Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sheep Mug/Green Egg/Roses

I'm totally immersed in a big project right now, but I'm taking a minute out to do a quick post -- seems like it's been so long! I've enjoyed reading everyone's blogs lately, seeing new the lamb photos and sharing the ups and downs of my friends' lives.

Check out the great mug my friends, Denise and Paul Morris made for me. Paul throws the pots and Denise decorates them. She really can capture the movement of animals in a few strokes.

Normally Denise does horses, deer and rabbits, but she thought a custom sheep mug would be just what I needed. Yes! In addition to the sheep, love the smaller size, elegant shape and the detailing on this one. I have another mug coming, it's supposed to be bigger, maybe Stan can use that one. I just love this one!

Our Americauna FINALLY laid her first egg last week - at 8 months old! I was beginning to wonder if she'd ever lay. The Red-stars (gold sex-links) have been laying well for three months already. Those Red Stars are the best egg layers! The California White hen also started laying at 5 months and she's a steady layer, but her eggs are not large at all. So now we have seven hens a'laying and the eggs are piling up in the fridge. I think I'll bring some to the food shelf.

I was so excited last week when I got 18 roses for $1.98. They were on close out at my work five days after Valentine's Day. I heard an announcement on the loudspeaker that roses were marked down to 99 cents and thought I'd get a couple. Then I found out that a whole bouquet of roses was 99 cents. So I bought a dozen pink (my favorite, so springy!) and six red (so beautiful!).Well now I am down to just three red roses and a lot of pedals for potpourri. They sure have been a nice addition to the winter days. Tomorrow we're supposed to get a snowstorm, but the weather these past few days has been just beautiful. I've got shearing lined up for the 18 or 19th of March, so I hope it's warm then.

Okay back to work....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Baby Jacket Pattern/Hotdish of the Day/Links

I just sent an email and realized it was full of links that might be of interest to others, so here's a very quick post.

First - check out this very cute cabled baby jacket pattern. I found the link on Julie's Greatwool blog. I wish I could write like Julie does! I might try knitting this jacket, it's so cute.

I came up with a new hotdish made from things we produce right here and a cup of rice. I went to make Sloppy Joes when I realized my lamb-burger was in fact lamb bratwurst. (We don't put our bratwurst in casings, we just grind up our lamb trimmings and add the seasonings). So I decided to add some diced onions, frozen green peppers, tomatoes, and corn to it and also a cup of rice. It made a pretty good ground lamb hotdish. Yummm!

I used to spend a lot of time canning the tomatoes from my garden, but once I found about about freezing them I never went back. (Well, I still do make canned tomato juice - but that's pretty easy too.) I think frozen tomatoes have a much fresher taste than stewed tomatoes. When the tomatoes are over flowing in the garden, I just quarter them and pop them into the food processor to blend a few seconds. Then I freeze them in old yogurt containers -- reduce and reuse. It takes only a few minutes. You can add your onions and peppers if you want to, but I'm usually too busy and just want to get those tomatoes taken care of. For the peppers, I cut them in strips and freeze on a cookie sheet. Then they go into a quart size freezer bag. The corn I cut off the cob and freeze on the cookie sheet too. Then it's easy to serve only what you need at a meal. I love homegrown sweet corn! And of course the onions keep well all winter long in mesh bags. Next year I need to plant more corn and more onions.

Discussion on the BFL Friends list recently has centered around color genetics in Bluefaced Leicesters. It's very interesting because this is actually an unexplored area with lots to learn. One of the members of the Friends list mentioned the breed Bleu de Maine this afternoon. So I had to Google the breed to see what they looked like. Here's a link to the UK website on the breed. Look at the hindquarters on those things! They look like good terminal crossing sires for Mules too. I don't know if there are any in the US though.

And last but not least, here's a link that someone shared on the Feltmaker's list, check out this fabulous embroidered felt work by Renee Harris. Wow! I love it. What an inspiration!

Okay, I have to admit all these are distractions that have kept me from getting my taxes done. I really need to buckle down and stay on task here. :-)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Things have been BUSY!

I'm so glad to finally get a chance to catch up here on the blog. The past week was a blur of activity. In the photo above you see my poor hungry girls waiting to be fed. The weather here has been so nice and warm lately. I love it!

The art show ended at 4:00 this afternoon, I helped out with clean up and got home around 5:30. I felt guilty about leaving people there with lots of work still to be done, but I wanted to get home and feed the sheep.
I missed seeing the sheep all day yesterday when Terri Drimel and I went to the Indian Wisconsin Shepherd's Clinic in Rice Lake. I had a great time, but I'm not so sure about poor Terri, who had to listen to me prattle on and on with all my ideas and opinions on sheep production. I came away from the day with lots of food for thought. The classes were very good.

The art show was well attended, but sales were way down this year, which isn't surprising given the tough economy right now. The art club hired a very complimentary guest artist who led the public gallery tour on Friday night. He encouraged me to keep up the wool paintings and even like my goose hat/tea cozy. :-)

I thought that goose hat looked kind of artsy so I put it in the show. I had several new projects started for the show, but I didn't get them finished. I wound up entering a lamb photograph and the sunset wool painting off the wall. The good thing about doing the registration, title cards and show brochures myself is that I had until the very last minute to figure out what to enter. :-))

Here is a photo of the white hat I made in January. It's almost exactly the same as the grey hat, but I left the brim more flat - which looks much better on someone's head. For the decorative band on this one, I dyed silk gauze and tied it on. I may try to shrink down this hat a little more to stiffen it up. This one is made from white Shetland and Shetland Mule fiber. I found the grey pure BFL fiber felted faster than this Shetland and Shetland cross.

Masterpiece Theater is showing "Sense and Sensibility" on PBS again, yes, Eleanor reminds me of Sabrina.

Getting ready for Christmas Markets!

  I'll be doing two Christmas markets this year. The first one is at Sapsucker Farms in Brook Park, MN Nov. 18-19th. And the second one ...