Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have lined up some necessary things on the railing of our back porch where I have set up my little dying operation. ( sounds sinister doesn't it? ) There are jars of white vinegar, two big containers of dye mixed with hot water. One is full of blue dye, the other, crimson . I use Jacquard dyes. My big wooden spoon for stirring dyes and dye pot contents, and for some reason, I just always keep a big pitcher of water on hand...maybe the flames of the stove inspire that?I set up the propane stove my husband bought me last year for my birthday. Every industrious woman NEEDS one of these stoves! I use it for dyeing wool and canning. It comes in handy for camping too, but really, most necessary for any big pot ( as in canning pots and kettles) needs. I have worn out so many brand new stoves with my canning and dyeing activities. Wish we had known about these stoves a long time ago! You can see I have a chair on which to park myself, and a book on CD to listen to while I simmer the wool in the pot for the required 60 minutes. There are also dogs to pet and birds to watch! I started with a lot of washed and still wet wool. This is black and white wool of one of my sheep.
Beatrix is not too sure about the hissing propane flame, and watches me from off the porch. That is fine by me, I don't need another dog underfoot.
Look at this blue wool! It is still hot, and wet, and after rinsing and drying it will need to be carded, but I love this color!
And look at this red wool! The dye bath was successful too, because the rinse water for both the blue and red wool has washed clean and clear! Whatever I craft out of this wool- be it yarn or locker hooked rugs, the dye will not run or bleed into the other colors or ruin a fabric it is washed with. The dye is set! Hooray!!! If you are interested in how to dye wool, check out this web- site. Gleason's Fine Woolies These summer days are busy. The animals need constant watering, the gardens need watering AND weeding, the strawberries are ripening faster than I can pick and can freshly made jam from them. The lettuces should be ready for picking tomorrow ....oh, and there is always the housework. ...and sleep?
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
"One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Isn't that the truth? We NEVER get any of our cherries, the birds descend on them at the first blush of red and clean us out, so I call them the bird feeder trees. We do get strawberries though. Yes, the birds, bunnies, and human nibblers get quite a few too. Above is a picture of the strawberry harvest I get every day. I have already made a lot of strawberry jam, and will make 2 more batches tomorrow. I still have strawberries in the freezer from last year too! So Alice, of Woebegone Cottage, come on over and pick all the strawberries you want!And granddaughters KN and MN, you come on over and help yourselves too!
Friday, June 26, 2009
I finished my rug, finally! This rug is locker hooked with the wool fleece of my Jacob sheep. The natural color of their wool is black and white . The gray wool is the black and white fleece carded together. I will hang this rug under Torque's head, on the wall.The rug was designed and hooked by me and is 3 1/2 feet by 3 1/2 feet. Look what I got in the mail! I won some fat squares from Sandra Bennett of Thistle Cove Farm! They came with a handmade card, wrapped in a lovely gold edged bow.I already have a project in mind for these and maybe I will be happy enough with the completed quilt square I make to show it to you later. Thank-you Sandra! Wood Duck Watch: well, the snag the wood duck nest was in is not visible from the house. Calculating incubation time, I believe the ducklings must have hatched during the spat of rain and thunderstorms we had, and my husband and I were NOT parked outside the snag during those days. The ducklings probably hatched, jumped out of the hole way up high in the snag, and followed mom into or around the pond into the woods and ponds on the other side of our little , private gravel road. Maybe later this year I will take a ladder out to the woods and check out the inside of the snag nesting site. Bummer, I was so excited about the opportunity to see for myself the incredible leap from the nest the little ducklings must make before they venture out into the big wide world. All but two of the ducklings are swimming in the pond. They still scatter in panic when Mama Duck splashes with abandon. Silly ducks. The two reluctant ducks are the Rouen. They are very big ducks and they are slow growing . They still have baby feathers that are not water repellent, and maybe it is just plain God-given common sense that keeps them from swimming in the pond and getting water logged and bogged down enough to drown. Yes, ducks can drown! Mildred,the picture of this lily from our garden is for you! No particular name on the tag, just " Asiatic Lily". I love this color. Our son is on his way home from California, without his daughters. Prayers for their safety and his well being are always appreciated, thank-you all so very much! " Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
and this little girl, youngest sister & our youngest granddaughter (TH)....
....are to be turned over to their mother for 8 weeks this summer. To a mother who has no residence of her own,stays in the homes of whomever will have her- and in violation of supposedly signed, sealed and delivered legal documents. ( The judge apparently did not remember HIS OWN ruling and was most likely in a hurry to get out of court to begin his 3 day Memorial Day weekend). The little girls WILL be in danger, and we have been praying for a miracle to prevent this. Tomorrow our son has to hand the little girls over to their mother . To not do so would cause him to be arrested.There will be no one truly looking out for them , except God. Legal documents were signed by the little girls' mother stating they were to reside in Deer Park, WA, and SHE, the mother, was to relocate there. The documents were signed to avoid a trial which if carried out would have proven some things that most likely would have allowed the courts to take away any rights she would have as a mother.....in Deer Park our son and his 4 daughters were able to begin re-building their lives, and they were doing just that. The 3 oldest sisters do not want to return to California and stay there this summer. They have been crying every night at the prospect. God has performed a miracle in keeping these little girls safe while our son was doing his 2nd tour of duty as a tank commander in Iraq, when he did not know where they were and whom they were with....and God has provided for them while our son lost everything BUT his daughters and family and his faith in trying to save his daughters, and even trying to save his wife....now the battle begins again, but the courts do not have time to really care about little ones, nor the inclination, unless one has a LOT of money.
I have been hearing such stories from quite a few people lately. What is going on that so many mothers love their own children so little? That so many mothers seek a life that would harm their own children, and devastate not only these little ones, but the husbands who love them and the families they grew up in? My deepest prayer for these little girls, our precious granddaughters, daughters of our oldest son, is to KNOW and FEEL God's presence and comfort throughout the summer. That they not be harmed physically, spiritually, or emotionally.....,"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck , and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea...See to it that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:6, 10 I will probably not post on this subject again for quite awhile . I will update anyone who asks about them, via e-mail...unless something exceptional happens. I have a picture of them in my sidebar, and should you feel led, please pray for them. They are dear to our hearts, and the little girls and our son are the reason I searched the internet, and in so doing, discovered blogs. That is how I, my husband, and daughter found a whole wide world of interesting,caring, compassionate people who are so very able to communicate so many different things. From cooking, to gardening, to philosophy, theology,decorating,farming, humor...the topics are endless and the bloggers all unique! Thank-you , thank-you, thank-you! So many of you are praying for us and them and as I view the whole wide web I see so many out there hurting, and needing so much. That you all would take a bit of your time to pray for us, and think about us, and e-mail us is humbling, and appreciated more than you can know. We are so thankful to God for His great mercy and know He does hear us. He works out all things in His time. "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks;for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:17-18
I am going to show you some of the ways I plant and display sedums around our place. Above is a planter of sedums that is hung on a fence by my husband's espalier trees. This area is hot, and since my husband does not want a lot of vegetation around the base of his fruit trees, hanging plants on the fence works well. The sedums can withstand and thrive in the hot and cold extremes of this little area. Below is a better view of the sedum basket and one of the trees.
Another sedum filled chick feeder ( below). This one is placed atop a fence beam, also exposed to weather extremes." Sedums: This large genus contains about 400 species of succulent annuals, biennials, perennials, sub-shrubs and shrubs native to the northern hemisphere." The Plant BookI have also planted sedums, and other hardy plants in old chicken waterers. I have a lot of them, brought home to me by my father who worked in a salvaging and recycling yard on the Puget Sound shipyards. He knew I would appreciate them. This is an old , leaky dove and pigeon waterer. (below) I have hung it on a fence post near my chicken pens in the back area of our property. "Quick growing plants, sedums vary widely in habit from carpet forming to upright up to 3 feet tall." The Plant Book The sedums below are planted in an old black granite- ware roaster and sit atop our oil tank. The freezing winter and blazing sun, made even more extreme by sitting on the metal oil drum, have not killed the plants. The sedums thrive here, look..they are sending little runners out to start new plants. I got creative with an old birdhouse that lost it's roof. A small metal bucket filled with sedums fits in the roofless bird house nicely. I have seen chickadees checking this little house out and I think next year, after the sedums cover the roof, chickadees will move in and raise some young. What do you do with another old metal bucket and an old wood chicken...fill the bucket with sedums, plop the chicken in it and hang it on a fence near the chicken pens. "Sedum leaves may be cylindrical, lanceolate, egg-shaped or elliptical and the five-petaled flowers appear in terminal sprays." The Plant Book Sedums offer me a lot of ways to be creative with my planters and the junk I can't bring myself to throw out. All my sedums bloom every year, and I have patches of it that when in bloom are just beautiful! The best part of growing sedums is they thrive in those areas of our yard and gardens that most other plants will not, and sedums make me feel like I have a very, very green thumb! "Sedums make excellent hanging basket or pot plants." The Plant Book Blessings : working in the garden, enjoying the garden, waiting on God for answers to prayer, answered prayer
Monday, June 22, 2009
Mama and Papa Duck. They are the sole survivors of not 1, but 2 coyote slaughters. They also mated, and nested a clutch of eggs that were preyed upon by raccoons and possums and coyotes. I took 2 of the eggs and had them brooded by my silkie hen, and those babies are still in the brooding shed. However, the ducklings I bought from a hatchery and raised up have graduated from the brooding pens to the pen by the pond. This is the pen near the pond where I train the ducks to pen themselves up at night, and thus , will hopefully keep this new flock safe from predators. The young ducks have been penned up with the older , wiser ducks for a week now and it is time to release them out into the world, Cedar Pond. Mama and papa Duck will show them the ropes of life around here for a duck....... Mama Duck is excited to be free, and she rushes out into the pond...but ducklings AND Papa Duck stay behind. Not too sure about this freedom. The world is a scary fearful place you know. "Fear imprisons; faith liberates; fear paralyzes; faith empowers; fear disheartens; faith encourages; fear sickens; faith heals; fear makes useless; faith makes serviceable." Harry E. Fosdick Quite awhile later, they tentatively venture out...not too far! "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. " Helen Keller Then, they stand around in a clump of fear. All that water and fresh grass, yummy slugs and bugs to be had for the taking, but- they are afraid! "Fear, if allowed free rein, would reduce all of us to trembling shadows of men, ( ducks ?) for whom only death ( coyotes) could bring release." John M. Wilson Mama Duck comes quacking back from the pond where she had been bathing and swimming, quacking all along for them to join her. "Hey, you guys, come on! The water is fine, the bugs are plentiful.....what's keeping you ? " The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, yet notwithstanding go out to meet it. " Thucydides The ducklings follow Mama slowly down to the pond, in their little clump of fear. "Every tomorrow has 2 handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety or by the handle of faith." Unknown Mama jumps in the water and begins to splash with joy and ....it SCARED the ducklings! They ran ( waddled) fast as they could up the grassy lawn heading for their pen! Well, at least I know THEY know where to pen themselves up. Mama and Papa Duck took the lead and tried to head the ducklings back to the pond. As they would venture closer the ducklings would turn en-masse and head this-a-way....."Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination." Chrisitan Nevell Bovee ...and that-a-way.... "Fear cannot touch me. It can only taunt me, it cannot take me, just tell me where to go. I can either follow, or stay in my bed. I can hold onto the things that I know." Christopher Rice Finally! The ducklings made their way , albeit , circuitously...to the pond's edge. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." Ambrose Redmoon. The ducklings quacked amongst themselves a bit and decided to just sit on the edge awhile, because you know, the pond is a scary place! "Never fear shadows...they simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." Unknown Mama and Papa Duck splashed, swam, and had a feast. The ducklings, not realizing Mama and Papa's wisdom and experience, and not trusting ME, who wants what is best for them and have provided a perfect duck home for them...2 days later...still choose to sit on the bank and watch ( fearfully ) as the older ducks take joy in Cedar Pond. "But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith....Therefore do not be anxious ( or fearful ) for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own." Matthew 6: 30 , 34
Sunday, June 21, 2009
My husband holding his 8th and youngest grandchild, Little J, last July. "Grandchildren are the crown of old men , and the glory of sons is their fathers." Proverbs 17"6
My husband's father, a man of honor and faith. His 6 children all love the Lord and he is the grandfather to 15 and great grandfather to 19 and more on the way! One of these days I will write about this man of faith, but it is telling that ALL his children give him praise and honor for being a man who trusts God in spite of some amazingly rough times. He gives God all the praise and glory for bringing his children to salvation , and he continually prays for his family. It shows. Praise God for fathers who exalt Him!
"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. " Proverbs 13 :22 Happy Father's Day !
Friday, June 19, 2009
..for prayer on behalf of our four little granddaughters , at our son's request. The courts in California have chosen to overlook legally signed, sealed , and delivered documents and a judge has ordered our son to send his 4 daughters to California to spend the summer with the mother who has no residence and the little girls will be in living situations that no sane parent or guardian would find even barely O.K. We have legal documentation of what I write and it is available for proof, but all we ask is for prayer for divine intervention , that the little girls will be spared harm , physically , emotionally, spiritually...however He works this. I had much to say, but I found this prayer in a book by Elisabeth Elliot " Be Still My Soul", the prayer was found in E. Elliot's mothers' prayer book:"Father our children keep.
We know not what is coming upon the earth.
Beneath the shadow of Thy heavenly wing,
O keep them, keep them, Thou who gavest them birth.
Father , draw nearer us.
Draw firmer around us Thy protecting arm.
O clasp our children closer to Thy side,
Uninjured in the day of earth's alarm.
Then in Thy chambers hide,
O hide them and preserve them calm and safe
When sin abounds , and error flows abroad
And Satan tempts and human passions chafe.
O keep them undefiled,
Unspotted from a tempting world of sin,
That, clothed in white, through the bright city gates,
They may with us in triumph enter in.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Candy Cat walks along the stone wall , Lady's Mantle ( Alchemilla vulgaris ) is growing on either side of her. Lady's Mantle, or Dewcup, grows well and easily in the shady, sunny, damp, and dry parts of our gardens. Lady's Mantle grows well along the wooded edges, in the driveway, and it pops up in our red stone entrance gardens.
Lady's Mantle is growing here, next to the hostas. Lady's Mantle is very hardy and grows 6 to 20 inches in height ...but it grows bigger in our gardens. If you click on the picture below , it will enlarge and you can clearly see the dew drops that collect in this plant and will glisten like diamonds when the sun catches them.
"From "little magical one" , the Arab alkemelych ( alchemy ) comes Alchemilla, so-called because of this herb's healing reputation and the dew that collects in each enfolding leaf. The crystal drops of dew have long inspired poets and alchemists and were part of many mystic potions. So powerful a herb was acquired by the Christian Church , which named it 'Our Lady's Mantle'." THE COMPLETE BOOK OF HERBS by Leslie BremnessI read many of my herb books and in all of them Lady's Mantle is recommended as the herb to infuse as a tea and drink to help alleviate "women's troubles". I harvested the leaves of this herb , dried them, and then when the time came I thought I needed some tea of this plant, I quickly changed my mind when I caught a whiff of the smell. YUCK! I decided that the smell alone was enough to make any woman decide she really did not feel so bad after all...
My Lady's Mantle is a lovely plant for our gardens. It is now beginning to bloom. I will take more pictures of it in bloom later. The blooms are gold, and on long stems.My herb books say that Ladys' Mantle leaves are good for making a green wool dye, I might try that. The leaves are also supposed to be good for making infusions to help skin conditions, under eye puffiness, and to make compresses for healing wounds. I just might try this too . I have used comfrey to heal wounds, and calm irritated skin. But no, no...never, never will I consume this in a tea!
"I would heartily advise all men of meanes , to be stirred up to bend their mindes,
and spend a little more time and travell in these delights,
of herbes and flowers, than they have formerly done,
which are not only harmlesse, but pleasurable in their turn, and profitable in their use. John Parkinson (Theatrum Botanicum 1640 )
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We set a catch and release trap to catch those pesky raccoons who are very adept at dining uninvited on our chickens and ducks.We baited the trap with the almost but not quite hatched duck eggs . Look who showed up for dinner. An opossum!"Opossums have a couple of defensive bluffs at their disposal. They'll flash their abundant teeth ( 50 in all ) when cornered or frightened and back the implied threat with a horrific sounding hiss."....."opossums are unintelligent creatures ( they eat cockroaches by choice- nuff said) ,.....they carry fewer diseases than the average household pet, and have greater resistance to rabies than any wild or domestic animal living around you. They are also immune to the venom of most pit vipers ( rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and the like ). Scientists are studying the opossums ability to neutralize venom..." Barbara Mikkelson
She is kind of cute, isn't she? On further investigation though the tail looks like a huge , huge rat tail and the teeth totally take the cute look and turn it into a monster grin. When I lived down south, ( Louisiana ) I learned opossums were not to be found north of the Mason / Dixon Line....I do not think the possums read the books.....they are abundant around here. And by the way, they really do play dead very well.....hence " playing possum".