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!