Friday, December 04, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
3 Tbs. (21 g) gelatin
1/2 cup water
2 cups maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
As for my tour de fleece challenge, yes, I managed to spin every day of the tour.
I spun two skeins of cat fir blended with silk,
a whole bunch of
and about half of a secret project I'm spinning lace weight for a gift.
Considering I'm hand carding these as I go along and I don't have all that much experience spinning strange new fibres like cat, I think I did more than I could have hoped. Some days I only managed ten minutes of spinning, other days, an hour or two.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
I feel confident that I'll be back to blogging once things settle down in a few months.
So long 'till then,
Friday, April 17, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
It's interesting to see the chicks developed. Because they were born in a factory, they have no mother to teach them how to be chickens. A week out of the egg, they have only just begun to learn how to clean themselves. Some have figured out how to sleep like a bird instead of flopping down on the floor with their head at an odd angle. There are all sorts of things they don't know yet that I would have thought were instinctual for chickens. It just goes to show you one of the problems of industrial agriculture: the animals (and plants) don't know how to be themselves or are produced in an environment where they aren't allowed to be what they are.
While watching the chickens I've been thinking about my eating habits. I eat meat, not a lot, but some most days. I'm not going to be vegetarian any time soon and vegan, for me, is a long way off. I think that these are both very good ways of being, but it's not for me just now.
Even though I eat meat, I'm still deeply concerned with the conditions in which the animal is raised. This has two reasons: one, I don't like it when animals are mistreated and forced to live in conditions that do not meet their needs; and two, the quality of the meat is improved if the animals do not experience undue stress. Not only the taste improves, but also the nutritional value that we acquire from eating it. That way, if you grow an animal in a way that is closer to it's, well for lack of a better word, essence, then they may not grow so fat so fast, but you need substantially less meat to get the nutrition and flavour that you seek which leads to fewer animals being killed.
I digress. These chicks living in our coup; half of them will be food. This brings up weird feelings in me. I'm conscious of where I buy my meats and the conditions that they lived and were slaughtered. But this, raising chickens for my own consumption, this is different than driving down to the local butcher and buying something for dinner. I have several weeks to get to know these birds. That's what worries me.
I'm pretty certain I can eat them, but I know I couldn't kill them. Not at this stage in my life. The fact that I faint at the sight of blood has something to do with it. If I can insure they live a life that is congruent with their chicken nature, free from stress, then I don't think I would feel as bad about it as I do when I have to eat a factory or industrially raised chicken.
I think that there is something in the fact that they are food that makes me feel obligated to respect them. I feel more responsible for them than I would, say, a pet. Like I feel more responsible for a fruit tree or a vegetable plant than I do for ornamental flowers. There is a connection there: these things will nourish me, so I need to nourish them.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
If someone did something wrong accidentally, like say, ran over your cat with their car, that action was wrong. That doesn't necessarily make the person a horrible, horrible human being. Not in and of itself. The person might be generally good: gives to charity, reads to deaf orphans, &c. or the person might be generally nasty: tortures small animals, rapes trees, &c. or that person might just be average. One action does not a person make, and in this example, I feel that one can separate the one time act of running over a cat from the general theme of a person's life.
Or is it me that is screwed up? Can one mistake define a person. Is the person's behaviour the sum of who they are? Is that all there is to a person's sense of themselves? If I say I don't like behaviour x, is it suppose to follow that I don't like the person who did x? I had always thought no. But maybe I'm the only one. I just don't know anymore.
Not only was there snow on the grown, IN APRIL - what a joke, though I wish I was joking - they had also closed my old elementary school and, I can barely believe this to be true, the quiet old retirement town that we left now is home to, according to the locals, the largest walmart in Canada. So much has changed and so much stayed the same. There are little pockets of the past nestled in among huge developments. Things I thought would never change, have and other things remain.
What I remember and what the place is like now are completely incompatible. I wanted to see the place with adult eyes to learn just how everything was, but no. I can't match my mind's map of the place with how it is now. The landmarks are, well not gone, but overshadowed by development. It's the weirdest thing to go back, because you can't go back. Even though the place is the same, it's not the same place. The past really is another country.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Upon hearing this news, I threw on my shoes and jacket, ran back for my camera, then hurried along to see the sheep get all nakid. I was hugely excited as I've never seen sheep shorn before and especially because I've never taken photos of sheep being shorn before. This was going to be fun.
The only thing I did wrong was that, though I remembered to take my camera, I forgot to also take the memory card that makes camera work. So, sorry all, no photos.
I got there and I had a huge amount of fun. I learnt a lot about sheep. You have to remember that I have virtually no experience when it comes to caring for large animals. Sure, I've milked a cow before, well tried to at any rate, but that dosen't count. So, I spent the entire time questioning the shearer about everything even remotely related to keeping sheep.
The sheep were all rams which are definitely not pets. If your body language is not assertive and confident then they are extreemly dangerious. Even though they were all three years old and younger, I was very much aware that the smallest of them was almost twice my weight and almost all of that muscle. I even got to do some slight wrestling with one of them who tried to make a break for it. It was very strong, but once I got the grip right, I managed to turn it's head and send it home.
I got to bring home some fleece all of which were from breeds I've never worked with before. I have one Suffolk, a whole lot of Charollais, and a couple of Charollais crosses. The Suffolk is my favourite of the lot. Considering that this fellow was shorn in September last, it had quite a nice staple length. The Charollais is a very short fleece but extreemly fine and soft. It is going to make a nice woolen yarn. The shearer said that she spins that stuff up for baby clothes, it's that soft.
I might send some of this away for processing. I've been informed that the well at the farm won't support the amount of washing I want to do this year. I could collect some rain water and heat it up on a camp stove perhaps.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
But really, you don't. You don't need some great thing to write about, some super-duper event to share with the world. The blog (well, this blog) is not about that. It's about little things. Every day things. Really, when it comes down to it, it is that sort of little everyday things that make up the world.
So, my every day things:
Well, for about two weeks, the cougar moved into our shed. This was great because the deer stayed away and stopped trying to eat the new buds on the fruit trees. But the cougar moved on when G'pa set fire to the yard. This was a few days after he fell out of the fruit tree (12 feet) and hit his head. You think that would slow him down a little, but no. After 24 hours and a night of observation in hospital, he was out and about in the garden again. I tell you, I can't keep up with him. Anyway, this bump on his head came to our advantage as it was the very same fire chief that helped him after the fall, who came and told him off about the fire. The fire men very kindly educated us on all the little details that the council neglected to inform us about when we asked (like yes the council was right, we can burn, but only under certain conditions-something the council denied). So we learnt something new, got to know the local fire chief, and started building a chicken coup.
What? I didn't mention the chicken coup? Yesterday I helped dad start it. It's nice to get outside after most of a month in bed (tell you about that later), even if most of what I did involved eatting popcorn and watching with the occasional fetch, carry and "hold this there, no a little to the left, no, my left". We made a floor and two walls. Today, it's the other two walls and with luck, a roof. Later, we will put some siding on and with any luck at all, it will be finished before Easter (when the cute little chickens come home). This house is for the hens (and one rooster) and they will probably be free range. The neighbors seems to be able to let their chickens out without any loss. The cockerels will go into chicken tractors so that they can move around where we need them to eat bugs.
I think I'm going to make a sign for our coup: "Ain't no one here but us chickens." I think that's how the saying goes.
And here's Ginger:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Writing for me requires a lot of thought and solitude. I find I just cannot do it with other people in the room. I have all these stories to tell you, but when I'm expected to make conversation at the same time (not to mention before I finish my coffee) I just cannot focus. It's a bit like how I feel about using a large kitchen knife; I can't have people too close to me for fear that they will bump into my arm and I'll loose another large chunk of my thumb. But when I am alone, I'm completely confident in my knit using abilities.
At the farm here, the internet is in two places: downstairs in the basement which I cannot go because that's where we are storing all the things that make me ill until we can sort through them and begin the elimination process; and upstairs between the kitchen, dining area and liveing room. I find it very difficult to focus on writing when I am watching people playing around with my spinning wheel settings which I only just got right, pulling on one of the drive bands and stretching it so that the wheel with the double drive band now needs re-drive-banding, and so on. I know that person is curious, but UG, I need my own space. Before, there was a respect for domain: if it is something that so-and-so owns, then you don't touch it except in an emergency, now if it's in the house, no matter how delicate (not just talking about wheels now) it requires fiddling with and occasionally braking.
For example, just now after getting covered with oil from disconnecting the old oil tank, it was necessary to tell me something that I have no interest or involvement in when I was just about to write something really good about how having Lyme infecting the brain causes one to have a very short attention span and makes it easy to forget the extreemly witty things they were going to write before they were interrupted.
As you can tell, not being able to write every day is taking it's toll on me. I've tried writing the post in my room then coming online to post it. Besides the fact that I have to wrestle with blogger for formatting (a hell I'm not willing to go through each day) I have to do it while people expect me to interact with them. I'm not sociable in the morning. I need a good four hours to wake up, no matter how early or late I get out of bed.
The house is in a state of becoming and will continue to be this way for several months. There is a lot of renovations to get done and it is surprisingly difficult to get people to sell you a new heating system. Even when this is all done, I don't think there will be a place where I can write and craft without constant interruption. My bedroom is out because of the need for it to be space. Everywhere else is public space and is open to the rest of the house.
I think I need to look into building a studio. How hard can that be? Somewhere with lots of windows and airflow. Somewhere with running water and internet connection. Electricity and heating would be nice too. Maybe a ceiling fan. Somewhere where I can be my grumpy, antisocial self in the mornings without feeling terribly bad about it.
I wonder how one goes about something like this? I wonder if I'll be able to start it before I go completely batty.
Anyway, I now feel considerably less grumpy for being able to express myself. I also have a plan of action, though no one else in the house realizes it yet and it will probably won't go into action until next fall. But I like finding solutions. They make me feel productive.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Errata: Yep, I know it, my spelling skills suck.