Monday, November 15, 2010

Silk Scarves and sisters

Last week my twin sister and one of her daughters and my oldest sister and her daughter(who live in Illinois), were at my house along with  Paige to dye some silk scarves. I mixed up some dyes and my neice cut up the bannana bread she baked and we dyed and ate ourselves into creative bliss. This is an inexpensive and fun way to make handmade gifts.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

corn shucking time

It's been a long time since I've posted, what can I say,computer problems. The cold is finally giving me some rest from the outside responsibilities and time to spin and knit. Today my husband and I shucked our field corn that we have grown for cornmeal and brought it into the barn. What we don't want to keep we will feed to the chickens and turkeys. We planted the garlic last week and I sowed lettuce and spinach in the cold frame. The late cauliflower and brussel sprouts are almost ready and none to soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goodness gracious garlic

Last week I harvested my late garlic, which is a stiff neck variety call Chesnok Red. My early garlic game out about a week and half earlier and it is a soft necked silver skinned(don't know the variety). Soft necked garlics keep better than the hard neck so I want to test this theory this winter and see. As you can see by the photo the hard neck did very well, some are as big as baseballs. I will be preparing the garlic bed for planting this fall by adding compost and rock phosphate. I will be planting  early, mid-season and late season garlics. I'm not sure of the variety yet but I really like the Chesnok Red.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kitchen Gardens

"I content myself then with an Humble Cottage, and a simple Potagere,"(a kitchen garden)-John Evelyn (1620-1706). "The kitchen garden is the best of gardens" is an old adage. My kitchen garden consists of three raised beds with culinary herbs, aromatic herbs and a sallet garden or salad garden. It should be small enough to tend with hand tools and close to the kitchen. Which is the very reason I will be moving my kitchen garden this fall to a plot next to my kitchen. Kitchen gardens from the earliest of times were kept by the women of the household to provide fresh greens for her table. Martha Washington took care of her own kitchen garden. This is what my kitchen gardens look like now but I will keep you posted of my new garden.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ram and mule

On Sat. morning my husband and I set off to York, PA to pick up a BFL ram and shetland mule ewe lamb. Our destination was Kathy Davidson's farm and a side trip to Gettysburg. We were not expecting the pleasant welcome of Kathy and her family not to mention the awe inspiring time we had at Gettysburg. The temperature soared to 94 on Sun. but this did not daunt our determination to enjoy our PA trip. Our lambs are safely home and enjoying the new pasture. They will be added to the rest of the flock in a week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

English Roses

Some of my favorite flowers are roses, pinks and pansies. But not just any roses, my favorite are David Austin English Roses. They are hardy, repeat flowering and the fragrances are hard to describe. The one on the left  is called The Pilgrim, but my favorite is Abrahm Darby(below right). A vase of these roses and the fragrance fills the room.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Honey Bees

Where does the time go? Between lambing, kidding and getting early veggies in the garden there seems to be very little time for posting. The first week of May we recieved our shipment of bees. In each package there were 3 lbs of bees and a queen. It was raining when we got them and putting them in the hive body was challenging. They are now pulling comb and foraging for pollen. We feed them sugar water and a pollen patty with vitamins. The honey flow is coming and we need to get the hive ready for gathering by giving them all the help we can.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Well I finally finished the waffle weave towels I started over a month ago. It took me over 2 weeks to warp and less than a week to weave 2 towels. I liked how fast the weaving went with my new boat shuttle. I will definately weave more but my next project will be a table runner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Got Kids

This past weekend our daughter came over with the grandkids. They love coming to grandpa and grandma's, can you guess why? This is Mya our 6 year old granddaughter who loves the baby goats, and it apppears that they like her too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lambs and border collies

Although the lambs could care less about the dogs their moms react a little differently. They are very protective and will charge a dog. We have put our older dog on the moms and lambs and she took a wide circle around the flock. She has been butted before. One of our 2 year old male dogs brought the sheep in off of some wheat my husband let them graze on and he did real good. It doesn't matter how small of job it is to the dogs it is all work.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

French Alpine Kids

On Thursday my 7 year old alpine Annie had triplets, 2 bucks and 1 tiny doe. All are healthy and doing fine. It will be good to have goats milk again. I plan on making some swiss cheese this year too. My husband is making me a cheese press.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Carrots in March

Yesturday Dave and I went out to look over the garden. He was looking at the rich soil that 10 years of composting goat manure has made and I was pruning grape vines. I walked over to a spot where last fall I had planted some carrots. I had left some in the ground planning to mulch but never got around to it. There they were just as crisp as ever. All that snow had done the job for me. So Dave grabbed the garden fork and I cleaned the mud off and took them inside and washed them off. Boy are they ever sweet and crisp. That was a nice surprise. Don't they look good.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Renews Faith

Cold frames are excellent for wintering over spinach and greens that are hardy enough to take the cold. Seeds can be started in late fall and then mulched to help keep them from freezing until now. I have to admit that I forgot to cover mine with mulch before the freeze but the good Lord provided lots of protection with the snow. Won't be long and we will be eating fresh greens. The cairn(a heap of stones piled up as a memorial or as a landmark) that sits in my culinary herb garden is a landmark that reminds me of the faithful ness of God for our Grouse Ridge Farm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feathered Friends

    Late February and early March is an excellent time to clean out those bluebird houses and make ready for the arriving bluebird pairs. Our houses can be opened from the top by a couple of screws and put back very easily. The houses are about 4 feet off the ground and about 100-200 ft. from our garden. Behind the houses is a woods and in front open yard and pastures. Many times I can see them perched on the fence around our garden or on an electric line directly over our  fruit trees. We also have a Baltimore Oriole who builds it's nest in our walnut tree every year. This year I also plan to put out more houses for the wrens, because last spring I counted 5 pairs nesting near the house.

Feathered Friends

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dyeing to Dye

What to do when there are 10-12 inches of snow outside? DYE! I had some cochineal in my dye stash so I dug out my recipes and found one that I thought would suit my need. Skeins from left to right: cochineal, indigo overdyed w/cochineal, indigo overdyed w/weld. The recipe I used was from a handout I got from Carol Leigh at Maryland when I purchased the cochineal. The same basic recipe is in Liles book on scarlet red with cochineal. I used cream of tartar and tin as mordants and put them right in the dye bath. The dark reddish, purplish, ground cochineal turned scarlet as soon as I added the cream of tartar to the dye bath. This recipe was easy and I would recommend it for a got scarlet. The indigo skeins were some I had from last spring and since I had a cochineal bath going I just added the two skeins of indigo. The third skein of indigo was from an appalachian vat recipe, probably 6 dunks and the weld was grown in my garden two summers ago. I had dried it for just this purpose. I used two ozs. of dried weld simmered it for and hour, strained out the weld and added the wetted skein with no mordant. The green is more forest than kelley which I  get when I use black oak bark dye over indigo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wonderful Wool

With all the snow we have been getting, it has left me with alot of inside time. Last spring I spun up a three ply light worsted yarn from my BFL roving with intentions of knitting a cardigan this past fall. Well here it is! I started knitting on it in September and fininshed it last month, and is it ever warm. Just in time for all the cold and snowy weather. I am not a fast knitter but I am persistant. Hope this winter has you happily knitting too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Canned Venison

With deer hunting season finish until next fall, I am freezing, smoking and canning venison. Canning meat is very simple and easy if you own a pressure canner. I would recommend getting one if you are considering canning anything. We purchased one over 25 years ago and it is still working without any repairs needed. If my memory serves me right I think it cost about $65, not bad for a 25 year investment. A Ball Blue book is invaluable for canning recipes and time tables for both pressure and hot water bath canning. Mine has seen better days but I always know where it is when I need it. Pack fresh cubed venison in sterilized jars, a teaspoon of salt, place lid with ring on and into the pressure canner it goes. Can at 10 pounds pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes and you have preserved meat.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Woodstove Cooking

A few years after my husband and I were married we purchased this cookstove at an auction in Indiana where we were living at the time. This was our second attempt to buy a wood cookstove at an auction, because two weeks prior a similar one sold for over $400. This was our day, not only was this stove in better shape but we bought it for $250.  It has two warming ovens on the back and a 10 gallon water resevoir, for heating water. That was over 25 years ago and I'm happy to say it is still doing it's job. With all the cold weather we've been having it has been especially nice to have this baby fired up. It has an honored place in our home, hence the name Home Comfort.