Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easing up

As it always seems to happen, life looks like it's going to ease up a little. I have (most days) stopped trying to understand how this works, but one day I look around and it's calm again. Now this could be the calm before the storm, probably since Halloween is on Saturday. Talk about chaos:
(5 kids+candy+knowledge of community bowl coming)vortex sugar consumption=H.
The math is pretty basic, the outcome never varies, the day after is always ugly.

I do love the equation though! Today the kids and I spent the afternoon putting up "The Webs". These were a request by Leif and his excitement and enthusiasm made it so much fun. The thought did run through my mind that store bought cobwebs are much whiter than the homegrown variety. It also occured to me that I was putting up cobwebs...on purpose...when I already had plenty to begin with! Mine aren't as pretty, I admit. The younger three then spent the evening drawing spiders (mostly black widows) for the webs.
Okay, you might ask me how much I'm loving it on Sunday. For right now, it's wonderful. Yes it's time for me to break out the "You could climb Mt. Everest in your underwear and this" coat, layering my fleece pj bottoms under my jeans, I have that nagging knowledge rattling around that very soon my nosehair will start to freeze when I go outside (I hate that by the way). From November to March I'm not like an onion, I am an onion.
My layers have layers.
If I'm not layered, I'm stuffed between the woodstove and the wall (this area is now referred to as "Mom's spot" by the kids). So why should I be looking forward to it so much?? Like today, the house smells of pumpkin spice muffins, a ham bone simmering away to make soup and woodsmoke. Snow.
Soon, I'm going to have a day where I can sit and watch the snow fall. To go outside and hear a muffled world. A full moon over crystalized snow is one of my favorite things to see. It makes not being able to bend my knee past a 35 degree angle and knowing Congress can come to a decision faster than I can get dressed in the morning, for 4 months worthwhile....for 3 months at least (that last month I'm ready for Spring to show up).
I guess I should get started on those thrummed hats!...and the socks....and scarves....or I should get started spinning so I can get all those things made.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


"This is...hey, hey! Jim Neville from Belmont"
Yes, I'm quoting lines from The Black Stallion, do you have any idea how many times I've seen it lately? This is pay back, I just know it. When you add how many times I tortured my mom with this movie growing up plus what I'm watching now, I probably hold the world record for single movie viewing. I do still love this movie, but could do without the daily viewings. There are movies I'd rather not add to the "Thanks! but oh isn't that sad, I have chickens that need decapitation and eviceration....maybe another time." The Black Stallion movies should not be added to this list.

Butchering time! Steers and goats had dates with the knackers. This makes three animal types I've watched and still stand firm that I'd rather pay them to do it than fumble through it myself. Sure, I'd do it if I had to, but I don't so I won't. Besides, you can't beat driving across the road and picking up neat little bundles, freezer ready.
The rabbits are growing nicely, oh are they cute little buggers. They're eyes should be opening over the next few days, they are getting fur, and their ears aren't plastered to their heads anymore. Yes, they're still going into stew.
I just took a canning meat and seafood workstop, that's got me thinking of all kinds of canned goodness when the meat comes back from the butchers, the rabbits and chickens. While I was there, I had the lid checked for the canner as well. Go figure, may not look it, but it's still spot on. She even tested it twice. The needle doesn't sit in the zero anymore (this is one of Justin's Grandma's canners), but tested true each time.
I had to sign a release for before she did it, can you believe that?? Right, I'm going to sue the WSU if we all die from food poisening or botchilism. It does make me wonder if I can hold Revereware responsible for all those failed dinners over the years. Yes, I'm joking, yes it's a pet peeve.

The flue has descended upon our house. To date, Justin has had it the worst (probably the flu that no one wants to admit is here). He took 3 days off, considering it's a 4 day work week, that's amazing for him-who-does-not-take-sick-leave. It's settled in his chest, but I have something in my snake oils cupboard for that. Malina has had a head and chest, far different from what her dad had. I'm fighting something, not sure which, hit me last night out of nowhere. Doing better today, but still feeling sluggish. Figure I'd rather fight it than get it, watching my hubby over the last week has kept me firmly planted on the couch not willing to chance it. The rest of the kids are all doing just fine. I'm not sure what the hibernation time is, but I figure if anyone is going to catch the mutant strain from their dad it will show this week sometime.

There's what's new with us for now!

New Addition

So can you figure it out? Radar believes (I think as most cats do from their very narcissistict view of life) that I've provided him with a very nice cat domain.

"While I appriciate your efforts, I know there's still liver in the fridge."
There you have it, a loom. Yay! I can start weaving now!! I've always wanted to have a stab at this and I'm loving it. Like spinning, it's very relaxing. This is a single heddle and from what I've been (trying) to read on the net, just what I want to start with. Going up from here, there are charts. Hmmm. I'm sure it's easy once you get started but right now it's making about as much sense as immitation cheese food.

Rabbit trail: Really, go check it out at the grocery store. You have cheese, cheese food (imitation of cheese) and then you'll find immitation cheese food. So it's an immitation of an immitation, which makes me wonder just what is it made from? If cheese is made from milk, cheese food has some milk product it in somewhere and some other unknown product....it begs to wonder what the immitation is an immitation of? Talk about a brain bender, better than chickens and eggs.

For now the loom is living in the living room (good place to live). I was feeling like a troll when it was in the basement, much easier to interact with everyone when I'm where they are.

This is what's on there currently, well one of what's on there. They're scarves, a bit wide, but will be great doubled over. Hopefully (flu and cold bugs floating around the house) I'll have these finished today, the one in the pic is finished, working on #2 right now. Then of course, it's on to warping it for the next project. ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Farm babies!

I guess it's not too surprising that the rabbits win this prize, but our first farm babies are 2 litters of New Zealand/Californian cross. All are doing well at the moment. Stats:
Olga: 8 with one death, 7 live
Hildegard: 8 live
So the rabbitry has grown from over night! Amazing how that works. These are both first litters for the does. All the babies are good sized, moms made great nests. Yay! Yes, we've officially gone from having rabbits to a rabbitry.
Rabbitry. I find that word mesmorizing for some reason. It sounds so very British in my head. The i, t, r and y just kind of roll into eachother, isn't that right old boy...hmmm?! ah, quite right, quite right. It's such a good thing that my internal dialog stays internal, for the most part.
I'm very excited! First births on the farm, it's a milestone. This is going to be a year of firsts for us, those big firsts. First "big" meat animals going off to butcher. They're supposed to be big, but I think a Dexter (no not the cartoon character, the bovine breed) jumped a fence somewhere. First breedings and births. It's going from starting up to operating and replenishing the livestock, feels good to have hit this stage.

When they're older, I'll get some pictures of the litters up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Overcast and rain

Fall has definately arrived here in the valley. Ask me in the mornings as I'm rolling out of bed sans fire and I'll tell you it's Winter. Yesterday afternoon the skies clouded over and the rain came, there's been some form of moisture descending ever since. I've noticed that I don't mind this kind weather when it's not a constant for months out of the year. Actually, today was a good day to sit and knit during the afternoon...so I did! Justin's second sock (considering he's got two feet this is really necessary) is almost finished.
Tomorrow I need to gear up the great laundry battle again, I'm starting to win. I can start to pack away the summer things and get out the heavy winter items (more laundry, egads!). We've hit mid October, it's time to start decorating for Fall!
I can't believe it's already mid October! Where did this year go anyway? You know, I try to follow my Great-Grandma's advice and live a day at a time, but I'd really like to ask her if they're supposed to go by this fast or not. I always think of her this time of year. Maybe it's the baking, the memories of a fluffy white head drifting around the kitchen and the smells that wafted out of that room when she was in it and her whisptles. She never did learn to whistle, although she did love it.
"When I was a girl, it wasn't lady like to whistle. That was something boys did, even after it was acceptable, I just couldn't get the hang of it."
In almost a century, she never did learn how whistle but she did whisple with style! You'll find that somewhere between a whisper, hum and a whistle. Sometimes, you could hear the song in it and recognize it. I can still hear that sound. It's funny but I've caught Lars whispling on occassion, caught myself doing it a time or two.

Rainy days are good for so many things! Of course as with all else in life, moderation aides appriciation.

Just Chillin'

We had a bit of a name issue, so Chong became Jeebs (reference Men In Black).

Yesterday was musical rabbit for the kids. It was wet and dark out, good day to just chill with a bunny.

Bruce and Jeebs (I don't think either of them moved much for 30 minutes)

Lars and Jeebs
Jeebs parked out here for almost an hour, had a nice little nest going.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall on the farm

It's definately fall here on the farm! Justin turned off the irrigation last weekend, the PUD calls it off this Thursday. While frost has been calling a visit over night, we had a low in the teens the other night, yeah that was just a bit chilly to say the least.
The steers will go off to the butcher this week, the cow will go into the small pen for the winter and we'll move the horses over for easy keeping this winter. The goats will be going to the freezer and the goat project put on hold for a year or two.
The angoras have furred out nicely! It's time to start keeping them groomed, although Cheech made a Great Escape attempt the other day. They're look less like chop jobs and more like fluffy bunnies again.
We've been burning fires the last few days, the stove pulling it's duty well. Getting into the hallway is getting to be a grand adventure some nights! Between Daisy the hound with no undercoat, the cats who are willing to call a truce to sprawl and Seamus who fits himself into the mix on the cold nights, it's a jumble of bodies. One misstep causes a feline-canine chain reaction that while vastly entertaining, is not something you want to find yourself in the middle of. I have my place in the mix, right between the stove and wall.
I love Fall. It's a wonderful time of year, everything winds down to a close. It's a time of year to take stock, make notes, close the books and start gearing up for holiday baking. The earth seems to slip into it with ease each year. It's not a season to hit you upside the head without warning. The lighting is warm, even if the weather is cold. It's the time of year when coffee and hot chocolate taste the best. They aren't defenses against the cold as much as they are accompaniments.

Well there are the updates, for now at least. I have a good 6 loaves at least rising next to the stove so it's about time to get them into the oven. Then I think it's time for some popcorn, yum!

Kids' News

Ahh, the time of year for the first mid terms. Do you remember those? Lord I do. The time of year you got to find out how many more hours a night you were going to be spending hunched over your books like Gollum.
They're all do well! Bruce has achieved a first and currently holding the highest with all but one B in a sea of A! The rest aren't far behind and doing well with getting their work finished after school.

Lars has finished irrigation duties for the year. As Justin delivered the fateful news last weekend.
"Boys, I have good news and bad news for you. Good news, no more irrigation duties for the year.
*much smiles and cheering*
Bad news, since the irrigation is off, you need to start hauling water to the stock.
*Bruce from the backseat "oh yeah, I forgot about that."*"

Malina is loving school, usually ready by 9am, bus gets here at 11:50 and she's off to her learning. She's doing very well! Homework time is getting more complicated, but the older ones are pretty good about filling in when needed.
Anna is plowing through books like she's getting paid. I've lost track of how many books she's gone through since the beginning of the school year.
Leif has a great teacher this year and he's making progress by leaps and bounds.

The two older boys are doing very well. Lars is adjusting to Middle school, not as scary as he thought. Bruce is making the most of his final year outside of high school (okay that's just not right there) and really enjoying his woodshop elective!

There's the kid news! I need to sneak pics of them soon.

New Yarns and My News

These are the results of my last mad farmer's market dash.

Autumn Meadow

Vintage Rose

Okay, it's not comletely true, I'm developing a serious issue with dyeing yarn. Every skein a surprise, I love seeing how they turn out!

My other news? Well me and my new and daring self (notice the plural usage there) have opened a shop on Etsy.
Yes, I have.
Hand me a paper bag please.

Curious? Here's the link Lazy Squirrel Farm

I'll be setting up the shop and getting things listed over the next couple of weeks. This idea has been hovering in my mind over the summer and Justin's been giving me poke between the shoulder blades about it every now again. I had two runs at the Farmer's Market, with some success and positive reviews about the yarn, so I'm taking the next step. I'm also taking the next step because 3 hrs in the frigid Fall weather was a good incentive to find a way to do this in closer proximity to my woodstove!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I need professional help

So, I spent a couple of days, picking, flicking and carding. Spent today spinning. Why? I wanted to experiment in the kitchen with dyes. What happens? Not what I was aiming for, but I like them better than my original plan.
"There's no such thing as mistakes, only happy accidents."
Thanks Bob.
I'm now looking at two skeins that I'm planning on taking to the farmer's market this weekend. I'd rather not, but that's their purpose.

Harvest Moon

Autumn Wood

It seems to true when taking pictures of yarn, they never do them justice. Harvest Moon, while vibrant isn't glow in the dark. I love how Autumn Wood came out!

I'm still debating, it may not make it to the market, there's a pattern called Elvish Leaves....doesn't look like it's just begging to be knit up into a scarf called that?! *sigh* I wonder how may dilemas like this I'm going to have.

The problem that I'm facing now, I can't spin fast enough to keep myself in skeins to dye! I have a wonderful diversion from housework, it's fun to watch how the colors change as they dry. Ah well.

That's the latest! There'll be more to come, I'm doing housework at lightening speed (it's amazing what a little incentive will do) tonight, so that I can spin up another bobbin or two. Ugh! It's all just so addicting.