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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pygora Goats

This is Tea. She is a Pygora goat and lives at Great Lakes Pygora Farm in West Olive Michigan. We will be heading down to see her on Thursday on "our way" to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

Her fiber was spun into the pink yarn from a previous post and it has tons of luster and softness. I am in love with this goat. Doesn't she look sweet? Evidently her left side is the most photogenic as she apparently posed for most of these."No, I'm not fat...I'm pregnant!" She is due to kid any day now...I was hoping to see babies on Thursday but she so far is not cooperating. Everyone else at Allison's farm has given birth, but not Tea....
"I'm holding out! And since you asked, here is the right side of my body too".

"Look, someone is getting a pedicure! I'm waiting in line to go next. See my pretty beard?"

"This is my incredible fiber...those ringlets are actually white!"

All of these photos are courtesy of Allison. I will be taking more while we are down there....

Making Pierogis

I admit that I am not Polish. I probably have no business trying to replicate the wonderful Polish food that exists on the planet. BUT.... I love Pierogi! I spent my early 20's in the city of Flint and there was a nice sized Polish population there, which meant that at least during Lent, one could purchase hand made pierogi from a variety of sources. They were wonderful...especially the cabbage ones.
While at the grocery store last week I picked up the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine to flip through while waiting. There was a three page spread on making still my heart! No doubt that I was going to buy the magazine and give it a whirl. Well, it was a success hands down! The dough was easy to make, roll and cut out with my 3 inch biscuit cutter. Martha tells you to put the finished little dumplings on a cookie sheet lined with a linen towel (I love any excuse to use linen) and sprinkle corn meal on it before plumping down the pierogi so they don't stick. The purple stuff on the lovely linen towel above is corn meal, honest. I had bought the blue corn meal at the farmers market in Lansing on a visit down there from a local small mill.

I made both potato and cabbage pierogi. Above is the filling for the cabbage. I thought it would be impossible to close the dough around that much filling, but no problem! If you look close you'll see that they aren't in any way perfect but they tasted so good...even better warmed up the next day. The recipe made about 40, so some went into the freezer (though I just wanted to eat them all right then and not save ANY!).I didn't re-roll any of the scrap dough (at Martha's insistence) so the kids had a ball playing with it. We'll definately make it again!

Finished Project

This is the finished doll I was working on that has the mohair and pygora handspun and koolaid dyed yarn highlights in her hair. I think she turned out pretty cute!
The colored strands just give a hint of highlights and don't overly dominate her look.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Work in Progress

I'm working on a waldorf doll for a lady who is putting it in her daughters Easter basket and she requested some pink and green strands of wool in her hair (which will be blonde). I didn't have any pink or green mohair on hand and finding those colors would have necessitated a long trip to a more upscale yarn shop (and more expense). So I thought "why not spin my own?!" I had purchased some mohair so I put that through the drum carder and spun it up...that is the green skein. The pink skein is a sample of Pygora that Allison from Great Lakes Pygora sent me...more about that later! ;) It spun up very smooth and was easy to work with. Out came the Kool-aid....Lemon-Lime for the green and Pink Lemonade for the Pygora.
These are the clothes- the hair color will match the dress colors pretty well I think!
I'm excited to put her all together and see how she turns out with the color in her hair...I'm sure she'll be cute! The doll will be assembled in the next two days in order to go out in Friday's mail.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend snaps

Ta Da! This is Goldy. He is a Buff Orpington Rooster that we traded our Barred Rock rooster "Rosey stripes" for. Rosey decided that we had bad JuJu and that I needed to be destroyed at all costs. He would sneak up on me while my back was turned and forcefully lunge himself at my body, going for the soft parts in the back of the knees. He would attack me while gathering up his girls eggs, putting water and food in the coop, and he even came out of the coop to give me a good whack. I had been feeling bad about thinking about getting rid of him but I finally had enough! He did cut a fine figure with the ladies and I miss his robust authoritative crowing. The girls really liked him too and he treated them very nicely (okay, now I'm feeling sad about this again). The folks that took Rosey were quite glad to get him and they had a few extra Buff Orpington Roos. So, I went over and selected this dandy fellow. He seems to be doing quite well so far. He is partial to the Buff Orpington hens (we have three) and the little bantam hens hang around him which they didn't do with Rosey. Little Grey (a bantam dark Brahma) roosted next to him his first night in the coop and she sticks pretty close to him. He has the most hilarious crow...there is a tremalo on the "doodle" part, and at the end he trills the "dooooooo" out quite a bit and sounds like a barred owl...not as proper as Rosey but very entertaining.

The girls have been working hard at they laid 20! We have 9 nest boxes for them to use, and all 20 were in three boxes. One box held 10 eggs...and the chickens were all waiting in queue complaining about how long everyone else took at full volume. It was loud in there today! They are really enjoying the good weather we've been having...the past two days have been 60 degrees!!! All of our snow is GONE except for the plow piles. Not natural for the EUP at this time of year...the fire gods will be active this spring if this keeps up... :)
The sheep are looking wild and wooly and starting to rise here and there. We have a "date" booked with the shearer! He will be coming sometime in the last two weeks of May from WI. He sounds like a really cool person and I'm looking forward to meeting him. He can do all our sheep in the space of time it takes Will and I to do one (while ignoring the dogs, phone, kids etc...).
Igraine was happy to see humans sharing her space and passed out many kisses today.
Pikachu just doesn't get as excited and was happy to soak up some sunshine. The weather has been great for the spirits, but bad for maple sugaring...the sap is just not running. The nights haven't been below freezing for a few days now but we are hoping to get another run in the next week or so. Good thing last year was so good for us- we still have a stash that could get us through if this year is a bust.

I don't know what is going on with blogger but I can't change the bloody font on that first paragraph...someone is doing some editing for me apparently as I didn't do the underline either!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The taps are set

When I came home from work on Friday, I saw Newfs and the blonde beast along the edge of our woodlot...I also saw the gleam of silver buckets! Will set fifteen taps and buckets and the sap is pouring out on these perfect sugaring days of days above 40 degrees F and nights below freezing. It has been a beautiful weekend. The chickens are getting much braver about roaming through the snow now that it is melting. The meltoff is allowing some minor stream action in this sandy soil that we only see at this time of year.

Where are the photos you ask? SOMEONE left the camera sitting on her desk at work because she had to show off photos of the new rooster...but that is for another post.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fair Trade

Petrucio, the shetland wether with attitude, went to be a companion to a lonely ewe a couple of weekends ago. I was grateful that someone, knowing his issues full well, was willing to give him a chance to keep someone company. Otherwise, he probably would have ended up in a neighbors freezer.The lady who drove 200+ miles to get him has a rabbitry. Now you may ask yourself "why would someone trade a shetland sheep with a fine fleece for the above scrawny rabbit whose sole purpose will be to entertain and not earn his keep?" I didn't come up with that on my own- it was pretty much what Will said after an incredulous "What are you going to do with that??"

Let me explain. On her way here, the rabbit lady took some of her buns to Tractor Supply Company where she supplies bunnies to be foisted on unwary parents who made the mistake of bringing a child along shopping at their favorite store. The folks at TSC didn't like the looks of this slender bunny who is part Rhinelander, a "racing" type breed, so she had him in a cage in the back of her vehicle. Did I mention that Lila was also outside? She saw the bunny and said OUT LOUD "Mommy, could we trade Petrucio for the bunny?" I hurridly shushed her and gave her the "hey cut it out!" panicky look. She smiled, tilted her head sideways and fluttered her eyelashes. Evidently the rabbit lady either heard her, or her keen intuition kicked in because she asked if Lila would like to hold him. After Lila had an armful of rabbit, I tried to give the rabbit lady some money for gas (as she really was doing us a big favor to take Mr. Petrucio). She smiled at me, as only a true salewoman can, and said "no, but you could take the bunny".

What was a girl to do I ask you? And just look at his ears! He has hind feet to match.