Monday, September 28, 2015

Iron Man race...

Yesterday was the Iron Man race here. It started Sunday morning about 7 AM with a 2 1/2 mile swim in the Tn. river, then a 112 mile bike ride  5 miles past my house to Mt. Cove Farm then down Hog Jowl Rd. They had to make a loop 2 times that way, past our house. Then through Chickamauga, then back to Chattanooga. Then a 26 mile race on foot around Chatt. twice to finish the race. They had til midnight to finish.

That's a long race. I still haven't been all the way to Mt. Cove farm on my bike yet and it's just 5 miles there from here. I am going to do it. Now that it's getting cooler, I may attempt it. I just can't even imagine swimming for 2 1/2 miles in the Tn. River.

So the 1st 4 bikes came past us about 9:15. The rest took awhile longer to get here. It was amazing to watch them. There were about 2,181 people entered. Haven't really heard all the news about who won and home many finished. I did hear about the girl from another country who came here to train for this race. She had to quit because of cramping. And there were so many people who raced for other people who weren't here.
Like the man who was hit and killed while running last week. His dad ran and crossed the finish line at 11:30 last night. And the man who's son had cancer and met him at the finish line last year. His son died in May. So many stories like this. So seeing these people riding past our house was so amazing. The determination people has is awesome.

All day it was like this. There were some by their selves, but so many in packs. There were a lot of places where people gathered to cheer them on and give them water and encouragement along the way. It was just an amazing race. Great way to spend a day.

Last year, they didn't come down our road. The year before, someone had thrown oil and nails across the road and several people were hurt. So they went on up 193. But I guess they really monitored the roads before any bikes came through this time. Really make ya wonder about people when things like this happen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A good shepherd.

A good shepherd knows her sheep. I feel like I am a good shepherd. I know the sounds they make. I know if it's a happy sound or a distressed sound. I can tell when they want to move to another pasture.I just know my sheep.

So this morning, I was going to feed the chickens when I heard a sheep way down at the bottom of the pasture. I looked and all the sheep were up under the shelter of the garden shed. So I called "sheep" and they all looked at me. And I heard the sheep again, way down by the road. I kept calling and it answered.

I looked at all the sheep so I knew who it was. My favorite lamb baby, Campbelle. And it was raining. Had been all morning. I slept in too, so it was about 9:30.

I got halfway to where she was, way down in the corner. In the picture, the fence line meets way down by the road, and she was smack in the corner. So I went to get fence cutters and ran down to her. Poor baby. All I could see was her rear end. She was stuck between the 2 posts in the corner. Just enough room for a small sheep to squeeze in there to eat the bushes. She couldn't go forward any more, but didn't know to go backward to get out. So all I did was pull her backward and out she came. I guess I better put something in there to keep this from happening again. Because it will. Sheep are not the brightest of creatures.

That's her by the fence. No telling how long she'd been there like that. Poor baby girl. She was fine though.

This is what I see out my back door of the studio. Goats in the barn. It's been raining since yesterday. I need hay bad.

They finally mowed the hay fields next door to the South of us. Not to the North of us yet. I hope they get to mow it soon. I love to see hay in the fields. I think most people have cut hay 4 or 5 times this year. It's been a really good hay year here.

This is out the front door of the studio.

I planted some more kale in the big bed by the green beans a few days ago. They should be popping up in a few days. I gave the beans a good shot of fish emulsion a few days ago. They were looking a bit yellow at the bottom. They look better already. And the radishes I planted a few days ago are already up. I don't see carrots yet but should after all this wonderful rain God has provided for them. The kale and turnip greens look amazing. I can pick some kale already. I am SO thankful for this rain.

Nice cool rainy day here. Good day to stay inside and get some knitting done. And soap wrapped. And dryer balls made. And so much much to do.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yay, 3 more weeks to procrastinate!

Plans have changed yet again. We have rain in the forecast for this weekend. So Valley Fest has been postponed to Oct. 17th. And moved to the high school as well. So right now, I have 3 more weeks to procrastinate. I am good at that.

It has rained since last night. We really need rain. I don't think I have ever seen leaves changing colors in September. Ever. But they are around here. The nights are already cooler too. On the way home today, I saw smoke coming out of someone's chimney. Not ready for that yet. But we do have lots of wood. And more up on the mountain at a friends house, waiting for us to go get it.

So since, I didn't have to keep wrapping soap today, I went to town and paid bills. Went to see my mom too. A little different Friday for me.

Sunday, the Iron man race will be coming down our road again! They turned before our road last year because the year before last, someone put oil and nails on this road. Not a good thing.  But they will be back this year. I missed it 2 years ago when my mom fell and I had to stay with her at her house. We will not be able to leave Sunday. Churches won't even have a morning service. Pretty big thing around here.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oh, pigs!

So, sometimes it's good to not make plans. because as soon as you do, they change.

Like yesterday. I planned to stay home all day and work on getting ready for Valley Fest Saturday. Got a phone call from my friends Steve and Sarah. They are the ones who got the 2 pigs I was going to get back in March. But chickened out and sold them to my friends. First timers, they were. Had the perfect place to put them. They grew and grew and grew. They were great pigs, those 2. Happy pigs. Big fat pigs.

Til Monday.

They had an appointment at the butcher. But they weren't going. Nope, not those pigs. They were perfectly happy right where they were, thank you.

Steve called wanting advice on how to get those pigs in the trailer and to the butcher. He had fixed it up where their pen was blocked up and the trailer was wide open, ready for them to walk right on in.

But they had other plans. Like laying down at the bottom of their pig pen, in the shade. And spend the day there. Like a pig should, right?

So Steve called me asking for help. I said I'd be there as soon as I could. He had 3 guys coming too. And Sarah. We were going to run them up the hill into the smaller area, then push them into the trailer. Just like that. Sounds easy, right? Well, they are PIGS! Pigs don't do what you want them to do. They do what pigs want to do. And that's all.

We ran those pigs up and down that hill. A LOT. Also had a dog chasing them. And a cattle prod. And lots of sticks.

Well, needless to say, the pigs will be staying in their little piece of heaven for 3 more weeks. They won this time.

Speaking of changed plans. I had talked myself out of breeding the sheep this year. I just didn't want to go through what we did the last time. But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought about it. I had a few people asking about lambs. So I have talked myself into breeding just 5 of the older ewes. Darla, Annabelle, her daughter Buttercup, Adele and her daughter Cassadee.

I'm going to also take the 2 wethers to the butcher Oct. 6th. Already have them sold. I need money! Then I will start looking for a ram. A friend has Finn rams, so will probably get one from her.

I'll take the other 5 ewes, Adalaide, Amarillo, Campbelle, Cara and Cameron out along with the 2 alpacas and put them in another pasture til the other 5 ewes are bred. Then I'll keep the ram with Oden, the buck, in the back yard.

Speaking of Oden the buck. He's coming home next week. Then he will be with Freja and Olga for awhile. I'll keep the 2 little does away til I think the big girls are bred.

So, some changes around here.

And speaking of changes again, it's the first day of fall y'all!!!!! So fun! It was a warm day though. I have had to water the garden a lot because no rain. Sure could use some. The garden is coming along real nice. Should be able to go back to the farmer's market next weekend.

I like change, really.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Milk machine...

I'm just milking Freja once a day now. It takes 2 days to get half a gallon. But it's worth it. I love goat milk!

I'll get my buck Oden back the end of September. Then he goes in with Olga and Freja for awhile. Hopefully there will be kids in March.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The chickens are out again...

and back in the garden.

I did get the electric netting fence around most all of the kale and collards, so I hope the rest will be ok. I tried to block off all the holes around the fence too. But Black Bart is the first one out there. And he clucks so the girls follow him. Darn ole rooster.

I got more collards and turnips planted Tuesday and watered in really good.  Today I planted 2 rows of carrots to the right of the radishes. I think I'll plant a few more rows of radishes later.

So far, it's looking good out here in the garden. Buckwheat has flowers already. The bees are bringing in lots of bright yellow pollen right now. So I hope they'll have lots of honey to make it through the winter. I hope I don't have to start feeding them for awhile.

I am feeding the humming birds about every 4 days now. They come let me know when the feeder's about empty. I added a full cup of sugar this morning for them. They are getting ready for their long flight soon. I see them all over the place, in the window box and the flowers. I was sitting out under the cedar tree in the garden the other day knitting and I heard them all in the tree. I love them.

What's going on in your gardens right now? Anyone planting fall crops?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cardigan and old rocker.

I started this cardigan a few weeks ago in my knitting class. I hope to have it finished in a few weeks. But it sure is boring right now. Purl a row, knit a row. Boring. And I have some pretty noticeable holes in a few places. Don't know how that happened. But last night, I thought about just embroidering some cute little flowers over the holes when I'm finished. Good solution, I think! I can't wait to get this done now.

I also got my very favorite magazine a few days ago. Taproot. I love it. There is a pattern for a Cicily shawl I want to make. Just about every issue has some knitting patterns and lots of other crafty things to make. This issue also has the instructions for how to make a cloth basket out of clothes line rope. So looks like I will have plenty to do.

 And this is my new old rocker. I took it down the road to the people who made my farm sign to make a new rung for it last month. Christina brought it back yesterday and it's now back on the front porch of my studio, where it's been for years. It came with this house, so I know it's pretty old. I love this rocker. And now it rocks so much better. I will get a lot of knitting done out here now.

I just need to stain the new rung now and it'll look better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In the garden.

Can't really see it too good here, but this is some of the buckwheat I planted a few weeks ago. It's in front of the bee hive, so I hope when it flowers, the bees will  get what they need. I also planted a few other little patches.

This is the kale, turnips, radishes, lettuce and more buckwheat. It needs rain bad. Really dry. We had a good rain Saturday, but not enough. I could stand out there all day and water with the hose, but it doesn't do a thing like rain water does.

There is a row of green beans to the left here. And I had planted collard greens in the right bed but all that came up were tomato seedlings. All over. And hardly any collards at all. So I tilled it back up and will have to get more seeds tomorrow. I want a lot of collards!

I also need to plants stinging nettles and garlic soon.

I walked past the hive the other day and got scared. There were no bees at all in the entrance. But we had a cold night and they were all still inside, where it was warm. Today, they are all out working, bringing in lots of yellow pollen, from the goldenrod, I think. They should have plenty of good honey to get them through the winter now.

I was trying to find some pants to wear the other morning, but I have none. I have lost so much weight, none of my old pants fit me. I will have to make a trip to the thrift store for winter clothes now. I still have 1-2 pounds to get under 200. I rode my bike through the battlefield park Sunday with some friends from church. Ended up riding 9 miles. It was fun. I thought surely I'd lose a few pounds. I am not giving up.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Around the farm...

Hello! I feel like I haven't posted in a long time. I just haven't had much to blog about. This morning, I took a lot of pictures. So here goes.

We had a lot of Japanese beetles this year. They ate all the leaves on all the apple trees. So not many apples at all. But I started to notice the leaves growing back on the early June apple tree and then it got blossoms. I have never seen this happen before. Then, last week, I saw these little tiny apples. How cool is that? I don't know if they will actually make bigger apples, because we are already getting cold at night here. But we will see.

And my very first elderberry syrup. With my own elderberries and honey!!!! It's SO good too. It's not deep purple like the dried berries I've used before. But it's amazing! I will have no sniffles this winter!

I made 3 more batches of soap last week. No more til I can make some money and order more lye. I am out.

The top left is Dragon's Blood. It's a fragrance oil. I have noticed the FO turns the soap way darker. But it smells really good.

Top right is Blackberry Sage.

Bottom left is Lemongrass.

Trying to get ready for a show Sept. 26th. I need to make more needle felted sheep and dryer balls.

My dread-locked lamb, Cara. I love her bangs.

And her twin (not really, but they look so much alike) Buttercup. She has the same dread-locked bangs. So cute.

Misha, the alpaca. He always looks like this, with his ears straight up.

This is the way Sugar always looks. Ears down and that look on his face that just kills me. He is letting me get a little closer all the time now. But still won't let me touch him. Funniest animals ever, these alpaca boys.

Now I am off to my knitting class. I am knitting myself a sweater. I post pics later. But I love it already. And I hope I can get it done soon. It's cold outside!

I hope you all had a great weekend and a good week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fall is already in the air...

Just look at all the leaves on the ground here. It already looks and feels like fall and we still have a few more weeks of summer.

Freja is so pretty. I am only milking once a day now and just getting a little over a quart. I have 2 people who get a half gallon each a week, so it takes 2 days to get that. The rest is ours. And it's so good. I am making lots of goat milk soap now too. I'll milk her as long as she has milk.

I'll be getting the buck Odin back the end of September, so will start the breeding then. I'll just breed Freja and Olga this year. Inga and Alva are too young and small right now.

I think I have talked myself out of breeding the sheep this year again. I just don't want to have to separate the ewe lambs, wethers and alpacas. That would mean 2 round bales of hay for each of those groups and we just can't afford it right now. So I will wait til next year when I can just breed all of the ewes. That's 10 ewes. I keep thinking of all the lams they had last year. 20 of them from just 8 or 9 ewes. And I have nightmares of a lot of bottle babies. I don't want to do that! So we will wait.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Had a little scare this morning.

And I don't really remember putting the tea pot on the stove or turning it on. I remember thinking about a cup of tea. But then thought I better wait till after I come back in from milking the goat.

Then my mom called. I was standing outside and told her I smelled smoke and that I hoped it wasn't a brish fire somewhere close by. It's been really dry here.

Then went inside and saw the tea pot on the stove with smoke pouring up and some flames. Then realized I had put the almost empty tea pot on the stove and turned it on.

This is what it looked like.

Bottom melted off the pot and on the eye.

And my husband sitting in the living room in his recliner, watching tv. He said he didn't smell anything but heard the tea pot whistling.

Yeah, house could have burned down all around the husband and he would have just sat there. And the house was just about full of smoke.

And while I was outside, I heard the smoke detector go off. For like 5 minutes. When I came back in, he was trying to make it stop.

I'm going to have to be more careful. That was scary. That's how my sister's house burned down a year ago. She left something on the stove and forgot about it.  Pretty scary for sure.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tie dye fun.

 These are my 2 oldest grand daughters, Chloe and Coryn. They stay with us sometimes on the weekends. Last Sunday we went to the Chattanooga Market and they saw a few booths with tie dye tee shirts and wanted one. I said we could make them a whole lot cheaper.

So I got a few white tees and some Rit dye. And today, we had a tie dye party! I was also inspired by Soulmomma's blog a few weeks ago.

                                                          Their shirts turned out so cute!

                                                                            This is mine.

I had so much fun that I started going through the house looking for more white things to dye. I found this white material and made these 3. Don't really know what I'll do with them. But I think I see a few skirts and another shirt in there somewhere.

Just something fun to do on a Saturday. I think we might go on up to Cloudland park tomorrow and go down to the falls. I haven't been there in a few years.

I hope you all have a nice little holiday yourself!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

This is not Logan's Roadhouse y'all...

 Yeah, this is what I came home to awhile ago. Looks like Logan's Roadhouse, where my mom and I went for lunch yesterday. I brought back a bag of roasted peanuts. This is where they ended up. On the living room floor.

So this is what husbands and dogs do when the wife is gone. Yep, the dogs ate them too. They're even on his rear end.

I just had to take pictures and write a blog post about this. It was too funny! I love my husband and my dogs. I told him I was going to put these pictures on my blog and he wanted to know if I got a picture of him bending over. He'll never know.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's September y'all!

 I've been making soap lately. I finally learned how to make hot process soap and love it. It's SO much easier than cold process. No worries about temps being the same. And it can be used right away after a few days of curing. I love it. And I can make it with goat milk. I have never been able to make it with goat milk before hot process. Now I'm cranking out the goat milk soap.

I had made some peppermint and some lemon-lime last month, plus some lavender.

Yesterday, I made a bastille soap with vanilla-rosewood EO. I love that scent.

Today I made an almond biscotti and the studio smells amazing! Can't wait to try this soap. I added the ground up almonds while cooking it and it sort of made the soap a gray color. Then added almond biscotti fragrance oil.

                                                           Also made another lavender.

My niece made me a few wooden soap molds too. I needed them for sure. Now I can actually make 4 batches of soap!

Here's the other soaps on the rack curing. I love seeing all the progress I've been making.

On the 3rd shelf is a plain goat milk with honey and oatmeal I made last Thursday when my niece came to learn to make soap. She made lavender. It's so fun to teach people to make soap. She is so excited to be able to make it now.

This is the bastille soap. I really like this soap. It's real lathery. It has shea butter, coconut and olive oils and caster oil. There was a little bit of the EO left in the bottle so I sprinkled it on top. Don't do this again!

I'm making all this soap for the fall shows coming up. I have one Sept. 26th at the Middle school to help raise money for their rec dept. It's an all day thing, with food and music and contests. Should be fun.

And the little baby sweater and bonnet are finished. Just need buttons now. I have a particular baby in mind for this too. My friend who milks for me while I;m gone is pregnant with her 5th baby, due in Nov. This will be perfect. They never find out ahead what they're having, but I think this will be fine for a boy or a girl. And you know this poor child will be wearing all kinds of hand me downs. So something new and specially made just for them with so fun.

I've got enough of this yarn to make another little hat.

I am starting a sweater for myself next. Already picked out a pattern that looked really east, a little like the baby sweater. I chose some brown yarn, in the Vintage line. It's wool-acrylic blend. Very soft and east to work with. I think I can do this.

Also got the garden all planted for fall. I planted kale, collards, turnips, radishes, lettuce, squash, zucchini and green beans. And did several little beds of buckwheat for the bees. I hope it all comes up. I've had to water because no rain. And it's supposed to be in the 90's all weeks.