Thursday, December 18, 2008

happy solstice, and the end of 2008

I want to wish everyone a very happy solstice (summer or winter depending on where you are in this great big world). Here in the southern hemisphere, its a time to celebrate the sun and be outdoors (although the weather hasn't been all that sunny - but the rain is well and truly welcome...). Although I'm not a Grinch, I find all the traditional christmas things a little silly in summer, they are symbols of winter, and were the traditions of the winter solstice - ever green trees, lights, fake snow, big filling roast dinners etc etc. We are a bit different, and want to celebrate the seasons, so for us, although its Christmas its a time for all things sunny and summery.

Anyway, I want to take the opportunity to look over the year that 2008 was. For us it was a year of great challenges, good and bad. Its been a year that has been driven very stronly by our goals, of where we want to end up in life, and of reducing our impact on the earth.

The biggest things to have changed my life this year are the arrival of our little boy in May, and the loss of my beloved pony Brandy in October (she had been with me for nearly 18 years). Both presented challenges to me, and have made me realise that I have more strength and courage than I have ever given myself credit for.

We have too much grass...

So we all wish you a good 'festive' time regardless of what you believe or what you do, enjoy a rest from the usual things and spend some time with those you care about.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My precious

I think that raspberries are just wonderful. They are nice to eat, but they are also SO easy to grow. I think that if I were in charge of the world I would make it compulsory for every house to have a small patch! My patch is a rather wild one, it started with just a few suckers that my mum gave me, and each year they multiply. I keep pulling them out of the path and planting them up at the farm or giving them away to others.

This year has been a good year for raspberries (well, actually, I can't think of when we had a BAD year for raspberries!!). I only watered them the first summer that I put them in, and occasionally a bucket of water from the washing machine, and yet we get bucket loads of berries, about 1kg every 2 days for a couple of weeks.

I've already made one batch of jam, and am about to make a second. Our daughter loves them, and helps pick them, and has eaten tonnes of them! The only down side is that each variety only fruits for a short while, so to have a long crop you need a few different varieties.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This time of year is great in the garden. Everywhere is the promise of bountiful harvests.

I think we will have a good year for raspberries!

Fruit trees and vegy gardens are such a great investment. It doesn't cost much (somethings in fact are free - if you know where to look - like my raspberry patch which started from some suckers that my mum gave me.... - we will easily pick 10kg of berries this year - only 4-5 years since planting), doesn't take that much work (although it does take work, but its fun, and beats sitting infront of the TV), and the rewards are just great. On the downside, once you eat peaches fresh off the tree you just can't buy them ever again... Bought peaches (and most fruit and veg really) are bred to be tough for travelling in trucks etc. Home grown are just the fruit, sweet, soft and just soooooo good.... Mine wont be ready till January :(

I'm almost finished spinning all the blue green merino tops, and next up on the spinning adgenda are some batts of my own creation! Alpaca, mohair, silk and sparkly angenlina!! Yay! Should be fun spinning. I'm going to take that along to the local spinners group christmas lunch, in 2 weeks. Gotta get carding!

I got to meet some other Ravelers last weekend too. This is the first time I've met anyone that I have known via the internet. We had a good time, and it was fun to talk knitting needles etc! And I got the heads up about the new Addi interchable needles! Sooooo tempting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy things!

Its all been a bit doom and gloom on the blog of late. That is not to say that life around here has been that bad, it hasn't. Some bad things have happened, and although they are hard, its still just a part of life. We are all happy and doing well - although I wish I could control time to slow it down a little... Can you believe that its November tomorrow????? Well I cant! I think that 2008 just disappeared somehow. Not sure where, but a minute ago it was the start of they year...

Anyway, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family - her name is "little cass", ironic considering she is a clydesdale - but that is the name that the people who bred her gave her and at this stage we think we will keep it.

She is only 10 months old, but friendly, and about the same size as my horse "jess". She will grow to be a fair bit bigger. At this stage she is untrained at all, so its going to be a new experience for us to teach a youngster everything, but clydesdales are SO quiet and relaxed and very smart.

jess (left) and cass (right)

Our plans for little cass are to break her in to harness and then use her to do work on the farm. That wont be for probably another 2-3 years, till she has matured, as putting a horse into work when they are too young can stunt their growth and they are still playful and frisky like puppies - not a quality you want in a working horse. By that stage we will be at the farm and able to put in the time required to teach her what she needs to know - or more likely that she will teach US.

So that is exciting.

I've had so little time lately, that my crafts have started to really suffer... I still spend an hour or so each night either knitting or spinning, but I have so little to show you... Well, the main project I'm working on is a secret christmas project, so I can't show you that. Its going along well though, and will definately be finished by the required time. I have been spinning though. Here is some nice green/blue merino. Lovely, very easy to spin, and my last easy spinning project before the alpacas get shorn... then its back to lots of preparation, carding etc. Here are the singles, and I'll be ready to ply soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

she is gone...

Yesterday I had to do one of the hardest and worst things I have ever had to do in my life. I had to have my pony put down by a vet. She has been such a big part of my life since she came to us when I was only 12 years old. I will always miss her, but unfortunately it was the way it had to be and I couldn't let her suffer any more.

I know that death is just part of life, and that its one of the aspects of having animals - that you have to see them die. I know that. But I have one thing to say to that bloody Grim Reaper - you come knocking around my place again, and you will have to deal with ME. I am fed up with you and your damn reaping of my family. In the last year or so I have lost 2 grandparents, my pony, a goat, a rabbit, 2 guinea pigs and my favourite hen. That is IT. Bugger off and leave us alone.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Its oh so quiet...

Brad has taken our little girl to Tasmania for the weekend for a big family function. I stayed home, because the animals need me, and I'm not much of a fan of flying... I'm an earthy person - I like my feet planted firmly on the ground... I miss them terribly though.

Its a good thing I did stay too, as my old pony has 'issues' - but I wont go into that as its all a little too gruesome, and unfortunately when my family returns, the vet will have to be called and 17 years of friendship will be over... I can't believe it... well, I guess I can, as I've known that it was time, but I was in denial. Hopefully now we will have had our share of death and loss for a while at least (please).

My weekend has been busy even if so incredibly quiet (our daughter is quite the chatterbox). I've planted out about 50 odd corn plants, cut some grass, tidied up etc. Next on my list is some heavy pruning around the house, more cleaning, and possibly some time at the book shop (a toddler in a book shop sort of spoils the whole browsing experience, so I'm making the most of her absence...)

Anyway, so its just me the boy and the dog till monday evening... Counting down...

I'll leave you with a photo of how clever my Brad is... this is a little horse he carved out of cypress for our daughter with just a stanley knife...

Friday, September 26, 2008


Yesterday we had to say farewell to our old man. He has been slowly going downhill for a couple of weeks, and we had to make the final decision to let him go.

Goodbye Archie.

We planted him an olive tree, which we think suits him, a little gnarly, tough and tardy and white flowers.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our new friend the scythe

Brad wanted to get a scythe for a while, we asked around locally

"do you sell scythes?" - Brad
blank stare
"you know - the thing the grim reaper holds" - Brad
"oh - no I dont think so..."

Well we got one a few weeks ago from the US, from scythe supply. Its set up to fit Brad, so since I'm short its not quite right for me, so I haven't been able to play, well, that and the fact that I don't have ANY time anyway... Brad has now mowed our lawn - front and back - HEAPS quicker than with the lawn mower - I think we were both a little suprised - and this is someone with NO experience in using a scythe. Its just lovely, really lovely. We have now grand plans to grow wheat, grind it and make bread etc etc, thats with all the spare time we have - HAHA!

I think this video will inspire the sceptics about this beautiful tool - it certainly got me inspired.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


How else can you describe pizzas cooked in an oven you built by sheer physical labour and mud (plus just a little straw and sand)?

We had a great day on sunday to celebrate our daughter's second year. The weather was pretty good for August in this part of the world, the food was great and so was the company. Unfortunately 'granddad' couldn't make it, so I hope he likes the photos.

Our little girl is not real used to crowds so at one stage she was a little overwhelmed by it all, but she did enjoy her self, and loved taking her cousin to see the animals. Now we are looking forward to her second birthday in only a few weeks.

Brad being the perfectionist that he is made her just a fantastic birthday cake - a wombat. She just couldn't quite believe her eyes in the morning when we showed it to her, she then tried to pat and kiss it!

I didn't quite finish her top that I'm making her, but its not far off being finished.

Well, its lovely day here today - first fine day in ages, so I'm madly washing clothes, tomorrow I'm planning on planting out as many trees as possible as I'm worried that spring is here, and the poor things wont have time to get their roots in the ground before summer comes.

We are planning an extravagant vegy garden/greenhouse/chook tractor system. No doubt we will start on that before we finish off some of the other started jobs! Ah the joy of being dreamers!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Can´t quite believe it, but our little girl turned 2 yesterday. The terrible twos are now upon us, and we will have to wait and see how it will all go. I´ve read that 3 is worse, so we are in for a fun filled next few years. Our little girl is now in a ´real´ bed, can say 3 word sentences, says lots of words, especially useful for demanding food etc. I think she demands more of my time now, than as a newborn, although she has always been a needy child, we now realise this, since the baby is just the opposite. Very calm, chilled out, and patient.

We are having a bit of a party for her on sunday, and we will be cranking up the pizza oven - SO EXCITED! We fired it up again, and it heated right through this time. No major cracking (cracking is a normal part of a clay oven, as clay shrinks and expands). Pizza trays and peel (the thing to put in and pull out the trays) are ready, now its just a matter of days...

A bit of stress at the farm at the moment is that there are 2 vicious dogs killing sheep on nearby farms. These dogs appear to be similar to Rottweillers, big and good at killing. There is going to be a bit of hunt for them this weekend, as they are decimating sheep herds. Hope they catch them. I am the last person to want to see an animal dead, but I worry about my 2 alpacas and my arthritic old goat Archie. They would not have any chance against such dogs. I am losing sleep over it, and my heart stops when I go and check on them, I don´t want to find them all mauled... Here are my beautiful boys.

Our scythe finally arrived! We ordered it from Scythe supply in Maine USA. We can´t wait to use it. Its been custom made to fit Brad, but I should be able to use it too, but with the kids around its not really a child friendly thing to do, so I guess Iĺl have to wait till they are bigger.

I´m frantically working on a top for our little girl. But I really want to have it done by her party on sunday. No way though, I would need some sort of miracle! Its a modified version of the standard top down raglan, but below the arms, I´m doing a feather and fan lace pattern. Its knitted in some handspun and dyed mohair. Depending on how much yarn is left, it will either have long or short sleeves.

I also have to sit down at the spinning wheel, its been too long now, and since I got some new books on spinning I want to have a play... Soon I hope.

Anyway, lots of food prep to do before now and sunday, will post pics of pizzas (well if they turn out that is)...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

All fired up... well sort of..

On the weekend we started a small fire in the pizza oven to help it dry out on the inside. It took a few goes to start the fire (I have only just mastered being able to start a bonfire - and burnt half way up the front of the block, but that's another story) and in fact it was friends of ours who finally got it going well. It sounds quite odd when the fire is burning, with a sort of drumming/deep sound. Can't wait to get it going a bit harder so we can cook our pizzas in there... Only a week and a half before the party, so hopefully the oven will be ready for a good fire by then... finger's crossed.

Spring has really hit this part of the world - not such a good thing, as we seem to have missed winter again... not good, when we are suffering from drought - makes me nervous about the summer ahead. The peach tree has it flowers opening up, and I"m holding my breath that we don't get any frost. Which reminds me I think we only had ONE frost this year... We normally get lots of frosts... Not good - lets hope this isn't part of global warming, because if it is, its already making fairly dramatic changes around here... hate to see what another few degrees would do...

Yesterday I got in the mail a package I had been waiting on, the books I purchased from the Interweave hurt book sale. Yay! I got 2 books on spinning, a book on dye gardens and Wrap style. Happy with all of them, but one book Colour in Spinning has just blown my mind. It has so much practical info on how to use the drum carder to full effect - I've been using mine for years to prepare my alpaca fleeces, but just too tease them out a bit, this is a whole new world, and I can't wait to play some more!

Also on crafty stuff, I've decided to participate in the Ravelympics (Ravely is just the most amazing place for knitters - but those of you who are part of it already know that!). I've decided to knit our daughter's birthday top as part of the 'handspun heptathalon' and do some 'wips wrestling' with some grey mohair that I have to finish spinning. This probably sounds like I'm speaking a different language to the non knitters out there! I wish I could take on more challenges like others, but unfortunately my craft time is so limited that I'm afraid I wont finish these projects by the end of the olympics. Such is life with children... especially those that don't want to sleep...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brrrr, its cold outside

We have been having some really cold although often quite beautiful days (not including today!) lately. Whem its fine but icy cold the view is just magnificent at the farm. From here we can see Wilson's Promontory, to the south east but also Western Port Bay to the west.

The wattles are about to flower, and the daffodils are popping out of the ground again (there once was an old house on this property and around here where there were houses there are daffodils) - this year I want to dig some of them up to transplant around the new garden beds I'm working on.

We have been working on the pizza oven again. Yesterday we applied a layer of clay, sand and straw, which ended up being about 5-10cm thick (2-4in). The straw is supposed to act as an insulating layer, as well as helping to reinforce the mud. We also dug out the sand mold from inside the dome, and thankfully it didn't collapse!!!

Cows 'broke into' our place last week, and thankfully didn't destroy the oven - they actually ran up next to it, and scuffed the surface!!! It could have been a disaster. For some reason around here nobody seems to care if their cattle are roaming about on other people's land (the same can't be said about goats, as my neighbour called me at 7:30am to let me know about our old goat Cookie wandering about in his paddock...). This last mob of cows destroyed the drains on the shed site (where we are going to build a strawbale or mudbrick shed/office), so since all the rain we have had has become a bog... They also ate more trees and generally made a mess. I used to love cows, but I am starting to lose patience with their destructive ways.

Crafts around here are mostly in the relm of my imagination. Our little girl just does not sleep much. No day naps (she gave those up almost 6 months ago) and goes to bed not much earlier than I do and wakes us up in the morning with demands for 'honey toast'. I am still spinning most nights for an hour if I am lucky, so it takes me about a week to spin 2 bobbins and ply them, but some progress is still better than none - right?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun with mud

Well, typical to our methods we have gone off and started a new project (we have been working on our other started projects too!). We decided to make a mud pizza oven for our daughter's birthday in mid august. On saturday we mixed up the first layer of clay to put over the oven. It was fun and a bit of a practice run for when we start making mudbricks for the house.

First we built a dome out of sand and shaped it how we want the oven to be.

Then we mixed clay, sand and water on a big sheet of plastic, till it changed consistency.

Next we applied the clay mix to the sand dome, which we had covered in wet newspaper. Our mix was a bit wet, so we were not able to apply it like little bricks.

This first layer ended up being about 2-2.5cm (an inch) thick.

We will add another layer of clay of a similar thickness after a week or so. After the photo was taken we put finger indents all over the surface to help the next layer stick, and also increase the surface area so that it will dry better. Then there will be a thick layer of clay, sand and straw, and then a render. Once its fairly dry we can dig out the sand, and hope that the whole thing wont cave in.... Then it'll be yummy wood fired pizzas every weekend (until the novelty wears off!).

Not much crafting lately. Have spun and plyed 2 bobbins worth of grey mohair that was given to me, and have been contemplating doing some dyeing. But the garden is calling to me, despite the horrible weather today. Now I had better go and take the dog for a walk...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tree planting again

Well, its probably one of my favourite 'chores' on the farm - tree planting. And today was extra special as we planted our little boy's tree. A blackwood, which is also his middle name just like his big sister who got a Mountain Ash. This year we are only planting 100 local indigenous trees, as we figured we might be strapped for time with a little one on our hands, plus plenty of building to do etc.

We spent more time trying to take a photo of the whole family, than what we spent planting trees (we only did 16 today, just to see how the kids would cope - our little girl did not like us planting trees last autumn-winter...). Its almost impossible to get everyone to look at the camera, or even be in the photo! (Freya our dog was being particularly difficult).

We will be also planting more fruit trees and paddock trees, but probably no more than 20 odd plants for now, I HAVE to get a peach tree in this year, or else I'll be waiting too long to eat a nice peach once we make the move to the farm (I haven't touched shop peaches since I tasted our peaches off the tree here at home). Which reminds me about my recent experience with milk (I know its probably a boring story...), we normally buy organic unhomogenised milk, and have done so for a few months without buying conventional milk. Just recently we had to buy milk from the local shop, and I am shocked at how awful it tastes! Now I grew up on the regular milk from the supermarket, and never particularly noticed a difference when we made the switch to the organic stuff, but this was just amazingly different. Now I just have to hang out to make the full move to the farm, so that we can have a house cow! REAL milk and tonnes of it! We are planning on making butter and cheese etc, but I guess we will just take it one step at the time. The hard part is having to wait!

Well, unfortunately being mum to 2 kids now has really killed my craft time.... I just have to try and remember that in no time I'll again have time for these pursuits, but sometimes I look at my poor neglected spinning wheel, and long for an hour or 2 to just spin. It'll come... I hope.... I'm just working on a plain sock for Brad at the moment, which is progressing, but fairly slowly. Would like to make a little poncho for our girl, but will see how I go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New arrival

Well our baby boy is finally with us! He certainly was in no hurry and didn't want to take the easy way out in the world, giving me probably THE worst mother's day I could have possibly had (well, yes it could definately have been worse, but it wasn't great...), and arrived at 4:15am on Monday the 12th. He looks just like his big sister when she was born, same reddish hair. He is very quiet, and so far anyway, seems to be pretty well behaved!

And I guess as I'm writing this post, I did too survive the birth, although I do have the battle scars to prove it! He was supposed to be born at home, but a last minute tranfer to the hospital was needed, as the boy had to have his head tilted to the side...

Not much else to say, hopefully things will settle down into a routine fairly quickly and we will be back on the building and renovating. I've almost spun my white alpaca fleece, so next I'm planning some luxury spinning to treat myself.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The simple life??

We have finally put together our Stanley Traditional combustion stove. Here he is in all his glory!

Its been quite the learning experience! And I can say, that if we buy another combustion stove I think I would much prefer to get one that is in one piece. That said, we now really understand how it works, so that is not a bad thing. The stove will be our main cooking stove, we will have the BBQ and possibly a mudbrick pizza oven (if we ever get time to do fun stuff like make mudbricks). The stove will also be our water heater, and hopefully will also keep us warm, when we make the shift, hopefully sometime early 2009.

Now we are waiting on getting our kitchen, which will probably be pulled out of its current home in the next few weeks, and we will be able to put the stove in its final position. I really really can't wait to use it, but that is still a while away, as we haven't got a flue or the hot water stuff to hook it all up, but at least I can now 'pretend' to use it!

Its funny, whilst most people seem to be trying to find ways to make things 'easier' or quicker we are choosing the opposite. Which reminds me of a program we happened to see on TV one night. It was about these rich british people who went over to Africa, to 'help' the locals. They had to come up with some idea to improve the lives of the people there or something along those lines. One of the guys was an older man, who although wasn't obese, wasn't quite the picture of health and vitality. He was horrified at how these people had to carry their water up the hill in containers every day and wanted to set up pumps etc for them. He tried to carry the water up the hill once, and I think he nearly had a heart attack. Now, I realise he is probably meaning well, but these people (and it was often the children's job to fetch water) where incredibly fit and agile, and for them it wasn't so much of a chore as just part of life.

Makes me think why is it that us westerners seem to think that our incredibly lazy lifestyle (and I include us in this too, I don't think we personally are any better than anyone else - but we are trying to make concious decisions to change) is something that the rest of the world should follow. Everything we do is EASY really, turn the tap and there is water, flick the switch and we have lights, turn the knob and there is our 'fire' to cook on. Heck, we don't even have to wash our plates or hang out our washing any more! And then we can buy stuff that we can simply throw out when we have finished with it, rather than re use it. As a whole we are lazy and disgusting! It really scares me to think that we are trying to 'help' others become fat and lazy like us. We need to get out there and get back to basics, rather than always trying to find the EASY way to do things, why not do things the hard way. Hard work is actually good for us, and keeps our body from falling apart.

Anyway, my rant is over!

Have been madly spinning lately, determined to finish my last alpaca fleece before the baby arrives. Due date is officially tomorrow. Hoping that I may still get the next weekend before I will return to the walking dead, but we will see. No photos of spinning since I don't think white alpaca yarn is exciting enough to show over and over, although it is lovely and soft. I'm thinking of making myself a cardigan out of it.

So I will leave you with a picture of the little one, she has just started to really get into the wooden puzzles, does them over and over and over.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

The subject line says it all. Consider our planet! Do something positive for the future, not just for yourself but for those that will follow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The weather has been fantastic lately. Chilly nights and mornings, and lovely days (not hot so you can get lots of work done) and rain! I love autumn!

We have been so busy trying to get jobs finished etc. Finally got the engine back for our trusty old ute, so that should be back on the road soon. Brad couldn't help himself, so he had to respray the engine bay.... MEN....

At the farm we have been finishing off the outside of the shed, a few small projects, and planning the next stage. Finally got the flashing up, and cut off some bits of tin that still needed trimming. Hopefully this weekend we will be able to put the last bits of tin up and have a fully enclosed shed, but we shall see!

There has been crafting too! I'm now spinning the last of MY own alpaca fleeces, this one will be 'something' for me. Not sure if it'll be enough for the raglan I had planned, but we shall see... Its lovely and soft, and very nice to spin though... Brad has scored me some rovings from his Tai Chi teacher, so I will have plenty to go on to once the alpaca is finished! I'm almost done with his vest too, which is good. Then I'm planning some small projects! No pics sorry, I am lazy... Next time!

Oh, and we haven't heard from the lady who has taken Cookie, so I guess we can assume he hasn't caused her too much trouble.... YET! I do miss him, but its nice to go to the farm, and not have to spend all my time sorting his 'issues' out. Now I can go and burn off, or tidy up, or actually tend my plants! Wow a revelation.

Looking forward to the weekend and marshmallows on the fire - yay! Love autumn!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Good bye our friend

Its with sadness, and relief, that we say goodbye to our goat Cookie. Initially we had him on a chain, along with our other goat Archie, to clear blackberries, but that involved me having to travel for an hour each day to make sure they were ok, and to let them have some exercise. I did this for a year, and although it was my choice to do this, after a year, I decided that I would like the goats to live in the paddock. That and the fact that I'm pregnant with our second child, and I know I wouldn't have been able to 'devote' the time required for such a task each day.

So we tried 'upgrading' the paddock fence, adding an electric wire at the bottom, making sure it was all tight etc, and putting a small yoke - a Y shaped branch on Cookie's neck to stop him getting through. Now the thing about goats is that they are far too clever.... This worked for a few weeks, and we were pretty pleased with ourselves.

But then he figured out how to get through, so we 'upgraded' the yoke, something a little bigger... Cookie ended up wearing a yoke that was almost a 1.5m top to bottom. And yet, it didn't take him too long to get out again. Soon he was out eating fruit trees as well as the Mountain Ash tree we planted for our daughter when she was born (on her placenta). Then other indigenous trees. We continued to try, but soon he was out on the road, harrassing people getting their mail. He is a 'people' goat, so he doesn't care much for the others in the paddock with him, he would much rather follow someone around... This could be a problem, depending on who he follows....

So it was back on the chain. I put an ad up locally, but I was pretty certain that Cookie would be doomed to a life on the chain. But amazingly a lady with 3 other goats (who knows what they are like, and is able to cope with that!) rang up, and well, yesterday we delivered him!

I hope he wont give her much trouble, but I think he will be very happy there, she feeds them hay and other feed in winter, and there is so much grass, we couldn't even get him to raise his head for a photo!

So its a big relief, a weight off my shoulders, I hate to keep an animal chained up, so I'm very pleased that things have worked out. Now I guess we will see how long before she rings us up because she can't cope with him!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Winter already???

Wow, what is it with our weather??? For 3/4 of March we had not a drop of rain, and a week or so of full on heat, and now... winter!!! Its turned cold and wet! I'm glad about the rain, but it would have been nice to have some mild days with rain, so that maybe the grass would grow... oh well, not much we can do but complain about it, and get over it eh?

Well, the Cookie saga (Cookie is our goat who wont stay in the paddock) continues.... We have tried added extra wires to the fence, putting on various variations of yokes around his neck, but he still gets out, harasses neighbours and their animals (he is TOO friendly, raised by people not animals - I wont ever get an animal raised by people again, they just don't bond with the herd, but want to be with you all the time), hops into people's cars (yes, literally). So I'm looking for a home for him. He is back on the tether now, and unfortunately I just can't devote my entire day to him alone (yes, I do have other things to do too...) so he has to go. We are very sad about this, as for all his vices, he is a nice boy and deserves a good life....

I've finished my Jaywalker socks, they turned out well, and I'm happy with them. Next I will have to make a pair of sock for our little one, as I'm yet to knit her a pair. Crazy, since she has the smallest feet, and toddler socks would take me very little time at all....

Brad's vest is comming along slowly.... Note to self, don't do cables on men's clothing, Man Size items should be simple and quick, they just take SO long to knit! But I am up to the armholes now, so at least the back will be done soon.

I went along to the local spinner's group the other week. It was good. I've been meaning to go along for some time, but just never got around to it. I was the youngest one there by a good 20 years or so, but it was nice to see other's spinning. They all spin such fine and even yarn, made me look a little silly with my think and loosely spun stuff, but then again, one lady said that although her spinning is really good, she wont knit it, as its just too fine! I guess I spin the yarn that I like to knit, rather than striving for perfection. Maybe one day I will aim for a perfect yarn, but now I'm more interested in doing it as a way of being self-sufficient - grow the fleeces on the farm, then spin, and knit our clothing. Better than buying some cheap factory produced jumper...

Friday, March 14, 2008

New gadget!

Since summer has decided to try and make a comeback (nearly a week's worth of high 30C temperatures...) I've decided to dry some apples. Unfortuantely they are bought apples, but they are organic, so I guess that makes up for them not being home grown....

I just recieved my apple peeler/corer/slicer gadget, and its great! Its nice and solid (not plastic!), and its all manual (no electricity required), and should last a lifetime. So I've put out 2 trays of apple rings to dry, hopefully the next few hot days should dry them out, otherwise I'll throw them into the dehydrator to finish them off. Our daughter loves dried fruits, and will probably eat all these apples in a matter of days, but I can always do some more....

Have been doing lots of pruning in the garden, mostly because the goats require so much variety in food (they are not impressed by dry grass - and I'm desperate to keep them happy - a happy goat is less likely to cause me trouble.... and yes cookie has been escaping still, he was visiting our neighbour's cattle...). So they are getting Peach prunings, roses, jerusalem artichokes, lemon balm, camelias, and some old pumpkin plants. Soon I'll prune the raspberries, and they will like that!

I've been busily knitting on Brad's vest. I'm getting really worried about running out of yarn though, fingers crossed I can finish it.... This is my first real cabled project (I've done little practice cables, and 'fake cables' on socks, but this is the most intricate), and I'm really enjoying it!

Not much else to say, just trying to survive the current heat wave, and hoping my trees will hang in there... this could be the straw to break their poor little backs....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How much does one have to do?

I'm truly at my wits' ends with our goat Cookie. He is a real sweetie, very friendly and incredibly beautiful. But why can't he just not escape from his paddock? Even wearing the Y shaped branch that we have put around his neck to stop him going through the fence, he still manages to get out. He has a nasty habit of eating trees that we care about, either fruit trees or plants with sentimental value. But I also fear for him, as he is likely to follow someone home (he is a people goat), and who knows what could happen to him. I wish there was some simple solution, but then again, that is why everyone has goats that they give away, they are a real pain in the butt sometimes....

But on to more happy things. We have been getting a bit of rain now, and it really feels like autumn is on its way. Although we are still getting warm/hot days, the nights are cool, and I can feel the plants (those that survived anyway) breathing a sigh or relief. At the farm, my only vegies that survived were my potatoes (although there is nothing on the surface now as the grasshoppers ate the plants), I harvested some today, and we had roast potatoes for dinner.

I love the taste of real fresh home grown potatoes, they actually taste of the earth. 'Our' roast potatoe recipe is just to cut them up and toss in a baking dish with olive oil, and add a mix of garlic, peppercorns and rock salt that has been 'ground' in the mortar and pestle. Lovely with a big dollop of sour cream.... yum!

I've managed to finish the chocolate brown alpaca fleece. It ended up being 720g once it was washed and spun, so that is ok although, I would have expected a little more. Unfortunately the shearer made a little bit of a mess of it, and made lots of second cuts. Stupidly, I spun this fairly thick, so that I could cheat when it came to knitting my raglan, so that I could use bigger needles and get it done faster, so now I'm not sure if there will be enough, and none of my other handspun is spun so thick, so I can't even do stripes..... damn stupid me! I am thinking I will probably make Brad a vest out of this, and keep the white fleece ( the last one of my own fleeces! YAY!) for myself.

I've also been knitting away on my jaywalker sock, which is going ok, and a version of the baby yoda jacket (I'm making a 'vest') for the bub to be. I figured I should make it something....

Apart from that its all pretty much as usual around here, nothing much happening and yet constantly busy!