Thursday, July 25, 2013

Deciphering Hieroglyphics

Tomato season is bearing down with full force.  Two days ago I made ketchup (from a new recipe out of Preserving Food without Canning or Freezing) and it was the best I've ever made.  Indeed it's the first I've made in about 15-20 years!  This morning I canned up 21 quarts of stewed tomatoes from one bushel of tomatoes.
Tonight there are two more bushels
waiting for morning when they'll be converted into pasta sauce.  That's not even a large picking.  In the next couple of weeks I expect to be picking at least four bushels every two to three days.  I don't mind though. I expect to be tomato independent this winter!

You'd never think with all these tomatoes to deal with that I'd be in the process of picking up a hobby, but that's exactly what I've gone and done.

Actually, it's more like reviving a hobby.  Many years ago I did a lot of crochet.  I made doilies and all sorts of cool stuff.  Then I put it down, for reasons unknown.  I forgot everything about how to crochet except that most instructions for crocheting doilies use different names for stitches than do the instructions for crocheting almost anything else.

I tried to start with projects that I thought would be simple.  I used heavy yarn and was working through instructions for making washcloths.
It was fun, but the patterns were much more difficult than I had imagined.  I became so frustrated that I almost gave up the idea altogether.  But then I came across some finer yarn in really great colors.  I bought some with the idea that I might try to wade through some doilies.  I had confidence in the plan since I was imagining the doily instructions to be far more confusing than the washcloth instructions.  I dove into the hieroglyphics.
I mean, seriously, does any of that make any sense.  Is this really how I want to spend restful evenings?

Actually, yes.

When I allowed myself to understand what the pseudo-words and sketches were trying desperately to tell me, I found to be quite uncomplicated.  Now I can sit for ten to fifteen minutes (for example: waiting for the pressure canners to come up to temperature) and get a row or two done on my mini doilies.
As a matter of fact, I now plan on making a curtain for My and Joe's new cabin by connecting a variety of mini doilies together.
They also go together quickly enough that I can afford the time to make gifts for family and friends and may even make products to contribute to the diversified income here at Groundwell Farm.

So what's the take away?  Don't be afraid to try something new.  (Or even revive something you left behind years ago.)  Most craft hobbies have some sort of hieroglyphics to wade through.  Just open your mind and imagine how those unintelligible words or symbols can possibly become a thing of beauty, and soon you will have a new hobby!

I couldn't resist.


  1. Ooh what fun! I've been wondering how to preserve tomatoes (what do you use the stewed ones for? How long do they keep?) Am hoping to see the recipes for the stewed tomatoes and the pasta sauce over on your food blog. And thinking that maybe it's time for me to share with the world my father's delicious tomato jam recipe :-)

    1. I was pressed for time this time around and didn't take pictures, but I should be able to next time. I beg you to share your father's recipe as this winter we bought tomato preserves (jam) for the first time and it is definitely something I want to have on hand!

  2. And good luck with the crochet work .. I have never been able to get my hands/head around it (decided it will have to wait for another life, along with being a doctor and having children) - but coincidentally, your words about reviving a hobby struck a chord with me, as just yesterday I went out and got some badly-needed beading supplies for a hobby I was nearly about to pack up and donate ..

    1. Beading sounds like fun. I've thought about picking it up as well, but I have so many latent hobbies already that I feel I should stick with those to start!