Sunday, January 26, 2020

three quick questions

This is a blog housekeeping post, and I'd really appreciate your help. I'll add a few unrelated images, just for entertainment value.

Two people have told me in recent weeks that they have left a comment on the blog but that it didn't appear. I've checked the spam filter, but the comments were not there. I checked my settings, and there shouldn't be anything preventing anyone from leaving a comment. The only thing I can think of, is if I was editing a post and republishing it at the same moment someone was trying to leave a comment, which I suppose is possible but not very likely. Not sure what else I can do, but I at least want to ask: has anyone else had a problem posting a comment here? If so, and if you can't leave a comment on this post either, could you please take a moment to email me and let me know? And if any other bloggers have had this happen on their own blogs, how did you fix it? It's very alienating to have one's comments "rejected" on a blog, and I don't want that to happen to anyone on Comptonia. I love our conversations. No blog is an island!

Second question: I use an ad blocker on my laptop, so I avoid seeing a lot of ads but recently Feedly - the reader where I see updates of all the blogs I follow on a single page - has begun throwing an ad into the posting list of every blog. It is disconcerting, to say the least, since the format of the ad is exactly the same as that of a blog post. It is not as annoying as pop-up windows on blogs, but it's unpleasant, and it may be time for a change. Can anyone recommend a simple reader they use to track all the blogs they follow?

Oh, one more question, speaking of ads and pop-up windows. I recently read a comment on another person's blog which complained - rather rudely, I thought - about the kind of advertisements appearing on that blog. It occurs to me that some of us may have ads showing up on our blogs that we didn't put there and - in my case, with the ad-blocking app - don't even know are there. Could someone tell me if you ever see ads or pop-up windows on Comptonia? I find pop-up windows very irritating, as they generally obscure what I'm trying to read, and they often "invite" me, over and over again, to subscribe to a blog I already follow. If there's anything like this on Comptonia, I did not put it there, and if I can't get rid of it I'll have to look into changing platforms.

Thanks for your help! I want to keep Comptonia a welcoming and pleasant place. Anything else would be...


Thursday, January 23, 2020

thankful thursday

Part of the Junco flock having breakfast

Yesterday was a long, tiring day. There was an hour of driving to a medical appointment. Sitting. Standing. More driving. Errands on the way home, and chores in the dark before collapsing into bed. It was a good thing I did the Daily Markmaking in the morning - the little birds, above - because I couldn't have made much more than a thumbprint last night.

But it was also a great day. I got a lot of good information from the new doctor, and a relieved mind from the second opinion which was the reason for the appointment.

There was a stop on the way home at the Fitchburg Art Museum, which I used to visit often but hadn't seen in years because of the driving. I renewed my long-expired membership and also my acquaintance with many old friends in the Ancient Egypt permanent exhibition, and paintings by the museum's founder, Eleanor Norcross. It was a simply splendid way to spend some time. It felt like a celebration.

I get a lot of practice at feeling thankful, every day. In the words of Johnny Mercer, I tend to "accentuate the positive." It's not something I strive to do, it's just the way I live. But yesterday was exceptionally fine by any standard. And I was so very thankful that I didn't need to go anywhere this morning - except out to the paddocks and barns. A lovely, lazy Thursday morning!

Tonight's markmaking effort:

And here comes the weekend! I hope you all have a good one.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

wednesday wip

The work in progress had a brief hiccup a few days ago, only because math is not my favorite subject. Fortunately I discovered my little miscalculation before knitting an extra acre of garter stitch.

Just a temporary setback.

This Shetland yarn is delightfully "sticky" - in knitters' parlance, the texture is such that a strand of this yarn will lightly grip another strand - so it was quite easy to get 144 live stitches back on the needle: they just sat there nicely, waiting to be picked up. Unlike my usual teeny sock stitches, which disappear into themselves the moment the working yarn is pulled out.

 That same sticky quality also makes joining the yarn quite simple. The first step is opening the two plies at the end of each yarn to be joined, and cutting an inch or so from one ply on each end.

One ply on each end to be trimmed,
which reduces the thickness of the joined section.

Next, cross the single plies, fold them back onto themselves, add a few drops of water, and roll the join briskly between palms.
I didn't get a picture of this step because it takes both hands and I was being careful. If anyone is baffled by my description and needs to see it, let me know and I'll set up a couple of shots with demo yarn.


Onward with the third skein of yarn!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

january garden candy

My blog-pal Tipper recently wrote about her favorite way of cooking butternut squash: cutting the squash into pieces, tossing with a little oil, and baking. It looked so good, of course I wondered if Candy Roasters - the only Winter squash I've grown for the past several years - would be good the same way. Usually I cut a whole squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and membrane from the core, then roast the whole squash and puree it. So good!

The Candy Roaster Arbor of 2019

But why not try something different? The worse thing that could happen would be the Candy Roasters - which are not as dense as butternuts, I think - might just melt into blobs if cut into small pieces before baking. Only one way to find out.

I chose the smallest squash from my windowsill larder, peeled it and cut it into pieces, removing the core. I spread the pieces out on a piece of parchment paper, drizzled a little olive oil and then gathered up the corners of the parchment paper and gave it a few shakes to distribute the oil. Put the parchment paper on a baking sheet, sprinkled salt over, and into a hot oven for a half hour.


Slightly crispy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside.

The word LUSCIOUS is not an exaggeration.

Next time I will add more oil and be sure all the pieces are coated, so there will be even more browning. And I may give the pieces a flip after 20 minutes, if I think of it.

Adding herbs or spices before baking might be an enhancement, but honestly, the simple oil and salt method is so good it may take me awhile to experiment with anything else.

Unlike most of the things I cook, I suspect this is something best eaten immediately, not made in huge quantities and eaten for several days in a row, or frozen for later reheating. But I may try freezing some next time, just to see. Or, since the peeling and cutting is the only time-consuming part of the process, I may try cutting up one of the larger Candy Roasters and freezing the uncooked pieces in baking-sheet-size portions. Whoa. That would be a really good idea! I could probably put a baking sheet full of squash in the oven before going out for chores, and come in to a delicious meal.

What a treat!

Thanks for the idea, Tipper :)