Dyeing, Dyeing, And Even More Dyeing!

A little while ago I received several large boxes full of Juniper Moon Farm Share Yarn. This is always super exciting for me because it’s my first peek at the actual finished product pulled off the backs of the sheep we know and love.

09.30.14a

My craft room overfloweth! (and my living room, and my garage…..)

09.30.14b

Can’t you just smell that sheepy, wooly goodness?

The Cormo feels divine, and I adore it in its natural state.

BUT.

I get to have fun playing with colors!

Susan gave me some suggestions for color idea this year, and combined with that and a look at previous year’s colors (to be sure I didn’t repeat anything too recent), I started playing around with the dyes.  I wanted colors that were rich but not overbearing, and I wanted to use colorways that I could get consistency from.  Since we dye in smaller batches I didn’t want each batch to be wildly different than the one before it. Reds are notoriously difficult (in my experience) with this, but after some experimentation I found one that worked.  The blue I loved immediately, and the purple gave enough variety in shading to be fun without looking blotchy.

09.30.14c

I am really pleased with the results.  I also love how nicely the yarn blooms out after a bath.

The dyeing will begin in earnest once everyone who bought a share indicates their color choice, and then it will be shipped out the very instant it is dry.

I hope everyone loves this fiber as much as I do!

Advertisements

Autumn At Last

Our favorite season is officially upon us!

We celebrated with a small campfire, hot cider and maple-glazed donuts, and Mad Libs, staying out until it was dark and we were too cold to stay without getting blankets.

In other words, it was perfect!

09.23.14a

09.23.14b

09.23.14c

Happy Fall, everyone! Let’s enjoy these fleeting moments while we can!

At Summer’s End

We’ve definitely noticed a shift in the weather and the light over the last few weeks. It’s ever so chillier at night now, and night itself has been arriving earlier and earlier. Accordingly, our evening feedings have been getting pushed a bit earlier every day to avoid going out in the dark.

Morning chores are so much more pleasant these days; we’ve even been wearing sweatshirts or flannels out!

Even so, the garden continues to churn out summer’s leftover bounty in the form of cherry tomatoes and raspberries.

09.22.14e

We’re getting a nice bowl full of raspberries every day.  This is from a raspberry plant I bought two years ago at Lowe’s (basically it was a stalk at that point!). We’ve decided we’ll put another stalk in at the opposite end of the garden and let them grow towards each other.

09.22.14f

I’ve also been getting bucket loads of cherry tomatoes.  The craziest part is that I didn’t end up planting cherry tomatoes this year.  These are volunteers from years past.  I think the main factor in their success, though, is that these are located fairly close to the beehives.  I’ve been getting so many I’ve taken to simply freezing them whole for later use in sauces.

The big work has been the basil.  It was starting to show signs of disliking the cooler temperatures at night and I decided it was time to harvest.  I brought two big bushes worth and made pesto. I filled three Weck jars (2 half liter, one quarter liter) and got to work making pasta.

09.22.14a

09.22.14b

09.22.14c

I ended up with 283 ravioli, distributed among 12 freezer bags.  I would have broken 300, but Pippa stole about 20 off the counter when my back was turned. Jerk.

09.22.14d

We love pesto ravioli, and this was an exciting sight for everyone when it was all done.

I still have another basil plant to harvest, and I can’t decide if I will make more pesto ravioli or if I will simply dry it for use as a seasoning.

Decisions, decisions.

 

New Year, New Bully

Last week we started school again, and amidst all the new books and pencils we discovered a new challenge:

09.17.14a

She’s pretty aggressive, this one.  Biting pages of books, pouncing on reading assignments, clawing her way up legs.

09.17.14b

She’s the ultimate distraction in our classroom.

09.17.14c

Who, me?

She’s the perfect combination of adorable and diabolical.

09.17.14d

The relative calm of our mornings are punctuated by cries of “aawwww!  OW! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

09.17.14e

I’ve lost count of how many pencils we’ve lost to her. You think she’s sleeping nicely in that basket? Think again!

09.17.14f

09.17.14g

09.17.14h

09.17.14i

The worst part? As soon as we are finished with our lessons for the day she DOES curl up in that basket and sleep soundly like a little angel.

All worn out from her mischief.

This year’s gonna be challenging.

Early Fall Farm Report

Early fall is upon us (at least in terms of farming and shepherding!).  It’s time to start making lists of all the work that has to be done before the weather turns cold (and dare we say – snowy?).

First on the list was getting the Angora goats sheared.  Their fleeces grow so very fast that they get sheared twice a year, as opposed to the sheep who are sheared only in the spring. Since the summer was so mild there was some concern that the fall would turn cold quickly, so we wanted to get the goats done early enough to grow back just a bit of fleece before we get any chilly temperatures.

Emily came down a few days ago and unfortunately once she set up the skies turned dark and the thunder began.  We whipped through getting them sheared and the fleeces bagged and got no pictures. But I took some this evening after feeding time, though not all the newly-naked ones were cooperative (I’m looking at YOU, Martin and McPhee!).

09.10.14a

09.10.14b

Wembley and Margaret (or Sad Margaret, as we call her, since her ears tend to droop down and her fleece covers her eyes in a way that makes her look perpetually morose)

09.10.14c

Miss Hannah. Doesn’t she look velvety with her new ‘do?

09.10.14d

Roquefort, the Silver Fox

09.10.14e

Keswick

09.10.14f

Cassie

09.10.14g

Lucy

09.10.14h

The goats have worked a hole in the fence by the hay.  Not because they don’t already have a fresh hay bale sitting conveniently out in the field or anything.

09.10.14i

Wimbledon

09.10.14j

Monticello

09.10.14k

Fettuccine the Wonderdog

Soon we’ll be cleaning manure out of the field to till into the gardens for next year, scrubbing out the water troughs, winterizing the chicken coops, and setting up a winter pen for the flock.

Right now we are enjoying spending time outside with the flock in these glorious early fall temperatures.  Stay with us awhile, fall!

First Apple Picking Adventure 2014

This weekend we did our best to welcome fall by meeting with friends for apple picking and cider pressing.

The weather didn’t feel so very fall-like, with temps in the lower 90’s, but it was at least sunny and bright.

09.07.14a

Tanya’s son Alex cracks me up!

09.07.14b

Only the Golden Delicious were ready for picking, which was sad, but it also means we get to go back again when the Winesaps are ready (and hopefully there’s more color in the trees!).

09.07.14d

09.07.14e

09.07.14f

Oona and Alston played hard all day.

09.07.14g

09.07.14h

Look! A rare Emily sighting! I don’t know how she can manage to be so covered up on such a hot day.

09.07.14i

The orchard still has plenty of peaches available.  That, along with the super hot weather made this seem mightily out of place:

09.07.14j

09.07.14k

Trina provided us with hayride tickets, and though we baked a bit, the kids had a blast.

09.07.14l

Maddie made her feelings about the temperature plain.

After our apples were picked and paid for (along with many cider donuts, of course!), and we’d had our hayride and spent time catching up, some of us drove back to Lisa’s house to press some apples into cider.

09.07.14m

09.07.14n

09.07.14o

09.07.14p

This. Little. Cutie.  I cannot resist her.

09.07.14q

09.07.14r

09.07.14s

We got four of these out of roughly one bushel of “B” apples. In retrospect, it’s probably good we didn’t get a whole lot more apples to press, since the kids lost interest and were ready to climb Lisa’s trees and chase dogs and chickens.  And run they did; they had a lot of fun running off all of their energy outside.

Lisa made a fabulous Texas-style chili and Tanya brought cornbread to go with.  Along with the fresh cider and fabulous company and the kids wearing each other out, I didn’t think the day could get any better.

But I was wrong!

09.07.14t

Lisa made me a pumpkin cheesecake for my birthday! And it. was. DIVINE!

When Tanya presented me a bottle of a hard-to-find wine, Lisa decided to open up a lovely Burgundy from her (rather extensive and enviable) wine cellar.  It put an already magical day over the top.

September, you are off to a fantastic start!

A London Dress For Neve

Neve’s been after me for a while to use some of my London-themed fabric to make her a dress, so this weekend I went through my patterns and we decided on the Ice Cream Dress from Oliver & S.

09.01.14a

I used some Riley Blake fabric wit complimenting colors and patterns and cut it out two days ago.  Today I got to work on it all day and was done in just a few hours.

It was a breeze to throw together; though I think I might personally prefer this pattern made up in a soft knit.  Neve is pretty happy with it, though.

09.01.14b

09.01.14c

I did the bottom panel and the pocket yokes in the contrast fabric but left the top yoke in the main fabric.

09.01.14d

I’m curious to see how it drapes after several washes and wearings; the fabric still has quite a bit of stiffness to it.

09.01.14e

09.01.14f

09.01.14g

09.01.14h

I can’t wait to try this pattern again; there are so many different fabric options that would be super cute with it!