Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reyna

I don't make very many shawls.  They are pretty and their beauty is appreciated, but from a practical standpoint, I don't have a clue how to wear them to their advantage.  Cowls...no problem.  "Regular" scarves...got it.  Shawls...no.

That being said, perusal of Ravelry sucked me in with a picture/pattern that repeatedly caught my eye.  Reyna.  The reasons behind this obsession escape me.  But, there it is.  Must. Make. Reyna.

It's not all fun and games when you pick a pattern to knit.  There are considerations for fiber type, color ways, end use, etc.  Color was the nemesis I needed to get past.  Surely, in the vast stash, the perfect yarn to use would reside.  And it did.  Except it took a few cast ons and rip outs to be found.

At long last, Reyna is off needles and ready to wrap around my neck in warm embrace.  The final version is lightweight, soft to distraction, and thanks to wool wash still retains a heavenly jasmine scent.

Yarn used:  Araucania Itata Multi Colorway 1011.  (Discontinued...it's been in my stash for awhile waiting patiently)  The yarn is a lovely blend of super wash wool, silk and bamboo.




What's on my needles now?  Or, should I say, "who" is on my needles?  Rose.  Sweet Rose.  More on that another time.

 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sittin' time...

The remodeling projects for this house/farm seem to be never ending.  The upstairs of the house is so close to being done, it's not even funny.  All that is left big project wise is cutting and installing the custom trim work (then I get to paint it, but I like painting so no biggie...yes it would probably be easier/smarter to paint before installation but the little point about no space in the basement, garage, or workshop to spread it all out to paint and dry gets in the way).  After that, there are only small straggler punch list items to knock out upstairs.  

We had hoped to start on the basement this winter, but it may not happen this year.  I'm okay with that.  By the time spring rolls around, it will be full on garden prep, french drain digging/installing, deck installing and the beginning of landscaping the house.  (I hope.)

In the meantime, the crazy weird weather patterns of late afforded me the opportunity to finish staining the  sunporch ceiling.  It is not often that we have 60+ degree days in January!  There is something about a blue porch ceiling that makes me swoon.  The front porch ceiling was done late last fall and then the bottom fell out of my schedule to get anything else done. 

Whenever I get discouraged with the time line of project completion, all I have to do is look at the album of "before" pictures to remember how far this property has come in such a really short period of time.  Especially when you factor in the critical point that we did the bulk of all renovations ourselves.  

The sun porch BEFORE (there is a reason that these two pictures are the only ones that were shown with the real estate listing!...the rest would have deterred any and all interest)



And now the AFTER (technically, we still need to fashion some cedar switch and plate covers and hook up the electric to the new outer wall plugs, but those are spare time projects)



During the winter, we scoot the table closer to the windows to make room for the firewood rack.



Some of my favorite things live in this corner...the Arkansas cutout my son made from old painted scrap wood salvaged from my grandparent's and great grandparent's garages, the jars of buttons that belonged to my Granny (along with the cooler and lamp behind the table), the Chinese checkerboard that my great grandfather made, the corduroy baby quilt that was my father's, and the fish mount from one of my husband's "big catches" as a child.

To say I love everything about this space is an enormous understatement.  In the spring and summer, it is like sitting in a tree house.  The porch is above the garage and the trees surrounding it make for a leafy retreat.  

This weekend, winter has returned.  But, in a few short weeks porch sittin' time will be back!





Monday, January 16, 2017

The Seedy Side of Life

It's that time of year.  Actually, I should already be a little bit further into the process.

SEED SHOPPING!

I have three places that really float my boat when it comes to selection and customer service.  My top three choices are:  Botanical Interests, Indiana Berry & Plant, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.



Botanical Interests is, hands down, my favorite source.  This year they definitely cemented a place in my heart by printing natural plant dyes for wool dying information in the catalog!



Indiana Berry & Plant is my go-to source for actual plants that are best for my growing conditions.  Their customer service is incredible!  Baker Creek was my "gateway" to purchasing heirloom seeds.  While I appreciate their enormous variety, I find the catalog to be incredibly overwhelming...in a good way, but too much for my brain to process and choose from.

A side effect of ordering a seed catalog is how you magically get put on just about every other seed catalog mailing list resulting in a bumper crop of catalogs that are not needed.

As soon as the inventory of purchased and saved seeds is complete, it will be time to peruse, dream a little about my hands getting in the dirt, and then place those orders!



What are you planting this year?


Thursday, January 12, 2017

I've Lost My Mitten(s)...

and don't know where to find them.

Seriously.

I have no clue.

At all.

Wayyyy back in 2013 I started on what appears to be the never ending Peerie Flooers adventure.  The hat was cast on and actually finished in a normal time span.

Then came the mittens.  Oh, the mittens! So cute and begging to be in my world.

I cast on (in December of 2013!).  And they got pushed aside for other projects.

Then, hold the phone, it's time to work on them again! Never mind that it took over a year to get back to them.

Wait a minute...do you see a trend here?  Fast forward to December 2015.  Surprise! They are back and still not done.

This is where the whole story begins to unravel.  Because, I persevered and finished the first one.  I know, I know:  if there are no pictures then it never happened, but the ladies from my knitting group can attest that said finished mitten was in fact a reality.  Trust me on this one, ONE lonely mitten was finished and the mate was cast on LAST YEAR about this time.

Which brings us to this week.  Seems about right that I should work on the never ending pair of mittens.  (side note, the cute little matching hat that I did finish is still so stinking adorable and wonderfully warm to wear when outside doing barn duty)

So, I ventured to the basement and my  stack of storage boxes bursting with yarn and WIPS lovingly curated/organized stash of yarn and WIPS.  Success!  Located the project on the first try!  Waiiiittt a minute.  Where is the finished mitten???  In my hat/glove box?  No.  In my car?  No.  In my dresser?  No.

Sigh, I have lost my mitten.

So, here I sit with a cuff lining and most of a cuff done on the mate to a missing mitten.  I don't dare rip it out and reclaim the yarn because that would guarantee that the missing mitten would magically reappear and require this be started all over again.



I feel like a forlorn little kitten.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Monkey Butt

What do you get when you cross a few burs picked up from the fencerow and smushed into fleece with an old ewe that likes to lay down and snooze more than anything else?

Monkey Butt...that's what.


Rose is taking her sweet time heading back to the barn so she can take another nap.


Tocq doesn't care where she gets to go as long as the grain bucket makes an appearance and she gets some chin scratches.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Goals




I'm not one to actually set New Year's resolutions.  It is more likely that I will make a list of goals/things to accomplish for the year.  That really is no different than pretty much every day...lists are my friend.  It's safe to say that there are a lot of lists floating around in my world and even, that on occasion, there have been lists to organize my lists.

That being said, this is one of my favorite times of year.  My files get purged of old and unnecessary items and then set up for the upcoming year.  My handy dandy labeler gets a lot of use.  File folders, file labels and section tabs abound!  It truly makes me giddy!

For as long as I can remember, I have kept a detailed line item budget for my finances.  The depth of detail has varied over the years depending on what changes I wished to make and goals that were being worked towards.  It baffles me how so few people have any sort of real handle on where their finances go or how to make them work for them.  Last year I decided to keep a log of exactly what we spent for a handful of budget line items.  I've done this several times over the course of my adult life and it is always an eye opener.  My goal was to see where we spend, how much we spend (for every outlay) on average each week and to get an idea of what our actual farming costs are.  This past year was the first full year of having bees, chickens and sheep.  While we don't keep them for financial gain...yet...we do have some long term goals for them.  The bees will provide us with honey.  The chickens provide eggs on a daily basis that we freely share with friends and family and they provide meat. The sheep provide for pasture grass maintenance, give us fiber that I can process for spinning and knitting with, and potentially offer another meat source.  Care for all of these critters does come with a cost, but it is one that we believe is far outweighed by the benefits that are provided both short and long term.  That being said, it behooves one to know what your costs are to be able to properly budget.

As the year came to an end and I was doing some number crunching, it was interesting to see how our finances were being utilized and where changes could be made.  Do I have to?  No, but I choose to.  So, my major goal for the year is to keep another full year log, but even more specific.  Instead of only tracking eight breakout lines, there will be twenty-three sub-lines to monitor.  It is a means to an end of minimalizing multiple aspects of our life.

Other goals for the year include: finally getting the train wreck piles of photos (digital and physical prints) purged of unnecessary photos and organizing and dividing for myself and my sons to have copies; installing the kitchen backsplash...the tile and supplies have been sitting and staring at me for long enough!; installing and painting the rest of the trim work upstairs; and rumor has it that the mammoth project of finishing out the basement may start this year...but I'm not holding my breath.  The only other goal in my little world is to improve the speed with which I process the fleeces from the sheep.  Last April I foolishly proclaimed that I could and would process and spin up all nineteen fleeces before the next year's shearing.  HAHAHA!  Didn't happen.  Annnnnd, I had to resort to sending a portion of them out to a fiber processing mill.  It's good to have goals, but also so very important to recognize your limitations and come up with a workable alternate plan.

That's it.  Perhaps if I keep the goals few and properly planned for they will get accomplished.  If not, then they will roll over to the next year having been replaced in the current year by any number of items that may or may not have been on my Master List.  It is all good.  Everything eventually gets done in the right time.

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