Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why Can't Everything....

...grow like Birdhouse gourds?

All I did was ignore them. 

I put them in a new plot, just as a place holder, planted 6 seeds, mulched them once, and never looked at them again.

Go figure.

They are now cleaned, and put into the garage for right now, to start their drying.  When it gets really cold, they'll go into the basement to finish up.

I like birdhouse gourds.  I planted 3 of the big ones and 3 of the small ones.  I got quite a variety.  You know what I like most?  That they tell you what they want to be.

This one says "snowman".  See it?

This one says "ghost".

This one is not talking yet.
Some, though, are just "for pretty".

Isn't that a nice shape?
I look forward to using about 6-8 months. ( he he)

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nekkid Bunny!

I finished rooing Ygraine the next day.  Would you like to see some "nekkid" bunny pictures?

From the side, and now...from the top.

Tee hee!

She looks like she has a giant head and a tiny body!

I try not to laugh, I truly do.

This is her next to Philip Johnny Bob, hiding in their favorite spot, behind the recycle bin.
He didn't know who she was that day.  But yesterday he had gotten over it.  He was trying to love her all day.  She was having none of it.
I did have to cut her belly wool and the bottom-most fringe, just because it was really messy.

But I did get that nice wool from her top, which I weighed.  I thought all that fiber would be at least an ounce or two, and it wound up being .65 ouces!  I can't even fathom what 10 ounces would look like, then.  The .65 had to be put into a new box, there was way too much of it!  10 ounces is going to be a LOT of fiber.

Live and learn.  I still have to catch Philip, who I think is about ready to give it all up.  His coat is looking very puffy and loose to me lately.  We'll see.  He's not the most-erm- cooperative bunny ever.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rooing the Rabbit

As you might remember, I've been working faithfully on Ygraine's wool since I got her.  I've been trying to make her coat nice, because she was kind of neglected.  Much of her wool has come out of it's own accord, and I thought I was getting a lot.  Nothing prepared me for yesterday, however, when it started to come out by the clump full. 

It started with a mat on her shoulder blades, which I worked out and then pulled off, because it was no longer attached.  Then I saw that wool near it was coming off in droves.  Literally.  With the gentlest tug, I was releasing mounds of beautiful hair.  And Ygraine?  She sat on my lap, ground her teeth together (which I am told by my brother's girlfriend, Sarah, is a happy, happy thing), and stayed super still.  Only when I got to a patch in a delicate area did she move.  Otherwise, she seemed to be in rabbit happy land. 

I got about halfway done.  This is what she looks like now:

There's not much rabbit under there!
I feel like I should put a coat on her.
Ok, I knew that, but it's funny to see how small she is, compared to all her hair.  This afternoon I'll finish her up, but I know I got most of the prime fiber yesterday.

Can't wait to weigh it all!
After she's done, it'll be his highness' turn, Philip Johnny Bob.  He doesn't enjoy sitting still, so that's going to be something!  I'll let you know how it turns out!
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Well, Hello There!

I'm back!  It seems like I missed a ton of stuff while I was away, so I know I'm going to spend the next few days catching up on all of your news!  Yeay!  I'm looking forward to it.

I thought I'd fill you in on how the Harvest Festival went on Saturday, since I spent weeks prepping for it.  Overall, it went well.  The truth is, most people weren't really buying--anything.  Those we saw walk past us had food and nothing else.  However, those who did buy, came to us for the most part.  We did pretty well.  I am pleased.  In a crowd that wasn't really spending, surrounded by almost entirely commercial items, we were pretty good.  Want some pictures?  I know I do!

First, I will start with my helpers.  My son, my daughter, and my daughter's bestest bestest bestest friend.  They are like peas in a pod, those two.  My son was very helpful all day long.  My daughter and her friend were most helpful when they went away.  :)  He he.  10 year old girls.  What are you going to do? 

Seriously, though, they were troopers.  We got there at 7 in the morning to set up until 9.  We didn't take down until after 3.  It was a long day, and they were great.  My son wanted to do the money, and he did, for most of the day.  When he wasn't doing that, he was handing out business cards to everyone who went past.  He did a good job.

This is the produce table, which was the front table.  We didn't have much, as it's gotten really cold here at night, and everything is slowing down, but we did sell quite a bit.  We had tomatoes, peppers and butternut squash.  We also had our eggs, which went well. 

In front of that, we had our informational sign, which told all about what we do.  I thought it looked pretty good.

Then on one side, we had the rockstar of the day, Philip Johnny Bob.  I'd like to say we educated the town about Angora rabbits on Saturday.  Certainly a million people seemed to come by and scritch him and ooh and aah. 
He is certainly a handsome devil, and very personable.  Kids and adults alike wanted to see him.

He was part of a contest we held.  Not too much participation there, but that's ok.  Certainly he enjoyed all of the attention no matter what.  He was very tired at the end of the day.

On the other table, which was open to the crowd, we had the "cheater soaps"--melt and pour.  I made quite a few, thinking they were cheap, which they were, and they appealed to kids, so they would sell, and they really didn't.  You just can't tell what a crowd wants, right?

Above them were the garden soaps--super scrubby.  These went moderately well.

Overall, though, the ones that sold were the cold process-thank goodness.

I got lots of comments that they were too pretty to use, and we sold plenty. 

I also got 4 invitations to various craft fairs, so that's good.

Overall, a good day.  Our neighbors for the day were Pampered Chef, Avon, the local phone company, a booth with store items (like signs and clocks), a booth with a bunch of shirts (premade, not handmade), cheap toys (not handmade) and some other commercial items.  There were very few handmade items overall.  I wonder where all the crafters are?  Back when I was a kid, our school district used to hold a craft fair every year in November.  It was HUGE, and it was almost entirely handmade.  After I was first married, there was a similar school district that did the same.  Now if I go to a craft fair, it's full of people reselling mass-made crafts.  It's so sad.  As a people, we no longer seem to DO anything.  So, we are making our lives easier with all this technology for what?  To free up our time to watch TV?

I don't get it. 

Anyway, getting off my soapbox, man, was I tired when it was over!  I was still tired yesterday.  Today I go out into the garden to pick and then clean up, because things are done, and it needs a good cleaning.

I hope you all had a great weekend!  Happy Monday!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Honor

I'm still not sure how it can be 11 years.
It still seems like the other day.
In honor of all of those many (too many) who lost their lives.
I will never forget.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Picked a Peck of Poblano Peppers

Ok, not a peck.  A bunch.  But "bunch" doesn't sound the same, so there you go.

Hello peppers!

This is the first time I think I've gotten peppers that are pepper sized and have thick walls.

Normally I get a million little tiny ones with thin walls that are just stupid.

Not this year.  It's like a miracle, but I think it has to do with the fact that I planted the little plants deep in the ground.  I covered half the stem or more.  Usually more.  I truly believe that turned the tide on these guys.

Not to worry, my head isn't getting too big off of my success.  The carrots kept me humble.

Months of waiting and they are kinda scrawny.  Sadness.
Honestly, though, I'm just glad I got carrots.  I don't usually get any.  Or they all look like this:
Freaky weird carrots of freaky weirdness. 
Yeah, I did get a couple of those, including that wacky one above.  Think there might have been a couple of rocks in the soil?
No matter, I don't believe anything smells as good as carrots do when you pull them out of the ground.  For that reason alone I would grow them.  It is a beautiful thing. 
***This week I am prepping for the festival on Saturday, so I might be too busy to check in.  I am thinking of all of you, though and I will look forward to seeing what you're all up to when I get back.  I promise to have some good stories and lots of pictures.  Take care!
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Works, What Doesn't

Ah, fall.  The time in the year when I can stop long enough to look around for a minute and see what is working and what is not.  I only have a minute, though.  The processing of food and picking of food goes on continually this time of year.  So I guess I ought to think fast.

One thing I have noticed this year that does NOT work are the turkeys.  I've gone from liking them (when they were younger) to really disliking them now.  We have 5--4 are Narragansetts, and one is a Broad Breasted White.  I actually rather like the BB White--she's gentle and kind of sweet.  The Narragansetts, on the other hand, are unbelievably grabby.  In their eternal quest for food, they steal from all the other animals, and peck us every time we sit down--and it hurts!  And they are constantly around, as they like people.  Normally,that thrills me--I rather like being surrounded by my animals.  But all the turkeys do is make a lot of noise and peck and poop.  And poop and poop.  The back deck, which is usually pretty clean, as the geese can't climb the stairs and the chickens don't often come up, looks like a war zone.  It's horrible.  And not 2 hours later, after it's been cleaned, it looks like that again.  The turkeys shriek and whistle all day--sometimes it's a really nice noise, sometimes it's like the guinea hen's noise--just so grating.  But either way, they do it ALL day long.  And they are constantly underfoot-literally.  So they are not working out.  The turkeys, which I had planned to keep and breed a pair of, are going to be moving out soon.  I think they would have worked had they been able to be kept in an area away from the house, but as they can fly, there's just nowhere safe.

You can't know unless you try, right?  Now I know this does not work for me.

On the other hand, I am surprised to say that the following animals are working out for me very well.

Ygraine in front, Phillip Johnny Bob in back.  Doesn't she look better?

Ah, my little fluff-puddles.

I will say this first:  I like rabbits, and always have.  We had three before I acquired these guys, and though I like the three, I don't LOVE them.  I have always thought they were fairly useless and kind of hard to get to know.  They don't really like to be handled, and we have a "here's your food, thanks for letting me scratch your head" kind of relationship.  No real companionship from them--forget having them sit in your lap.  Ain't gonna happen.  These two have completely changed my view, though.  They are extremely personable.

Ygraine will sit with me for quite a while as I pluck her hair.  She will turn and kind of show me where I should do next.  She likes to be pet, and lets me know when she's ready to get down.  Philip Johnny Bob (PJB) doesn't love to sit in laps, but he will for a minute or two.  He will let you pet him quickly, but he enjoys people no matter.  When you go into his outside pen, he will nudge you to say hi, and yes, he does know the phrase "green bean?".  He stands up on his hind legs to ask.

In all, I will admit that when I brought these two home I was apprehensive.  I kind of thought they would be aloof and not want contact, and that I'd be getting the wool under duress.  That's not at all the case.  Pulling wool is extremely relaxing for me and Ygraine (I haven't pulled PJB's yet) and I really feel like we're bonding.  What a surprise!

You live, you learn.  It's all part of the adventure, isn't it?
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Wasn't Ready.

They went to school anyway.

The boy, into third grade,

pretty much wearing what he wore all summer.  He didn't care-he had a new backpack, and that was good enough.

The girl, into fifth grade (how did that happen!),

who planned her outfit from pretty much the moment she bought it.  And she spent all yesterday prepping.
They drive me crazy, but I missed them all day. 
The first day of school is hard. 
For everyone.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Feeling Rich

Methinks that next year..

.....I'm going to need a bigger basket.
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