Monday, December 31, 2007

The Christmas Goose

My daughter says we are becoming a regular Charlotte's Web around here. This is our latest:


About a week before Christmas we had some nasty weather move through our part of Michigan - very dense, heavy fog and moisture in the air that began to freeze on roads and everything else! When the fog finally cleared a bit in the early afternoon and I could see out to the pasture, I saw a goose. (I had to get the binoculars to really see what it was - at first I thought it was an injured deer or dog - LOL!) Anyway, I didn't think any more about it until the next morning, when the goose had moved closer to the barn. I watched it for awhile and it appeared weak. When I went to do chores, I took some corn and oats out to throw to it. It moved away from me but when I went back to the barn it quickly moved in and gobbled up that feed!!!

A little while later it seemed to be feeling brighter and was even honking some. It is in the pasture with the sheep and comes close to the barn but will not go in. Now, this wasn't so bad when the temperatures were hovering around 36 degrees, but now we are getting very cold temps and more snows! But, I can't coax her in (I don't really know if it is a he or a she - LOL) I took out a flake of straw for it to make a bed plus a small rubber water pan and I keep taking her feed.

I guess a goose knows if she gets to cold/wet that she needs to come in the barn, right? I mean, geese do live in the wild, so I am not to worried about that - the barn door is open and she is free to come in if she chooses to. But so far she has made a nest in that straw and seems content to let me come within about ten feet of her and throw her some feed.

So we have a Christmas goose that came to visit and decided to stay. A goose is one animal that I never had any desire to have...but Bill and Alex tell me they have always wanted one.


And now, I feel like she has chosen to live here with us, for however long, that
I kind of like having a goose, too!

(If anyone has any tips on goose care, I would be happy to hear them!)

Happy New Years Eve Everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Around The World....

And at home ;)

With the hustle of Christmas, I am late in getting this photo and thank you posted about my Christmas Around The World Swap package. It did indeed arrive before Christmas from JoAnn, the Cape Sox Knitter!


Her card read:

Christmas Around The World 2007
Something to knit from ~ Sugar & Cream Yarn
Something to knit with ~ Patterns for Kitchen
Something hand knitted ~ Scarf...100% wool (see photo below); dishcloths...100% cotton
Something for taste ~ Chocolate Snowmen (ummm, already eaten when this photo was taken!)
Something for soul ~ Book "Five People You Meet In Heaven"
Something to hang on tree ~ Snowmen (I'm not sure if you can see the two little fat guys hanging on my mini tree, but they are there) There are also a row of snowmen candles

Thank you JoAnn!!! And I must tell you, the beautiful scarf you knit was hugely popular at my LYS Christmas pajama party!!! Your package arrived the day of the party, and my "pajamas" (also known as my "pod") are the perfect shade of blue to show off the scarf. We were all looking at it, to figure out the stitch...(seed stitch on large needles???)

Here is a photo from a grand evening of fun from the shop:


That is me and the scarf on the far right, next to Suzanne (shop owner), and two of our very favorite friends and knitters, Lois (in red looking like Santa's favorite helper) and Nellie (in flannel) on the far left. Both Nellie and Suzanne are wearing handknit socks, and Nellie is also wearing her felted slippers. I don't know if you can quite see them, but I am also wearing my sheep slippers (both my pod and my slippers were gifts from my sister!)

We had a great turn out that night and so much fun and food and fiber/yarn was shared! We are trying to think of a good excuse to have another....hmmmm...By the way, if you are ever in the middle of the mitten (mid-Michigan) be sure to stop by a really fun yarn shop and coffee house ~ Sip-n-Knit in Ithaca!

Finally, thank you to the hosts of Christmas Around The World Swap, I had a great time. It was especially fun shopping for and getting to know Kathy, who I gifted to. As she said, our lives are so very different and far apart and we might never have met but for this swap...and isn't that what swaps (and Christmas') are all about?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, November 30, 2007

While Its Still November....

Looks like blogging only once a month is becoming a habit for me - LOL! I'd really like to blog once a week, but sometimes don't get the chance. Maybe next month ~ famous last words, right?

I couldn't let November go by, though, without noting a memorable event in our family. My daughter's 30th birthday ;D We got to celebrate with family...those who were such an important part of helping me raise this very special young woman. I did not do such a good job by myself, but thankfully I have a large and close-knit family who wouldn't let me fail. Here is a picture of my child with her youngest son, and her horse, Lisa. And yes, Aunt Mo, those are Curious George pants!

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While wondering how my baby got to be thirty years old, I wonder, too, how Lisa got to be eighteen? My dad bought her for my daughter and me when she was only a weanling, six months old. It was a time of traumatic single motherhood/daughterhood and being the wise parent he is, Dad recognized a need for something postive for us to share.

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Lisa has filled that need for eighteen years now (nearly nineteen) and has shared many stories, tears and laughter. My daughter said once, when she was in high school, that Lisa was the best kind of friend because she always listened and never judged or told anyone else what you had said ;D I know that is true of many children and their horse. Lisa and Samantha are the only two horses left on the farm now, and they will live out there days here. We owe them much. Here they are together in pasture, Lisa is closest to the camera:

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I have been thinking about something else relating to these two horses and to horses and life. Lisa is my horse, Sam is Bill's (my husband). When we got married, of course Lisa came with us to this farm. Then came some times of adjustment, for both people and horses. Lisa had always been boss mare. Sam had always been boss mare. Neither one was willing to concede to the other. For all of the following years, we kept them in seperate pastures, because if they were together they squealed and kicked and bit and would not give in, one to the other, to co-exist.

It was a little like that for Bill and me at first. We had both been single for quite a few years. I was used to living my life and deciding for myself and my daughter. He was used to the same, as well as running a business and being the boss. We loved each other, there was no doubt, but there was adjustment. Luckily, we did not have to live in seperate pastures (grin) but it has taken a good bit of fifteen years and some life crisis' to teach us to appreciate each other! And we do.

When all the other horses left this farm in January, I knew I was not going to keep these girls in two different spots and make more work for myself. I put them together. There was some jostling for space. There was ear pinning. There was some half hearted grunts at each other. They are both to old and arthritic to put much effort into fighting. Besides, they were kind of lonely.

This summer saw them standing head to tail, swishing flies, or scratching each others withers (shoulders). They will even eat out of the same hay feeder now ;)

Finally, on this last day of November we also cheer Bill's oldest daughter, all the way out in Colorado with her husband and two precious boys (we just don't have enough time with them!) Today is her birthday and we are happy in knowing that (in Julie's own words) she is happy and fulfilled in her life ~ isn't that a wonderful thing to be able to say? Her bubbly voice and infectious laugh on the phone are always a treat to look forward to!

All in all, with daughters celebrating milestone birthdays; with changes in life that make me appreciate and love my husband with new respect and gratitude; with thanks for parents and family who watched out for my child and me when we weren't doing a very good job of it by ourselves; for the rhythm of life and passage of time that makes friends of old enemies...for all of these things and so very much more ~ I want to say "Thank you, God" while it is still November. Your hand was always on us, You were watching over us even when we didn't realize it was You. Thank you.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As October Ends....

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First I have to share this picture of a darling little sheep, crocheted by my sweet friend Carissa. She (the sheep, not Carissa!) arrived as a surprise in my mail box this week ~ just as a pick me up and a reminder that I have friends who pray for me! She is made from handspun wool, from one of our sheep named Coryn. Carissa washed, carded and spun the wool herself.

It is the last day of October. Do any of you read Glady Taber of Stillmeadow fame? I think I began reading her books when I was in sixth grade. Our old junior high library had them on the shelves and so did our local Carnegie Library. At even a young age, and even being the farm girl/tomboy that I was, I loved her stories. I still do, and have a few of them in my personal "library" that I re-read often. From one, a collection edited by Mrs. Taber's daughter Constance called The Best of Stillmeadow, I read this:

"As October ends, the air begins to smell of windfalls that have been frosted. The leaves drift down and most of the branches are bare. We see more sky. Night shuts down early.....the mornings have a sparkle and I love to see the shadow of the house silver with frost when sun has melted the rest of the crystals on the lawn. Next week, I think, we might take the screens off."

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This morning I stopped along the lane that runs next to the woods on our Burnham Farm property (maybe you can see the hay wagon in the distance?) As I paused to photograph the view, the wind kicked up and leaves came drifting down around me.

Maybe next week, we will take screens off, too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Evening Chores...

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(Evening chores ~ and a nice, clean barn!)

By tomorrow night, the October moon will be full, in all of its glory...but it is already close! Last night it shone brightly in my bedroom window, which faces east. This morning it hung over the western sky and peeked in on me as I did the breakfast dishes. As it sank towards that horizon, it grew larger and brighter - glowing red orange before it sank behind the trees.

Tonight as I did the evening chores, the ewes left their pasture and crowded into the newly cleaned barn to see what I was up to. As I looked out at them, I could see the moon rising above the trees again. I couldn't get a great picture because of the fading light outside, but a few of them turned out okay. Here is one of the group:

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And this one, though even more blurry, is of Alex's yearling ewe Coryn - sniffing to see if I might be hiding any sheep cookies.

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I stayed outside until it was really dark and getting too cold. I expect a hard frost tonight.

Good night, Sheep. Good night, Moon.

Simple Home Gifts

Recently, I participated in a simple autumn swap with some of the ladies that read Peggy's blog. Here is what I received from Peggy, who was swapping to me:

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This is a discloth (knit by Peggy?) and the sweetest little tea light candle holder in the shape of a leaf! I just love it and have it sitting here on the window ledge next to my desk. Oh, and there was also a fragranced tea light that I have already had burning in the kitchen ;)

I have a package to send to my swappee - Kay at The Rustic Cottage (who might think I have forgotten all about her....I haven't Kay, I promise!) I have had the package ready, all it needs is a trip to town and the post office. I hope that might happen today or tomorrow. I need to get this off before Autumn becomes Winter!

Yesterday, we had a work-bee at Serenity Farms! Friends (and my Dad!) gathered to help me clean out the barn in preparation for winter. The skid steer loader and younger arms and backs than mine made some pretty quick work of it all!

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(Note to Family ~ a skid steer loader is now at the top of my Christmas wish list - grin. Only I would like one with a smaller bucket across the front...something that will fit through the five foot wide box stall doors, please. And thank you in advance ~ I know I will love it and use it often!)

The manure pile is gone - spread across the now empty bean field to fertilize, and I have a pile of mostly composted sheep manure sitting next to my perennial beds waiting to be put away. I made a simple lunch for the workers of beef stew and buttermilk biscuits, warm homemade applesauce and chocolate cake with ice cream for desert. I know that Bill really enjoyed the company, especially at lunch! Last night was a lovely full moon that rose in the east to shine in my bedroom window and set in the west in a glow of orange while I did the morning dishes.

Next up is putting the storm windows in the barn and then - happy day - putting the rams and ewes together for breeding season. Autry is more than ready, and spends his days at the gate to his pasture staring intently at the barn (ewes are on the other side of the barn) This is him, along with his buddy, Alex's wether Carson (who has managed to lose his coat. And Autry's is torn, needs patching) Don't you think he looks a little lovesick?

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There is always work to be done on the farm. Simple, satisfying work.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rest Secure This Eventide

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The sun declines; o’er land and sea
Creeps on the night;
The twinkling stars come one by one
To shed their light;
With Thee there is no darkness, Lord;
With us abide,
And ’neath Thy wings we rest secure
This eventide.

Forgive the wrong this day we’ve done,
Or thought, or said;
Each moment with its good or ill
To Thee has fled;
O Father, in Thy mercy great
Will we confide;
Thy benediction now bestow
This eventide.

~ THE SUN DECLINES by Robert Walmsley

Somehow, I feel like my prayer for the night should be these words...a verse, from STARS OF EVENING SOFTLY GLEAMING by Mary Whiting
Heavenly Father! watch beside us
Till the dawn of light,
And whatever may betide us,
Guard us by thy might!
Trusting in thy gracious keeping,
Calmly sleeping
Through the night.

~ Amen

(If you have never visited this site, Cyberhymnal, you should treat yourself! It is a treasure)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And now Cherries....

Or rather, Cherry Blossoms in the form of the Hanami Stole - another brilliant creation of Melanie at Pink Lemon Twists.

Here is my very slow progress on Hanami. I am working as part of the Hanami KAL, which ends in less than two weeks - LOL! I doubt I will be finished by then, but it is so enjoyable it shouldn't take me to long. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that I was spinning for and started working on Mystery Stole 3 earlier this year. I just wasn't feeling a good connection to the pattern, but loving the yarn and having the utmost respect for Melanie I wanted to continue on with one of her patterns. Along came T & J (Baad Medicine) with the Hanami KAL and I jumped in.

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You might notice a faint line towards the bottom of the knitting where my yarn was spun a little thinner in that area....I am hoping it doesn't show much in the final product. I can feel it more than I can see it.

And a few close ups of the beads on the edging - I love the ivory pearl classic sheen of them against the creamy ivory of the Corriedale yarn from The Whites (the white sheep in my flock) I had not originally intended to include beads, but after seeing several of the progress photos at the KAL site I changed my mind!

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One thing that I don't think the photos properly portray is the total squooshiness of this yarn! I dont' know if "squooshiness" is even a word, but it accurately describes the way my Corriedale yarn feels. It isn't silky, it isn't fuzzy, it isn't slinky or is 100% Michigan Corriedale - soft, bouncy, warm, soft, comfort wool (and yes I meant to say "soft" twice!) It spins like a dream and brings me such joy to knit.

I am so happy with it, I spun another full bobbin this morning and then had to go and share my joy with "the girls" Its raining today, so they are hanging out in the barn.

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Thank you, Girls. Even though Charlotte, on the far left next to the wall, is the only white sheep in the photo...the rest are there, too.

(Can you believe it - no posts for a month and then two in one day!?!)

Peaches, Pumpkins, Apples

At shop knitting last night, I was firmly reminded that I had not updated my blog in quite some time and that I better get busy ;) So here I am...would you like a look through the lens at some of my creative activities lately? Lets start with this, my attempt at an "artsy" shot (I call this one "Peachy Flock"....grin):

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The yarn is some that I dyed for a workshop I taught last weekend. The wool is 100% Michigan raised Columbia from my friend Lori at Country Willow Farm (no website yet). I blended dyes and came out with some great warm peachy cream colors that just glow! So I had to hang the yarn from my lonely peach tree and the flock just happened to be in the background!

More dyeing for that weekend are these lengths of Corriedale top:

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I used exactly the same colors on both, but the one on the left is "spot dyed" leaving plenty of white space and the one of the right is in solid blocks of color. I love the autumn tones in this. It is a real mix of dyes, though, with Cushings Hunter Green, Jacquards Pumpkin Orange (toned down with a little Jacquards Chestnut) and Gaywools Garnet and Raspberry. I will try to remember to post a photo of the resulting yarn in a future post.

While we are on the subject of dyeing, I want to say a huge thank you to my buddies Maple and Mary for their help and contribution to the dyeing workshop. Maple taught and Mary made treats and the three of us together organized! Also, thanks to the wonderful "students" who participated...they were a great bunch and we really appreciated them all.

Hmmm, what else have I been doing? Lots of knitting and some spinning, as well as trying to prepare the house and gardens for the winter that promises to be just around the corner. Had the furnace serviced, son-in-law took out the air conditioner and it is stored away. I put the storms back on the basement windows. Next week one of our dear family friends and my dad are coming up to work on getting my sheep pens completely cleaned out (haul manure!) so I will be ready for lambing next spring. Manure will be spread on the farm fields. We are changing our system a bit at Serenity Farms this year. With all the pasture available to the sheep now that the horses are gone, I will be lambing later in the year to take best advantage of the grass feed for the ewes and lambs. So the rams have to wait a few more weeks before they go courting ;) They will be turned in with ewes the first week of November, with a goal of April lambs.

What knitting, you ask? Where is the proof??? Well, here is a peek at my coffee cup socks, warm and toasty on my feet (along with my attractive plaid pajama pants!)

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The pattern is my own, and it is a simple one really, though I have written two variations to go along with it (think Latte with Whipped Cream on top, and for my tea drinking friends, we have a Tea Cup variation) In our sock knitting group at my LYS, we are knitting this pattern - the group is kindly working as test knitters for me. When we are completely through and have possible errors corrected, the pattern will be available.

A project waiting to be started is this future felted bag:

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Working at the yarn shop one day, I just couldn't resist these colors! In some light, they remind me of the colors of the leaves turning in the Burnham woods and in others they remind me of McIntosh Apples!

I also have some unbelievable new rovings to show you. Just imagine some luxurious, plush, inspiring blends of Corriedale - some with silk, some with kid mohair, some with pygora, some with alpaca....yummy! That post will have to wait a few days ~ I think maybe on Friday I will have some pictures to share with you.

What projects are you all working on? I love to hear and see what everyone else is doing to prepare for cooler weather!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Lime & Violet Friend!

Woo-hoo! Another of my fibery friends has been featured at Lime & Violets Daily Chum blog! Go and check out the September 18th ESotD (Etsy Shop of the Day) here

It is a very deserving friend, Sharon of Ewe 'n Me! I have been a friend/customer of Sharon's for a while now and am always singing her praises to all who will listen ;) Here is some of her beautiful, soft sock yarn in action!

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This yarn was called Roses and Violets, but to me it is the exact shade of some of my lovely orchid colored irises that bloomed in the spring (see the proof below):

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It was an absolute dream to work with ~ soothing in color and texture. The pattern is called Scallop Stitch Sock and is a free online pattern, I think from the Socknitters website. It is now on its way to a sock swapping pal across the country.

And if you think this yarn is pretty, be sure to visit her Etsy site (link above) and check out some of her handdyed and carded spinning batts, especially those with silk....ooooh, dreamy stuff! And yes, I have some (several!) of those in my stash as well!

Congratulations to a very special lady for a very deserving focus on her talents ;D

Friday, September 07, 2007

Christmas Around The World Swap

Yes I did ~ I signed up for the Christmas Around The World Swap! And here are my answers, as best I can, to the 25 for each of the 25 days of the Christmas season!

Are you religious?
I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
How long have you been knitting? Would you consider yourself a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?
I have been knitting on and off for 36 years, but consider myself an intermediate knitter
Do you have any other hobbies besides knitting?
Favorite color(s)?
I love all colors, but generally think of yellow as my favorite
Do you collect anything?
I don't think so ~ except yarn and fibers to enhance the stash!
Are you allergic to any fibers or animals?
Do you have any pets?
Yes, cat
Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
All three, but coffee is by far my very favorite!
Cookies or Sweets?
Yes ;)
Do you knit socks?
Oh yes!
If not socks then what? (tell us about your favorite knits)
I also really enjoy lace
Do you put up a Christmas tree? If not then what do you do?
Usually, and Christmas stockings
Favorite holiday treats?
Any treat is a favorite to me!
Favorite holiday smells?
Fresh pine
Do you celebrate Christmas in a traditional or unconventional way? Please elaborate.
Traditional ~ church, Christmas music (both hymns and classics), presents on Christmas morning
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Reading the Christmas story and watching both A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph on television
Finish the sentence: “For me Christmas is all about....”
For me, Christmas is truly all about the gift of Jesus. Without the birth of Christ, there really would be no Christmas, would there?
If you were a Christmas ornament you would be……?
A candy cane ;)
What was your favorite gift you've ever received? Or given?
I can not select a favorite
When do you start your Christmas?
Not until well after Thanksgiving, usually around the second week of December
Do you send Christmas cards? Do you make them or buy them?
I send a few and I buy them
What is your favorite Christmas dish?
No particular favorite
Carolers are at your door. What do you do?
Open the door and sing along with them ;)
When do you open presents? Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning
Do you celebrate with family or friends or both?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Under The Wire

I have been trying to post a photo of my completed socks for the August Sock of the Month KAL 4 for over an hour now with no success ;( I am going to post the pictures and details here at my own blog and hope that will count towards my completed socks...

Here is a picture taken last night:

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and here they are tonight, finished and on my feet!

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I really thought I would complete them last night, but it seems I had so many interruptions that they couldn't be done until today! The details? This is the ROZA sock pattern by Grumperina from Spring 2007 Interweave Knits. I knit them with Regia sock yarn (2 skeins with plenty left over) on size 1 dpns. I did not continue with the pattern on the foot. I started this socks in May for a knit a long at my LYS but only finished one sock at that time. Its nice to now have a pair!

It is fun seeing all of the finished socks at this kal and I am looking forward to more completed socks of my own in September!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Look Through The Window

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It seems to me that I haven't been writing about life around the farm enough these days ~ but as I have often complained (um, I mean talked about) here on the blog, slow dial up service and loading photos on the computer takes waaaay to much of my time (and I seem to be in especially short supply of that lately!) For example, this morning as I waited....and waited....and waited for Photobucket to load some new pictures, I knit three rounds of my current sock ;D On the positive side, I was doing something productive and in the grand scheme of things, I guess it really doesn't take that long and is free! So I really shouldn't complain.

Anyway, I am wandering off topic....

I snapped the picture above as I was walking the aisle of the basement of the barn. On the east side of the barn is this walk way that runs from the bottom of the stairs and behind the old horse tie stalls into the open floor of the barn. Three windows cut into the concrete look out, at ground level, and provide necessary ventilation for the barn. The grating that you see in the picture is to keep sheep from falling in (grin) I looked out and saw one of our prettiest ewe lambs from this year resting while the hens worked away, looking for bugs. The ewe lamb is one of Ainsley's daughters. Her twin sister is already at her new home in a beginning shepherds flock.

Here is another of this years lambs, one of the last born.

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You either have to love this photo or think it is silly, but I enjoy it. This is Daniel, Violet's son, named after a dear friends little boy. He is just exquisite! Square built, clean face and fleece to die for!!! His faults? Ears that are a bit to big, and a small stature. His mama is our smallest ewe....who also happens to produce beautiful lambs and more fleece than any other ewe in the flock. Here is another photo of him resting and chewing his cud (the photo also gives you an idea of how sandy our soil is here):

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Sigh....I'm not sure what to do with Daniel yet. He is to closely related to the majority of my flock (I have a lot of Violet's descendants), he is a half brother to our former flock sire, Joseph. I could wether him and keep him as a fiber producer...his fleece is that good, and he has a very nice personality. But fiber animals take a spot that could more productively be held by a ewe who is capable of producing both fiber and lambs, and it doesn't make good business sense to keep many of them on the farm. Now, if I only had another little group of ewes who were not related to Daniel - LOL - I would have my answer! Anyone have two or three nice old style Corriedale ewes they would like to provide me with?!?

Of course, the logical solution would be for him to be sold to lead someone else's flock....

What else is happening around Serenity Farms? Well, in what has been (up to this point) a very dry year, we have one of the best looking crop of soybeans around! Here is a photo of grandson Mason on one of our walks. I asked him to pose next to the beans and here he is, showing off a turkey feather we had found on our way. This was taken towards the end of July:

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Finally, Alex and I try to accomplish one or two extra farm jobs as we are able. One that had gotten a bit away from us was digging the "bull thistle" from the pasture. Some of them were starting to flower! The ground, though sandy, seemed hard as a rock and it was tough digging! You can see Alex in the photo below putting some muscle into the spade. But we spent what really is an enjoyable evening walking the pastures, working amongst the ewes, making our pastures safe from this pesky weeds!

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We have gotten some much needed rain these past few days. Our hope and prayer now is for a decent third cutting of hay and that we are able to hit that window of opportunity that will allow us to cut the hay, get it dry and raked, then baled without a rain on it! Will you join me in those prayers?

On Sundays, it seems my mind is often taken up with how grateful I am to be a farm girl, a farm wife, a farmer at all! To be a shepherd to a flock of sheep that I love, who earn their keep on this farm. To be even more specific I am grateful to be farming in this state of ours, Michigan. I think it especially as I prepare todays lunch for the family and pause to think about and be thankful for each part of it. On today's menu? Pork chops, from a hog our nephew raised. Scalloped potatoes, made from newly dug Michigan potatoes, dotted with onions from my garden and with rich butter, filled to the rim with whole, grade A milk! And the sage that dusts and flavors the pork chops? Picked from last years garden, dried and crumbled. Alongside this main course will be green beans from anothers garden and sliced Brandywine tomatoes from my own. For desert? I am thinking something with blueberries...

During the week, we often eat much lighter fare than this. But on Sunday, when we stop to be thankful, we take special joy and pride in this meal we are given.

I hope that you have a good week....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wonderful Sound

A wonderful sound to wake up to this morning was the soft drum of raindrops on my rooftop. Thank you, Lord, for another night and day of gentle rainfall!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Some fibers to sell

UPDATE....The fibers I had to sell have all found a wonderful new home! Thank you to all who inquired and thank you to the new owner for her purchase of Serenity Farms fiber ;D

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Little Bit Of Fiber

On Saturday, the mail lady pulled into the driveway honking her horn ~ signaling a package of some sort for one of us. It was for me!

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This is from Melanie ~ a Christian Artisans friend who was also participating in a fiber swap I had joined back in the spring. Melanie said she was so surprised when she got my name to gift to and she was worried about her choice....well, not to worry because it is soooo pretty! Melanie dyed this Corriedale roving herself in a beautiful colorway that I look forward to spinning. There was also this chocolate "spud bar" - LOL, representing her home state of Idaho. Melanie has been participating in our Journey To A Shawl, and recently finished her project. It was truly a journey for her and you can go to her blog here and read more about it.

My package is nearly ready to send on to my "person". I am attending Michigan Fiber Festival this weekend and want to look for something else to tuck in the box, then it can be on its way. Aren't these kinds of swaps fun?!?

I thought I would leave you with another fiber photo, this one of the latest dyeing going on with pygora.

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There is wool, pygora, silk and some angelina sparkles in there. If all goes as planned, this will be traveling with me to Zeilingers in the morning. The color probably looks more pink to you than it really is ~ its actually kind of rose and orchid colored.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Water For The Fields, Flowers and Soul

Guess what is happening at Serenity Farms this Tuesday????
(NOTE: Even though I wrote this post on Tuesday, somehow it ended up with Wednesdays date...LOL ~ it was hot and humid and sunny here on Wednesday!)

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It is raining!!! Those are PUDDLES in our driveway ;D

I woke up around 4:30 (maybe 5) this morning to the gentle rumble of thunder, a few weak flashes of lightning and the sound of rain softly pattering on the ground. It wasn't long before the rain had built enough momentum to run steadily off my roof and I had to get up and see it for myself. Put the coffee on, slipped on my rubber garden clogs and went outside just to soak it up (and get a bit soaked myself!) Even the bumble bees were happy, making wet buzzy sounds amidst the flowers. They gave me a quick looking over, probably wondering what the crazy person was doing out in the morning rain - LOL!

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I think I may have even giggled our loud at one point, I was so happy for the watering God was giving my garden....especially the pastures and hay fields! I kept thinking of the song the children sing in Vacation Bible School ~ do you know the ones where they try to get louder and louder each round?

Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, Hallelujah
Praise Ye The Lord!!!

Anyway, I am thankful for the soaking rain that lasted a good bit of the day, then ended with a glorious sunset. The prospects of a third cutting of hay is looking better!

I do have knitting to write about, but not my own. You will have to check over at the Journey To A Shawl blog to see what I am talking about....see you there!

(By the way, have you heard about the Hanami Stole Knit A Long yet? Check that one out, too, especially if you are a fan of Pink Lemon Twist ~ you know, Mystery Stole 3? ~ patterns! Its not to late to join in!)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

White Willow Market

This post is to honor someone I am very fond of, who just received some well deserved (and well timed!)recognition ~ my sock knitting-yarn dyeing friend, Brooke at White Willow Market.

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I met Brooke through the Sock-ret Pal exchange last year and we had a grand time getting to know one another via sock knitting, spinning, know, all the goodies ;) In the photo above (which I shamelessly stole from her blog), she is modeling a lace cowl that she designed herself (gasp!) using yarn from Serenity Farms. Isn't it lovely? Rumor has it that there may be a printed pattern available in coming days....

She has the cutest little boy and had a strong desire to live where it got cold enough to wear wool (grin) so she recently made some changes to her life that weren't easy in so many ways, I know. But she has courage and now I think has been rewarded in her work by being featured on the new Lime and Violet blog

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(Okay, so this picture is actually of me in my bright lime green garden gloves showing off a vivid violet phlox from my garden...but you get the idea, right?)

So, with a big cheer of gladness for you, Miss Brooke - this post is for you with lots of happy hugs! You know that you are always in my prayers....and God is better than any other at making a bad situation good when we let Him!

Friday, August 03, 2007


It can't really be August, can it?!?

The weather here has returned to hot and humid during the day, but thankfully it cools down to lovely sleeping weather at night. In the mornings, we wake to heavy dew and deep mists. Can you see the sheep in the mist? And the sun's rays just beginning to top the woods and spill over into the pasture?

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Or how about the ghostly white horses?

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We have to get up early and work fast to accomplish outside chores that need to be done in the cool of the day.

In a recent post that included a sweet photo of one of my ewes, Abby, Brooke mentioned that my sheep seem happy to be near me and I like to believe they do. In fact, some like to be really near me - LOL - like Amanda here (Abby's twin sister) I couldn't get a decent picture of her the other day because she wouldn't stop hugging my legs, wanted her ears rubbed!

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I don't have any knitting or spinning photos to share because - well, because there isn't much knitting or spinning going on. I am doggedly still working on the sock for my Summer Sock Hop pal, Deb, who is still kindly waiting for her gift. Gosh, this has got to be the slowest knitting sock I have ever made! But I am determined to finish it and get this out to her before winter hits.

I do have a flower photo to share, though:

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These are my new garden additions (the coneflower) next to one of my all time garden favorites (the daylily). The coneflower - Echinacea - is from the Big Sky series and is called "Summer Sky" It is fragrant and lasts forever as a cut flower. The plant tag says it has "soft peach petals with a rose halo around the cone...dark stems" Well, let me tell you that it has a very lovely wide range of peachy-rose tones to its petals! Hmmm, I think I will challange myself to fire up the dye pots and come up to some colors even close to these!

And finally, I had promised some of my friends a snapshot of our farm from a different angle, a view you don't often see here.

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I took this from out in the pasture amongst the sheep. I think maybe you get an idea of the scale of our barn compared to our modest little home (modest...well, actually it is pretty dinky! LOL!) But its ours and it is a roof over our heads and a place to eat our meals and sleep at night. That back porch is where you will find me with my coffee most mornings around 6 am, preparing to greet the day and again in the evening before turning in, to get my fresh air (I do that even in winter!). I think you can see the back door and the ramp that was built early this year for Bill's wheelchair (Mason calls it "Papa's Bridge") You see the lean-to that was added to the big barn for horse stalls - it is now the "barn floor" where the sheep hang out in winter. In the summer, when they aren't grazing, they rest under the trees.

I really like this picture, and I hope it gives you another glimpse at our life. While it all appears serene and quiet, there is always a lot going on!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A BIG Birthday!

Happy 50th Birthday to Michigan's own Mackinac Bridge!

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(Photo taken under trees on the sandy shores)

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(In her full glory)

Our Big Bridge is currently the world's third longest suspension bridge (it is five miles long). You can read lots of interesting facts about the bridge at this website
Mackinac Bridge

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(Its hard to explain the lump in the throat you get staring up at this bridge, over these waters, under this flag)

I took this photo last year on a trip up to take delivery of some sheep ;)

Monday, July 23, 2007

One Last Look

Before this (my MS3 Stole at the end of Clue 1):

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became this (a pile of twisty, curly yarn needing to be re-knit):

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My confidence and comfort level, flying in the face of danger....LOL - knitting lace without a lifeline - and my mistakes became to numerous for even me to ignore! (Often, if it is a mistake here and there....I don't rip out or go back to find the mistake, just continue on) But in this case, I either got off track on a stitch count or on a row count, because I ended up being WAY off course. I let the piece of lace sit quietly in a knitting basket for nearly a week before I picked it up again and decided I couldn't live with it the way it was. So out she goes!

Now I will think for a few more days, deciding if I want to restart the project. For me, usually when these kinds of set backs occur, it is tainted for me and I don't care to pick it back up. We'll see. The yarn is so delicious, that I could happily knit several other things with it (I have no shortage of projects I would like to do ;) As well as other projects that need to be finished!) The pattern and the Knit A Long are also great!!! I especially want to say that my current dislike is in NO WAY a reflection of the MS3 pattern and project!!! It was 100% my mistakes, but I just know myself well enough to know that I may not have much enthusiasm for the same pattern if I have to start it over. So, like I said - we'll see.

How about if I end on a happier note? Would you like to see a very sweet picture of a very beautiful Corriedale who contributed in part to the roving I was spinning for this project? Well, of course you do! Who doesn't love to see beautiful sheep (grin) Here is Abby (twin to Amanda, daughter of old Hannah), posing for the camera (okay, so she was really looking for cookies, but the effect is good)

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As I think I mentioned before, I took all of the "skirtings" of my very best white sheep and had them washed and carded into my current favorite roving, that which I was spinning for the MS3. Isn't she a beauty? Full of so much Corriedale breed character! You might notice that she is not wearing a of the chores that Alex and I had this past week was pulling coats off the girls and getting them all washed and repaired if they needed it. The ewes are all out on pasture (take a peek at the new photo across the top of this page for a picture in pasture taken the same night) and not receiving any hay, so their wool won't get full of chaff, though it will get a little dirty till we get the coats back on. You can see how clean she is across her back. Each adult sheep will usually go through three different sizes of coat in a years time, each one larger than the last as their fleece grows. I am so happy that my customers all seem to appreciate how much work it is to produce those nice, clean coated fleeces! I love them, too ;)

Anyway, that is my knitting update for today as well as a little sheep fleece management 101. Other good news? Second cutting hay is going into the big barn today and while not as plentiful as years past I am still happy and grateful and thankful for what we have!