Thursday, February 16, 2017

New eggs, laundry stand, and Luna

It's fully winter here, except that this year the world mostly forgot to do winter. The expected high tomorrow is over 60 degrees, and it's February! So strange. We've had less than a foot of snow all winter so far.

Nevertheless, we've had winter activities. In farm news, our laying hens started laying and have been producing about fifteen dozen eggs a week. Hooray!
Sometimes Ryan gets a little help sorting and cleaning them all.

For the house, we built a stand for the washer and dryer. It was a nice weekend project, and I really like the result. Before:

In progress:
I especially love the space underneath that fits our laundry baskets.

I also want to show that we've not only kept an orchid alive in the window of our bathroom shower, but we got it to rebloom!

For quilting, I've done a few smaller projects. First, we didn't have Christmas stockings for the kids, so I made some for our kids and also our nieces and nephew.
They were fun to make, the one farthest back in this picture is mine that my grandmother made me long ago; I used it as a template.

I also made a denim quilt with regular quilting cotton in between the denim, which I love. It looks like stained glass and is very comfy.
A fellow farmer friend of ours had a baby (shout out to Prairie's Edge Farm!) and I had a small quilt in progress, so I finished it for her and sent it off.
It ended up "busier" than I would have liked, but it will work. I backed it with super soft fuzzy fabric.

H did some sewing of her own, and made an Elsa dress for her doll. Maybe not a "beginner" project, but she was persistent and willing to take direction and help from me and she did a nice job.

In family news we're attempting yet another dog. The border collie decided to herd a car, so she didn't make it. We installed invisible fence and adopted a Great Pyrenees. Here she is the day we adopted her, two months old.
We've named her Luna and she's going to be quite a bit bigger than this. She was born in September, so she still has a lot of growing to do. Here she is chewing on a stick:

In family life, H and I took our annual ski trip again in December.
She got to the point that she was going down real hills (instead of the learning hills for kids) and went down about 7 different slopes up about 4 different lifts at Breckenridge. Go girl, go!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

New placemats, costumes, and completed hearth

As usual, life got away from me and so did the Fall. We had a very long warm Fall here, which is unusual but was generally welcome. Ryan has been starting the chicken building by pouring a concrete pad, I believe more on that can be found on his blog. He brought me in for some of the two-person work, like leveling out the top of the wet concrete.

 I hadn't ever done that before, it was interesting to do! Just add it to my list of "Skills I never thought I would have."
The 6-month-old calves tend to come investigate every time we're out there, they're very curious what we're doing in the hay lot. There was another one in the following picture as well, but I couldn't capture them all in the same shot. 
In September we went to the Apple Festival at Penoach Winery and tended a booth for the business. It was an OK day, but I'm not sure if we will do it again.
With Thanksgiving over recently, I was proud to get my turkey boiled down for stock already! I took a picture, primarily for posterity.

In sewing/quilting news, I went to upload pictures and discovered I've completed more than I thought I had in the last few months. I sewed myself a new laptop bag for work because the one I had was worn out and the one I could get from my company was just less interesting to me.
I lined it with some pretty pink fabric and edgestitched it in pink as well to add a personal and feminine touch.
I also finished a quilt from the scraps of my lone star Christmas quilt that is serving as a seasonal throw on my couch.
Also in quilting, I replaced the placemats that I made 6 years ago, and this time I made 16 of them!
They're a bit of a modern aesthetic and I also made matching napkins and a table runner.

Lastly, it was Halloween season and for the first year I really did it justice (in my opinion). H wanted to be Tinkerbell, which means she needed wings in addition to her costume. Here is the picture I found online that I used to base the wings on:
I did some work with a couple of wire coat hangers to get the basic shape:
Then I got some white tights and stretched them over the frame:
Then I tightened them up and sewed it in place, and attached some elastic:
The last step was to draw the swirly patterns on the back with silver puff paint that I had on hand.
I also made some shoe covers out of fleece and big white pom-poms. 
I picked fleece because I don't have to hem it and it has a bit of stretch to it. I also made both kids' costumes out of fleece. 
Z wanted to be Mario (the kid loves Mariokart if I haven't already mentioned it) so we bought the hat and the red sweatshirt and I made the overalls out of--you guessed it--more fleece. His mustache is a piece of felt taped on.
Ryan decided to also get into the fun with his blue Carhartts and a hat of his own. 

H has shown an interest in sewing, so she is sewing an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen for one of her dolls (with heavy help). I'm trying to get her to do as much on her own as she can, so here she is cutting out the pattern.

I also finished the hearth project that was mentioned a couple of blog posts back, and it looks awesome. I'm not sure when it will get a wood stove, but it will at some point.

I've been working a lot more than previously and took this mirror selfie on a business trip, so I thought I'd include it on this blog since I usually post about Ryan's work and not my own! ;-)
The kids are doing well in school, Z is enjoying Montessori. His spatial reasoning is especially good. 
I also failed to post first-day-of-school pictures, so here are some:

We all hope you have a happy early winter season, perhaps I'll get another post in before Christmas!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

End-of-summer gardens, creatures, and outings

It has been a fairly dry summer at the farm, much to Ryan's chagrin. Pretty much every storm that has come through has petered out right at our farm and then fired back up once it's past us. For example, last night there was heavy flooding about 10 miles east of us in Des Moines, but we got 0.3" of rain, which is amazing! Farmers really do live and die by rainfall amounts, we pretty much never miss the weather on the 10:00 evening news! There have been some truly lovely sunsets, though.

There have also been a couple of nice rainbows.

We had a turkey that didn't get out of some of the rain a couple of weeks ago, and a cold wet turkey is not likely to survive. So we brought it into the garage to warm up and dry off. This is almost the only thing my hair dryer ever does!
The turkey made a full recovery once we had her dried off and we were able to take her back to the flock.

I also told you I would update you on my garden, so I took a picture of my garden this morning. "Horribly neglected" is somehow insufficient as a description...

The yellow cherry tomatoes decided to go nuts, and I did a bad job of harvesting my radishes (they are off to the left of the picture, out of sight). It's still a more successful garden than any I've ever had, so I will continue to get better at this garden thing. 

My morning glories did grow well up my back porch, this is the first year that some of the variegated variety have shown up!

I took a picture of a very large garden spider hanging out by our pumpkins (which are not in the garden)--she's a beauty, but didn't feel like posing for me.

Also in critter news we adopted a puppy. This is our fifth attempt at a dog since starting a farm (with varying types of failure), but is our first attempt at a puppy. She's a border collie mix, we think mixed with rat terrier since she is not shaggy enough to be pure border collie. She's very smart, but also very puppy-like and we've been working on house training and getting her to not herd the children around. 

We took the kids to Living History Farms a couple of weeks ago, where they got to see some of how people used to farm. They aren't quite old enough to really make the connections and see how things are the same and how they are different from those farms to ours. 

At the fair this year the kids were old enough to start playing more, including the tunnel of squash (?) that they put up near the agriculture building. Here they are running out of the tunnel:

I'm biased, but I think those are pretty good pictures of both of them!

H and I just got back from our annual trip to Clearwater Camp's family camp, where we had a great time! The weather was just perfect.

We did some fishing, here I caught H right at the moment she had touched the fish and is currently saying "Eww!"

And we also tried archery for the first time, with some help from a counselor.

'Til next year, beautiful North Woods!