Monday, November 27, 2006

Finally...some fleece gets processed

It's about time the bags of wool sitting in the cellar get processed (after all, there's more in the barn!) And a project that sounds just right for me....thrummed mittens. After all, we love mittens, we only need small amounts of fleece, and we don't have to spin...(still learning that, we are)

This is Victoria's lamb fleece, looking a great deal lighter under the flash than it actually did in the bag. Very sheepy smelling. (not that I mind...)

She was sheared last March, mostly by hand shears, as I cut myself with the electric shears soon after starting. (OK, laugh and point - but those babies are sharp!)

Anyway, I picked out a bunch of nice, pretty clean stuff and soaked it in the sink with some Dawn in VERY hot water...

And after a little soaking, some HOT rinses....viola!

Wet it doesn't look like much...but I'd rather try this in small batches...If you want to see the dyeing, then pop over to the business blog.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lower Lot Projects

Working again on the lower lot, we had a friend over and took down about 8 pretty dead red pines. The plan is to clear it out and plant blueberries there in the Spring. They ought to do very well with the acidic soil, and our older bushes are dropping off in production, so we're trying to insure our berries for the future...

Here's almost this same angle in the Spring...

(My brother-in-law, Carlos, took this shot)

And then there was the clearing and preparing for the hard-neck garlic (hence the poison ivy, see last post) on the hillside. We are trying to take advantage of the excellent drainage on the hill as well as trying to use all available land for cultivation...

And speaking of taking about grazing the sheep on the front lawn?

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Poison Ivy-AGAIN

Okay, there has to be some sort of limit to this, I mean how many times a season does one have to get this stuff to win exemption?!!!? I'm dealing with my sixth outbreak (yeah, I said sixth) this season. Utter exasperation...

I'm on the road training (my "other" job to support my farm dream...) so I can't post photos from the farm, but I thought I'd keep everyone up to date...scratch, scratch, ooze, ooze.....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The (Crazy) Plan - part 1

If you've talked to me at all about the garden and organic vegetables and the like, then you've probably heard at least part of The Plan. It's more of an idea than a real plan, but it's beginnings are grounded in the state of our country these days - obese, unhealthy, and really out of touch with our food. I've read the articles and books, and thought lots about the problem and just spent a lot of time talking with folks and simply observing: how we shop, how we eat, how we live.

So few of us spend any time at all actually involved in the labor of producing food. Sure, I've had gardens for years, but it was always as a hobby, and more to produce supplementary food, rather than subsistence. This summer we produced organic produce for others, for profit, as well as feeding ourselves. It was not easy, it was labor-intensive. It really hammered home the effort involved in producing that flawless leaf of lettuce, that perfectly ripe tomato, that heavy kerneled ear of corn. Sure, chemicals could have made it all easier, but that's not an option any longer. (wait for The (Crazy) Plan - part 2...)

I know the better taste and health of organic farming, but I've been thinking about another aspect of it - how would the labor of producing food affect me? What would it take? What would I learn? Sure, I can cash my paycheck that I earn from sitting on my butt and writing, a pretty sedentary activity, and buy what I eat...but how much do I give up when I knowingly put myself one step further away from the source of my food? So what does real subsistence farming look like? Is it what we think of as sustainable? What does it take to sustain a person?

So, enough chit chat - here's The Plan: See what it would be like to be involved 100% (or damn close) to all the food I eat for 1 year. From July 1, 2007, I eat only what we grow, harvest, raise, barter, or obtain through exceptional means*. And I tell you about it here. Of course, those that only want the family and farm stuff can skip any green posts. That's fair, no?

*Exceptional means: Any meals offered as invitations from family or friends providing I contribute something home grown as a part of the bargain. I mean, that makes it almost like barter, and the whole idea was to explore healthy eating, not alienate myself from folks...

Then there's money I earn from selling what we've grown. I mean beyond the CSA (which is the farm business for the WHOLE family) and applies to only the really extra produce that we won't consume, and I have raised and harvested it specifically for sale. After all, the labor is mine, and that's the point, isn't it? That's the mad cash I'll have to use for stuff I haven't yet figured out how to make or do without. Like olive oil (an essential for cooking) and maybe chocolate (in case of emergency).

Speaking of money, there's the free money I find all over the place - the coins that hapless folks drop, leave, or disregard. If I invest the labor to retrieve it, it counts. Not the change that rattles around the house dryer, that would be taking from the family again. (Besides, it's too easy.) And not prizes or birthday money, that's too easy. That will have to go for some consumer good I can't do without.

OK, enough for the first part. This is a work in progress.

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