Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ukulele Class

   I took Linda with me to my ukulele class this week. This is a free class held every Tuesday night at the Lake Stevens Senior Center.  This was only the second time I've managed to go, but I'm going to try to make it a higher priority in the future.  We're currently working on four songs for an event at the Seattle Center in September.  Two of the songs are in Hawaiian and two are in English. The problem is I have a very difficult time remembering the tunes when I try to practice them later. The only tune I can consistently remember is "There's No Place Like Hawaii". The other tunes often come to me while I'm driving or doing something at work. I just can't remember them when I'm holding my ukulele.  I was planning to record them on my iPhone this week to help my poor musical memory. However, I apparently wasn't the only one who needed help. They recorded all of the songs this week and are going to distribute practice CDs.  After two hours straight of strumming my little heart out my fingers were pretty sore by the time we drove home.
Recently varnished folding wooden chair

    Before leaving for Wyoming, my friend Quentin gave me six old wooden folding chairs. They looked pretty rough as there was no finish, but they seemed to be fairly sturdy.  I used them at our Pioneer Day booths this past Saturday. Their very rustic nature contributed to the ambiance. On Tuesday I put a few coats of my propolis varnish on a few of them and they were magically transformed.  Linda had seen a few unvarnished chairs leaning up against our big cedar tree and had intended to ask me if she could burn them. Now she no longer considers them to be potential firewood and is actually happy to have them in the house. I'm planning to use a little black rustoleum paint to dress up the metal parts.

      On the subject of Pioneer Day, that went very well. I responsible for our ward's two booths and I also brought an observation bee hive. Since our booths were honey taffy and dipped candles it wasn't inappropriate for me to handle that. The honey taffy turned out great. The observation hive and the candle dipping are always very popular with the kids. What's not to love about hot wax and stinging insects!  My one regret is that I forgot to take pictures for the blog.  In addition to the booths I played my fiddle for about 15 minutes with Brother Huntsman playing the guitar as backup. I played Ashoken Farewell, Saint Anne's Reel, King of the Fairies, and Arkansas Traveler.  I feel a lot more stress playing my fiddle for the public than I do playing the ukulele. It was a very busy day and I was glad I got through it okay.

   I'm going to include the honey taffy recipe we used. It is very very simple. All it requires is honey, some butter, a pot, and a candy thermometer.  I tried out a more complicated recipe which involved honey and cream. It took much longer and the taffy didn't turn out right. It was very delicious, but it ended up perfect for carmel apples. I suspect that was not the recipe's fault, but rather that I misread the candy thermometer and failed to get it quite all the way up to the right temperature.


Ingredients:  1 cup honey
                      butter for fingers and to butter the pan, counter, or baking sheet
  1. Heat honey in a sauce pan, continually stirring, until it reaches 285 degrees fahrenheit (soft crack). After my first failure I didn't completely trust the candy thermometer so I went up to 290 degrees.
  2. Pour hot honey onto a buttered marble slab, baking pan or cookie sheet.  Let it cool until the edges can be touched with your fingers.
  3. Roll the edges up to form a long roll and start pulling the taffy. Continue until the the taffy becomes light colored and porous and small strings start to form.
  4.  Pull the taffy until appropriately sized and cut into pieces with buttered shears.

1 comment:

  1. Your chair looks great!

    Teach me how to make honey taffy! Mine didn't turn out at all. Runny, like your first batch.