Friday, February 23, 2007

Color swatching

Quite often I want to create a color from the Earthues dyes, but until I am sure I have acheived it, I find dyeing small swatches the best way to do the tests. Just take a quart sized canning jar and place enough water in it to cover the goods to be dyed. Place the jar in a canning pot or stainless pot (used soloely for dyeing) as shown on the stove with enough water in the pot to allow the water in the canning jar to heat up; like a double boiler of sorts. Because I mostly dye wool, I use natural colored wool strips as shown to the right of the dye pot. If you work with silk or cotton, do the same with the fabric. Mordant them first and let set at least a few days after, wet and cool. Then measure the dyes, based on your weight of goods. It is tricky when the goods weigh an ounce or less, but working in gram weight helps as does a good eye for fractions. Then just simmer at the temp required and you will have swatches to refer to if you like the recipe. You can do up to 4 colors at once in four separate jars. I was looking for the color of a dye sample I have from a 5-step gradation, the sample in back of the swatches. It matches the one sample pretty closely. I used Madder at 8% and Logwood Purple at 2% and if I reduce the Logwood Purple just a smidge, I'll have that color!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Log landing

The first load of logs left the farm yesterday. Bright and early every morning I can hear Gary running the skidder and chainsaw as I do sheep chores and walk the dogs. I full appreciate his job, whether it is windy, snowy, rainy or just plain cold, Gary is there, cutting, trimming and pulling out the chosen trees. Not an easy way to make a living, but surely necessary to keep our forests healthy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More sno buds

Today we took to our own trails in Westmoreland with Lyle and Sandy. They rode over from their house and met us here at the farm and from here we rode across town and up the tracks to The Minuteman Cafe on the summit for lunch. It's a great location with lots of windows facing west while we at lunch we watched snow squalls roll in from VT. Too bad it wasn't a blizzard! Again the trails weren't the smoothest but we had lots of laughs and fun together. Cheers and hooray for snow!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sno buds

We were finally able to get out and do some snowmobiling. Jack and I trailered up to meet Bill and Jennie in Lempster, NH and took the afternoon riding toward Sunapee and then over to Washington for lunch and back to their house in Lempster. The trails weren't the smoothest but the company was great and the weather was perfect!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Have you EVER seen a more content lamb? This is Charlotte, she is a year old now, but she is still so darn cute. She is a gift, to us and to the breed.

Could'a been worse

That's the way I see it! We got a total of 11", the White Mts 24-30". We were hoping for more but 11'' is a good start. The sun is out and the wind is gusting to 30mph with the temperature around zero. Sidney and I went for a walk down the road and in to the far field and back to the barn, about 1/4 mile of walking in 11" of fresh snow, great cardio workout! I could hear Gary running the skidder on the ridge. I can only imagine the work logging is in 11' of fresh snow. Yahoo! It's finally winter!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Here are a couple shots of the flock tonight, wow, some snow to shovel! We like to keep the area where they loaf pretty clear of snow so when it does melt off in the sun the place stays pretty dry. The old stitch in nine saves time principle! Jasper's mama, Jackie, was tonight's valentine. The top photo is her eating hay through the snowflakes. The second is Jasper...too cute! The plus side to all this snow is the water buckets had hardly been touched as they love to eat the snow instead. Our water buckets are heated, thank God! Jack brought down a wine and a beer for us to enjoy while we worked...they both froze in less than 10 minutes! So much for a Valentine treat!

Our Nor'easter

Finally the snow arrives here in New England. And with a bang! I took this picture of the yard last night before the storm rolled in and here it is again at 11AM with the brunt of the storm yet to hit. We are expected to get anywhere from 15-30". There is a snow measuring stick against the flag pole and the present reading is 8".

My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to all you sweethearts! I went to the barn to check the sheep a bit ago and they are pretty comfy. Lots of roofed areas and no wind. I spent a long time with Jasper today (pictured in May), he has become my fav little fella, a real shmoozer. He came and stood with me for 10 minutes or more, put his nose on my cheek and just stood, I wrapped my arms around him and he half went to sleep. Now that is great therapy for the heart. Jasper gave me a very special valentine today.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Logging begins

Here is the logger and forester, Gary and Swift, who are managing our logging project. Gary started the cutting today, perfect conditions, good frozen ground and very little snow cover. For today, that is. Rumor has it we are in for our first snowstorm on Wednesday. Although it will slow Gary down a bit he'll still be making headway.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Damn cold

The wind is howling here today, the temp is 0 at 10am and the wind speed is about 15mph with gusts to 25 making the wind chill about 30 below! But the sheep are cozy as can be. Out of the wind, lots of sunshine, full fleece and a belly full of hay; they are good to go. This morning some of the sheeps cheeks were even warm, but when I put my hand under their belly where the skin is exposed they are all toasty warm.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Burning, burning....

One of Jack's projects, and most favorite of all pastimes is improving the forest and fields here. When we bought the place in the 90's there was a lot of low brushy growth, small pines about 10" through. In 10 plus years the pines have matured, blocking the sun to the undergrowth. We have since lost our Woodcock, rabbits and other wildlife that thrive in brushy undergrowth. So Jack has been taking the pines and some of the hardwoods in a number of areas at the edges of our fields. This is one area at the bottom of the far field where the hill banks down to a stream. Many years ago it was open and full of apple trees; he has recovered many of them in the effort to open this area up. This weekend he burned two whopping brush piles,it was 5 degrees without the wind chill, brrrrr, and one more waits, the biggest, for next weekend. Slowly but surely, in a few years this will be a wildlife paradise once again.