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Chickens in the House

February 23, 2015

OK – not really in the house…I just been thinking about something that happened last year and it’s been ruminating around in my brain for awhile so I thought I better write it down so it would hopefully stop bugging me.

I was approached by a literary agent who asked me to collaborate with another author on a book about chickens, specifically it was to be a ‘how to’ for city folk on how to raise a flock. I was pretty excited about the prospect so I went ahead and signed on to provide the technical expertise for this author.

After a few weeks of emailing back and forth on this book and me flushing out several of her chapters with the required technical aspects I got very frustrated. I realized that the author wasn’t interested in the ‘right’ information and only wanted stuff in there that I considered false information or down right misleading information. I wasn’t interested in selling anyone anything so they could guarentee success with their chickens. I wanted people to have the correct information so they could go out and get a few chickens and keep them in easily found stuff from garage sales or even second hand building supply stores as well as feed them correctly with food that they could easily and cheaply find in their garden or grow themselves in their own garden…making the production of eggs and meat even less expensive. I wanted to save people time, money, heart ache, and the learning curve that I had to go thru.

The author didn’t want what I wanted. She was more into providing a glossy DIY booklet on how a city person with a lot of extra cash could easily purchase wonderful chicken palaces for only a few thousand bucks and guarantee they’d be the envy of the whole neighborhood.

She didn’t like me much either…LOL!! Which I could care less about!! I quit the project and never looked back…until I started thinking about what Joel Salatin says…Folks, This Ain’t Normal!  Great book and I suggest you get a copy and read it. I thought I would be a laughing stock of my farming friends once they read that book on chickens and I wasn’t comfortable with that at all (so quitting was an easy decision).  But more than that – I realized that this author was contributing to the myth of farming & caring for animals, and that is why it really irked me more than anything else.  There really is a disconnect between American’s and their food and how its raised or grown…Joel is so right!2013-04-23 14.34.14

 

Socks…

February 23, 2015

I need more socks! Check out this post… Hand Knit Socks.

And check out this one if you like to spin yarn, have a bulky knitting machine, and a need for socks…Machine Knit Socks.

Toe up socks

January 2015…last year went by so fast!

January 10, 2015
The view from my chair in our booth at Poulsbo Farmers Market.

The view from my chair in our booth at Poulsbo Farmers Market.

Last year went by so fast it was a blur! I started out doing one market and it quickly blossomed into working 5 local farmers markets and still keeping up with all the chores on the farm. I was one tired puppy by November! We tried to keep the dairy open until the last day of the Poulsbo Farmers Market on December 22nd, but it was just too much for me and I wound up getting sick for the entire month of December. The lesson here is I need more help or I need to reduce my work load.

Hand knit scarf made from Lindsey's hand dyed yarn gift to me on Mother's Day 2014.

Hand knit scarf made from Lindsey’s hand dyed yarn gift to me on Mother’s Day 2014.

I didn’t knit a thing all fall except for one shawl, my youngest gave me 400yds of her hand dyed yarn for Mom’s Day and told me I was only allowed to make something for myself with it. Turned out really nice!

This was taken after a rainstorm last year, it was directly over our house and farm and to me promises that this new year is going to be stellar!!

This was taken after a rainstorm last year, it was directly over our house and farm and to me promises that this new year is going to be stellar!!

Today is January 10th, it’s a Saturday and I have chores and projects to do. I’m taking courses on WordPress Publishing and spend 2 hrs every morning working on that. Then I have more projects like in 2013 – that office I cleaned out is again packed with ‘stuff’. We had to blend my oldest daughters house with ours and that meant moving my two teenage grandsons into one of the bedrooms and everything I had in there had to come out…some of it went into storage and some into the office. I would like to walk around in there again so I need to figure out where to put my old XP computers and organize the books that came out of that room.  I also have to figure out what to do about the knitting room.

Last year we had a power outage during a deep freeze and while trying to fix a broken water main pipe from the well to the house the hot water heater emptied back into the hole we dug! The hot water heater is located in the back of the closet in the knitting room….everything had to come out of there so we could get in and fix the hot water heater, needed two elements that had burned out. So far I’ve got several boxes back in the closet and taken some up to the barn for storage which means more room in there to move around. But I also brought some things from the old storage can (rusty train container) in there that I need to put together, like the motor for the Brother bulky knitting machine. Always wanted to put that together but never had the room. Now I do.

Knitting for Sanity in 2014

January 12, 2014

I don’t know about you but I find knitting to be one of the most soothing activities I do – it’s right up there with meditation and weeding…but more productive & cleaner respectively.

When people tell me they don’t have the patience I am floored…knitting helps me keep centered and patient. Just catch me on a day when I’m in the doctors office and they are running late and I forgot my knitting…I’m a total basket case with anger cause I have to wait…then catch me when I’ve got a portable knitting project with me…calm as can be and in my own world as I get lost in the rhythm of the stitches. Knitting keeps me focused in the now.

In 2013 I got another victim..er…lucky recipient for my knitting, my grandson is of course the apple of my eye and won’t complain about my knitting or loose it at school (I think that’s a hint that the item wasn’t cool enough), and if it doesn’t fit well now it will in another month or so! I have tons of patterns for baby knits so I think a goal this year is to get busy and knit some before he’s a teenager like the other two grandsons (the ones who lose grandmas knits at school).

2013-09-30 15.12.22

Last year was pretty busy, I packed one daughter off to go live with her new husband in North Carolina, got a new grandson from my oldest daughter, attended almost all the farmers markets by myself (at two different markets), and dealt with the usual farm activities with birthing babies and milking the goats and making the cheese.PFM2013

This year is already packed with plans for improving the work flow on the farm, increasing our offerings in the cheese department, and changing over to a permaculture system while using biodynamics to improve the quality of our soil. We’re building another high tunnel to house the animals and it’s going up on a piece that hasn’t had any animals on it so we’ll have to fence it in of course. This will help both the goats and sheep as it will have new pastures that they can browse & give them all a permanent house to live in with plenty of room. When that’s done I get to tackle the old pastures and re-contour them so we can keep the rain water in the fields instead of running off the fields. We’ll do this by creating swales and planting lots of trees and shrubs. I’ll have to keep the sheep & goats out of there for at least a year, and even then limit their access to a couple hours so they won’t do much damage to the young trees. I already lost 4 cherry trees to the goats, and the sheep almost took out my new pear & apple trees last summer. This year I’ll be planting more fruit & nut trees as well as some nitrogen fixers (haven’t figured out which ones will grow here but white clover,  filberts & chestnuts are on the list as well as black locust and a couple oak).

shetlands-springbabies2013

So here’s to a new year and new plans! Hope your holiday season was full of wonder and lots of love. Happy New Year!!

Hydrangea in November…still blooming!

November 21, 2013

Um….is this normal? It was such a beautiful day doing chores in the late November sun was a delight, though it was clear as a bell it was also very chilly. It struck me as amazing to see white, pink, and blue/purple blossoms on my large hydrangea. . . and in the middle of November no less! I can see some of the leaves are turning now but the blossoms keep on going!

Blossoms on the hydrangea in November!

Blossoms on the hydrangea in November!

Yarn – Glorious Yarn!!!

November 18, 2013

I love spinning and dying my own yarn so I know when someone else does a great job… if you are on facebook check out Lindsey’s LAMSpun Yarn or at her Etsy shop.

Lindsey produces wonderful color ways that make your mouth water!! I’ve got to admit I’m a little prejeduce…she’s my daughter!!

Knitting – Baby Booties & Hats

November 18, 2013

My new grandson’s feet are cold!!

Oh Dear!!

Two needle baby booties.

Two needle baby booties.

Time for grandma to start knitting up a storm of socks for baby! Since it’s fall and the dairy is closed for the winter I can spend time doing knitting projects any time of day – after I clean up the knitting room it will be even easier cause I’ll be able to get to my machines. So searching Ravelry I found several likely candidates and came up with one that makes a baby bootee in one piece on two needles, Easiest & fastest baby booties ever!

Knit Flat and then seamed , it's quick and easy.

Knit Flat and then seamed , it’s quick and easy.

The first pair were too big but the second pair was just right. The third pair disappeared fast as they were too short for his feet and kept falling off. The difference? The yarn probably. First pair were beige RH as were the second, the third pair was our of Carron Soft and black, the same needles were used on all booties, but the softer yarn knit up at a different gauge.

I realize that this kind of simple construction  could easily be up-sized for an adult foot…wheels are turning! In the mean time I’ve got to whip out a few more for baby and then start on a set of socks for him. Baby socks are easy and I think I’ll use this pattern Super Quick Baby Socks

I’m also going to knit a few of the kimono slippers I saw on ravelry. And I do like the garter stitch Booties as well.

Baby hat worked in team colors for his brothers football team.

Baby hat worked in team colors for his brothers football team.

I also finished up a hat for baby a couple weeks ago, and before that a hat and sweater. I put the projects up on Ravelry. I’ve got to put buttons on the sweater and it will be finished…finishing up my UFO! Yea!!

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