfully serendipitous way. On this particular day, "Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece" was one of the featured books. I tossed it into my book bag without a thought and hurried off to the reserve section. Time was a-wastin'...
Once home, I started looking through Gail's book with no small amount of apprehension. But wait...she was saying this was do-able...in a house...in a kitchen...no need for a "dye lab"! I got more excited and optimistic with every page I turned and...there are cool patterns in the back of the book! Suddenly dyeing became possible again! I read more and more and then...because I knew I'd start dyeing and ruin a library book, I took it back to the library and decided I'd better get my own copy right away.
Last Monday, I read Kristin's blog, entered the giveaway and, last night, I won the book!!! I have plans for this, and you'll get to see the whole escapade in all it's glory. I need to start collecting jars and pots and pans (these things DO need to be kept separate from any cooking use). I need to get some yarn to dye and some dye. I need to schedule some time when my photographer/DH can chronicle the process. And then I'll dye. And I'll come back from the "dyed" to blog about it! And...yes, you'll probably have to suffer through more "dye" puns. It's just the way I am.
More later, but for now I'll leave you with a very secure and content Wilbur - life IS good! And if this isn't cute enough for you, hop on over to Kristin's blog and check out the little lambies in sweaters...it'll melt your heart faster than the sun is melting the snow on this gorgeous almost spring day.