Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Straw Or Gold?

Another favorite flower to share with you this morning, a hybrid lily.  It's a cross between the glorious Oriental Lily and the sturdy, prolific Asiatic Lily.  It's a real winner and I wish I had more of them in the garden, maybe next year.  Yesterday we counted nine open flowers and six buds waiting to open on one stalk!  The color and the perfume are divine.

It's much cooler this morning, thank you Lord!  78 degrees and a nice breeze compared to the mid-eighties and high humidity we have been waking up to.  I opened the front door to the breeze and stepped outside to enjoy these ~

Lavender in full flower outside my front door.  Ornamental grass rising up behind!
Some years I cut the lavender early, before it is fully open and dry it.  Some years, like this one, I just let it grown and enjoy it every time I step outside.  Me and the bees ;)

I'm really am glad it's cooler.  My kids will be here shortly to help with this:
2011 Straw
I better go get another cup of coffee and a piece of toast!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I wrote earlier this week that I have some beautiful things to look at while I spin/read/pray/drink coffee on the back porch in the mornings (or any time) and I said I would show you ;)  Here is a small sample, hopefully without to many weeds peeking through!

I see this when I look to my left - a jumble of daylilies, Asiatic lilies, spiderwort, phlox, hosta and earlier in June a border of lavender.  These plants have become so thick that weeds don't have a chance!  Well, not much of one.
There was a time when I didn't care for these hot colors at all, but now I really enjoy them.  Can you believe the hot pink/magenta of those phlox?
 Now looking straight ahead off the porch, I can see sheep and ducks (most days deer and turkey, too) in the pasture where horses used to graze and beyond them the new hay field.  What, you can't see sheep in this fog?  LOL...it was a welcome relief to have it stay overcast for a while the other morning.

Between me and the barnyard is another flower bed, probably my favorite one.  It's small, but boy does it pack a punch!

Top: a new daylily "Beautiful Edgings"; Coneflower (I think called "Desert Sky") and more Asiatic lilies (I love those hardworking flowers!)  There is also more phlox, more lavender, some allium and Oriental lilies to come.
Then at the end of the day, this is what I have to show for my spinning on the porch - more Corriedale yarn from our flock, 2-ply, about 210 yards to add to the total spun for my future Currach Stole.
A good day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spinning, Touring, Fleece & Flowers

If you are a fiber person, especially if you like to spin and are on the internet at all, you have probably already heard of the "Tour de Fleece" - basically people around the world join together to spin during the Tour de France bicycling event and challenge themselves to spin in various ways (and possibly even earn prizes).  I don't go overboard in joining groups to do this because I don't have the time to spend on the computer.  But I do like to spin along, its nice to have a goal, and this year I am playing along with two of my favorite Ravelry groups - Knitters Book of Wool and Ennea Collective.  I am even contributing a prize!

I've been really good about staying on task this year!  I decided that I wanted to commit to spinning every day of the "tour", at least ten minutes.  I decided that I wanted to focus on spinning my own fibers from here at the farm (Corriedale) and that my goal was to spin yarn for a specific project - in this case Anne's lovely Currach Stole from the April 2011 edition of Ennea.  I've had my eye on this pattern since its release because I thought it would be a lovely way to showcase the variety of Corriedale colors we have in our flock.  I originally thought I would wash, hand comb and then spin Ainsley's multi color fleece:
Ainsley's fleece has pale grey, charcoal grey and smokey brown colors plus is very soft and fine
But a troublesome arm and shoulder did away with that idea and I decided instead to spin from rovings I already had in natural colors.  A call from my friend Pat to see if I could get away for a night at the lakeside cottage gave me a perfect place to start the tour!  Peaceful, pretty, quiet and with only four of us there (all spinners and knitters) I knew I would easily be on my way to success!

Haha ~ I was also easily sidetracked ;)  I loaded up all of my pretty natural color rovings and my wheel, then at the last minute threw in a small amount of dyed Corriedale top that had been sitting around just because I wanted to turn it into something and get it out of my spinning basket.  Add to that a jeweled tone of Coopworth/Silk roving called "Leopard Frog" from Carol's Hidden Valley Woolen Mill (Carol is our hostess at the cabin) and I was off and spinning the two fibers together!  Spinning Day 1 and 2 of the Tour resulted in the yarn you see pictured at the opening of this post.  Here is another "in progress" photo ~

When all was said and done, I have about 220 yards of 2-ply Corriedale-Coopworth-Silk yarn, spun and plyed on my Louet S-45 wheel.
We returned home on the fourth of July, the third day of the TDF, and I returned to my planned spinning, the natural colored Corriedale.  I had weighed out one ounce bumps of each, and found that I could spin half an ounce in the ten to fifteen minutes per day I was challanging myself to.  Then in the evenings I could ply and keep myself quite consistent.  I am spinning this yarn on the Louet S-17, aiming for a yarn that is something like a Cascade 220.  I'm pretty close, although Corriedale does "pouf" when washed!

Anyway, enough talking - how about another finished yarn photo?  Here are the first skeins, pictured with their rovings...From left to right, the white includes wool from Charlotte, Autry, Amanda and other white sheep in our flock.  The silvery grey is from some of the "Verlee Corriedales" - Violet, Bree and Eve; the smokey charcoal grey is mostly Carson and his sister Carley while the rich brown is Colette and her daughter Elizabeth.  Anne's pattern was made with three different colors of wool, but I wanted to use these four.  This is going to be a warm and snuggly wrap!  I'm having to sit on my hands to keep from picking up the needles and pattern and start knitting, when I know I need to keep spinning - although I have nearly convinced myself that I should do a small swatch to be sure the yarn is a good match, LOL!

I've been spinning mostly in the early mornings, sitting on the back porch while the air is still cool.  This is also the perfect time for some morning prayers and devotions!  I am surrounded by the farm - all I have to do is look around me and see scenes like this from the flower beds ~

I can look to my left and see this bed of daylilies, Asiatic lilies, purple spiderwort and fading lavender.  The Oriental lilies and tall phlox will open soon!
Maybe tomorrow I can show you some more of the flowers in bloom, but for now I'll end this post.  The spinning wheel is calling me!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Farm Fresh

Taken in June, snippets from around the garden and farm ~

The berries are now finished and the broccoli is huge.  Arugula and lettuce underplanted and now consumed ;)  The chives and basil are a constant source of goodness and so are the eggs.  The green ones, by the way, are duck eggs!
You didn't think I was going to show you a picture from the part of the garden where the weeds are threatening to overtake the potatoes did you?  LOL....

The other thing we are enjoying fresh from our farm is lamb (grilling a lot lately) and the first of our recently butchered chickens. 

Now, when did July arrive?!?