Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Macaroons Have It

Okay, yes, I admit it. I am an unapologetic, rabid chocolatarian. Chocolate is the one dietary item I cannot live without so I'd better never become allergic to it.

On the other hand, I have been striving (striving would be the operative word there) to eat raw, eat vegan, eat gluten free, eat sugar free (gulp!!), fresh, eat healthy. It can be a challenge. So was I ever thrilled when my sister Joy sent me a recipe for these healthy coconut macaroons. Now about the only thing you can do to improve chocolate is pair with a few different things. Peanut butter is one. Raisins are another. And coconut is another.

Here's the recipe (poached from where you can find other yummy looking recipes)

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

3 c. dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 c. cocoa (or carob) powder
1 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut oil or butter
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients, shape into balls and then either put them in the freezer to set or dehydrate for 12-24 hours at 115 degrees until crisp outside, chewy inside.

She's got a recipe to make them blonde as well, but you'll have to check it out if you're interested.

I only made a third of the recipe because I wanted to make sure I liked them. Snort. Yeah, well, it's possible. Anyway, I LOVED them so next time I won't bother cutting the recipe back. In fact, I may double it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Silver Bells

The sheep wear jingle bells. They always have, but they were the cheap kind. Pleasant enough, but when I saw these heavy, antique looking bells at the Vermont Country Store with their silvery little tinkles that sounded like the real deal, substantial, but magical, like a music box, I knew I had found the girls' Christmas presents.

Sheep can be hard to catch. Even when they know you. It's hard to overcome that predator response, I guess. When something big comes at you, even when you know it's harmless, you tend to run. So I was surprised when Rachel and I caught the girls to change out their bells they barely protested at all. In fact, Siobhan stood there for the longest time afterwards asking to have her face petted. She's the only one who actually LIKES to be petted. Most days Bronte will follow me back to the gate (even leaving her grain) just to touch my hand with her nose, but she doesn't want to be petted. You never saw anything so funny as her little tail wagging after she performs this little duty and skips back to her grain bucket.

So now when the girls get to tearing around their pasture looking like they're about to practice their take-off they'll sound authentic. And if you hear a tiny jingle some night when you're out walking the dog you'll know . . . they're taking a late night fly-by.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry, Merry; Hoppy, Hoppy

Fergal is the love-i-est bunny I ever saw. He licks my hand, he snuggles my face. I bring him upstairs quite often to cuddle him and let him hop around. He likes to hide under the Christmas tree when predators (Max and Angus) are around and he likes to look out the French doors at the birds. Of course his favorite thing is to play with Phoenix, Rachel's bunny. Because of the boy/girl thing, we mostly just let them sniff noses, but they really seem to like each other. It's a shame they can't play together. When Rachel took Phoenix away Fergan hopped after her as if to say, "Hey, give her back!" It was hysterical.

Today I cleaned the barn. It sounds like a lot of work, but really it's not bad. I only have to clean it once a month. It's great having a nice clean barn with fresh straw and a swept aisleway. The bunnies have fresh shavings under their cages and everything looks neat and tidy. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I clean the coop the same day I clean the barn so the chickens have fresh hay too and their piles of poop (from the spot where they roost) has been taken away and dumped on the manure pile. Everybody's got a clean place to sleep and eat.

Now time to grab some lunch and then I have some cages to clean and Fergal to comb. Then maybe some felting . . .

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And His Name is . . .

Okay, before I tell you what I decided to name my new bunny I would like to say thank you to everyone who played my little game with me and submitted names. I had a lot of fun reading them and it was tough to finally choose a name. (And I mean really, really tough.)

Some of the names that almost got picked: the Gaelic ones, because I love Gaelic and sing in Gaelic sometimes, Fiddlesticks, Merry and Pippin (great choices...but they are the names of my other two bunnies), Frodo, Elrond (very tempting, but I really wanted to stick with a Hobbitish name), Shadowfax, and Gandalf the Gray (which would have been TOO funny!) but we had a rooster by that name. But all of the names were so cute!!

So . . . it happened that I was watching Monarch of the Glen this week and there was a character named Fergal (I didn't happen to like the character, but the name was cool) and I thought it sounded almost like Deagol (Smeagol's cousin). So that is his first name. And then I also chose a last name from the list of ones suggested. Annika on Maryjane's Farm suggested Fuzzytoes as a last name. The new bunny's full name is: Fergal Fuzzytoes!! (And if you could see his feet you'd totally see why . . . he looks for all the world like he's wearing really fluffy bunny slippers!!)

Thank you all again!!

(p.s. to Annika, I need your full name and address to send your prize to! Can you email it to me at Thanks!)

Friday, December 18, 2009


I am waiting. None too patiently, I might add. I'm waiting for my new bunny to arrive. Lucas was supposed to pick up all the bunnies because he had to go to Burlington anyway. (We had planned to go up on Sunday.) This is great for two reasons. First, I don't have to drive all the way up there and lose a Sunday when I should be getting ready for Christmas and second, I get to have my bunny sooner. It's a win-win situation. Except for poor Lucas, but he volunteered.

In the meantime I'm pondering the cold. And has it been exceptionally cold. When I woke up (not on purpose) at 3:30 this morning it was 3 below zero. Too cold. When I brought the kids to school it had warmed up to 0. Woohoo. I think it may have gotten as high as 18 (at least according to my car, which is sometimes a bit off.) You know it's too cold when you dash outside to do something like check and see if there are any new eggs and before you make it to the chicken coop door you're starting to get numb. And I always wonder . . . how do they manage in really cold places like Alaska? There must be a trick to living in and with the cold. Like maybe you can't fight it. Maybe you have to learn to be one with the cold. I read once (because I like reading books about living in Alaska) that you'll always be a cheechako (a greenhorn) until you learn to really like the cold, rather than just tolerate it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phoenix the Therapy Bunny

Rachel's been asking me why Phoenix (her little Lionhead) hasn't been in the blog. After all, she's a contribut-ing member of society. She's a therapy bunny.

Once a month we go a nursing home with our church group. The group leader plans an activity for the residents, I play my fiddle (sometimes people dance), and a good time is had by all. Especially Rachel who jokingly asked one day if she could bring her rabbit. Imagine her surprise when I said yes. I used to do pet therapy at nursing homes with kittens and puppies from the Humane Society so I know how much residents love animals.

Phoenix, spoiled celebrity that she is, already had a carrying case. So, in she hopped and off we went. It was amusing to watch people's reaction to her. Mostly it's amazement that there's a rabbit in the house. Followed by amusement and stories of pets residents used to have. It's been fun watching Rachel blossom as she shares her pet and at the same time see people who miss having an animal around interact with the bunny. And Phoenix? Well, it's all in a day's work for her.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remote Control

All summer long I moved the electric netting sheep pasture every 3-5 days. Every week. For months. It was kinda tedious. Every time I moved it I thought, "It'll be so nice when they're in the permanent pasture for the winter. I'll get a break." Still . . . I was used to seeing them from the house. The winter pasture is by the barn, where I CAN'T see them. And I knew I'd miss that. And I do.

I was also worried because two of the nearby neighbors have dogs. So worried that I'm seriously considering "borrowing" a friend's llama as a guardian animal. If it works out I'll purchase him in the Spring. DH has suggested a video surveillance system, which seems a bit extreme, but I haven't ruled it out completely.

But slowly it's begun to dawn on me that I already HAVE a surveillance system. You see, my barn is on the road going down to THE barn, Hidden Hollow Equestrian Center, where my horse (and a lot of other horses) is boarded. Because of the indoor riding arena people are up and down, back and forth past my barn all day. A few days ago my dressage instructor sent me this photo of the girls, getting into trouble eating trees. (She said, "If you fed them hay they wouldn't eat trees!" I said, "But trees are free!") Then via Facebook a rider told me that that one of them (she wasn't sure which) was infatuated with my husband as she always ran to the fence when he was around. And just moments ago I received a phone call from another rider who informed me that my sheep were happily eating plastic. So while my control might be remote, I haven't lost it altogether!

But, shhhhh! Don't tell the girls. They'll think I installed the video camera after all. I just hope they don't try to find it and eat it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ta-Da!! And the winner is . . .

. . . Bohemian Chicken!! Congratuations!!! Let me tell you . . . we went through a rigorous process to choose this name. First of all there ended up being 27 altogether, but we did them all and not just the first 25 (hey, it's Christmas . . . ). We wrote them down on identical slips of paper, folded once, and put them in a basket. And then Rachel (she was really into this, by the way) jumped up and down, mixed them up, twirled them with her hands, in general made chaos out of them. Then I held the basket over her head and she reached in a pulled out the name.

So our first contest is over and we had so much fun doing it that I'm trying to think up another one. (I mean besides the Bunny Naming Contest.) When that one is over I'll see what I can dream up.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bunny X

This is him!! This is my actual new bunny. 14 weeks old. I think he's going to have pom-poms on his ears like Pip!! He's already pretty fluffy, but he'll even fluffier when he grows up.

(Picture by Janice DeCooman, Apple View Angoras, Fairfax, Vermont. Thanks Janice!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Blue Bunny Picture

Okay, so this is not MY blue bunny, but in case you're having trouble picturing what a blue bunny looks like (I mean, why would you? But just in case . . . ) here's a picture of a blue bunny. I'll post pictures of my actual bunny as soon as I get any.

New Bunny! Naming Contest/Giveaway

So yesterday my friend Lucas texted me that he'd found a blue French Angora buck because he knew I'd been looking for one (or because he fiendishly thought that if he found an Angora he could disuade me from a Jersey Woolie house bunny which I was also considering...hmmm....not sure about his motives.) Anyway, long story short I bought him. (Or rather, I bought him, Lucas paid for him and the bunnies he bought, and we're going to go pick them up soon and, you know, somewhere in there I'll pay Lucas back.)

I went back to the Web site where I saw his pic yesterday to poach it for the blog, but it's gone. I'm trying to get a copy from the breeder that I can post here because if you're going to name an animal it helps to see what it looks like. In the meantime, I can tell you that he's fluffy and a soft gray color. Here are the rules:

1) Hobbit (or Hobbit-like) names ONLY! If it sounds Hobbitish that's good enough. You can even use a Hobbit name generator to help you out. My other two Angoras are called Merry and Pippin after Hobbits and I thought it makes a nice theme besides the fact that bunnies are Hobbitish or Hobbits are bunnish. Whichever.

2) Email me your suggestion(s) to Put Bunny Naming Contest in the subject line so I don't miss it. There's no limit. Send as many as you like; enter as often as you like.

3) Deadline is December 20 because that's the day I hope to pick him up.

4) I am particular about few things in life, but one of them is names. So I may decide not to use any of the names submitted, but there will still be a giveaway. Either I'll choose the name I like best or we'll do it very scientifically and put all the suggestions in a hat and draw a winner.

5) The Prize: Okay, the part you've been waiting for . . . but I'm not going to tell you. It'll be a surprise. Probably a fibery one since that's what the farm is mostly about. You could end up with most anything. That's half the fun.

So sharpen those pencils! Can't wait to hear your suggestions!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cardinal Richelieu and the Snowy Day

With all the other mouths to feed around here I'd kinda forgotten about my wild birds until the other day when I saw a chickadee pecking hopefully around the feeders. So I broke open the big bag of sunflower seeds and filled the feeders. I used to get a special blend with safflower seeds because that's what the cardinals seem to prefer and we have at least one cardinal family around here because we watched them raise babies one year, which was totally awesome. I realized I hadn't seen a cardinal in awhile so when I caught sight of Richelieu (we call all the male cardinals Richelieu because it's a pun on Cardinal Richelieu...get it? Get it?? Hahaha!!) Okay, so when I saw Richelieu in the garden I thought I'd try to get a picture for the blog and of course the instant I pushed the button on the camera he flew off, but lucky me. He came to the feeder instead which is closer and there happened to be a mourning dove perched on top of the feeder so I got lots of cool shots like this one.

Today is a snow day because we're having a severe storm. It looks like a snow globe out there right now. So I put the girls out for some fresh air figuring I'll bring them in later when it starts to sleet. They. Were. Not. Best. Pleased. Instead of tucking in to their hay they stood and bleated pitifully by the gate looking at me with those big, sad, sheepish eyes. I said, "What are you? Hothouse flowers? You're sheep! Suck it up and eat your hay." They were not amused, but I mean, really . . . they have like six inch coats on. Snow is an afterthought. I did move the hay over by the barn so they can be a little more protected while they eat.

Let me tell you, the worst part of winter is dealing with water buckets. And I'm sure I'll say that until I have to clean the barn and push the wheelbarrow through snowdrifts and then that will be the worst part of winter. But for now, it's the water. Hands down.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Apollo Rising

I had a terrible dream last night that Apollo attacked me. It wasn't completely without basis in real life. If you look at my first posts you'll see a different rooster, Gandalf, who we got from my sister Joy's farm. We had a love/hate relationship. I LOVED him. He HATED me. I mean, he REALLY HATED me. There was nothing that rooster liked to do better than beat me up. I tried everything: being nice, fighting back, ignoring him. Nothing worked. So, I used a rake to keep him off me and we lived under a truce. Unless I wasn't near the rake. I still have a scar on my leg from the last time he attacked me.

He'd probably still be here, but he was overly affectionate with one of the hens to the point that she was naked. I mean, if we'd been inclined to eat her we wouldn't have needed to bother plucking her. She looked more like something you'd see in the meat aisle than an actual living, breathing chicken. I even made her a chicken saddle (a protective coat) and that didn't help. Finally we decided that enough was enough and we gave him to our friends the Elliotts who had a farm with LOTS of chickens. Stacey told me later that the hens were smitten with him, but that every now and then she'd catch him standing by the fence where she'd dumped him in. She said, "I think he misses you. It's like he's saying, `Can I go home now??'"

I was sad for days after he'd gone. I even missed his terrible crow. It was completely unreasonable. In about 3 weeks Sephera's feathers started to grow back in. In about 5 weeks I could barely recognize her. And in 7 weeks she had grown a beard! (Some of our other Aracaunas have beards, but her neck had always been so bare you'd never be able to tell she had one.) Then Stacey told me someone had given them an Aracauna rooster and did I want him?

I thought, "Yes! No!" She said she'd take him back if he didn't work out. So one morning I picked up Apollo. He's been WONDERFUL. He is gentle with the hens. He's getting more watchful as he settles in. His crow is decent, but more importantly he crows rather softly and doesn't crow much. (Gandalf used to start at around 4 and crow on and off - loudly - all day.) He's a little afraid of me so I move carefully when I'm around him. So far his attitude seems to be, "You don't bother me and I won't bother you."

And as you can see, he's beautiful. The hens loved him. General Sunshine followed him around his first day pecking at his feathers. He put up with her and for awhile she seemed to be the favorite. She was the only one laying at the time. They would always be perched side by side at night and Apollo would peck at anyone else who tried to get her coveted spot.

The best thing about Apollo is that he's made the older girls and the newer girls all into one big happy flock. And that's something crow about. (Ha! Did I really just say that??? I've been a writer too long! LOL!!!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

On the Bobbin

My spinning wheel is a hard working machine. Especially lately. I've been prepping fiber and spinning up a storm. You can see some of the most recent stuff in our Etsy shop. (Link at top right.) But this lovely sensation just barely came off the bobbin and is currently having it's twist set. I've already sold a couple yards to a woman in Germany (thanks Petra!). It's finger teased mohair locks in pink and white with pink sparkle. It's sooooo lovely. I don't know why, but with other art forms I end up creating something I don't want to let go, but with fiber art the satisfaction seems to come from the creation itself. (Either that or I'm able to part with it because of the certain knowledge that there's more fiber where that came from and if I doubt it all I have to do is look out the window!!)

As I think I mentioned, probably in numerous places so bear with me, I visited one of my very favorite fiber stores on Friday (The Fiber Studio, Henniker, NH) and I finally, FINALLY, after nearly a year of trying to manage it, had enough time to bring my wheel up to the fiber loft and spin with all that fiber at my fingertips. I thumbed through Lexi Boeger's book Intertwined (one of my absolute faves on art yarn) and decided to make the Knotty Little Slub yarn. Very few people (at least around here) make art yarn so I caused a bit of a sensation and people would come up to see what I was doing and how. It was So Much Fun. A bit of a busman's holiday, but having all those fibers to choose from was too much fun to seem much like work. Needless to say I came home with a bag full of goodies and have some plans for it already.

On the way home I came up with an idea to make and donate art yarn chemo caps. I'm looking into the particulars and hope to have some news on that to share soon. I was very excited about the whole idea.

Right now I have to go finish up some more Wild Grey Tailspun because some of that is going to Germany too. And then, and then . . . some jingle bell yarn if I can round up the elves because it takes eight arms and a team of elves to spin that stuff.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Eggs

Way back in the spring, months ago, when today was just a promise on the calendar, I brought home 6 fuzzy, chirping chicks. It seemed like they would NEVER grow up. Despite the fact that they got amazingly bigger every week. We had two older hens who were laying, but then they stopped in the fall and NO ONE was laying. For the first time in a long time I had to *gulp* buy eggs. Which is particularly unfun when you're also shelling out for chicken feed.

And then . . . last week we started to get one LARGE brown egg every day and caught General Sunshine in a nesting box so we figured we knew who our benefactor was. The funny thing was we ordered 5 chicks, but they came in two batches, 3 Wyandotts first and the next week the two Aracaunas. I was worried about there being 3 big chicks, and 2 little chicks so I went back and bought one of the leftover Golden Comets. She's the sunshine yellow one so we called her Sunshine (how original) but later she was so bossy we were afraid she was a rooster and Rachel started calling her General Sunshine. Now she's red, but I think it's funny that the extra chick started laying first. Then we started to get two eggs. One huge brown one and one tiny brown one. One of the Wyandotts. Then yesterday three little ones. So only the Aracaunas aren't laying yet. It's beyond exciting (eggciting??? Ow!) to go to the coop and find all those little eggs in the nesting boxes. I'm so proud of my girls!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let it Snow!!

Most of the animals on the farm are babies, lambs, bunnies, and spring chicks. Tonight we had our first snow...TOO FUNNY. Everyone was looking around like, "Whoa, what's this??" The chickens were all our foraging and stepping very carefully in the snow, trying to peck the falling flakes. The sheep were on high alert; notice the alert ears and "What's going on?" looks on their faces.

This morning, Apollo, the rooster, was standing on one leg like he was afraid to touch the stuff and was getting as far above it as he could, and would rather he could stand there without any feet at all.

Rachel picked up Pluckyfluff (aka The Bearded Lady, aka Black Beard) and you could see her little brain going, trying to figure out what was happening. When she put her down she walked very carefully through the show like she was afraid it was going to grab her or something. She headed straight for the underside of the boat where there was still grass and no snow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unauthorized Barn Party

So this morning when Rachel and I got done feeding the horses (a job we do a couple times a week to shave some off the boarding fees for Jazz) I went to the barn to feed the bunnies and escort the sheep to their pasture. When I walked in the first thing I saw was the stall door wide open. I thought, "Huh, Rob must have come and walked them up for me because we're runnning late." (He wouldn't ordinarily, but he was dropping his truck off at the dealership for some work and needed me to give him a ride home so I thought maybe he just didn't want to be late.)

I started to go right to where the bunny cages were and all of a sudden four sheep poked their heads around the stall door from the bale of hay they were mutilating and I swear their faces said, "Busted!" Rob says they were like teenagers home alone and decided to have a party. They had been all over the barn. Who knows how long they'd been out. The only thing I can figure is that because Rob came down to hold the light for me last night so I could put drops in Pippin's nose I didn't think to double check the stall door after he closed it.

I was fuming at first...they trashed the barn and I JUST cleaned it on Sunday! But then I really had to chuckle at them...I can just imagine the look on their faces when someone (probably Bronte) pushed on the door and oooh, it magically opened. Freedom! Unrestricted access to hay! I must say, they had very complacent, contented looks on their faces this morning out in the pasture chewing their cuds, probably exhausted from their little adventure.

Never a dull moment!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's funny . . . the one thing I never thought about when I got animals and find myself doing quite a bit is vetting. Really, there's nothing that will quite raise your confidence level in your own ability to get the job done as vetting an animal. I've put drops in a rabbit's nose (yes, there is a trick to that), given shots (to sheep, rabbits, and a rooster), drenched for worms, and doctored cuts. I even had to put medicine in the cat's eye. This weekend when I was at a work party one of the guys was trying to describe to me the difference between an IM shot and a SubQ shot and I said, "I'm pretty good with shots; I used to be a nurse. I just need to know where you want me to give it." And it's true; stuff like that comes back to you. After the first one it was like I'd never taken that 20 year break at all.

So on the one hand you have all this doctoring and what's worse, the accompanying anxiety of worrying about a sick animal, and on the other you have the simple, simple beauty of life at its least complex. I was on my way to the barn the other day to take a picture of the bunnies for this blog and decided to also take a picture of this tree that I pass four times every day bringing the sheep out to pasture and back. I love this tree. I wish there had been an October sky behind it when I took the picture, but you know what? Even just the way it is speaks volumes of simlicity and enjoying the beauty in life however and wherever you find it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Gloves

What does it say about you when one of the highlights of your year is buying new work gloves because last year's gloves finally have little holes in the fingers? And what does it mean when you are beyond thrilled that they were out of plain tan leather, but they had turquoise suede?

I dunno; I'm afraid to give it much thought.

Still, when you wear your gloves as much as I do and you need them to keep your hands warm and protect them (as opposed to wearing them because they match your outfit) they become really important. And if they can be functional AND look pretty? Well, that's a win-win for sure. In the end, it feels nice to be thankful for simple things. They happen so much oftener than the complex ones.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dr. Pippin and Mr. Merry

Pippin and Merry are siblings, but they're as different as night and day. Pippin is sweeter than sweet and Merry is, well, Merry is evil. She growls and tries to scratch me and if bunny looks could kill I'd be dead. But I love them both (okay, I love Pippin more) and they have the softest, softest wool.
This is Pippin. (to the left with the light face.) And this is Merry (to the right with the dark face)...oddly enough NOT wearing her evil face for a change.


When I started spinning I heard the term "tailspun" and was dying to know what it meant. It sounded so cool. So I researched it and found out it's made by corespinning the butt ends of locks. I love locky sheep; I love locky wool. I had part of a Bluefaced Leicester fleece so I thought I'd try tailspinning. And this is how it came out.

The Long and The Short of the Matter

I had such great intentions when I started this blog. I thought I'd keep up with it, post as I went along . . . alas, it was not to be. I got so busy a) learning how to make and making fiber art and b) acquiring fiber animals that I never had time to talk about what I was doing. Then I got so far behind I dreaded the thought of playing catch up.

So gist is, that hurray! There are finally fiber animals on my farm. For a long time I was bemoaning the fact that the only animals I had I could spin fiber from were my horse and my German Shepherd (I've since learned that German Shepherd fur spins up like angora and is, in fact, called chiengora so I'm saving that in a bag to make something with.) My friend Lucas finally took enough pity on me to locate a couple angora rabbits I could buy as well as trot me around to various farms to meet different kinds of sheep so I could figure out what I wanted.

To make a long story short I ended up with a Bluefaced LeicesterX (for the curls), a CormoX (for the incredible softness of the fleece), an Icelandic (for the amazingness of the fleece - my husband was laughing at me cause I was drooling over it as it grew out), and a Coopworth (for the springiness of the fleece and also the quantity.)

And that's where I stopped animal-wise. Two bunnies, four sheep. We've got the chickens, of course, and traded roosters (which is a long story), and the dogs, cat, my daughter has an exotic (non-fiber) bunny and some hamsters. But fiber animals...just six. But six is waaaaay more than I had in January when I was pining for them. There is also an alpaca on the way and I'm looking at getting angora goats in the spring because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE spinning mohair and I'm SICK, SICK, SICK of pulling VM out of mohair locks. I want to coat my goats the way I coat my sheep.

So, here are the ladies the day Bronte was sheared...

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Chickens Have Landed, The Chickens Have Landed!

So today I drove up to Burlington to meet my sisters for a sisters day out and pick up one rooster and two hens. The rooster belonged to my sister Joy. His name is Gandalf the Grey (courtesy of my 12-year-old daughter, Rachel.) She also claimed one of the hens and named her Sephera. The other one I call Precious. They started earning their room and board on the way home by laying an egg. The hens belonged to my mom.

They have been installed in a chicken coop that is almost built (except for the fence because it's the middle of winter here and the ground is frozen. They're making do with a dog crate to come out and soak up the sun . . . should we ever see it again.) So far, they seem to be liking the new digs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Horse, of Course

It started with a horse. A horse that smelled exactly like every living, breathing animal I'd ever cared for, like the barn of my childhood, like the companion of my youth, another horse, another lifetime ago.

And it led here. Here to this dream of a farm that so far consists of a horse, two chickens, and a rooster. And the dream of reindeer, and alpaca, and sheep, and goats, and rabbits, and donkeys. This wonderful breathing, pulsating, magnetic dream of homesteading, of home as I remember it and as I see it stretching out in front of me.

Today while Barak Obama was being sworn in as the 44th president and making history I made a little history of my own. I took some wool roving I'd had around for centuries (or maybe one decade) gathering dust and I spun it. With my drop spindle. It was an infinitely satisfying experience. Watching the puff of wool become yarn - or 1 ply of yarn anyway. This is my test yarn. The stuff to make all my mistakes on. And then I will buy some of the roving I'm coveting from Etsy and spin some more. And someday I'll get a castle spinning wheel.

Years ago I named my studio Spindrift, but the name really didn't come into its own until I realized that my artistic endeavors lend themselves more readily to something physical - and practical. Like spinning and sewing and less to painting and mixed media (but not completely.) And then it hit me - Spindrift - is the perfect name for a fiber studio. And anything else that drifts out of it.

It was a good day - rest, spinning, music, and a nice long soak in a warm bath. A very much needed mental health day. A day to to plan and spin dreams.