Category Archive: farming

Recycling, sheep, nettles = farming

Recycling day – Amazon, we wish you would collect all the cardboard that you bring here.    The car is as full as it can be and hopefully the driver can see out.   It will go to the recycling place in the morning.

It is terrific to have a sheep who comes when called.   Ava (in pink) and her son went out through the gate when I drove in.   DH  found her and opened the gate.   No response until I called her.   Then she was so happy to come in.   Another great thing is that she is an alpha to the group.   When she runs, they all want to see what she has found.   So she is helpful in that way as well.

It was a wonderfully warm day again, but our helper spent 6 hours cutting nettles, so that they wouldn’t bloom and create more trouble.

And the new washer arrived.   It has been test driven and is so quiet, one barely knows that it is running.   Our last one could be heard throughout the house when spinning.

I tried to digitize this, but I’m at the very beginning and it was sunny outside and I can come up with as many excuses as a child as to why nothing happened.   I got nowhere on this today and there are 7 days and a pot holder to do.   I will learn, but you won’t see much in the way of results for awhile.

2017
05/19

Category:
farming
food
Life

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Shopping for essentials

We spent much today shopping for essentials.   That is if you call tractors and washing machines essentials.   We looked at both and will take the next week to make decisions.   The tractor salesman may have talked himself out of deal.   He is coming over next week to look at the land, but really thought he knew someone who would do the work we need at an incredibly low price.   But then sometimes that is too good to be true.   We will wait and see.

The washing machine has a higher priority.   I am not finding a top loader that has all that I want and that I can still fill with water if I want to soak something or even dye it.  So I’m still searching.   It seems the companies have gone to the programmed machine that weighs the clothes and decides how much water that load will need.

We did buy groceries and light bulbs, so we are all set for the weekend.

2017
05/18

Category:
farming
Life

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Student farm help

As we are aging, I find that I am not getting as much done as at one time, and we also added to the work here.  This year I have help from the Tilth farm school.   They take about about 15 young students – mostly early 20s –  a year who work on the farm and have classes.   They each  have their own garden area on the farm and do farmer’s markets and at least 2 of them will be doing a CSA this year.  They learn mostly about gardening because this is the Seattle area and more city than animals.  So when I put an ad up asking for farm help, there were 2 people particularly interested in a work/learn program.   That works for me as well.   They teach me what they learn and we learn together as we do.   I asked one of them who has been here 3 weeks if this is what she expected.    Her answer was “exactly” as she wants to have her own small farm and she is getting to practice and see what works and sometimes what doesn’t work.  Between them, right now I am getting about 24 hours of work weekly.  Most of the jobs are not exciting, but they are real.   Monday, stalls were cleaned, weeds whacked, and some hoop house planting and harvesting was done.    Today, the gutters are being cleaned, and

They were also both particularly interested in the sheep. It’s difficult to wrangle sheep and take a photo at the same time, so I only have the photos of sheep after we have coats on them.   Yes, I do have to order more coats, as we didn’t have enough of the right sizes.

Ah, someone has the answer.   She thinks all of you are so busy working on your lists that you haven’t had time to let us know how you are doing.

Overwhelmed, understaffed, and lists

What do I do when overwhelmed and understaffed?   I make more and more detailed lists.    At the top of the day, when I wasn’t sure which way to go, I started writing down all the things that were bothering me.   I knew they couldn’t all be achieved today or even this week.  On paper, they are not bogging my brain down.  Having made these lists, I could then do a better job of prioritizing.  And yes, more was added as the day went on.  I mean who knew that

the washing machine wanted to die today?    And who knew that when I went to REI to get a pair of gym pants, they would have nothing casual?  Every pair they had were meant to show every wrinkle in the skin.  So after an hour of driving to and from REI, I went to my list and added, “shop for pants and a washing machine”    Costco is sending me pants to try and probably Sears will be delivering a washing machine (still deciding).   Now that was so much easier and better than chasing all over the countryside, wasting time and gas.   I do love some of these modern conveniences even though I believe that we should know how to be self-sufficient.

And who knew my neighbor would call trying to find another neighbor who was no longer in the nursing home (she was transferred back to the hospital)?   Who knows what a day will bring, which is one reason I need my lists for a larger picture of what has to be done and what can be pushed off.

What did I achieve today?

  1. made these muffins that we had with yogurt and fruit for dinner.

  2.  made a list of things to be done by the woman who periodically helps me with the garden and animals.

  3. Called repair for washer and water under wood floor.   Will run fan for 2 days to try to save floor.

  4. at stated above made a trip to REI

  5. researched which washer I want to buy and sent link to

  6. checked bees water

  7. went through fleeces and put a lock in that sheep’s folder

  8. watered hoop house

  9. paid the bills that were due

  10. Copied the utility bills and delivered the neighbors for them to pay

  11. Checked in with a sheep neighbor for info and to see she’s okay

  12. contacted sheep person for registrations for sheep I purchased a year ago

  13. ordered dog food

  14. did two loads of wash before disaster

  15. got lemon tree moved to hoop house

  16. checked on Aunt and found she was moved to rehab today

  17. sew a button on a jacket

  18. and all the things we do every day and don’t count – sweep floors, make meals, feed animals, etc, etc, etc.

  19. There will be more things done between now and bedtime that I can check off.  But then again, I’ll think of more to add.

  20. sewed on my bunny.

Did you notice how many of these items only took a few minutes?     What did you achieve today?   I’ll bet it was a lot more than you gave yourself credit for.   Make a list of everything you do in a day.   It will surprise you, because normally one gets to the end of the day and can’t think of much that was accomplished.  At least that’s what happens here.  When I make a list, I can see that something is done which in turn makes me feel better.

Okay, it’s your turn.   GO make those lists.  And I would love to hear how it went.

2017
05/14

Category:
farming
food
Life

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Bees and pea soup

The new bees arrived today.  I hope they will be happy here.   We will do our best to keep them comfortable.  Maybe I can find a spot to put in a bee garden of flowers they especially like.  We got them set up and then couldn’t find their water bottles so we called several stores.   All were out of them, so we are improvising with chicken watering bottles.  By the time, we had done what we could to make them happy, we had spent 3 hours.  And that doesn’t count the hours, we go back out just to look and see that everything is good.  Does anyone know if I have to fence around them so the sheep won’t knock them down?

We were out of split pea soup which is a big calamity around here.   But someone forgot to tell me we were getting low, and I wasn’t keeping track.   For him, it’s a staple.  He likes about 5 pints a week.    I made up 50  pints because that was all the jars I had available.   I processed 2 batches today and will do the others tomorrow.   That will give him enough for 2 more months.  Then I can do some more just before it gets hot which will probably be about the end of July.  However, it’s been a cool spring, so it may not get really hot this summer.   It seems as soon as I get a few jars empty, there is something else to put in them.

Sheep fix:  https://youtu.be/kASFnc3ReK0

 

 

 

2017
05/12

Category:
farming
Life
spinning

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Beehives and spinning

It was a beautiful morning, so we decided to work outside.  I finished skirting the fleeces and then we started to set up the beehives for the bees coming to live with us on Sunday.   We bought new frames as the old ones were well used.   The location is set and one hive is ready.   The other is still here in the garage as the weather suddenly changed and we had a good blast of hail and a downpour.   It is still raining.

A short nap and then spinning seemed like an excellent idea.   I filled the bobbin and this is the swift that I put it on.   The yarn broke at about the half way point on the bobbin, so I just wound off to that point as I think I can get the rest of the  yarn spun on this bobbin.

From there it gets washed, dried and then a sample is made.   I counted 460 yards in this hank.  This is about a sport weight yarn or perhaps a bit less, so I should have enough for a simple cardigan.

2017
05/09

Category:
farming
Life

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One bite at a time

 

 

Remember the old joke “How does one eat an elephant – answer: one bite at a time.”    That’s how I feel about the farm in the spring.   I can only deal with one thing at a time.

Today I weeded the hoop house with Ava following me along on the outside.  She is funny!  So the weeding is done, the cucumbers are in the ground and the watering is done for today.  Watering will be a daily thing for the summer.    I also did the fertilizing and put down Sluggo for the slugs to enjoy.

For the lettuce I tried one of those preplanted items one lays on the ground and adds a thin layer of soil over the top.   It was interesting and they are so thick that I need to thin them out as soon as possible.  (I doubt I’ll buy one of those again).  I am not pushing the hoop house to be full yet, because I want to save room to over-winter some foods this year.

The refrigerator crisper is full of delicious crisp lettuce and radishes with more to pick.

We put a new tarp on a storage building since the old top had shredded after 4 years and weeded the containers sitting in front.

I managed to skirt 2 more fleeces.   I started a third, but that fleece was too felted so it will become compost.

This washed and dried fleece is waiting its turn to get carded and then wait to get spun.   My goal is to make time for carding this in the next two weeks.

Right now, I’m finishing spinning some lovely roving that I started last year.  I don’t remember when I purchased, but it must be at least 2#.  Then I will ply it for a sweater.

In just two weeks these little tiny pieces of down have turned into these much larger Pilgrim geese.  Due to not spending time with them, they are rather wild.

And these were today’s bites.

 

 

Uncoordinated bits and pieces

 

Todays news is uncoordinated bits and pieces

You know someone is walking really close behind you when they step on the back of your sandal.  She does wait at the door when I come into the house, though I think if given any encouragement, she would love to come in.  Her nose is frequently in my hand and sometimes checking out the pockets.

 

Daughter gave me this cute knitting bag.  My guess is she was tired of seeing the Ziploc bags in which I was constantly carrying the knitting.   So now this bag carries the beginning of a new pair of socks.   Perhaps I can find the instructions soon and put them in the bag as well.

I also took apart the legs of 2 pair of jeans in preparation for adding designs on them.  If you have ever had to remove the original stitching, then you know why they hold together so well.

Today’s frustration was that I hire people, tell them exactly what I want and after 1/2 day’s work, they tell me that they are done for today and will come back next week or later in the week for another day.  Today, I was privileged to have 2 people help with the clearing and one to spray fruit trees and whatever else needed doing.   The fruit trees are sprayed.   She lasted 4 hours today and will be back to work more tomorrow.   The others- one lasted 3 hours and the other 6 hours and they want to come back next week for a day.   Is this something new?  I mean the sun was shinning, which has to be better than working in rain.  How does one hire people who are willing to work all day and several days until the job is done?

 

2017
05/07

Category:
farming
Life

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A Birthday party for 3

It’s hard to believe, but I spent the afternoon at this party and this is the only photo that I remembered to take.  I think I was enjoying it too much to remember to take photos.   It’s fun to have family get togethers.   And this one was special because Bill’s brother and wife came to visit with all of us.

These flowers were gifted to me along with some lovely gift certificates and clothes.This is a lovely large fleece which is now skirted.   One at a time, I’ll get them done.

 

2017
05/05

Category:
farming
Life
quilts

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Sanibel Island mini

Sanibel Island mini is now completed.   I purchased this kit several years ago when we were visiting Florida.   There is a fair amount of fabric manipulation for the sand.   This was a ufo because I really didn’t know how to put all the shells in the sand.  I ended up gluing them on as there were no holes in them.  It is a small piece and would at most be hand washed.  Week one of my goals is finished.   It is also the only one that is a ufo.   The other  3 goals have not yet been started.

The back just has a triangle corner on each side so I can slip a small dowel under them and hang it.

And these are the handsome men who fathered all those fast little ones who dodge and dart.