Friday, October 14, 2005

Jacob Fleece

Lets face it - I love wool! All kinds ;) Of course my own breed of Corriedale is my favorite, but I also really enjoy a good Jacob fleece. I am lucky to know a young woman who raises Jacobs as a hobby. Some years I am fortunate enough to get a few good fleeces from her; some years I am last year when the fleeces were stored wet in plastic bags and molded! 2005 was one of those fortunate years and I am afraid I may have gone overboard and brought home more fleece than I need. A familiar story...

This is a picture of one of the fleeces I am working on for myself right now - I love that raspberry rose color!

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Now Fathers Day

And of course I am thinking of my dear Dad. Here is a favorite picture of him, actually taken on Mothers Day while he and I went walking in the woods behind their house.

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We are very close, my Dad and me. I don't remember a time, even if we were having a disagreement or a fight, that I didn't KNOW without a doubt that my Dad loves me. In my eyes, he is wise and wonderful. Of course he has his faults and makes mistakes, as do I, but that he loves me and I love him is without question. The fact that he loves me even when I am making mistakes...I have always thought that it is easy for me to understand God's love for me, because of the love and care of my Dad. Have you ever noticed how people that have poor or distant relationships with their earthly father have a difficult time realizing the love their Heavenly Father has for them? Well, that is just my thought.

This is another picture, taken that day we went for a walk, of the land that means so much to my Dad. This is one arm of the creek that runs through the property

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And here is a Jack In The Pulpit, growing nearby. They grow all over in the woods there

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Finally, I think of both my Grandpa Sam - he is my step-grandpa, but as dear to me as any Grandpa can be and I love him greatly and my Grandpa (my dad's father). I miss him. Today, June 19th, would have also been his and Grandma's wedding anniversary. He could tell the funniest stories, he hid candy to give to us kids, he could hunt and fish (I love to eat bluegills thanks to him!), he farmed and loved sports and my Grandma. Recently, I was reading some thoughts that Grandpa had put on paper, about his children and our family. I thought I would share them here to close. This was written in 1944, during World War II. He writes:

"My children are equally dear to me, but if you ever raise a'll find that each child calls for a little different treatment. Or I think they do....I hate carelessness worse than poison and/or laziness...I am not mean but I want every one dear to me to get ahead and be somebody. I don't mean rich, I mean respected and I want to tell you that my family is respected as being honest and good workers.

Our family is very close to each other yet we have very volatile tempers and are pretty high strung so occasionally the lid blows off but it doesn't last long and they are very loyal. If they like you, okay, if not don't try to live near us - ha! We hate just as hard as we love, maybe harder. idea of Utopia is for all of my kids to live close to me and all work for each other. In this world we do not all have the best of luck and so I want everyone to help the other and it really pays to work together, in farming anyway..."

Wise and loving words from a dear man. There is more, but that would be sharing something private...yet, I thought these two paragraphs showed a little insight into the family I grew up in. Lucky me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More Mom Stuff

I have the most beautiful, talented and wonderful Mom in the whole entire world!

Okay, so maybe I am biased about that, but I am pretty sure that she is the best mom for me (grin) Following Mothers Day, I thought I might show some of the things she creates. First of all, I wanted you all to see what I brought home...something she did for me on my workhorse, plain Jane, Louet S-17 spinning wheel (this is the bargain wheel that Louet offers). I asked Mom to paint just a few sheep on it for me and here is what she did:

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And then a closer look:

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In the photo above, the white sheep appears to be smeared, but it isn't...maybe it was a reflection with the camera? Anyway, I put a clear finish over the wheel after mom painted. I sell Louet spinning wheels from my home, Serenity Farms, and wanted to offer these inexpensive wheels, but also wanted to have one on hand for customers to try. This is it! Thank you Mom!

My Mom makes exquisite quilts, hand appliqued. Here is a photo (below) of just one of them. My own personal quilt was made with dozens of pansy flowers all over it, my favorite flower.

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She also makes birdhouses out of recycled materials - old barn wood and fencing materials, tin, etc. Each one is different from all the rest, one of a kind, and all different sizes. I have several in my garden, this is just one of them:

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My Mom is the world's best cook! This past weekend, she was making cinnamon rolls with a third generation - as my grandson Mason (her great-grandson) watched carefully and then sampled some of the creation.

I love my Mom and am thankful that God gave me to her, or her to me. He always knows what He is doing, doesn't He?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mothers Day Memories

I am so fortunate to have fantastic grandmothers and a wonderful mom to remember and enjoy today. I wanted to share some pictures from my past of me with my grandma's and my mom.

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This is my first birthday party and what strikes me about it is how the adults are all dressed up (even jewelry!) and the tea/coffee service is all put on with the little cake! This was 1960, different times for sure. I remember when Alex saw this photo, he asked if my mom was a movie star! Well, in my eyes (smile) I have a cool mom, all my friends wanted to visit my house and sit next to her when she came to school to help out - called a Room Mother, if I recall. We didn't have tons of money when we were little, but we didn't know it, not really. She woke us up with a face washing and a kiss, packed us lunches in paper sacks that always had little drawings on the front with our names and often notes inside. I adore her more today than ever! And my moms mother! Oh, there aren't enough grateful words to say about her! I learned to knit with my grannie....she didn't teach me, she didn't know how either, but when I was about 12 and having those awkward teenage years she decided we would take a class to learn to knit and so we did! Love you Mom and Grannie!

And Grandma Wilmore - all the warm and fuzzy memories of my childhood pretty much include my dear Grandma and their farm house. Grandma made bread, had jam and iced tea, was always up for a walk back to the river to explore (something I realize now was most likely very painful for her) and would let me read to her for what seemed like hours. With Grandma (and Grandpa) Wilmore, you always felt safe and important. I was so blessed to have been born on her birthday and I think that might have changed the course of my life! If I remember right, the dress she is wearing in this photo was deep teal green and felt so silky. She never wore pants till she was quite old, that I can remember. Sometimes in my dreams and memories I hear her voice and it always brings such longing to me... she left such a legacy...I miss you Grandma!

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And with all of this, I have an amazing daughter and adorable grandson that are a major part of my everyday life ...I am a truly blessed woman today! Happy Mothers Day!

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dyed Samplers

Yesterday, I spent an enjoyable morning showing my friend Maple (who raises Alpacas) the basic of using Acid dyes on fiber. We focused on Maple's fiber, but I got a few samples in, too, of course!

First, though, I had to show this snapshot - the yield of a recent dye pot ... there was a pound of Border Leicester lamb curls that I had fun dyeing in a wide variety of colors, and carding into spinning batts as accents, bright jeweled bits of color! This is all that was left...Rose, Peach and Spruce. They are now on their way to a new fiber home.

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Below is Old Poppies, because the intense and bright colors remind me of the common field poppies that grow in many gardens - scarlet, orangey-red, the deep purpley black and even yellow gold.

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This next lot, Highlands Grass, didn't want to photograph well, the colors are dark...teal, spruce, a burgundy raspberry and marine blue. I had some white areas left in this roving that give it an amature look. They actually are very subtle raspberry pink and don't look as stark in the actual roving as they do in the photograph below

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And then, just to exhaust the Marine blue dyepot I threw in some of my bulky grey yarn and got this intense color (of course I wish I had dyed more!)

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Now I have the strong urge to dye more fibers, but where to find the time? Incidentally, the roving I used in the above samples are from a fiber blend I just got back from Zeilingers...a mix of Finn-Cheviot, Border Leicester, Lincoln lamb, some Corriedale and maybe even Romney. I thought it would make a nice strong sock yarn (wish I would have added some mohair that I had on hand!). Though I haven't had time to sample it for socks, it did seem to take the dyes brilliantly. When I spin these samples up, I will post a photo of the resulting yarns.

The yarn is some of my bulky Corriedale yarn, available for purchase (and on sale now!) from our farm website Serenity Farms

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

April Showers?

If you look back a few days to my entry for April 18, you will see a bright sunny picture of my Spring Garden Yarn socks, in my garden...

Well, below is a picture of that same spot in the garden, taken Sunday morning, April 24! Pretty funny, eh? Or just Michigan - I guess we are used to it!

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Surprisingly, just two days later we are back to mid-50's for temperatures and warm sunshine, gentle breezes. Even the magnolia does not seem to have suffered loss to its gentle pink flowers, though it looked pretty sad on Sunday and I was certain it would be gone

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I would love to recreate those colors in a roving...hmmm, might have to give it a try! Happily, my peach tree seems to have survived as can just see the barest hint of the pink buds in this picture

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Well, we needed the moisture desperately and now things look so bright and green! AND the storm seems to have zapped the pesky bugs that had already hatched.

Look for the silver lining in every cloud ;)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Garden Notes

On the CA list recently, we have been discussing Spiderwort, Pinks and Rabbits.

We were talking about the different names of this favorite and fragrant garden perennial - I like Cheddar Pink. I have it in several colors in my garden, but I think this traditional pink with blue green foliage is still my favorite. I use the flowers in many bouquets in the house for the delicious scent. It is pictured below when it was still a young is much larger now and gets loaded with blooms:

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My friend Eve shared that she had found a rabbits nest in one of her nursery beds. A few nights ago while I was poking around the vegetable garden, I nearly stepped on this visitor:

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Or maybe I was the visitor to her garden?

You can see a picture of the flower of the Spiderwort plant at Deborah's blog. She mentions that it grows like a weed in her Florida yard. I have it in three colors, the most common purple, also white and my favorite a wine red. I thought it might be fun to show what spiderwort looks like in my April garden in Michigan...

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Quite different than Deborah's blooms! Soon though, to the delight of the bumblebees that love them, we will have flowers blossoming, too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Not One, But Two

April 19 dawned another sunny day. As I was walking back to the barn from feeding the rams I noticed a commotion far back in the pasture where the broodmares are and I glimpsed a flash of bright white...a new foal I thought, and ran to the house to get the field glasses. Sure enough, Stella had a foal already up and nursing!

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Bill and I watched for awhile and finished the other chores before driving back to check on things. In the meantime, I noticed another mare laying down and as we drove back the driveway, we pulled up to see that Stella's sister, Sally, had her foal on the ground as well!

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In the first picture of Stella and her foal, you can see Sally in the background with her foal just born - she hasn't passed her afterbirth yet! So, two stud foals, nearly identical! The flash of white I had seen from the house was the big white star that they both have. No troubles, no complications...the perfect way for foals (well, any livestock) to be born - as God intended.

A good day.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sheep Magnolias and Garden Socks

What a peaceful site....peering through the budding Magnolia tree to watch the ewes and lambs resting in the mid-morning shade!

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I also have a Finished Object to report for Show and Tell! Finally finished the few inches I had to go on my Crusoe Sock from the January Socknitters SAM. I love this pattern, I love this yarn, I love the way these socks look!

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The pattern is here at Knitty, the yarn is from Fancy Image Yarn and I think you will agree they look lovely posed here in my spring garden with the naturalized hyacinth and the chartreuse shrub that I can't remember the name of...actually I may have never known the name of the shrub as it was probably one of those seventy-five cent clearance pots at the end of the season.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Same Day, More Fiber

I decided to get creative myself, with so much inspiration around me!

This roving is something I blended on my drumcarder from fibers I had on hand - aiding in my goal of de-stashing (grin) and combines silvery grey Corriedale; hand-painted silk in a combination of blue, yellow and turquoise; and just a touch of green/blue Firestar. I call it Reflecting Pool, though truthfully it reminds me more of Lake Superior the morning after a storm, when the water is all stirred up but reflecting sparkles when lit by a brilliant ray of sun!

Close up of Reflecting Pool Posted by Hello

You see from the photo that I have not mastered spinning the blend quite as fine as I would like it to be, and it is a little inconsistent. But it is so pretty. While the close up photo taken above in sunlight more accurately shows the colors of the roving and the sparkle, the photo below - taken in the dappled sunlight of one of my shade gardens - reflects the soothing effect of the blend. Funny that both the grey and the yellow stand out in the brighter light (above) while the blues and greens are what you see in the shaded light (below)

So interesting how light changes reflection! I hadn't intended to sell this fiber, it was just an experiment to aid in destashing - but it has been spotted and sold! So it will be a project for someone else. Still, I enjoyed doing it and hope you enjoy looking at it.

Reflecting Pool - Wool, Silk & Firestar Posted by Hello

Silk, Wool and Light

It is wonderful to have talented friends! The fiber in the photo below comes from my friends Sharon and Eve. Sharon in Ohio is responsible for the dyed wool roving - there are two different colorways there - Dreamsicle (with the frosty touches of pale pink) and Mango Lily (has more pale peach and apricot colors). The handpainted tussah silk, across the center of the photo is called Ambrosia and comes from Eve at Simply Divine Fibers in New York.

This photo was taken in the sunlight and I think shows the color to the best advantage, though it is actually a much closer match than it appears here. My daughter, who is not really fond of pastels, walked into the house and saw this combination in one of my spinning baskets and declared that she loved it and had to have something spun from it! She is an accomplished knitter but does not spin - yet!

Hand painted fibers in the sunlight Posted by Hello

It makes me feel good just to look at these fibers and think of my friends, Sharon and Eve.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Next Generation

Truly Grandma's boy, he loves to dig in the dirt, rearrange plants and find small flowers! Posted by Hello

Thoughts of Gardening

This post is dedicated to my Christian Artisan sisters, who have been prodding me for a long overdue update to this blog.

Spring seems, as usual, to be slow in reaching my part of the midwest. I grew up an hour and a half south of where I live now, and yet it seems as though I were in a different climate zone there. In my younger gardening days, peas and potatoes were planted around Good Friday. Main crop of vegetables were nearly always in the ground by Mothers Day. Now, living as I do in the middle of the mitten of Michigan, I dare not put tomatoes and peppers outdoors till the first weekend of June. In the twelve years I have lived here, we have had snow on Memorial Day weekend twice and killing frosts more often than that. The ground is even to cold to encourage the cool weather crops like peas, lettuce and spinach.

So I content myself with starting seeds and tending seedlings indoors, though I don't do nearly as many as I used to.

This past Sunday, while poking around and picking up the yard I did discover a pleasant surprise - two little daffodils blooming above the wine red of the sedum my daughter and I call "Jelly Toes" (not its proper name I know!) Even the daffodil is a bit stunted from the up and down temperatures we have been having.