Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Egg

Christmas morning one of the buff Orpingtons gifted me with an egg. It was the first one I had received from them in many weeks. I chose the Orpingtons because they were reported to be good winter layers. All I can say about that is .. hah! There was another one in the nest box this morning so maybe after a little egg free vacay they are getting back into the program ... one can always hope.

The Red Stars have been faithful layers of huge brown eggs with very few days of not laying. I plan to get two more Red Star chicks to add to my flock this coming spring. Their eggs are nearly twice the size of the Orpingtons. My Sweet Cicely has the best personality. She trails after me like a cat and loves to be talked to and petted.

I'll also be adding four Ameraucanas. Either pullets from my nurse practitioner or chicks from a local farm store. I think I would prefer to raise the chicks but it would also be nice to have pullets ready to lay eggs in time for the Farmers Market. If I can figure out the lodging logistics I might do both. =)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from The Black Sheep Cottage

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We do our family celebration on Christmas Eve. This year will be a little different as we will gather at Angela's instead of going home to the farm. Our Mom hasn't been feeling very well. Being together is what counts so we adapt. This year Jaidy is three and should liven things up considerably.

Jaidyn was in her first Christmas program Sunday evening. She was a hoot. No concern at all about being in front of a crowd.

Wishing you all a blessed time with family and friends. Please take time to remember the reason for the season.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Swag Bucks?

Do you know about Swag Bucks??

Swag Buck users utilize a Google search engine and earn points (Swag Bucks) that we turn over to purchase merchandise and gift cards. My Swag Bucks are usually turned into Amazon gift cards that I use to purchase gifts, or something for myself. Right now I am saving to buy a hand crank radio. I have a couple of crank lanterns and really like them so the radio seemed like the next addition to my emergency kit.

I recently added a SB widget to the bottom of my blog and hope you check it out.

It's Snowing!

Yay it's snowing. I haven't had snow on my birthday in a very long time. It's only a inch, maybe two inches, but it is white and pretty so it makes me happy. =)

I didn't take this photo but there are squirrels in my backyard, and they do look like this one, so it works. [smile]

My chickens had been investigating the snow when I went to feed. It is their first snow and I don't believe they were impressed .. at least not favorably impressed. Cicely and Tansy kept telling me all about it. I love to hear them chatter at me.

My family is getting together this afternoon for a Birthday spaghetti dinner. Later we will go to the Christmas parade. Our town has a night time parade which is pretty neat. Every entry must be lighted so even the horses wear Christmas lights. Everyone bundles up, takes their folding chairs and hot chocolate and enjoys themselves. It's crazy but always a lot of fun.
Stay warm!
~ Penny ~

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm giving thanks for all my many blessings.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching Up

Yikes! It has been a week since I arrived home from Retreat and I'm still playing catch up at home and at work.

Retreat was wonderful. Hanging out with my sisters. Visiting with old friends and meeting new friends. Went for a walk around the grounds with Ally (5 yo granddaughter of Conni from Missouri). We graded the leaves for crunchiness as Ally jumped on them .. the crispy one won. =) Ally was such a good girl. She entertained herself and us too!

I made a few pairs of earrings and a fob to hold the latch on my laptop case closed. I also finished two hats and a scarf, all commissioned pieces. I planned to work on two child sized sweaters but there was too much distraction for a first time pattern.

Christine, Phyllis and I went to Sheep Street on Saturday. I bought oil for Jezebel and a cone of slubby linen/rayon to use on a weaving project this winter. It was so nice to visit the shop with like minded folks. Angela is getting better but unless DebJo dozes off in the car she still whines a bit if I go over my one hour limit. (smile)

Better close now and go do laundry ... part of that catching up business don't you know.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Packing for Retreat

My sisters and I will be attending a quilt retreat November 10th -November 14th. Angela is the hostess so we will be there early Wednesday to set up and have everything ready for the ladies. This time there will be a mix of old friends and new friends. Several of the first time attendees are from Indiana which is a little different and very cool.

The photo I have posted is of the conference center at Camp Camby. The front part of the building is the kitchen and restrooms. The round barn-like part is our "sewing room".

Sister DebJo and I are the non quilters attending again this time. I plan to take Jezebel and wool so hopefully Christine can help me figure out why I can't get the spun yarn to take up on the bobbin. I have been commissioned to crochet two child size sweaters and three little boy hats so they are going with me. I told DebJo I would take my jewelry stuff so we can make earrings together. I think Angela plans to take mostly handwork too. She still isn't feeling up to par. =(

Time spent with my sisters and friends is something I've been looking forward too. Our meals are catered and everyone brings their favorite snacks. We will talk, work, eat and relax ... not necessarily in that order. ;^)

My neighbor, Nicholas, and niece, Heather, will keep the farm going while I'm away. Daddy will be periodically checking in too. It is so good to have family and neighbors you can count on!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indiana Fiber & Music Festival

Angela and I have been accepted as vendors at the Indiana Fiber & Music Festival. This is a new festival and we are excited to be vending in a new area.

April 30 to May 1, 2011, Clark County 4H Fairgrounds, Charlestown , Indiana

Last Day of Market

Yesterday was the last day of the 2010 Market season. I had mixed feelings about the day. I was sad that I wouldn't be seeing the vendors and customers I came to enjoy visiting with every Saturday. On the other hand I look forward to sleeping in a little on Saturday mornings and need to be refreshed with that extra rest. Market was great but I'm worn out.

With the change in season Angela is having trouble with Lupus and we would covet healing prayers. She was unable to attend Market the last two weekends and very disappointed to miss the last day. She was particularly sad to miss baby Viola the Market baby and a special favorite. I was told there is a get-together planned for the vendors in February so that is something to look forward to.

Talking with customers has given us ideas for next year so we will be busy over the winter knitting and crocheting.

Wishing us all a blessed week!

P.S. I appreciate the compliments on my hand-dyed yarn!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Handpainted Yarn

I thought I would share a photo of some of the yarn I have been offering at Market. Most of the yarn is Merino or a Merino/Silk blend. I mainly used acid dyes but also a small amount of Kool-Ade in some cases to get a particular colorway. Some of the yarns are indigo dyed and vary in blue tones.

Angela took photos of our offerings to send with our 2011 show applications. We are planning to attend two shows before Market commences next Spring.With Market beginning just a few weeks after the last show we will need to work hard over the Winter months. [smile]

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Drought Continues.

We haven't had any significant rain since the first week of July. It was a few days after that rain when I planted the new front garden ... not the good timing I thought it was.

A week ago I planted my nectarine tree and truly longed for a pickax of my very own. The dab of rain the day before showed in the one half inch of slightly damp top soil. I have never dug into soil so dry. It was crazy! The hole should have been a little deeper but I wasn't woman enough to make it happen.

After the tree was placed into the hole I poured in a gallon and a half of water. While the root ball soaked up the moisture I carried over some of the good stuff from under Sunny Bunny's hutch. I mixed the "stuff" with a bit of the soil and back-filled the hole then watered again. To mulch around the tree (and to also keep the feral cats away from the loosened soil) I used the top and bottom from a pizza box. A slit went from the edge of the cardboard, then a circle was cut from each box and then they were placed around the base of the tree. It has worked well.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Herbal Teas

In my quest to decrease the amount of caffeine I consume I've been drinking Celestial Seasoning's herbal teas. The teas are good but the cost does add up. I added Lemon balm and Monarda citriodora ( sometimes called Lemon mint) to the new front garden. This weekend I will harvest some of the Lemon balm and dry it in my new dehydrator (a Wal-Mart clearance purchase this summer). The LB has done very well considering I planted it in July and we had a miserably hot, and dry, summer. LB can be used to make a hot or cold tea and may also be added to black tea.

It will be probably late Spring of next year before I will have enough of the Monarda to harvest.

Peppermint, Spearmint, and Anise hyssop are favorites of mine so I want to add a few plants of each herb to the garden next year. The mints will either go into large pots to keep them under control or I will buy more landscape fabric which has worked well with some of the other invasive plants.

The dried tea herbs may be another item I can sell at market next year ... I'll have to add them to my list of possibilities. [smile]

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just a thought ...

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
~ Thomas Edison

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall – A Season of Reflection

Kathy over at Two Frog Home was recently talking about journaling and Fall. This struck a cord with me so I bought an inexpensive sketchbook at the Dollar General Store. I want to keep track of my thoughts but to also have room to add other things that may appeal to me, clippings, sketches etc.. The photo above isn't mine but is similar to what I'm going to do. The cover of my newly purchased journal doesn't suit me so I will embellish it a bit and make it my own. Gotta love pretty paper and glue sticks.

With the beginning of Fall and the Farmers Market nearing it's close for the season I have been thinking of what I want to do different next year. I doubt if I offer my earrings next year. Although I kept the cost under $10.00, used sterling silver findings and semi-precious stones I still didn't sell very many pairs. C'est la vie

I did sell my hand-dyed yarns and will be expanding my offerings of them with more colorways and sock yarns too. This winter I want to make buttons using polymer clays. I have most of the supplies so just need to take the time to do it!

I have several knitted facecloths made up and want to make mini spa sets with a facecloth, soap and lotion bar bagged together and price them just under $10.00. The cloths are in pretty colors and the honey soap is nice enough to use on your face or a baby's skin.

I'm also wondering about weaving some wool hot pads then fulling them to thicken them up ... not certain about this one but may make a few test ones to see how they go over with my family.

Next Saturday a market visitor may come by our booth and help me with my spinning. I cannot for the life of me get the yarn to take up. After tightening and loosening and trying everything I know I called my wheel an old Jezebel and walked away. Jezebel is an Ashford traditional single treadle wheel that was gifted to me by a friend in Victoria BC ... thank you Michelle. I really want to spin and have many pounds of roving tucked away in my wool closet. Hopefully Connie will be able to get us working as a team and next summer I can offer handspun yarn at market.

It has been raining lightly most of the day so I'm heading home to work on my journal and give Jezebel a spin or two. Wishing you a blessed week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Orchard Plans for The Black Sheep Cottage

Fruit trees have always been an interest of mine. Where I lived before was not my property so I didn't want to invest in a small orchard when circumstances could change requiring me to move and leave everything I planted behind so I waited.

Well the waiting is over. Last week I purchased a semi-dwarf Nectarine tree at Lowes. Second on the list is a Red Haven Peach tree, another semi-dwarf. Next Spring I would like to add a Plum, a Brown Turkey Fig and a Seckle Pear. After those I'll probably call it done unless I find a very good deal on a pair of dwarf Apple trees that I could practice espalier.

Someone with a "real" orchard might snicker at the tiny homestead orchard I plan but I think for me it will be just right.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Eggs

So I was wrong when I posted all four of the chickens were laying eggs. It turns out only Cicely and Rosemary were getting with the program. I had a discussion with Tansy and Marguerite a week ago and explained that their free ride was about over. They had developed nice drumsticks and becoming a "Snack-Pak" was in their future. They beat the deadline of September 17th this morning. =)

Now if I can convince them to use the nest box and not the floor of the coop. Tansy is a big girl and even after I moved the box around she still squeezed her chubby self behind it. Silly girl.

Angela and I had a very successful Market Day yesterday. I sold two skeins of yarn, one of which is going to New Jersey. Angela sold over two dozen baby hats! It was crazy!! She also sold some felted bags including one she made from my indigo dyed yarn. The lady bought two other bags but kept going back to the ID one until she finally bought it. She loved the idea of the natural dyed yarn. Very cool!

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


There were four eggs in the nest box Sunday morning. Since then we have two more plus a couple of near-misses. The near-misses include one egg that was perfectly formed except it lacked a shell. Cicely popped out a yolk after much contemplation the other day and after more consideration followed it with the membrane. I have never seen a chicken have a "far away" look in her eyes but Cicely did while passing that egg.

The large light tan egg in the photo was a double yolk. I still do not know who is laying which eggs. I think the brown eggs may belong to the Red Stars and the light tan eggs to the Buffs Orpingtons.

We are still waiting for rain. It has been weeks since we had any kind of helpful showers. The grass/hay is crunchy and many gardeners have lost much of their produce.

The perennials and herbs I planted in early July have done very well. They have only been watered three times since they were planted. When planting we always place the plant in the hole and water well. After back filling the soil I left a depression to form a shallow well and watered again.

This my first time to use landscape fabric with a mulch cover and I highly recommend it. Most of what I planted is invasive so I cut large holes in the fabric to allow for growth. The fabric/mulch combo should keep everything in check but still allow nice full plants.

The small arbor I had been keeping my eye on at the Tractor Supply finally dropped to where I could afford it. While I love the look of traditional white arbors to avoid extra maintenance I'm sealing this one and letting age to gray. After it is assembled and in place I will get my photographer to take a few photos.

Time to head home....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hallelujah It Rained This Morning!

It didn't last very long but we received a much needed gentle rain this morning. I sat on my back porch before work and called Mom to see if it was raining at the farm too. It was .. so Yay!

Earlier this Spring we were moaning all it did was rain and storm but it has been several weeks since we had any rain and it has affected farmers, gardeners and the animals.

Last night, at first dark, I watered down the chickens' run. It had become so dry that the soil was turning to dust. The only green showing was a ground cover the girls do not care to eat. Hopefully the combination of that watering plus the morning shower will green things up. The girls do like a little fresh grass. =)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Giveaway at Two Frog Home

I almost forgot to mention Kathy, at Two Frog Home, is offering a giveaway of one of her new e-courses. They both sound great and I am hard pressed to choose just one.

Visit her and please mention you saw the giveaway here.


Week's Update.

My sister Debbie brought Jaidy to the Library on Friday. They popped into the office and visited for a few minutes. Deb told me Jaidy said she wanted to go to the "Liberry" to see Penny, play and get books. Big yay that she put me before play and books! ;^)

We had a great day at Market. The weather was perfect! We spent time visiting with friends, got a little baby love and made some money. My hand dyed wool received some compliments and a couple of folks were intrigued by the indigo dyed yarn and shibori.

I worked on a silk scarf this morning. It is almost ready for the indigo vat. If it is "photo worthy" I'll ask Angela to take a few photos. This afternoon I will prop up my feet and but the rest of the indigo yarn on the swift and use my ball winder. I should have five skeins to take next Saturday.

I also need to make more earrings to cover the ones I sold yesterday and fill up my display. I think I'll make a few dainty little earrings for young ladies. Most of what I create are long and not really appropriate for the younger girls.

Tomorrow I go to Carmel, Indiana to see my knee surgeon, Dr. John McCarroll. He is the doctor who did my ACL reconstruction several years ago. My nurse practitioner thinks I have a cyst on the tendon of my right knee. It has begun to bother me so I decided it should be taken care of before Angela has her surgery at the end of the year. Hopefully it won't be a big deal.

Take care and stay cool!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A few of my favorite quotes.

I believe that when combined the following quotes make a great philosophy of life.

I Thessalonians 4: 11,12 (KJV) "And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we command you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and [that] ye may have lack of nothing."

"To live content with small means ; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion ; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich: to listen to stars and birds,babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk, gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common ... this is my symphony."
William Henry Channing

Remember the three R's : Respect for self, Respect for others : and Responsibility for all your actions.
(Not certain of the source.)

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's still too hot!

It is still crazy hot and humid here in southern Indiana. We get these little pop up storms and instead of cooling things down they only raise the humidity even more. I apologize for being a whiny baby but dang I would like to enjoy some of the summer.

I raided the savings account and bought a laptop at WalMart this morning. It was a good deal on an Acer Aspire 5251. (Good thing I like Ramen noodles, oats, and other cheap foods!) Some of my Library customers use net books and like them very much. While I like the portability of the smaller size reading from the small screen and typing on that small keyboard would get old in a hurry.

We have several free Wi-Fi places in Bedford, including the Library, so I may wait a bit before I get service at home.

Angela's visit to the neurosurgeon didn't go as we had hoped. Because of the pleurisy, cracked rib and some capillary swelling in her brain it may be December before the surgery happens. =(

The photo is one Angela took a few weeks ago when Jaidy and her Meme (my sis DebJo) came to visit the chickies. We love how her lil rounded cheeks show the bit of baby girl still in her face.

Jaidy hadn't seen the girls since they were very small and was quite amazed at how large they were now. She knew she must not chase them but decided to try out her recently acquired "skipping" skills. Too funny! The girls did not think much of this so we only let her make a couple of laps in the pen.

Stay cool and have a blessed week!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cleaning, Dyeing & Life

While I've been neglecting the blog I haven't been a total slacker.

With the help of my neighbor, Nicholas, my backporch has become an outdoor living room. We cleaned out, scrubbed and rearranged to make a pleasant sitting/work area that I have been enjoying immensely. It's been so nice to sit in one of my wicker chairs and relax with a cool drink after work. A simple pleasure. Smile

My indigo vat is up and running. I remove the lid of the vat (a five gallon bucket) move the "flower" to the side then immerse a skein of wool yarn. The yarn comes out a strange yellow/green color but after it is rinsed and exposed to the air it changes to blue. Very cool!

Nicholas has taught me Shibori and I love it. We did a few samples (pictured above) using small squares of muslin and after I practice a bit more will move on to silk scarves.

This has been one of the hottest and wettest summers I can remember! The farmers (my daddy included) should be on their second cutting of hay but many are just now finishing the first cut. This first cutting is not the best hay. It is heavy and rank so it is slow to cure. I hope the humidity drops down soon so our animals have good, and plentiful, winter rations.

My chickens are doing very well. No eggs yet but Daddy has already made them a nest box. It is a bit large for their hutch but should work just fine.

Angela has a pre-opt appointment with the neurosurgeon tomorrow. She still has pleurisy and a cracked rib (I think it is the fourth cracked rib this summer) which must be healed before surgery. Sigh

The heat advisory is suppose to be over at 7:00 p.m. so I think I will head home and throw a few skeins of wool into the indigo vat. I have super wash sock yarn plus a few skeins of worsted I want to dye for Market on Saturday.

Stay cool!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let the Dyeing Begin!

Yay my order arrived yesterday.

I bought a Indigo kit, several dyes (for cotton), a few inexpensive silk scarves (for practice), a good hand cleaner (because I rarely remember my gloves), soda ash and Synthrapol.

It should be a good start to fabric dyeing and Shibori. I plan to practice the fabric dyeing on muslin then move on to the better quality "Bella" by Moda. We will use more muslin and the silk scarves to practice the Shibori.

I bought a book on Shibori and it seems pretty straight forward. Basically anything goes when it comes to finding objects to use in the resistance dyeing. Marbles, popcorn, rubber bands, coins, PVC pipe, wooden blanks .... it's all good.

Angela is making diaper covers (longies and shorties) out of wool yarn and we are planning a "Dye Day" . She enjoys playing with the colors too so we should have a lot of fun. =)

This a little unique.

Saturday is Market at Orleans, Indiana followed by a wedding on the Orleans Square. The couple met at Market three years ago and decided that was where they wanted to be married. Everyone is to bring a clean mason jar and a hoe or rake. The farmers market will provide flowers to place in the mason jars for us to hold during the ceremony and then we'll all form an Arch of Hoes and Rakes for the happy, married couple to stroll under after being pronounced husband and wife. Angela and I decided to forgo the hoe/rake arch ... with our junky hands we would probably lose our grip and clobber the bride and groom!

Chicken Update

The girls were finally moved into their pen last week. They weren't certain of what to make of all the space available to them. The pen is 10' x 22' so it seems huge to four pullets.

The first picture is of my neighbor Nicholas holding Cicely (Red Star). The middle one is Rosemary (Red Star) and Marguerite (Buff Orpington). All four of them enjoy scratching out the grit onto the grass. The last photo is Cicely and Tansy (Buff Orpington). We hope to get some better shots soon. The girls were distracted by the company and didn't want to pose. =)

I appreciate all the time and effort my Daddy spent helping me to make a nice home for the girls.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's been A While ...

.... since I last posted. A lot has happened in the last two weeks.

June 4th & 5th Angela and I vended at the Hoosiers Hills Fiber Arts Festival. No photos. =( We called this our "nursing home" set up. She had pleurisy and two cracked ribs. I have pinched nerves in my neck and my usual aches and pains. We decided this booth was definitely not photo worthy!

It was not a very busy show. We made some money but I think the best part was making new contacts. We were invited to participate in a three day quilt show next March at Rising Sun, Indiana. The show is held in a casino so that should be interesting. Our sister Debbie has begun saving her nickels and quarters for the trip. (wink)

This upcoming show has motivated me to try my hand at fabric dyeing. It is something I have always wanted to try but have never gotten around to doing. Plus, Nicholas, my 14 yo neighbor across the street, and I are going to play with Shibori. It will be my first time dyeing with indigo ... can't wait!

Angela and I went to the Midwest Eye Institute on June 7th. Her neurosurgeon wanted her to see a neuro-ophthalmologist in case the pituitary tumor was putting pressure on her optic nerve. After many hours of testing the doctor reported no pressure on the nerve and said the surgery was a go.

Now we wait to hear from the surgeon when she is scheduled for brain surgery. This is a very big deal and as always we covet prayers.

Daddy and I have spent two of my days off putting together a chicken run for the girls. While making the hoops that will support the netting to cover the run I commented now that we know how to assemble hoops we could make a hoop house to cover my little walled garden. I got "the look". You know the one ... that "Are you crazy??" look. LOL I suspect Nicholas and I will be making the hoop house. =)

We are celebrating Father's Day this afternoon and Mom just called to tell me she and Daddy haven't had electricity since 4:00 a.m this morning. We had some wicked storms last night. (sigh) Hope we can sit outside under the maple tree and catch a breeze or two!

Have to pick up a loaf of bread for Mom so I had better get a wiggle on.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh Wow! Look at What I Won!!

I'm so excited! I entered a giveaway to win this book on the Backyard Farming blog and won.

Here is a description of the book from Amazon.

"Swap the annuals for edibles, creating attractive beds and containers that both beautify the yard and provide a bounty of fresh produce

As a trained chef-turned-professional kitchen garden designer, Marta Teegen knows what a difference freshly harvested vegetables can make to a meal—and how easy it is to ensure seasonal vegetables are always available when you need them.

You'll find more than 40 top picks for small-space vegetables that yield big and are trouble-free, plus a variety of menus and 50 recipes for fresh and delicious summer dishes."

The book looks very good and I can't wait to read it. I appreciate the folks at Backyard Farming for offering the book. They have a great blog!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What's been going on lately .....

The last few weeks have been a mixed bag of life.

May 12th-16th Angela and I went to quilt retreat. This retreat came about through the Back Porch Friends, a Yahoo group Angela started several years ago. Ladies come from all over the country, and usually our friend Michelle from Canada also attends, to visit and sew together. We have been doing this for several years and enjoy it very much.

I'm the only non-quilter who attended this time. Usually our sister Debbie comes with us but Marjorie Melvin, Deb's mother-in-law passed away on May 8th and Bill Melvin, her father-in-law, was nearing the end of his time on earth.

Sunday, May 16th, our uncle Jerry Myers passed away. The morning of May 17th Debbie called to tell me Bill had died a little after midnight. Margie was 85 and Bill was 91. David, my brother in law, lost both his parents in eight days. We attended their double funeral on Thursday and funeral visitation for our uncle on Wednesday evening. It's been a very difficult time and I ask you to please keep Deb, David and their daughter Hillary in your prayers.

Saturday, May 22nd, was the opening day for the Orleans Farmers Market Angela and I are vending there this season. We were pretty pleased with our sales. Ange sold several of her sweet crocheted baby hats and a few little felted bags. I sold a few pairs of earrings. Next weekend I will have hand dyed yarns and soaps to offer too. I have to work at the Library that Saturday but Angela will be there with either Mark or Heather.

I will be probably attending the market solo after next month, unless I can talk Miss Heather into going with me. Angela will be having surgery to remove a brain tumor in a month or so and will be recuperating the rest of the summer. We covet prayers for her surgery and recovery.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sunny Visits the Library

It was take your bunny to work day for Miss Sunny and I. My coworkers at the Library have been after me to bring her in for a little show and tell. Sunny was nervous but still did very well. Staff and customers all ooohed and aaahed over her. Some of the customers didn't believe she was real until they were close enough to see her nose twitch. =) None of her admirers had seen a blue eyed bunny before and thought she was very unique.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hoosier Hills Fiberarts Festival

Angela and I will be first time vendors at the Fiberarts Festival in Franklin, Indiana in early June. This is the 6th year for this festival and there seem to be several vendors lined up to attend. Please stop by and visit if you are in the area.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chickie Bums or We Are Growing Up

The chicks are growing like crazy. The Red Stars are getting into the gawky stage .. not quite chick, not quite chicken. The Buff Orpingtons are a little younger than the Red Stars so they are still looking more like chicks. I've included a picture of my niece Heather holding Marguerite, one of the Buff Orpingtons. See how she is feathering out and getting lil tail feathers on her booty? She is named for Golden Marguerite also called Dyer's Chamomile. I've decided to go with herb names for the chickens. The other BO chick is Tansy and the Red Stars I am keeping are Rosemary and Cicely or Sweet Cicely.

The chicks are so much fun. At first whenever I introduced some new food item to their brooder box they acted as though I was trying to poison them! They have pretty much gotten over that and will jump into the the loose hay I give them like little children jumping into a pile of leaves. They are now showing an adult behavior by doing the little scratchy thing with their feet to get the seeds that fall from the hay. Very cute. =)

I will be going to a Retreat in a few weeks and plan to pop them in their coop if everything goes right with the weather and their progress. If they have the heat lamp and I block the wind on the front of the coop door I think they will be okay.

Wishing you all a blessed week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Debbie and Ivan!

A few photos of the birthday duo. Deb's birthday was the 18th and Ivan's is May 5th.

They got presents, we had good food .. everyone was happy. =)

Jaidyn and the Chicks

After the food and birthday presents on Saturday I ran home and gathered up two of the chicks for show-and-tell.

They were a huge hit with Jaidyn (two and a half year old grandniece). Jaidy knew they were birds but just wasn't certain what kind of birds they were. She was really very good with them. We told her they were babies and she must be gentle and easy with them. Other than thinking she had been bitten when one of them touched her with it's lil beak it was a good introduction.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Giveaway I just Read About

The Domestic Witch is giving away the book "Simple Abundance, a Day Book of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I've heard good reviews of the book so thought I would mention her giveway if anyone is interested. =)

My Nurse Practitioner is the Best!

I had to go for my "physical" Wednesday, something I always dread but this time it wasn't too bad. When my NP asked me what was new I told her about the chicks and Sunny. So she proceeds to tell me she is the "Chicken Baroness".

All during the exam we talked about chickens! We shared about what breeds we were raising and little stories like the one about her rooster (who is probably not long for this world if he keeps up attacking Kay) It was great! Took both our minds off what was going on and made a necessary but unpleasant situation much better. She also told me I need a goat (or two) and she knows someone who has pygmy goats for sale. I told you .. she is the best!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peeps in the Bathroom

I went looking for my chickens last night. The Tractor Supply was down to only Golden Comet pullets. I want a mixed flock so I drove to Orschlens and bought two Buff Orpingtons and four Red Stars. The brooder was already setup in the bathroom so I popped them in and introduced them to the feeder and waterer. The Buffs are very small but will catchup quickly to the Red Stars. They are fun to watch. When they are tired they simply collapse wherever they are. When they are done they are done!

I still want Silkies and have been thinking about going to the 4H Fair in July and talking to the Poultry Club kids to see if any of them have a couple of pullets to sell. Don't tell my mom. I told her this morning I was done acquiring livestock for the year .... of course I still plan on getting a second bunny that is a given. (wink)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Newest Addition to the Homestead is ...

Four Horn Farm Sunshine! Sunny is a two year old blue-eyed English Angora doe and a lil sweetheart. I found her at the Fiber Event at Greencastle, IN last Friday afternoon. The point of the trip was to bring back a bunny (or two) but there were not as many EAs as in past years. I was actually taking a pass on Sunny because I wanted a younger bunny but the fellow selling her placed her in my arms and that was it. Can you say sucker??

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It has Been a Busy Week!

This week I have added a chicken hutch, a set of greenhouse shelves and yesterday Daddy brought my bunny hutch to town. The bunny hutch still needs a bit of finish work (paint, tar paper, shingles, hasps and locks for the doors) but it is finally home. So yay!

In the little greenhouse I have broccoli, rhubarb, snow peas, various lettuces and greens started. The unit isn't huge but I think it will be functional for starting the cold season seeds, hardening off the tender seedlings I will be starting the house and keeping a few things going in the fall.

I meant to run to the Monroe County co-op Saturday but didn't make it so that means I'll have to go in the a.m. before work tomorrow to pick up the organic chick starter mix.

I'm still figuring out the best way to house the chicks. It looks as though they will have to stay in my bathroom until they are feathered out enough to go in the chicken hutch and their run (which still needs to be built). With three cats in the house this will be interesting to say the least.

The Library closes soon so I had better get a wiggle on. Hope everyone has a great week and it is sunny wherever you live!

~ Penny ~

Monday, March 8, 2010

News Flash!

On the drive to work I saw my first crocus blooms of the season! Gorgeous gold blooms. They made my day. =) If the crocus are blooming surely Spring can not be too far away??

Hope you are all having a blessed and sunny Monday!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What a Time I've Had Lately!

This post was started on February 21st but for some reason I forgot how to do a hyper link and had to wait for an epiphany ... It is now March 6th sorry it took so much time. =)

I sent a
big order off to Pinetree Garden seeds. It included lots of heirloom veggies, herbs and a few flowers too. I also ordered several feet of floating row cover. I think (hope) this will keep the feral cats of out the raised beds. I just know those fresh beds are going to look like giant litter boxes to the cats running around my neighborhood!

Before coming to the Library I stopped at the Farm Store, not to be confused with the Tractor Supply store (which is still my first love) and made my very first chicken purchase. Ta da! I am now the proud owner of a one quart chicken waterer suitable for small chicks. It is similar to the one in the photo but has a galvanized base. I am such a dork! LOL I took it into the Library to show a few coworkers. They just laugh and humor me so it's all good.

Don't faint Angela! I think I figured out not only how to add photos but I also worked on my Favorite Blog Reads list. Whew it has been a big day for this chick! Bad pun was intended!)

Life is good and Spring is almost here!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you had a wonderful day spent with the one(s) you love!

~ Penny ~

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Still plugging away!

I'm still working on my Spring Lists and checking off ideas as they come along.

* Ask someone at the Tractor Supply about chicks. Check!
They really don't know too much at this point other than chicks will be arriving in a month or so. It's a new store so I'm cutting them some slack.

* Call local feed stores and the other farm store about possibilities of chicks. Will do this week.

* Find nearby source of organic chick/chicken feeds. Will ask when I call about chicks.

* Ask Daddy about the ETA of my bunny hutch. Will do this afternoon. Have a real possibility of getting a bunny soon! A two year old black tort English Angora buck!

I found a copy of Urban Farm !! It was suppose to be out by January 12th but after searching for weeks it finally showed up at the Tractor Supply. I love that store. Angela is always teasing me because it is my new favorite store.

I bought seeds and soil mix today. I have spinach and a lettuce mix for greens and I thought I would start some snow pea seeds too. I need to ask Daddy to look at my light situation on my grow stand. I could not get the lights to work last spring. I replaced the fixtures and bought new bulbs all to no avail. We WILL have seedlings this spring!!

I would appreciate it, if you feel led, to include my sister Angela in your prayers this week. She is suppose to have surgery on Friday morning at 11:40 to have one, possibly two, lymph nodes removed from her neck. As always we covet those prayers from all the prayer warriors.

Better get moving if I want to play in the dirt, read my new magazine and do some laundry too this afternoon.

Hope everyone has a great week!
~ Penny ~

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thinking about Spring

I've been making my Spring lists and checking them twice.

*Email an inquiry to my Angora list about available bunnies in April. Check!

*Pull out the seed catalogs to see what I want in my raised beds this year. Check!

*Take home my "Square Foot Gardening" book to study. Check!

*Organize my dye materials so when we finally have a nice, warm, sunny day I can jump into dyeing.

*Bless my house so I will not feel guilty about planning for Spring. Working on it!

Hope everyone has a blessed week!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Her Birthday!

Yep, today is my sister Angela's birthday and I'm wishing her many birthday blessings!!

This evening Angela, her husband Mark, daughter Heather and s-i-l Ivan and I had supper. Our whole family will be getting together Saturday afternoon for a bigger birthday celebration ..... more pressies ;) .

Each birthday is a victory for you Ange and well worth celebrating more than once!!


~ Penny ~

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year ... New Decade

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends celebrating the reason for the season.

I had a quiet New Year's Eve. Ate supper with Angela, then knitted while she crocheted as we watched her new Celtic Woman dvd. It was filmed at Slane Castle in Ireland and showcased some amazing talent.

Like many others I've been giving thought to goals for 2010 and the next decade. Some are long term and very personal like spiritual growth, a place I've been stagnating, and health & well-being a place I need to give some real attention.

Blessing my home is at the top of the list for 2010. Various health issues have caused me to let my house go and this has to stop. A thorough cleaning and touching up will be a freeing experience. It is hard to be creative in chaos!

In the spring bunnies and chickens will be added to my tiny urban homestead. Square foot gardening will be tried with dedicated beds to veggies, herbs and dye plants. With the poo from the new critters I should have some excellent compost this summer.

I want to create a pantry area so midsummer I'll be looking for a small upright freezer and some kind of shelving setup. If the garden is successful the produce will need to be stored.

Last year I injured my hand in March, followed by surgery in July, and was thoroughly thrown for a loop and my plans came to naught. This year I really want to work on my lil homestead and my cottage business too. I feel as though I need to make up for lost time. I hate it when my body is my own worst enemy!

When I figure out how to do it I want to add a check off list as a side bar to help me keep track of my goals. For now I will write them down and place them some where I will see them frequently as reminders of where I am heading.

The library will be closing shortly so ...

New Year Blessing to everyone!

~ Penny ~