Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ready to ply

     I have had the spinning wheel for a week now and I am getting much better at spinning. I think alot of that has to do with just relaxing. I found I was so tense that my shoulders were killing me after a while on the wheel. I was wound tighter than the yarn was. I have started to relax and just let the wheel work and I think I may get the hang of it after all. I am ready to ply some yarn today. I took my first yarn off the bobbin and just wound it in a ball to keep to remind myself how bad it really was. As I was winding it up, I thought how that yarn is a lot like me, with a lot of imperfections. Lumpy, bumpy, fat, skinny... I sure am glad that God loves me regardless of all my faults. With His help I will slowly get smoothed out and even.
      We finally have snow all over the ground and I love it. Luke is enjoying running and bucking in it. The goats however, prefer to look at it from the barn door. They watch him as he runs out every morning and you see that they think he has lost his mind. The nights have been so cold, the guineas have been coming in and roosting with the chickens. This doesn't make the chickens happy at all. They prefer to have the guineas roost in the pine tree. I am missing a hen and I wonder if she is in the loft on a clutch of eggs. They have a way of hiding and being very quiet when you are looking for them. I really don't relish the thought of little peeps this time of year. I must dry up the last doe here in the next week, to give her 8 weeks to rest before she freshens again. I rolled oats this morning for breakfast and I told Tim this will be my last until March. I cannot stand to drink store bought milk. I don't like the way the goat milk tastes if you freeze it, so I am out of luck for a few weeks. Oh well, time will pass quickly. Hope you are enjoying your winter weather.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Can I spin...? No

       Well, the wheel is here and it is beautiful. It went together like a dream, every part was wrapped so nicely. It is made in Poland and it made the trip without a scratch. I had it almost put together by the time Tim got home from work. It treadles so smoothly. I am so happy with it. I attempted to try my hand at spinning, that, however, did not go like a dream. I can see it is going to take a lot of patience and time to accomplish that. I plan to spend the day, teaching myself. Maybe in a year or two, I'll get it. No one ever said it was going to be easy, right?  "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." And I am going to need His strength, believe me. 
That's Blue Boy chewing on a pigs ear and hopefully not the leg of my wheel
        Thank you for all the wonderful comments I have been getting lately. I love hearing from all of you and knowing that I have made some wonderful friends. The Lord has blessed us and our farm so much and without Him, we are nothing.      Ok, I'm off to spinning land...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today's the day

       Well. today is supposed to be the day... the shipping order from UPS says delivery is today. The long awaited spinning wheel.... This has been several years in the making and I can't believe it's finally on it's way here. I moved the living room furniture around to make a place for it. I spent yesterday carding fleece and fiber again. I washed the fiber from "Licorice", one of our Angoras. She is black and I was getting tired of carding all white. I wanted to look at a different color. This was from her first shearing and the fiber is just like silk. I know it will be a while before I can spin her fiber because I don't want to mess it up but it was nice to be handling a different color. I need to learn about dying wool too. So much to learn and I can't wait to get started. I had a request to post a picture of the Alpaca hat I was knitting for Tim, so here it is. I wore it to the barn the other morning, just to see how warm it was and it definitely did the job. I love the ear flaps on it because they keep your cheeks warm too. Have a wonderful day. Mine will be spent listening for the rumble of the UPS truck up the holler. :)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Buttermilk Syrup

        Let me start this post by saying, I cannot stand to drink buttermilk. However, I have found that I love to cook and bake with buttermilk, so it is now my friend. This recipe can replace your maple syrup. It is economical to make and it is delicious!! I was planning on tapping some of our sugar maples on our farm this spring, but now that I have found buttermilk syrup, I may never eat maple syrup again. I make it with salted butter so it has that whole "salty-sweet" thing going on. AND you don't need to butter your pancakes or waffles because of the amount of butter in the syrup. Healthy ? No, but I only make freshly ground wheat or oat or kamut pancakes or waffles, so that makes it somewhat healthy, right? I know that many of you are "grain-free" I am not...I love all the grains and how good they are for you. I have some great whole grain recipes if you want them. Just let me know. Ok, here goes.
       
         Take 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (salted). Put it in a deep saucepan, because when you add the soda, it really foams. Then add 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup of buttermilk. Bring this to a boil.

 Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Whisk it in...it will foam up and get beautiful.
   Ladle over whatever you desire but remember, it doesn't need to be buttered first. Take the cooled leftover and put it in a jar and keep in the fridge. When you want to reheat, just put it in a pan of water on the stove and heat the water until the syrup gets to the temp you want it. I have kept it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks and have reheated it several times. It tastes just as good as when you made it. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012

     Looks like we are finally going to have winter. The wind howled and roared around this old farm house all night long, as it ushered in dropping temperatures and snow. Last night as we left the barn and had just closed in the chickens for the night, I stopped and looked up at the sky. It was getting dark and the sky was covered with gray clouds whisking across with the wind.  I told Tim, "Here comes winter finally." You could feel it in the air. We have had such mild weather this fall and early winter, but things are changing and well it should. It is time for winter. My grandfather used to always say, " The cold gets stronger when the days get longer." How true that is. This morning when I went to do the morning milking and chores, the snow was coming down at a pretty good clip. I filled mangers with plenty of hay, knowing that everybody will stay in the barn today. Luke headed out after eating his grain, but I told as he went out the barn door, "You'll be back soon". He just nickered and went on. With his heavy coat, I don't think he feels the cold. After the pigs had their breakfast, they went back and buried in a warm pile of hay. If you have never seen a pig bury themselves, it is an amazing thing to watch. They make the nicest nest out of hay and then somehow wiggle down in it until it covers them. When they get up, if there is a hen around, it is the first place she will go to lay an egg. Pigs make a much better nest than a hen does.
       So, the dogs and I are huddled next to the fire. Tim is plowing snow. I spent all day Saturday washing  and drying wool. I have a rack in front of the fire with wool drying now.  I carded some of our Angora. What a difference between it and wool. I can hardly wait for the spinning wheel to arrive. Today will be spent with more washing and carding. I have almost finished Tim's hat made out of the Alpaca fiber. It sure does feel warm.
       Welcome to 1012. I hope it is a blessed year for everyone. Yesterdays sermon was about the storms of life that come our way and that we have the Master to calm those storms. How thankful I am that no matter what comes our way, Jesus is there to say, "Peace, be still". I pray that He will be the Master of your storms and of your life.