Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Howl-oween!

Trick or treat?

Dozer was all dressed up with nowhere to go this year. My mom had given me these two costumes for Jackson, knowing that I used to dress Rosie up for a local feedstore's pet costume contest each year. The costumes were too small and silly for an elegant (looking, not acting!) Aussie but fit Dozer, and I picked up a blue kid's baseball mitt at a thrift shop for a buck for Dozer to carry in his mouth (I thought the baseball jacket was cuter than the policeman's uniform). Alas, corporate decided to cancel the contest this year, so the dogs have been reduced to begging at the door naked, so to speak.

Someone sent me these wonderful photos of dogs and their portraits in pumpkin. Someone's got talent - like MollyBee! (Click on her name to see the great job she did at pumpkin portraiture.) Enjoy!

Hope you are all having a great weekend; we're off to a barn party tonight.

Happy Reformation Day from . . .

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seeing red

Yes, there's that lovely little laceleaf Japanese maple right outside the front door, but that's not what I'm talking about.

This morning when I opened the gate to lead Braveheart's breeding group to their lot, the two ewes and ram punching bag wether followed me out, but not Braveheart. After feeding Inky her grain ration, I walked back to the fold and there he was, doing his best to put the "little punk," i.e. Blackberry, in his place.(Excuse their "dirty sheets;" stripping and rebedding the fold has been on my to-do list for weeks!) I don't know if Dinah is in heat, but clearly Blackberry is feeling studly enough to taunt the big guy through the fence - and Braveheart was not about to walk away from a fight. It was mostly posturing; no one was hitting hard - unfortunately. Blackberry's scurs are snailing around in front of his ears, and I wouldn't mind if he'd knock the slightly wiggly things off. Maybe it will happen yet; I doubt their testosterone levels will be dropping anytime soon.

That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Themeless Thursday

Sometimes I snap a picture or tackle a project and think, "I'll post about that." But life waits for no blogger, and by the time I can sit down at the computer and collect my thoughts, there is no way to round them all up into a cohesive herd. Some of those ideas fall by the wayside, never to see the light of a computer screen (such loss; such tragedy!), but sometimes I throw them all together like a tossed salad and serve it up to you. THAT'S what today's post is - tossed salad!

Out standing in their field. Notice the fresh dirt behind Jackson? Rick will NOT be pleased to see that he is digging holes in the reseeded pasture! Jackson is doing his best to turn Dozer into a proper farm dog, but thankfully Dozer's short hair is incapable of holding a bushel of burrs and a mountain of mud. Jackson is seriously tempting me to shear shave him for the winter; sure would make it easier to clean up him after every outside jaunt!

Oh, what a tangled web I knit.... I have cast on and ripped out that neat hat twice now, both times losing a length of yarn because the fibers in it get hopelessly enmeshed. I cast on a third time last night, and hope to get past the second row (isn't that pitiful?) tonight after Brian goes to bed. Working on it in a less than quiet atmosphere has been unsuccessful.

There's kraut in the house! Last night with a little help from Rick, I got both mammoth cabbages shredded, resulting in 20 lbs. of kraut in the basement shower and two big bowls of cole slaw in the frig.

Last night Rick came home with concord grapes and apples from a client (not the one who gave us the cabbages). May I just say again here how blessed we are by the bounty friends and clients share with us? And when we are blessed with bounty, I feel duty-bound to do my part and preserve it. After all, if I'm not contributing much cash to our household, I can at least make every effort to keep our grocery costs low.

Rick pressed about half the grapes last night; move over, Welches! Oh, sooooo good. The apples will be turned into more sauce on Sunday, and probably a batch of apple butter. I also need to make another batch of Green Tomato Salsa (I'm calling it that because it is much closer in taste to green Tabasco than sandwich relish).

This hanging scale purchased on eBay arrived yesterday; now I'll be able to weigh my lambs! I don't think doing so is essential, so I haven't been willing to shell out the cash for what Premier sells. But when I found a brand-new hanging fish scale with a 10-year warranty for under $20 (postage-free) on eBay that will give me that useful information, I thought it was a worthwhile investment. Now I just need to order ear tags, and I'm set for lambing season . . . in four or five months. :-)

Finally, here's my artsy-fartsy offering for the day:

That's it for now at . . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

Consternation, cabbage and cake

So near . . .
and yet so unattainable!

So formidable . . .and yet so fermentable! (Yes, I'm going to try my hand at homemade sauerkraut for the first time in my life. Wish me and those giant brains luck.)

So sweet . . .and yet calorie-free! This cake of homespun yarn (black superwash - I think, brown llama, and fine gold thread) finally told me it needed to be this:I got so excited I wound the skein into a ball and swatched away - only to realize that I hadn't washed the yarn yet. So back into a skein and into a sink it went. Now it is truly ready, and so are my itchy fingers!

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Snapshots from our weekend

How was your weekend? Saturday was the perfect fall day; mild, sunny and beautiful. Saturdays are always special, a day of worship, rest and fellowship, but I must admit nice weather adds to its blessings.

Saturday night we all participated in a benefit concert for a family devastated by an auto accident. The 16-year-old daughter was getting in some driving practice with her dad riding shotgun when she pulled out in front of a loaded semi - and froze. She was killed instantly; her father is still in a coma. Brian played a violin piece with his dad accompanying; Rick also played a solo and accompanied singers. I helped lead the closing song. The younger sister of the driver sang a beautiful song about looking forward to heaven that she used to sing with her sister; it was very moving. The family hopes to raise enough money for the father to get some time in a hypobaric chamber to promote healing, which their insurance (praise God they have insurance!) does not cover.

Today was grey and threatened rain, but with no more than a few sprinkles we managed to get a lot of outdoor chores crossed off the list. These two young blacktail deer hung out on the other side of the sheep lot fence all morning, driving Jackson crazy.
I picked green tomatoes in the garden and assembled a double batch of Farmgirl's No-Sugar Green Tomato Relish. It would almost be worth making just for the visual delight of the ingredients coming together,but I'm happy to report that the end result is a treat for the taste buds as well - if you can handle some heat! I think I know a couple people who would be delighted to find a jar of this in their Christmas stockings. :-)

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall . . . down

That is what pretty colors do, eventually.

Yesterday morning looked like this:Couldn't even see colors, just shades of grey in the fog. Today we have rain, rain, lots of rain. Although it was only sprinkling when I was coming up from doing barn chores this morning, so I snapped some random shots of the fallen. Big-leaf maple:
Royal Ann cherry:
English walnut:
Flowering plum:

The colors in front of the house haven't reached their peak yet. That big Japanese maple in the island used to grow against the bedroom window of our old manufactured home. At its peak, it truly lit up the whole room!

The big lilac bush is putting on quite a show this year.

Love this mix of dark green rhodie, yellowing forsythia, and russet silver oak leaves!

This little Japanese maple just outside the front door is putting out the red carpet for visitors (the few that we get).

Now to make Rick's birthday cake - German chocolate, with coconut pecan frosting all over, not just between the layers. (Of course from scratch!)

That's it for now at . . .