Monday, November 30, 2015

winter storm warning

Winter is about to arrive if the predictions can be trusted.  Our little corner of the world is supposed to get two days of snow and anywhere from 7-10 inches.  So with the kids returned to their own homes the last of the holiday weekend was spent prepping for the white stuff.  Lots of good projects were completed.  The barn got new straw, both in the pen where the herd has access and where the dogs do.  The well was covered with straw bales and the last of the garden stuff and the picnic table were put away..  The first of my Christmas decorating--the hanging of the wreath on the barn--is done.  Mom shared a fresh green swag that is hanging near the front door and two small artificial swags, one on the chicken coop door and one by the back door.  My Christmas tree is bought but so far is standing in the garage.  We always get a real tree and the past couple of years we have gotten a tabletop tree which has worked out well with the number of dogs that are here when the family is all home. 

I have a long list of indoor projects so I shouldn't be short of things to do if the snow comes.  I might even get a bit more decorating done and the Christmas dishes out.

Thanksgiving day was my son's birthday.  We went out for supper on Friday night to celebrate and my younger daughter baked the cake and served it from one of her vintage cake plates.  This cake plate has gold trim and a pressed glass design.  The cake was chocolate, three layers, with chocolate frosting and topped with ganache and fresh raspberries.  Additional chocolate shavings topped the frosting between the layers.  The cake looked pretty and tasted great.  Fun times.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

There is a lot to be thankful for.  My family had a quick, easy breakfast and then we split up with my kids visiting other 'sides' for lunch and then joining me at my parents for supper.  Since we were making food to take along we had a quick drive by type breakfast set up in the kitchen to eat as anyone was ready.  Two kinds of scones with flavored butters, cinnamon rolls, juice and coffee and then we were off to other places.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2015

lumberjack day

Each fall we gather together at the farm on a Saturday to cut firewood.  It is great fun, lots of good exercise and it serves a good purpose.  My dad heats his shop with firewood so a lot of the firewood after drying at the farm for a year will be used in town at his shop.  My brother has a  fireplace and some of the wood will be burned there.  My sister and I and my kids have the occasional campfire or fire pit fire and some of the wood will be used there.  But even more important, the trees are getting old and many are near the outbuildings and house and there is worry that one might fall on a building or do damage to a building.  So the last few years we have moved from us choosing a tree that we can drop safely to having a pro come in and take down the trees that are most threatening.  This year we had them cut down a tree near the garage that we use for wood storage, a tree behind the chicken coop, and several trees that were leaning on the roof of the granary.  When the pros cut down the trees they start at the top in a manlift and remove the branches and then cut the trunk into chunks and drop them on the ground.  After they are done we have our lumberjack day.  We cut the trunk pieces to length and then the ones that are a large diameter are split into narrower pieces and they are stacked to dry.  The branches are piled and after they have had a chance to dry they will be burned.

Some pictures from the day the treetrimmers were at the farm.  In the first picture you can see the trees that have grown too close to the roof at the granary. 
 This second picture is the tree trimmer in the man lift cutting the trees, starting at the top.
This picture shows the granary after the trees are down.  This building needs the roof reshingled or a  new  metal roof put on and the trees were preventing that from being done.
 the picture above is the chicken coop.  The tree at the end of the building is still there is this picture but gone in the one below. 
According to the tree trimmer their man lift can reach reach 55 feet when fully extended and it was pretty much fully extended in this picture and the one below that was taken when they were working on one behind the garage.  
A few days later we had our lumberjack day.  We had a good crowd of the two legged variety and a good crowd of the four legged variety.  We had 10 people and 8 dogs.  We cut up brush.
 We cut up logs.
We hauled and carried the logs to the splitter where we started a pile.

We played some fetch.
 We ran around.
Indiana (front) and Willow (back)
 We laid in the sun.
Greta(front) and Reese (back)

 Sadie and Codie seem to have evaded the photographer this year.

We split some wood.

And some more wood.
We stacked the split wood in the garage.

 We had a few laughs.

And at the end of the day we had a well deserved adult beverage.

I did rescue a few branches for a craft project or two...

All in all we had a great day.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect--a beautiful fall day.  We had great food at our potluck lunch. 

We had another couple of hours on Sunday but sadly no pictures were taken.  We did watch Robb blow up a huge pumpkin.  There will be one more done over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Fun stuff. 

Look at the fruits of all of our hard work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do you multitask?

Last night I was doing perhaps the most concurrent projects that I have ever tackled.  I often do two things at once but last night I was listening to a webinar on goat raising and goat health while the cricut was cutting out gift tags and I was threshing my asparagus seeds.  When I would stop to program the cricut for the next set of cuts I would wash a few dishes or fold the towels before getting back to my threshing.

I saved one of my asparagus plants that had gone to seed.  We have been adding to our asparagus plantings every year since we started growing asparagus and each year I would buy new seed for plants.  Our first planting is old enough now that we were able to harvest it and the when the harvest was done the plants were allowed to form the tall fronds.  As I understand it, we have both male and female plants so some of our fronds grew small beads which turned red and then eventually started to dry.  When the asparagus was cut down as part of the fall cleanup I rescued one plant and it has been drying on my table ever since.  I was unsure where to put it, I didn't want the seeds to fall and get lost so it was a good, if unusual, choice of location.  It has been sitting there for the better part of two weeks but it was time to work on it to get it done before the weekend when my kids will be at the farm and we just might need that table for meals.

I started by pulling the pea sized 'beads' off of the branches.  There were some that were still red and not yet dry so I consolidated those branches into a smaller group after removing the dry ones.  After I got the dry ones into a small bowl it was time to separate the seeds from the dry husks that contained them.  The seeds are a hard, black, and irregularly shaped.  Rubbing the beads between my fingers allowed the seeds to drop into a low bowl a few at a time and I could then pick them out and put them in a different container.  It was a pretty laborious process but made  more enjoyable because of the other tasks that I was doing simultaneously.    I was able to get all of the dry seeds separated from their husks.  I will have a second go round when the remainder of the beads have dried.

The cricut project that I am working on is a group of two color gift tags.  They involve cutting each color separately and then gluing them together.  Another kind of putzy project.  I had already created the file on the computer so what was left was to adhere each different color paper for the project onto the cutting mat, instruct the machine to cut it and then remove all the tiny pieces from the mat. This process was repeated eight or nine times Once the cutting was done the two layers were glued together.  Not done yet but still needing to be done is to attach a string to each tag.  A fun project but it was nice to fill the downtime while the machine was cutting with other tasks.  Dishes and laundry--not as much fun.