Friday, February 5, 2016


Late last night my feet were treadling away trying to finish the third night of navajo plying a couple of bobbins onto my jumbo bobbin.  You see, I am on a mission.  A jumbo mission.  To spin up the jumbo stash of fiber BEFORE shearing starts in April.

I'm a little scared.  Maybe even jumbo scared.  Not of the shearing process, but of the sheer magnitude (haha see what I did there?) of the number of fleeces that will have to be processed.

                 Tri-color Blue Faced Leicester in Stained Glass colorway by Frabjous Fibers                

Initially the plan was to shear, keep a few fleeces and send the rest off to be processed.  But, true to form, and to quote the 3 or 4 year old me, "I can do it meself!"  

So, I will.  One way or another.  The rest of my fiber stash will get spun.  The storage system for the hand spun yarn is going to have to change, since the current system is overflowing.  Guess I should probably start knitting with more of it in my spare time.  That was funny.  

In the meantime, potential jumbo surrounds me.  Jumbo yarn stash, jumbo fiber stash, jumbo fleeces waiting to be shorn, jumbo price tags for some pretty vitally important processing equipment to assure that this time next year I'm not still working on this year's fleeces and staring at the prospect of a fiber animal Groundhog Day.  And, if my plan works out in real life the way it has in my head, there will be a jumbo amount of lanolin saved from the fleece processing to use in homemade skin care products.  

Never fear, I CAN do it meself!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's 8th grade all over again...

I'm pretty sure I have shared both this story and this recipe before, but I am too lazy to check, so here we go again.  

Back in the dark ages, when I was in junior high, I took Home Ec class.   Frankly, this class should still be part of the curriculum for all students but it is not...a sad state of affairs for mankind, if you ask me.  

Better yet, I was an active member, all the way through high school, of FHA:  Future Homemakers of America.  Do they even still have that organization???  Yes, I could look it up.  No, I'm not going to. This group had more far reaching goals and endeavors than the stereotypical name implies.  So, way back when, in my fun Home Ec class, we had the task as FHA'ers to host a fund raiser for the group. A chili supper was planned.  Mrs. Graham was the teacher and mentor for the group and shared her favorite recipe for us to use.  It has been my go to chili recipe ever since. 

Cooking was not a new proposition for me.  Fortunately for me, my Granny had been teaching me for several years and I did the evening meal preparation at home for my family.  That chore was not given to me, it sort of became "my thing."  I was in my element.  

Tonight, the weather is showing its late winter/early early spring bipolar nature and has turned super cold again, so belly warming, drippy nose inducing, spicy chili it is.  And, because my husband, being the weird Hoosier that he is, will get macaroni for the bottom of the bowl since he is of the incorrect notion that chili is not chili without macaroni in the bowl.  No matter how many times I try to explain that the addition makes it chili mac and NOT plain chili, I wind up boiling some noodles.  So, macaroni he shall have, along with some sweet cornbread, sliced cheddar and dollops of sour cream.

Here it is at the beginning of the hour long simmer (my tummy is already growling):


And the recipe:

1 can pinto beans (I use a pint jar of home canned pintos)
1- 14oz can whole tomatoes (I use a pint jar of home canned diced tomatoes)
1 medium onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup parsley
1# round steak, cut into cubes (anymore I use grass fed ground beef)
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

In dutch oven, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and seasonings.  In a skillet, cook the beef, drain and then add to the mixture in the dutch oven.  Stir in the beans (I usually add a jar of water to both rinse the jar and to add a little more liquid).  Simmer for 1 hour.  

Serve in a plain, deep bowl, or over noodles of your choice if you are inclined in that manner.  It's not good chili if your nose doesn't start running while you are eating it, and this one does the trick!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Noise vs. dirt

Last week I was in Okinawa visiting my middle son. It was a wonderful trip. My sister went with me for a Sister's Trip of a Lifetime. What splendid adventures we had with Chris!

The only downside was the limited contact that I had with my darling hubby. You see, he does not participate in Facebook or any other social media platform (smart man) and rarely has his cell phone within reach ...or even charged/turned on .  We knew that because we both have iPhones that, as long as I had access to WiFi, we could text at no cost.  That plan worked fine except for my struggles with figuring out what time and what day it was back home! This trip was the longest we have gone without actually verbally speaking to each other. 

Upon my return home, he commented on how quiet the house was without me in it.  Normally we dearly love how utterly still and quiet the house is, but apparently I make a lot of noise. Good noise, he was quick to point out. 

The running joke around here is that he is a grown up version of the quintessential know, the one that is defined as dirt with noise. While I am apparently just noise. 

Now before anyone gets offended by that, (I found it to be simply sweet and a reflection of his love) let me explain what he said that meant. Without me in the house, there was no activity in the kitchen, no yummy smells were created. There was no one at his side helping with house, work and farm chores. There was no soft humming as I completed tasks.  There was no gentle whirring as my feet treadled my spinning wheel. There was no subtle clicking of knitting needles as I worked on a project while curled up on the couch next to him.   All the little auditory indicators of my presence were missing and he missed me. 

Wow!  No greeting card has ever been written that expresses that sentiment in such a deeply personal way. I am loved. 

So, tonight I was verrrry "noisy" and made one of his favorite treats. I will happily be the noise part of my grown up version of dirt with noise. We are meant to be together. 



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