Category Archives: farm knit

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!


We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!


Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!


We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.


In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

A Good Week Of Surprises

It was a week of surprising weather (warm days followed by snow showers and high winds), and surprises in my mailbox.

Beautiful handmade potholders arrived from Professor Nannette, and Miss Kary sent an original painting of an owl (a favorite animal of mine) by Brenda Webster-Drouin. Thanks, guys!

I’d placed an order with The Loopy Ewe, a favorite shop for sock knitting needs. This is what I’d ordered:

And THIS is what I received!

Turns out I am now an official Loopy Groupie. The gifts they sent were more than what I’d ordered to begin with; what you don’t see is the chocolate which I promptly ate. Thank you, Sheri!

I became a convert after I received my first order with TLY and I realized what all the high praise was about. They have excellent customer service, and usually include a handwritten thank-you and little treats with my orders… which are becoming more frequent, I have to admit; I love the “instant gratification” of their fast shipping!

I also received the new “Whimsical Little Knits” book by Ysolda in Scotland, as well as two skeins of Fearless Fibers yarn. One of these is destined to become these (Ravelry link). I have been waiting on pins and needles for that KnitSpot pattern to be published and am jazzed to cast on for these beautiful socks.

All in all, a very good week indeed.


Around The Farm

Frieda The Just gave us 1.4 ounces of beautiful cashmere at the end of March. Not bad for a mostly-Boer goat with a strong resemblance to George Washington.

I planted peas and broccoli rabe outside; started Tigerella and Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes, and serrano and jalapeno peppers, inside.

Other than that, it’s business as usual here on the farm. Lots of playful activity inside when the puppy playpen is too muddy from changeable spring weather:

It looks like Champ, our new riding donkey, will not be arriving this weekend as planned. Hopefully he’ll be home in the next couple of weeks.

Have a beautiful weekend!

6 Comments

Filed under animals, art, farm, farm animals, farm donkeys, farm garden, farm goats, farm knit, fiberarts, gratitude, knit, pets, weather, winter

Lots Of Fiber

I was in the fiber doldrums for some time. Just couldn’t get motivated. There were a couple of our raw Icelandic fleeces (from Asta and Birta) sitting in the entryway, which taunted me daily. I finally decided that, after two years, it was time to unpack the picker and carder that had been sitting in boxes while several house nightmares were endured.

Not having a decent fiber washing area has proven to be problematic, but I made do with many buckets in the kitchen over a period of days (Jeff was not allowed to make fragrant Indian food during my scouring!) The laundry room here doesn’t have a heat source, and though there is a tub on the first floor, it was never installed properly and doesn’t drain, so Jeff kindly carried all the dirty water outside for me.

I was really fearful to try the picker and carder but I needn’t have been – they both worked wonderfully and I was soon blessed with my first home-grown, home-scoured, home-picked and home-carded Icelandic lamb roving!

Because I wanted to spin a fine but soft yarn, it was time to re-acquaint myself with an old friend who has the necessary double drive talents:

We hadn’t been on speaking terms for several years due to a previous failure to communicate.

It turned out that this wasn’t due to my unfamiliarity with my friend, but rather an inherent problem in my friend’s physical makeup.

Once this was corrected (requiring minor surgery on my part and a trip to Montana and back for an amputated piece of my friend), my buddy wanted to “make nice” – but I wasn’t having any of it, due to the insults my friend had given me the last time we got together.

I am now willing to forgive and forget, and so is my friend, and we have been getting on famously in this new relationship.

As any fiberartist can tell you, once the floodgates have opened, creativity comes on like a tidal wave. Not only have I been spinning the Icelandic lamb, but also this lovely fiber (click for big to see the sparkly stuff!):

… as well as some home-grown Jacob wool (from Gruyere):

I even made significant progress on my “Dixie shawl“:

Like all lace, it looks like a damp mop and will until it is blocked. But believe me, it’s really pretty:

My good relationship with the Dundas wheel gave me the confidence to have a chat with the Ashford Table Loom as well, and it has been released from its undignified penance in the long barn.


Disclaimer: Seriously ugly wallpaper courtesy of previous homeowners.

I am not a big fan of anything other than rigid heddle (i.e., simple! Easy!) weaving, but it seems a shame not to give this gal a warm (comparatively-speaking), indoor home. We will try to get along better now, and hopefully she will not confuse me with mathematical equations this time around. I guess it’s not really her fault… she has always been a peach to use.

It’s freezing in here (perhaps not to looms but to us humans), and some woven wool blankets would come in handy, so I had better be polite to her.

Max is just meditating, and staying clear of all the fiber activity.


Other Happenings

Two photos from our farm are in the current issue of Hobby Farms magazine – yay!

There was a quote in this issue that I loved: “Hobby farming is like hobby coal mining.” Truer words have never been spoken… it’s still work! (But definitely worth it to have delicious organic eggs!!!)

And to reward myself for a consistent yoga practice, I asked this Etsy artisan to embroider some clips to keep my hair out of my face during downward dog – she put pink lotuses on them to match my Prana yoga outfit:

In upcoming excitement… what do you think of this handsome fellow, hmmm?

Hope your day is full of health and creativity!

13 Comments

Filed under animals, farm animals, farm chores, farm donkeys, farm knit, farm sheep, fiberarts, knit, pets, yoga

Daily Gratitude

Airing bed pillows and my thick Gjestal sweater out on the hard-crusted snow, in the sunshine (current temp – 15°F). Fresh!

Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. If you use it, too, won’t you consider making a donation?

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


Fiberarts

Someone got into a skein of Claudia Handpaint this morning. Instead of spending my only free hour knitting, I will be spending it untangling. Sigh.

2 Comments

Filed under farm knit, fiberarts, gratitude, knit, pets, weather, winter

Daily Gratitude

A diamond-shaped wood splitting maul that will help us finally be able to chop the wood in the woodpile so that it actually fits in our small fireplace.

A husband who takes over splitting wood after I’ve had my three test whacks. The splitter works great. My bad shoulder, not so much…

A full wood holder by the back door.

Aromaleigh mineral makeup sending out inexpensive trial packets (with no shipping charges) so I can play around and see what actually works with my skin tone (please excuse the rare and icky photo of my tired-looking, winter-weary, test-makeup face with no foundation.)
The generous samples are enough for several uses. If you have trouble matching your skin tone, see their “linen” foundation shades.

A husband who believes the dogs value his cheffing skills as much as anyone; Molly is waiting impatiently for her venison tenderloin and brown rice dinner on a fancy plate for New Year’s:

Dogs that play together so nicely but pretend to be fierce, making “WAAH WAAH WAAH!” noises while gnashing teeth that somehow never actually touch:

New yoga DVD#1 (with meditation talk by the Dalai Lama).


Zakuski

A favorite meal of ours is one consisting of zakuski – a Russian word for appetizers. Chef Jeff prepared a zakuski meal for New Year’s.

It was accompanied by my plum pudding (a/k/a flaming booze cake) which I’d prepared back in November, as is traditional.

It was also accompanied by vodka (traditional) and Scandinavian berry liqueurs (a new tradition).

К здоровью! *

* To health!


Fiberarts

Finished keyhole scarf (one skein of Inka yarn).

2 Comments

Filed under farm chores, farm knit, fiberarts, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, pets, positivity, yoga

Daily Gratitude

Still day with snow on the ground and a cloudy sky, peaceful and quiet.

Cheerful pitter-patter of paws on wood floors.

Clean kitchen.

Hockey on TV keeping someone (else) busy and contented.

FREE Metta yoga practice from YogaDownload.com… not that I could actually do it, but it was great to listen to while doing my own simple practice. You could just sit and breathe while listening and still get a lot out of it!


Fiberarts

Drops scarf; “Inka” yarn from Yellow Dog Knitting.

3 Comments

Filed under farm knit, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, positivity, weather, winter, yarn shop, yoga

What Was I Thinking?

Musings on the February Lady Sweater:

1) A lovely pattern… for someone who isn’t pear-shaped like me.

2) I like the color I chose, but I don’t like the “Factory Farms” yarn. Splitty.

3) Come to think of it, I don’t much like “Factory Farm Yarns” itself any more. I had an awful time with their interchangeable needles. I did some research online and found out many people had trouble with them. Yes, I know they are exchanging them out… but for how long? And why should I have to wait when I want to knit?

I also had several poor experiences with “Factory Farm Yarns'” customer service. We’re talking bad enough to make me cry.

I then heard that “Factory Farm Yarns” allegedly asked for information from an American craftsman (someone I actually know) about how his product was made… and promptly took that information, and resources from the craftsman’s supplier, and had their own similar product manufactured overseas. The craftsman’s handmade items – and his family – took a hit. Not cool.

I realize that “Factory Farm Yarns'” prices are “good” – but with those low prices comes a lack of personal attention. When I made a goof on this sweater using “Factory Farm’s” yarn, I certainly wasn’t going to be rude enough to take it to my LYS to ask for their help. So I saved some money, but who did I have to help me out?

And if I don’t support my local LYS, they may not be there in the future! That’s more important than ever with the little hiccup the economy just had. I’ll be damned if I’ll see Dixie ever go out of business, after she and Cindi were so kind and welcoming to me. If not for the LYS, I probably wouldn’t have any friends in this town, as that’s the only place a farmer lady gets to meet others – and I’ve met so many dear people there! (Hi Sue, Sonja, Dianne, and of course Michelle!)

I don’t buy factory farmed meat. As with my food, I want to buy local when it comes to my yarn and needles – needles that I may just need the same day in an emergency, rather than a week later… and ones which I expect to last a lifetime rather than fall apart on their first outing.

So I’m making a couple of resolutions for 2009:

Buy local in all things and support vendors in my community. If I need something they don’t have, I’ll buy from another small vendor (I will be loyal to YDK but I can continue shopping at The Loopy Ewe for Araucania, and because of their great personal service.)

No more “Factory Farm Yarns”. I’m not sending my dollars straight to their executives’ pockets, with no benefits going to the poor people in other countries who make their allegedly copied stuff.

No. More. Sweaters. I need simple, meditative knitting that I can pick up at any time, without following a pattern – especially with Chef Jeff here after his company’s reorganization! [SHOOT ME NOW, SHOOT ME NOW!] I just gave over half of my clothes to Goodwill because, living on a farm, I never wear anything that isn’t sweats/fleece or Polartec or denim.

With four dogs jumping on me all day, I definitely do not need a lace cardigan. (A lace shawl, though, to take away this constant chill, would be a good thing. And that’s what I’m going to cast on with my YDK yarn just as soon as I’ve ripped out this cardigan. Maybe before.)

And I would like to knit more for charity in 2009 – helpful for my mental state, and helpful to someone who actually needs clothing.

Now, what to do with my “Factory Farm Yarns” stash…? It’s bugging me to look at it. I feel like a sellout having it here.


Chef Jeff is cooking duck a la Francais tonight; olives, capers, fennel, and red wine. He’s also making duck stock. The smells here tonight are making my stomach growl! I guess it isn’t so bad having him home for a time (but ask me how I feel after I’ve seen the pots, pans, dishes, and glasses in the kitchen later tonight!)

4 Comments

Filed under charity, farm ethics, farm knit, fiberarts, food, knit, yarn shop