Friday, July 29, 2016


I have been afraid to spin alpaca by itself. I have blended it in with wool while spinning and I love how soft it makes the hand spun yarn. I'm knitting a hat I spun with white wool and black alpaca. It's so soft and pretty. But I have never spun alpaca by itself yet. It's so fine.

But yesterday, after I finished plying the wool-alpaca yarn, I got down the little tote full of the black alpaca I had carded last year. And I started spinning it. And I could do it! And it was fun and pretty easy. It only broke once so far. I am spinning it just like I do my wool, fairly thin. I am loving it!

I already have 2 totes of my alpaca's fiber washed from 34 years ago. I have used the white fiber in with my wool. But never have used Misha's red fiber yet. I threw last year's bag of fiber in the washer yesterday and now it's drying on the rack. After I spin all this black I will start spinning more. I need to wash the 2 bags from this year too.

This should be really pretty when it's spun. And I guess each year will be different.

I still have all of this years wool to get washed. I did wash half of Cameron's wool so far though. She's the black sheep. It really was not all that long though. And after handling alpaca, sheep wool is really rough and course. I may just have to buy some more alpaca from my friend Susan.

And my yogurt did not turn out. I did put it in the fridge just to see what it would do. I'll check it later.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Spinning and yogurt.

I have been working on spinning some wool and alpaca for months now it seems. I finally got another bobbin full and started plying. I have 1 skein done and now working on another. It just seems to take me forever to bet a bobbin full. And I have so much wool to spin!!

This is really pretty and oh so soft too. All from my sheep and Sugar, the alpaca. I really need to just spin plain alpaca by itself one day. I will.

Yesterday I made some goat milk yogurt. My favorite show, Live Free or Die on National Geographic, has come back on. But I missed the first show. I thought it was tonight but it was Monday. I am so upset. But I watched a little video of Amelia making yogurt so I decided to try it.

I wrapped it all up in this blanket and put it on the back porch where it's hot. This morning, it's still warm, but not at all thick yet. That's the problem I have always had with goat milk yogurt. It's never think. I'll leave it and check it again tonight. I may just have some good buttermilk.

And this is some lacto-fermented ginger carrots I made about a month or so ago. I did not like them at first. But now, since they've been in the fridge so long, they are SO good! I love this. But next time I make it, I won't use so much ginger. It's way to spicy for me.  But so good.

Looks like we are in for some good rain. And tomorrow, right around market time, looks like the most is heading our way. So I am thinking about not going. But then if I don't go, it won't rain.   Ugh.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday at home.

It's weird being home right now. Usually on Wednesday my mom and I go out,. We would be eating lunch somewhere right now. But she had an early appointment and my husband needed the truck for his doctor appointment. So I am staying home today.

I mowed already. The yard and garden was looking quite scraggly. So that's done. It's been so dry we hardly need to mow anymore. But there is a chance of rain every day for a week! We might get some. It's funny, the last 2 days it has rained all over the place and up to about 2 miles from our farm, but nothing here. It has rained on the hay fields where I get my round bales though, so I am happy to see that. It was looking pretty bad. He would usually have baled hay at least 2 or 3 times by now and has only baled 1 time this year.

A friend gave me these comfrey plants for some milk a few weeks ago. I put them in the shade til I can figure out where to plant them and almost forgot about them. 4 of the pots only had roots when I got them and now have little ones growing already. I think I'll just plant them over where I had them. They seem to like it there. I can't wait til I can start using this stuff. She said it's really good for animals to eat too.

Does anyone else grow comfrey? What do you do with it? I want to make salves but need to read up on the medicinal benefits of comfrey.

This morning while I was mowing under the pear trees, I noticed the limbs hanging down from all the pears. I saw one that look ripe so picked it and ate it. It was so good. I just love going around the yard or gardens while mowing and picking food. I did that with the blue berries. And figs and apples. So fun!

And just a cool little heart shaped potato I found a few days ago. I love this. And it made some good fried taters too!

For me, the farmers markets have been good this week. I did really good Sunday up on the mountain at the Trading Post. I really like that one. Then yesterday at Audubon Acres I did good too. But some of the other vendors did not. The market manager wanted to have 2 rows facing each other. We have been making an L shape and people really liked it that way. So we did it facing each other yesterday and it was not good for the vendors at the end. Some didn't even sell anything.

So I would love to hear your opinions of farmers markets you go to. How are the vendors spaced out? In 1 long row or facing each other in 2 rows? What do you prefer? And do you usually go to each booth? Or to your favorite booth and leave? I have noticed some people go right straight to their favorite places and never even look at another booth. So just wondered.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday morning milking.

I have started milking the goats outside now, since it's like an oven in the milk room. So til it gets cooler, here we will be milking.

It's so quiet out here. I can hear every insect, frog, bird. I can hear distant neighbors mowing or hammering or chain saws running. It's amazing the sounds I can hear out here. I feel sorry for people who live in cities. I was getting gas last week near downtown Chattanooga on Broad St. Standing there at the pump, it was so noisy. The interstate was just a few blocks away. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, waiting at the lights, were very loud. I looked up in the trees along the road and wondered if there were birds in them. And if they were singing. If they were, no one would hear them there.

I love it out here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beautiful morning sky

Good Thursday morning y'all! It's gonna be another hot day here. My husband said he saw on the news where it's going to be over 100 way up in Minnesota and Illinois. That's pretty hot for way up there. I bet people in Minnesota don't even have air conditioners.

This was my view yesterday while milking the goats. The sheep wanted out here. So after I was finished milking, I let the sheep and alpacas out there with the goats.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Some animals at Outback Farm. And a rainbow.

This is Andy Oakley. He's probably 10 or 11 now. All my cats are old.

And these 2. My husband said he saw one of the sheep head butting Black Bart the other day. So I caught them in the act. It's Cameron and Black Bart. I have no idea why they do this. They don't hurt each other. They just butt heads. It's too funny really!

And Misha. He is tall enough where he can just reach up and grab an apple or leaves off the trees. I can tell where he's been.

We got quite a bit of rain yesterday. It's so weird though because it rained in several places but not others that were so close. Like when I left the house yesterday, it had rained about 3 miles up the road but not here. The guy I get my hay from for the sheep, his fields are as brown as dirt right now. But here and right past him are green.  But then it rained really good in Chattanooga and St. Elmo and Flintstone, but not in High Point. And on the way home, I called my husband to see if we had gotten rain. He said there were streams going down the driveway. And it rained on the hay fields! So I am very thankful for that rain!

On the way home, I saw this beautiful rainbow in Flintstone. So pretty.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Clay is messy!

You can't see the half of it, but I am a mess! I've been working on some pottery this morning and have decided that clay is very messy. I need to wash all the towels I have ruined doing this too. And then take a nice long shower before I go to town.

I took all the tools and buckets off so I could wash the wheel down real good.

All clean again! It just feels good to work in a clean space and have clean tools again.

I can not make 2 of the same things. It's SO frustrating to me. I would love to at least make 2 mugs or 2 bowls as alike as possible. I know no 2 of anything is very much alike in pottery. But I would like to at least make 2 things the same size or shape.

So the first thing I made this morning flopped. Bad. I had at least 3 pounds of clay. It turned into a little tiny bowl after I had to cut most of the clay off. The bowl on the right in back. Then I was going to try to make a tall mug. It turned into a yarn bowl. Then tried to make another yarn bowl. It turned into the bowl with the spout. I'll add a handle later after I trim it. I did get 2 tea cups almost the same size though.

And got pretty close  with these 3 sets of 2 mugs. Maybe one day I will make a set of 4 mugs that look similar. Just maybe?

I have not really felt like making any pottery in a few weeks. I did make 10 little soap dishes though. Took them in to get fired Saturday. Can't wait to see how they look  when finished. I don't really know how I want to glaze them.

I think I am in need of another milk goat. All of a sudden, I have people actually wanting to buy milk now. After all these years of having goats and only a few people getting milk, now I have about 6 people wanting milk. And someone wants buttermilk and cheese too. There is not a lot left over for the pigs. So a friend had borrowed my buck 5 months ago. One of her does had a doe kid last week and she rejected her. So I asked if I could get the doe to milk. I am talking more about this with her today. She has another due soon too. That would put me going through winter with a doe in milk. I really need to get certified to sell milk now. That would be a good thing, right?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In the garden

Some of the tomatoes I've been harvesting the past few days. Just a lot of different kinds. My favorites are the little orange Sungold cherry tomatoes and the Orange Valencia. They are so good.

I have no idea why these pictures are so huge.

My water was $75 for this last bill. Good grief! I knew it would be high because I am watering every day. But $75? Yikes.

But I just have to water these flowers. For the bees. And all the butterflies and other insects. It's always busy out here.

This is my biggest Mexican sunflower so far. These just popped up from last year. There are several others too. But this one gets watered more. And the pretty cosmos. I love these flowers!

I'm also watering the 2 rows of green beans with sunflowers down the middle of the rows. And some of the squash and zucchini too. And the tomatoes. And of course the blueberry and fig and elderberry bushes. And the mints and herbs.

I just heard on the news that N. Carolina is flooding. And Iowa. What is going on with our weather lately? We are in a serious drought here and other places are flooding?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Knitting caddy.

Last night, I decided to make a knitting caddy. This is what I came up with. I haven't done any sewing since my class a few months back. I had to re thread my bobbin and kind of messed it up. Had to figure out why it wouldn't spin after some thread broke the first time. There was thread stuck around the little post under the bobbin. So got it all out and it worked.

I really like it. It holds all of my knitting needles. I need to cut out one row so I can have a bigger place to put scissors and other things.

And it just rolls right up! This will take up so much less room and I won't have to take everything out of my knitting bag to find something! I need to get a little piece of fabric and make a tie for it now. But I love it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Outside milking.

It has been SO hot in the milk room lately. I dread going in to milk. I am dripping with sweat when it's all done. The goats don't even want to go in there. It's literally like a sauna.

So, this morning, I got my husband to help move the 2 stanchions out in the goat yard, under the trees. I will be milking there til winter. We might need to put a lean-to over it. Just in case it might rain. But here they will be til it gets cooler.

And maybe the girls will finish eating their feed now.

I cannot remember it ever being this hot in that room before. I can't remember ever having to water the gardens before either. But I am watering nearly every day. And have been since the beginning of June. First big water bill was about $46. Can't wait to see what this next one will be. I just hate to see all my plants suffering so. I am even watering the apple trees.

What's it like where you live right now? Doing a lot of watering too?

Saturday, July 9, 2016


So I am out in the garden, watering the tomatoes tonight. I noticed one of the plants was almost stripped of leaves. I just wondered what would have done that. The I spotted this huge guy on another plant. Can you see it? Right in the middle of this picture, upside down.

It's a stinkin' tomato horn worm. I have NEVER seen one or had any on my tomatoes. Ever. But this is the year of the Japanese beetles. And squash bugs. And a drought. So now tomato horn worms. Why not? Join the party!

So this guy will be chicken breakfast in the morning.

I did get to pick some tomatoes! Those little orange ones are the best tomato ever!  Like eating candy. They are good! And apparently I got some Romas.

I think I am giving up on the garden til fall. I have had enough of this. I noticed today that a lot of my zinnias looked burnt. I couldn't figure out why. Then realized it was from the Dawn dish soap spray I've been using to kill the beetles with. It's frying my plants! It's also doing the same thing to the squash leaves where I've been spraying the squash bugs. So yeah, I have had enough of this summer gardening.

Friday, July 8, 2016

In the garden. Friends. Chloe. And sheep.

The zinnias had lots of visitors this morning. I am so glad I have my new phone. It's so much easier to carry than my camera. And I always have my phone with me.

I saw this gorgeous huge butterfly on some zinnias and just had to get a picture of it. Isn't it just beautiful?

And this bee. Just full of pollen, all over the legs. I love seeing all the life out there/

And look at this! Ripe 'maters! I was shocked to see these. They are on some tomato plants that I have sorely neglected. But they are bearing fruit for us. I am thankful for them.

These are on a plant that is down in the lower garden. I do water these at least every other day. They are all full of tomatoes. All kinds of tomatoes. There are tiny little yellow cherry tomatoes, Romas, some heirlooms that are purple and some others. A friend gave them all to me so I really don't know what all is out there.  But this one is huge!

And my friend Stephanie found this and thought of me. I am always saying this about my alpacas. It says cute but weird but cute. Too funny! They really are though. It's perfect. This will go on the wall in my studio.

And yesterday, I took Chloe to get her hair done. She wanted it dyed and cut. I love this! She really wanted that pretty purple color, but her hair is so dark so would have had to bleach it. And it would only last about 4 weeks. And it's so damaging to hair. So she settled on this reddish color. He put the color on first. She wanted a purple color on the ends. But all that was cut out. He forgot to ask how she wanted her hair cut. But I really love this on her. She sure has the face for short hair.

She really likes it too. She has always taken a picture with her to the beauty shops and never ever has got it cut just like the picture. But this is very close to what she showed the guy. He did a great job. He loved it too.

And yesterday, I opened the chicken run and let the sheep in to eat all the tall huge weeds in there. They did a great job! It was like a jungle in there and hard to see the chickens. Especially the 3 little babes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Cleaning up

I noticed that my soaps were starting to look a bit ragged. So I brought them all to my studio yesterday after the market. I took all the old wrappings off and re-wrapped them. Cleaned out the boxes. I'll go tomorrow and get new card stock for labels. And I want to get some chalk paint to paint on the fronts of the boxes and tin thingies too. I think that would look better than a piece of paper telling what they are.

I also put waxed paper underneath the soaps. Just looks better and cleaner too.

I also needed more plantain salve. So made 12 more little jars and a sample one. I need to make more calendula salve too, but I need more olive oil. I was going to go to Costco today, but they are closed. I need more lye and shea butter too. So many things I need to get so I can make more.

I am hearing fireworks from the people up the road. I was hoping they wouldn't shoot any off because it's so dry here. Someone was last night, over the hill. I had to stand outside with the sheep and alpacas til they were done. Poor animals are scared to death.  There was a fire up on the mountain today. It's so scary. I heard on the news today that 2 out of 5 house fires are started by fireworks. Isn't that crazy?  I sure can think of a lot of things I could spend my money on.

Speaking of spending money. My Trooper started acting up yesterday on the way up the mountain to the new farmers market I'm going to. I thought it was going to stop altogether, but I put it down in 3rd and it kept going. I made it to market. I called my husband and told him to meet me at the transmission shop in the valley after market. It drove fine all the way there in 3rd. Soon as I'd put it in drive, it started making crazy noises. So it's over there til I find out what's wrong with it. I've had 2 transmissions already put in it. And some other work done to it several months ago. Hope it's nothing serious. My grand daughter was cleaning it the other day. Maybe she pushed a button or something. I'm hoping.

Hope you all had a nice day today. Happy birthday America!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Life and death on the farm.

Most of the time, life on a farm is good. Spring time has new growth, everything turns green and flowers start blooming. Baby animals are born all over the place. Happy times!

Then there are sad time. Crops fail. Droughts happen. Even floods or fires.  And animals die. Some have to be slaughtered for food. Or they just never thrive and grow.

This cute little baby chick only lived 2 days. She was very different than all the others. All my hens and the rooster are very black. But this little one looked nothing like any of them. I don't know if that's the reason. Or the others might have neglected her because she was so different. She looked all nice and normal and healthy most of the time she was here. Then this morning there was no energy. And she was gone.

The other 3 little black chicks are doing great. They have 2 mammas to keep them all safe. They help each other take care of the chicks. One eats while the other keeps the chicks under her feathers. And then they swap jobs.  It's amazing how nature works.

I love life on this farm.

Friday, July 1, 2016

4 this morning!

There is another chick but it's behind mommy.  But look at this little odd ball on the right! Where did it come from? All my chickens and Black Bart are BLACK! I know these are crossed with a few different breeds, so maybe whatever it is is coming out through this little cutie.

I'll be able to tell it apart from the others for sure. Kind of looks like a game chicken. But I'm fine with it. I needed more chickens. And these are free!