"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

"Judge every day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wool Blankets

I love old wool blankets.  They make the cabin feel warm and great to use for those really cold days and nights.  Perfect for Quenzee's (snow forts).  I have had these for many years and still as good as the day I got them and not sure how old they were then.

I felt that wool blankets deserve a  poem so I did a Google , sure enough there are poems on wool blankets. Who knew : ).   So I thought I would do a little Haiku poem for my wool blankets.

Old wool blankets you warm my heart
When snow is flying and temperature drops
The joy you bring it never stops

Well, I better keep my day job :-/


I've been working on socks and headbands for Christmas gifts.  The headbands are fast and easy,the girls love 'em.  I use the left over yarn from the knitted socks.

 Some like the flowers and some not.  I'll be knitting past Christmas for all the request for socks and headbands. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.   As rough as life can get sometimes we all have a lot to be thankful for.  From the really big to macro happenings in our lives. 

This is a beautiful Poinsettia I picked up at Hen House.  I love the reds and pinks and this is so Autumn, called Nutmeg.    I plan to keep inside and plant in the garden this spring.   I have had good results with other Poinsettias , they would grow but I would forget to get them back in before a cold snap.   I'm going to be on the ball with this one : )

Take good care

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Warm'n Up in the Cast Iron Kitchen

Yes its rough look'n but oh is it warm.  This Woodland woodstove has made our winters not so bad.  Even helped when the power is down and dinner needs cooked.   I've read, knitted and warmed frozen hands after morning chores by this woodstove along with a cup of coffee for a few years now.   Yesterday was beautiful fall weather and today its winter.   This pic was taken a couple of years ago but it stills looks the same today.   Wonderful warmth!   We use hedge wood, it crackles and pops , heats up really hot , so gets dampered down alot.  Along with this type of heat the smell of hedge is so good.   Great for using on the grill to.  It's my favorite wood to burn.  

I give the stove a cleaning with stove paint to blacken it up and almost looks new.  My cabin kitchen is turning into cast iron.  Guess its like potato chips for me, "can't have just one". 

The really big skillet has been in our family for many years.   Used on many a fishing/camping trips.  Fried bacon and eggs in the mornings and fried fish after a good days catch in the evenings.  One time I made a pancake for my uncle in that pan, it was the size of the pan.  The outsides measure 16" so maybe a 12" or 13" pancake.  He was surprised I could flip it, so was I. 

 Theres just not enough room in the kitchen for pots and pans so the wall makes a good spot for the cast iron.  It gets pretty worn so springtime after using the woodstove then a nice clean up will happen. I plan to use stone behind the stove for a more outdoorsy look. Get rid of that metal piece.

Theres a wok hanging on that metal , its well season altho I have not used it for awhile.   My first meal I made in the wok was chile, lol.   It makes wonderful Asian dishes : ) 

  I use my skillets all year, inside and outside by the Outpost.   Food taste so good cooked in these skillets and good for ya too!

My new buy is a couple of Lodge flat skillets , the kind that some restaurants will bring out steaks/chicken w onions and peppers, oh my!    I have not use them yet but look forward to some good eats using the woodstove.

My other find a couple of years ago was this Dutch oven with a pretty dome lid.  Not sure if I shared this before but thought I'd share if not.  It has dried beans stored in it now ready for a bean and cornbread dinner.                                                                                                       

My outside cooking I use the three legged camp Dutch Ovens.  The kind you put coals under and on top of the flat lid.   I love those and have made some good eats, esp the peach cobblers , yummmmmm

Yep its hard for me to past up a good buy on cast iron.  It cooks our food and warms my heart.

Oh I need to put another log on the fire!

Thanks for dropping by, Holidays are around the corner ; )

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Hen Den

I have been enjoying my Booted Bantams and  little rustic chicken house.   It sets right in the garden with the pen that will be for spring,summer and fall,  facing North for coolness and shade and then moved for a Southern exposure for warmth during those cold sunny days. 

I'm doing a little Steam Punk on the side and plans for a Steam Punk rooster weather vain. I love going out and watching the chickens and sit on the bench with a cup of hot coffee.   The garden is close to the living room windows so I can enjoy them inside while I'm spinning and the woodstove fired up for the soon to be cold days.

 The side door is where I will be gathering the eggs this spring.  Theres 4 nest boxes, can't wait!   Those gears almost look like flowers.  I could add some metal stems and leaves. 

The outhouse in the background I use for a garden shed, its nice and handy.   I placed a bucket in the hole part for smaller tools.

Moved the other day for that Southern exposure, the chickens seem very happy in their new quarters.

The day I got the chicken house a fox ran across about 20 ft with a couple of hounds following.   I have not seen a fox on the place and now that I got chickens he will be one to keep a look out for!   I love the wildlife and go with what my Dad use to say when the wild wanted a chicken dinner "build a better pen".   Easier said then done sometimes.  

Garden clean up, gathering seeds and raking lots of leaves.   And working on the wood pile always! 

Spinning and knitting everyday : )

Thanks for dropping by

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Chicken Time

I know whats been missing, its chickens on the homestead.  I finally got my Hen Den and some Booted Bantams.  My wonderful neighbor helped this all happen for me.  After almost five years without chickens I don't know how I made it.   Our DD has chickens over at the other homestead but its just not the same taking care of your own and watching them do their chicken stuff.   The young roo crowed for the first time this morning, what fun!

My favorite chicken is the Barred Plymouth Rock, nice brown eggs. A nice all around chicken.  But I'm getting into the Booted Bantams cuz there just darn cute,( DD will raise the meat birds).  Nice to let loose in the gardens and they make good mothers.  Raised Bantams before, fun chicken to have on the homestead.  We even named our bantams.

I love the pin my neighbor made.  Heavy, heavy,heavy!  Made of cedar, old tin roof , wired vents on three sides with doors.  Door on side to gather eggs (can't wait).  The wood will weather to a old silver look.  And I'm going to make a steampunk rooster weather vain for the rooftop.  Looking for some old gears for this project.

The next morning after I got my chicken house and having a nice cup of coffee and looking forward to getting the chickens I could not believe what came running by but a beautiful red fox.   It ran to the creek and the neighbors hounds were in hot pursuit.   They gave up,went home and a fox with a new chicken house to check out later.   I'll have to keep a good lookout when I let the chickens free range.  I am happy the house is well built with heavy wire.

Fed them a few turnip greens from the garden and theres nettle growing along the banks of the creek bed that they will enjoy as well.   Theres something about chickens that make the homestead complete.

Spinning and dyeing and soon weaving.  Oh boy is this a super fun project.  I have been spinning up a storm and experimenting with natural dyes.   I'll get to posting my dyed finished yarns on next post.

Went to Missouri Town 1855 last weekend and met some really nice folks on spinning and dyeing.  I pick up something new to learn each time I meet a spinner and weaver.

I did my best spin so far from a blend roving of Jacob and Merino wool.  Over 1400 yrds of single ply.  I filled the bobbins to the brim.  Not sure what I'm going to knit up, a lace shawl with beads maybe.

Garden news:

Had and still having a great season from the gardens,  peppers (hot and sweet) are loaded and need to get picked.  Turnips and doing very good , kale is still pretty tiny.  Carrots need to be pulled.  Lots of small pumpkins for fall decorations and some for pie making and pumpkin seeds to roast.

Lots and lots of marigolds from last years saved seeds and many volunteers that pooped up.  Have to wait for a dry up and save seeds from pole beans and many other flowers and plants.

Leaves are turning and soon the fall and raking will begin.  Bonfires and hayrides this month and a corn maze to visit.  Lots of fun autumn things to do.

Lots of uncertainties in our world so best enjoy each day when we can.  Hope its a beautiful fall day and a chicken doing its chicken thing kind of day for you all.

Thanks for dropping by

Monday, August 4, 2014

Drying and Dyeing

Well it sure has been a spell since I have blogged last.  Its been rather busy and well you know how things can get.  So I'll just jump back in like it was yesterday cuz it does seem like it was just yesterday.

Spring was great, summer wonderful.  Not to many really hot days so far.  Garden is doing very well with lots of grilling the veggies and canning to do and freezing as well.   Also drying , I love doing that, having dried herbs and others like peas and carrots for making soups when cooler weather comes around.

Went to the farmers market last weekend and picked up a bag of sweet corn, 5 dozen.   I did plant sweet corn but a mini micro burst or a neighbors cow walked through it plus the coons are having a great time with it as well, so nice and convenient for them when the corn is down.  So I'm hoping they will leave me just a few.   I do have some Indian Corn planted in another garden and so far it is being left alone.

Freezing some of the corn I bought on the cob after cutting both ends off leaving  the inner husk on in freezer bags. Also freeze some in foil (great for grilling)  We'll see if it tastes fresh in a few months.   The outer husk is drying outside in the sunshine to use for hot tamale wraps (it will be a new thing for me to do).  Using my mini greenhouse shelves to keep them from flying all over.  I think a screen will be even better to keep critters off the husk.

 Also drying the corn silks for tender (fire starters).  So nothing wasted, the ends will go in the compost.  Chickens love them too.  (I have not got my chickens yet).

Fiber Fun!
I've been having so much fun with my Ashford II spinning wheel.  Lots of fun wools I've spun all ready and also been experimenting with plant dyes.  I had good success  with black bean dyeing , food coloring and even Kool-Aid dyes .  But I'm most interested in plants in my gardens and woods that I can experiment with.  Making mordants for setting the dyes, from Alum,Tartar,salt,vinegar, copper,some plants and even rusty nails to change the colors of dyes, so many more.  There is so much to learn how each plant will react.  I have just begun. 

The jars that I have put some plants/flowers in are out in the sunshine for a week now and this coming weekend the spun wool will go in for the dyeing.

The darkest is Hopi Red dye which is an Amaranth and the lighter red is also an Amaranth.  There's Daylily (orange) and Marigolds (orange).  The light one in the back is sunflower. I hope it has a pretty yellow.   The mordant will make the difference.

My last bunch of wool had alot of vegetable debris, tiny bits of grass and such.  Most came out when spinning but still could not get it all out.  So I will be dyeing this yarn in these jars and weave place mats or small rugs with a Rigid Heddle loom that I can't wait to get next month.   The spinning has lead me into weaving that I have wanted to do for so many years as well.

Thank you for dropping by and if you dye fibers and blog please let me know , would love to see how you work with your fibers.
Also if you have a knock out Hot Tamale recipe sure would like that too : )

All take good care

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bluejay Happenings

We are not the only ones that had a little blessing a couple of weeks ago (8th grand).  But the mama bluejay just had hers. 

I have been able to take some really close pic's of the progress and she has not attacked me yet.  She even stays close and I talk to her while I take pics of her and chicks.

Heres she is on her nest.  She started to fly away in the beginning but stayed on her nest for the photo shoot.

  Here she let me take a pic of her eggs

And also let me take a pic of her babies, awwwww , this was taken yesterday May,12

She stayed real close when I took the chick pic, I count 5

I talk real soft to her, thank her and walk away real slow.   My Dad use to call the Bluejays down and they would take pecans from our hands.   I'm not sure if that will happen again.   Last fall a Bluejay hit our window and I was able to get it before our cat did.  It was not happy but after it recovered it flew off.   I like to think this is the same bird and remembers the help : )  Or when these little babies get bigger I may just be hit with dive bombs from the mom.   I keep a watch out. I would like to get a couple of shots with all feathered out, well see : )

Have a good one

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