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Showing posts from June, 2009

Strawberry Season

We are winding down on the strawberry season. It's been cool (except for one nasty hot week), and that seems to prolong the season. We only have 2 short rows of berries, but they have produced well this year. Last picking we harvested 16 quarts.

We have to share a bit with the birds, as they love sweet, ripe fruit. We place these noise makers (made from stakes, twine and aluminum pie pans) throughout the patch, which helps a little. Mostly we just learn to cut away the part of the berry that is bird pecked.

When picking strawberries, you really have to get up close and personal. They try to hide from you. Any ripe (or overripe) berries you leave behind will turn nasty by the next time you pick. We typically pick even the yucky ones and throw them out of the patch, to avoid the spread of rottenness.
My favorite food in the whole world is fresh strawberry shortcake.

Here's the recipe for the shortcake:
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup shortening 2 eggs 1/2 tsp. salt 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder 2-1/2 c…

Cultivating Corn

Gotta be careful when you're cultivating corn. Drive between the rows...

A little carelessness can tear out the corn, instead of the weeds...

Steady hand on the wheel...

Keep looking ahead (looking back can be disastrous)...

It's a tedious job. Long hours driving back and forth in the field. Those who long for a taste of the "simple life" can apply between the hours of 5 and 7 a.m. (It's cool then.) We'll put you right to work...

Sunday Post

Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. --Job 14:1-2
Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. --Hebrews 9:27

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Hamburger meat from a single steer (castrated male cattle) will make about 720 quarter pound hamburger patties. That's enough for a family of 4 to enjoy hamburgers each day for nearly six months.
Americans are eating about 14 pounds of turkey a piece each year, more than double the rate 20 years ago.

Wordless Wednesday

Rain = Rest, Usually

Last night we had more rain. I was thinking earlier in the week about how when it rains, our normally frenzied pace slows a bit. We can take the time to fix things that have been put off. We can catch up with the laundry. We can sit a bit longer after gulping our meals. Even the dog gets it...

However, sometimes the rain brings more work.

You guessed it. No power. A lack of electricity on the farm means that anything automated doesn't work. Some of these automated systems are very important. Our generator ran very well all night long...

And then broke this morning. There was lots of rushing about by everyone, trying to diagnose the problem. Eventually, we got out the small generator and hooked it up, just to buy ourselves enough time to make a parts run to the major city an hour away. 
So, while rain usually brings a bit of rest to us in the summertime, this time it brought us more work. 
I'm happy to report that we are now fully enjoying the electricity the power company provides …

Wordless Wednesday

Beating the Rain

Last week, The Farmer mowed 25 (yes, twenty-five!) acres of hay. Despite the great weather predictions, it rained on the cut hay. Yesterday and today it was finally dry enough to bring in. 700 bales were stacked in the sheep barn yesterday, and 800 more came in tonight. But the wind was blowing from the east ("Wind from the east is not good for man or beast.") and the sky was clouding up.

Hurry... Bring me a 3/8" x 1-1/2" bolt for the baler chute chain!

Hurry... We've run out of twine, can you run some out here?


Whew. We made it in and beat the rain. The life of a farmer is carefree and stressless. Not!

Friday Fun Farm Facts

The average U.S. dairy cow produces 22.5 quarts of milk each day. That’s about 16,000 glasses of milk per year – enough for about 40 people. One cow can give 200,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime.

It takes approximately 1.4 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.

Cheese was first made over 4,000 years ago in Asia.

Wordless Wednesday

Spring Cleaning

Not really... There has been very little spring cleaning going on. But one thing I did take care of was our wool-filled mattress topper. Here's how I did it.
I filled the bathtub with warm water and added a little liquid laundry soap. I think dishsoap or shampoo would also work, but I grabbed the laundry soap. When I say "a little," I mean it. I swished the water and soap around, and mentally noted that it was about dishwater temperature. 
Then I put the topper in the water. I found out that washing wool is sort of like cooking noodles--you need more water than you think. After submerging it and flipping it over a time or two, I let it set for an hour or so. It's very important not to agitate or scrub wool, as this will cause it to felt. 
After the soak time, I drained the water out. This was as good as a session in the gym, as a water-logged mattress topper is heavy. I had to hold it out of the way, or it acted as a dam in the tub. Then I had to hold it up a bit, to le…

Friday Fun Farm Facts

Onions contain a mild antibiotic that fights infections, soothes burns, tames bee stings and relieves the itch of athletes foot.

Archeologists have found evidence that humans have enjoyed eating apples since 6500 B.C. Each of us eats more than 19 pounds of apples annually.

Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. They have been around for more than 8,000 years.

Americans eat about 125 pounds of potatoes a year, about half from fresh potatoes and half in processed foods.

Wool News

Earlier this week we headed over to our favorite woolen mill to pick up roving and yarn that they'd made from our wool. What fun! Nothing like a new infusion of supplies to generate new excitement. 

Dyed and undyed roving...

And new sock yarn (DK weight, wool/nylon blend) from our Suffolk wool. We kept the grey fleeces separate from the white ones, and they ran singles of each color and then plied them together...

We used our trusty dyepot and started dyeing some of the yarn. 

Wowza! What fun...

After the dyeing was done, I fashioned mini skeins for the Phat Fiber Sampler Box. The box is filled with fiber and yarn and other goodies from independent fiber artists and suppliers and is a creative form of advertising. Hopefully someone who gets one of these boxes will love our yarn and buy enough to do a project with. 

Our two daughters got busy making cool tags for the mini skeins. (So nice to have creative kids who are willing to help!) Tomorrow they will ship out, just in time to make it…

Wordless Wednesday

Progress in the Workshop

We converted an old chicken coop to a weaving workshop a couple of summers ago. It keeps evolving. This past weekend my in-laws mounted some of my old kitchen cabinets in the workshop. This is my favorite one:

I can't wait to fill the space with yarns and fibers...
I spent most of a day out there recently weaving, now that school is "out" and work is a touch less busy. Here are a couple of photos of rugs in progress or just finished. 

One is made from old blue jeans, and the other from a mixed lot of old corduroy pants.

Happy Monday!