I’m on my way back home from the fair, and while I am on the road, you are getting peaches. Or at least pictures of peaches, hanging on our tree:

Though they look temptingly yellow and red, they are still hard as stones, and will need some more weeks to ripen. Last year’s fruits were edible sometime in September, so I’m waiting. And hoping there will not be more people along like the guy who recently stole one of the unripe ones when leaving the premises, triggering a nice little fit of temper!

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Here is a stack of mixed links for you, containing, hopefully, something that you will enjoy:

Naomi Parkhurst has made a deliberate typo – a lace pattern based on the word “typo”. Which goes to show that even typos can be very nice (though I find it very fitting that part of the lace pattern is a little reminiscent of a skull…)

Patrick Stewart will return as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series. I loved Star Trek TNG when I was a teenager, and spent endless hours both watching the series and playing Star Trek with my best friend, so I’m always happy when something Star Trekkish happens.

If you have ever wonderend about the difference between plied yarns and ropes, here’s an explanation by Alden Amos.

If you like your caffeine fix, and also like to experiment, here’s a recipe for cold-brewed coffee, 1850s style.

And that’s it for today – hope you find something interesing!

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I’m in full-on prep mode for the fair on the weekend, with all the usual things to do – print out lists, sort out contact data, pack all the things into boxes and lug them into the car (though that’s on the list for tomorrow), prepare food to take with me so I have something to eat during the fair days, getting the washing done, checking if there is enough stock or if I frantically need to replenish something (which meant yesterday I was busily making more distaffs, having almost run out) and generally fret about things not being finished yet that still need to be done, and that in time.

The good news/bad news is that since the fair is only Saturday and Sunday, I don’t have to leave today, but can do things until tomorrow (which is also really necessary). The bad news part is that setup times only start rather late and are relatively short, so it will be interesting to be in an unknown environment to set up as quickly as possible. The good news part about this: It means I have half of Friday to prepare, too.

Speaking of deadlines: If you have not yet done so, and would like to give your opinion to the EU about the time switching from Summertime to Wintertime (or Daylight Savings to Normal time), today’s the last day of the survey on whether it should be abolished or not. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that at least on some things, we citizens actually do get a chance to make our preferences known, and to let our voice be heard. That alone, for me, is a reason to participate in surveys like this… and in this specific case, I really hope we’ll see an end to this one hour back and forth folly!

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For ages now, I’ve wanted to try out wax cloth, but somehow, I never got around to making it, or to really use the piece that I had, gifted to me from a friend years ago.

A while ago, though, things conspired to change that. First of all, during the Bernuthsfeld Man project, Jens and I made some wax cloth from linen (plus some tryout pieces from cotton) for the snack we had our Bernie double eat for the little film clip we did. Then, a bit later, another friend brought two bee-goodie cloths (German website) as a gift – these are handmade beeswax cloth pieces intended to replace clingfilm and metal foil. Most importantly for me, they had instructions for their use… and now I’m totally hooked on this alternative to foils, silicone lid thingies (which somehow never really worked for me) and clingfilm.

Basically it’s cloth impregnated with beeswax, maybe with some oil or other wax mixed in. The cloth is relatively stiff, but that means you can form it around the rim of plates or bowls, and it will hold its shape when folded around other food as well. After use, you rinse it with some lukewarm water and maybe some dishwashing liquid; let it dry off and voilà, it’s ready for its next use. It’s a splendid alternative to clingfilm and plastic food bags, and with Earth Overshoot day this year happening on August 1, reducing this use of ressources a little is a good thing, definitely.

I’ve been using these to cover bowls, wrap food to take with me, and wrap food for storage in the fridge, and I’m not sure how life was before having these. They are really practical – and nice. The current extreme heat might not be the best circumstance to just pop things wrapped with wax cloth into a pocket, but there’s always trusty boxes for that. And it will surely get cooler again. The only real issue I do have with them is that they are made from conventional cotton cloth – which means I won’t buy any extras and instead make my own when I feel I need more of these.

Since I did not use clingfilm before, they are not reducing plastic usage in my case, but they do beat covering things with plates for sure. Plus it feels pleasingly medieval to wrap food in wax cloth…

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I came back from a wonderful and much needed time outside to an inbox full of a gazillionade of emails (of course) and a stack of things to d0 (also of course)… but one of the pleasant things on that list is that I get to tell you about my holidays, which were spent canoe tripping.

Because I’m one of those people who like their adventures, um, semi-adventurous, and the relation between travel time and actual vacation time as good as possible, we only went a little bit from home and paddled down the Saale river. It was actually adventurous enough, because our map material turned out to be rather outdated, so quite a lot of the camping spots and other logistically helpful points were missing. Thank goodness the canoe and other boating clubs were still there, and many of them offered a bit of spce to put up a tent and stay the night.

It was wonderful, by the way. Very, very hot, and we had been expecting quite a bit of other paddlers and motorised boats on the river, so we were rather surprised when we found ourselves alone most of the time. Seems that some people found it too hot, and others found the water too shallow (which was true – the Saale and Elbe, where we ended our tour, had extremely low water). A while into our trip, we learned that not only was the Saale at low levels, there was also one lock currently being repaired, so there was no way for larger boats to come up the river past Alsleben.

That explains the few motor boats, we thought. It will change after Alsleben.

It didn’t, though; the reason for this being that the Elbe was running so low that most boats did not dare to venture out. Which meant we were the only people on the water for long stretches of time, and there was nobody to be seen on the banks of the river. With the long-lasting drought in the east of Germany, it felt like paddling through a savannah, or through a post-apocalyptic scenario: hot, sparsely populated though with a bit of civilisation noise here and there, whole stretches of land brownish-yellow from the heat and dryness, and some deteriorating fabrication buildings or currently out-of-use trans-shipment places here and there.

The river itself and the landscape were lovely, and we had a wonderful time paddling it, though it needed taking very, very careful aim on the livelier bits to find water deep enough so the canoe would not run on ground, and lots of paddling in about all the places, with the low water levels making the current slower or sometimes nearly non-existant.

We spent most of the days paddling, and while we were not getting up extra-early (with one exception or two) and not aiming to go as far as possible, we both had no inclination to do a lot of sight-seeing and were content to just paddle, paddle, paddle, so we did end up going all the way to Magdeburg from our start at Jena-Paradies. We arrived there on aFriday and did actually go for a bit of culture on Saturday, going into town to visit the Cathedral, a pottery market on the cathedral square and the Hundertwasser building. There was cake and ice cream and writing of the last few postcards, and on Sunday we travelled home by train, lugging the folded-up canoe along. It was all, all delightful, with the only drawback being the dearth of good ice cream parlours in the East (but to make up for that, we had lots of other yummy regional foods. The East can do poppy seed cakes really well, for instance. Also: Knusperflocken. Currywurst. Ochsenaugen.)

It was also delightful to not sit at the computer for a while, and not be connected to everyone and everything, checking emails several times a day. I got to do some reading, and some knitting, and it was all in all totally wonderful – and now I need to get ready quick for the next event, for I’m going to the Tuchmarkt at the Freilichtmuseum Hessenpark on the weekend…

 

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…and the living is easy…

I really like this song. I also like summer (though now the best part of summer, the holidays and summer break, are over, and it’s back to work for me). What I don’t like, at all, is the time switch to summertime and back. It’s stupid, it’s annoying, and it always takes me a considerable chunk of time to adjust to the new time, making me less productive than usual for a few days at least, more like a week.

So you can probably imagine my delight at finding there’s an EU survey going on about what citizens think of the summertime/wintertime switching, and whether it should be abolished or not. The survey is still running for a few more days, until August 16, and you can send in your opinion via the questionnaire here.

And now I’m hoping enough people will chime in and ask for this stupid time switching to be stopped once and for all!

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Like every summer, I am taking a break from doing the things I love but that are still work – so there will be no sending out of orders from the online shop , and there will be no blogging until the end of my summer break on August 12.

bouldering_companions

Summer! Hanging out with friends! Doing fun stuff!

Just to dampen any feelings of jealousy or awe you might get now – I’ll not be on holidays for the whole time. Yes, I’d love that, but alas – a good chunk of the time is set aside to finally take care of some things that are never getting done in the day-to-day business-as-usual business, such as taking stock, trying to solve a few website problems, getting the shop software up to date again, working on some ad and info material, finishing a paper or two, and so on.

There will be a healthy chunk of doing nothing, too, though, and probably some additional ice cream, and there will be a bit of holidays and getting out and doing things that are purely fun.

So – have a lovely time, and I’ll see you back here on the blog on August 13!

Posted in and now for something completely different, work-related | 1 Comment