Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Garden like you can't go to the store

It's not my phrase; I read it on one of the fantastic blogs I read, but it has been bouncing around in my head all week.

Really.  What if you couldn't go to the store?  The plants and animals around you take on a whole new meaning.  Work in the garden takes on a new intensity; projects like the bees seem even more important.  

I've wanted to try eating just from my own hand for several years now; my last attempt was sidetracked by medical issues.  But I am going to try it again this summer and see how it goes.  How long before I have my first choc-o-holic freak out and need to mainline a brownie?  How long before my MSG levels drop dangerously low and I have to snort an eggroll or frozen veggie nugget?  Can Diet Pepsi withdrawal give you the shakes?  Hmm...we shall see.

Victory Garden logo from Victory Garden Supplement specially written for The New Garden Encyclopedia, 1943

It gives the message of this old logo even more impact - no?  I know many of us raise food - but what are you doing differently THIS year?  I'd be interested to hear...

Monday, April 27, 2009


When I started blogging, I never dreamed that I might one day use the word "sisterhood" to title a post, but it has been one of the most unexpected and joyful parts of this cyberworld experience.

A while back, I was tapped for a blog award by a cyber twin of mine - Michelle.  She was recognizing the amazing similarities and fun parallels of our two lives, and I have been thinking about the significance of her award for some time now.
It is so easy to get caught up in your own little world and believe that your circumstances are uniquely your own, and nobody else could possible share your worries, your dreams, your ideas, or your thoughts.  Michelle rocked me out of that bubble in a most delightful way, and I have thoroughly enjoyed finding out how similar our personalities and lives can be, while still being very different - she on the West Coast, I on the East. I think she has a faith much deeper than mine, so where I might be labeled the skeptic, she is the believer.  But from this relationship, I am constantly learning.  And it is that aspect of it that I think I like the best.

Blogging has taught me endless skills, viewpoints, factoids, perspectives and launched a thousand ideas.  It has also deepened and fortified relationships that I might otherwise have let go.  Last week, Karin, had a blog contest and I actually won! (That was VERY surprising to me, as I never win anything...)  But more importantly, she is a wonderful person that I might otherwise have lost the opportunity to know.  I met her through her yarn shop, but my life has changed so much in the last two years that even if it were still open today, I would almost surely never be able to visit - as Albany fades further and further from my sphere of travel.  She is very talented, and wonderfully passionate about all kind of important things (which of course, includes knitting) but she is not a farmer.  And doesn't need to be - but our interests still mesh.

( I won this - how cool is that?  BTW - the red yarn is the exact color I have been searching for to match a gifted piece of jewelry, it must be fate...)

And even in my ever-shrinking circle of contacts these day, I have found sisterhood in the neighborhood.  Two women whom I met through the Farmer's Market have become welcome "partners in crime" and they seem to be able to inspire me or enable almost all of my addictions.  Can you believe they dragged me off to a poultry swap and made me walk away with yet another chick? 

The telltale eye ring, green-grey feet, and patterned feathers gave this little peeper away as an Ameracauna.  The moth-eaten, scraggly look gave it away as a face only a mother could love.  In stepped Madison, lover of all things chicken, and viola!  it lives with us.  How could I say "no" when green eggs are one of our best sellers? was purely a business decision.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


For those of you that can access NPR, there was an interesting piece on the Hear & Now program with Robin Young.  Her April 22nd show contained a piece on the
Farm Census and its trends and potential impact and an interview with a mid-size farmer in Vermont.  It was very interesting to hear about the growth in small and woman-run can listen to the show if you go to the website...

On letter writing...I received my third form letter response from White House.  The first was a generic postcard from the fellow in charge of White House correspondence.  (yawn)  The second was another generic postcard, this one signed by a computer with the ability to forge the presidential signature.   And finally a form letter, referencing one of the many topics I have written about, again signed by some automated something or other.  (At least they took the time to read my letter and make the proper choice of form letter to send back...)

Of course, it would be nice if they would get my address right, and send my mail to Petersburgh (with an "h").  I've written and told them of the error...but I don't really expect a change...

Commercial Break

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you several important announcements.

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - May 2 & 3  Howard County Fairgrounds  West Freindship, MD.  Dye-namics Yarn will be on sale at the G&W Sharpening booth in Barn 3.  Please stop by and see what Stacey and her family have to offer, and tell her you said "hello"...

Bennington Mayfest - May 23  Downtown Bennington, VT.  Dye-namics Yarn will have a booth in the all-day craft and culture event in Bennington.  I don't know our exact location yet, but just look for an olive green tent and two crazy ladies with WAY too much sock yarn for sale...

And for anyone keeping track, the first Sock Madness Knit off is down to the Elite 8, awaiting Pattern #3...

And this just in....

Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival - October 3 & 4  Tunbridge Fairgrounds  Tunbridge, VT. I literally just found out...booth location to follow (when they let us know).  And by then, we may have more to offer than just sock yarns...although there's nothing wrong with just sock yarns.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What the...?

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head.
Despite ample nesting boxes, I have hens who insist on packing themselves into this cramped cage used for chick transport that is about 10 inches each side. (How can that be comfortable?)

And after sitting for the better part of an hour yesterday, one of our Ameracaunas produced this:

(Is that like a chicken fart?)

I saw Hattie, my oldest ewe, making funny noises and motions with her mouth as if she were sucking on a sour ball candy, so I went over and held out my hand and opened her mouth.  This fell out:

(Was it hers to start with, or did she pick it up out of the grain feeder?  And if there were tooth fairies for sheep, would this be one dollar, or more?)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Best Thing Ever

Twelve years ago today, at 8:19 in the morning, I was blessed.

She knew at 2 she was going to be a farmer.  Or, maybe she was telling ME something...

Friday, April 03, 2009

At last...a break in the action

Maple season is finally over.  We look forward to it's arrival every year, and are always happy to see it go, simply because there is so much else to do!  And it seems I cannot blog AND do maple syrup.  Either I am away at the trees gathering, chopping wood, or cooking, or when I am inside finishing I must NOT get distracted by the computer or we will have maple goo all over the stove.  And I haven't found a profitable use for maple goo...

My constant companions are never far away; following me everywhere, but also contented to catch a nap in the back mud hall while I have a snack or hit the loo.  Normally, I would NEVER show you the nasty mud hall, but how else to share the view out my back door? - Max is in his bed, and Candy (who we have now figured out is a boy - sorry, Candy for a year of calling you "girl"...) with head tucked under for a quick wink.
And there's been a little bit of time for some charity knitting by the maple fire, as well as tucking in several flats of onions, mesclun, herbs, broccoli and lettuce.

EVERYBODY is laying, even the turkeys!  The Bourbon Reds have mastered the art of walking around the pen without stepping on the eggs, so we are incubating a pair of those, and have sold some.
And we have three new additions to the flock:

Our Silkie just died, and I got the opportunity to replace her. And I thought one chick amongst all those hens might get picked on, so better to have a companion, and besides, how could I choose between the two colors, and well, what if I had somehow chosen two roosters?  Just to better the odds, I had better get a third, that way we will at least have a hen to breed if we chose poorly and got two roosters, and, well, you understand...