Friday, September 9, 2016

New "old" soap box display

This my new soaps box. It had 4 shelves but we added 3 more. So it holds 7 different soaps. I love it!


I went out to the garden to get it ready for a tiller man to come til it up so I can plant Buckwheat and clover. I harvested all the big sunflower heads. While cutting them, I saw this one, full of the broken seeds from the birds. It's hanging down so made the perfect bird feeder for them.

I got about a bushel of seed heads to save for next year. I want to plant more than half the garden in sunflowers.

Then I went to the pear trees and got a big bucket of pears.  I cannot reach to the very top where there are lots more hanging. I guess I'll have to get a ladder later.

I canned 14 pints of ginger-cinnamon-cloves and honey pears. I used honey from my bees too. I love the color of these pears and I'm sure they will be so good.

I mowed the whole garden except the one row of dandelions and a round circle of wild daisies. He will be coming tomorrow to til.

I also pulled up all the stakes down where the tomatoes were. That was a job! There were so many tall weeds out there. Plus more than half was ragweed. But I've been having about a tablespoon of my honey every day now and I do believe that's helped with my allergies. So far anyway!

Then last night, before dark, I started putting wheel barrows full of that mulch around the garden shed. Then I decided to put some here where my garden chairs are. I'll add more tonight. It got dark so had to stop. I came out early this morning and sat here to watch the sun rise. Then started picking zinnias for market this afternoon.

This is the strawberry basil kombucha. It was SO good! I have another bottle. I will be making lots more of this.

I also spun more of the brownish-red alpaca from Misha. And trimmed some of the mugs and things I made the other day with that new clay. Not really sure how I like it yet. It was really hard to trim. I'll take all the things I've made to the studio tomorrow to get fired.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Kombucha all over!

About 4 days ago I did some 2nd ferments with my kombucha. On the left is mango, next is strawberry mango, then blueberry ginger, and the last 2 are strawberry basil. I cannot wait to try each one! If anyone needs a scoby, I am starting over and have some every few weeks now. This is SO good!

Monday, September 5, 2016

More soap. And some flowers.

I made this soap yesterday. I put it in the freezer a few hours after I put it in the mold, hoping it wouldn't turn almost black the way this one usually does. It's Dragon's Blood, a fragrance oil blend.  Here is after cutting it last night.

And then this morning. It's already so dark. But smells amazing. This is a good seller for me.

This is a citrus soap I made Saturday. I love this one. It's got orange, lemon and lime EO's.

And Orange Clove made with Tazo Wild Orange tea and orange and clove EO's.

I was out in the garden yesterday evening while filling up the water trough. I noticed all these big beautiful zinnia flowers. They are SO pretty! The whole zinnia bed is looking good again with new and bigger blooms. I will pick some tomorrow for the market.

I have a number to call for a guy up the road who does tilling. I want my whole garden tilled so I can plant buckwheat and clover. Also need to plant kale and turnip greens.

There is a very different feel to the air these last few days around here. The mornings are so much cooler and also the nights. But the days are HOT! It even sounds different, with all the insects and birds. There were 2 birds out back this morning while I was hanging clothes. It sounds like they are saying "over here, over here, over here, over here" then the other one farther away will say the same thing. But they stay where they are. They never go over there.

I noticed the bees bringing in bright yellow pollen right now. I really need to see if I can harvest a little more honey from my big hive. Just need to find time in the afternoon to do it.

Y'all have a nice Monday and Labor Day!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shearing the sheep again.

Today, the sheep shearer came. I have never had the sheep sheared twice a year before. But as hot as it's been, I just felt like they could use another shear before winter. Their wool had grown pretty long. So I called and they were able to come today.

I waited til they were almost here to get the sheep where I wanted them. But, they knew something was up. And they didn't want any part of it. They would not go where I had it all set up for them to be. A good sheep herding dog would have been great to have right about then. I got my 2 dogs, Bubba and Stella, thinking they might scare the sheep into the penned area. But they were absolutely worthless!

So I just waited. I had the feed trough over there with feed and good alfalfa hay in it. They all finally went in and I get the fence shut. All but Darla. She didn't want to go to this party. We did finally get her though.

This is Darla. I love this picture. Someone said it looked like she was smiling. I really don't think she was at all. If you could have seen these sheep, they were not happy about this at all. But I know that after it's all said and done, they are happy. And they all look SO much better without all that dirty hot wool on. They look so clean and white. Well, except Cameron. I love her without wool. She's so black.

But do you see an odd ball sheep here? I do. Next year, Amarillo will be the very first sheep to be caught and sheared!  She is absolutely crazy! She was the last sheep in the pen and she didn't want to be. I tolf the guys they should get her before they get Adalaide. But too late. Amarillo got out. Then she went right through the 16' welded wire cattle panel and took it with her. She bent that fence in half. And she went over onto her neck, which I thought she broke. We got her out and she took off for the hills! Crazy sheep!

So she is the only one who didn't get sheared. And she's messing up the whole clean look of the flock. Ugh!

This is Annabelle. Her wool is what I've been dyeing.

And Adalaide. Her wool is really not good. It's so kinky. I can use it for felting or dryer balls though. She looks so good sheared and cleaned.

And my favorite baby, Campbelle. She's the sweetest one of the whole bunch.

Then the crazy ewe. She really is crazy. And she's Campbelle and Cameron's mother. How are they so sweet and nice and their mother is crazy?

So, 7 more bags of wool to add to the 30 something bags here in my studio. Oh my goodness, when will I ever get all this wool cleaned, carded and spun?? I am having so much fun spinning alpaca now too. I'm spinning Misha's reddish-brown fiber and thinking I might just knit myself a sweater with it. I just might have to.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Some new pottery

I decided to take some newer pottery to the market yesterday. Had a lot of nice compliments. And someone bought a yarn bowl! I love this yellow. I've never used it before. I bought some half and half clay this time, so all the glazes will look totally different, without the specks. A more shiny smooth finish.

I really like doing these flowers. This is another yarn bowl. (Sorry it came up twice.)

And some taller mugs finally. I have 4 of these. And a little mixing bowl with a handle and spout.

These are all for sale, if anyone is interested.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dyeing wool with comfrey leaves.

Today, I dyed some of Annabelle's wool. It was about 200 grams. A friend gave me some comfrey leaves Tuesday and I picked a bunch from my own. I simmered them for several hours while I went to town. Got back and got the wool ready.

And this is the result. It looks yellow here, but it's not. It's a dull green color. I am not very impressed with it. I might be later after it's dried. Or after it's spun. We'll see.

(I put some of the white alpaca fiber next to the wool so you can see how it's not white any more. But it's not yellow.)


I can't have a hummingbird feeder anymore. This is what I found today. I almost cried. There are several bees inside drowning.  And I couldn't get it down because they were buzzing like crazed bees. So I had to wait til tonight to empty it. I tried to put feeders in the hives but the bees are all on the outside of the hives still. It was pretty warm today and still is. So maybe I  can get the feeders on tomorrow. I hate that so many bees drowned.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


So every day, I've been gathering the figs that are just about ripe, before the ants and gnats get them, and cut them up to put in the freezer. Last week, I had 2 gallons and a qt baggie full. So I made fig preserves. I just added organic sugar and simmered for several hours. I got 14 little jelly jars.

My 3 pear trees are full of pears right now too. I think sometime in the next week or so, I need to get the pears and get them canned. I want to make a syrup using honey, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. I love pears like this.

I am still milking Freya and olga twice a day. I tried to go to once a day Monday. I skipped 2 nights. But they were both so full I decided to wait a little longer. I bought some alfalfa hay today. Maybe that will keep them going a bit longer. I just hate to not have fresh good goat milk. I want them to go as long as they can.

This is my view in the morning while I milk. It's so beautiful here. And so peaceful. I can imagine all the crazy chaos going on in the world, but not here in my little world. I'm still milking outside. It's in the low 90's here still. Can hardly believe it'll be Sept. 1st tomorrow. And fall is right around the corner. So much needs to be done. We still need more fire wood. And I want to plant a fall garden. Maybe. Still thinking about that. I really want to plant buckwheat for the bees. I'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

And here's another one...

This morning, after I let the chickens out, one of the hens ran as fast as she could over to the little rock garden in the yard. I followed her. Do you see what I see?

Yes, 16 eggs. I got this bowl and started reaching under the hen and pulled out 16 eggs. She never even moved.

So looks like some egg hunts in my future!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Found 'em!

I was mowing in the chicken yard this afternoon and found a nest of eggs in the 10' tall pig weed that's over taken their yard. Cracked 1 when I ran over them with the mower but the rest are good. I haven't been getting eggs lately from the nest boxes. This is why.

Friday, August 26, 2016

SO fun!

Ok, the colors are not good in these pictures like they are in person.

On the left is Merino dyed with cosmos flowers. On the right is dried hibiscus flowers. These are the first in the dye pots.

                                     This is the 2nd dye with hibiscus. a little lighter, but still pretty.


                                                      And the 2nd dye with the cosmos.

I was a little disappointed in the hibiscus. When I was simmering the dried flowers, the color was a beautiful deep red color. I was hoping to get red yarn. Or at least pink. But they turned out a light lavender color. Which is fine. But pink or red would have been nice.

I am having so much fun doing this! Wish I had started sooner. Next I will be using rosemary.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More dying going on here today...

Went out this morning and picked another bucket of cosmos for dying some Merino ( probably not spelled right)  today.

Just look at all the color on my fingers! Can't wait to get the wool in the pot now! I'm simmering in mordant right now, then into the dye pot. More beautiful bright orangey-yellow coming up!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Almond Joy

Ok, so I had this idea to make a soap like an Almond Joy candy bar, one of my favorites. But I can't eat them anymore.  I had a few bars of some coconut soap and some Almond Biscotti soap that I cut up. I also ground some almonds and grated a few squares of organic baking cocoa. And this is what I got. Isn't it yummy looking? I will for sure have to watch the guys now! Men usually think my soap is fudge.

It smells amazing! I used some already last night, just to see how it lathers. I can still smell it on me this morning. I used a white washcloth too. It had some light brown on the cloth, but it washed out. Lots of bubbles too! So I am pleased with how this turned out. And I have enough to make another batch later if this sells well.

I asked my husband to smell it before I told him what it was. He smelled coconut first, then chocolate. I had to tell him it had almonds too. But he liked it.

So here ya go, a soap that smells like Almond Joy! I wish you could smell it through the internet!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

dying wool

Yesterday, I decided to try to dye some of my hand spun yarn. I went out and gathered all the cosmos flowers I had, plus some marigolds. Simmered them for a little while.

While the flowers were simmering, I got the yarn ready in the mordant bath. It had to simmer an hour.

Strained the flowers and got a beautiful orange color. Added the yarn and simmered another hour.

                                                            And this is what I got. I just love it!

Then today, I put 2 more skeins in that same dye pot. They are so much lighter, but still really pretty. I think I might really like doing this. I can see how it can be quite addictive.

I found some gentian violet the other day at Walmart. I saw someone's post on FB where they dyed some wool using this stuff. It's what people use for thrush. It is a beautiful purple-violet color. I want to dye some alpaca next. I'm washing more white alpaca so should have enough to dye soon.

1st dyed hand spun!

This is the first dyed skein of hand spun yarn. I couldn't get it on the other post.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Making bread again...

I quit making bread when I stopped eating flour and sugar back last year in March. I have been making this bread for a very long time. I think about 18 years.

A few weeks ago, I thought I might start making bread and rolls for the market. When I quit I sold all my wheat to a friend, so I didn't have anything. I had to start all over basically. Wheat berries are expensive too. And yeast. And olive oil. I have my own milk and eggs and honey, so that helps. But now I think I would like to get 50 pound bags of wheat.

The bread and rolls are selling good. I only make 3 loaves or 3 dozen rolls. I sell the rolls in bags of 6. They really are good.

So here is my grinder. It's very loud and sounds like a jet in my kitchen!

Then I mix up all the ingredients: milk, eggs, honey, olive oil, wheat, then yeast and more wheat. Then sea salt. It gets kneaded in this DLX for 12 minutes. Then I put it on the back porch, where it's warm, til it rises to the top.

Next, I either make loaves or rolls. Then they go back to the porch til doubled. Then to the oven.

Nice big loaves of good whole wheat bread.

Tonight I'll make rolls for the Tuesday market. It takes SO long to make this bread. I'll also make zucchini bread in the morning.