woods

"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


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
linda 

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
linda     

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
linda

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Bag of Fleece

My daughter brought over a couple of bags of fleece from her sheep for my Mothers Day gift.  I was  in the garden and all garden planting came to a stand still.  There was wool to tend to : ).  I'm hooked on this spinning adventure and have been a bit down cuz I ran out of wool to spin.   I almost thought of spinning dog hair, cat hair, dryer lint, anything to get back to spinning.  And today I'm a happy camper, I got bags of WOOL!

My first with raw wool, so heres what I did. I watched YouTube,  got the jest of what I needed to do and hit the bags. 

I started with the female sheep's wool , it was a bit more whiter.   Had some debris but not to bad.



Then came the cleaning, hot water, Dawn soap, dirty wool and you get a nice wool soup, yuck!


 This wash took the lanolin out and made some really white wool.   I had the wool dry out on my racks from the mini greenhouse.  Worked real good and was able to card and spin same day : )


Here I used cards that I have had forever, dreaming of this day to happen.  The left over debris falls out doing this and in the spinning.


My first roll.  Soooo soft.   This wool is from a Dorset hair mix.  Had some curly's and about a 4 or 5 inch staple.


 A basket full and I'm ready to spin!


I'm still not getting a consistent thin ply but I'm getting better, and with another bag and a half to practice , yeah!
I love this Ashford Joy 2, its was so enjoyable to sit out on the porch, listen to the thunderstorm and hope rain would hold back until I got a bobbin filled.    It did and I did 108 yards of yarn.  Put it on the Niddy Notty and will dye it up tomorrow.




Garden update:

Tomatoes and more tomatoes,  was a planting day until the wool came.  I did get a lot of things in and hoping there was not going to be a hail storm.  It passed and all was good.  I do have buckets to cover the plants just incase. 

Need to get the Winter Sowing in coffee cans planted. Just did a few cans today with more to plant out.  Altho a lot od plants in the WS, there was many that did not come up b/c of old seed.


Mothers Day:
Going out to see my Mom tomorrow, she is doing wonderful after her broken leg a couple of months ago.  Check out my sisters garden, have coffee on their porch and hear about how my BIL got to see a Bald Eagle swoop down and catch a fish at the pond he was fishing at.   How exciting to see that!  He had no camera : (

Have a great weekend, thanks for stopping by.

A very Happy Mothers Day to all the moms.
linda




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spinning In The Woods


A couple of weeks ago I got myself a new spinning wheel, Ashford Joy 2 and I love it. Altho I got to work on my spinning techniques but having fun doing it.

I chose this one for easy handling to take out to my Outpost and camping.  It is so quiet and spins like a dream.  I spin outside and just listen to the birds and cows and sheep in their pastures, so very peaceful. I wish I had done this years ago.  

I have an older fairly tale type spinning wheel that I never got the parts for.  So my dream of spinning was put on hold for so many years and now I'm spinning : ).   DD is raising some sheep so I'll have wool and go from sheep to socks.

Here is my very first spun yarn.  Its from wool I had for some time and it was a bit compacted.  I dyed it and then carded and made rolags which made it easier to spin.  Still its rough and will make a nice little project.

After the spin it is then put on the Niddy Noddy and then twisted into a skein.   



This was a wool I spun, dyed and then did my first 2ply with a textured tread, it to is a bit on the rough side but was fun to do. planning to put beads on this one.

I'll call these practice yarns Art Yarn : ).   Someday I'll be making a thinner yarn that is even.   Dyeing the yarn and then on a blending board will make for some interesting yarns, sky's the limit

Morels are up and the hunting is on.  Hubby and I found about 80/85 and we just started yesterday, some today before the storms came.  They should be out tomorrow full blast.   

Gardening is going full blast to. With cold crops put out earlier, peas are up and onions.  Lettuce, radishes, carrots, potatoes, kale, garlic and herbs and lots of wild flowers and perennials.   The flowering trees are beautiful this season.  

With over 2 hundred heirloom tomato plants that will be planted around May 1st.  I plan not to put that many out this year and give the plants to DD.   

Winter sowing did OK but could have done better if I had newer seed.  I used a lot of older seed and will I took a chance.  But I'll be planting lots of plants from the WS.  Its a really good way to get head start on the plants.  I'm very sold on it and cuz works : )

More important of all is my Mom is recovering very well.  She is a trooper and does her therapy and it sure makes a difference.  She even helped my sister transplant tomatoes in her wheel chair.  She was very happy doing that.   Now she can use a walker and soon move on to a cane.  She'll be dancing before we know it : ).

We have some nasty storms today so I hope you all are safe and perfect weather.  Thank you for your visits.

linda

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Might As Well Knit

What do you do when your mom falls and breaks her leg and wait while a four hour operation is going on.  You knit and knit.  Pray and knit.   Its been an ordeal and mom is coming along really well for her age 87. She is spunky!  Mom is back home at my sisters and we take turns watching 24/7.   Pee breaks in the middle of the night with a bell ringing from mom. Sis and I would be sleeping in the living room with moms bedroom door open and jump up and run in, lift her on the pot.  Hats off to nurses and aids who lift their patience.  It really is a job. We are doing good along with nurses and therapist who come out and work with mom. 

So theres nothing but knitting to do when mom is sleeping and recuperating.  So I got a couple of different  socks made and now I need to make those second socks.
I'm making my socks a bit more challenging with harder patterns to follow.  So far so good with just a few glitches.

Ridge and Eyelet from Hand-Knit Socks by Threads Winter 2014, very easy



Periwinkle Picot from Love of Knitting  Spring  2014  designer Phyll Lagerman
This pattern I altered and did for a smaller foot.  I thought I was going to be in trouble but turn out ok.  Next pair I will use the correct yarn and follow the direction to the letter.  Was fun to do after I learn how the pattern went. 


 Tomorrow I'll be watching mom and I'll bring my knitting and work on those second socks : ).

Garden update:

Seed potatoes (Red Pontiac) are cut up and ready for the St Patrick's Day planting.  Rain, snow, sleet or sun shine I always plant the potatoes on that day.

Almost Spring!

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day-- don't forget to wear green ; )
linda   

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Asking For Help Pays Off

I'm on a site that has many members from all over the world, called    Ravelry (click on).     Its a place  you can keep track of your knitting's and crochet projects, your own library , patterns , an outstanding data base and you can share and ask for help with many more features.  It is awesome.  I have already learn some new things and the one that I thought I would never understand and do is the cable stitch.  So heres 
the first attempt that had me working on  tell dawn.  I gave up and asked what was I doing wrong and in no time I had help and the answer by just a picture of what the problem was.

So heres the problem pic. The problem was the cable getting real tight. See how it is getting smaller.   If your a knitter you can see what the problem is just like a few members seen.  




After they told me I  was leaving out some rows (which I thought I was following) I finally got it quick : )  Heres the result of their help.  Now thats more like it and was so much easier to knit.  


And here is the finale project, a cabled headband.   I Can Cable Now, yahooooooo!
 

After sewing up the back I made my first knitted flower and added a vintage button. Its not perfect for sure so each time I'll do better on my knitting.  This was started in the evening Feb 28, and blocked it, March 1 I sewed the back up and flower.  So this is a very fast project.  Fun to do!

These will make great gifts. the next ones I'm going to work in some beads, the sky is the limit on cables.   Plans for cable socks and someday a sweater.   The pattern for this is on Ravelry (free) and was so easy to do.

Something I thought would be so hard was not at all.  Its about following the directions, having a little help to understand , I'm so very grateful for the help.   

I do hope you check out Ravelry ,, there are so many who enjoy helping and make it very easy to share.


Garden:

I picked up 100 lbs of seed potatoes today , Red Pontiac and  Kennebec .  I'll be giving half of each to my dd and I'll still have a lot of taters : ).

 Bulk seed :  picked this up today as well
Sugar Snap Pea
Denver 1/2 long
Boston pickling
Red Kidney Bean
Blue Lake Bean
National Cucumber
Kandy Korn  Corn
Kentucky Wonder
Purple Top White Globe Turnip
Mammoth Sunflower

Picked up a some seed starter mix and new trays for the heirloom tomatoes and peppers to start tomorrow.

A big snow storm is heading our way, wood stove going and all hunkered down with knitting projects : )

Have a great weekend
linda 



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