Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Creativity is not always what we plan

Today I set out to make a batch of my vegetable based soap. I went to a farmers market yesterday and there was a soap maker there giving me her pitch for her tallow based soap. I prefer a no animal fat soap, I just don't like the oily residue it leaves on the skin and I don't want an animal to die so I can be clean.

So as I was making my batch of soap, I had some scents in mind, Lavender, Lavender and Vanilla and I even had Clove oil out. I knew I would figure one out. Next thing I knew I was pouring vanilla oil into the batch, went over to my herb shelves and pulled out some real vanilla beans...
and split them open and scooped out the seeds. I then added them to the soap giving it an amazing scent!!! My kitchen smells like vanilla beans and I love it. Can't wait to see how this soap cures and smells.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Positive bee vibes!

This has been one of the worst years in our beekeeping history. We lost all our hives except the strong one we call the "Beast". We have struggled with varroe mites, wax moths, hive beetles and mold. We have come down to the fact that we need to trim some trees back because it is just too shady where they are. The three hives to the left (two are Kisha's) are thriving but the hives to the right have perished. We will take a different approach next year, mainly getting the trees trimmed back!
Today I inspected our last strong remaining hive. It is thriving with so much brood and honey, above is just a picture of the many frames I found. This one is full of capped brood (baby bees). The open cells already have eggs in them!

The girls were so busy they could have cared less what I was doing. The bee with the big eyes is a drone. He is the size of a small Chihuahua!!!

I found a few frames of incredibly capped honey...

and then there she was!!! The queen we have dubbed "The Beast"!!! She is such a hard working queen and has produced a strong hive of very healthy bees!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Working with linen

As some may know, I love the colonial era. Some say I should have been born in that time. I prefer the simple life over everything, however modern conveniences like electricity are nice!
Linen was a very common fiber used in the colonial era but the process to harvest it was a daunting one. Linen which is derived from the flax plant would have to be harvested, soaked to break down the stalks and then processed to a fine fiber strand and spun. I met a man a few years back that taught me to spin it and he informed me that it is all in the "spiddle". The fibers don't have hooks like wool and other fibers so you add a little spit to get it to adhere.
The picture above is of a couple of pieces I just made for my colonial garb when I do fairs and attend events.

So with some fine linen that I purchased, no I did not harvest and spin, I made a modesty cloth and a new apron. On to making some other parts of the garb. They wore so many layers then from a shift, stays, petticoats, pocket and short coat. Lots of layers for a fine lady!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer's Wrath

Here in Connecticut we are just not used to hot brutal summers. Tipping the thermometer in the high 90's and 100's are just not common place here. We don't have central air conditioning and gave our big air conditioner to our son and family so keeping cool means retreating to the bedrooms to get cool or lots of showers!

We have done our best to keep the alpacas cool with daily "hosings".

They are quite happy to have the cool hose on them...

and Teddy's face show's it here!

The chickens can be found tucked into cooler places like under the deck...

or under a bush.
The rabbits have spent their summer in the coolness of the basement with fans on them. It is about 10 to 15 degrees cooler in there!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The tools of a farmer

The tools of a farmer can make the difference with success and failure and it can be the simplest thing. In our case it is "Autumn"! I often make post about her, we call her "the wonder dog" for many reason, but mainly for her ability to protect anything and anyone on this property. She even takes on the neighbors chickens as hers to protect. Case in point, on Friday I had had a long week and came home, let the chickens out. I made dinner and sat down for a bit when we heard a commotion in the backyard. Autumn was gone before I even stood up. I came upon feathers everywhere! A fox had come in and grabbed one of our girls. By the time I made my way up there, Autumn was after the fox and the chicken was making her way back down the hill!

Without her I don't know what we would do! She is tenacious, funny and sometimes a very quirky dog. She hogs the bed at night, wakes me in the morning by dropping my slippers on my head. If that doesn't work she begins to bark at me and then jump on me. She rises early in the morning to get her chores done, so should I! She is the best tool these farmers have, learned by many generations of past dogs!