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April 2014

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

It's the little things in life some days.

Yesterday morning when I opened the fridge I was greeted with nearly three dozen eggs from our backyard hens. There has been baking, I have been making a huge frittata once a week, and we've been eating eggs for breakfast too.... but the hens were getting ahead of us. I have had no luck with anyone's method of hard-boiling eggs. Some of them helped (pin hole, vinegar, salt, ice bath, let them age) but none of them really yielded an easily peeled egg. Let alone one the kids could peel on their own. And I just can't let my eggs sit in the fridge for a few weeks before I boil them.... the beauty of backyard hens is fresh eggs, right?

So I googled it. And the one thing I had not tried was steaming them. Following the instructions from this, I steamed about a dozen and a half eggs from the weekend........

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

You need some sort of steamer basket for this. I used one of those fold up style baskets that fit in a variety of pot sizes. Add just enough water to cover the bottom, the eggs shouldn't sit in the water. Put the lid on & bring the pot to a boil. Fill with as many eggs as you want to cook & steam for 15 minutes with the lid on. Keep an eye to make sure you don't run out of water. I know that seems like a long time.... but you can see that it yields perfectly cooked eggs. I was wary, but it's just right. Spoon the eggs into iced cold water & chill until they are cool to the touch. Peel easily, without saying any bad words. (that's the best part.) And if you (like me) are so excited about this epiphany that you are jumping up and down and you offer a hard-steamed egg to every family member while squeaking "what until you peel it!"..... then we were meant to be the best of friends.... and I wish you lived closer.

It's egg salad for lunch here today.

Have a lovely Tuesday......

xo,

s

  

(ps - if you like the centers soft, boil for 10-12 minutes! we love them this way too!)


Gypsy Forest Sponsor :: Luna Grey Fiber Arts

Today I welcome Jackie of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. She is an amazingly talented dyer, her shop is full of beautifully dyed luxurious yarn, and lovely patterns. Jackie is kind hearted and has such a great sense of humor, which you can see by the second photo of their family dog! I asked Jackie to share a little about her process and what's new in her shop with all of you......

 

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In Jackie's words:

What's new and exciting in my shop? Pattern kits!!! I have recently paired with several talented knitwear designers including Amy MillerHillary Smith Callis and Sara Gresbach to create fun knitting pattern kits. The kits include a skein of custom dyed Luna Grey yarn and a PDF pattern download. These have been a huge hit, as they make great gifts and take away any guesswork in trying to pair a pattern with our yarn.
 
Another exciting, new addition to the shop is our "Dyed to Order" yarn. Perfect for large projects, such as sweaters and blankets, dyed-to-order yarn allows the knitter to request any quantity of yarn in any color on any base. This option allows us to ensure that all skeins originate from the same dye lot, so no alternating of skeins is necessary. The best part? We offer a 15% discount on orders of 5 or more skeins of the same base yarn/colorway!
 
All yarn in my shop is lovingly hand dyed by me following a number of detailed steps... The undyed base yarn arrives at my studio in large, 2 - 4 pound cones. I hand weigh and wind the yarn into 100g skeins. The yarn is then pre-soaked in a gentle wool wash to remove any oils in the fiber. A dye bath is prepared using non-toxic citric acid and professional-grade acid dyes. Following dyeing, the yarn is cooled, rinsed, and hung to dry. Yarn is then re-skeined by hand to ensure that no tangles developed during the dyeing process. Labels are added after the yarn has been twisted into a hank. The yarn is then beautifully packaged and shipped to the customer.While time consuming, these steps yield a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, hand dyed product truly appreciated by fiber artists.  
 

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4Luna Viridis Cowl Kit ~ Photos by Hillary Smith Callis

 

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7White Dwarf Shawl Kit ~ Photos taken by Amy Miller

 

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11Portico sweater ~ Photo taken by Sara Gresbach

 

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I know all you knitters out there are swooning over these yarn colors!! So incredible, right? Jackie has generously offered a (very lucky!) one of you a skein of her Calypso in Sorbet, shown in the last photograph. Leave a comment here to enter, I'll leave the comments open through Wednesday. And yes, the comments are working properly now! Also, through the end of the month you can use the code GYPSYFOREST to receive free domestic shipping on your order! I'm thinking pattern kits would make a very lovely gift for Mother's Day. Hint, hint.

Thank you Jackie for sharing your lovely work here!

And best of luck to all of you.....

xo,

s

psssst.... you can see two of my projects knit up with Luna Grey Fiber Arts yarn here and here.

 

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congratulations Andrea B!!

Thank you again Jackie for sharing your lovely yarn :)

   


it's not you...... it's me....

it's not you...... it's me....

 

Random HUGE egg photo that has nothing to do with this post.... yes it was a double. Which totally freaks my husband out. (Sorry honey, sort of threw you under the bus on that one).

And yes, the comments are broken. I know some of you noticed. Frustrating stuff indeed....

It's not you though, it's me. Or well, actually it's them

So, I guess that's it. You can always come say hello on facebook.....

Here's hoping things are back to normal sooner than later....

xo~

s


tiny pieces of spring.....

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

tiny pieces of spring......

 

Hello, hello! It's so nice to be back! If you visited during the last few days you likely found only a strange blank page. Typepad is my blogging platform and they were under DDoS attacks. What the heck is that you say? Read here for the answer (and wow, I'm glad I don't have their job.) But hey, they worked their tails off and pulled things back together and not a speck of anything I can find is out of place... so I am one grateful blogger. 

And now..... back to the regular ramblings you're used to.

Spring..... I've been walking through the backyard for the last few weeks looking at the tips of every branch and closely at the ground. Watching for tiny pieces of spring emerge....

The buds slowly turn rosy and pink and are finally just about ready to burst into leaf or blossom. The plum tree and grape vines we planted when the ground was barely soft enough for a shovel are dancing right along to the tune of the swamp maple and ferns.

Slowly, slowly our forest is waking up.

When the evening light casts a soft glow over everything, you can see the tips of every branch light up. It's as if they are soaking in the last bit of each days sunshine. No doubt they too are ready for warmth and long sunny days.

No matter how many times I watch it, I never tire. This tiny little bud that made its way through winter. Waiting, waiting, waiting for just the right recipe of warmth and light to finally burst forth and ring in the new season.... the tree knows just what to do...... such amazing and good stuff for sure.

xo~

s

ps ~ I am leaving this lovely giveaway up through Saturday since the blog disappeared and few of you got the chance to see it. Do swing over and enter to win...... and share it with your online pals. Thank you!

 


season's eatings by Leah Kent of Skill It.......

It's always so good to connect with folks who share my passion for good wholesome eating, especially when they happen to live in my real life neighboring state of Rhode Island. I'm pretty sure if I waved from the back deck, Leah could see me and wave right back!

 

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Leah has a wonderful website built around handmade, home-cooking. Her upcoming class Season's Eating celebrates in-season simple menus for the family table. During the course you will tour each season, learn what foods are at their peak in flavor and freshness, and be given delicious whole food recipes to prepare for and with your family. (Including a cookbook for each season for you to revisit!) Leah understands how busy meal time is for all of us, and she is passionate about keeping things wholesome and simple. (pssst.... she has a great printable download for cooking grains here!)

A little more about Season's Eatings in Leah's words :

In season’s eatings, we explore together how to create the kind of meals, routines, and rituals that can bring this vision to life. I believe that teaching our children how to cook alongside us helps them grow in so many ways. They love being trusted to try new tasks and they flourish when they are invited to take on new responsibilities.

Over the course of this two-week journey, we will explore recipes for healthy meals that are made from whole food ingredients. The dishes are simple and I share ideas for how to assign some of the preparation tasks to any co-chefs, whether they be children, partners, friends, or neighbors. The cooking methods are straight-forward and can be prepared with basic kitchen equipment you are likely to already have in your cupboards.

 

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family dinner, at its best,

can be a time of soul nourishment,

deep connection, play, and laughter.

 

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Leah has generously offered one of you a spot in her upcoming class! Just leave a comment here to enter. The giveaway is open through Saturday 4/26, winner will be announced Sunday 4/27. Leah has also offered a generous coupon for Gypsy Forest readers - enter the code GYPSYFOREST at checkout to save 15% off. Class starts May 5, just in time to get you inspired for the upcoming farmer's market season. I'm so excited to be taking it myself too, so I look forward to seeing a few of you there!

Thank you Leah for sharing Season's Eatings with us! Best of luck to you all......

xo~

s

(all photographs courtesy of Leah from Skill It)

 

***** congratulations to Molly! *****

 


ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

ongoings & some link love......

:: fire cider to bottle

:: fresh fabric stacks

:: a clean up date night with my studio & a glass of wine is in order (goodness, it's messy in there)

:: seedlings getting taller every day

:: old globe making my kids and me smile as they find their favorite places

:: new tiny bolga baskets

:: gumbo for dinner tonight

:: fresh cookbooks 

:: painting wooden eggs with the kids tonight

:: the light in here at 3:30...... love

 

Some weekend links for you......

~ I ordered two new vegan cookbooks this week,  here and here. They are both very, very good!

~ Some good ideas for using stinging nettle this spring.

~ This Owl and this moon..... I am in love with her art. For sure.

~ Fairy garden season is here!

~ The overprotected kid. (loved this!)

~ Things to eat : tahini toast and chickpea avocado sandwiches. (Amanda, that last one has your name all over it!)

~ Just for fun, a year ago this week.

 

Some of you may have seen my post on the gypsyforest facebook page about my friends at  Cubit's being featured in Etsy's Quit your Day Job series. It is so awesome to see a hard working small business be in the spotlight. AND they just bought a 13 acre farm! Congratulations Laura and Ryan. Today is the last day to enter this giveaway for a six pack of their herb seeds too!

Also, I have TWO awesome giveaways planned for you this weekend! So swing back in to enter.

xo,

s

  


at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

Sometime last night the rain switched to ice pellets and then a sleet-y snow mixture. We woke up to a cold and hard crust of snow outside. Luke stumbled into the living room this morning at 6:30 with sleepy eyes. 

Good Morning Dad, good morning Mama, he said as he made his way to the sun room to assess the day. He does this every morning.

I watched.

His shoulders slumped.

Well THIS is a lovely spring day, he grumbled.

And with that he stomped up the stairs and went back to bed.

An hour later I lured him down with warm blueberry muffins fresh from the oven.

Still scowling, his mood lightened a bit. At least we have muffins, he mumbled.

That about says it. I think he summed up most of New England's thoughts on this morning's snow. He makes me giggle. This southern boy. I forget he has only really known mild winters and days upon days of sun. Last week in the grocery store he asked me if I knew how to make Ms Nancy's gumbo. I dug the recipe out this morning and it's on the menu for this week. It will be a nice surprise for him......

Today though, I'll leave you with these. Some delicious blueberry muffins. Worth their weight in gold. Why? Because they were made with the last few cups of frozen blueberries from Rocky Point. There are still a dozen jars of jam but I have been rationing the last bits of frozen blueberries. This of course means a lot more picking trips next summer. Which you know I don't mind one bit. Oh July, you won't be here soon enough......

 

Blueberry Muffins (loosely inspired by blueberry butter cake from this cookbook)

1 cup rye flour

2 cups unbleached white bread flour

1/2 cup white sugar (we like evaporated cane juice)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4 eggs

1.5 cups milk (we used almond)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup melted butter

2-3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

 

Preheat the oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners if needed.

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.

Mix the eggs, milk, & vanilla together. Mix half of the flour into the wet mixture. Slowly drizzle the butter into the batter stirring as you do so. This makes it so the butter is incorporated better and doesn't just clump up like it will if you add it directly to the milk/egg mixture. Mix in the remaining flour until the mixture is barely combined and a little lumpy. Don't over mix or they'll lose their tender crumb. Gently stir in the blueberries. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. (Or a toothpick inserted is clean, if you're unsure.)

These are a very lightly sweetened muffin, perfect for a snack or breakfast. If you like a sweeter muffin up the sugar by another 1/4 cup. You can use any milk or milk alternative or even buttermilk or kefir for the liquid. For that matter, to make them dairy free, you could swap the butter for another oil too.

Enjoy!

xo,

s

  


and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

and then there were bees........

 

We did it. 

On Saturday we waited for hours, the arrival of the bees was delayed and I checked facebook far too many times to watch for updates. Finally they were on their way to Berkley, MA where we were to pick them up at one of the Beekeeper Association member's home. We watched them install two packages into hives in the backyard. One skillfully done by a young girl just two years older than Sophie. 

We headed back to the table and looked at the boxes and boxes of bees.

Pick out your two, Ed said to us. 

Is there a trick to this? I asked. Is it like picking out a puppy?

Sort of, he said. Pick the ones that speak to you.

Sophie and I each picked one out. 

We sprayed them with sugar water and put them into a cardboard box and headed home. We had the ac on full blast in hopes of keeping them cool. We should have left the box lid wide open or gotten them their own boxes.... they got a little warm in there together. 

Home. A bustle of activity. Gear. Bee suits. Sugar water. The bees sat in a cool dark corner of the garage.

We followed the instructions of the experts and memory of so many videos watched in the past few weeks. Everything went off without a single problem. After the first package was in, Sophie asked if she could do the second one. I can do this mama, she said to me.

I pulled the queen out and then let her take over from there. Calm and confident that girl. Bees all over us and she was so relaxed.... amazing. All of it. No one was stung either.

Sunday morning I drifted out there first thing with my coffee. They are amazing to watch. I could sit there forever. 

I peeked in this afternoon to see if either queen was out. They're both so close, but not quite there. You can see the queen box in that last photo. Everyone looked well in there, at least to this very novice set of eyes.

Oh my. We really are beekeepers. She and I. 

xo,

s

{Thank you to Joe for taking pictures of us installing the bees & thank you to all the incredible members of our Bee Association who give so much of their time & answer *so* MANY questions for us novice beekeepers!} 

  


A giveaway from Cubit's heirloom & organic seeds::

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Today's giveaway is from Laura of Cubit's. Laura & her husband Ryan run their family business out of their home in Toronto, often with two adorable helpers underfoot. Cubit's offers an incredible selection of gorgeous heirloom and organic seeds. They are passionate about offering superior quality and preserving rare varieties of seeds. A few of my personal favorites are the Moon & Stars WatermelonReisetomate Tomato, and the Basil Collection. Laura recently began offering some of her stunning photography in the shop as well. You won't be surprised that this one is my favorite.

A little about what they do in Laura's words:

We grow rare, heirloom and organically grown seeds for organic vegetable & herb gardens. Urban Gardening is our passion and we believe that everyone can grow their own delicious organic produce. Our seed is all organically grown and untreated, much of it by ourselves with a few choice seed varieties coming from local certified organic farms.

Cubit's is committed to using environmentally friendly practices in all aspects of our business operations and general day to day life. We use recycled packaging, non toxic glues, all of our printed matter is on recycle paper, reused packaging, and we emphasize local suppliers.

We have signed the safe seed pledge and are 100% GMO, Monsanto and Seminis seed free!

 

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Laura has generously offered one lucky winner a six pack of herb seeds! Leave a comment below to enter. The giveaway will be open through Friday, 4/18. Winner announced 4/19. Extra good luck to those of you who share this giveaway & amazing small business with friends!

Don't forget to take a look at Cubit's beautiful shop. I'd love to know what you'd like to grow in your garden this year, and what you're swooning over!

If you'd like to stay connected to Cubits, you can find Laura on facebook, pinterest, and her lovely blog.

Good Luck everyone & thank you to Laura for such a wonderful giveaway!

xo,

s

 

*comments closed, thank you everyone! winner will be announced in the morning!*

*****Congratulations to Stephenie!*****

 


spring, by sophie......

I sent her outside with my camera. Take pictures of spring, I said.

This is what she came back with...... it's always fun to see what the kids choose to capture........

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

spring, by sophie......

 

Tomorrow is THE day.

Bee day.

I made sugar syrup and bee food today. We got the hives out in the yard today. I planted 5 raspberry bushes behind them and got three grapevines and 6 blackberry bushes in too. There were supposed to be five blackberries, the bonus made me smile. Then Maggie ate one. Dang dog. I think she's part goat. Always eating sticks. She did feel bad. Joe yelled at her and she sat on a huge rock in the middle of the yard sulking while I finished planting. She's a character for sure. And such a softy....

I'll be here in the morning with a giveaway from one of my lovely sponsors. It's a good one!

Wish me luck installing bee packages tomorrow afternoon. Oh my. I can't really believe it's finally the day. Eeek!

Happy weekending to you all.

xo,

s