13 01 2019


  It is bitter cold day, the wind whips down the mountain and throught the barn.  Every once in a while in this old farmhouse breezes flow through the house.  Curtains are drawn to keep the warmth in.  Layers are worn and books read.


I have been dyeing with black walnut hulls for years.  This year i wondered where I would get some.  Then a sign appearedon the main street of my town, free walnuts and I investigated.  The woman has 2 trees and they were loaded.   I now have a 50  pound feed bag full of dried walnut hulls.


 I bought a coffee grinder and am grinding them up.  It seems that people  are getting back into natural dyeing but want the convience of having the dye near ready for them.   I will package it  up into 4 and 8 ounce jars and sell it online and at shows.  I have always want to do more with natural dyeing and hope to do some madder this year too.  

I am going to plant some of the seeds and sell some of the trees at farmers market too.


Every year I have a few chickens in and of course Helen is in every winter.  This year Charolette is in.  She is a delightful hen who always heard me coming out to fed them and jumped up to the window.  The past few days she has not been herself.  She has not jumped up onto the perch to sleep and today just stood there ruffled up.   I brought her in and she is thin,  All the food she has been eating has gone to keeping her warm.


I do think as in all animals there is indiscriminate breeding.  People just don’t have the understanding or the skill to know that some hens are not able to take extreme cold. 

She has had a dose of poultry drench, some yogurt and mealy worms, and chicken food and is now enjoying some warm oatmeal.  Who knows how this will go but it looks like she has a fighting chance of survival.  She is talking up a storm.  Sammy the cat has already inspected her and approved.  He rather likes chicken watching.  A neightbors cat comes almost every day and jumps onto the fence and then to the window box and watches the chickens.  I guess he missed chicken watching when they came in for the winter and has found their new home.



I was looking through my bookcases for something to read today and this book popped out.  It has never been read, probably picked up on a trip to  Ireland in the early 2000’s.    It’s called A COUNTRY LIFE-At Home in the English Countryside by Sir Roy Strong.                

The First chapter describes the house and the things that are he and his wife’s loves.  Its full of artistic clutter, books rambling from one room to another geraniums and other plants doted everywhere spending  their winter inside and last but not least two cats who have the run of the place and no expense or ancient wooden doors were spared for their exit to the gardens.    It sounds a little like my house although my cats aren’t allowed outside.  Missing the sheep and chickens but i imagine they will play a part in the book somewhere.  

I am glad that I put this book away, for now was the perfect time to read it.  He worte the book in 1994 but added a postscript to the book (2002) which I am now reading   He was lamenting about the Hoof and Mouth disease outbreak and how the fields and meadows were empty.  It was a horrific tragedy but the fields and meadows are now filled with Sheep and Cattle again.

I hope you are all snuggled in your warm houses.  All the best.


SALLY                                         SAM IN HIS HUT ON THE RADIATOR



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