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Hand and homemade

I haven't actually been doing a lot with fiber lately, to be honest. Well, not as much as I typically do. Yes, I've been spinning for all those TikTok videos, and I've been chipping away at the Casapinka SharonAir shawl with each clue that has come out, but where most of my time outside of work had been spent on fiber, lately I've been focusing on canning, baking, and freezing.

So far, Dad and I have made (read: I've done most of the work and Dad has helped a little with peeling or chopping every now and then so he can tell people that he made all the things) strawberry jam, chocolate beet cake (a much tastier option than red velvet since I'm highly allergic to certain red dyes), blueberry zucchini cake, chocolate zucchini bread, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets and eggs, tomato sauce, apple pie filling, apple cobbler, bread, chocolate chip cookies, lime cookies, pizza crust, and (just last night) salsa. We've also blanched some vegetables for the freezer. In a few weeks when they're ripe, we're planning on making some grape jelly, blanching and freezing some carrots, and I'm hoping for another batch of tomato sauce.

It's that time of year, I suppose. Most of my friends have been canning and storing, putting their vegetable gardens to rest as they harvest what they are able.

If I were still at the university, this would be the week when I would frantically harvest everything from my garden, can a bunch of sauce, freeze as many vegetables as I could, and get the flower and vegetable patches ready for fall because next week is the start of the semester.

But since I left, life has been a little slower. I don't rush the garden anymore and just wait until it reaches its natural end, so those late bumper crop tomatoes are staying on the vine until they are good and ready, especially since two of my tomato plants are still growing and sprout more and more buds every day. The banana and bell peppers are also still budding and growing, so they're staying in for awhile, and the carrots can have another couple of weeks. Everything will be out before the first frost, but there's no reason to rush them just yet.

And, really, I suppose that's how I've been approaching crafting this year. After everything that happened with my mom, I'll be honest; I'm emotionally exhausted. There really isn't a lot of room for extra... anything, including stress over fiber projects. I'm not even sure I'm up for any holiday gift crafting this year, to be completely honest. Instead, the second half of this summer has been swallowed up with a lot of doing that which feels alright in the moment, and, in our house, storing food for the coming year feels alright because we can lose ourselves in the glorious smells of cooking and baking for a bit.

This is not to say that I haven't been playing with fiber at all because I have. I've already spun 2.6 ounces of that Wonderland Yarns merino tweed braid and another ounce of a Wonderland merino braid I had at the house, and I have been working on SharonAir along with two felted bags that I'm making. But it's been very much a couple of months of not rushing or pushing too much. Grief does that, I suppose.

It's been difficult. I think about all of the things I would normally talk over with Mom, all of the things we would normally do together, and it hits square in the chest that she's not there. I made pork chops with acorn squash the other day and nearly burst into tears because I actually got them to be nice and tender and moist the way Mom used to make them instead of dry and tough the way they were at my last attempt when we were interrupted by relatives while I was cooking. Dad and I watched the season finale of Only Murders in the Building, and I couldn't help but think how much she would have enjoyed it. I see the shawls I gave her on her birthday that she never got the chance to wear, and it breaks me.

So, we've been cooking and trying not to dwell too much. We've been canning and preserving because I get the feeling that we might be in for a long and harsh winter (have you seen that some trees are already starting to turn?). I've been baking because it fills the time and the freezer. Plus, I know what we're putting into our bodies when we eat the food that I've made. I spin with the spindle or my wheel because there isn't an end goal other than making yarn, and it feels nice to play with the fiber that way. I like the sensation of it moving through my fingers. I knit or crochet a little here or there and read because it's something to do while Dad watches baseball or football, and even though I don't care for either sport, I can still spend time with him that way. We're coping.

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