Tag Archives: farm

Olio – 10/16/2018

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

Time goes on, the summer and garden fading rapidly with seasonable though still damp days and chilly nights.  Sweater weather, just in time to wear the newly finished sweater of yarn spun by me and then knitted by me.

my sweater

It now sports deer antler buttons made by one of my daughters in law and the sleeves were lengthened from the 3/4 length they were when this was taken to wrist length.  A nice addition to the sweater wardrobe of hand knits.

The past weekend was one of my favorites, a group of folks, men and women, have a fiber retreat in Tennessee.  The trip there was dicey as the remnants of Hurricane Michael made their way here the morning I was to leave and the first couple of hours of westward travel on the interstate were in heavy rain and the always present semi trucks spraying the water back up as fast as it fell.  The retreat is at a state park with delightful cabins in the woods and a conference center that accommodates the 30 or so participants who come to knit, crochet, spin, and other crafts such as spoon carving, needle felting.  I attend as a participant and a vendor, selling soaps, salves, yarn, buttons, and knitted items.



There are classes, Brioche knitting, and yoga for the hands then later for the neck and back.  It felt so good after those classes I wanted to adopt the instructor and bring her home with me.

One optional activity was making  a My Word token.  Cards are used to ask questions to help you select your word.  My choice was a reminder to myself, the word CALM.  To look at when I am stressed, to remind me to take a deep breath, possibly practice some of the yoga.


Once home after the long weekend, relaxed and calmed, the car unloaded, the accounting done, some inventory taken, prices adjusted prior to the next event in a month, I reorganized my spinning wheels so they can be used, not just admired.


This is big sis and little sis, the two quill wheels.  One a large walking wheel, the other a smaller sitting hand operated quill wheel.  The little Spinolution Pollywog, Miss Polly, sits by my chair with the box loom nearby for my daily craft release.

As fingerless mitts and hats were sold, knitting of more for the fall markets is underway.

One of the items I have wanted for the house is a moveable kitchen island.  There really isn’t room for a large one, but yesterday, the one below popped up on my Facebook marketplace and the price was too good to pass up.  We drove an hour to see it and because the folks are downsizing and knew how far we drove, they knocked the price down even further.  The cabinet came home, fits nicely behind the couch, will provide more cabinet storage for counter top appliances not used daily, and a serving area for holiday meals.


It is a little low to work on but counter space isn’t a problem if I move some of the counter top appliances, and it can be used for cooling bread or canned jars to keep them out of the way.

The chickens are in hard molt, eggs are scarce, but feathers are not.  There is some new feather growth being seen.  If they don’t all freeze this weekend, they should begin to fill out again soon and some egg production return.  It is about time to get new chicks for the spring egg laying and retire these girls.

Peace and calm until next time.


Olio – 7/21/18

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

Mid week, we walked down the west side of the property along the fence line of our south west neighbor then across to the south east neighbor’s property to see what was going on with the fracked gas pipeline that is being put in between us and the house south of us. This photo is a shot of all of those properties from satellite showing the 125 foot wide scar that is being dug across our beautiful county.



The tan square in the center of the picture  with the “tail” reaching up is our farm, our house is above the green fence line through the middle.  The jagged tan line near the bottom is the pipeline track. Thursday, they began burning the piles of tree parts that weren’t logs to carryout and sell.  There were at least two directly behind our farm.


The past couple of weeks have been hot and arid and very busy, some deck deconstruction in preparation to rebuild a smaller deck that is made of ground contact pressure treated wood and Trex boards, hoping to make it more permanent, though less green than the original version.  The deconstruction is creating a pile of rotting wood, some still containing nails, screws, and bent brackets.  Not wanting to burn this wood on the ground where we might drive the riding mower or tractor, or even an occasional car and pick up a tire popper, we picked up a large metal barrel, but it still had a sealed top with a bung hole for pouring.  To make it a burn barrel, the top had to be removed.  Our schedule had us leaving early Friday morning to drive across the state to meet our newest granddaughter and eldest son arriving late Friday night to work on the deck today, so he needed the burn barrel.  Thursday evening, we stopped and bought a cold chisel and came home and attacked the top, Jim and I taking turns banging with a 22 ounce hammer until our arm was tired.


An hour of hard work and we got the top off


Another 15 minutes, a ground out drill bit, a little more cutting with the cold chisel and we had 4 vents around the bottom.

The negative was that the barrel had contained some sort of urethane and the first burn in it produced a very irritating smoke for son and grandson.  After a burn or two in it, he says the smoke is just construction smoke.

We did take off early for a drive that should have been just a tad more than 5 hours, took 7 due to construction in the Williamsburg area and the standard gridlock at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.

I was shotgun for most of the trip and spent the time knitting on the sleeves of the sweater than I spun the yarn for and want desperately to get it ready for the Agricultural Fair in August.


Between the trip down and the 7 hour drive back today in pouring rain, the sleeves are almost finished.  Maybe tonight I will finish them and return to the body.

Yesterday we had a delightful afternoon and evening with our youngest son and his family.  We played in a park, had a seafood dinner, took a drive over to a new outlet mall, and got lots of kid and baby snuggle time.


This morning was pouring rain, we stopped for bagels, cream cheese, and OJ and headed over to their house for a couple more hours of family time, more hugs and snuggles before our trek home in the pouring rain.

Prior to our trip, I discovered that the garden has Blister beetles devouring the foliage on my tomato plants.  I did some handpicking, sprinkled diatomaceous earth around the plants.  This week I will have to be diligent in the battle to save my plants.


I am getting enough tomatoes to begin to freeze them to peel later and begin to make salsas and sauces for the winter.

Life on and off the farm

The past 19 days have been a whirlwind of here and there, mostly there.  First we went away for the final interment of my Dad’s cremains and dedication of a memorial plaque at one of his favorite places in the world.  I started that trip by catching a bad cold from our live in grand daughter.  We were away 4 nights, 5 days.  We returned home for me to launder clothes, harvest and freeze some tomatoes, and pack to leave again in 4 days.

That trip took me north in the state to help out at eldest son’s house with the start of school week and to allow son and daughter in law to work.  I stayed there for a week, supervising the eleven year old grandson, getting him on the bus in the morning, off in the afternoon, and getting dinner for them.  Since there was a weekend incorporated in that week, some fun activities were included.  Grandson and I went to a local cavern and took their tour, we took a hike, I got a long walk in one morning, some spinning done, read a book, knitted a hat, and did a bit of laundry.

I left there at 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning, arrived home at 9:45 a.m., washed a load of laundry, did a bit of straightening, unpacked and repacked, this time to attend a fiber arts conference.  I was only home for less than 3 hours then loaded into a friend’s car and we rode for 4 more hours to Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee and checked into a great fully equipped cabin.


This was a great weekend with a great group of folks, spinning, knitting, crocheting, teaching a class, taking a class, and vending as my Cabin Crafted Shop.  We enjoyed each other’s company, shared breakfast and lunch plus one dinner in our cabin.  One dinner in a local BBQ restaurant, and a group Pot Luck supper.  I finished spinning a few ounces of Romney fiber that I dyed, finished knitting another hat for my shop, generally was too tired at night to read, but learned a new fiber skill, met dozens of wonderful folks and had a great time.

I am finally home, just in time for the school year routine to begin tomorrow, getting grandson off to  his first day of school, granddaughter to Open House for her second year of preschool.

The farm is in dire shape.  The fields need to be mowed, the grass around the house is so tall that it may have to be mowed twice over two days to get it to lawn height without causing huge clumps to sit around, dry and kill and remaining grass.  The flower beds are full of weeds, the garden looks like a jungle and daughter says there are many tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that need to be harvested and processed.  The chickens were not cooperative to Jim, daughter, and son in law, and as a result, we lost a hen and 3 of my spring pullets that wouldn’t coop up at night.  The one I found upon my return looked like perhaps it got attacked during the night by a raccoon or owl due to the remains.  They thought it was a hawk, but the bird was not carried off.  At any rate, I need to try to improve the security of their runs and try to put net over the top if the predator was a bird.  My layer flock is down two hens this summer, and three of the four pullets that I hoped to increase the flock are gone.

I have a month, minus 4 days to get things taken care of, to make more soap and a few salves before I leave for another fiber retreat, where I also will vend.  And I need to get my application in for the Holiday Markets.

Some summers allow me to stay on top of things, this one has not.  I only hope that I can still salvage enough tomatoes for some salsas and sauces.

Now, I am exhausted and must get up in 7 hours, so it is time for sleep.

Winter Walk

Though I don’t usually post twice in one day, today’s walk generated some photos to share.

On went the waterproof boots, the barn coat, heavy gloves, and a hat and out into the cold windy day I went.  The treadmill lacks appeal, but with music playing is tolerable on a rainy day.  It wasn’t raining on this day, a few snow flurries, but not rain.  The camera accompanied me to provide a different perspective for my readers.


The walk, a loopy 3+ mile hike, rather than just a walk on the road.  To the west of us, a visit with our neighbor’s newest calf.  Momma cow, keeping a close eye on the wee one.  I couldn’t get in a position to see the gender of this little brown calf.  Her many aunts walking down the road all look like they are about to pop with their own calves within the next month or so.


On down the road until it became too slick to comfortably walk with the mud, snow and ice, so a detour up into the woods and a peek of blue sky through the trees.


On around the neighbor’s hill to a point between the cave and her husband’s grave site, I took a photo of our home and coops from above, the only color in this gray day being our red roof and the hundred’s of cedar trees that were frosted white earlier in the day.  The walk took me back across the wet gravel road and up the hillside on the other side, but between the muddy cow paths and the snow slicked rocks, that part of the hike was cut short and a return to the road back toward our land.


The roadside is steep with rocks, cow paths and the stunted trees clinging to the hillside.

About a half mile uphill on the road past our drive brings me near the paved road, which I avoid, to walk one of the hay fields belonging to another neighbor, down to yet another field to the east of our low field with the cold wind in my face and tears from the cold in my eyes, the bottom of the huge figure 8 is being closed.


Snow covered hay bales and the house from the lowest, eastern most part of our own field as the walk continues across the southern part of our property.


The southern and western edges of the farm are where deer are most often seen and in some muddy areas near the woods, were many deer tracks in the mud.  The hike was completed with a walk uphill along the west side of our property with a visit with the neighbor’s cow that seems to like our grass more than her own and spends most of each day grazing in our fields.

The hike got me my 10,000 steps, the equivalent of 61 flights of steps walked, 88 active minutes in the cold wind.  Back in the house to sip a hot cup of tea, knit on the plain vanilla sock of Unplanned Peacock Twisty Sock, Rainbow colorway. This skein much pinker than the skein I knit into socks for my sister.  This pair will be for me, I hope, if I can get the size right this time.  I tend to make socks that don’t fit me and end up being gifted to others.


Out Like A Lion


At least it isn’t sticking. After 4 beautiful spring like days, today is a return to winter. It was supposed to be rain and perhaps will turn to rain before it ends, but not more snow.
Mountaingdad is on the road with Daughter, so hopefully the roads aren’t getting messy.
The roads were fine a couple  of hours ago when I went out to lunch with a friend. In fact, it hadn’t started then, we watched the  snow showers start while we ate. We enjoyed some social time for a hour or so, then home as today begins nearly two weeks of full time grand parenting while daughter and her husband pack up their house that they sold in Florida. I’m glad we had a couple of months of them living here before they had to be left in our care. We will do fine.

Rough week on the farm

This week has been marked with disruption and illness. There was no school midweek for a teacher workday then a 2 hour delay that turned into a closed day because of a light snowfall and strong wind on Friday. We have been experiencing cold nights and damp cold days and Romeo, our Buff Orpington rooster, a calm gentle fellow had a serious case of comb and waddles frostbite. He may not be such a handsome fellow by the end of winter.


This was taken before his frostbite. He is a good guardian to his hens and gentle to them in his ardor. As the days are lengthening, we are beginning to get more eggs, up to half a dozen one day. These are welcomed, with 5 of us in the household now, we use many more than I did before.
Yellow Cat, a rescued barn cat, obtained as a sickly kitten lived out his life this week. We had been told he would likely only live a couple of years as he had feline Aids and it finally took its toll on his fragile immune system. I found him on his bed on the porch yesterday with no life left.


RIP Yellow Cat.
For a couple of weeks, we have noticed our German Shepherd licking herself more than routine cleaning would require. A vet trip to have her checked out and to get her nails clipped as it takes two people to hold her down while one clips, revealed that she had malformed lady parts that have become inflamed, likely infected so she is receiving antibiotics once a day and pain meds twice. This sounds like an easy process, but she doesn’t take pills, even flavored chewables and you risk your digits to try to force them. She can remove a pill from cheese, peanut butter, meatballs, any trick in the book. Daughter who used to be a vet nurse was going to be the pill giver, but the Vet gave us a can of prescriptive canned food and suggested putting the pill in a small meatball of it and magic, she gobbles the pills right down. A solution to a three year old problem, yay.
I was to leave on a bus today to Northern Virginia to babysit Grandson #1 tomorrow and return home with my car on Tuesday. Last evening, Son#1 sent a text and suggested that I try to change my reservation for the bus as they had a stomach virus spreading through their region and he had come down with it. Not wanting to catch it myself nor bring it back to our household, my car will have to stay for another bit. I hope they don’t all catch and suffer the virus.
Another week on our farm, I can’t believe it is February and in two short weeks, Mountaingdad and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage and in three weeks, our baby will turn 28. It can’t be so.