Friday, December 31, 2010

Fresh Herbs - Springs Tasty Bounty

As it will be many more weeks before we can even start our herb gardens one can not help but dream.
I have placed all of the best greens and just a spot or two of reds and purples that Mother Nature puts in her herbs into this yarn - I could never equal her talents but I sure did my best and I know you will find this colorway something special. Is your mouth watering yet??? Mine sure does each time I look at this offering.
Spring is a long way away so get started now in creating something wonderful as our gardens are covered in snow. What is your favorite herb? I bet I put it in this yarn,

Traveling Gypsy is on the shelves now!

Have you ever dreamed of running away to the Big Top. All those interesting people with their talents traveling around the back road and setting up in small and large towns alike - I never thought I could do the high wire, or juggle swords, or even ride the elephants around while standing on one tippy toe but I did think I could be that lady sitting behind the small table covered with exotic silk fabrics and smells of far away places engulfing my tent as I am leaning over a large crystal ball. I would tell your future with all the mystery and magic that the spirits would bestow on me. I would wear clothing of many colors and jewels from far away places that I have traveled to through the years. They would stand in line for hours just to hear me recount their past, present and future. I see in my crystal ball a skirt I wore with all the colors I have placed into this yarn - it must have been the spirits who guided my hand that day. My ball is becoming cloudy now. I must rest now...
What do you see in your future?? Or would you like Madame Grace to tell what the ball says?

Cranberry Fluff Anyone??

Larkspur Funny Farm will now be offering Hand Dyed Superwash Merino Yarns!!
I was not too sure about this trend - I am old school and like the predictability of my wool shrinking but this washable wool is sure something different.. I spent a great deal of time planning the right way to approach this yarn and it's dyeing requirements. I wanted to still keep my environmentally friendly techniques and quality colorways while adding a new twist for my customers. I think I have managed to do all that and more.
Get ready over the next day or two to find some great new color patterns being introduced in my Etsy Shop. They are flying off the shelf here at the farm so get in on a grand new product while they last...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Pleasures During A Storm

I LOVE MY NEW SKI PANTS!! My sweet family knows that I do not care about fashion but boy I sure do love being warm when I am in and out all night long checking on my sweet one's and becoming a wet snow women.... So my wonderful new ski pants got their first test as I walked through the driving snow to get the barn doors closed for the night. After walking to all the pastures to check on everyone I came into the shop as warm and dry as I started out as - Way To Go !! Thanks Family

Next, when I came upstairs the dinner I started was ready and boy did it smell great. Spiral Cut Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Cranberry Fluff, Hot Rolls from my DIL and finished the dinner off with Butter Cookies and hot Spiced Tea... A great way to get the energy to go back outside in about three hours to check on everyone again.

Then there is that I still have power!! I know most folks do not think about that but it is a common issue out here during storms - I am typing quickly just in case. I put away all the leftovers, did the dishes, folded the clothes and put them away... Then I made sure nothing was in the walking path through out the house so just in case we have no lights there will be no Graceful falls. Dry clothes are set out for the next animal check and a fresh pot of hot water has refilled the thermos. Most of all I am getting to watch my new Flat Screen TV that my loving family gave me for Christmas. I love it because I can move it around the house without breaking my back. You see my other TV is the size of a small vehicle having to use that special box just to see normal programs. Since I do not have cable I watch mostly movies but with this I can see my special shows like tonight I am watching BONES upstairs - I know it does not sound like much to most but it is thrilling to me...

So now that you know mine what are your pleasures during a storm???

How Low Will It Go??

The weather guessers say we are to go to -2 or -3 tonight but with the wind I am thinking it might be colder. I got my toasty buns outside this morning and started the work that will hopefully make this cold snap workable. I filled smaller waters so when it turns to ice I can pick up the ice without throwing my back out. I wrapped all the outside water pumps with extra protection and covered all the handles with cloth and then doubled large buckets over them to keep the windchill out. Everyone got extra feed and a bit of grain for the older folks to keep those tummies running hot tonight. I will be back out during the night several times to check on the youngest and oldest of the groups - they have the hardest time in this kind of weather.

Then there was the fun duty of putting Vaseline on the combs and waddles of the hens and roosters. Now how many of you have chased 32 feathery friends around a small building trying to put sticky stuff on their head and feet? Well, for this gal it is just another day at the Funny Farm. You see - chickens have a habit of stepping into their water or dunking their head too far in the water while drinking. During the warm months this is not an issue but when the temps dip real low this means frostbite... Hence - Vaseline!!! I must admit it was much easier when I only had 10 and no Roosters.. However, I never give up and the job is done. The Chickens will also get tonight warm milk with oatmeal to keep their tummies warm - sounds good to me too..

So then came the task of getting out the emergency candles, flashlights and extra blankets. Sometimes in this cold temp the power lines snap - so I have also put up thermos full of boiling water and have a ham in the oven with all the fixings. I also have lined up several hand projects I can do by candle light because goodness knows I can not sit without something to do...

As I watch the fog and snow come charging into the farm I know that tonight will mean many trips out to the barns to check on four legged loved ones and hopefully it will be a quite one with lights on night. Bundle up, Snuggle up with a furry friend and be safe tonight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five Gold Star Monday!!

What a day!! It started with my broken alarm clock Rooster at 3 in the morning crowing with the coyote calls. Yes, the silly guy is now talking with the very animals who would love to have them for dinner.... It seems as if he has a great need to connect with others but I just wished it was not so early and all through the day and night.

So I figured while I was wide awake I might as well get up and start my day... As I made my breakfast -German Stollen Bread from my DIL, YUMMY! and farm fresh eggs from my sweet black hen I was gearing myself to having a hard working day. As I enjoyed the feast I looked out the window as the sun was breaking the horizon and could see Sundance (a little billy boy born this year) face covered in blood. I ran to get the vet kit and out the door I went. After chasing that fast little bugger around the pen for about 20 minutes - a great workout but not what this body needed this early in the morning I caught him, cleaned the wound and put blood stop on it. I gave him a squeeze and a couple of quick kisses because this may be my only chance for sometime -- he relaxed and gave me that sweet look as if to say "Thanks Mom". Oh, I so love my goats even when they do play too hard with each other.

I went back into the house and begin what was to be a great day. For most it might not seem like a great day but for me I LOVE THIS KIND OF A DAY.. With work clothes on, music buds in the ears and a body ready for action I started to move a ton of hay into the girls barn before the storm that is predicted for Thursday arrives. As I bucked the last bale into its place I realized I might as well get the barn floor scraped down. So grabbing the shovel I went to work. Three hours later I was done and figured I should wash out all the feed bins and bowls. As I walked back toward the house I thought why not move and dump the 200 pounds of hen food so if the snow got deep I would not have to worry about moving it in the cold. So after finishing that I washed out all of their dishes and perches. They may not have been happy about that but they will thank me when the temp goes below zero. By this time it was dinner time for everyone so I went about getting everyone fed which reminded me I was starving and that hay was starting to look really good. As I walked down the long driveway to get the mail my herd of deer came out of the trees and walked with me. It is so strange when they do this - not sure why they do it but I do feel loved by their trust. I gathered the mail - a disk of "Fringe" season two came from NetFlix to entertain me for the next couple of days. On my return trip the deer still following I came across my two little minks. They played tag in the tall grass and then followed me up to the shop door. I felt like Snow White with all the woodland creatures around her.

As I peeled off the smelly work clothes and tossed them into the washer I said to myself "Another Five Golden Star Day".... I am so lucky and so bone tired... It is a great feeling to me - a feeling that let's me know I have given my all to those I love and who depend on me....

What is your Five Golden Star Day???

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Moving into the New Year

I have never been one to make New Years Resolutions but I do review the year and see where there might be a need to improve. Yeah, like there is never room for improvement! I have been struggling with the issue of "CHANGE" I understand most folks do but now I am feeling a great need to step up and greet change without panic, dread or depression.... I have always been one of those folks who shine when there are hard decisions to be made. I can handle some of life's biggest hurdles without crumbling or needing to reach for comfort food or a drink. I have kept my head calm and focused when others have needed a port in a storm but I chock, sputter and stall out when it comes to what other might consider little things. For most of my life I have made decisions based on what was right for my parents, husband, kids, friends and now my sweet farm furry family members but I must say I have not placed me at the front of the list ever. Now I feel like this coming year is going to be presenting change that I might not have the answers too...

So, now I turn to you level headed folks - How do you handle change??? What change or changes might you be making for the coming year?? What has been your biggest change that you handled this year?? I think maybe if we share the process we might create the best year ever!!!

After Christmas Event

The crowds start early here at the farm. The after holiday goodies brings out all those looking for a great deal....

I find the customers milling around just waiting for me to open the doors and let the spending beginning.

I get all the high class shoppers - they are kicking up their heels to get the best spot in line.
The truth is I had the most amazing event happen - in all the years here I have never seen such an event. As I was looking out my window in the wee hours of the morning (again, not able to sleep) just as the moon was starting to set. I thought I would see if I could get some shots. As I opened the window I could hear milling around in the tall grass and was concerned it might be some predators. I decided to wait and see if I could see what was moving. The dogs where not barking so I wondered WHY??? As the sun started to rise I could see faint movement. As the event became clearer I was just amazed - that does not even cover it!! My sweet herd of does where Pronging (that is the correct word for when animals bounce off the ground using their feet looking like they are connected at the ankles) around in a circle. Such JOY!! What was in the center of the circle but the stag who was watching them pass by in front of him as if they where on a dance show. He never moved a muscle while the girls where giving their all to show off their best features. I stood frozen watching this dance. I wondered - has anyone else ever seen such a sight. I tried my hardest to get my camera to zoom in close enough to capture this once in a lifetime celebration - I knew if I tried to leave the house to get closer they would stop and the moment would be lost. I decided I just wanted to watch from a distance and let them have this time without a human getting involved. Just then I also noticed that all my goat boys who have a fence line next to this area have also been standing frozen in place watching this event. Not even my dogs moved a muscle or uttered a sound which is incredible in and of itself. They really do not like deer much and love to bark at them most of the time. This dance went on for about 30 to 45 minutes. Unbelievable!!!
So while others may have been standing in line to get that after Christmas sale priced item or return that horrible looking sweater that was given to them by dear sweet auntie - I witnessed a true magical moment to make this holiday season something I will never forget...
Thank you gals for a gift that I will cherish my whole life...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to my son Nicholas

What a grand day I spent with my birthday boy who turned 27 years old today, his wife Brooke and their son Reese.. All that was missing was my younger son Conrad... Hard to believe that such as short time ago my husband and I were blessed with a healthy boy. The doctors all said we probably would not have kids and if so, they might come with a whole host of issues but I knew in my heart this was not true. The doctors ran every test they had and told me I was to have a girl. I painted the room a wonderful shade of mauve and crocheted a coming home dress that had pearls scattered thru out. I had a name picked out "Amanda Nicole Gerber" and was counting the days. The universe had other things in mind. Contractions came a month early and off to the hospital we flew, after too much Egg Nog and Peanut Butter Sandwiches I settled into the rhythms of labor while watching "Jesus Christ Super Star". When the moment came and the grand entrance was here the doctor said "Grace, it is a boy" Just then Nicholas gave a full on stream up in the air and finishing the shots on the shirt of his father. I must admit my brain when numb and for a day we worked at finding a name. Without coming up with one we both could agree upon I looked up and there in my room was a sign that said "St. Nick will be arriving today" and so he did...

I count my blessings each day for the strong and healthy sons we were blessed with and on this special day I say "Happy Birthday - My Special St. Nick"

Thanks for a wonderful day gang - see you all back on Christmas to enjoy the Roladens we made today.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grace's Great Day

Today was the day - off to replace the computer parts that this graceful gal drowned in tea...

As I drank my coffee I asked the universe to cut me a break. Please, make it my Christmas Wish!!!! As I headed off into the snow and ice I kept myself centered to just get into town, get the parts and go home. As I reached the outskirts of town the wonderful Colorado drivers where up to their usual talents. Several where in the ditch, one went sliding thru the stop light and before me there was two horses running along the ditch looking for a way to get back into their pastures.. I kept focused and went slow and steady.

I reached Walmart - Yes, in the small little town closest to me that is all there is to find computer parts. As I got out of the truck I looked up and who was there but my Computer Geek!! It was like a Holiday Angel had landed. I reached him and grab his arm as if he was a life line... I told him what had happened and he so kindly walked me to the computer center and picked out exactly what I needed. He smiled and wished me a Happy Holidays and I did the same... Today, the universe is going to be kind.

Next, as I passed the men's department I saq what looked like Carharts... I went to see if they had any small sizes but not luck. However, right next to that was lined jeans and you got it - I found some that would fit... Saved $45.00!! YES! As I was turning around from the dressing room they had men's polar fleece lined flannel shirts on sale. SCORE!! Then I managed to snag some long johns and heavy wool socks. See, the universe took pity on this gal.. I even managed to find my favorite brand of under pants - been hunting for them for some time now...

Just when I was ready to check out I saw a lady in the return line with what looked like a pair of the drapes I have been hunting for - I needed two more for my living room. Guess what - she had two in her hands. I waited for the clerk to hit all the right buttons and then I placed them into my cart. Just as I was turning the clerk said "Boy you are luck, we are cancelling that color this week" WOW, I am lucky!! See if I was not such a unlucky gal I would not have had all this things fall into line. I also must say that the other day while working on the computer I noted that a couple of keys where sticking and my mouse sometimes would jet around the screen for no reason - so see - it all happens for a reason.

I only wish I would remember that when the you know what hits the fan. I know in my heart there is always a reason and sometimes it may not be what I want it to be - life is at times pulling my chain but then rewards me... I love my new keyboard - still getting my fingers in the wrong spot and it has buttons on it that I have no idea what they are for but still I love it... The mouse moves like butter... Then there is the new clothes to keep this old body warm and comfy when spending those long hours out in the cold and wind. Just in time soon for baby watch...
Oh, did I mention, with the money I saved on the jeans I treated myself to a air popcorn maker... Yes, it is going to make popping popcorn much easier for me and my hens. Guess what I am making tonight??? Come on, let's not be slow, POPCORN!!!

So here is to Grace's GREAT Day!!!!

Grace + Day Cold Medicine = Disaster Big Time

Thursday was not my day!!! After unloading 700 pounds of feed for the animals in a snowstorm I came into the house to thaw out and trying to stop the beginning of a sinus problem. I took just one caplet of a over the counter day time cold medicine and within 20 minutes I could not even stand up.. I have no idea how anyone can take these and still be human. So I decided to just climb into bed for just a few minutes. With heating pad under my back and the covers pulled way over my head I started to drift off.. I admit maybe I should not have fallen asleep to the movie "Devils Advocate" but before I knew it I was in a medicated sleep. Suddenly I snapped out of bed like I had been shot out of a cannon. I looked at the clock and it said 3:15, I thought "Oh, My Gosh"! I have slept for a whole day....

I could not seem to get my head to stop swimming and I was in such a panic because I thought my poor animals have had to go a whole day without eat and warm water... Still in my fog I went to the office and was going to check on line for orders and emails. As I rounded the corner of the table I gracefully walked right into the table which in turn knocked over a big glass on tea. With my reactions be anything but quick the glass managed to pounce and leap over to the other table which is where my computer resides. You guessed it, the whole glass of tea went all over the keyboard and mouse.....

I grabbed them both and turned them upside down, ran to get towels and proceeded to walk smacked dab into the corner of the door. After trying to shake out the tea, towel dry it, hair dryer it and prayed a lot I knew it was not going to fix what this gal had done. I did not give up hope and all through the day and into the night I would check if it would connect but no such luck.

O.K. I am screwed!!!! I had planned not to leave the farm until consumer hell was iver or at least until after the holidays but now I was going to have to get myself ready to brave the icy roads and unfriendly shoppers to replace what this drug impaired gal had done to her own equipment.... Screw this holiday spirit - I know better then to take drugs - nothing good every comes from it... Another GRACEFUL day!!! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings??

Monday, December 13, 2010

What do you Think???

How do you like my Happy Accident???

I have a new line of yarns for the shops - Machine Washable Merino Wool.... I have been dragging my feet on adding this to my shops but so many customers have requested it I figured I would give it a try. It did not go as smoothly as hoped - since I do not use the really harsh dye's I had less then perfect results. After much frustration and a bunch of words I will not repeat I carried on. This yarn had over six attempts to get it right and finally I think I have designed what I had in my mind.

What do you think of it??? What would you call this colorway??? Happy Accident!! O.K. maybe not, Flower Power?? NO, that bites the big one. O.K. I throw up my hands and turn it over to you talented folks - NAME PLEASE if you would be so kind!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Alarm Roo is Broken!

I never seem to need an alarm clock because my mind wakes me up way too many times before the sun has a chance to rise. I have been trying to find a silver lining in having 5 Roosters at the farm when I wanted none. After watching BABE (you know the Pig story) trying to cheer myself up after the horrible week I was having I thought the universe gave Roosters for a purpose and so I have natures alarm clocks. I admit 5 alarm clocks is a bit much but maybe it was so I would never over sleep - Like that would ever happen!!
Well, my alarm Roo is broken!!! Out of all the roo's the only one who is crowing is the biggest rooster who is all white and some what a bully and he has a broken timer - HE CROWS ALL THE TIME! I mean ALL THE TIME!!!! You can hear him at7 am and 7 pm, 9 am and 9 pm, 11 am and 11 pm, 2 am and 2 pm, 3 am and 3 pm, 4 am and 4 pm and so on and on and on and on around the clock. You would think that this silly guy would sleep sometime? I know I would like to and I can imagine the hens would love to break his beak.....
At least the silly duck in the movie only crowed at sunrise... My ROO should try another job - maybe a stop watch, an egg timer, a dryer buzzer or even a car alarm..... I wonder if it is his age - maybe he can not tell time yet??? Yes, I have a clock in the hen house. I sure would like to hit his snooze button!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Does Anyone Live Without a Microwave???

I can not believe the day I am having. I was sick all night long with some kind of body bug so I am running again on no sleep. Instead of whining about it I decided to get back to my cleaning frenzy - that is what I do when I am upset and boy have I been upset this week. The topper to my day was when I looked up and realized I had not eaten all day and it was going on 7:30 pm. My stomach was finally calm so I thought a poached egg and a warmed up pancake would do the trick. The eggs where almost done and I place my pancake on a plate and popped it into the Microwave. As I have done a million times I went to push the button and there was a horrible sound, a flash and a DEAD MICROWAVE!!!! Oh, I thought it is a breaker. So I went downstairs, checked the box - everything was O.K. I went back upstairs and plugged in a small machine into the socket and it worked so I plugged the microwave back in - Total Black on the screen.... CRAP.....

Don't panic - I scraped off the butter off the pancake and placed it in the toaster. Pop goes the toaster and we have dinner. As I sat there eating my meager dinner I wondered "Can I live without a Microwave"? I do not cook that much with it but rather heat up quick things, reheat stove cooked meals but most of what I use it for is some of my dyeing of fibers and yarns...

So I would like to run a pole if you please!!

How many of you could and do live without a Microwave?

How many of you would never live without a Microwave?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Many Thanks

Thank you all for the kind words of support and understanding you have given to me. This week I not only lost my sweet Casper but a very wonderful friend who's love for llamas was her passion and business. It is never easy to experience the loss of loved ones but I think it shows us how much we should care and love for those who are around us now....

With that in mind I want you to know just how cherished you all are to me and even when we can not be together in person your presence is never out of my thoughts and heart. You are the reason I love my life and feel so blessed - words can not express how lucky I feel - thank you for your love and support....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

R.I.P. Casper 1992 - 2010

Early this evening my sweet four legged farm friend was calling to me for his supper. I gave him a quick kiss on the nose and told him I would be back as soon as I fed the dogs. After finishing the goat girls and dogs I was on my way back to the barn that Casper and his buddy Sugar govern over the youngest billies. Casper gave me his sweet smile and before I knew it he fell to his knees and crumbled into a heap. I ran with all I was worth to get to him, I stood him up but one side could not even hold his weight. I picked him up and with that strange strength you get when it is really life and death I carried him into the barn. I ran for the vet kit and blankets but knew in my heart that my dear friend was not long for this world. Still I would try everything I could. I got him covered, and started the heater, tried to get warm fluids into him but he no longer could swallow. I got on the ground with him and placed his head in my lap. I whispered to him of all the wonderful times we had together as I stroked his neck and held him close. The lovely fiber he has shared with me and my customers over the years as been nothing but pure perfection. The wisdom and patience he gave to each years batch of new billies here on the farm I feel is why my boys are such kind and gentle billies. I had this kind hearted friend for 13 years and knew this day was coming but I was not willing for it to be today but really there was never going to be a day that I would be ready...
So I wish to thank Casper for all those moments that have made my time, care and love with him so wonderful - I will never forget you and I hope I added to your life while you where here.
Blessings and Love to you Casper

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We Have A Name

I want to thank Sheri for finding the perfect name for my little crooked neck hen. Once I heard it I was like "Why didn't I think of that - it is PERFECT". I have always admired this women and so drum roll Please - "Molly Brown". See I told you it was perfect.

So many many thanks Sheri for finding the name that sums up this incredibly strong, single minded hen of mine. Molly B is already understanding her name and I use it all the time when I am with her - think it is sticking...

Great Job Sheri

Seize The Day!!

Ozzie is always getting the most out of each day and also the food. This young billy is this years lead guy. For those who do not know Ozzie was born 2/16/10, his mother is Esmeralda and he was one out of the set of triplets. Ozzie's brother Oscar passed away a week couple of weeks after birth but his sister Olivia has grown into a princess (at least she thinks she is and acts as if she is) but that is too be expected - it is in their blood lines. Ozzie never misses a chance to show his peers this fact. Ozzie always has to stand in the feed bunker to prove he is the top guy but what that means to me is I have a chance to pet his buttery soft cashmere covered body. He allows me and I do mean ALLOWS ME because he is very quick and could jump out with a blink of my eyes but he knows I am doing a wellness check. O.K., I just want to get my hands on that fiber but let's not tell him. I also love how even though he is only 10 months old he stood in front of his yearling peers as the coyote passed by their pasture Thursday morning. He stomped his feet and let out his strongest male warning that this little body could produce. Such a brave and noble billy - I just LOVE my guys.
So in Ozzie's honor let's all SEIZE THE DAY, STOMP OUR FEET AND HOLD THE LINE!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Happy Joy Joy - The Strike is OVER!

My black hen has stopped her Strike!! For the past three weeks Miss Thing has told me "NO EGGS till you get all these loud things out of my coop"... My Black Hen has not been thrilled with all the new additions but once the Roo's started with their noise she had enough. NO EGGS from the moment the Roo's started crowing..

Well, I guess she thought I suffered enough eating store organic eggs and gifted me this egg this morning. She stood next to her nesting box when I came in to feed and clucked softly till I went over and picked up her egg. She looked at me and I gave her tons of praise and a couple soft strokes down her back. She then walked in a circle a couple of times and then pecked the nearest Roo right in the face. I laughed so hard and gave her another round of strokes for showing him where he stood in her eyes.

What a marvelous Holiday gift - a Fresh Funny Farm Egg!!!

HE'S BACK!!! Where is my Rifle?

After several checks on the injured boys in the still dark cold night I snuggled into bed and pulled my covers over my head. I was just in the middle of a strange dream when I heard my Llamas giving out their alarm call. I sprang from bed and looked for the llama's in their pasture - this is what I saw.... That (ton of four letter words I will not type but was screaming out my bedroom window) COYOTE is asking to be pelt on my wall. I have two wonderful coyote pelts hanging on my wall as I sit at the computer typing away. I get to pet them, talk to them and know there are two less trying to hurt my sweet ones.

I could not get the zoom to get close enough for a picture but on his face he has a nice long cut - hopefully from one of my Big Billies. That still did not keep him from coming back.

My Great Pry's where going nuts, the three Llama's where now running the fence line to chase him away and I have considered getting the rifle ready for his next appearance. I guess December is going to be keeping me on my toes....