Monday, March 30, 2015

Knitting -- cardigan

At last!  Why didn't I talk about cardigans sooner?
Because pullovers are so much easier.
With a cardigan, you need to know how to keep your bottom edge from curling up -- that's ribbing.
You can work faster if you don't do seams -- that's circular needles.
You can also work faster if you do steeking at the armholes and put the neck on as one piece with the body.
And you get a neater result if you knit off the shoulder seams which combines shaping and binding.
The problem with cardigans is those stupid buttonholes.
I don't think I know anybody who likes doing buttonholes, knitted or sewn.
So this cardigan doesn't use buttonholes.  Instead, you're going to knit a ribbed edging for the front opening, and you're going to use a purchased frog at the top to close it.

So cast on or knit on or cable on 334 stitches for Perly Perle or fingering weight Palette Peruvian wool.
Now do 10 rows of k2/p2 rib BUT don't worry about joining the round of the stitches.
You will find that you have knit rib on both ends; there's a reason for that.
The side of the knitting that shows knit ribs at the ends is the KNIT side of the fabric. 
The side of the knitting that shows PURL ribs at both ends is the PURL side of the fabric.
When you do the first KNIT side of the fabric, you will:
      Do k2/p2 rib twice.
      Knit 78 stitches and put your marker yarn for the underarm.
      Knit 162 stitches and put your marker yarn for the other underarm.
      Knit 78 stitches and do p2/k2/p2/k2 rib before you finish that row.
      NOTICE that you do the 2 purl stitches as stitches 8 and 7 from the end of the row, then
you do k2/p2/k2.  That's the only way it comes out correctly.
Then you come back, doing p2/k2 twice for the rib, PURLING the row, and finishing with what?
       k2 as stitches 8 and 7 before the edge, then p2/k2/p2.
Read that again and realize that knitting one row and purling the next is the classic stockinette stitch.

Do this for 140 rows, which will give you a nice rib edge for the front of the cardigan.
When you get to the underarms, work the 90 rows of steeking as on other patterns.
When you get to the shoulders, knit off as in other patterns.
You will notice that you can't work the neck as before.
When you knit off the other shoulder,  work down to the front opening and then work the neck rib.  Make sure it comes out identical with the rib at the open edge. 
When you bind it off you will have a neat neck edge.
Now cut the steeking and pick up the 194 stitches around the armhole, and work your short or mid-length or long sleeves as desired.
And put a frog at the top to close it.
Or, and this will feed into the next Knitting post, you could get a sweater chain/guard/clip.  This you can remove from any sweater and use it with another one.  That's a pretty good buy.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- pop quiz answer

Here’s the answer from last week’s puzzle.
As far as I can make out, the odds are that the next time the farmer marks sheep for tithes, one of the ten lambs will get a mark. 
When it comes to firstlings, however, the general principle that applies is, whoever wants to take property from his fellow bears the burden of proof.
The facts of the case as stated allow the possibility that the farmer has no idea whether the one male of the twins was born before or after his female twin. 
If the priest wants a firstling from that farmer, he bears the burden of proof that the male was born before his female twin.  There is nothing in Torah that punishes the farmer for not keeping a sharper eye on which sheep birthed which lamb(s), and nothing in Mishnah or Gemara either.  A careless farmer doesn’t have to suffer any punishment.
Now another twist.  The facts of the puzzle say the farmer did know that the male was birthed by a primipara.  If the farmer doesn’t know that, the priest doesn’t get that lamb before proving that the mother was a primipara, even if he can prove that the male twin was born first.
It’s entirely probable that out of a lambing season that produced 10 lambs, the farmer only has to give up one to the priests.
This explodes the urban legend that priests could go around designating just any animal as tithe or firstlings.  The procedure documented in Mishnah for tithing animals, is that the farmer prepares a pail of red dye and a sort of brush or mop.  He sets up hurdles to run the sheep between, which allows only one at a time to come out of the pen.  He counts the sheep as they come out and brushes the tenth one with the red dye, and that is the tithe. 
There are rules about whether he got mixed up in his count and what to do if he accidentally swipes two of them with the dye.  It’s also true that if he didn’t have any dye to use, the mere count alone is enough.  I won’t go into all of that.  You can study it in detail if you want.
Now, what if the sheep that was number 10x is especially good – gives especially large amounts of wool.  The farmer is prohibited from giving a lesser quality sheep to the priest in exchange for sheep #10x.  He has only two things he can do: give both that sheep and another; or give money to 125% of the value of the sheep he wanted to keep.  But that requires a court case evaluating the sheep.  And it’s not economically beneficial.  He’s far better off just giving up the sheep that came out as #10x.
And since the priest cannot simply pick which sheep he wants as tithe, he can’t take all the farmers’ good sheep leaving them the bad ones.  He has the burden of proof that each sheep he wants to confiscate was actually #10x.
Next week I’m going to explode possibly two urban legends.  Read Deuteronomy 8:8, Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 24:19, Deuteronomy 14:23-29, and Numbers 18:21, 26.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bit at a Time Biblical Hebrew -- Genesis 2:24

Genesis 2:24
כד עַל־כֵּן יַעֲזָב־אִישׁ אֶת־אָבִיו וְאֶת־אִמּוֹ וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ וְהָיוּ לְבָשָׂר אֶחָד:
Transliteration: al-ken yaazav ish et aviv v’-et imo v’-davaq b’-ishto v’-hayu l’-vasar echad.
Translation:    Therefor a man shall abandon his father and his mother and stick to his wife and they shall be for one flesh.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
 Shall leave, abandon
His father
His mother
Stick to
“One flesh.”  This phrase had legal consequences in cultures that claimed to take a stand on the Bible, making the woman a non-person.  Beating your wife with impunity, stealing all her money and letting her starve and go naked, and restrictions on divorce, were some of them.
Jewish law held that the wife was still a separate person.  Her husband had the responsibility of feeding, housing and clothing her, and if he didn’t, any money she made was hers to use for that.
She could also get the court to force him to give her a divorce, not only if he beat her or tried to isolate her from her family and the community (for no valid reason), but also if she simply realized that he had habits she couldn’t stand. 
The issue of wives and husbands not testifying against each other in court did, however, apply in Jewish law.  They were considered to be each other’s relatives and relatives could not testify in each other’s cases.  This rule also applied to parents and children, brothers, and even uncles and nephews.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm just saying -- how does a leaf become a rock?

I love green stuff.
So I was reading material about the Nissan Leaf.
It's the greenest vehicle there is.
There's one small problem.
It takes 5 hours to recharge at home.
Nissan's website doesn't say how long it takes to recharge at a specific recharging station.

I take a trip every year that uses $30 of gas and six hours of time each way.
If I tried to make that trip with a Leaf here's what happens.
The web shows that I have to take a specific route to get there. 
If there's a wreck or road out (has happened) I have no alternative route with charging stations.
I have to charge three times before my destination.
I have to stay near the recharging station,
At least once in a hotel.
Same thing on the way back.
Has to be within walking distance of the recharging station.  Better yet, has to be close enough to the recharging station to shlep my suitcase back and forth.
Has to be within walking distance of a decent restaurant.
Costs at least 5 times as much as my current trip, for just getting there and back.
If the station is closed, the Leaf becomes a Rock.

I don't have the parking space for two cars.
Besides, it's a waste of money to maintain one gas car (registration, gas to keep the battery charged and the fluids from gelling, etc.) for this once a year trip, plus the Leaf for trips around home.
And if I fly in and rent a car, that more than doubles the price of the trip.  Besides making me hang around the airport for at least 4 hours each way.  And maybe not get there at all in bad weather.  Happened in 2014 (to somebody else).
I'm all for planning ahead but there's no way to plan this trip without way too much spending.
The closest charging station to my house is 10 miles away.
I need to install a special connector to my electricity and run a cord down the front walk to the car to recharge at home.

Don't just go by the reviews.  They may have a lot of detail in them, but they can't take into account the details of the lives of over 300 million Americans.  It's called "logistics" and almost everybody stinks at it.  The only reason I thought of it is that it used to be my job when I was a civilian DOD employee.  I know people I worked with who would fail to apply it, because they never learned to use in the rest of their life, what they had to use to keep their jobs.

I'm just saying...
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

DIY -- perfect example

Lectures aside, I have to walk the talk.  Perfect example: dairy products.
If I want to get beyond yogurt cheese, I have to make some purchases.
I also have to follow instructions.
All the online instructions for cottage cheese, ricotta, paneer, and cheddar start with at least a gallon of milk.
I don't have a pot big enough for that.
Except my blanching/bagel boiling pot.
But to blanch vegetables, I can't put milk in that pot.
Otherwise, in my kosher kitchen, I would have to eat my frozen vegetables only with eggs, fish, and dairy products.
So I would have to buy a huge pot.
If I had a family, it might be cost-effective to buy the pot.
But it's just me so it's not.
Cheddar cheese is more extreme.
At some point, you have to press the cheese fragments with up to 50 pounds of weight for 24 hours.
The pressure has to be even all over the cheese.
They sell presses for this, and the presses cost about $300.
The alternative is standard weights for a dumbbell set, but again, that's buying something for the project.
I might save $2 a pound but I only eat 10 pounds a year so the press won't pay for itself in less time than I have left to live.  YMMV.
Butter is even more extreme than cheddar cheese.
It's illegal to sell raw milk in my state, even if the cows live in the state.  The state has not set up protocols for dairies to follow if they want to sell raw milk, probably because the cows would practically have to live in a laboratory and that's too expensive.
I would have to buy 20-40 acres of land and a couple of jersey cows and a bull and equipment for haying and make sure there was water on the land and have a kosher butcher on call if I didn't want to keep the two calves the cows would have to drop every year to keep producing milk and....
Oh, yeah, and a churn.
I'm not asking for crowdfunding to start a dairy farm.  When I was a teenager we lived in a dairy area and watched from a distance; I have some idea how hard dairy farmers work.
I'm saying that I'm walking the talk.  I got into DIY to save money, not spend it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- pop quiz

This week I’m going to pull a switcheroo. I’m going to give you some verses in the Bible to study for next week. Then I’m going to give you the facts of a case. What I want you to do is combine the Bible verses with the general principles I’ve put together in the last year and a half for you, and see what falls out. I don’t expect you to get the specific answer that Mishnah or halakhah arrived at. I just want you to see if you can figure out which principles apply. Then we’ll explode another urban legend.

The verses are: Exodus 13:2, 12-13, 34:19-20; Leviticus 27:30 and 32; Numbers 18:21-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29, Deuteronomy 15:19, and Deuteronomy 18:3-4.

Here are the facts of the case. A Jewish farmer had a flock of sheep. Sheep are prone to drop twins. Sheep come under the law of firstborns. The farmer had eight sheep that gave birth in the same spring. Two of the sheep birthed twins. One sheep that dropped twins was a primipara; it was her first birthing, and she birthed the sole male among all four of the twins.

How many of the lambs does the farmer have to give up to the priests and how do you know?

I know you will have questions about more details but the details as given allow for a definitive answer even just on general principles, and the answer is documented in Mishnah.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:23

Genesis 2:23
כג וַיֹּאמֶר הָאָדָם זֹאת הַפַּעַם עֶצֶם מֵעֲצָמַי וּבָשָׂר מִבְּשָׂרִי לְזֹאת יִקָּרֵא אִשָּׁה כִּי מֵאִישׁ לֻקֳחָה־זֹּאת:
Transliteration: va-yomer ha-adam zot ha-paam etsem me-atsamay u-vasar mi-b’sari l-zot yiqre ishah ki me-ish luqacha-zot.
Translation:    The man said this, this time, is a bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh, this shall be called woman for from man this was taken.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
Here you see the passive tense of laqach, that verb I had to eat my words on in a previous lesson.
Demonstrative pronouns
The only two languages that I knew of where the pun on man and woman works, are Hebrew and English.  But remember, English developed after the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain and thus has a German basis, while Hebrew is a Semitic language.   In German itself the pun doesn’t work. 
Some online research turned up that in Akkadian there was a pun awilu and awiltu, man and woman respectively, but not in Sumerian.
Notice the change from etsem to atsamay.  It’s the same as a change from erets to aratsot.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Garden -- green, green

OK now that I have that out of my system IT'S TIME.
If you are in the DC metro area, it's time to fertilize your lawn.
Ignore that Scott's guy.
Great mowers.
Bad lawn advice.
Put down cornmeal gluten now while the forsythias are in bloom.
It will both fertilize the grass and prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
And you won't have to put up a sign telling people you've poisoned your lawn.
Be careful.  We have laws all through this area about how much nitrogen homeowners can put on their lawns.
That's to help our water industries; like to go crabbing, don't qvetch.
If your lawn is all of 1250 square feet, you can use one bag now and one bag in the fall.
If it's smaller -- and don't pretend it isn't, OK? -- do the math and don't use the whole bag.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Monday, March 16, 2015

Knitting -- bolero/spencer

I don't care what you call this.  I came up with it when I had knitted tees in Perly Perle, and wasn't sure there was enough yarn left on the cone for a cardigan. 
If I have a double layer over my shoulders and something on my arms, I feel a little warmer.

You will need a US size 3 circular needle with a 24 inch tether, and
a US size 3 circular needle with a 12 inch tether, and
a set (at least 4) of double-pointed needles in US size 2 or 3.
At 7 stitches an inch, I need sleeves that are at least 140 rows long to reach to my wrists.  But Perly Perle is a summer-type yarn so I might want only 3/4 length sleeves, or 105 rows.
Cable on 300 stitches to a #0 circular needle with at least a 24 inch tether. (You can use #3 if you don't have a #0 and are just experimenting)
Work 4 rows of k2/p2 rib.
Switch to #3 circular needle with 24 inch tether and knit 30 or 60 rows, inserting a marker yarn on each of the opposite sides and working it up to the armholes.
Move 14 stitches, 7 on each side of the marker yarn, onto a holder and cast on 14 stitches for steeking.
Knit around and do the same at the other underarm.
Now for 7 rounds,
K2together at the end of the steeking, knit to the next underarm, skpsso, knit the steeking stitches, and repeat.
Now knit 83 rounds without decreasing, ending in the middle of the steeking for one armhole.
Turn inside out and, using a third needle, knit the first two stitches together.
Knit the next 2 stitches together and pass the previous stitch over leaving one stitch on your 3rd needle.
Repeat until 30 stitches have been knit off.
Turn shirt right side out and knit to the middle of the steeking for the other armhole.
Knit off 30 stitches on this side, too.
Now work k2/p2 rib for 6 rows and bind off in rib.
Use a size 3 circular needle with a 12 inch tether.
Starting at the right front, pick up the underarm stitches from the holder.
Pick up at most 90 stitches between that and the shoulder on the back, and another 90 down the front to the armhole
Mark where the middle of the underarm is.
Knit 2 rounds stopping 3 stitches before the middle of the underarm.
Slip 1 onto the needle.
Knit 1.
Pass the slip stitch over. (skpsso)
Knit 2.
Repeat these decreases every 3rd round for 64 rounds, ending at the crook of your elbow.
For short sleeves, do rib stitch for 6 rows and bind off.
For 3/4 length sleeves, knit at least 30 more rounds, decreasing every FOURTH round, and then make rib.
If you want full length sleeves, knit 120 rounds below the elbow, decreasing every 4th round.
            If you want loose sleeves, work rib here.
If you want tight cuffs, k2together 8 evenly spaced times.
Now move remaining stitches to size 3 double point needles, work rib and bind off in rib.
Now on the left front, pick up the underarm stitches from the holder, and pick up 90 stitches on the FRONT and then the other 90 down the back.  Everything else is the same.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, March 15, 2015

DIY -- before you buy

I don't remember saying this before but getting rid of stuff before Passover brought it to mind.
Don't buy something for your DIY projects unless you can either use it up in one batch,
or you can do multiple things with it.
I always buy ground nuts for charoset.  I don't need much.
But experiments over the last year have shown that if the nuts are ground fine enough, you can use them to replace equal amounts of flour.
Worked in muffins.
Worked in chocolate filling and glaze for babka.
Worked in brownies.

I bought cream cheese to use with some of my home-salted lox.
I only used half of it for that.
I used the other half for the filling in a cheese babka.

This is really important with cooking utensils.  Maybe it looks cute.  Maybe all your friends are talking about it. 
That doesn't mean you need to buy it.
If you buy expensive non-stick cookware and you have roommates who use your stuff,
you may want to lock that cookware up once you wash it if you can't trust your roommates not to use metal utensils with it.
With the right tricks, you can make stainless steel cookware non-stick,
and you won't have to worry about your lazy careless inconsiderate roommates.

DIY has two purposes.
One is building survival skills.
The other is saving money.
When you look at something with desire in your eyes, don't buy it until you sit down and find more than one use for it, or a recipe that will use all of it in one batch.
You may wind up freezing some of that batch, so find out if it freezes well.
Only if you get two or more "yes" answers to these questions should you buy it or make it.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- a Touch of Mishnah

I have been exploding urban legends about women being treated worse than men when it comes to tamut and socio-economic facets.  What I’m going to talk about next comes from Mishnah Kiddushin 4:1.
Mishnah Kiddushin 4:1 lists the ten classes of Jews that returned from the Babylonian captivity: Priests, Levites, Israelites, chalal (more on this in a moment), descendants of freed K’naani avadim, converts, mamzers, descendants of the Gibeonites (see Joshua 9:3-27), orphans, and children picked up in the marketplace of a Jewish quarter.
This chapter of Mishnah is about who is allowed to marry whom.  Leviticus 21:6 and 14 prohibit marriages between Levites or priests, and widows or divorcees.   If such a marriage does take place, the son is a chalal and the daughter is a chalalah.  The sons are prohibited from Temple service.
BUT the chalalah who is a virgin and not a widow or divorcee can marry a priest or Levite.
Not only that, but a convert or descendant of a freed K’naani slave can marry a chalal or chalalah, and the child of that marriage can marry a Levite, and the granddaughter of the Levite can marry a priest.
A mamzer is the child of two people who by Jewish law are prohibited from marrying.  This includes incest, but it also includes the child of a woman whose husband was reported dead in a foreign country; if she marries without permission of the court, her child from the new marriage is a mamzer.  The mamzer, according to Deuteronomy 23:3, is excluded from the congregation for ten generations, but according to Mishnah Kiddushin 13:12, can make judicious marriages for children whose descendants can work their way into positions from which their daughters can marry priests.
Here’s the urban legend part.  There are claims that the program of extermination given in Torah actually came to pass.  The Bible and Mishnah say something quite different.  Joshua 12 lists 31 cities that were destroyed but also says there were refugees who escaped; Joshua 18-23 lists over 200 cities that continued to exist and in which the Israelites lived during the time of Joshua, Judges, and so on.  Those who claim that the Ingress was followed by genocide are contradicted by the Bible.
Second, Mishnah shows that the Israelites and Jews had bondsmen who were K’naani.  The men in this class became nominal Jews while they were bonded, were freed from the bond, and remained among the Jews at the time of the Babylonian Captivity in the 500s BCE (I will show later that this represents a millennium of Israel and K’naan living side by side).  Two generations later during the Return, the descendants of these people still identified more with their K’naani ancestors than with the Jewish ones.
Third, archaeology shows that sites identified as part of the Israelite inheritance disposed of by Joshua, existed long before the Ingress and continued to exist after the Ingress instead of being destroyed. 
Genocide at the point of the Ingress is an urban legend that doesn’t stand up under scrutiny of the Bible, the Mishnah, or archaeology in the Holy Land.

I have a little surprise in the next lesson.  Don't let it keep you awake at night.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:22

Genesis 2:22
כב וַיִּבֶן יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הַצֵּלָע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַח מִן־הָאָדָם לְאִשָּׁה וַיְבִאֶהָ אֶל־הָאָדָם:
Transliteration: va-yiven **** elohim et-ha-tsela asher-laqach min-ha-adam l’-ishah va-y’vieha el-ha-adam.
Translation:    **** Gd built the rib that He took from the man into a woman and He brought her to the man.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
He built
He took
Here you see the past tense of laqach, that verb I had to eat my words on in a previous lesson.
“He brought her,” y’vieha looks anomalous.  There’s a difference in pronunciation between a verb with heh as its third root letter, and a verb form with a personal ending “her”.  The past tense of “she was” is haitah, as you saw in a previous lesson (I think, let me know if I forgot it), and “brought her”, y’vieha.  As usual, context will tell you which it is.  For example, Hebrew would not just say “He brought,” because “brought” is a transitive verb and it would have to specify what was brought.  If that thing has been mentioned before, Biblical Hebrew will often add an object suffix to the verb.
 © Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Outdoors -- almost there

Yesterday, I heard the mockingbird singing for the first time this spring.
That's good, at least he is still around, and if he attracts a wife (females roam, males stay home), they will keep the squirrels in subjection.
I also saw the rabbit.
Last year's bunny is now a nice big rabbit.
Mockingbirds don't go after rabbits because rabbits don't climb trees and meddle with things that don't belong to them.
Squirrels do.
Some crocus near me have already bloomed.
My daffodils are coming up.
The forsythia can't be far behind.
And temps will be above freezing all 24 hours for the next 7 days.
There's just one more sign of spring I'm waiting for and I'll tell you what it is when it happens.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Knitting -- beyond the needles

I looked into spinning yarn for my knitting, and here are some stats I got from the people I buy yarn from.
They sell drop spindles, the most old-fashioned kind, for $15-20.
They sell roving, the fiber you need for spinning, for up to $6 per 100 grams.
(They sell it dyed in the wool.)
100 grams is two balls of yarn; I need 8 units of roving for a long-sleeved pullover.
It takes as much as 3 hours for an expert to spin that 100 grams of roving into sport-weight yarn, or 24 hours to spin enough for one pullover.
(It takes about an hour per 100 grams with a spinning wheel but they can cost $400-$700.)
Then it takes me up to a month to knit the pullover, even with all my tricks to speed it up like knitting in the round.
Now imagine you just sheared a sheep.
First you have to wash that wool.  There's crap in it -- literally -- and all the seeds and what not that the sheep picked up while grazing.  It takes up to a day to do one fleece because you may have to wash the wool more than once, and then it has to dry.
Then you have locks of wool, which you have to card for yarn or comb for weaving.
Carding produces roving, and that's what spinning the yarn starts with.  This page shows hand-carders.  You can guess from the pictures how long it will take to card a fleece into roving.

I think I'll just stick with buying the yarn.  YMMV.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Monday, March 9, 2015

DIY -- next stage

So here's 2015 and I haven't done any DIY stuff yet, except knitting like a maniac all winter.
For me, that's because Passover comes in exactly three weeks and there's no use starting any food work until it ends. 
The next time I can do something is 12 April.
Except for planting cool weather veggies.
Which I won't be able to do until the end of March because of all the snow.
But I sure can plan.
For one thing, I can calculate whether I want to cure turkey and brisket again this year and make lox.  If it won't save me money, there's no sense doing it.  I think the turkey and lox will be the best bets, but I should use fresh meat for Shabbat sandwiches half the time.  Chicken, meatloaf, eggs, cheese and tuna are cheap alternatives, with the occasional roast beef or salami splurge.  I can buy the first round during my Passover shopping even though it will stay in the freezer until April 12.
On April 12, I'll bake some Italian bread and make a pizza with part of the dough.  In the middle of the week I'll start a batch of sourdough.
That week I will also incubate yogurt, a gallon of milk making 4 quarts of yogurt for a savings of $8.  It will take all week, incubating each quart overnight in the oven.  Then I will make 1 quart into yogurt cheese for veggie dip or a substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes, and freeze some of my fresh yogurt.  The rest of the fresh yogurt will go to make the next batch.
And salt down some cabbage for sauerkraut.  That will take a week and it will go in the freezer.
And make a batch of kimchi, and another of Amish sweet pickled cabbage.  Both of these take at least a week to be ready to eat.
I can start the turkey curing, which takes a week, and then it freezes well.
I can make the lox the first time I can get a 2 pound slab for a decent price compared to what they charge for those dinky little 8 ounce packages.
From April 12 to the end of the month, I will be prepping my warm-weather veggie bed.  Can't plant squash or tomatoes here before 1 May and last year it was later because of snow.

By the end of April I'll have a pound of sauerkraut, one or two loaves of bread, one or two quarts of yogurt, 3 pounds of cured turkey and maybe 2 pounds of lox in the freezer, along with fresh meat and fish and cheese.  It will be full. 
And I'll have 2 quarts of pickled stuff in the fridge with shelf space for more.
In May the farmer's market will open, if I remember correctly, and then blanching and freezing can start.  I'll write more about that in April.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Garden -- March

This month you've got nothing but deadlines.
First, time is running out to get your mower sharpened, unless you have several feet of snow on your yard.  You know who you are.
Second, time is running out to get your cornmeal gluten for fertilizer/weed control.  You need it by the time the forsythia comes into bloom, because that's when you want to put it down.
Third, time is running out to have your garden ready for compost to plant cool weather veggies like greens, beets, turnip, carrot.
If you plant them too late, they will bolt and do other nasty things when it gets hot.
Finally, if you haven't pruned your hedges, it's almost too late.  Prune them after March,  and you will have to prune over and over again all summer. 
Fruit trees should be pruned now, too, and get ready to remove about half the blossoms so that the remainder can produce nice big fruit.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Leviticus 21:7,9,13,14

Your assignment for this week was to study Leviticus 21:7 and 9, 13 and 14.
That’s because I know that for the last few weeks you’ve been bursting to say “but what about the priest’s daughter that had to be burned.”
The daughter of a priest who profanes herself for prostitution, profanes her father, she shall be burned with fire.
There are two issues about that.  The first one is that of course this was a capital crime and therefore required due process, witnesses and all.
The second is that the rabbis discussed this for decades or centuries, and they came up with the concept that this could only be a married woman who committed adultery.  No unmarried woman who has sex with a man can be executed.  The man has to marry her unless her father absolutely refuses to allow it.  We already went through that in detail.  The rabbis did too.  They insisted that the woman in the verse in Leviticus committed adultery.
This was one of only two transgressions which could result in “burning,” the other being a man who slept with a woman and also her daughter.  Regardless of whether it was his daughter or not.  By the way, notice that the man gets punished for sleeping with a woman and also with her daughter.  Nothing happens to the women unless it’s a case of adultery.  And as a capital crime, etc., etc., etc.
What’s more, the Mishnaic definition of “burning” is to have a burning thread put down one’s throat, not to burn a person alive on a pyre.
So “burning at the stake” was not part of Jewish law – such a case is discussed in Mishnah but the rabbis said that the court which ordered that execution was not expert.  They didn’t embarrass the members of the court by naming them, all the more so as it happened only once in the long memory of Jewish law.
So people who execute witches by burning at the stake were not obeying Jewish law.  A male or female witch is subject to execution by being thrown off a height and then pressed between stones, after due process etc. etc. etc. 
Next I’m going to discuss prohibited marriages for which there is no discussion in Torah, it’s all in Mishnah.  I’ll give you the citation because it says something important about Jewish history and explodes another urban legend, Mishnah Kiddushin 4:1.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 2:21

Genesis 2:21
כא וַיַּפֵּל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל־הָאָדָם וַיִּישָׁן וַיִּקַּח אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו וַיִּסְגֹּר בָּשָׂר תַּחְתֶּנָּה:
Transliteration: va-yapel **** elohim tardemah al-ha-adam va-yishan va-yiqach achat mi-tsalotayv va-yisgor basar tachtenah.
Translation:     **** Gd caused a sleep to fall on the man and he slept and He took one of his ribs and closed the flesh below it.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
He caused to fall
Sleep, trance
He slept
His ribs
He closed
Flesh, meat
Below them
“He caused to fall” is the causative of nafal, to fall, a fairly common verb.  As you can see, like many verbs with nun at the start of the root, the nun disappears in the future/aorist.
Tardemah is not a common word in the Hebrew Bible.  The next chance you have of seeing it is in Genesis 15:12 in the episode about what Jews call The Covenant Between the Pieces. 
“Below them” uses a personal ending with the preposition tachat which is part of an urban legend I discuss to death on the Fact-Checking page.
This verse has caused an urban legend that men have one rib less than women do.  It’s not true.  We all have 12 pairs.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DIY -- 2015

So I bragged last year about how much money I saved in one quarter of a year and you're all yeah, yeah, I wanna do that.

First, you need storage space.  You need storage for flour and yeast and your mixing bowls and baking pans and, if you use one, your breadmaker, before you can save that $1-3 per loaf of bread.
Pickles take up to a month to cure, depending on what it is.   You need storage space for the empty jars, for the full jars, for the canner if you use one, for the pickling spices, sugar and vinegar.  That's why DIY is so difficult for people living in those tiny apartments being built nowadays.

Second, you need to plan.  This is tiring work and for jellies and jams, split-second timing.  If you have to drive 100 miles to get to the pick-your-own place, you will be too tired when you get home to do the work.  By the way, that drive just ate up all your savings.

Third, you need to clean.  You cannot leave your tools dirty when you're done because they will only be harder to clean the next day.  Bread dough will crust on the bowl, jelly leftovers will jell in the pot.  You need energy not only to do the preserving, but also to do the cleanup.  That includes the floor.  I guarantee stuff will get on the floor.

But most important of all, you have to follow instructions.  You must make sure that your dill pickles are under the brine or they will rot.  That's another guarantee, and it means you just wasted a bunch of money.  You must turn the heat down on your jelly at the right time to get it to come out to the right consistency, otherwise you wasted your money.  You have to measure ingredients correctly when you corn your own beef otherwise it doesn't corn right or it's not appetizing.  You must use a pressure-canner, not a hot-water canner, with green beans and wax beans, because you will risk botulism.  We've mostly forgotten about that except as a cosmetic treatment, but it can be deadly especially in children who can't or don't tell you when they are experiencing symptoms.  You must get your pressure canner tested for reaching the right pressure, or you risk botulism anyway.

I was reminded of these issues while watching Frontier House on Youtube.  Some people absolutely failed to realize that their success depended on taking things seriously.  They hung onto their old bad habits, translated to the frontier. 

DIY gives you a terrific sense of empowerment, as well as creativity and the savings.  But you have to take the instructions seriously; they come from generations of experience, including failures and deaths.  If your head is in a place where you will take the warnings seriously, go for it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Outdoors -- listening

The blackbirds are back.
They were holding congress yesterday morning in the tall trees near me.
I heard them talking.
I'm sure they were saying "this isn't what we expected at all."
Everything was coated with ice.
And I couldn't put down de-icer in some places because the birds pick up dropsies there from the feeder.
Luckily the mail carrier uses the walk on the opposite side of my house.
It was clear but I put down more pellets to make it obvious the walk had been treated.
But at least it wasn't snow.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Monday, March 2, 2015

Knitting -- wrist warmers plus

A well-known clothing retailer sells a pair of high-tech wrist warmers for $20.
They're for people out running or working.
You need to keep your wrists warm inside; you can lower the temps in your house a couple of degrees and still feel warm if you keep your wrists warm.
In Victorian times, women used to knit or crochet something called muffetees for this purpose.

Let's knit some wrist warmers and learn to cable stitch at the same time.
Use waste yarn for this first set and then you can buy some yarn for a set you can wear in public.
100 yards of yarn ought to make you two wrist warmers.
You need double pointed needles the right gauge for your yarn.
If your yarn is worsted, get a set of at least 4 double-point needles in U.S. size 5 to 7.  (You already have these if you've been knitting socks.)
You also need cable needles.  They look like a double point needle with a camel back in the middle.
They often come in packs of three of three different sizes.

Now remember that the gauge on worsted yarn is going to be about 5 stitches per inch.
My wrists are 7 1/2 inches around; I need to cast on 36 stitches at least.
The number of stitches you cast on have to be divisible by 4.
Now move 1/4 of those stitches onto two of the other DP needles; I end up with 9, 9, and 18 on 3 DP needles.
Now use the 4th DP needle to knit the first stitch (it has the tail of the original slip knot), making sure that the chain of stitches is not twisted.
Now work k2/p2 rib to the end of the stitches on that DP needle.
Recycle the needle you just cleared off, using it to work rib with the stitches on the next needle, and so on.
When you have done at least 4 rounds of k2/p2 rib, knit one round.
When you get to the first stitch again, run TWO stitches onto the cable needle that is the right size for your yarn.  Usually the largest of the 3 is OK for worsted yarn.
Let the cable needle lie on your side of the knitting; this will give the cables a left-twist.
Knit the next 2 stitches (they were purled in the rib).
Now run the cable needle through the stitches that are on it so you can knit from the opposite end of the cable needle.
Knit the stitches from the cable needle back onto your DP needle.  You have just done your first twist.
Knit 4 stitches, then do another twist.
Knit around to the first twist.
Knit 4-5 rounds.
Do another twist round and make sure you are DIRECTLY above the twists that you did before.
Knit 4-5 rounds.
Do another twist round.
Knit one round.
Do at least 4 rounds of k2/p2 rib.
Bind off.

Do this all again and you have a pair of wrist warmers.  Put them on, pull the cuffs of your sweater or long-sleeved blouse over them, and see how much toastier your arms feel.

If you want to use cabling, there are a couple of things to remember.
1.  Do a knit row above your rib.
2.  Do a twist row above that.  This will keep the bottom of the cable stable.
3.  Plan your knit rounds so that you do one more twist before your shoulder seams, and a knit round above that.  Same reason as (2).
4.  Don't do more than six knit rounds between twists.  Otherwise the cable sort of seems to unravel.

You can find patterns online and in books that do fantastic things with cables, such as interlace them or create nests for bobbles. 
Cable is a neat thing to learn because it is crucial to those beautiful aran and fisherman sweater patterns from the British Isles.
You can also put cables on your hand-knit socks, with or without intervening ribs.

Try it.  Work slowly and patiently so you don't drop the cable stitches.  Then get adventurous.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stop it

A wonderful man died this weekend, Leonard Nimoy, known to generations as Mr. Spock.
He knew what killed him and campaigned until the end to keep it from killing others.
If you are using tobacco, STOP.
If you are using e-cigs, STOP.
It took 80 years to catch the nicotine pushers at their lies and make them pay the people they sickened and the families of the millions of people murdered by their products.
We have an opportunity now to save millions of lives.
Stop e-cigs.
Their manufacturers are nicotine pushers.
We don't know everything they are putting into their drugs.
Any more than we know everything a heroin dealer puts in his drugs.
But we do know that e-cigs deliver poisons along with the nicotine.
Stop them.
Stop yourself.
No tobacco.
No e-cigs.
Not now.
Not ever.
Stop it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved