FROSTY MORNINGS-OCTOBERFEST-GARDEN DELIGHTS-DRYING HOT PEPPERS AND HERBS.

1 10 2017

GREETINGS

The hot and humidity has cleared out and now we are hit with almost frosty temps.  That is New England for you.  We  finally got some longed for rain. And now a stretch of  wonderful weather. 

OCTOBERFEST

 

The Brick Meeting House is active again..  Come join us for lots of local crafts, food and a good time in Colrain.  Next Saturday or rain date is Columbus Day, Monday for a wonderful fair.

GARDEN DELIGHTS

 Sadly none of my pumpkins came up this year but to my surprise one rogue cucumber did come up and is giving me some nice cukes at the end of the season.

 The  leeks did wonderful and I did remember to hill them up occasionally this summer.  Half are in the freezer and I will pull up the rest soon.

DRYING HOT PEPPERS AND HERBS AND RECIPE FOR ARTHRITIS SALVE

 

I bought 10 hot peppers I don’t know what kind they are but after they were in the dehydrator for an hour or so I started coughing and my eyes were tearing up.   Finally after a couple of hours I had to turn it off.  Today I am finishing them .  I am including my recipe for Arthritis Salve which is easy to make and works well.  Please remember when using that this is made from hot peppers …

ARTHRITIS SALVE

 CAUTION PEPPERS CAN CAUSE BURNS WEAR GLOVES AND DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES OR FACE.  EYE PROTECTION IS RECOMMENDED.

WIDE MOUTH JAR WITH CAP

Hot Peppers  ( they must be dried and sliced )

Olive Oil enough to cover the hot peppers by at least 2 inches

Small amount of Beeswax  It all depends on how many peppers and oil that you use.

Dry peppers (either in a dehydrator or by hanging them up)  Place in a jar and cover the with olive oil then add two inches, making sure that no peppers can reach the top of the olive oil.

Let sit for at least a month.  Mine will sit for 2 or three months.  This lets the peppers infuse with the olive oil.

   Strain the peppers  through a cheesecloth and place in  a saucepan.   Put aside . Melt beeswax over a double boiler and put aside.     Warm up the oil till its warmed through and then add the beeswax a little at a time.  Testing drops on a plate as you do this.  When you find that the drops solidify your are done.  Do not overdo the beeswax. Pour into jars.  

This salve has worked wonders for me.  When you put it on there is no hot sensation.  It works slowly.   It  has also saved me a lot of money.  Fr a small amount of money you can make 10 or 20 jars , and compared to what it cost in the store you could save hundreds of dollars.

 

PRESERVING SWEET ANNIE WITH PLANTS FROM SUSAN BATES HOME AND GARDEN

I started preserving Sweet Annie, which is one of my favorite plants .I finally found the perfect spot for it and they took off..  This year I bought 2 plants from Susan Bates at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair. She has a brick and mortar store in Ashby, Massachusetts called Susan Bates Home and Garden.     Her plants are of the best quality.  She has lots of wonderful things at her shop, furniture, and antiques handmade things and she also occasionally has classes.  Check her out on Facebook.

 This year I have enough to sell a few bunches and am preserving them in a glycerin based mix.  1 put 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water.  With freshly cut branches place them in the water mix for approximately one week.  They will stay as they were preserved and not turn brown  The smell remains and they are a perfect fall decoration and they repel insects.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this lovely fall day.   Carole.

DOT AND SHE HAS A NEW FRIEND SEE MORE ABOUT HER IN MY NEXT BLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 





SPINNING AND KNITTING FOR A PROJECT-BOOKS I AM READING-IRELAND IS CALLING-NEW LIFE ON THE FARM

21 09 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREETINGS

We had a bout of cool days and cooler nights now its very humid.  The leaves are changing so fall weather approaches.

SPINNING AND KNITTING FOR A PROJECT

Usually I just spin and don’t really care what I am spinning.  I have such a supply of wool that I want to get spun that it doesn’t really matter.  This year I skirted Carol K and Maude’s fleeces and threw the skirting’s into a bag.  I usually throw away the really messy stuff and keep the rest for a small project.  But this year there was a lot.  I decided to dye it and use some one old dye and another dye that I had plenty of.  They were both Pro Chemical dyes, Mallard Green and mustard. I love the way the colored blended together.

Well then  this Debbie Bliss pattern book, which I bought a long time ago surfaced and I found a pattern that was simple and I liked .  So this is what I am spinning and knitting..  I want to get the sweater finished and make an outfit to wear on my November trip.  I am not a good finisher I have loads of started projects around and am determined to finish a lot of them this winter and get the sweater done by mid October.   I am working on it every day.

 

THE FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR

I do love doing this fair, meeting old friends and new customers.  People love to stop and chat while I am spinning and I do enjoy answering their questions about spinning.  It was a lovely two days.

BOOKS I AM READING

Rag Rugs of England and AMerica

I was able to purchase this book online and am so glad that I did

.Rag Rugs of England and Americait has wonderful stories and pictures of old rugs.   The two people who influenced my rug hooking most were Heather Richie and Deanne Fitzpatrick.  Both of them in totally different ways inspire me to do things in a different way.   To breathe while rug hooking and not worry about straight lines . This book reminds me of Heather as it has a story which she told in class and the same picture that is in the book she showed us.  The print is called Geordie ha’ ad a Bairn by Ralph Hedley around 1890.    In the picture is a clippie rug which Heather showed us how to make.

 

Geordie Haa'd the Bairn

Lots of pictures of old rugs with interesting information about them.  A must read for rug hookers and historians..

IRELAND IS CALLING

My daughter Cindy, grandson Chris and I are heading back to IRELAND in November.  Its been 4 years since we went last.  A hiatus for Cindy to attend Law School.    We are heading to Cork to show Chris that beautiful county with side trips to Kerry and a few other counties.   We rented a beautiful stone cottage and I know there will be at least a day of fishing for Chris.  I can’t wait to get there I have always felt at home in Ireland.  We may take a trip to Tipperary to see an odd breed of sheep called Zwartbles, they look like badgers!  We got wonderful prices on Norwegian Air and will fly from Providence directly to Cork.  Counting the days.

DOT AND HATTIE

This week I picked up two hens from the Chicken Man.  It is hard for people and chickens to adjust to new living situations but they are adjusting,

                          DOT

Dot has ventured out once and I see her getting accumulated to the flock soon. Hattie is living with the Bantam’s and is now sleeping with them.  Morticia treats her like her daughter, bossing her around.  She is young and probably won’t start laying till the end of November.

HATTIE

Dot is really a rescue.  She is a two-year old bird who the chicken man said is spent. What he means by that is worthless, she probably won’t lay anymore and is sent with another 25 or so birds to the auction (an awful and terrifying place).  He is of the mentality, which is old school, that hens lay very few eggs after their second year.  Well I have never found that true..  My  13-year-old hen laid  beautiful blue eggs almost every day of the summer before she passed as most of my other old hens do.  Change in animal care comes slow here in the states but in other countries like England it is way ahead of us.   I am so glad to see new farmers give animals loving care and a chance  to live on green grass and fresh air the way their suppose to live. (My rant for the day.)

Many thank for reading my blog on this cloudy fall day.  Leaves are slowing  changing.  Carole





BOOKS I AM READING-THE FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR-COSMO

7 09 2017

GREETINGS

Hot and humid. cold and damp, torrential rains and some early frost in the hills.  Hurricanes doing so much damage.  Global warming is not knocking on our door anymore it’s here.  The hazel nuts are drying nicely in the car and I have decided to get a few more trees and plan to plant one in an open spot in the woods for the animals.  They are so easy to grow and don’t take up a lot of room.

BOOKS I AM READING

 

One of the things I love about The Heath Fair is the Library Book Sale.  I bring bags of books and take away a bag.    One never knows what will be there but there are always do it yourself books, cookbooks, novels, children’s books and travel, this year there were even foreign language learning books.  Books are one of my favorite things and I have been surrounded with them since I could walk.  My parents and other family members read to me and when I was old enough I could take my allowance and buy a book at the  McCauselan and Wakelin department store in Holyoke.

In my bag this year was a book on how to make greenhouses, a wonderful knitting book, a fishing guide for my grandson, a Christmas project book and a small book by Daniel Gottlieb called Letters to Sam.  I didn’t know that I bought a treasure.  On the cover its says A Grandfather’s lessons on love, Loss, and the gifts of life.   It is so much more.  It’s about a man who has had loss and hardship in his life.  Dan suffered a near fatal accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down some years ago and Sam his grandson was diagnosed  with a form of autism at 14 months.   Dan is a Psychologist 

One of my favorite parts of this books is  when he talks of the jobs parents and children have.  A parents job is to love theIr child protect them as best they can and give them roots and wings.  

At the end of the book is this quote which I would like to share it is from Rumi, a 13th century poet, theologian, jurist, scholar and mystic.

                                GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house

Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness

some momentary awareness comes,

as an unexpected guest.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the sham. the malice.

     meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent 

as a guide from beyond.

RUMI

 

THE FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR

 

I will be in the craft tent Saturday and Sunday.  Come on down and enjoy the wonderful fair.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this September day.  Carole.

 

My wonderful cat Cosmo.  Taking a break from running up and down the stairs (and eating many cans of Fancy Feast) making sure no other cats have come into his domain.  For those of you who know of Cosmo his cancer is growing slowly.  I hope he will be here for many more years but we enjoy each day that he is given.





THE LOWER GARDEN-CHICKEN THINGS-LOSS OF A FRIEND-GETTING FOOD IN FOR THE WINTER

3 09 2017

GREETINGS

We have  had mornings of nippy fingers and today its a cold, damp rain.  We need it though as things were getting very dry.  I can’t believe it’s already September.  

THE SIDE YARD GARDEN

This garden has been neglected this year and I am weeding and remaking the garden paths, tying up the apple trees and trimming them.  I am hoping to plant some beets soon.  The blueberry bushes produced  more berries than I ever got.

 I am cutting the  spearmint and tying it into bundles and drying it up in the barn to freshen up the chickens nest boxes during the winter.  I have other,mint plants in the front yard to do the same with.  After they are all dry I will mix them with lavender and a few other herbs and store them, keeping a few branches to hang in the coop  It does help to keep the coop smelling better during the long winter days.

A GREEN HOUSE FOR THE CHICKENS 

Every year at this time I think about a nice greenhouse for the chickens to go in during the long winter.  More space to run around and some fresh air.  I always get so busy in the fall and it doesn’t get done.  I bought a make your own greenhouse book at the Library Book sale at the Heath Fair and I am planning on seeing what I can do.  Nothing elaborate and something I can put up and take down every year.    I would like to find some old windows.  It takes time and I never seem to have enough of it in the fall.

LOOSING A FRIEND

Our community lost a friend, mentor and Volunteer Fireman Harry Dunning.  His wife Jane took loving care of him through the long illness.  The service for him was beautiful and inspiring.    In sadness there is beauty and it surely was in that Church on Saturday.  

FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR

I will be vending at the fair this year again.  One thing that I have done is take an old ,broken down wooden tool carrier and fixed it as best as I could and pickle painted it.  It will be perfect for my bags of wool for needle felting .    I look forward to the show, good company and lots of excitement and return customers makes it a fun weekend.  Pan to have lots of new handmade items there.

STORING FOR THE WINTER

Today hops and catnip are being dried in the dehydrator the smell permeates the house.

 Catnip did well where I placed it this year, plenty of sun is what it needed.   I bought some Pennyroyal from Sue Bates also and it is living near the catnip and it loves it there.  Its next on my list to dry.  Susan has the best plants and always brings them to The Massachusetts Sheep and Wool show.   She is at Brimfield this week, check out her booth at Quaker Acres.

I picked a pail full  of hops this week and they will be going into dream pillows today.

The small Hazel Nut tree produced a box full of nuts.  They are safely in the car for drying, which was the suggestion on the internet.  I think I got them just in time as some of them were ripe.

 

I am now getting Roma tomatoes and today will get them in the freezer.  Peppers are on the agenda too and so far I have one large bag in the freezer.   I need about 6 large bags to get me through the winter.

BANTAM HENS

 

Morticia and her daughter Violet have been nesting for months now.  I have separated the side yard chicken area and they along with Opal who had the sneezes when I got her, will go outside in the converted dog house tonight.    They all need to change their life styles!!!!!!!In another month they will all come in and I hope to have the big front coop separated so the Bantams have their own space.  Eventually I hope to have all Bantams as they need less room and require less work..

Many thanks for reading my blog today.   The leaves are just starting to turn on Route 2, It looks like a fabulous fall.  Carole

 

 

 

 

 

 





OUR TOWN IS SADDENED BY AN ACCIDENT- THE CORN-THE HEATH FAIR-MY RANT FOR THE DAY

21 08 2017

 

HERBS DRYING IN THE BARN

GREETINGS

A tragic accident in our little town has shaken the town to its core.  There has been many accidents on that same stretch of road and many scary near misses but this time there was a death. It reminds us that we need to appreciate even the smallest things in life.  A meeting will be held tonight and there will be  discussions about what can be done.  The state feels this road is not dangerous I wonder if one of the people making that decision would feel that way if they lost their brakes or started skidding on ice.  We are so removed from Boston politics here!

 

 

THE CORN

The second field of corn was ripe and two bushels were ready for me to freeze.  The question of the day was should I blanch it like I usually do or freeze it right off the cob.   According to the internet blanching is best to keep the taste the longest.   Wednesday and Thursday of last week I did  over 140 ears.  All of it is safely in the freezer to be enjoyed over the winter.  Now on to tomatoes and blueberries.

THE HEATH FAIR

  A wonderful fair with Horse pulls, fried dough, and a parade, Firemen’s muster and so many other things.  This was the 100 year of the fair(well really 101 but in 1942 the government  asked that no functions be held where people would gather because of the polio epidemic.) I got lots of spinning done and met lots of wonderful people . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY RANT FOR THE DAY

Thanks to Verizon and Direct TV for being the worst companies in terms of service.  The  other day it was raining so I could not stream anything or get any info on the internet.  This happens every time it snows , rains, is overcast, kids come home from school. work hours end and on weekends.  They know this happens but we  in my area are in a bind its all we have.    The great news is in a year or two they will have competition and I  for one will probably switch.  

And for Direct TV, thanks for charging me 70 dollars a month for 10 channels the other 190 you couldn’t pay me to watch.  And the same thing goes for the rain, snow, overcast no local channels work and some of the others don’t either.  It would be nice to get urgent weather info but oh no.  This will change for you too direct tv .  New things are coming on the market making your services obsolete.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this beautiful summer day.  Carole





THE CABINET STORY-LOOSING ANIMAL FRIENDS-VISITING FRIENDS

14 08 2017

 

 

LEMON BALM

GREETINGS

Freezing sweet corn , drying lemon balm, digging up  garlic,picking tansy and artemisia, waiting for the tomatoes to ripen are some of the things I love about summer.  the house smells of herbs and flowers .

LOOSING ANIMAL FRIENDS

On Saturday my youngest daughter, Betty had to put her beloved horse Beamer down.  He was a beauty who came to her as a young horse from Western Canada.   He was the perfect horse for her.   A registered Morgan who was loved by everyone who met him.   The decisions that we who love our animals more than life itself have to make are never easy, but they have to be made for the animal sake.  Run free Beamer you and Betty will be together again someday.

THE CABINET ADVENTURE

It all started with a ride to Brattleboro, Vermont to look at appliances.  We didn’t have much luck there but we did see a sign saying doors and window for sale.  This was Deconstruction Works of the former renew store.   We asked about cabinets and he said to follow him on Facebook and so I did  In less than a week he  had cabinets from a home he was working on.    $250. for 6 pieces seemed like a bargain price.  They were a darker maple color and it came with a counter top and sink.

 

Measurements were taken and they would fit nicely.   I plan to get a new counter top and will have the new/old sink that I bought put in it.  Now they are on the porch awaiting the other things to get done  I really like the idea of reusing and the trip to Newfane, Vermont was delightful.  The house was located on a muddy dirt road with a wonderful field and meadow and beautiful views.  It had a lovely large birch tree close by and a huge stone wall.

VISITING FRIENDS AND WINDING  A  WARP

Yesterday I went to visit friends and wind a warp.  Charlie and Ken live in a lovely cottage by the side of a babbling brook.

And there are many wonderful gardens.

 Charlie wanted to weave again and I told him about the Structo Loom used by The Springfield Weavers to show people how to weave.  He remembered seeing the group at The Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fest this year.    A couple of weeks ago he purchased on   eBay and  yesterday I wound a warp for scarves out of mohair boucle.

  There is enough warp to weave 4 or 5 scarves.  Ken made a delightful lunch and Charlie and I spent a delightful afternoon.

Heading to the Heath Fair on Saturday.   Come and visit me at the large tent.  I hope to be spinning.  Many thanks for reading my blog.   Carole

 

 

 

 





KITCHEN REMODELING

12 08 2017

GREETINGS

Very humid and some rain, my ideal weather.  My Roma tomatoes are  doing well, my cukes and pumpkins did not fair well , after two planting i have two cucumbers and a few pumpkins.  It was such a wet spring here that the seeds rotted.  Many of the sweet corn growers had there seeds rot twice and  grew starts and that is why some farms are so late in selling their corn.

KITCHEN REMODELING

The kitchen was a long needed much awaited and dreaded project.  It should have been done the year after i moved in but there were sills,  roofs to replace and the list goes on and on.      The decision was made and the work started  very soon after.  My family and friends have continued to be supportive and helpful in every way.   My son David is the person who started it all.  One of the main reasons for getting this done is that my knee is much worse and at this point I don’t know if another replacement is possible or will work.  So at some point I may be in a wheel chair for part of the time and need things to be workable.

The rat infestation was part of it too, they were eating through the walls and did other damage.  I am happy to say that most of them have packed their bags and the rest will be trapped.  There was hardly any insulation and some of the flooring was rotted because of the bad sink and a leaking pipe which we didn’t know about..  The floor required lots of work for Pat, my neighbor and my house fixer. 

Things will be moved around to make it more workable.  The fridge will be turned around,  having it face the work area will make things so much easier.  The pantry already has and additional door facing the kitchen.  This will make it easier too and I will be able to find things better.  The stove will be moved to the corner  which will make things easier and all the cabinets will have backs and bottoms!!!!!!!!  I will have more storage area and more work area and the kitchen will be more organized.  Yea!!!!

Pat was able to move my Great Grandmothers window and paced it above the new counter facing  pantry door.

This is phase one of the kitchen the second phase will be the wood stove area.  The stove and Goshen Stones which it stands on will have to be moved and a new foundation will have to be built, other cabinets will be removed and at this point I don’t know what else will happen.    Getting through the first part is all I can think about..

Help has come in all forms, from family and friends, thank you all for encouragement and help.

I am recovering from a fall in which I bent my unbendable knee which made me realize even more why this renovation was so needed.

Not being able to find things has been my nemesis these days.  A few days ago I put my car key down and it disappeared.   With only one key It meant that i was grounded.  For those who have never lost a key I am telling you how important it is to not do this.  My car had to be towed to the nearest dodge dealer and this simple key cost 110.  You can either pay the fee or not drive.  There ought to be a aw against this type of gouging.  I really despise the way cars have a hold on us today.  We have to have them but———————-

Many thanks for reading my blog on this lovely summer day.   Carole