Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Goat Hut For Upcoming Breeding

We are bringing in a buck to breed our doe so we had to install a new line fence to divide the pasture. We also built a 2nd goat shelter so the doe, Honey Bee, and the buck have one side of the paddock with shelter and Scarlet can have the other side with access to the barn. This system will also come in handy when we wean the babies in the spring. Don built it from the cut off edged of the logs we had milled here on the property. 

 The girls have already been checking out the new digs. Scarlet has never been separated from her Mama so when the buck arrives and they are separated by the line fence and in different enclosures at night I think there will be a fair amount of crying going on from Scarlet. Poor baby.

 The chickens are so well camouflaged in the woods that I had to listen for them to find them today. The Welsummer roosters have been really great at keeping watch over them.

 Getting the new cross fence set up to divide the pasture in 2

 Got the recycled tin on the roof. The middle strip is clear so the sun can shine in.

 Working in the rain the past few days to get it done in time.

 The shelter and fence are finished. Just need to put doors on the shed. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Finished Carving the Raven Pumpkin

I finished carving the 3rd pumpkin today, it's a raven and it is lit up tonight with the goat and rooster pumpkins tonight. For more info on carving the first two click Here

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Day of Miracles (& Pumpkin Carving)

I am feeling so grateful tonight that I don't even know where to begin to tell the tale of today's wanderings and blessings. So many of my days are limited and difficult do to the challenges of chronic illness. My mind still wants to be active and involved. As a matter of fact my mind is filled with brilliant creative ideas most days but my body just can't keep up. So when I have a good day, I mean one of those rare, miraculous, energy filled, happy, creative days, it feels a bit like I have woken from a bad dream and that my healthy active life has returned after 17 long years of struggle.  Today was one of those wondrous days.  A miracle day. The EBV/H-6 protocol I am on is working,  I'm continually feeling better and am able to get more accomplished that I have in a long while.

It also happened to be one of those stunningly beautiful fall days that make you feel like you have stepped off the planet and landed directly in heaven. I decided to go for a ride but didn't know where I was headed. I drove over towards Westminster West and the wonderful display of pumpkins at High Meadows Farm caught my eye. I wondered if I would have enough energy to carve pumpkins. I used to carve very elaborate ones but after I got sick I never seemed to have the energy. I really felt like I could do it today, I had the energy and I found that so exhilarating. So I bought 3 of their lovely organic pumpkins. They have a little cash box where you pay by the honor system.

Then I headed north and came upon the Vermont Shepherd Farm. I just had to stop and snap a photo of the sheep grazing in the field.

I noticed that the farm store was open so I pulled in and it turned out that I was happy I did. I bought some carded wool to dye with my black walnut dye and a 1/2 leg of lamb. Like at the High Meadows farm stand they too had a cash box where you pay via the honor system.

The roads home were mostly dirt roads and they all were beautiful. I was escorted part of the way by an old black lab who was unsure just which direction he was heading in, stopping and turning often. 

When I got home I put the pumpkins out on the deck and got ready to carve them. I received a call from my Mom letting me know that a procedure she had undergone had turned out well. I had been praying about it all day so this felt like another miracle. 

Then I began gutting and carving my new pumpkins

I told myself that I would be happy if I had the energy to complete gutting and carving  at least one. I was extremely happy when I completed carving two. I was very rusty after not having carved any for 17 years. I made some structural errors on my first design but I realized it in time to save the design.

When Don came home I was still carving. He took some photos of me in my happy place!

 My goat pumpkin being lit up by the afternoon sun.

Both my rooster and goat pumpkins lit up with tea candles. 

 It would be wrong of me to say that I accomplished this all by myself. The boys were by my side the whole time I was carving those pumpkins. They were eating every pumpkin morsel that I dropped on the deck. The little hoovers!

 Don had quite a scary tale to tell when he got home, (and a cut and blackened eye to go with the tale). The final miracle for today was that my hubby did not lose his eye when he had an accident with a bungie strap that let go under pressure as he was tightening it. The metal hook came back at him and hit him right below the eye. He is in a fair bit of pain but at least it did not hit the eye itself. So very grateful!

Oh, I almost forgot with al these exciting things going on. Our chickens laid their first egg today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Making Black Walnut Dye and Ink

My wonderful neighbor gave me a large bucket of black walnuts yesterday so today I went right to work on them making dye and ink. It will be a 2 day process.  Today I separated the nuts from the hugs and boiled the hulls down into a lovely dye and tomorrow I will continue to boil them down into a more concentrated ink tomorrow.

 Getting set up this morning to remove the hulls from the black walnuts

 Cutting away the hulls. The hulls are the part I will use to make the dye and the ink

 Separating the hulls from the black walnuts

 Finally done!

 I boiled them for about 6 hours today. I will strain some of this and use it for a fabric dye. I will boil the remaining liquid again tomorrow to reduce it into a thicker, dark ink for using with calligraphy pens on paper. 

 When Don came home from work I was still boiling my post of black gold

 Early on, before the dye got really black and inky, I threw some old crocheted lace into the pot to check the color

 I tied up some of the nuts in a piece of cotton and threw that in the pot too. 

 The color looks much lighter in the photo for some reason. It is much deeper and richer in person. I will have to try taking another photo tomorrow. 

 Even though I plan on reducing it much more I couldn't resist bottling some up to try out. The bottle of ink is sitting on the two pieces of cloth I dyed.

 I was pretty tired at this point but I wanted to try it out with various pen nibs. I can't wait until it is further reduced and I can play around with it some more. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tea bag art

 Today I felt my collection of tea bags calling me and I think I may have started a new obsession with tea bag art.

 I am in love with tea bag art <3 p="">

I'm even thinking of starting a tea bag art only journal. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tiny Creatures

 The leaves are starting to fall, the acorns are falling and all of the tiny, wonderful, miraculous creatures of summer are busy preparing for winter. This prelude to the great silence of winter is always bittersweet for me. I adore watching, communing, and photographing all of nature's tiny wonders. When it all goes quiet and still in winter I miss them terribly.  So I am spending as much time watching, capturing and enjoying them as I can.

Bee in flight

Red Eft, (Juvenile Eastern Newt) 

Katidid, Bush Cricket