Friday, September 30, 2011

Not Understanding Again

Having a bit of technical issues - What is new...  I found that for the past couple of days I am unable to post comments on the blog spots I follow...  I am not sure what has happened and it is saying something about a cookie????  Not telling me if it is chocolate chip or oatmeal - or where this cookie came from..  Not sure how to fix this unexpected gift - any ideas???

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Power is within our Hands

On that same trip into town I found this DVD which again I highly recommend. It shows what a town in France who was dealing with same issues as we are in the US but they stood up and made a difference.

One major made the decision to put organic food in their school food system and out of that they changed their town, their food growers, the shop keepers and the families who learned there are other ways to feed their families and they don't cost more - if fact it is cheaper. They are find incredible new ways of eating, sharing and living. There is amazing hope out there if we just learn how to do it and why we should do it.

We in the US are finally talking about the fact that our children are not going to live as long as us, we are looking at the fact that more kids are obese and with diabetes but they also talk about the shocking numbers of cancers in their population and most frightening their children. I want you to think about this - raise your hand if you have someone in your family who had or is having cancer right now? Now raise your hand if you know a friend who has had or is having cancer?? Are you getting the idea?? I know this week there will be lots of walks for breast cancer awareness and the so called war on cancer but why are we not also saying let's stop the causes... Yes, we know a lot of them and more then 90% of the is environmental - Yep, the stuff we put in the air, water, land and food is killing us. All the chemical additives and GMO chemically changed foods. There is hard studies and facts shown in the international conference on this DVD that will shock you into really make some decisions - I hope.

I have watched many of my family members, friends and even children die of cancer and I know this is not what I wish for anyone - PLEASE WATCH THIS - WE HAVE MORE POWER THEN WE KNOW...

Worth Watching - PLEASE

When I went to town this week I stopped in the library and picked up some goodies. One in particular was a DVD called "The Age of Stupid"

For those who are concerned about what we are doing to the planet and need to fill in the gaps this is a great movie to watch and then show everyone you can... What I really liked about this documentary was that it may give you moments of feeling like throwing up your hands and saying "Why bother - we are screwed" it then brings you to your feet to want to do something and that is what we need to do is STAND UP and say "I am mad as hell and I am GOING to do something".....

Please I beg you to watch this and be moved to action. Did you know that we only have till 2035 to turn this around and before you think that is a long ways off just remember it is almost October - where did this year go? What did you do to change the way you step on this planet. Do you have children, grand children or just wish to be around in a world that we can feed ourselves, find drinking water and have air that we can breath??? It is later then you think.... Please watch!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hard at Work

As I left for town this morning I gave clear instruction to the llama's to do their job and watch the goats and hens closely - coyotes have been thick this month.. I spoke slowly and even pointed so there should not have been any confusion. They have been on the job for over 10 years so they should not need reminding of their job description but it never hurts.

I was not gone that long but I guess the warm sunshine and slight breeze got them thinking they were are vacation.. Stretched out sunning their bellies and sound asleep.. I managed to get into the house, find the camera and get a few snaps before the goats told them I was home. I tell you those goats sure love to be tattle tails. Who could blame them - soon this unseasonable warm weather will be replaced by bone chilling winds and sub zero temp's.

Hope you where enjoying the weather today and soaking up the sun on your bellies..

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Life Lesson

NEVER nap with your front door open!!!

O.K. I should have learned this lesson with all the birds, bats and such who come wondering in the house but I must say I am a slow learner.

I just had to lay down, my stomach was doing flip flops and my head was pounding so I put myself to bed with my little DVD player running on the pillow next to me with the last of the Predator movies. As I drifted off to sleep (Yes, I can sleep with aliens killing everything in sight) I was hoping to my body would settle down. After about an hour of slumber I had this strange feeling I was being watched. I simply thought it was the movie but as I slowly opened my eyes there at the foot of the bed was my Alien...

It has such a sweet face and stood up on it's hind legs giving me the most angelic gaze.. I moved slowly to get a better look but it darted off. I sprang from my bed as the little one ran down the hallway and down the stairs to the living room. I grabbed my camera and tried to take some pic's. I got one of him as he went out the front door. I stood as still as possible and waited - hoping to get some more but the silly little thing just moves too fast..

So what did we learn from this - Yes, Grace is suppose to close the doors and windows more often less I want more house guests. Next, when trying to calm one's stomach and head jumping up so fast does nothing to help the problem. Lastly, It is better to have a mink in your bedroom then a bear so SHUT THE DOOR Grace....

Weekend Dyepots

While getting the chicken coop cleaned out and ready for the change in season I also had the dye pots going. I had the timer with my in the coop and Yes, I looked like a chicken running back and forth, back and forth trying to get many things done in a day.

This yarn I am calling "Bronzed Moss" - it is beyond words...

I again wanted to keep it all for myself but I have to be a big girl and share. If you are looking for a colorway for your fall and winter decorations this is it. I can see this full Wool Chenille Yarn used in everything from table decorations, gift wrapping, tree or fireplace banners and winter accessories. I am sure you can think of many one of a kind projects that this yarn could work it's way into - problem is I only have 3 to share - Yes, I am keeping one for myself - I could not help myself...

So what do you think you would use it for??

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beets Please

How many LOVE Beets??? I do, I do. I love them just slowed roasted with butter, salt, pepper and Maggi on them... I also love pickled beets, beet salad and even beet cake...

For those who might not know it you can also dye with them. No, you will not get this amazing color just from beets but with a few dyeing tricks I have learned along the way you can create this amazing color with beets and a few other plants. Now don't you wished you had planted beets in the garden.

This amazing yarn will be up on Etsy by tomorrow - need the good old sun to dry the skeins out but don't wait too long because I am fighting with myself not too keep this dye lot for myself. I forgot to say this is Mohair Boucle Yarn - 100 yards per skein - price to be determined.

See BEETS are GREAT!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I am one lucky gal and then some

This afternoon I was so excited when I reached the mailbox and opened the door - I could not stop myself, I just had to open the box right there....

It was the incredible picture I won from Jerry (the talented artist) and Candy who is the writer of I wrote a comment on their blog for the chance to possibly win this picture and I can not believe that I was the lucky winner... I did a happy dance when I was given the news but when I opened the box and got to see the picture my feet started dancing... OH MY GOSH!!! I think it looks just perfect on my light sage green walls in my office - don't you???

THANK YOU! I know it just sounds so lame but I really do want everyone to know how lucky and thankful I am. Please readers if you really want some great recipes and stories please stop on over the their blog and get ready for a great read. Again, Many thanks Candy and Jerry for sharing such a great gift with me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Urban Violet

As the saying goes "When Life Gives You Lemons We Can Make Lemonade or THROW Those Lemons At The Person Who Screwed Up"

I sent some of my great Alpaca Boy Fiber to a mill who was just starting out and I spent a great deal of time with them and even wrote everything down so there was no mistakes. I have been doing this for so long with mills that I thought life was grand and everyone was on the same page. Well, NOT for these gals!!! I tried not rip some one's head off when the yarn arrived back to the farm and instead of a sport weight it is very thin lace weight... Yes, I did require a refund and then had to wait a bit before I could even touching it without becoming hopping mad...

After I gathered myself and gave myself a long break from the disappointment I went to work. I started to dye a third of the yarn into a great Soft Violet and then plied the three together for a sport weight which is much more workable for my customers. It is buttery soft, has great drape and will be next to the skin soft for any project you have in mind.

So what was a disappointment is now a yarn I love and I think you will too!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

What is for Dinner?

Tonight's dinner is a easy one but so tasty and well worth some of the effort. When I was little this was my first noodle making efforts and I called them Noddle Shingles. This is a basic egg noodle recipe (I had 3 fresh hens eggs from my girls) and I used some Spelt Flour along with my organic flour. Just roll out the dough and cut strips and then squares - great to do with little ones and not so little ones....

Then I have Sweet Italian Sausage from a local farm browning in a cast iron skillet. I add a half of a sweet onion chopped finely, zuch's, eggplant and fire roasted tomatoes. Then garlic and what ever seasonings fit your mood - there is pepper, basil and oregano in this dish. Let it simmer but do not let the veggies get mushy. While this is slowly cooking, place your noodles in boiling water and they get done about the same time. I topped it with a little Parmesan cheese... Yummy is all I can say and really not much to it. I also have enough to put two containers in the freezer for a cold flurry evening.

Hot and Fresh

I know that might describe me but it is a new bread recipe I created this afternoon and it is PERFECT and YUMMY - I just thought I would give it a whirl

I used my bread machine but you can use this same recipe for the old fashion way of bread making..

1 cup Spelt Flour

1 cup Whole Wheat

2 cups Bread Flour

2 Tbl Blackstrap Molasses

2 Tbl Vital Gluten, 1 teaspon Mineral Salt, 2 teaspoon Yeast and 1 1/2 cups Coconut Milk (Unflavored). You can also use the same amount of Goat's milk it you have it..

Just use your bread machine instructions or the same procedure you use when making old fashion bread.

The bread sliced smoothly and there was no large holes or grainy texture. It is a moist and a lovely tasting bread. I can not wait to have it with my fresh morning eggs and pecan crusted bacon on Saturday - I will just toast it with fresh butter on it. Enjoy!


This is the view from my front deck this morning - snow covered Pikes Peak!!!

As I was feeling more then drained of every drop of creativity and overwhelmed with schedule deadlines that was chocking the life right out of me when I crawled into bed last night with every bone weary and mind numbing thoughts swirling around without any hope of a clear resolution.

The night with it's usual up and down moments such as checking on why the dogs had been barking as if Aliens had landed on the front drive. My tossing and turning trying to find a spot on my bed which likened the story of the Princess and the Pea. Not to mention the trips to the powder room for all the herbal tea I consumed while reading. All in all a typical night which would have me not feeling like I had gathered a hour of sleep. I attempted some simple mediation's to quite myself and gave myself the proper mental phrases to gather answers during my slumber time - it helps if you are sleeping but I pressed forward just the same.

As I awoke this morning and struggled with those same feelings I had before I engaged the bed of nails last night I walked downstairs as I do every morning to start the pot of coffee and put Chiefs pills in yet another morsel of cheese bricks and veal sausage. This time before turning down that well worn path I stopped as if someone was calling me on the front deck. I opened the door and stepped out to this incredible sight. The crisp air hit my not so awake face and I took a deep breath as if to draw the mountain inside of me. In that air is also the pungent fragrance of my Billies which for other folks might be offensive but to me it signals that fall is here and so are their interest in the girls..... In the split second it was as if Life was given to me - my heart was full and my mind was clear. Now before you say it - "Isn't that the way your brain is always Grace?" The answer is NO!!! It is most of the time filled with crude that sucks aways those great thoughts, those creative thoughts and even a few times a year those intelligent thoughts.

So I went and got the camera and thought I would share the view that fills me, the mountain that is a part of my world and how quickly you can be inspired if you only pick a different route for the day.

What inspired you today???

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hot Flashes / News Flashes

This morning I was greeted with a crisp cold chill in the air that required me to find my red cotton sweater. I started the coffee pot and went out to open the hen house doors and to start the day. Half way there I felt the old body light it's pilot light and suddenly the sweater was too much. I reached the hen house with a grin on my face and flapping my sweater ends like the hens do as they come off their perch to greet the sunrise and their pans of grain. I say to them every morning "Good Morning My Sweet One's How Was Your Sleep" which in turn I am greeted with 24 girls all talking at once sharing the events of their evening dreams and worries.

As I made my way to the goat girls barn I was this time gripping the ends of my sweater and pulling it tight around me. I had wished I had put on a hat and maybe some gloves as I gripped the cold steel of the pens gate to enter the feed room. I wished I had Chief woolly mass of fur to comfort my bones but all I had was my red cotton sweater. It sure makes this gal move quicker knowing a hot cup of Joe is awaiting me inside the house once morning chores are done.

I don't know about the rest of you but I have given up watching the News - it is not that I do not care about the world around me, it is more about the commercially driven, sound bite repetition of the negative events from the last 24 hours that does not seem to hold any answers as to how we can change the senseless pain we seem to inflict on each other. Our world has become fixated on knowing all the gore and horror of an event as the news crews circle around feasting on the pain while telling the story over and over again. This only goes to scare us, depress us and to sell us a new pill that will soon be found out to cause more harm then good or drive us to eat something that is not good for us thinking that will sooth our shattered nerves. This also makes us feel as if we have no control over anything and so we turn our power over to a bunch of shifty, self serving politicians who screw us over at every turn. Well, I may not be able to control my body temp, the weather or a million other things but I can control that little button on the clicker.

How many things in life do we just mindless turn over our power too??
Why must I know every horrible event or manufactured event that is being streamed 24/7 on more channels then a person could every wish to view??
Since I do not feel we get accurate information to begin with - how could I even think I am being an "Informed Citizen"? What does it matter if I am informed if I do not take any action? Honestly, how many folks anymore take some type of action?

I believe the first action is not to turn the button on but rather to turn my attention to being of service to something I believe in... It can be something as minor as providing a loving, organic home to kind four legged souls who wish nothing more then to be who they where placed on this planet to be or as grand as helping stamp out world hunger through small farm sustainable practices, or finding funds to provide safe drinking water to everyone on the planet. So as I will be taking on and off my sweater today I will be also be considering new ways to be a New Flash in my own life.

I would love to know what you are FLASHING about?? Sharing our passions might just give others an insight into where their power could go - PLEASE SHARE YOUR FLASH!! We have more Power then we think.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Letting Go Of Piles

As I have been working on letting go of those things I no longer need, value or wish to have in my energy space I have been most recently clearing out my magazine stashes.... For those who know me you might need to sit down and breath...

I admit up until four years I ago I had about a six or eight subscriptions coming to the house. I would read them cover to cover and many times over while sitting in the barn waiting to babies to arrive or while snowed in for weeks at a time - I learned so much but as I now realizing I have those lessons in my head and I really do not need the paper sitting in their nice and neat stacks. I admit I even told myself - what if my mind starts to slip I would have the paper here to go back to the article I needed and so I should to keep them - I know that was weird thinking because if my mind was such mush I would not be thinking that I needed the information. It is strange what we tell ourselves. O.K. maybe it is strange what I tell myself but I can't be the only one with faulty logic. I know I am not one of those folks who have only a small little path through their ceiling high piles, nor do I save scraps of paper without the will to throw it away - I have just been deciding that I really do not need or want certain things in my life anymore.

I also felt guilty that the paper was here and that I had already contributed to the deforestation - so getting rid of them was wasteful. Once I realized that this did not fit into my new way of walking in the world some four years ago I stopped all but four subscriptions and they all have to do with my business. That stops me from keeping the problem going and now it was just a matter of clearing out the problem that was already here.

I have been finding new homes for them where I can such as the Martha Steward and Mary E's on the kitchen table. In the antique wooden crate are quilting, beading, stamping, altered art and design magazines. In my bedroom is the antique bakers rack house the nice and neatly stacked Mary Jane, Mother Earth, Wild Fibers and Spin Off - which at some point will be going up for sale because I have all the issues for those and they are worth something according to my fiber and farm friends are hoping to get into their collections.

I have made a deal with myself that each night I set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes and I take a stack of magazines. I go through each one to make sure there was not some special article I missed or that I really needed to read over again (so far there has only been a few) and then I put it in the sack. This has been a good project while I was sitting in the barn with Sugar but I still kept with the timer because none of us want to do something we hate for the whole day and night. That feels to much like punishment and none of us sign up for that - so a little at a time.

Now I understand most would say what is the big deal? They are only magazines. I would have no problem there but I am sure you have something sitting in your house that is your "Pile". You might even find this strange for me to be writing about since I am known for the "Black Trash Sack Cleaning" That is what my boys called it... When I would just have too much of life crapping all over my world and I need to get things under control I would go on a cleaning spree - that meant the Huge Black Construction Sacks were unrolled and away I went. Some folks have had me do that for their homes when things have gotten out of control, I have done this when someone has passed and the family just could not cope with going through things and it has even been suggested that I become a professional home organizers. Now that it is just me here and the work load never ends the piles may be really organized but there has not been too many of the Black Sack Cleaning Days. I have also been working as you all might know on a change of life adventure. I have lived here for 15 years and I don't need, want or use 80% of what is in this house so it is time to get real and get down sizing.

What in your life needs to be let go of??? What is it that you tell yourself as to why you can not do it? What "Letting Go" project do you feel you are willing to work on this week?? Would love to hear from you and let's support each other in cleaning up our piles.

What do you think of Winter Wheat?

I am trying to get more Natural Plant Dyed Yarn and Fibers up on my Etsy shop to get the word out that incredible things can be done with what Mother Nature give us. This yarn offering is just a taste of items to come.

The yarn is an organic Merino mill spun yarn - buttery soft and perfect next to the skin. I used a second generation Osage Chip dye bath and then quickly dunked the skein into a bath of Forest Nettles. The results is a very subtle shading of Winter Wheat blowing in the cold crisp air of October... I just love the way it turned out - just wished the pictures could capture it better - I think I could spend 24/7 trying to get the camera to do what I want and still I fall short. Trust me this is so much better in person.

Anyway, hope you will consider purchasing some Natural Plant Dyed Organic Merino Yarn "Winter Wheat" - it is 108 yards (99 meters) weight is 1 and 7/8 ounces (52 grams) and is 10 WPI or what most consider a heavy sport weight... All this goodness for a mere $ 9.75 per skein and can be found at

Love to know what you think of it - Comments are always appreciated.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bunny Baubles

Looking for something incredibly soft with a texture that will lend itself to all sort of projects???

I have just the yarn for you " Bunny Baubles " Now listed in my Etsy shop

Read all about this Thick Thin Art Yarn - hand spun by my very own hands. That was before the 7 hour weed pulling section...

Fall at the Farm

Everyone measures seasons differently - some see the turning of the leaves others feel the nip in the air but for me it is the morning routine of emptying the mouse traps. It is not a task that gives me much room to pause but you sure can tell that things are changing when I get all three traps full each morning. You really have to keep on top of this issue or soon they will send out the word that your house is a nice place to spent the winter.

One amazing thing about a log home is most animals great or small can use the logs like a step ladder to reach heights that normally they could not reach in other homes. Mice also love to use the logs as a race track since the walls do not exactly meet the logs they can travel from room to room in such a cleaver way...

While you may be raking leaves or pulling out those fall sweaters I will be emptying traps... Oh, the changing of the season's here at the Funny Farm.

R.I.P. Sugar 1990 - 2011

Saturday at 10:18 am I had to put poor sweet Sugar down. It was not an easy decision but he was starting to be in pain and I will never let an animal suffer. It was time and after saying our goodbye's and sending him off I placed him in a peaceful spot in the forest. His life here was pure joy dotted with some events of strong willed boy behavior. His kind nature and fantastic fiber made him such a gem. I hope everyone who read this might take a moment to first send a prayer for him and then one for those who make your world a special place...

I will always have you in my heart dear one and now you are with your brother Casper...Blessings and Many Thanks for loving me back.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pasta Machine vs Cell Phone

I am feeling like a limp noodle tonight - both not only in body and spirit.. but also in the selection of dinner.

As tired as I am I decided I really needed to eat some home made fresh egg noodles. I have one of those hand cranked noodle makers but this low tech tired girl brought out her Ronco Automatic Pasta Machine. Yep, I purchased one so many years ago from a late night info show and love it to pieces... You just put in your great ingredients and flip the switch, watch it mix then flip the switch and it extrudes any space, size thickness of noodle you want. Today I used fresh laid eggs from my hens this morning. Drop in boiling water and in minutes a wonderful homemade noodle. I kept is simple with a bit of butter and fresh grate cheese on top - HEAVEN!!! I made enough to also treat my hard working dogs. We all deserved something great to eat after the day we had - besides it was fitting that I ate something like this when I was feeling so much like those noodles laying on the towel.

What does this have to do with Cell Phones you ask?? Many folks think I am strange or some have even asked if I am Amish since I don't do all the techno gadgets that seems to be in every one's hands but one look at the gadgets I do have would make you giggle. I have a bread maker, a dehydrator, Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, electric steamers, microwave, crock pots, electric knife, coffee machine and the list goes on but I have a regular phone with no caller id, call waiting, picture taking, movie playing or global locator's - it just rings and sometimes the buttons stick. It just goes to show where folks interests are and I love my Ronco Automatic Pasta Machine...

Quills + Checkbook = Very Bad Day

Remember that great breakfast with that Strawberry Jam - that was the best part of the day because everything hit the fan after that.

I went out to finish up some outside chores, go hug the bottle kids and as always Chief came a running from clear across the pasture to give me one of his bear hugs. As he reached the edge of my blurred vision (allergies in high gear from sleeping on hay bales) I could see the poor fellow had a mussel full of porcupine quills. He ran so fast to reach me that I could not get away fast enough and I ended up with two quills stuck into my thigh. Oh my sweet dear big boy. I could tell he got a good bite of the nasty beasty because there was quills in his mouth as well as all over his nose and lips. Chief is a big baby about his body - heck it take two of us to hold him down to cut toenails. This was not going to be easy..

I went into the house to get the supplies necessary to handle the task - heavy gloves, pliers, first aid spray and the camera. I tried folks to get you a picture of this mess but he kept turning away, running away and trying to knock the camera out of my hands so I will have to paint the picture in words... Needless to say I managed to get two quills out before he lost his nerve and refused to let me try again. So with all the years of handling animals I tried all the tricks in the book - four hours later I called my son Nick (Chief was his dog here at the farm) and asked for help. I felt so horrible to have to call him because he had been on the road doing his business since before day light and was getting ready for another very long stretch of trade shows, business meetings and a horrific schedules. He said it would be around 8:30 pm before he could come and during that time I kept trying to get a few more out.

Nick arrived so tired and sore but I thought surely it would be a piece of cake. Nick would come in and one of us would hold down the big guy and the other would quickly pull out those painful quills. Yeah Right - anything but!!! At one point Chief even tried to bite Nick. So after an hour of doing that we went into the house and hunted down a 24 hour Vet Clinic - you see all my farm call vet's no longer are in practice... Chief has not left this farm since he was first brought here 10 years ago so this should be interesting. He does not do truck rides and really does not have contact with strangers. Place all that together with the horrible pain he was in and I was worried we might have trouble. Nick got him in this truck and we went into town.

Now by the time we got into town it was 10 pm and all of us are so tired and wishing to be in bed rather then this clinic but we needed this done. Chief was a trooper as long as the two of us was with him but when they took him back to be placed under medication he was anything but - He was not letting them shave his leg to place the IV in so they had to give him another shot to put him under before they gave the second sedation to make sure he did not wake up half way through. He was not going to go down - they commented he fought it the whole way. After getting the dozen and a half of quills out (some where in an inch and a half deep) they also clipped his very long toenails. Yeah another wrestling match avoided..

No it was almost 1 am and he had finally got standing up and we headed home with medication for infection and a list of common sense instructions. By the time we reached the farm it was 1:30 and we walked Chief back to the barn and shut him in with the bottle babies who had been worried where their protector had gone. He went down the moment I shut the door and I checked on him every hour to make sure he did not have a reaction to the med's. Sound asleep he was and well. Meanwhile I also checked on Sugar - Yep, still hanging on.

I kept saying to Nick through this whole thing "I'M SO SORRY" - I just felt horrible to extend this guys day into the next day but as he said "Mom, why wouldn't I come - his my dog too" I sure wished he could have his dog but where he lives, the lack of space and these dogs live to work it just can not be. I wished so much that Reese (the grandson) would have the HUGE love that these dogs give and the sense that a big white bear always has your back in a great feeling.

This morning the big lug hardly could stay awake or walk ten feet without going down. He finally was himself about 3 pm this afternoon and was running the fence line and gathering up this babies. Each time I would check on him he did give me his long whining talk that he is famous for and then licks his bandage on his leg as if to say "MOMMY, I am wounded, feel sorry for me"

What a day - $400 spent, no sleep again during the night but in the end a small price to pay for helping one of the furry four legged family members here at the farm. Again I want to say "Sorry Nick" but also "Many thanks for your help"....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Strawberry Jam from a Sweet Friend

Needed a treat after the night I had - Sugar pulled through a very cold and rainy night - Grace's body on the other hand is on it's last leg...

As I drag this tired gal to the house for breakfast I knew I had deserved something special. You see a sweet dear long distant friend (Sheri, my positive partner in all things challenging) sent me not too long ago a box of 9 jars of her incredible Strawberry Jam... Words can not describe how YUMMY this jam is and she picked every strawberry that went into this jewel toned treat. I am not one to eat much jams or jellies and I surely never make my own but I can admit her talent in the jam making department is far above any others I have tasted. I am so thankful for her sharing with me and not only just her jam but her wisdom and kindness...

So, I eeked myself around the kitchen and made me three drop biscuits and some over easy eggs fom my sweet hens to have with my jam... Yes, I will admit this also, I have taken a teaspoon and just scooped me out a round mound of red tempting taste bud tingling jam and licked on it - O.K. I deserved those little treats I work darn hard here... So this morning I enjoyed my breakfast with the fantastic jam... Great way to give me reason to keep going even when my will is weak.

MANY THANK SHERI - you are an angel..

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tempting new colors up on my Etsy Shop

While running back and forth from the barn to the house and back again I decided to get some new items up on Etsy. I felt like a humming bird darting all around but I got some goodies up at

Plenty of colors to pick from and tons of possibilities for your holiday projects and gift giving. Hope you check them out...

Yep - Sweet Sugar is still breathing - slow but not labored. He still reacts when I come in the barn which is about every 20 minutes which is the exact time it take to download pictures - Darn this Dial Up.... He is no longer taking water so the end is near. I understand I have been saying that for sometime but he is amazing and strong willed to say the least... He does manage to talk with the new little boys on the other side of the barn. I guess he is imparting his wisdom to them since he knows he will not be here during the winter to teach them.. A valued member of this farm to the end.

Here is how the wash day went in picture form. First picture is of the fleece right of the sweet one. Next is the first washing, then comes the second washing and last is the final washing and rinse.


Once laid out on the drying racks the ringlets sprang back into shape and as soon as my silly camera battery recharges I will snap you a picture or two. OH, My Fingers.. They are impatient to get playtime. All work and no play makes Grace a grumpy girl... and take it from me she is really, really grumpy.

I am always amazed to see how with a great breeding program, a focused,detailed stretch of hard work along with a good soap you can get the most amazing results. If you have never seen this breed of sheep please google it and take a look - if you get a chance to meet them in person you will see why they are pure magic. In their native country Teeswater, Great Britain the animals graze on fresh bright green lands housed behind waist high stone stacked fences and get their fleeces washed while still on the animal in the River Tees. The river meanders through 85 miles of history and experienced Shepard's to the North Sea. I must admit I often dream of walking the countryside with a flock of what I fell is the best long wool sheep on the planet. You could spot me a mile away I would be the one covered in red bumps...

Wash Day - Guess Who??

Guess what breed of sheep this is and it's color???

Give Up???

It is an incredible Teeswater Fleece that came from a lady I have not talked with for about 7 years - thought she no longer raised the wonderful sheep but the universe connected us up and I am thrilled. Five pounds of lushes long locks of prime fiber...

For those who may not know this about me - I am very allergic to Lanolin - Yep a gal who raised sheep breaks out in bumps and a horrible rash and them my finger tips split and bleed. It is unbearable that the thing I love in life and hurt me so.. Hence the reason I also settled on Icelandic Sheep because they are more of a dry sheep - less Lanolin.

So in order not to injury myself I had on long sleeves, heavy rubber gloves and by no means scratching my face or any other part of my body.

The process is simple - I take a small amount, no more then two ounces at a time and gently lower the fleece into the sink with very, very hot water and my own homemade soap you slowly push the fleece into the water and let it sit while the soap and water does it work. That would give me time enough to run out to the barn and check on Sugar. I sat with the timer for 15 minutes and then ran back into the house. At that point I gingerly life the fiber out of the water and into a colander. The fiber is still very hot while you press the water out. Then the process is repeated over and over again till the lockets are spotless. Time consuming but well worth the effort. Trick here is not to let that fiber cool down and then get shocked when putting it into the water or you might just be making felt. Sometime I was not wanting to do.

It took a total of six hours to do the two fleeces - only one is from my friend - now they sit drying on the racks and soon I will be able to touch them with my bear hands - I am doing the Happy Dance....

Wild Ride on the Tilt A Whorl

Labor Day was nothing but a wild ride - at least for me... Wished I had pictures but it was just me and I was thankful for not having this on film - parts where not my finest hour.

As a child I loved those swirling Tea Cup Rides or anything that swirled around and around. Now you can't get in on the Roller Coaster - Hate Heights but anything that spun around fast was my ticket to ride. Thank goodness I had years of practice for what my Labor Day held for me.

I noticed that the little billies where getting too interested in the back ends of the ladies they where living with so I thought why not get them moved. Now this task over the years ran very smoothly because I had dear Sugar and Casper. They would gather the little boys up when I got them separated from their Mothers and walk them across the farm and into their new barn and pens. It would look like one of the scense from the movie "Babe", where the pig would just ask the sheep to walk and they would without the least bit of trouble - "That will do Pig"... Since it was going to be just me I thought no PROBLEM - SILLY Grace!!!

After getting all the mothers and babies into the big barn it was time to grab the boys, remove them and walk them over to their new digs. Here is where the round and round part of my story comes in. After two hours of spinning round and round trying to grab these fast little guys by the horns the task was done - at least this part of the task at hand. Now I admit is was a bit dizzing but I think most either would fall to the ground or up chucked, maybe both..

I closed the barn door so the boys could not see their mother and off we went with Shepard's hook in hand, tunes in my ears and a song in my heart to get across the farm. Yeah Right!!! I thought a person was suppose to get smarter with age?? Another two hours had passed and more round and around we went - the problem was I had 6 boys all going every which way without a single thought in their heads, typical story of when you get a group males together. The llama's tried to help but they thought I was confused and kept putting them back into their old pasture. The Llama's where doing what they normally do - putting things back when they get out. The dogs tried to help but when they would bark it freaked the boys out and they ran back to their old pasture. You see the dogs only bark when there is trouble and all have been taught to run back home to where they will be safe - you don't stand out in the open and surely you do not move to new uncharted territory. I was getting sun baked and tired of the dance so one by one I caught them again by the horns and put them between my knees and slowly we walked, Yeah Right, to their new barn. This was again the round and round we go dance and this time the billies got dizzy. As we slowly and I mean slowly walked across the large backyard they stepped all over the back of my heels with their sharp hooves, poked their sharp horns into my thighs and we are not even going to talk about how the blood was rushing to my head being bent over for hours trying to keep a death grip on the unwilling subjects. I was not going to stop because that would not only break the momentum but I think my body would realize the punishment it was under and give out. Now, I know you are thinking that does not sound that hard - try it and then talk to me....

An additional three hours now have passed but all the little boys are in their new digs. As I checked on Sugar each time after I secured another boy into the confines of the barn I thanked him for the years of making this event run so smoothly. I told him how much I am going to miss his talents and how this batch of boys will not have the privilege of his training and loving presence. Now the screaming, crying and running around like they are being chased by the devil himself will start. While they are doing all this racket the Mother's across the farm are screaming, crying and running around like their little one's have been stolen.. This drama is acted out every year and never changes. Around 3 am the noise dyed down but as soon as the sun rose on the eastern skyline the screaming began and so did the aspirin taking.

Looking back I gave out a big giggle - Labor Day around the farm is One Wild Ride!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Crisp Air for Breakfast

As I sit here this morning I have my cotton cap on my head and my favorite Icelandic sweater on - Fall is in the air and surrounding the Funny Farm. I noticed a few leaves in the forest have a red tint to them and the animals are starting to eat to bring their weight up for the coming cold months.

It was a cold night last night in the barn and Yes, Sugar is still with us. At 2:30 in the morning he stopped breathing and I stroked his forehead and horns saying my prayers for him. Just as I was trying to peel my aching bones off the dirt floor he gasped and opened his eyes. Oh My Gosh!!! So I sat back down to check him over - his breathing is slow but steady, his eyes are still clear and he took some water. I put his folded blanket back under his head and took the other blanket and covered his body. We sat watching "Twin Peaks" on the portable DVD player (thanks kids) and poured another cup of hot tea....

I fell asleep somewhere around 3:30 and woke up to the little billies in the next room getting into a head butting contest around 6:00 am. Sugar was looking at me and still breathing at the same pace. I gave him another drink and checked his pulse...

I tried to get up but my left leg had also fallen asleep. Thank goodness no one saw me getting up off the ground - it sure was not Graceful at all. As I limped to the house trying to get my leg to work I really needed a hot cup of coffee, two more aspirins and a warm wash cloth to run over my face.

So, another night under our belt and a new day before us. The goats are thrilled with the cooler weather, the dogs are doing their Happy Dance with dew on their coats and I am just looking for my Icelandic Sweater to warm these bones. Hoping for a productive day today and a peaceful passing for Sugar.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Through the Storm

After getting through a very long Friday of sitting with Sugar and trying to get work done in frantic dashes as to not leave poor Sugar alone for any length of time I was getting worn down. I decided to quickly jump in the shower and get the stink and dirt off me. The hot water brought new life to this tired body and so I put on clean clothes, grabbed a quick bit and out to the barn I went.

While sitting with Sugar who still was giving his all to stay on this planet I marveled how quickly time goes by and how most of the time we are caught up in things that really never matter. Just then the sky grew black, the clouds opened up and lightening started hitting the ground. I opened the barn door and a clap of thunder scared the crap out of me.... Everyone in the barn jumped including Sugar. The ground shook and I ran over to Sugar.. Calming him down with strokes on his forehead and horns he went back to his gentle slumber. The yearlings boys on the otherside of the divider were anything but calm - I agreed with them - the lighting was getting worse and very scary. I would have loved to have been able to run to the safety of the house but their is a big metal gate to touch and go through on the way to the house and the lightening was too risky.. So there I sat in the barn with only my shorts and tee shirt on. The temp dropped a good 30 degrees and I could see my breath in the air. I gave my blanket to Sugar who was shivering with the cold while the goose bumps grew goose bumps and my teeth started to chatter. No time to be a wimp, just suck it up and keep Sugar comfortable.

Power was lost over and over again as the storm looked like some cheesy Hollywood movie where they went over board with the special effects. All I could think about was the goat girls and their babies where trapped in a pasture with no way to get to the barn but I did not dare try to even get to them. Knowing my luck I would be the headline news "Old Farm Girl at Larkspur Funny Farm found like a Crispy Critter in the middle of her field" - "WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?" I kept reminding myself that they are hardy stock and will use their brains.

Three hours later I was able to close up the chicken coop, run to get the girls in and then run to the house to get on warmer clothes. Two more Army blankets, a flashlight alone with a well deserved slice of bread and cheese in hand I went out to sit again with Sugar. I truly thought with his slowing breathing and lack of interest in the noises around him that soon he would join his Brother. I settled on the hay to count the time between each breath - something I did for years with my husbands persistent illness. I sat vigil in his hospital room and at home for so many years that it is just who I am anymore.

As the Sun is rising this morning you'll never believe this or maybe you will - Sugar is still on the planet and ate some grated cucumbers and even a strawberry while I did my morning chores. I have sat with many on this farm while they slip away and this is the first time one of my dear one's has been able to hang on for so long - I do not know if I should be happy or sad - I will just stay in the present moment and record every minute in my heart. I managed to swallow a couple of aspirins and sinus pills along with my cup of coffee while I type this enter. My body feels like I have been beaten with a baseball bat but still I give thanks that all of us made it through the storm and rise this morning still breathing... Oh, the simple things.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Strong Willed Sugar

Such a long nightand it is going to be a lond day. As the sun sat behind my big pines to the west I was counting the minutes till my sweet one would pass. Hour after hour I sat with his head in my lap. Soon the air was too cold for the clothing I had on so I sprinted into the house and but on long johns, pants, a flannel shirt and brought a army blanket out to keep me warm. As the hours ticked by I sat on the hard dirt floor of the barn with the bag of bones that my Sugar is now reduced too. Still as I sat he would gaze into my eyes and let out a little sound of recognition.

By 3 am he closed his eyes and I thought this would be it. Just then one of the many owls who live here came and perched on the window opening and gave me a start. He sat there watching us both and blinked over and over while letting out a soft hoot every couple of minutes.. I thought maybe the universe was announcing Sugar's passing but just then Sugar lifted his head and gave me that sweet sound just like he does when I would come into the barn in the morning to greet him.

So now it is almost 7 am in the morning, I am so stiff I could hardly peel myself off the ground to come in and make a pot of coffee. Sugar is still with us - his body is still weak but he his still hanging on and not ready to go. Who knows what today will bring but you will find me in the barn on the ground with my dear one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Behind Tears - Sugar

Today has been a very hard day - watching my dear four legged furry friend Sugar slipping away. It started around 10 pm last night and I have been in the barn with his head in my lap almost every minute since. Only leaving my sweet one for the needs of the other animals during this horrid heat today.

We all knew this time was coming but it is never easy. If you could please send out a prayer for this sweet soul - He has graced this farm for 15 years now and this year he reached to great age of 21 years young. Sugar has been a fixture in my life for so long that I realize he will be taking a big part of my heart with him. The great and hard part about taking such good care of animals is that we think they will be with us forever - in the last two years my old ones are finding their way to another place and plane while I sit here missing them with all my heart... Still I remember the GREAT times, trying times and even the sad times with great love and gratitude.

It won't be long now but it will come too soon for me...

Pick Three and Get The Forth One Free

Have I got a great deal to get you started on those holiday gifts and decorating projects. Pick Three Get The Forth One Free!!! That's right - I figured it was about time you get to pick what you want instead of me trying to read your minds... Trust me it can get fuzzy in there.

Here is how it works - when you go to my Etsy shop you find this offering, when your ready to check out you place in the "Message to Seller" box which four colors you have picked, then proceed through the check out process and with in 24 hours your selection is winging it's way to your creative hands. Just in case there is someone out there wondering "Yeah but all I want is four silver, can I do that"? You bet Yeah!! Or four reds or anything your little heart desires.....

So I hope that gets you going to start those projects - remember time flies - it is already September...