BUSY DAYS ON THE FARM

25 08 2016

GREETINGS

Hot and humid weather is making another brief appearance.  it will be gone by the weekend though.  we may have some much-needed rain tomorrow.

MEET EDNA

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Edna is a New Hampshire Red.  I have never had one of these types before.  She is shy and sticks with her friend Margaret.  Both are slowly adjusting to the rest of the flock.  She was an escape artist in the beginning  having lived on a farm that allowed her to free range.  Unfortunately with all the flying predators here that is impossible.  She is making the adjustment very well.

BUSY DAYS ON THE FARM

Some hops and hot peppers are in the dehydrator this morning and this afternoon lots of spearmint will be going in.  The dehydrator will be going non stop for days from now on.  The spearmint  will use in teas and for a special blend of herbs for the chickens nesting boxes throughout the winter.  The hot peppers are the hottest, brought on tears and a coughing and a  sneezing spell.  It will make a great arthritis Salve.

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 The hops will go into Dream  Pillows  and some will be packaged up for people to make their own.

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Elderberry syrup was made last week in anticipation of the long cold winter we are suppose to have.

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Morticia is now broody.  Her daughter, Violet spent 3 months int he nest box trying to hatch some eggs.  Now her mother is in there doing the same thing.  Those Banty hens are the greatest little Mothers.  My ratio of hens to roosters isn’t good so no eggs will be hatched.IMG_7084

Lots of beans, cukes and tomatoes coming from the garden, its been a good year despite the lack of rain.  Hope you are having a wonderful day and any thanks for reading my blog.   Carole

 

 

 





THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

22 08 2016

GREETINGS

It’s a lovely morning with cool temps and cool breezes.  I guess that this will change when the sun comes over the mountain but for now its enjoyable.

THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

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It was exciting, educational and so much fun.  I saw old friends

Myself Jill who has moved close to be and Jody who I haven't seen in years who lives in Maine.

Myself Jill who has moved close to be and Jody who I haven’t seen in years who lives in Maine.

and met some new ones. I took a small notebook full of notes and lots of pictures.  I participated in the hands on and enjoyed touching fabrics from the late 1700’s.  The Linen Study Group outdid themselves and I thank them for their years of hard work.  The staff  at Old Deerfield Village out did themselves also.  It was the perfect place for this venue.

I especially enjoyed Christian and Johannes Zinzendorf (authors of The Big Book of Flax) who were the key-note speakers and delighted us with stories and linen pieces of the past. I have bought flax seeds and some flax to spin from them and even in our voice  and e-mail conversations they were delightful.    Jeff Silberman shared his experiences in growing flax and the benefits of student help.  He also shared some frightening statistics about how much wool and plant materials like hemp and flax are used here.  The numbers are frightfully low.  Polyester and man-made fibers are in the top numbers.  These materials are mostly made in foreign countries so do not benefit us much..  Cassie Dickson of the John Campbell School ( I have wanted to go there since I started Spinning) and I had a wonderful conversation on how she grows and retts flax, and we chatted about the school  which is about an hour south of Ashville.

I especially enjoyed Becky Ashenden who runs a very famous weaving school in Shelburne Falls.  Her weaving is beyond exquisite .  She talked about how her weaving career started and talked about Keeping Traditions.  A very important thing to me.  This is why I teach spinning and am so interested in the Linen process.  Today there is not much flax grown in the world.  It was quite popular years ago but since the time of man-made polyester its popularity has gone down.  It’s important to keep the knowledge of this unbroken.    In just a couple of generations this knowledge can be lost. Almost anyone can grow flax and I will be among the numbers next year.  Getting the plot ready this fall will be a priority.  

An old friend Florence Feldman Wood author of The Spinning Wheel Slueth  presented a wonderful slide show of Flax spinning Wheels.

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Patricia Bishop of TapRoot Fiber Lab  of Nova Scotia talked at length about her business and when her Flax would be available to wholesale.  In my small business years ago I sold a lot of Flax Stricks and enjoyed spinning and weaving with the hand-spun.  I hope to add that to my online shop when it is available.

Justin Squizzero of The Marshfield School of Weaving in Vermont showed a video of his weaving techniques and showed us  the linen sheets he wove.   He is a great weaver He even wove the material for the shirt he is wearing.  He works on a barn loom.

Justin wearing his woven shirt and the linen sheets he wove

Justin wearing his woven shirt and the linen sheets he wove

There was a coupleof hours  where you could see spinning and try all the steps in getting flax ready for spinning.  We were able to see all different kind of equipment some from the late 1600’s.

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THE FIRE BAG

Another interesting thing from the past is THE FIRE BAG.  I had never heard of such a thing but there were some on display and many pictures of them  They were usually made of linen and kept somewhere where you could grab them in case of a fire.  Usually they were filled with gold coins and your important things and you would grab it and run with it in a fire.  Very sensible.  Below is a poor quality picture of one that had the owners name embroidered on it.

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Those were just a few of the wonderful presenters that talked with us.  In the future I will share more of The Symposium.

Many thanks for reading my blog today and I hope you enjoyed hearing about the Symposium as much as I did attending it.  Hope there will be another one.  Carole  





THE LADY WITH THE BUN-COSMO-THE MOURNING DOVES

17 08 2016

GREETINGS

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Finally cooler weather with less humidity.  Even a cool breeze this morning.  Yesterday was dreadful at the Farmers Market with high humidity and rain.  We still need rain but not the down pours a gentle rain for a few days would fill the coffers.

THE LADY WITH THE BUN

I usually take the back road to Greenfield.  It use to be dirt but now its paved.  On the way into town I always passed this white house with a woman with her hair in a bun. She was always busy in her garden or sitting in her lawn chair.  She would often put things out for sale on a little table.  Bouquets of flowers  from her gardens, raspberries, chestnuts grapes and antique glassware.  I never knew her name but would often stop and we would chat.

Passing her house lately I have had an odd feeling.  I haven’t seen her out  for some time.  On the way home from the Farmers Market I saw a huge green dumpster in her driveway.  In it was her beautiful furniture and all her things almost tumbling out.  A great sadness came over me although I never got to know this woman she became part of my life.  I always looked for her on my way by..  I imagine she has passed on and this made me think of all the people who have come and gone in my life.  I appreciate them for all the gifts and lessons I have learned from them.  

I also felt sad that all her positions were headed for a land fill instead of given to a charity.  This has happened with my Grandmother’s things.  All were thrown in a dumpster  and tossed  without a thought to my Mother who lived far away.  By the time she got there it was gone and I remember her tears.

So to the woman with the bun I thank you for showing the passers-by endurance, kindness and hard work.  You will be remembered.

COSMO

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Cosmo had a doctors visit yesterday.  He has been having problems with one of his legs.  It usually happens with attempts to jump on or off the bed.  The first time it happened he recovered but happening again I wondered if he had something wrong with his leg.   I really didn’t know how I was going to get him in the carrier and down the stairs but it wasn’t as hard as I had thought.  He weights 15.1 pounds and is a hefty cat.  He also has a small lump near where his eye was taken out.  That was worrisome too.  He had an x-ray and pain meds were given..  He had a pedicure and will return in 6 weeks for a repeat x-ray to see how it is progressing.  No brakes so that is a relief.  He is now on a bone supplement which will help him and I will no longer succumb to his pleas  for a 3rd or 4th Fancy feast.

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THE MOURNING DOVES

I am happy to say their are now flying higher with confidence.  But they still remain close to their nesting spot and are still occasionally under the watchful eye of their parents.

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SOME PICTURES FROM THE GARDEN

The pumpkins are forming in the most interesting places.  I wish I had grown more of them but there is always next year.

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Many thanks for reading my blog on this day with cool breezes.  It will take this cement house a few days to cool down.   Carole

 





FREEZING VEGGIES-THE HEAT-MOURNING DOVES

14 08 2016

GREETINGS

Yesterdays pickings from the garden

Yesterdays pickings from the garden

I would not be surprised if this is the hottest summer on record.  Lots of thunderstorms with sharp lightning come with this weather. It sure is miserable.  I do look forward to fall with its warm days and cool nights.The chickens have survived with plenty of water frozen peas and watermelon.  The sheep don’t venture out of the barn much and the cats seem to gravitate to the upstairs where it is hot!

FREEZING VEGGIES

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I am stocking up this summer and getting a good supply of string beans from the garden.  I have planted them at two different times and plan to plant a third crop today.  Peppers from The Farm Stand are going into the freezer too.

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 Too hot to dry herbs when it gets cooler I will get to them.

THE HEAT

We seem to be so lucky here.  We have been getting enough rain the last couple of weeks although some comes in down pours which happened last night.  My friend Susan lives some 50 or so miles away and she is in a severe drought condition my friend Debbie lies less than 20 miles away and has water restrictions and a burnt lawn.  Usually my downstairs is cool even when the upstairs is stifling but not so now the downstairs is almost as hot as the upstairs.  Fans are going and it cools it off some.

MOURNING DOVES

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Two teenage Mourning Doves are living in my side yard.  I was surprised to see them having never seen baby doves before.  I know that we have Mourning Doves they can be heard and seen at the feeders in the winter.  I love their sound and the parents have been spending lots of time in the Pussy Willow tree.  It seems that they use Blue Jay nests and there was one in the willow.  I am so grateful the neighborhood cats have not gotten them.

THE FRONT PORCH

I hardly use this beautiful front porch.  This year I am trying to use it more.

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Many thanks for reading my blog of this hot and humid day.   Carole

 

 

 





SOME FINISHED PROJECTS-THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

7 08 2016

GREETINGS

A gentle rain fell this morning and thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon.  It will take more than that to recover from the drought.  We in Colrain  have had enough rain lately to keep the grasses green and the gardens going.  I am getting ready to put another planting of green beans in and hope to get the last raised bed in and some turnips planted for fall enjoyment.

Big rain drops in Maude;s water bucket.  The board is to help chipmunks get out

Big rain drops in Maude;s water bucket. The board is to help chipmunks get out

FINISHED PROJECT

For those of you who know me I do have a huge amount of unfinished projects.  Mostly mine but some of my Grandmothers.  Today my goal was to finish two of them so here they are.  The Hen Proddy was started years ago and the Seamus Rug was started a month ago. I am still working on the Folk Art rug and hope to have it done in a few weeks..  I still haven’t decided what to take to Star Island yet.  If I get the dyeing done it will be the Farmers Market Rug from 2014.

The Seamus Rig

The Seamus Rug

  My first Proddy rug

My first Proddy rug

LINEN SYMPOSIUM

I am thrilled to be a volunteer at The Linen Symposium to be held at Old Deerfield Village in Deerfield Massachusetts next weekend.  It will give me the opportunity to meet and hear many of today’s experts on Flax and Linen from all over America and Canada.  So many people are growing their own (and I hope to be one of them next year and will prepare a bed for that purpose this fall.) flax in large acreage and small plots. I want to grow a patch and finish it myself this coming year.

We buy linen clothes and may quibble about the high price but the time and energy that goes into the process of making  clothing from plant to  blouse is astonishing.    We don’t think of these things when we are purchasing them..   When I learned to spin I appreciated the amount of work that it takes to make a sweater.  The tending of the sheep, shearing, cleaning the wool then spinning it and finally knitting the garment.  It’s a long process but so worthwhile in the end.

 I love the process and besides do love spinning flax of all types.  It’s always been one of my favorite fibers to spin.  So this is what has led me on this journey to find out more about Flax and be with like-minded people and learning what they know.  I plan to pass this onto you and  think now that I may have to make a loom to weave some material on!!!!!!  My goal is to grow enough to make a pillowcase with.  I have a vision in my head of a pillow case (and it may be for just a small pillow) with some embroidery on the edges.  We will see what happens.  The Symposium is full to the brim and has a rather large waiting list.   It has peaked the interest of so many.  My thanks go to all who helped plan this great event.

Many thanks for reading my blog today.  I leave you today with some pictures from breakfast at the barn.

Maude

Maude

 

We would like some grain please.

We would like some grain please.





CORN-THE GARDEN

1 08 2016

GREETINGS

We have gotten the much-needed rain and slightly cooler temps.  The garden is happy.   Sammy has found a wonderful place to spend these hot summer days in comfort.  Under the umbrella bench at the top of the stairs.  With a nice hooked rug underneath who could ask for more.

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CORN

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Yesterday I picked up my bushel of corn from The Farm Stand n Colrian.  They grow the best non GMO corn around.    Many more ears were added to that bushel and the cost was a mere $25.00.  I made a spicy corn relish yesterday with a couple of hot peppers from the garden.

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If you are planning to freeze corn the little device above is a time saver.   Unfortunately the red peppers weren’t ready so I used purple peppers.

Today I hope to get lots of corn in the freezer.  Going to try freezing a few ears too.

THE GARDEN

The Day Lilly’s are mostly gone and its time for Phlox and Tansy to take over.

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The tansy has grown quite tall it must love this area.   I will keep planting more to fill up this space.

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The pumpkins have come down the hill and spilled over the stone wall.  I will have to gently remove them from Mr. Peppers fence.  I don;t have any idea what kind of pumpkins these are I thew all the pumpkin seeds into a dish and just planted. 

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The hops are forming and have provided shelter  and shade for the side yard chickens.

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The hot peppers are doing well.

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I have had a few of these tasty heirloom tomatoes already.  Many more to come.

Many thanks for reading my blog today and if you are in the area tomorrow stop by at The Tuesday Greenfield Market.  I will have a limited supply of eggs from the gals.  Carole

The age old question why does everyone want to lay their eggs in the same box at the same time?

The age old question why does everyone want to lay their eggs in the same box at the same time?





A DAY OF RUG HOOKING IN VERMONT

30 07 2016

GREETINGS

We have been fortunate enough to get some rain some folks in the Northeast have gotten nothing and are in a severe drought condition.   The river is so low and with this being the hottest summer on record I doubt it will get back to normal till fall.

A DAY OF RUG HOOKING

Deb and I headed off in the wee hours of the morning to Rutland Vermont for a day of rug hooking.  I love the drive through Vermont.  Lovely quaint villages nestled between green mountains.  It was one of those perfect days.  We soon meet up with our friend, Louise from Montreal.

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She is working on another family rug this time of her father studying for a test at McGill University.  Her rugs are full of  family history and are so beautiful.

Deb is working on a beautiful cat and bee skip rug .  Its being done in the primitive style which Debbie and I both love.

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There were vendors there and people brought things they no longer needed and they were free or for sale.   I brought some wool and other things to sell and give away and came back with a few things that I needed.

Louise is going home with these lovely handmade baskets .

Louise is going home with these lovely handmade baskets .

I am working on this folk art  rug which I started many years ago..  I am determined that this year is the year of finishing those started projects.   I take it almost every week to the Farmers Market.

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Peg Irish gave a slide show and lecture on felting birds.

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  She  started with making needle felted chickens and then went on to make other things including these beautiful water felted flowers.

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The Screech Owl she did was so life like.    She also gave the three of us some information about TIGHR  a international group of Rug Hookers that Deb and I belonged to a few years ago.  I am going to rejoin the group.  In 2018 they will be meeting in the Dales of England and some of my Dad’s family originated from there.  It would be fun to go there.  Peg even had some ideas of flying into London and taking the train up.  Its always fun to dream.  TIGHR also offers ways to connect with like minded people all over the world.

Deb and I have another adventure coming up in September.  4 days and three nights on the lovely Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire.  I have spend many wonderful days there as a youth and returned later in life for time away from my harried life. We will spend our days hooking and enjoying the sights of this wonderful Island.  And if we are really lucky we will be able to travel to see Ceila Thaxter’s garden.  Home made food and sea air, sitting on the porch of an old Victorian hotel in rocking chairs, who could ask for more.

Every day can’t  be as wonderful as yesterday but there are enough of those days  in life to keep one uplifted  in darker times.  I hope you have a wonderful day and many thanks for reading my blog.   Carole

 








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