Category Archives: nature

Six Degrees


Filed under animal of the day, farm, farm animals, farm donkeys, nature, weather, winter

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… 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!


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


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

Pax, Amor, et Lepos in Iocando*

Happy New Year, dear friends. May it be one of abundance, in all good things, for you!

* Peace, Love, and a Sense of Fun

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Filed under holiday, nature, positivity, weather, winter

A Few Of My Favorite Things Part Three

Happy Thanksgiving! May all who are celebrating this holiday have a relaxing, enjoyable weekend!

It seems the apple does not fall far from the tree. Falling under the “do as I say, not as I do,” category, we started defrosting our turkey a little too late. Granted, it only weighs in at seven pounds, but we should have taken it out of the bag and removed the giblets yesterday, as our bird is still a bit frosty today.

No matter. Chef Jeff has just ditched me. Having seen several deer out in the pasture, he donned his blaze orange and is currently doing the hunter-gatherer-manly-man thing. The turkey will probably have ample time to defrost before he returns at dusk.

I have wanted to make the recipe in the pic below, from Spirit Of The Harvest, for years, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m thinking I’ll adapt the ingredients for a side-dish for our turkey dinner supper midnight after-hunting snack. Doesn’t this just look awesome? Wish I had an extra pumpkin sitting around…

So, finding myself abandoned, and having exercised and fed the dogs (who are now napping by the fire), I have a moment to share some more favorites with you!

Michelle and I went to the cupcake shop yesterday only to find it closed. How disappointed we were. But I’ve found the solution – check out Bake It Pretty for fun cupcake kits! Michelle, now we can make them ourselves (or have your lovely daughter, the baker, do it!)

Here is an easy project that would make a nice gift, full of my favorite scents: a holiday potpourri made of dried oranges or lemons, star anise, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and juniper berries.

I think it looks so nice on our Thanksgiving table.

Molly is not supposed to be gnawing on the firewood… See what happens when I’m distracted for even an instant?

Something that will appear on that table later is my favorite salad: romaine lettuce, Castle Rock blue cheese (you won’t be able to find that as it’s from the organic dairy down the road from us, so try Maytag instead), toasted pecans or walnuts, and Stonewall Kitchen‘s fabulous Balsamic Fig Dressing. It is amazing. So is their Orange Cranberry Marmalade (better than their Holiday Jam for sure).

Stonewall Kitchen usually sends extra samples of other goodies when we do a stock-up order; you can save 20% Friday through Sunday using the code Q01516R8 at checkout. Sometimes their site gets bogged down during a sale – try again if you get an error message.

I can tell you from experience that they box things very well, and even wrap gifts beautifully for a small fee. A package from Stonewall Kitchen is one that will go over well (even with your in-laws!)

Here is another place with gift baskets. We are having their wonderful wood-parched wild rice with our Turkey tonight – definitely one of my favorites. It is so different from any grocery store wild rice I’ve ever eaten, and a thousand times more flavorful. It also cooks up much faster, which I assume is from the parching.

I’m thankful for…

This view of the goats’ barn and winter paddock, from my bedroom window:

This thoughtful gift that I received – sock yarn that is dyed with intention, in the colors of the Tibetan flag, and which includes the maker’s mindfulness and compassion for all sentient beings. It’s made by PippiKneeSocks, whose shop/blog I am unable to find – maybe you will have more luck. I’m thinking we’ve gotta keep this gal in business.

Or maybe this yarn will inspire you to create a mindful gift yourself. Check out Tara Jon Manning’s Mindful Knitting for more on that subject.

I’m listening to…

Because I am thankful for you visiting me here, I have an extra copy of this CD to give away to someone who can tell me, “What’s wrong with this picture?” in my comments:

Well, there’s cooking to be done, and I’m wearing the chef’s hat today. As the saying goes, I love to cook with wine; sometimes I even put it in the food!

Have a great weekend!


Filed under fall, farm, farm animals, farm goats, farm recipes, food, nature, pets, stasia's faves

Lovely Gloomy Day

It was a drizzly day, but still unusually warm. I had a wonderful afternoon with Michelle and Dianne (RaveLink). We met at Yellow Dog Knitting and then went across the street to the Acoustic Cafe for soup. Michelle and I also stopped at Dessert First for their famous cupcakes (holey moley!!!)

The gals introduced me to Melissa at the shop (hi, Melissa!) She also keeps sheep. It’s nice to live in a small town where everyone loves wool.

I was thrilled to find that Dixie (RaveLink) had set aside the latest Garnstudio Drops pattern booklet for me. I swear that lady must have ESP – I was on my way in to get it, and found that she’d saved the last copy with my name on it! Now that is service! (They are checking to see if they can get more copies in, as Michelle also wants this issue, so if you’re interested, feel free to give them a call.)

After seeing a sample shawl (RaveLink) that Dixie had knit from the book (#108-47 on the Garnstudio page), I knew I had to make it. Dixie used the Garnstudio Alpaca yarn with a thin thread of soft, silver, sparkly stuff. It gives the impression of beading without the work, and doesn’t alter the feel of the shawl in the least. So I purchased the yarn to shamelessly copy her efforts, as well as a skein of Kureyon sock yarn in greens and purples. I’m always a sucker for the Noro colors, and Cindi (RaveLink) said people are making nice little shawlettes with this, so I had no choice. Ahem.

I meant to take lots of pics but I was having so much fun gabbing that I forgot to take out my camera until I was on the way home and saw this leafless oak in a newly-harvested corn field. Hope that will give you a little taste of this fall day. I also intended to take a pic of my Turtle Turtle cupcake for you, but I ate it as soon as I got home – sorry.

The sun shone for a few moments today but for the most part, we had sprinkles, and then very high winds – I came home to find the lid of our grill blown clear across the yard, and many fallen branches (yay, kindling with no hard work.)

I also saw three redtail hawks gliding over the stubbly corn fields; no hiding places for rabbits, voles, and mice now that the stalks have been cut. And yesterday, I was lucky enough to see nine or ten wild turkeys in the field behind the donkeys’ pasture; if you look closely you may be able to make them out behind Tikki.

The Annie Modesitt Silk Corset has been driving me bananas. Below is yet another attempt – see how far I got this time before I realized I was reading the chart wrong for the wrong side? I simply can’t transpose lace charts when they use a “-” for purl on the right side, and the same symbol for knit on the wrong side – just can’t wrap my brain around it being a symbol for two different stitches, though I completely understand the fabric construction. Doesn’t make for “mindless” knitting (which I crave) at all.

Solution? Do it in the round! I should have listened to my instincts earlier and done it this way from the start.

Now we’re in business. No more chart mistakes.

But I’m thinking the variegated yarn is looking splotchy. I haven’t alternated two balls so far on this piece because I was having enough trouble with the pattern… I’m thinking I’ll start alternating now to break the colors up a bit, but will the splotchiness of this neckline section bug me later on? I wonder if I should put a lifeline in? Then, if it does look wonky later, would I be able to rip this part out, pick up from the top of the next section I’m about to do, and re-knit this part backwards?

I think I think too much.

Yoda thinks I should just have a little more coffee. I think she’s right. Nothing like friends, fiber, and a good cuppa’ Joe on a blustery fall day.


Filed under animals, fall, farm animals, farm donkeys, farm sheep, fiberarts, knit, nature, weather, yarn shop

Enough With Red And Blue – I Need Green?

You Need Some Green in Your Life

Green will make you feel alive, renewed, and balanced. And with a little green, you will project an aura of peacefulness and harmony. If you want stability, you’ve got to get a little green in your life!

For extra punch, combine green with blue or purple. The downside of green is that it can promote jealousy in yourself or others.

The consequences of more green in your life? You will be drawn to a new life path. You will feel free to pursue new ideas and interests, no matter how strange. You will be released from the demands and concerns of others.

What Color Do You Need?

The guilt won out and I voted. I forgot that I had one more choice. What a country! But I didn’t get cookies and I didn’t get a sticker – I was bummed.

Thought I’d show you the one-room schoolhouse that serves as our voting place. One booth. Five nice ladies who remember who owned our farm 25 years ago. No line. No other voters! But it had apparently been a busy morning, with 36 people voting before we did at 8 a.m. We didn’t have to present any identification – Otter Creek is a small community and as newbies, we kind of stand out (Jeff was voting in a suit in a community where most folks wear John Deere hats.)

Chef Jeff signed up to be a poll worker next year, as his company encourages employees to dedicate a day to volunteer work. The polling ladies were impressed with his Declaration of Independence Silk Tie.

Since there is only an old outhouse behind the “town hall” they have to rent a porta-potty for election day. Hee hee.

Another glorious day here in Wisconsin, so I took the dogs up to the playpen a little early and let them blow off some steam. If you need a quick dog pen, cattle panels and posts are inexpensive, and an easy way to go. I don’t know what I would do without an area where they could all safely romp and get out their P&V. Daily exercise makes them so much more well-behaved indoors, and being youngsters (except for Valentine), they really need to work off some adrenaline every day.

Exercise is a better option, I believe, than crating a dog who suffers from boredom when its “parents” are away. A crate is great for giving a dog a den for a feeling of security, or for playing a role in housebreaking a puppy in-between letting it out every three hours… but it’s no replacement for the daily workout that every healthy dog needs, and which will help prevent him from releasing his energy through chewing up your sofa cushions while you’re at work.

That being said, if you have a young dog, expect some household losses; despite all of Molly and Emma‘s exercise, they still destroyed a recliner in a single afternoon. God made puppies cute directly in proportion to their penchant for mischief.

Our dogs beg to be taken to the playpen at a set time every day. They have some kind of internal alarm clock that goes off (and which has not changed despite the Daylight Savings Time switch, throwing me off), and suddenly they are all jostling me, trying to lick my face, and panting vigorously. One word – “Playpen?” – sets off a frenzy of excited barking, and we are on our way up the hill to the little run. It’s shaded in summer by giant maple trees, and sunlit in winter, being on the south side of the apple orchard on the hill.

Want to see the Tuppinz Pups in action?

Molly is not supposed to dig in the pen but when she’s worn out from playing tug-of-octopus with Emma, she resorts to excavating tree roots. Don’t tell Chef Jeff, but I think it’s funny when she does it. He’s the one who fills in the holes so he doesn’t find it quite as humorous.

What a wonderful fall day! Now that the trees are a bit bare and the fields have been harvested, I can show you the layout of the farm. I took a couple of pics on my way back from voting.

The photo above is a view of our farm from the south:

A – the house amongst the old maple trees
B – the brooder house (chicken coop)
C – the goats’ barn
D – the “long barn”; it’s falling down so only the upstairs is used for light storage
E – the “big barn” which is being repaired; it’s a former dairy cow barn
F – the donkeys’ and sheeps’ current shelter (will eventually be the big barn)
G – Nellie The Tractor’s garage
H – hay storage
I – two more hay storage buildings
J – the neighbor’s cornfield
K – another neighbor’s land; we call this area “Dr. Zhivago-land” because it’s full of beatiful birch trees and looks like Russia.

In the picture above, A is Jazz, Tikki, and Eli; B is a Jacob sheep to the left of a little sheep shelter; C are the guinea fowl; and D is the “basement” of the chicken coop where the sheep have excavated a hole so that they can go under the building in the summer and stay cool. They have a large building and large trees in their pasture to provide shade, but apparently the walk is too far for them, or it is cooler lying next to the rock foundation. In any case, it’s quite a scene when they all decide to pop out from underneath the coop at once.

The white building is an ugly garage with a roof that leaks; it’s going to have to be torn down before it falls down. I will be glad when it is gone because it is hideous and useless, and blocks a beautiful view.

Right. Here we are looking towards the south. A is the road where I took the first photo, looking north. B marks two huge mounds of dirt – a new neighbor is putting up a tractor shed on that site, prior to building a house on that land. C is “Dr. Zhivago-land” along that same road, which curves east and then south from our property. And of course in front we have Tikki and Jazz.

The sumac berries are nice and red. The leaves are almost gone. I think this is the last day of Indian Summer. I’m off to enjoy the afternoon, and curiously await the outcome of the election tonight. Have a good one, and may the best candidate win!

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Filed under animals, fall, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm donkeys, farm goats, farm guineas, farm sheep, nature, pets, weather

Pre-Election Blues

I’ve got pre-election blues. I’m one of those Undecideds. I can’t choose who is the lesser of two weevils. They all – from the National level down to the local – seem full of fast talk to me.

I have less that 24 hours to make one of three Presidential choices, the third being to exercise my right not to vote, and to voice my dissatisfaction with the available candidates that way. Do you think if we all went on a voting strike, they’d stop the long-running, media-blitzing, double-talking campaigns? I don’t think it’s anti-patriotic not to vote; I think it’s one of the freedoms we are lucky to have. So then how come I know I will feel guilty if I don’t show up at the booth, huh? Must be my Catholic upbringing. In this election, I think I’ll feel guilty no matter what choice I make.

In the latest Quilter’s Home magazine, a designer whom editor Mark Lipinski interviewed said that she was an X [not saying which here] Party voter, and when asked how she felt about that Party’s candidate, replied that she was “holding her nose and voting the Party.” I thought that was hysterical. (Fabulous mag, by the way, even if you’re not a quilter. Lots of artistic and decorating inspiration, funny articles, recipes, and cocktails, too! Where else could you learn how to make a tuffet in this day and age?)

Do you know whom I would trust as President? Tom Hanks. I’m serious. He’d be great.

Let’s shift to some less-negative blues; rather, blue-green, and of the yarn variety. I’m swatching for the February Lady Sweater, with KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Tidepool Heather. I’ve had to go down a needle size from the pattern recommendation. The yarn feels odd – more like acrylic than wool. I’d wanted non-superwash, but they were out of it when I ordered. Hmmmm….

I completely messed up the first five rows of the Annie Modesitt silk corset yesterday, so I frogged it and began knitting again today. I realized where I’d been going wrong, and now that the unusual-ness of the pattern (read: disorganization) has had a chance to soak into my brain overnight, it’s going smoothly for me. I’m not doing the buttons/buttonholes, though; I’ll just sew up the front and wear it as a pullover. No way am I sewing up all those buttons, let alone buttoning them up!

Here’s the yarn I’m using – Artyarns Regal Silk in color 144:

It was in the mid-70s today – totally uncommon for this time of year in Wisconsin. Lovely, sunny, breezy day. The animals seemed to enjoy it as much as I did, and the dogs got some extra time out in their playpen chasing their rubber squeaky octopi,as I was in no hurry to go back indoors. I soaked up the sun and breathed in the fresh air, because I know in another month I’ll really be missing warm weather. Beautiful!

The plants are right on schedule, however: leaves have changed color and most have fallen, pods have formed and opened, seeds have been scattered. I found these out on an old fence by the silo, amongst the wild grapes. Do you know what they are? I haven’t a clue.

We had a nice time over at Michelle‘s on Saturday evening. Got to spend time with a couple of my favorite LYS ladies and see what fiber projects they are up to. Dianne showed us a finished Ice Queen wimple which was gorgeous. That’s been on my to-do list since it was published, but I was too intimidated to cast on. But Dianne said it was really very easy, so I have hope… She also was wearing a Pinwheel Sweater that she’d knit, which made me really want to make one for myself – it was so flattering. Dianne had knit lace all around the body edge and the cuffs, too, and it was beautiful in a dark blue variegated worsted (I believe).

Dixie had the latest Drops ladies patterns magazine, and there are so many cute designs in it that I’m going to have to stop in at Yellow Dog Knitting to pick up a copy, and maybe some of the Garnstudio yarn for a project as well.

Chef Jeff and I got to meet Michelle’s two adorable donkeys as well as the magnificent Kiara, a Gypsy Vanner horse. Wow! She looks like a Disney horse come to life.

I hope you have a good Election Day and that you don’t have to wait in line to cast your vote. We vote in an ancient, one-room schoolhouse that serves as our town hall, and there’s never more than one other person there ahead of us. I’d feel happy about that if only I had a clear choice in candidates!

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Filed under fall, farm donkeys, fiberarts, knit, nature, pets, weather, yarn shop