Wednesday, August 26, 2015

This summer has really  been hot and long.  First our focus was on just staying cool, keeping ourselves and our animals hydrated and still getting our normal chores done.  As you can see in the first photo, our pasture is dry and all the grass is gone.  Our little goats are doing a super job at keeping it weed-free as well as they can.

We take them over there every day from their pen across the road, and they are very happy to have the extra room to run.  But there's not a lot left to eat, even though the pasture itself is 2-1/2 acres.  So ... we've had to feed hay for most of the summer.  It sure cuts into my hay allowance for the year.  And with all the terrible fires going on up here, hay is getting to be hard to find.

We are praying for rain, its been a long time since we had rain of any significance.
This picture was taken looking over our barn early one morning about 6a.m.  The skies have been so incredibly smoky, the air quality is unhealthy and a lot of folks who are able, stay in the house rather than being outside in this brown nasty stuff.  And we've seen a few wearing masks.

It doesn't seem to bother the dogs or the cats, and our chickens are out and about as usual.  
We had a big surprise this week.  Here's one of our mama hens proudly strutting her stuff and showing off her 13 new babies.  I have only seen her a couple of times in the last few weeks but knew she was around somewhere.  We've had other hens pull the disappearing act before, so I was hoping she wasn't hiding those eggs.

But, as you can see she is pretty proud of them.  Neither the dogs nor cats seem to be too interested in them.  She is a good mama, walking them all around and no one bothers her.  She even tried attacking my niece who was just trying to get back to the porch one day.

I can keep our small front yard watered and mowed, but since everything else is so dry we don't dare try mowing down all the knap weed, fires can start so easily.

I'm thinking of releasing the goats on this side of the property, except if I do they will go through our Great Pyrenees size doggie door and stand on the front porch calling my name!  Or, they will be in the carport climbing on our stacked wood (its so nasty to throw a log on the fire with goat poop or pee on it) and getting into the trash.  They can be so destructive at times.  But for the most part they are excellent weed eaters, also shrub and flower eaters.

But at least they don't start fires!

Monday, August 10, 2015

We were inundated with smoke last week from the Lake Chelan fire.  It was so smoky and dark I called to see if there was a fire in Blanchard.  We couldn't see very far past  our house, the mountains were obscured and it was getting hard to breathe. 

The photo on the right was taken a couple of days later when the wind changed.  The remarkable part is that Chelan is over 200 miles west of us.

This little video was taken last week. I went to check the goat's water bucket and had my iPhone with me.  For once I remembered and got this little reminder of how cute they are.

The were grazing so peacefully, Bella and Jet were on the other side of the pasture under the big trees trying to stay cool (and it was still morning!).  You can almost see them, over by the big blue barrel. 

Then way over past the pasture is our house.  We have a large burn pile just waiting for the fall rains to start.  Also our garden of weeds we didn't do anything with this year.  But wait until next year.

I think these goats have done a remarkable job in eating down all this stuff.  They thrive on weeds, like a little grass in the mix but mostly the weeds is their favorite.  The brown flat ground in the background is where they have eaten them all.

I would bring them over closer to our house but all they want to do is eat my flowers and shrubs, and get into the trash as well as mess up our wood we have stacked up in the carport.  I just hate to throw a log on the fire that has 'goat berries' all over it.

And just a few more of our wildflowers.  Aren't these pretty?  I have no idea what they are or where they came from.  Every year I dig them up and re-home them to a friend who loves this color orange.  Every year she says they die.  Seems they like it here, not there.  I can't seem to do anything wrong.  They don't even get water unless it rains.

But they are pretty.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

 We nearly always bake or barbecue our chicken.  The other day I really wanted some fried chicken.  I mixed plain bread crumbs and matzo meal, about half and half.  Put in some sriracha powder, Mrs Dash seasoning, a little garlic salt and rolled these chicken breasts (from Zacon Foods) in the mixture and fried in a little bit of olive oil.  After browning they went in a low oven for about 20 min.  You could cut them with a fork they were so tender.  My new best dinner recipe!  Yum.  If you've never tried Zacon Foods, you should.  Great prices, but 40# cases.

Well, the new weaving and spinning shop is starting to take shape now.  Most of the equipment has been moved out of the old other side and moved into this part.  Only a doorway separates these so its pretty easy for me to do alone.  The Big loom was already in here covered with a blanket for the last couple years.  I had nowhere to put it until now.  Its still in the back under the window and I draped an old American flag that had belonged to my grandparents many years ago over the blanket.  I intend to wash and hang that on one of the walls (in a very safe place with very safe hangers).  It is so old it only has 48 stars on it.  I also have all my spinning wheels over here now and the one in the front you can see is the Baby Wolf loom.

Most of the things in this side have not been put in their permanent places yet.  I'm still trying to visualize how I want it, the looms will all be in one place and the spinning wheels will be together at the other end of the room.  I just don't know which end is which yet.

These tall black shelves are plastic, very light and I got them at Costco for $25 each.  What a bargain.   I can put them together and move them around by myself. 

These pretty rugs are also new, very inexpensive at Ross.  I really like them.  Got rid of that old black refrigerator and now have lots more room.

Ok, so the other day I got a bright idea I would let the babies out and encourage them to eat those weeds you can see out the double doors.  They loved being out of the pasture and their pen.  But once they saw me in the windows, they wanted to come in the new shop and help.  HA!  Those little poopers!  In to everything.  Up on everything.

I never did let them in but they ran from window to window and door to door jumping up trying to get in.  I had some fiber ready to put out on the shelves in the blue bag.  Not particularly heavy but it was sitting on the chair that I slid in front of the doors to keep them from pushing them open.  Eeeeeekkkk!  Little monsters.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The picture at the top of the blog this week is one I took earlier in the week.  We were expecting possibly a little rain, a few sprinkles the weather man said.  Holy cow!  You should have heard it coming down.  We must have gotten at least 3/4" when it was all done.  The plants and trees are so green, they love the rain so much more than just watering with the sprinklers. 

For some reason I've been eating more than I should.  Must be the nice warm weather we've had the last month or so.

The picture on the left is a recipe I got on the internet.  These are apple roses sprinkled with a little bit of powdered sugar.  So easy to make, so good to eat!  If you want the recipe, go to

The photo on the right is of my breakfast yesterday.  Unflavored Greek yogurt, black berries or blue berries, and because of the unflavored yogurt I drizzled a spoonful of honey over top.  Delicious!  Add a handful of granola (or cookies) if you are so inclined.

This weekend we did some yard saleing and found some great buys.  This yarn was only $5, and says wool but I believe it to be kid-mohair.  Very soft and strong.  This cone measures about 7" wide by 6" tall.  Lots of yarn here.   I'm planning weaving a shawl made mostly from alpaca yarns in several natural shades of browns, tans and cream colors.  This would make a very interesting contrast in a few places.  Some of the other yarns I'm in the process of hand spinning now so still lots to do.

We also got a large (16"?) deep skillet with a glass top, metal handles on both sides of the skillet to hang on to.  I don't believe they ever used it, or are a lot neater than I am anyway.

Fried chicken anyone?

Met some really nice people at these yard sales.  One lady indicated she'd tried spinning but hadn't been successful, so we sat on her front steps and I showed her how.  Her entire family was interested and came over to observe.  How fun!

Possible rain this week, maybe I will have to get to spinning.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring is so awesome!  Not only the outside plants love it, but the inside plants also.  Can't remember what the name of the one on the left is called but it is a hanging plant that will eventually have little white flowers on it.  Very pretty.

The plant on the right is a little coffee plant I've been nurturing for a couple years.  I got it from Fred Meyers and it was a tiny little sprig about 6" tall.  Today it is about 16" and still in the same pot.  It is doing so well I hate to disturb the roots although I do know it should be transplanted soon, possibly this summer.

I have a friend who had one first, for many years.  It is inside in a north facing window and has grown to about six feet tall!  They actually get little coffee beans from it that her husband picks off occasionally and plants them into little starter pots.  They have a regular forest in their kitchen window.  I plan on giving that a try if I live long enough.  But at the rate this one is growing, it may only be a couple more years.

I just had to post this pretty picture of my fairly new bedspread my daughter bought for me.  It is not hand quilted and bought on-line, but I love the colors and the design.  The green is the color of my carpet and the rest of the colors are accent that really brightens up my bedroom.  I love it.

Do you remember when I moved into my new studio a few years back.  It was so neat, so clean and everything was in its place just where I wanted it.  Well, here it is today.  Overcrowded, messy and I can't find a thing.  I don't have room to move around much less do any spinning and weaving is very tight. 

My daughter has given up her shop to me.  I guess the mess was getting to her too.  And as soon as we can clean out the rest of her things I will be moving my looms and spinning wheels over there leaving the original studio portion for dyeing.  This side has the sink which is so important to this part of the process.  The other side has no sink but they are separated by just a door so it will be so good to be able to spread out a bit.

Then I'm taking the two spinning wheels and a loom out of my bedroom over to the new studio.  I already have two or three more wheels here already plus my electric plying wheel, drying racks, baskets full of fiber, and the loom you see plus a bunch more equipment that's just in the way as there's no way to use it currently.  I can't wait to get things organized again.  On top of all this I have my carder, a table and huge bins full of fiber just waiting to be blended and spun up.

I will post pictures as soon as I can.  In the meantime, here's a couple more of the messy old studio side and then a couple of the new space.

This door on the right is the one that goes into the new area.  So much room over there.

It has big windows facing north and west and large french doors that face north.  Perfect natural lighting.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring is always the most fun and beautiful time in our area.  We love the 'greeness' and the flowers.  The animals all seem to be so much happier too.  The chickens have been roaming around the yards, eating bugs and digging up the soil in general.  They are such good weeders!

And our two little speckled hens are busy doing what they do best, laying eggs.  These were the two (of three) original chicks and the others are all their babies.  You go girls!

Who needs cherry blossoms when you have apple and plum trees.  The white blossoms are from our yellow plum tree.  This year I'm trying something different ... picking them just before they ripen.  We always seem to wait just a little too late.

Aren't the yellow ones pretty.   This is our little maple we've nursed along for nearly 10 years.  It had a very large and wide pine tree right next to it.  I'm sure the maple was planted after the pine but the pine had totally overgrown our maple.  The pine eventually was taken out leaving the beautiful maple.  But its badly misshapen and has taken years to try and grow straight up.  Then that huge moth a few years ago laid eggs in it and nearly destroyed one side.  So its still crooked but should live a long time. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

 They say in Idaho if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.

So here is the weekend at the picture on the top of the blog, and here is later in the week on the left.

It was so nice and warm I decided it might be time to start combing the cashmere out of our three goats.  This is Smoky.  He's all black until his cashmere or undercoat starts to grow.  Then he's nearly white.  After I get all the cashmere combed off, he will be black again.

Our friends have a larger herd that we do and they had / have several does ready to deliver.  She called me the day before so I stopped by to see their newest additions to their herd.  These little babies are so cute.   Its nice weather but still a little cool for these little ones who are still just a bit wet from being born so she is holding and rubbing this one with a dry towel.  Who can resist?

There were two born the first day, a boy and a girl.  The second birthing happened right before I got over there and the doe had four!  Rather unusual.  Two or three is the normal and these little ones, three girls and a boy, are fairly little.  I bet their momma is happy that's over!

They have several more to go, maybe later this week.  These are the wonderful friends we got  Comfort and 50/50 from last year.  Awwww.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

 I love this picture.  I've named it Peaceful Pastures.  It looks so serene.  Our livestock guard dog (LGD) Bella has finally realized how lovely it is to be over in the pasture during the day with the goats.  She is nearly six years old now, very stiff with her bad knees but does such a great job guarding all five of them.

She can be away from the other dogs, all the cats except for Willie, our little black one and me chasing her out of the house every time she comes in.

The pasture has once again begun to turn green with the warmer weather and the nice rain we've had for the last few weeks.  Not every day, just when things need a little greening up.

The goats are great at keeping down the weeds as they thrive not so much on grass but on weeds and brush.  Not to say they don't like eating hay (which they do) but they are healthier with the brushy stuff.  It keeps their rumen in good working order.

So check out this pretty runner I got the other day at TJMaxx.  I bought it for our back door and it helps to keep our carpet cleaner.  It was Very reasonable in price as most stuff at TJMaxx usually is.

The only problem I have with it is it will 'walk' or move when anyone or any animal walks on it.  Gets a little bump right in the middle, you can almost see it in this picture.  I think it must have been folded there before I bought it.

Oh well, its a lot easier and cheaper to clean this one or throw it away and buy a new one instead of doing the entire carpet in the room.

And I like going to TJM anyway seeing all the pretty stuff they have there.

I got a new app for my phone the other day that I can make these line pictures with.  I took an old picture of Bella and used the app.  I love the way it looks.  I may just have to take it to FedEx / Kinko's and have a large print made up of this.

I wonder what else I can do with it ... ?

Oh yes, our chickens have started laying lots of eggs again.  We were only getting about one a week this winter but now can get as many as five a day.  They are so good.  The yokes are bright orange and stand up very high when I fry them.  Nothing like the light yellow eggs we get when we have to buy them.

Right now I have about five dozen in our refrig and have given some away.  Last year we used mineral oil on them to try saving some.  Good, but not like fresh.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

 I was watching a couple of videos this morning of parakeets.  YouTube has some amazing ones.    This one has sound and was so cute with two birdies courting each other. 

All of a sudden my crazy kitty River jumped on my desk and could not get enough of the videos, pawing the screen.

The picture below on the right is my Great Pyrenees Bella in for a groom.  She hates for me to leave her anywhere, even in the house.  I took her to a new groomer last week, a very nice lady with a great facility.  After I left to get in the car, Bella walked to the window and watched me leave.

I missed the opportunity to get her sad eyes pleading with me not to leave her and by the time I got my phone out to take her picture the groomer Karen had put a leash on her to bring her back over the the tub area.

But if you look closely you can still see her sad look.  Too funny.  But she looked so pretty and sure smelled a lot better!  Thanks Karen.

Today is just beautiful, at least in the 60's sunny and warm.  Our chickens have been loving it.  We only have six chickens left but still have 4-5 roosters I can't catch.  They eat a lot but also keep the bugs down on the property.  One of these days they will be chicken soup.

I found some chicken nesting boxes on sale yesterday.  The one I got is 36" long, divided into three nests and the box is made from wood.  Its pretty nice.  Now we just have to figure out where to put it.  The chickens have decided roosting in our big bull pine behind the old goat pen at night is more fun than in the chicken coop so they rarely go in the coop any more.  That makes it hard to put some nesting boxes around.  Right now they are using the little two nest gray coop we bought two summers ago.  Its pretty well worn out but every day we get at least four eggs, sometimes more.  And talk about large eggs.  I will post a picture of the box as soon as I can get it put together.  Their other favorite place to lay eggs is in the dog kennel.  Go figure.

So far the new goat shed we put together last fall is doing a great job.  The goats seem to like it and it has kept them warm and dry this winter.  I'd like to get another one only a little larger this time.  We will see what happens this summer.  I did buy some electronic fencing last winter that hasn't gone up yet.  It takes a battery and a charger that I still need to buy.  Its not a permanent fixture and can be moved anywhere.  A great way to keep some of the weeds down and still maintain at least a little landscaping.

Then we're planning on redoing our electric fence around the pasture.  It works great until a tree falls on it and breaks the wire.  A couple years ago somehow it got cut in two or three places.  Not sure if it was human or animal that did that.  Probably those sharp little deer hooves heading over the top.  Or maybe a moose or two.

Don't forget to set your time forward tonight.  Happy Spring everyone!

Friday, February 27, 2015

 Isn't this a great shot of a young moose!  He was walking along the highway the other morning as I was taking my niece to school.  I dropped her off and on my return trip home I decided this time I would be ready to take a picture.  There he was again.  And there was no one on the highway either direction as far as I could see so I stopped and took several pix.  By then two cars were coming down behind me so I drove off.  As I did I could see both of them stopping to get a good look.  This guy is possibly a part of a family of moose that live around that area.  It is within a mile or so of our landfill, don't know if that has anything to do with it but there's a huge male that makes his way across the highway every so often.  Then there's a female I've seen with a much smaller calf walking along the road. 

 My daughter has a new addition to her aviary of parakeets.  This little yellow boy is so sweet and appears to be smaller, possibly a little  younger than the original two but about the same size and the little white with blue female.  They had more fun yesterday chasing each other around, everyone wants to sit with the new little guy.  His nose is already bright blue indicating he's  a male so we are really hoping we were right about the little one in the back on the right picture being a female.

The blue one and the white one are a mating pair and were the original ones she got  We're hoping these two little ones will also mate.

This will be short today.  I've been working on my tax stuff to take to the accountant and still have quite a bit to get organized for her.  I always hate this time of year, not because its so hard but it takes so much time!  Good luck with yours.  :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

One night last week we were trying to figure out what to eat for dinner.  That's always hard for me.  I think I need someone to come in every night and cook for me.

We decided to have one of my daughter's favorite dishes ... 'Musgo'.  That means (according to her) to use everything in refrigerator that must go.  So we ate up the rest of the salad makings, fried up the rest of the kale (yummy!)  and made some angel hair pasta with the remaining myzithra cheese grated over the top.  Wow.  Delicious. 

Here are some cute pix, the little bird is daughter's new baby parakeet.  She has named it VanGogh.  Because it is so colorful, I guess.  She doesn't know if its a boy or girl, we will have to wait until its nare or nose, located just at the top of its beak, turns blue or brown.  All babies under about six months old have a neutral or purple nose.  Then boys are blue and girls are tan or brown.  Easy.

And here is our little Angel.  She is the little kitty I found in October 2009.  She was in our pasture sitting in the center of a circle of alpacas with our Great Pyr, Dolly, carefully watching over her.  Tiny, thin and scared to death.  She looked like a fuzzy little tennis ball.

I brought her back to the house in my jacket and gave her to my daughter, who had just lost one of her favorite kitties.  She was convinced the new kitten was sent by God and thus named her.  Angel is Much fatter these days.  :-)

I haven't been doing any fiber-y stuff these days.  Just can't seem to get going on a project and certainly have not finished some I started previously.  Oh well, there's always tomorrow.  I have to really be in the mood.  So these pix will just have to do for now.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In December 2014, I finally got something for myself I have wanted for a couple of years.  The 'magical' Addi Express knitting machine.

I've always wanted a knitting machine but they are sooo expensive.  The Addi will knit in the round OR back and forth for flat items.

These are some of the hats I made for my family and friends for Christmas.  It takes me about an hour to finish one.  The yarn on the left shows the way the variegated yarn looks before knitting.

And here are a few, some plain yarn and some also variegated.  I really love the brilliant colors.

This grey on on the right of this page is my favorite.  I knit it for my mother.  The yarn is a little bit thicker and makes a much denser hat.

 I've been knitting them double, they are actually reversible and if I do a different color about half way, you could conceivably have two hats in one.

If anyone wants information on this machine there's a sweet lady named Margaret on YouTube that has some great videos.