Category Archives: Olio

Olio – 4/4/17

Olio- a miscellaneous collection of things

We have had spring again for a few days, but winter is rearing it’s ugly head again, starting with heavy thunderstorms, wind, and possible hail tomorrow afternoon followed with near freezing nights for a couple of nights and even snow flurries on Friday.  The peas haven’t broken ground yet, but they will be covered.  The onions are up and they will be covered with spoiled hay.  The grass already needs to be mowed, almost a month before we usually have to mow.

The Asian pears are blooming, they are my favorite fruit so we are hopeful that the blooms don’t freeze.

Pear

Taking advantage of the beautiful day, we went to Lowes and found flexible corrugated nearly transparent plastic sheets that were 8 feet long and 26 inches wide, the perfect size to enclose the sides of the broody coop.  A box of screws and thirty minutes work and the coop is enclosed on the sides.

Babycoop

The baby chicks look like little dinosaurs and are nearly feathered.  If it wasn’t going to get cold, I would put them in the baby coop, but I guess they will have to wait another week before they move to bigger quarters.  While working outside, the netting over the chicken run got re-fastened to fences and long posts so it doesn’t catch in hair and flap in the wind.  Tomorrow is nice for about half a day so maybe at least part of the fencing will be installed.

My car went in for its annual inspection and she is 13 years old and just shy of 200,000 miles.  We knew going in that she needed some work.  We need new front brakes again, 4th time in 3 years, 4 new tires and an alignment, and a new starter, so this is an expensive inspection, but hopefully will keep her on the road for another 80,000 miles.

Bloodroot

The Bloodroot is blooming in profusion along our country road.  The trillium haven’t been spotted yet.

A couple of years ago, one of our vent stacks began to leak around the boot, ruining a section of our newly finished basement ceiling.  At Christmas that year, eldest son ripped the drywall off the soffit under most of the pipes in the basement and build a set of panels of wood siding and finished framing boards that can be removed by undoing a few screws once the leak was repaired.  About a  year later, we developed a leak at a different vent stack, ruining a different section.  He is going to do the same thing in that area now that the leak is repaired.  Yesterday in the torrential downpours, the original area began to leak again.  Quick work with the power driver, allowed the removal of part of that soffit so that a catch pan could be put in the ceiling until the roof can be repaired yet again.  It was nice to be able to get the soffit parts down without the being ruined.

leak

 

The old adage, “When it rains, it pours” is literal in this case and figuratively in accrued costs for the car and the roof repair.

Olio-Week’s end-March 17, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

This bitter week is winding down.  Last night was hopefully the last night in the teens that we will experience this winter.  Spring on the calendar is but three days away.  The garden planner alert today was to plant the peas and onions under cover outside and start the peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos inside.  The cover fabric from prior years is gone so a trip to Harmony Organics in town is necessary to procure more for the two boxes.  The garlic looks like it suffered some damage from the cold, but hopefully it will perk back up with the milder weather.  The daffodils in town are all laying face down on the ground,  the forsythia, ornamental fruit trees in town are all browned, our peach tree lost it’s blooms.  Our forsythia had not bloomed yet, so we may see some of the sunny yellow soon. The weekend is to be milder and Tuesday actually making it into the low 60’s, so some garden time is in order this weekend and early next week.

For Christmas, daughter’s family gave us an Arbor Day membership which provides 10 young trees, plus an additional purchase for our windbreak and flowering shrubs for the driveway bank.  Yesterday, the first of those young trees arrived and they must be put in the ground within a couple of days of arrival.  The suggestion is to put them in a garden area for a year or two to let them begin to establish fibrous roots and gain some size before planting them in the location of choice.  I guess that is going to make part of the lower garden a tree nursery for now, a good use for that otherwise not in use area.  The tree planting helps reduce our carbon footprint and is helping to re establish some areas of woodlot on the farm, where we need a buffer or where it is too rocky to mow.

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The cold weather brought many birds to the feeder and to the deck to clean up the spilled seed.  Feeding the neighborhood birds and trying to foil the squirrels was an enjoyable pastime when we lived in the suburbs on the coast.  With bear in this area, a feeder has been absent for the past decade, but a small cage feeder was hung outside of the kitchen window this winter, high off the ground and it has been enjoyable to see the fearless little birds feasting.  Granddaughter observed this morning while watching them during breakfast, that the chicks in the brooder are the same size as the little finches, juncos, and titmice.

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The daylight saving time change last weekend has school bus delivery back in the early morning with the sun just peeking over the ridge while we wait.  Once home and on to do the chicken chores, it can be seen over the ridge, but not yet over the trees and with no leaf cover yet, it creates an interesting morning view.

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Shooting directly into the sunrise it looks like the sun is shining through the ridge.

The brooder chicks are thriving, growing little wing feathers and boldly hopping up on the heat table to check out the world.

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Fortunately, the screen on top should prevent any fly outs that are inevitable in another week or so.  The outside brooder coop needs a new layer of straw, the brooder nest boxes mounted inside, the sides covered for protection and the pen surrounding to have the new rabbit fencing installed to keep the littles in and the bigger critters out.  It will be time to move them outside in just a few short weeks.  Hopefully these littles will be grown enough for the big girl coop about the time brooder season starts and the great chicken shuffle begins.  The littles will become the layer flock with the Americauna and the half breed, the broodys will go to the brooder coop  and any remaining older hens and Mr. Croak will go to the cull coop where they will live for the summer and as this year’s chicks get large enough, they will be moved to the cull coop as well to provide our families with chicken for the winter.  One young cockerel will move in with the young pullets to be next year’s rooster.  This year’s brooder chicks will be out layers for the next couple of years before they are replaced with new young.

We love our little farm and the chores help keep us young.

Olio-March 10, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

March came in like a lion and the lion is roaring.  The wind is howling, the temperature has fallen 15 degrees since 6:45 a.m. and will fall into the teens tonight, for a total of more than 35ºf.  We have a very cold weekend and week ahead with 5 to 8 inches of snow predicted for Monday.

We were supposed to go to Waynesboro to pick up 16 young chicks on Monday.  Fortunately, they called today and said the chicks have all arrived and are healthy and can be picked up tomorrow instead.  Making a 2 + hour drive each way in snow is not appealing, plus it could result in a school closure or at least early release which would be difficult to deal with if we are on the road. Instead, we will do our usual Saturday morning breakfast out, Farmers Market run, and take off to get the babies.  Because it is to be so cold, the chicks will have to be in the house somewhere instead of the brooder box in the garage.  Keeping them indoors requires a secure enough box that daughter’s cats and all of the dogs can’t get to them.  It also means that the grands need a daily reminder that they are babies and are not to be handled at will.  Chicks and chickens are dirty and I don’t like brooding them in the house, but with nights in the teens, the garage will just be too cold even with the Brinsea mother table in their box.

A couple of weeks ago, my laptop began to sound like a rocket about to take off each time it was opened for use, and the battery hasn’t held a charge for months.  With a can of compressed air, the fan was cleaned out and with the help of Amazon, a factory battery was purchased.  For about 24 hours, it seemed like everything was going to be good, then day before yesterday, when it was opened to use it, it was kaput.  It wouldn’t turn on, black screen, no sounds.  Hoping that perhaps the new battery was faulty, the old one was reinstalled, and everything plugged in, but no go.  The 4 year old laptop was not going to come on.  The techie guy says that HPs that were originally loaded with Windows 7 or 8 and upgraded to 10 seemed to be dying at phenomenal rates.  The motherboard is dead, same thing happened to daughter’s right before Christmas.  That left me without a computer and my tablet doesn’t like the blog or my square up shop.  That sent us out to find a reasonably priced replacement.  We got me an Acer Spin 1.  It has a touchscreen, can be used as a tablet or laptop, and best of all was inexpensive.  It may not last forever, but the laptops seem to have a 2-4 year lifespan.  I had some folks recommend Mac books, but I had a very bad experience with an apple phone and just couldn’t go that route.  It is small enough to travel with, has a full sized keyboard, so I am set.  It seems that laptops come with a one month trial of Microsoft Office, but unlike the past, when you bought the program, it was good for the life of the computer, now it is an annual subscription.  What a racket!

The garden box purchased earlier this week was set yesterday.  The larger sized one came with 6 extra boards so that it could be set up three boards high, but 2 is high enough.  If one more 4 x 4 box is purchased, with the extra boards, it can be made as a 4 x 8 box using the extra boards.  It is too cold to plant even the onion sets for the next week, so garden will just have to wait.  It is almost time to start the pepper seed in the house.  In a couple more weeks, the tomatoes as well.  We aim for the second week of May for putting the plants in the ground.  Another month we can plant the peas.  The anticipation makes the wait hard, but we are always rewarded with the garden goodies later.

Maybe, the header will represent Monday, but we hope not. Five of the past 8 years, there has been measurable snow in March.

 

 

Olio-Week’s End, February 17, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

This week has been an emotional wreck.  The grandson that lives with us is with his Mom, Sister, and “Dad.”  His biological father lived in Florida and without sharing details, passed away on Wednesday afternoon.  Grandson had been told about a week before that he wasn’t doing well and couldn’t talk on the phone on the scheduled day, but it was still very hard news for him to take and for daughter to have to deliver to him.  They are awaiting information on the service so they can go down and let the young man be there.  It is hard,  he is 10, and as my sister reminded me, children his age are still too young to fear death, though I’m sure he will have his share of tough moments over the next few weeks.  I still do over my Dad’s passing and it has been 14 months.

The week has been up and down with the weather as well, and the changes are causing allergy symptoms for some in the house, weather related headaches for others, and confusion for the animals as they go out to freezing wind one day and temperatures that invite playing in the creek the next.  Each day is a debate of what to wear, the uniform has become a short sleeve t shirt with a sweatshirt or fleece over it, a parka added if necessary.  Gloves stay in pockets when needed.  Some days, the layers stay on, some days peel down to the t shirt.

If we hadn’t had to cancel our ski trip, we would have arrived home late last night from a week in Colorado.  We missed not only the skiing, but also the company of our cousins who are wonderful hosts when we visit them.  Instead of sharing our anniversary dinner with them as we did 4 years ago, we just enjoyed each other’s company at one of the finer restaurants in town, a great 4 course meal that was delicious.

Last night, the cowl that was being knit from the silk that I had spun was finished.  It is beautiful and is blocked and drying.

cowl

The weekend approaches, our usual breakfast and Farmers Market Saturday, tomorrow and more vendors are beginning to return with early greens, so good food will be had next week.

My spinning is improving on my little antique spinning wheel.

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Generally it doesn’t throw the drive band, but the upright nearest the spinner still moves some and causes the wheel to skew and throw the band.  The next time it jumps off, the upright is going to be wrapped in a few rounds of waxed hemp thread to see if that will tighten it enough to hold its position.  The peg under the table also needs to be forced in tighter to help.  The missing part for the new antique walking wheel is being made and when it returns, another learning curve for me as a spinner.  Also improvement is noted with the support spindle that we got last weekend.

Olio 2/13/17

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

And this is all over the place today.

Yesterday it was spring and the wind howled, taking out the power for a few hours before we got home. Last night it got very cold and the wind howled, rattling the dog run dormer on the back of the house and whistling through the edges of the metal roof.  This morning was crystal and the wind still howled.  Out to start the car to warm up for the grandson run to the bus stop and this was the view.

sky

 

The sun higher each day, rising above the ridges in the east and lighting the tops of the other ridges while our hollow was still in the dawn and the waning moon still high in the western sky.

As grandson was grabbing his coat and pulling or pushing on the bi-fold hall closet door, it sounded like someone dropping tinker toys (do you remember them, I do).  Most of the doors in the house are beautiful doors handmade by eldest son when he was finishing the inside of the house, but rather than make a door that opened out into the hall, we opted for a bi-fold on that closet.  This is what happened.

Door broke

 

The top separated from the side and the slates came tumbling down.  Thanks first to my Dad who taught me to tackle most repairs, from replacing the insides of a toilet or even a whole toilet, replacing garbage disposals when in the city and they were used, installing faucets, door locks and knobs, and on and on.  Next to  eldest son who will set me to work on a job with some instruction, then go off to do a different job himself, the door was taken down, the slats were carefully put back in the slots, lined up top and bottom and the door hammered back together with a new glue joint and a screw for good measure.  The pilot hole drilled, the screw set, the door rehung, good as new (hopefully).

Fixed

 

The day’s mail brought the parts to the first antique spinning wheel that was bought.  The repairs are wonderful and there is a second bobbin.  The wheel was put back together, the instructional video watched twice before attempting to put the double drive band on, and she was taken for a spin.

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The front near leg still splays out a bit too much.  When the wheel arrived, that leg had an adhesive spongy material on one side of it, a shim of sorts?  That repair is on me to resolve.  The wheel does spin and draws in the singles, but it has a tendency to throw the drive band after about a dozen rotations.  Some adjustments must still be made, but my knowledge is too novice to know what so it has been thrown out into the ether for answers.  It is a beauty, but it needs to be functional.

For as long as I can remember, each Valentine’s Day, my Dad sent each of his girls from wife to great granddaughters a kid’s type valentine card.  When he passed in December of 2015, I knew I wouldn’t get any more of them, but Valentine’s Day 2016 came and there was an envelope with a card for me, one each for daughter and granddaughter and the envelope looked like it could have been written by him.  I cried, daughter had to open it, my younger brother had decided that he was going to carry on the tradition.  Today the envelope arrived and this was inside, again with that oh so familiar handwriting.  His handwriting is eerily similar to Dad’s.

valentine

 

Yes, it made me cry again, but tears of sweet memories.

Olio

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Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

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Now that the silk is spun, plyed, and ready to knit, I have returned to spinning Priscilla. She is a Leicester Longwool sheep that belongs to a friend, owner of Sunrise Valley Farm, raised locally.  I stumbled upon her delightful wool at our Farmers Market one Saturday morning.  I purchased a small bag of 8 ounces of the roving and fell in love. At the time I didn’t know it came from Priscilla, but after I bought the second 8 ounces, I was told and I asked for more.  I have spun many ounces, dyed some with Annatto seed and with Country Classics wool dye.

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The yellow gold and the lavender are some of what I dyed and the white is the natural roving.  Initially, my plan was to knit a Fair Isle pull over sweater to wear on a ski trip to Colorado this winter.  Those plans have had to be aborted and the yoke of the sweater was so heavy that the yarn was pulled out, rewound, and is now being worked into a Fibonacci Infinity Scarf instead.  You see the beginning of it in the photo above and more of it below.

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I am working the third sequence at this point and will switch to lavender and natural at the end of this sequence.  I am much more likely to wear the scarf than a very heavy sweater.

That said, I have enough of Priscilla to still knit a sweater for me, but I will use a different pattern and larger needles to make the fabric lighter and more drapey.

I have hopes that this spring, once the lambs are born, that I may have the opportunity to drive to the farm and see the lambs and perhaps finally meet Priscilla.  I was invited last year and never made it over.

Night before last, another friend, a country neighbor that is the lead blacksmith at the Smithfield Plantation House where I sometime get to spin, came over with his wife and he was able to straighten the metal crank part of my antique spinning wheel so that the vertical part of the footman no longer walks off when I treadle it.

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It still requires a leather washer, but each repair gets the wheel closer to being a working wheel.  The parts that I had to ship to Bobbin Boy have been repaired and are in the mail back to me.  I had hoped that they would have arrived today, but not yet. The split in the upright that hold the wheel has been glued and if that doesn’t hold, I will try some lashing near the point where the shaft of the wheel hub rests.  The last resort will be to ship that off to Bobbin Boy to have a new piece manufactured by them.

Today is another day of mud and gloom.  The prognosticators indicate that it may partially clear off this afternoon, but expect heavy rain on Sunday and Monday.  The chicken pen is a muddy mess, the coop not much better.  I think a bale of straw is needed in the coop instead of the pine chips I had to use last time I cleaned it, and a heavy layer of spoiled hay around the outside of the coop to try to tame the mud and muck.  To walk into the pen is taking your life in your hands right now as it is sloped, slick, and soft enough to suck your boots clean off.  Most of the spoiled hay that was put down after the snow has been scratched into the mud.

No more mice have been caught in the car fortunately, but with the wet warm weather, they are trying to get into the house now.  The utility room trap has been busy of late. This morning, after dropping granddaughter off at preschool, I stopped to get the oil changed in my old lady.  I’m really trying to keep her going over 200,000 miles and we are getting close to that.  She will be a dozen years old in a couple of months.  The mini lube place that I took her always try to sell you more services and when the guy brought the cabin filter in for me to see, it was truly fowled between the dusty road and driveway (when we aren’t in monsoon season) and the contributions from the mouse that I caught earlier in the week in the car.  They did vacuum the cab and remove the last remnants of the little mouse’s nest that I had removed prior to setting the trap.

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The young Buffy roo is testing his voice. I don’t name the hens, but I do name the king of the coop.  He is replaced each year or so as his spurs get long and dangerous and he gets more aggressive.  There is always a new cockerel out of the hatchlings that can be put in with the girls after breeding season, and the old tough guy goes to the stew pot at son’s house.  We have had B’rooster, Cogburn, and a couple others.  This guy is Mr. Croak.  Maybe his voice will mature, but now he sounds like an adolescent male whose voice cracks.  He is about 7 months old, beginning to show spurs, has a nice plume of a tail and a funny voice.

Olio – 12/23/16

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of things.

Very early this morning in the wee dark hours, eldest son and his family arrived for Christmas.  Yesterday was spent cleaning up as much dust and animal hair as possible with the vacuum and a lightly dampened mop to try and reduce the allergen level of the house.  The process was taken down to the basement as well, where there are no rugs, granddaughter helping by collecting various tiny lego pieces, parts of her “kitchen” and other random toys that were not put away.  The bed in the bedroom down there was made with fresh sheets, as was the futon in the sitting area for grandson.  The last of the gifts were wrapped and sorted to be put under the tree.

After fixing sausage gravy and biscuits this morning, we visited until Jim had finished his PT and daughter has finished teaching her class and we all met for lunch out and split up in the various cars for errands.  Jim taking grandson for a haircut, daughter bringing granddaughter home to finish their laundry and to pack and load the car to await son-in-law to arrive home for them to begin their drive to Florida where they will spend Christmas with his parents, pick up the grandson who has been with his bio Dad for the week, and then on to have a Christmas vacation for the kids.  Son and I made a few stops for items on his list.

When we arrived home, a footstool box pieced and taped together with enough foam sheeting to wrap the house and holding my new antique spinning wheel was sitting on the table.  This excited me and I carefully opened the box and found all of the disassembled pieces inside.  We pulled up a photo and began reassembling it to make sure it is all there.

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It is all there, with a few flaws that may have to be addressed, such as two of the whorls missing a chunk out of them, but I think I can still use them.  An arm of the flyer has been broken and reglued in the past.  The legs had been removed for shipping and need to be reglued for stability.  The parts are pegged together and the leather that holds the flyer on the mother of all is dry and too wide in one place, covering the orifice hole, so it hasn’t been used in a long time.  I suspect it has been mostly decorative.  It is a double drive wheel and the only twine that I had to test it with isn’t beefy enough to do the job and frayed very quickly.  The bobbin is so tiny, but the wheel is gorgeous.  It was made by a Canadian from St. Andre, a wheel with screw tensioning.  Paradis was born in the early 1800’s.

Daughter’s family is on the road.  Son’s family shared a pot roast dinner with us and now they are off to a movie with Jim.  I elected to have some quiet time at home with a cup of tea and bake the pies for our Christmas dinner.

We traditionally have our Christmas dinner on the eve with turkey, country ham, and all the trimmings.  Tomorrow, we will avoid the last minute madness, just enjoying each other’s company, sharing a festive meal in the evening and do our gift opening after a big Christmas breakfast on Sunday, before they leave for daughter-in-law’s parent’s home to have Christmas with them as well.

Our house will be very quiet after they leave for more than a week, just Jim, me and all the animals.

Have a very Merry Christmas to all of you who check in on us through my blog.

Olio – December 13, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Last year this time, I was with my failing Dad.  He passed before Christmas and I moved through the holidays last year in a fog.  This year I can’t get him off my mind and the tears are never far from the surface.  Apparently, I put the sympathy cards in with the Christmas cards and put the box of them away together.  Pulling them out started it, then every ornament or Santa that he and his wife gave me triggered it again.  I will get through.  The family, not me, but others close to me have struggled with some health issues in the past month and that has produced it own level of stress.  All will be fine in the long run, but not right now.

I did get the house decorated.  As our daughter was born right after Thanksgiving, she insisted that no decorations be put up until after her birthday when she was growing up. That rule still applies.  Sometimes it is the day after Thanksgiving, sometimes a week later.  With a late Thanksgiving this year, the decorating was late.  The Santas and snowmen are adorning the shelves, windowsills, and table tops.

Little tree mantle more santas Santas

They get tucked all over the great room and kitchen, this is only some of them. Saturday, Jim and I drove to the city and partied with his HOG group, staying the night in the hotel where the party was held and on Sunday, drove home to go out with the kids for lunch and off to buy a Christmas tree from one of the cut your own lots.  Last year, we let the grands pick the tree and came home with a 12-13 foot tree.  This year, I picked it and it is only about 8 feet tall.  Last night, daughter and her family decorated the tree with their family decorations.  We put one for our annual ornament, one that we have joked over annually that came from a good friend a couple of decades ago, the three little soft gnomes and daughter insisted that the tree be wrapped in the yarn candy cane rope from our box.

When I went down a couple of days ago to put an empty decoration box in the root cellar part of the basement, I saw a puddle of water.  This happened a few years ago and I did not know what was causing it until I talked with my son.  The air handler condensation tube drips into a floor drain.  The floor drain has a pipe that runs under the slab and out the back of the house, through a PVC pipe that goes 18.5 feet straight back off the stoop, then at a 45º angle off for another 10+ feet where it terminated in a shallow pit fill with gravel.  Twice the end of that pipe has gotten clogged with dirt, the gravel pit also filling up and the condensation backs up until the entire pipe is full and the puddle forms on the slab.  The first time it happened, I had no idea where the pipe was or how far out from the house it was laid.  I started at the back door slab and dug a shallow trench from where I could find the pipe until I found it’s terminus.  It was sleeting and snowing that time.  Today it was just a cold rain and I knew approximately where it was so instead of a trench, I only needed a series of shallow holes to follow the path to the terminus.

dig

When I found the end, I cleaned out the mud, left an open hole and drove a stake until I have a warmer, drier day to redig a pit and fill it with gravel.  I think I will mark the terminus spot with a larger flat rock so I can find it even faster next time.

One of my pullets began laying this week.  She is a half Buff Orpington, half Americauna.  She looks mostly like a Buff Orpington, just a bit smaller and only slightly darker.  I was curious what she would lay and her eggs are small and olive colored.

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We are now getting about 10 eggs a week, half blue ones and half olive green ones.  The Buff Orpingtons which are generally winter layers, have not resumed from their molt.

Saturday is the second Holiday Market.  The forecast is abysmal with an 80% chance of precipitation starting as freezing rain.  It will be about 22 when I leave home to drive down.  It may reach the mid 40’s by the end.  It will probably not be the best Market, but I have the soaps, lotion bars, salves, knitwear, and yarn, so I should give it a go.  I will dress warmly, figure out how to put two sides on my tent and hope the wind is calm.

 

Olio-December 2, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The winter is setting in.  After much very dry weather with burn bans and hardly a sprinkle, we had two days of fairly continuous rain, much needed, but none the less uncomfortable to have to be out in taking grands to their bus stops or preschools, running errands, etc.  It wasn’t a warm spring type rain, it was cold, blustery, and wet.  It is the rain that helped the Amherst County and Tennessee fire fighting effort.  Living in a rural area with tree covered mountains around us, we fear fire when it is dry.  In 1902, the community that provides our zip code was virtually destroyed by a sweeping wildfire that consumed all but a small handful of now historic buildings and homes.

The rain helped relieve some of the tension that the very dry period had caused, though the heavy downpours gouged out gullies in our unpaved state road again and swept the leaves that had filled the ditches into mounds in the road and along the sides of the narrow road.  After the first day of heavy rain, I stopped and hand cleared the leaves from the ditch just above the culvert that runs under our driveway so that the rain could flow freely through and down to the run off creek.  Our driveway is pocked with run off gouges that will fill back in as we drive it.

The chickens never have started laying again since their molt, so I am getting 1 green egg from the Americauna that didn’t molt about every couple of days.  The Buff Orpingtons will generally lay some during the cold weather, but they have not resumed. They enjoy the sunshine when it is out and forage through the lower garden that is theirs for the winter at least.

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Every time I have planned to plant garlic in the past few weeks, I have been distracted from the task by other chores or the weather.  This morning, I got my bi monthly newsletter from the host of my garden planner and it indicated that it was not too late.  After picking granddaughter up from preschool, I bundled in my barn coat, muck boots, a knit hat and toughed the cold blustery day to get the job done finally.  I knew that if I did not do it now, that there would be no homegrown garlic next summer and fall.  A 4 foot square cedar box was planted with about 90 cloves of garlic to provide the heads for next year.  There were two kinds saved for planting, Redneck Riviera and German Red.  Next year, I think I will also locate and plant a soft neck variety too.

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The first box of the new garden plan is planted and mulched.  My purchase plan of two boxes a month has been put on hold until after Christmas, but there is a stack of cardboard in the garage to use as mulch base between the boxes once they are purchased.  I still have plenty of spoiled hay to use on top of the cardboard once it is in place around the boxes.  I probably should place a layer below the second box in the above picture before the weeds decide to move in.

Once back in and thawed, I resumed plying the 4 ounces of Alpaca and Merino that I have been spinning for the past couple of days.  I had about an ounce on one bobbin and needed to finish spinning and plying it so that I have the bobbins free for this weekend.  It ended up a beautiful 250 yard skein that will be so warm and cozy as a cowl or hat with the 70% alpaca content.

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I will be spinning in the historic Smithfield Plantation House during their Holiday event this weekend.  Their theme this year is based on products that they produced such as hemp, honey, and fiber.  I am taking some washed unprocessed Dorset wool and hand carders, as well as some already processed Dorset wool roving to spin during the event on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  This is the last of the events at the site until it reopens in the spring.  I have enjoyed my afternoons volunteering there this late summer and fall.

Olio – November 20, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

I haven’t done an Olio post in a while and today I am scattered all over the place, so it seems appropriate.

Today is my step mom’s birthday.  It has always been difficult to think of this friend as a step mom, though she was married to my Dad for more than 27 years until his passing. I was 40 when they married, and she is only a year older than my hubby, so our relationship has always been as peers.  She made my Dad very happy for those years and for that I love her dearly.

This is the week of birthdays here.  First her, then me, then granddaughter, then an adult nephew, and finally daughter.  Granddaughter and her best friend are 1 day apart in age and today they will celebrate a joint birthday party at the roller skating rink.  Daughter is an amateur cake decorator par excellence and she always asks her kids and her husband what kind of cake they want and how they want it decorated.  Granddaughter has definitely become a Virginia farm girl, she wants a tractor in the snow with a pink and purple cow.  This is probably the most interesting idea that daughter has had to create, but when you are turning 5, you know what you want and nothing else will suffice.  The cake is strawberry, the decoration is “Otis” the tractor from the kids books with a pink and purple cow.  Now mind you, none of the cows around here are pink and purple, but she wants what she wants.

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The snow flurries of yesterday and last night left the first snow on the ground, just a dusting, but I’m not ready for snow yet.

 

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To go with this dusting, it is below freezing and the wind is howling through the hollow, making it even colder.  The wind is to continue until late tonight.

One of my purchases at the market yesterday was the last pound and a half of Priscilla.  Priscilla is a Leicester Longwool sheep that belongs to one of my friends and a fellow vendor at the market.  I bought 8 ounces of her fiber and loved spinning it.  It is the skein that I dyed with Annatto seed a while back.  That was my first experience dyeing fiber.  Later a friend taught me how to dye in a microwave and I started dyeing more.  Back to Priscilla, after the first 8 ounces was spun, I bought more.  That is when I found out that the fiber was Priscilla’s, though I have yet to meet her.  Over the summer and through yesterday, I think I have purchased more than 4 pounds.  Along the way, I decided that Priscilla was to become a Fair Isle yoked sweater for me and I dyed some more skeins and knit a hat to determine gauge.

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This hat kept my head warm yesterday standing in the chilly wind at the Holiday Market.

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This is the pound and a half that I bought yesterday.  Once the sweater is finished, I will knit a matching Fair Isle scarf to go with the hat and sweater and dream about what else I can knit with this wonderful fiber.

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This is the sweater yoke.  Only about an inch more and I divide for the sleeves and begin on the body.  This sweater will be only for the coldest days, skiing, playing in the snow, or standing out in cold wind at the markets, it is going to be heavy and warm.

Eldest son came this weekend for the first weekend of rifle season for deer.  He sat out for a while yesterday morning and could hear them in the woods, but no safe shot.  Last evening, he sat out from prior to dusk to full on dark.  The herd that has been coming into our hay field at dusk came out, but the rogue heifer that belongs to one of our neighbors (one that he can not capture,) chose dusk last night to visit again and stood right between son and the first two deer out.  Then the heifer galloped across the hay field and investigated right where son was laying in the edge of the woods.  The rest of the deer herd came out, but son was too distracted by the cow to focus on a safe shot.  He will try again when he returns with his family for Thanksgiving.

We were going to put the culls in freezer camp today, but he is suffering a migraine and it is just too cold and windy to want to work outside unnecessarily.  The 6 birds got a reprieve until midweek, though they took their food and water in the Chicken Palace as the wind has blown the protective netting down again.  He will be here for several days during the Thanksgiving weekend, and we will take care of them then, after the wind has died down and perhaps the daytime temperature rises above freezing.

The day draws to a close on this frigid mountain day.  Still loving life on our mountain farm.