Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bee Happy??

Ooooo, so bad, I know. Really though, never thought I'd be happy to see bees. I was looking at needing to hand pollenate the plants. After the orchard hives were moved, we were sans bees. The girls and I had collected our feathers, courtesy of Dougall the Duck, when I saw some very nice girls doing the job for us! We're now all on produce watch. The green beans are about a week out. You know that first crop, takes forever to mature and then before you know it you're sick of picking every other day. The cukes have gone insane, for the first time I have a very impressive crop. I'm so excited! The melon bed, well it's a jungle in there. The watermelons are turning out to be very prolific, will definately be sharing these.
Amy is far enough along, that I can see the calf moving around in there! Yay!

So we've decided to keep the Berkshire gilt for breeding. Thus, she recieves an actual name, not menu listing. Are you ready??
Mrs Seaman Hornsby.
Why? Have you ever watched Operation Peticoat, Cary Grant, Tony Curtis.......yes? no? If you have, it makes sense, if not watch it and it will. ;)

Summer is progressing nicely! Before long I'll be up to my ears in the canner, taking daily steam treatments and really wishing for winter. Today apricot picking is on the to do list. A friend has a tree that I'm going to harvest from, I'm thinking that I'll be drying them.

High note. Goats got loose and ravaged my berries and plants. Happy side, the blackberries, grape, butterfly bush and moss roses are all coming back. Raspberries are gone, gone. Goats also don't like Petunias or all. It's time for new stake out stakes.

Kids are busy running around doing the summer is fun thing! Life is good. I'm focusing all my creativity energy on the filet project I started a couple of years ago. I'm almost finished with it and it will be entered inot the fair this year. Justin has been busy with work and is working on permanent hog pens. One more month and we're back to school fun and fair!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This evening as I was getting ready to get dinner started, Lars walked in with a jar covered in seran wrap.
" Mom, say hi to Dragon."
"Who??" as I walk over to see what they've picked up this time. I'm expecting the usual, frog, grasshopper, maybe a praying mantis.......and then my eyes get very large once it registers. My son was very pleased with my response, which brought various other offspring galloping into the kitchen as well. It's always good when Mom makes that sound, whatever it is. There I stand staring at the largest moth I've ever seen in person. I'm also double checking the holes to make sure they aren't too big. While supressing the urge to start yodling, I grab the camera. I found it online it's a Big Poplar Sphinx. Big is right.
More info here:*Washington

For the record, that's a quart jar.

Friday, July 17, 2009


It's finished and looks so nice in the kitchen! The measurements are: 2ft 9in long x 2ft 1in wide, 12 yrds of fabric and took about 20 hrs. The top photo is the side that my mom likes the most, the bottom is the side that I prefer although I like both sides. The green and yellow mottled section, I tossed the strips put them in a bag and didn't look when I took one. I found I was thinkng about it too much. I do have another one planned for the living room, but there's orange and blue wool waiting to be spun up for winter wear, so that's going to need to wait.

Yay! A rug that I can change with my moods, it's like reversable clothing for my floors. I can hear Justin groaning now. To give me credit, I haven't changed my cupboards around significantly since we moved here, that's 4 yrs folks! It's a record. I have rearranged the living room several times, but that's what living rooms are for and out of consideration, if I happen to do it while he's working the night shift I always leave the lights on so he doesn't fall over the furniture.

Happy Birthday Leif!!!

He's now Thinking ahead, he made sure the cars had wheels before he chose, it's the cake that keeps on entertaining! :) The bakery gals were just a tad nervous when he started inspecting the prospective cake, but really what's the point of getting a cake with cars that don't have wheels. That makes no sense at all.

Enjoying his day, while siblings wait silently wishing him to hurry up to the cake and ice cream eating part.

Group shot! All smiling and not from mischief.....okay Dad was being goofy in the background. I thought I'd take advantage of the moment, having lured them all into one place with the promise of sugar.
Do you ever hear the whispering wildlife show narrator start talking about your life??
"and here we have the fortune to witness a most rare event. All the
members of this pack, gathered together, enjoying eachother's company. This
occurance, so brief in duration, has only been captured on film a few times
over the last decade.........astounding."
*soft pretty music in the background as the picture fades and they cut to a loud obnoxious commercial*

Leif (at reminding his mother) got a new lego set, bike helment and a brand new bike, red. There's something to be said for a bike who's scratches and dings are all yours. (He was up at the crack of dawn the next morning, on with the helmet and riding as fast as his legs could peddle. )His brothers handed over the controler to the X-box for the whole day, watched his movie and let him choose the games to play (even the "we're going to just run in circles for 30 minutes and laugh our heads off"). The day closed out in about 30 seconds, snuggling on the couch with me and declaring he had a good birthday this year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Officially a farm?

What? When did that happen anyway. Could this be the reason behind the nagging fatigue, random moments of vague anxiety, my obsession with weather and the feeling that someone somewhere has change the 24 hr day to 12 which causes the place to look like the aftermath of the Apocalypse??? Okay, so I've always been obsessed with weather and at the last head count there were still only 5 progeny running around so I know another one hasn't snuck in without my knowledge.
Justin ran a list of the various animals running around about the place and it kind of took me back. Here's the list:

Bovine for eating
Bovine for milking
Poultry, including one duck (because Lars has held fast since he was 3, it's not a farm unless there's a duck)
Caprine for eating
Caprine for milking
Porcine for eating and a possible for breeding
Feline for catching the Mus musculus
Okay so in English this time:

Cows, chickens and duck, goats, horses, pigs, outside cat for catching mice. Check. Huh. Guess that explains a few things. I think the Apocalypse tryout is simply the result of having 5 very active children running around. Feed 10 cats, 1 gallon of pure caffeine each, put them in a 10x10 room filled with feather pillows and string one small fish from the ceiling, leave for 30 minutes.
You know that when you return, there will be nothing to allude to the existence of anything remotely resembling a pillow, there will be feathers in places Albert Einstein couldn't reason out how they got there, the fish and all evidence of it will be gone (including the string) and all 10 cats will be calmly sitting there, looking innocently at you with that "What?!" look on their face.

Don't forget the garden, at least I think it's a garden. I have a faint recollection of planting corn in there with Lars. I can get back to you on that, right now the weeds are winning.

This year was my trial year for the pea variety "Wando". Always makes me think of the Where's Waldo cartoons. Touted as heat and cold tolerant, heat was my main concern. They win. Surviving a late frost and pulling through high 90's heat that would have made my other varieties wail in agony and die, they got a little droopy but after a good evening watering bounced back and are still spitting out peas. Nice and sweet, even after the peak pick time. I would suggest not picking them early, the early peas taste great, but at maturity they have a wonderful flavor. They've run the gammit of weather this area offers with flying colors. Definitely a keeper.

Cantaloupes, Burpee's Ambrosia. These were the first that I planted and plant no other. Their flavor is beyond compare. Mine are flowing at the moment and it's going to be hard to be patient while they ripen on the vine.
Everything else, I'm still trialing. I have decent cukes for the first time in 3 yrs, time will tell if they do well for pickles. The new beds are doing wonderfully! That's the spot for growing the veggies. The boys don't disagree, it means less yard to mow. ;)

This years flock, Speckled Sussex, is growing well! I've been noticing some early sparring, and iridescent tail feathers are starting to show. Their size and growth have been impressive. They'll reach a nice size by butchering time. Something I really like seeing is their personality, very friendly without being obnoxious, accepting of other breeds. They're also turning out to be fairly hand tame, not adverse to being picked up and snuggled. If I can't find the girls, they're usually to be found out in the chicken yard with 2 or 3 chickens roosting on legs and shoulders while the rest mill around looking for a spot.

Well that's the news for now. Enjoying what's left of the maintenance time of year. Soon the produce will start flying and it will be time to start preserving. Ugh. Love eating it, but does harvest have to come at the hottest time of the year??? ........... Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical complaint. Ah well, such is this life. One guarantee though, no one will bug me while I'm in the kitchen and canning. Of course I don't want to be in there with myself either.....but I'll let someone with a degree figure that one out.

Little Pig, Little Pig

Here they are in all their porcine glory! Finally, finally found someone with weaners. They were over by Spokane so my mom graciously brought them over for us (thanks Mom!). I usually like to have them earlier in the year, but this is what this year had to offer. Oh, I cute! Wait, just wait. They get big, very big. Then they start to stink, then they'll figure out how to get out. They're smart, very, very smart. I'm not sure why calling someone a pig is an insult really. Pigs are by nature (unless defective and yes, we've had one of those) relatively clean animals, interactive and highly intelligent. Example, if you have the feed bucket and said pig is outside their enclosure, they will deduce that you plan on putting them back in there and will go the opposite direction....preferably in the direction of the nearest heavy traffic roadway. Downside. Upside, if you have a pasture containing horses and those horses have already tried to kill said pig, chances are said pig will not try to go into the pasture again. So of the two choices, the one they'll most likely choose, playing pig pong with high speed vehicles.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Picked up a new skill

As I was browsing through a forum at Homesteading Today the other day, a thread title caught my eye. It was about "Toothbrush Rugs".

Huh?? Never heard of such a thing, so off to the web I go. Google is my friend. I love Google. Google reminds me of Tony Curtis's character in "Operation Peticoat", you need it, it will find it. It will find things you didn't know about, things you'd probably rather not know about.......rabbit trail, but they're fun.
Anyway, 3 minutes later I'm watching videos and reading up. Cool! I found a site with pictures of a lady named Maymee (I'm a poet and don't know it. I've got feet and they're longfellows.....and my childhood out in Bayne strikes again.) and how she makes hers. Looks like fun, looks useful, I love braided/rag rugs, looks like a good way to spend the hot, hot hours of summer when breathing sucks your will to live. Now is the time for that internal dialog:

"You need to learn a new pastime like you need hole in your head.."
"Sure, but I've always wanted to learn to make braided rugs."
"Again, repeat the last thing I said. You're already running an hours of the day deficeit."
"It's not a pastime, it's a skill! If I can make them, I won't have to buy them and they'll be the style and color I want. It's affordable, I can start by using up all that fabric we've been packing across the country for the last decade or so."
"................dang it."

Ha! I just won, or lost depending on how you look at it. That gets too confusing and my brain starts hurting, so I don't think about it too deeply.
The battle has been fought and I'm off to find an old toothbrush and fabric. Found both, defiled Justin's tools to craft my "needle". The kids told on me when he got home, little tattle tails. :)
So are you wondering what these things are?? Just what the name implies, you fashion a needle of sorts from an old toothbrush and use torn strips of material to make a sort of braided/knotted rug. I've included a link at the bottom to the page with instructions.

Here's my needle. I used a Dremel and a sander, finished off with sand paper. You can whittle it down then finish with sandpaper, but then you don't get to use power tools. ;) It took me about 20 minutes to make this way. I used an old child's toothbrush, but the traditional style would give you a larger/thinner needle. I'll make one of those next. This part was fun all by itself!
Here's the patterned material. I was never going to use this, so into strips it went.

I found a sage green knit fabric, bulkier, but hey I'm experimenting. Remember that nightmare dye job??? Can't find out new things unless you experiment. ;)

Here's what I have so far. This went very quickly! I worked on it during the heat of the day and again in the evening, a little this morning. I will say it took me almost 45 minutes to figure the directions out! I was ready to start talking to the walls (they're very good conversationalists though) and then it clicked. It reminded me of when I was learning to tat, couldn't figure it out, then it just clicked into place. I like the look of it! There's a hint of braided rug, without the worry of the braid sewing coming undone. The underside has a raised pattern, I'll need to get a picture of that later.

And the close up.

If you have some scraps, unused clothes, etc. I would give this a try! There are a couple of other methods out there, but I think this is my favorite.

Info site:

There are also some tutorials on youtube, just run a search for "toothbrush rugs".