Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day of Rest

Sometimes I find myself wondering how others might cope with the type of schedule I try to follow on occasion when things get truly overwhelming.... like the past few days. I spent most of Thursday working on paperwork in my studio (takes tons of fortitude when all of that luscious fiber is calling out to me and I hate paperwork), trying to beat a deadline with some alpaca registrations.

Paul went out of town on Friday, so I did all of the kid running, making two trips to Lexington and other important stuff like exchanging locker shelves for the RIGHT KIND and picking up meds for alpacas, groceries, post office, bank, tube feed cria, oil change and blah, blah, blah. Then I headed to Ohio with the kids and Munchie. The brakes locked up on the stock trailer while on I-75 with a semi behind me- God helped us safely out of the way and off we went again. We left for Columbus early on Saturday with my parents and slipped in a quick lunch visit with my brother Andy and his family. Then over to OSU to pick up Dulce and Ginger Spice- Ginger was there for treatment for a severe ear infection which resulted in having to have her eye removed (more on that another day or on my other blog).

Afterwards, we headed South, dropped off my parents, and were back in Lexington in time to drop Robert off at the football game. Then home with enough time to get everyone on the farm fed and medicated, then back to Lexington to pick up Robert, then back home.... ending in a long walk in the dark from the not-working-gate (X?@!!!) to the house and collapsing in bed.... phew!
So, how would anyone else cope with all of this stuff to do? Simple... nobody else would choose it but I HAVE. Sometimes I get bitchy and don't cope so well, but I try to remind myself that I have been given and earned and am so fortunate to be living this crazy, loco life... with kids that are truly blessings, a husband who I fight with on occasion but love with my whole heart (and he loves me back!), two healthy, living parents to visit, a ton of animals who have lots of needs but give us so many rewards, a sometimes-complicated farm life which is away from the family I grew up with but still not too far to see them on a regular basis, and so many other great things with which my life is filled.

And Today, Sunday is supposed to be a day of Rest and that I will try to do....not having gone to church this morning, I will at least try to turn my thoughts to gratitude.... for this loco life that I am so blessed to live.

P.S. Out of water at lower barn, had to haul buckets of water for horses, almost forgot about needing to deliver an alpaca to new home... so much for the day of rest. But, today is a new day!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy, happy!

Well, our baby boy is now turning in to a young man and is nearly six feet tall and FIFTEEN!!!! Happy birthday, buddy. You are just an awesome kid and a joy in every way.
Robert has had a great start to school, and seems to be thrilled with being in high school. He competed this past weekend in a "trials bike" competition, his first, and won a 2nd and a 5th place (and more importantly he had a great time).
That's about all the gushing I'll do, can't pay too much attention to a teenager, ya know? (He'll probably be ticked that I put even this much about him on here!
I've been doing tons of felting, and will post some new projects in the next few days. I'll leave with just this one photo, as it seems appropos for the day....
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Felting info

I've been having a lot of questions about my felting recently, and stumbled upon this excellent video of a recent Martha Stewart Show featuring felting. I'd love to run off to NYC to check out the mentioned exhibit!

My only "beef" with much of the information that I hear or read is that it doesn't give due credit to other animal fibers being used for felting, only sheep's wool. Although merino wool probably felts the fastest, I find alpaca fiber hard to beat for softness and durability!

Enjoy the video...

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In my own little corner...

The summer hasn't left me with much time alone to work on projects, but today both kids were gone (one back to school and the other about to start back) and I kept feeling the magnetic draw of my special space.... I should be tidying and cooking since company is coming tonight for dinner, but it's just so hard to resist! I actually heard myself humming the Cinderalla song, "In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be what-ever I want to be!"
Although I can be a very social person and occasionally feel a bit lonely here on the farm, I have a great need for quiet time creating. My sanity depends on it for balance, and I feel very little guilt about letting other things go occasionally so that I can have it. When traveling out East by myself a few weeks ago for an alpaca auction, I thought I'd relish the alone time but I didn't, as I couldn't really do much other than a wee bit of knitting.

My studio always inspires me. I've been especially enjoying my experiments in "nuno felting" which involves felting or adhering fibers (in my case alpaca or alpaca blends) onto other lightweight fabric (I use silk). The effect, especially when using hand-dyed elements, is mesmerizing. You can check out the scarves I've just completed in my Etsy store.

So, tonight I'll enjoy our company and some good family time, but in the back of my mind I'll already be thinking about that next project...
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pretty corny

Well, Mirian had her first two half-days of school, and was pretty happy to get back to see her friends and teachers. She came home the first day expressing such relief that it all seemed familiar and okay- she's had so many changes and challenges, and I was thrilled that school felt like a comfortable place to be for her this year. I've been busy with all of the usual school parental details, including getting Robert ready to start HIGH SCHOOL this coming week! I've been wanting to freeze some corn, and had the chance to get some super-fresh Silver Queen from our farmer friends, the Congleton's. The kids husked the 4 dozen ears, and I blanched and put it up in quart freezer bags. It'll be so nice to have such great corn during the fall and winter months, especially at Thanksgiving. (Mirian couldn't wait, and ate some raw right off the cob!). One of my favorite breakfast recipes is for corn pancakes (from the Farmhouse Cookbook), which we had this morning using some Silver Queen- I hope you love it as much as I do! (Well, maybe I'll start back on that low-carb eating NEXT week!)
Golden Corn Pancakes

1 to 1 and 1/4 c. milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup fresh corn kernels or good-quality frozen (I've used canned)
1 and 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 to 2 teaspoons mild vegetable oil, such as safflower

1. Combine 1 cup milk, the butter, and the corn in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

2. Sift the dry ingredients together onto a piece of waxed paper.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are well mixed. Add the milk mixture. Then gently stir in the flour mixture, mixing just until it is moistened and thoroughly combined. It should be the consistency of cake batter. Add the remaining milk if the batter is very thick.

4. Brush a large heavy skillet or griddle with the oil, and place it over medium-high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, pour the batter, 1/4 cup for each pancake, into the skillet. Cook the cakes until bubbles cover the surface and begin to burst, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the cakes and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side. Serve immediately if you can, or keep them warm in a single layer on a platter in a warm oven. (About 1 dozen, 3 to 4 servings).

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good neighbors... great gardens

Despite my own poor garden going completely to pot, I have stuck to my goal of trying to eat more fresh and local food. If you've got generous family and neighbors with a big garden, why have one yourself?!! (Ha!) We came back from a recent visit to my parents with bags of tomatoes and huge zucchini from their beautiful garden.

Even better, our wonderful neighbor Melvin is a master gardener and canner, and he frequently shares with us both vegetables and canned goods like pickles and beats. His garden soil is enhanced with our very own alpaca compost, so at least we're contributing a little bit!

I really enjoy the blog Savoring Kentucky, and especially liked this post about some of the Kentucky Governor and First Lady's initiatives to encourage more local eating and therefore enhance Kentucky agriculture and health. There are lots of interesting facts about the impact of even just a little bit more local food consumption.

I hope you're lucky enough to either have a garden or a good neighbor with one, but if not don't forget the local farmer's markets which are at their peak of production right now!
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Home, at last!

It feels strange to be showing yarn photos again so soon, when I've rarely been around to do any dyeing or have much studio time. Still, having those special moments to create is so important to me that I just have to share in my pleasure. It's not all for fun, as our busy festival season is coming up and I've got literally hundreds of skeins of yarn to work with that I had processed recently at Flaggy Meadow Fiber Works.
I've been on such a roller coaster, and am experiencing the back-to-school blues, which I can more easily recognize this year after going through a tough case of them last year around this time.
My mind starts whirling with all of the to-do's, and next thing I know I'm gazing into a dye pot as if it's a crystal ball or witch's cauldron in which I'm looking for help and answers.
I never actually find any answers to my questions of the universe, but I do find a lot of satisfaction with seeing freshly-dyed yarn from our own animals hanging to dry on the studio porch railing.

You'll find at least a few of my newly-dyed yarns (such as this baby alpaca/bamboo blend) in my Etsy store. Check back soon to see my new nuno felt creations from alpaca and silk! Pin It Now!