Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday on the farm

Last night it got down to around 39 degrees. It was cold! But we didn't turn the heat on. Or start a fire yet. My husband had that procedure done Friday on his leg veins and the doctor said no heavy lifting for awhile. So no getting in firewood for him yet. I guess if I have to I will. But sure is nice to have someone else do it for me. And it gives him something to do, right? He's doing great so far. His legs are warm, which is a miracle in itself. We are hoping now that he is getting a good blood flow to his foot now, that that nasty ulcer will heal faster. So for now, he is taking it easy. Been watching this boring show all day called Jessie Stone. I am so glad I've been busy all day. But when I come in, all I hear is that boring music and droning voice.

So I have been in my studio, making soap and a few fairies. And taking lots of pictures too. Here are some of the animals of Outback Farm...

Louise, the cow. I think she looks a lot bigger than when she came here a few months ago. And the sheep and alpacas hang out with her now.

These darn chickens. I got 2 eggs today. I found 9 eggs over in my flower garden a few days ago. I'll get 6 or 7 eggs in the nester in the coop most days. But then I have to go on egg hunts to find more. I am sort of getting tired of this. They are laying them some place that I can't find now and I am not liking it. I have only gotten 2 dozen eggs since Thursday. Not good when I need to sell them at the market. Eggs go for $6 a dozen right now. So I think these guys will be in chicken jail for awhile again.

This is Sybil. I've had this cat for about 9 years now. I got her and her brother from a friend. My daughter took the boy a little later. Had them both fixed. I have all my cats and dogs fixed. She's a good cat. She is deaf. I sneak up on her sometimes and it scares her. I don't mean to. I have 5 other cats. All as old or older than she is. And the fig trees have doubled in size since last year. They have little figs on them, but I don't think I'll be getting any.

Here's my alpaca boys. I've had these guys a year now and have probably touched them maybe 5 times? The red one. The white one maybe 2 times. He just does not like me. He tolerates me, but does not like me. I always get the ears back and that silly look when I talk to him. The red one is a little more friendly. But if they see me with the water hose, they come closer to get hosed down. They love getting wet on a hot day.
I like these guys, but they sure are strange animals. Maybe one day, they'll like me. From what I hear, they live a very long time. So maybe, just maybe, we might learn to like each other by then.

I hope you all have had a nice weekend. It's been a beautiful fall weekend here. The trees have just a hint of color now. My mom's eye has more fall color than the trees do right now! It's all kinds of yellow. Her hand is not different colors anymore, except her thumb.  And her knee is a bit better. Except that she mowed her yard Thursday. She said she probably shouldn't have. Ya think. mom? But she's stubborn.

I did make more soap today. I'll post pics this week. Some different soaps for sure.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday ramblings...

 This is my little harvest yesterday for market. Lots of nice young tender kale, radishes and okra. Those apple are from my new trees. They are so good and crunchy and juicy. I think they are Golden Delicious. I love them. And so sweet.

I just don't sell a lot of produce at the Wed. market. I don't know why. I did sell some kale and okra, but that was it. There's a church that comes at the end and gets any left over stuff people will give them. So I gave them some. But took a lot to my mom and some for her friend. It could be that people are just used to me selling soap and wool stuff. I just don't know. I'll try a few more weeks and see.

I called my friend Susie last night to see if she wanted to come out today to learn to make soap. So she came this morning. I also had my bee friend coming to check on my bees. But he couldn't come this morning like he was going to, so came later this afternoon. Which worked out perfect. Bees are doing good, but no honey is being built up in the upper box for winter. So I have to start pumping the sugar water to them Darn it. I didn't want to have to do that. But the hive out back was already eating what honey they did have stored. Poor bees. So I did start the sugar water.

Anyway, Susie came and we went to the studio to make some soap. She picked out a nice Cedar-Saffron EO and we got to soaping. I'm not the best teacher, and she had been doing some reading and watching videos, so knew a little. But had never had any hands-on learning. So I showed her how to pour the lye and let her do some. Then did the oils. I let her stir and do the stick blender. It was fun. Got the soap in the mold. Now have to wait the horribly long 2 days to unmold it.

 This is her soap. I had to peek and take a picture a little later. We added some paprika for color. I was hoping it would be a little red. I guess I need to add a whole lot more next time. I put about 2 T. in. But who knows what the soap will look like in 2 days. It sure does smell good.

I went back over after my bee friend left. I wanted to try the wine soap next. I had already simmered the wine earlier. Had it cooling in the freezer. Got all my oils melted already. Then got the wine and added the lye to it. It started bubbling up so fast. This happened with the room temp kombucha and I lost all of that. So I started to stir and stir. It came right to the top of the container but I kept stirring. I also started filling the sink with cold water and ice too. It finally calmed down and stopped. I never lost any of it. Isn't that a pretty color? Almost like butterscotch. It's a citrus wine so I added orange and lemon EO's.

This is the wine soap in the mold. Looks orange-brownish now. Again, it will look totally different in 2 days, and even a week later. I love making soap.

I have 3  more soaps I want to make next. One with some grape juice I had canned last year. Another with muscadines I canned last year too. And another with apple spiced Chai tea and spiced apples I had canned too. Yum! But for some reason, I just don't want to make any more today.

My husband had a foot appt. today. He had gone to a doctor that specializes in circulation, whatever that's called, last week and again a few days ago. They were wanting to do a test where they'll go down in his artery in his right leg to check for a blockage. If they can, they will bust it up. If not, they'll do a stint. So he called awhile ago and said they're wanting to do it in the morning at 10. Good thing I have someone to stay with Mrs. T. tomorrow already.

And this weekend is a quilting class I want to go to. It starts at 5 Friday til 9. Then all day Saturday. I already know how to quilt. I just want to get familiar with my new sewing machine. And make a quilted banner for my market booth. I looked through my fabric stash and found some that'll work just fine. I am excited now to finally have a farm banner.

Here's my 2 dirty alpaca boys. They sure love to be hosed down. And it's been really hot here. And awfully dry. In the high 80's yesterday and today. AC is back on here. But that all changes after tonight!!! Cooler days and nights! And lots of rain coming too.

So if you don't hear any more from me here til next week, it's because I'll be busy. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's looking like fall!

This is my market booth last Saturday. I had a little help, Autumn, from the next booth. Her and her little sister and mom came out to the farm several months ago. She calls me Farmer Kris. I love it! She likes to hang out with me in my booth. So I let her set out my little needle felted critters. She loved it.

Here is my Basil and Peaches-n-Cream soaps I made last week. They really turned out pretty. The basil smells amazing. And I love the peach soap.

Yesterday, I went over to the studio and made a bunch of dryer balls. I made a lot of plain white one and 12 of these cuter ones. I really have fun making these. I never know how they'll turn out. Wool kind of has a mind of it's own.

Here they are, all wrapped into the hose and ready to be dunked in the hot water in the washer. Then they get tossed into the dryer for awhile til they are felted really good. Then into a cute basket and taken to market to sell. Don't know if I already mentioned this, but last week a sweet lady came by my booth and just fell in love with all my woolie things. She ended up buying most all of my decorated wool balls and several felted pumpkins and the cute ewe and lamb that I had made the week before. And she was not going to use the dryer balls in the dryer. She said they were just too pretty to be hidden in the dark dryer. That made me feel so good.

This is the Peaches-n-Cream soap a few days later. I took it outside and am very pleased with how these turned out. I love the sunbeams in this one.

And this one has the old milk room in the back ground. And all the leaves.

And this is the raw milk yogurt with clay soap I made the same day as the other day. It was just a little 2 pound recipe, so not many bars.

And here's my poor momma. She fell Saturday, right on her left side. She's a mess. Broke her left thumb pretty good. Her knee is a whole lot better. Her eye is really a cool color now. She really is so fortunate to only have broken her thumb. She will be looking better in a few weeks. She would have been pretty scary for Halloween, don't ya think? She's so sweet.

And we're hoping my sister will be able to just get the front of her house redone. Still talking to insurance people. Just takes a long time to get anything started. But she will be fine. And have a new house soon.

I'm going to have produce to take to market tomorrow! I have really nice looking baby kale and radishes. Plus dandelion greens and maybe some apples. Seems like there's something else I'm not remembering. I had to borrow another table from mom so I'll have a place to put all that. Plus some eggs too. I need to make more money to pay for my spinning class in November.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What a weekend!

Well, actually started Friday. I have all day on Friday with Mrs. T. who is 97 now. And can hardly walk. I let her go to the bathroom by herself and stayed on the couch, knitting. The bathroom is only around the corner from her chair in the little tv room. I can hear everything from the couch. But it sometimes takes her 10 minutes to get there. I was on the 2nd half of my hat I'm knitting and was on the 4th or 5th cast off on the knit section, when I heard a kerplunk coming from the bedroom.  Got up and looked around the corner and saw feet and legs. Yep, Mrs. T had fallen going into the bathroom. She was right outside the bathroom door, up against the wall, sitting on the grate with both legs straight out. She was ok, thank the Lord. But a little shaken up. Got her up and in the bathroom. And she was in the wheel chair the rest of the day if she needed to go anywhere. I was not taking any chances. I felt horrible for not going with her. I will from now on. And all the other caretakers will too. She cannot be left alone for a minute anymore.

Then Saturday, I went to the farmer's market. Had a great time. Had a missed call from my niece. Then my mom called. My sister Heidi had burned her house down earlier that morning. Heating up some coffee on the stove. Left the kitchen and forgot about it. Went back in and the stove is on fire. She grabs a towel and starts trying to put it out and gets burned. Her daughter calls 911 and they get out with the dogs but she's burned and having trouble breathing. So ambulance comes and takes her to the hospital. Her arm is burned real bad and her hair. But she'll be fine. I think it's mainly the kitchen and dining room. Plus all her brand new windows busted out and everything has smoke damage, so a loss of everything. Meeting with insurance people today and will find out more later. Please pray for her.

Then, on the way home through Ft. O where mom lives, mom calls and said she needed help, she'd just fallen.  So I was at her house in a few minutes. Oh my good Lord! She had the biggest knot on her left eyebrow I had ever seen. Her left thumb was totally bent backwards. Her knee was 3 times as big as it should have been. She was standing at the door when I got there. In nice clean clothes like she was ready to go somewhere. And she had just been mowing the back yard. She was taking some trash out the back door and had the leash n the dog. The leash got stuck in the corner of the door, the dog kept going and mom tripped right over that darn leash. Right on her face. Her deck is wooden so thankful it wasn't the concrete walk. 

So off to the ER we go. Which is just a few blocks away. Mom volunteers there a few days a week. They took her right back in and a doctor came right in. Looked her over. Gave her several shots in her thumb and put it back in place. Took her back for x-rays of hand and knee and CT scan of her face. Came back later and said there was no internal bleeding in head or knee. No breaks or fractures there. But the thumb was broken. Doctor said someone needed to stay with her a few days just in case. 

So I stayed the night. She did great. She's a strong healthy woman. I did some things Sunday to make it a little safer. Did some house cleaning. There will be no more leashes on the dog if in the back yard. Ever again! It's just too dangerous. That was only for training purposes anyway. 

Yesterday, her eye kept getting redder and redder, til now her whole eye, all around it, is red. I told her she needs to color the other eye to look the same now. It would have looked great for Halloween. Her knee is much better and swelling is down. Some blue color but not too bad. It's her thumb that is really hurting now. And she's really sore. Kind of like a car wreck I guess. The few days after is the worse. She hit the deck pretty darn hard.

So, not the weekend I had planned. Chattanooga and Walker Co hosted an Ironman Triathlon and the race went right past my house. I kinda sorta wanted to see it. But missed the whole thing. My husband stood out by the road for about 30 minutes, waving at the bikers as they raced past. They all waved and thanked him for coming out to support them. It was really cool. They had to swim first, in the Tn. River in Chatt. Someone found a dead body. Then later, right before out house, someone had poured out about 50 gallons of motor oil and tacks on the Southbound side of the road, where the bikers would be. About 30 bikers had flat tires before they got it all cleaned up. Some people are just sick. 

So all the excitement out this way is over for awhile now. We had the fair, then the race. Hope that's all. Now back to normal?

I sure hope your weekend was less eventful. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


my name is Kris and I am a soap-a-holoic. Yep. I am. I went to the studio this morning to work on wool. I need more dryer balls. More pumpkins. More little needle felted sheep and other critters.

But no. I made soap. Yeah, 3 more batches of soap. I cannot help myself. I lay in bed at night, thinking of soaps I can make. Different combinations. Different things to use instead of water in the lye. Ways to use more natural scents and colors. I have a problem.

But look what I made! Isn't this pretty? It's basil soap. I used fresh basil from a friend and my garden that I ground in the grinder, then added to the oils. I also used dried parsley that I made into powder by grinding it. Also had some basil EO I added at trace. I love this scent. I just wish it would stay this pretty color.

Then I made this. Peaches 'n Cream. With 1 1/2 fresh peaches, skin on, cut up and grated. And some raw cow milk yogurt from my friend Sarah's Jersey cows. No scent. I kept a little out and added some Wilton Cream Peach Icing gel to that and put it on top. Then swirled it a little. You can see on the sides the color before I added the dye. I wish this would stay this color. But I peaked and the dye color is almost red. It and the green soap has to stay in the molds for 48 hours.

Then this is a soap I saw on a soap video. She gave the ingredients and amounts too. It's European clay with yogurt. Just a 2 pound batch. This will be a facial soap. No scent in this either.

I did go back over after dinner to work on wool. But when I walked out the door, there were hundreds of dragonflies, flying all around the house. It was amazing. I have never seen so many of them together before. Wonder if they were migrating? Or getting ready to? I have no idea. Sure was cool. And the sunset was beautiful tonight.

Just a beautiful day here. I was home all day. I love being home. I am so thankful I am able to be doing what I'm doing.

And, when I went into the milk room to get some burger out of the little freezer for dinner,  I found the package of nettle seeds I had lost! I am so happy! I had prayed about this and just asked God to lead me to where He knew they were. And He did! ( It only took a week) I don't know how many times I had been right there to get feed for the chickens every night. The seeds were right above the barrel of sunflower seeds on the shelf. Right there this whole time. I don't know what made me even see the little white envelope this time. But I had to look twice. And when I realized it was the nettle seeds, I almost shouted! God is good! So I will go plant them Sunday. We are supposed to get rain that afternoon. I am so glad I found them. Now we will have our own patch of nettles next year. And I hear they make  soap a pretty green color too!

My market booth

 I dreamed about this new way to set up my space at the market. I have a canopy and have always had the long table in the back with the 2 smaller tables on either side. So people would have to walk inside to see things. The soap is always on the bigger table, since I have so much soap. Then the salves on the medium size table and felted things on the smaller one. So sales haven't been that good the past month. This is the new set up. I love it! And I sold a lot yesterday. Don't know if this is why, but I think it helped so much. People don't have to actually come inside now. The bigger table is sort of katy-corner with the other 2 tables tiered at the other side. All the other vendors liked it. I do too. And I can always flip it around  too.

I love this little wicker laundry basket I found at Michael's. It's perfect for wool dryer balls. And I found this pumpkin table cloth at a thrift store a few years ago. So cute for fall.

And all the soaps go on this bigger table. I just love making soap. I have so many ideas for more soaps floating around in my head right now.  I used the milk crates for height in the back which ads more to the table. I just love it. I need a farm sign now to hang  in the back. I might try to make one. There is a quilting class Oct.4th I think and I may just quilt a farm sign instead of the baby quilt. That'll make me thread up my brand new machine.(So sorry for another horrible blurry picture. But you can see what the soap table looks like anyway.)

I really do think this new way made a big difference in sales yesterday. I sold a lot of soap and some dryer balls and a pumpkin. But about 5:30, this lady came by and just fell in love with all my wool things. She ended up buying all my pretty dryer balls that were decorated real cute, several pumpkins and the set of sheep I had made last week! Over $100 worth of wool items! AND, she's not using the dryer balls in her dryer. She said they were too pretty to hide in a dryer. She has a better idea for them. I just love her! I told her she just made my deposit for the JC Folk School class on beginner spinning I want to go to in Nov. She was happy she could help out.

I just love fall. Just a perfect time of year. Do any of you who read my blog go to farmer's markets? What do you look for when you go? What draws you to certain booths? I would love to hear what you think. I know some of you are vendors too. I'd love to see pictures of your booths.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Last Saturday, I went to another knitting class. A friend has a camp not too far from me and is wanting to start a school to teach things like knitting, quilting, crochet, sewing. Hopefully a soap class too.

I can knit the basic stitch already. I have knit a few prayer shawls and scarves. Even made a hat a few years back. But I tend to forget things if I don't keep doing it.

This was a class on knitting a hat. For a baby. But I got big yarn. So this will be a hat for a big person. Or I may just keep it for me.

I really learned a lot of different stitches. Or whatever it's called. This hat is more like a sampler. It has 6 different stitches. Can't remember them all. But the girl who taught the class made this pattern. It's going to look good when it's finished.  Just not so good right now. But you can see all the different types of knitting here. This is half way done. Then I start over with the knit stitch. So fun! And I am actually following a pattern. When it's done, but not sewn together, I have to wet it and tack it down to shape it. Or stretch it. I'll get it done at Mrs. T's, I hope.

Today, after spending most of it with my mom, I came home and made jewelweed-plantain salve. I had to remelt it because it wasn't solid enough. Had to add more bees wax. I hope it sets up tonight.

I also made several more batts from Adele's wool. Finished picking it to be ready to card.

And I found some alum in Lafayette at this little country grocery store. I figured they would have some. So I got all 7 little bottles of it. I now need to look up how to dye fiber with natural dyes. And find a whole day to do it.

And I hope I am able to get into this beginner spinning class at the John Campbell Folk School in N. Carolina Nov. 14-16. I REALLY want to go to this. And they have classes in sock making, natural dyeing, soap making, knitting... So many classes I want to take. I need to learn so much.

I also bought a bottle of red wine with a citrus flavor to make some soap with. I saw someone's wine soap on-line in a soap forum and it's beautiful. So I'll try it. Also want to make soap with yogurt too. My friend Sarah, who has Jersey cows, makes the best yogurt. So got some from her today. Now I need some good organic peaches. I want to make a peaches and cream soap. Doesn't that sound good?

And want to make some more soap with green colors. I made a lime-patchouli yesterday, now wish I had waited. I got some parsley flakes. Someone said they grind them and add to their soap and it's the prettiest color green. That would have been perfect for lime soap. I can always make more! I love making soap.