ThistleDew Farm

ThistleDew Farm
Established 2009

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo! House Update and Weekend Plans

Today is the last day for National Blog Month. I did pretty good - didn't meet my goal of blogging every day, but still got in 28 blogs, not to bad for a girl with no internet at home until the house is done!

Tonight after taking Ashley aka The Princess around to Trunk or Treat at the Methodist Church it is back to staining the last 300 board feet of siding. Yes, we thought we were done with this, but the house will really look better if all four sides have siding! The good thing is, Terri may mosey over with a bottle of wine and we'll finish the siding in no time - lots of gossip and a little bit of a mess, but it will be done.

Dan aka Super Hubby, will finish the exterior trim work and then it's back inside the house. The next interior item is to blow the insulation. We got a great deal at Lowe's on the insulation - this month they had a rebate plan so we picked up enough savings on the insulation to buy the sinks (three bathroom sinks and the kitchen sink). Sometime after the insulation is blown we should be ready for the electrical inspection and then we'll be able to install the lights and turn on the heat and pump water! We will definitely be high tech then! I may even have to turn in my Hippy Credentials!

After the staining is complete, it's crochet time for me. I've got to sew up about 15 hats before next weekend to replace what I sold yesterday. The craft fair is in Kokomo Indiana at the IU-K commons. Kokomo is about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. It is a crafters heaven. Cold enough to work on fiber crafts from Oct to April....I love to get snowed in and have nothing else to do but work with yarn!!!!!! Perhaps that is why I collect so much....I am waiting to get snowed in and don't want to be bored (that is really hard to justify now that I live in East Tennessee)! There is a great group of fiber artists that work mostly in felt, needle punching, and rug hooking. They have an exhibition in February to sell and teach their crafts - lots of fun. I would love to do this as soon as ThistleDew has a craft barn (lottery dream)!

I received some wonderful ideas for color combinations and I'm going to make them all and blog about them on Monday, hopefully with pictures. I think I may do a contest - let me think about that one and I'll have a giveaway for December!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Craft Show Success

My work had a craft fair/fall festival today. They let employee crafters bring in their stuff and set up a booth free of charge. They also invited the entire 4000 workforce and enticed them to come with a free sack lunch! Is that not awesome?

I had a great time. I did pretty well, made enough to hit the next craft fair by my Mom November 8th. It is in Kokomo Indiana.

It is funny, you learn so much from the first fair of the year. I found out this year that I don't have enough items for guys. Don't know why I don't....guys where hats also! Anyway, I think I'll make a few and if they don't sell in Indiana, they will be ready for this show next year.

Thanks for those who gave me best wishes and also for the color suggestions. I have two weeks to replenish the stock and I'll use your suggestions - I have most of the colors in my yarn stash - which is larger than the normal stash!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We Struck Water!~

Whoooo Hoooo we struck water at 120 feet this morning! 18ish gallons per minute!
Pictures soon, 'cause nothing looks better than a big water derrick on your property!

Color Wheel

Thank you to those who helped rev up my color stagnation.....I don't know why I was stuck in the neutrals, but you all pulled me out.

Terri at Clay Hill suggested muted tones of orange and soft forest green. That looks good!

Mildred at Nalley Valley loves deep orange and rust in Autumn. And her exotic color combo suggestion came from an old Hull vase that belonged to her Mother: rose, yellow and green.

Ashley my daughter loves black teal and vibrant magenta this year. I made her a hat and she got so many compliments on it - I'm making one for the craft fair.

Wolfie from Cherish Yesterday came up with orange, red and yellow for her favorite fall combo...she couldn't think of an exotic combination...yet. I do like the traditional fall combination she suggested.

Going through the yarn box (one of ten, at least I found one), I came up with buff alpaca and lavender cotton- looks warm and inviting. I found a good combo of aqua mohair and lime wool for a cool texture and color combo. Forest green brushed wool and purple smooth wool look interesting together.

I also had a skein of variegated alpaca and this parrot yarn in bright pink. The hat reminds me of Indian Corn - maybe I should have trimmed it in a fall color rather than pulling the pink.....hmmm.

What's your favorite wild color combination?

OK - if you're not into wild, what's your favorite fall/winter combo?

What color combo would you wear with your winter coat this year?

Well tomorrow is the craft fair so all my time tonight will be doing last minute stuff I should have done weeks ago. I've got to price everything, find the table clothes, and get change....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tonight at ThistleDew

Tonight, the family is going out! You heard me, Super Hubby is going to be torn away from the never ending house building project courtesy of Ashley aka The Princess.

Ashley participated in a Social Studies project which required posters, a binder, and a written report. 3rd - 5th graders each had a category and lots of rules to follow. Ashley's category was Communities and the topic she chose was the Assateague Ponies off the Virginia coast. Our hard work paid off and she took 2nd place among the 3rd graders at Friendsville Elementary School, which entitles her to proceed to the County level. She is very nervous about it as she doesn't like strangers to stare at her. We practiced to get the nerves out and appealed to her conservation mentality so hopefully her duty and responsibility will get her over the nerves....

I had some great inspiration for color combinations which should inspire me to create. I seem to be stuck in a neutrals zone which is very uncharacteristic of me! I am generally a wild colors and strange combination kind of girl.....I'll let you know how it works out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Creative Styme

I'm stumped - I'm having a color melt down!
Can you help me get over it?

What is your favorite color this fall and why?
What are your favorite color combinations?
What's the weirdest color combination you liked?

This may help me get creative again!

Weekend Update

Here's the news from the weekend!
I can't wait until we have Internet in the house!!!! Shouldn't be to long now - the HVAC guys should finish this week as well as the well getting dug. With those two items complete we can finish the electrical wiring and move right into the 20th century!

This weekend was a combo weekend - half work half fun!
The septic guy finished up last week and did a fabulous job. It is the smoothest finish work in the number 2 business I've seen (little potty humor there!) Usually the ground is all diveted and torn up - but not this guy! Smooth as a baby's bum. I think we have a local thing called Angie's List which praises quality work, I am definitely going to rave about him on that venue.

Anyway, that left the first project of the weekend for me to tackle - seeding the bare patches. It was pretty muddy as we had some much needed rain on Friday, so not only was there the satisfaction of sowing the seeds, but I got a darn good workout lugging around 10 pounds of mud on each shoe!

Then we moved the plant maternity ward up to my craft room. It was in the way and dark in the garage. Hopefully the babies will be happy upstairs and the survival rate will increase! I started 12 rosemary bushes from cuttings so in the Spring I can start on my much coveted rosemary hedge to disguise the property line of our neighbor. Rosemary grows like crazy in Tennessee so it should work out....I'll keep you posted.

I worked on a few crochet projects and then my friend Jan came by with her two daughters Emily and Sara. The girls had a great time playing in the fresh air, especially visiting Aunt Terri's chickens over at Clay Hill. The visit ended after a crafting session on the front porch teaching Sarah how to crochet and giving Jan a refresher lesson. She learned to crochet when she was young and got out of practice. Sara was a really fast learner (she is a sponge for knowledge as many first graders are). Sara is expecting to see a picture of her in the hat I made her, but unfortunately she'll have to check back tomorrow. Super Hubby Dan was to busy putting up the ceiling bead board on my porch, he couldn't fit in down loading pix from the camera. Tonight he's going to teach me how to do this (again) so Sara will see herself tomorrow!

Sunday was spent crocheting more hats and scarves, visiting with Terri, shoveling mud off the pad to hold the HVAC system, moving the cinder blocks from the well site, relocating the sand pile and other clean up tasks generally associated with house building and fall.

Hope you had a fun weekend and if not, come on over, because here at ThistleDew it was fab....This indeed will do!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Put the Garden to Bed

Yesterday I finished up my fall chores. The garden beds are all tucked in and ready for the winter. I dug up and potted the plants that are to tender to winter over, harvested the last of the wildflowers seeds, and put everything that requires darkness (mostly seeds and bulbs) into sacks and boxed them up. What a surprise I'll get next spring but, it was bittersweet! I am usually ready for fall, but as I may have previously mentioned I am bahhh humbug about fall and winter this year.

I had such a fun time creating things that are on my land (finally, after 23 years moving around where the Marine Corps told me to go and making a place home but only for three years at a time, it is nice to think of myself as being in a permanent location.) I had so many ideas I didn't have time to bring to fruition this summer. Another season passing just reminds me of my mortality! I generally think I am invincible but for some reason this Fall reminds me that I'm not - next Spring I will be revived again, but for this short period I feel sad. Most unusual for me 'cause I love Carmel Apples, crisp leaves and that smell in the air only fall can bring!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Exellence Awards - Drum Roll Please

I have decided to get into the awards game.

It's really hard to select from all the blogs I check in on so I made up categories to justify my picks...(there's supposed to be five blogs you nominate)

Inspired Writer Blog

Least Amount of Time to Blog Blog

Blog That Inspires Me to Create

Blog I Like to Steal Ideas From

Living The Dream Blog

After you select your five, you've got to write a post about the blogs you picked and link back to them. Then, don't forget to let them know you gave them an award.

I selected Use Real Butter as my Inspired Writer Blog - the first time I read her blog I was so inspired by her story it compelled me to read all about her. I visit her site most days - she has the most beautiful pictures to go with her stories! Great Job!

Least Amount of Time to Blog Blog has to go to Terri at Clay Hill Farm. If you read her blog from yesterday which depicts a typical day for her, you'll know what I mean. Keep in mind that she has gone back to University at 40 something!

The Blog That Inspires Me To Create is Manisha at Indian Food Rocks. She got me involved in the National Blog Month (see you all there next year) and also invited me to participate in the Traveling Masterpiece....way cool - I am already thinking about what I'm going to add to the painting and participating in National Blog Month has introduced me to lots of blogs which inspired me to step up the game on my blog!

The Blog I Like To Steal Ideas from is Amy at Life In Pink Hi-Tops....sorry Amy, but I steal your ideas ALL the time - as a matter of fact the recipe of the day is from her site....I made the meatballs last night and I was a hero!!!! I just love your logo also - who did the watercolor for it? Pink is my favorite color!

Many of you are living the dream life - that's why you blog! Show offs! But I have had a long standing dream to go to Africa and stay for six months or so....Lynda from Food, Fun and Fast Life in East Africa always has such exciting adventures...she is always going off on safari or passing along a cool recipe....ahh the life!

Take the Food Challenge!

Here is a fun thing from Delicioso Mama I subtracted a few and added a few of my own (I also included notes).
Here's the legend:
Bold print=I've eaten it
Red Print= I'd like to live on it, damn the calories or lack of nutritional propriety
Light Print=never had it
Blue Print = Would like to
?what the heck is it ?

Have you ever eaten ....????
Crocodile (her's had Fried Rattlesnake)
?Hoppin' John?
New Mexico green chile
Homemade buttermilk biscuits?
Whole Maine lobster
Homemade liverwurst (but I love store bought liverwurst)
Kansas City barbecue ribs (if this is the mustardy one, but I prefer sweet ones)
Hot glazed Krispy Kreme (hate that they are soaked in glaze, I know sacrilege)
Hawaiian Shrimp Tacos
Cheese curds (my daughter loved these in Wisconsin)
Sugar Cream Pie (prefer Lemon Merangue myself)
Philly cheese steak (mmm)
Pulled pork barbecue sandwich
Lowcountry boil (oh yeah! Love a meal that you cook outdoors and eat with your hands!)
Huckleberry Pancakes
New England clam chowder
Boiled peanuts (yuck, another ruination of a good food)
Elk Steak
Eggs Benedict
Pastrami on Pumpernickel
Corned beef and cabbage
Pancakes with real maple syrup (I prefer the fake maple syrup, sorry New England)
Fresh made Lox and Bagels
Thin Mints
(preferably frozen)
Frito pie
Potato knish with mustard
Silver Queen corn on the cob
Soft pretzel from a street cart
Fresh-picked blueberries
Sourwood honey
State fair funnel cake
Chesapeake crab cakes (I've had lots of crab cakes and think it's a waste of perfectly good crab)
Candied yams
Oyster dressing (yuck, don't like cooked oysters, but love fresh or smoked)
Snow cone or snowball
Wild Alaskan salmon (cedar plank grilled or smoked - yummy)
Monkfish cooked in Sake
Persimmon pudding (my Mom loves this but I haven't tried it yet - we have a tree so we'll try it)
Kung Pao Chicken (take out the peppers as soon as you get it or you'll be sorry....)
Frozen custard (but only on a hot day)
Italian sausage with peppers and onions on a hoagie bun
Chili dog
Buffalo wings with blue cheese (prefer mine naked - not fried)
Spam Sushi (it's on the menu at McDonald's in Hawaii - no kidding)
Saltwater taffy
?Fluffernutter? sandwich on Wonder Bread
Black and white cookie
BLT with thick-cut applewood bacon
Baked beans
From Scratch Pumpkin pie
Collards with vinegar and Tabasco
Tex-Mex fajitas with skirt steak and sautéed peppers
Fried green tomatoes (doesn't sound good enough to eat)
Succotash (I love succotash)
Shrimp and grits (why would you do this to shrimp?)
Hot off the Grill Crepes (I hate to brag, but I've had crepes in Paris, France)
Barbecue chicken pizza with red onions
Chicken fried steak
Carnitas burrito
Apple butter (we made some peach butter this year - fab!)
Soft-serve ice cream cone dipped in chocolate shell (especially Dairy Queen)
Pecan pie (yuck)
Catfish supper at a church or fire station
Oysters Rockefeller
Homemade cranberry sauce
Pimiento cheese
MoonPie washed down with R.C. Cola
Pickled watermelon rind
Cracker Jacks at the ball game
Smithfield ham (mmm)
Meatloaf and mashed potato blue plate special at diner (love it with catsup down the middle)
Chicken and waffles (together???)
Green bean casserole with French's fried onions
Stuffed sopaipillas (never had them stuffed)
Turducken (heard of it, but never been around one)
Shad roe on toast (mmm)
Sweet potato casserole with or without marshmallows (how can it ever be without marshmallows!????)
Real New York cheesecake
Pan-fried river trout (had it on the river - then it is really good)
Backyard Pig Roast
California rolls
Penuche fudge
Fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (the Elvis) (Never had it fried)
Lamb Shanks and Garlic mashed taters (Yummy)
Scrapple or livermush
Bear Sausage
Muscadine grapes
Cheeseburger at Backyard Barbecue
Open-face turkey sandwich
Chicago deep dish pizza
Cobb salad
Peach pie a la mode
Macaroni and cheese with Tillamook sharp cheddar
Orange Cream float
What's the most unusual thing you've eaten: Caterpillar (really, my brother forced me to when I was 5)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday is Catch-Up Day

Here's what I did over the weekend - remember we're living the Hippie Lifestyle and we don't have Internet or cable at the farm yet, so I must catch up with you about the weekend during the week.

This past weekend I planted the Garlic Bed...

But first, I went grocery shopping and stopped off to buy some yarn to finish the cross stitch portion of an afghan I'm crocheting for The Hubby. Being a color and texture fanatic, I couldn't resist a treat for the Princess and allowed her to pick out a few skeins of wool for a hat at The Knitting Nest in Maryville. She selected black, dark pink, and teal green the little fashion diva.'s the result. (I started it on Sunday and finished up Tuesday evening - about 3 hours of work time). The result was a crafters dream.... I used a basic ripple pattern so it would be a little different and when she tried it on she said (right on cue)....I love it, it's perfect, just like I dreamed it would look! Ahhhh, be still my little heart - this is why she is indulged like a princess!

Oh yeah, I was talking about planting the Garlic Bed. Back home from shopping it was time to get to work....except that....

I caught a blurry shot of a greedy bumblebee using his last bit of energy to get drunk on my marigolds! I am easily sidetracked....

Oh I was talking about the Garlic Bed....

Every project includes several offshoots before you can do what is needed.

So, first I had to harvest the seeds from the Sunflowers, Beans and Wildflowers growing above the Sweet Potatoes... Then I got the Dahlias, herbs, fennel and miscellaneous items from Winona's Bed and Bob's Bed, since I had the gathering sacks out. You might refer to them as paper lunch sacks - but at ThistleDew Farm they are Seed Gathering and Storage Devices.
I am attempting to reduce my seed costs next year by harvesting as many seeds and digging up tender plants or mulching them in as I can. Yes, Lisa that is your Rosemary among his friends!
I don't know if the Sweet Potatoes were happy being pulled from their nice warm bed and put into a box, but let's hope after a week or two they sweeten up nicely....I'll let you know.
I got a nice small harvest from about 12 slips planted in a raised bed lined with newspaper - not bad for the first year and a less than ideal growing season....we are in our second drought year in Eastern Tennessee and although we watered regularly it was no substitute for mother nature's bounty.

The Garlic bed is the one closest to you, the other bed is dreaming of being a fall greens bed. Terri at Clay Hill Farm can let you know how that is working out.....

For the garlic I planted two rows of Mother of Pearl White down the center - a softneck variety. (Sorry for the icky picture to the left - but that's the Mother of Pearl White cloves and bulb) Softnecks are the type you normally buy in the grocery store. I also planted a row of German White and two rows of Red (can't remember the name right now) - both hardneck varieties. Hardnecks are a bit milder/less spicy but the great attraction is the scape or green portion that the flower will come out on if you didn't harvest the scape and grind it up into a wonderful dip! In the early summer you harvest the scapes, careful not to wait to long, if it blossoms they are past their prime. The added benefit in cutting the scapes is that it encourages bigger garlic bulbs. Softneck varieties don't get scapes unless they are stressed which usually means it's harvest time! You can braid the stems of the softneck varieties which also helps with storing them (lots of air and looks pretty). I am going to really love the Garlic Bed mainly because I don't have to do a thing until July - and then harvest! The cloves are planted in the fall usually around Halloween but our full moon was last week (this is a root vegetable planting sign) so I went ahead and got it out of the way. I reserved a bulb of the softneck white to plant in the early spring as an experiment (there is so much advice about planting garlic that it is hard to know exactly what will work in my situation so I'm experimenting!). Next weekend I will mulch in the little garlic cloves to keep them warm over the winter so they can think happy sprouting thoughts.

After harvesting the sweet potatoes, various seeds and planting the garlic the Hubby wanted to get his Lowe's Home Improvement fix so we headed down the road. We selected the bead board for the porch ceilings. We had to sort through 50 sheets to get 22 we liked! It is nearly all finished thanks to the Number One Nephew and Brother John (not from Robin Hood, Hubby Dan's older brother). I took a picture but it must not have made the cut when Hubby sorted them....I'll try again tomorrow.

There is a hub of activity around ThistleDew Farm! The HVAC guys are putting in the heating and air units and the septic guy is out front putting in the septic system! These items are a big step toward domestication for a family living the bohemian lifestyle! With a little luck in a mere two weeks we'll be pooping indoors!

Ashley, aka The Princess, is very excited about the prospect of recycling our waste and feeding the eight she is so concerned about the environment I'm sure she's being recruited by GreenPeace! She once cried because our dog ate a grasshopper. You see, grasshoppers eat plants and with this one gone the entire ecosystem was in danger - yes she actually said this!!!!. When I protested and requested she let the dog have it's fun I was informed that the grasshopper was one of God's creatures and I was very uncaring. I explained my belief that God put a few extra grasshoppers around to amuse dogs. She bought off on this especially since everywhere you looked were grasshoppers. The wellspring of tears subsided and peace was restored. Lesson learned: I restrict my bug killing activities and opinions to when The Princess isn't around.

Here is what Ashley did with some of the leftovers from the HVAC guys - I told you we are all about recycling around here....That thing around her head is a sheer plastic thing that she cut eyes and a nose out of.
I guess that makes it a weekend! I've caught you up to last weekend and it's only Wednesday...time to plan next weekend. Oh did I mention that we ran short of siding - I'm back to staining, there's 320 board feet waiting on me, guess my weekends booked already! This is trouble because this is the last weekend before my craft fair on the 30th....arrgggg (said in a pirates voice)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Potato Soup with fresh herbs

Last evening I made an awesome Potato Soup. I will attempt to tell you about it!

I peeled two potatoes and then the Princess peeled 4. We laughed and giggled - I'm not sure how many of those you should put in but probably as much as your kettle will hold.

I then filled the pot half-way with milk and 1/4 way with water. Added the potatoes and a whopping scoop of butter. Then I went out to pick some fresh herbs. It was great because even though the summer harvest is over - the herbs are still plentiful. I collected the tender tops of two 2" pieces of rosemary, three sprigs of curly parsley and three bay leaves.

I peeled six cloves of Mother of Pearl White softneck garlic. I planted my garlic bed on Sunday and had a few of the smaller cloves left over from each bulb...waste not want not. I chopped two stalks of celery and two halves of green peppers I had in the freezer from the summer pepper bonanza my friend experienced.

I chopped up the herbs (except the bay leaves - I plopped them in whole) and veggies and into the pot they went. I added 3/4 of a leftover store bought pork roast diced up - probably about 4 oz. I liberally doused the pot contents with garlic salt and fresh pepper.

I had to let the pot sit for an hour while I showed off the house to the neighbors who had walked up to take a peek. About an hour later I put the pot on to simmer - this took about 30 minutes. I snuck a bowl and it was the most wonderful herbal potato soup ever! What a wonderful meal out of leftovers and giggles!
This Indeed Will Do!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blog Hijack and a Giveaway!

Hi, all - this is Terri. I've hijacked the blog for a few minutes to tell you about our awesome giveaway. We've talked about hosting one for a couple of weeks now, and we decided that if I made something to give away whoever got it (and all of their friends) would immediately boycott these blogs, which is NOT what we want. And Melissa is busy crafting for TWO upcoming craft fairs and can't really spare a minute. I'll tell ya, we were stumped.

Then, along came Brandyanne's Candles & Prims!! Brandyanne's candles are well-known for their fabulous fragrance and they are made of clean-burning soy, to boot! Brandyanne agreed to partner with Thistledew and Clay Hill Farm and make a 12 oz candle and three Prairie Prim Melters for our giveaway!

So, the winner could potentially try FOUR different scents for free! How cool is that? And, with Christmas coming up, the candle would make a great gift!

So, here's how to enter: visit Brandyanne's store. On the left-hand side you'll see a column labeled, "Products." Scroll down and see "Scents for Clay Hill Farm" and click there. Then come back here or Clay Hill Farm and post a comment between now and 7 p.m. Eastern time on Nov 1st telling us what scents you want if (WHEN!!) you win - it's that easy. Note: it has to be one of our special Clay Hill scents for the purposes of the contest. Any entries that contain incorrect scent names will be disqualified, and we'll draw again.

Additionally, if you'll mention the giveaway on your blog, we'll give you an extra entry. Link to all three websites (Thistledew, Brandyanne's and Clay Hill) and we'll give you a total of five entries.

We'll select the winner Nov 1st with a random drawing, and Brandyanne will make your custom candle and melters and ship them right to you. And, if this contest goes well, we'll follow it up with another, because I'm having as much fun right now as a kid at Christmas!

We'd love it if the winner would report back to all of us on the scents and which is her favorite, but that's optional - not a requirement! So, get on over to Brandyanne's and check out those scents!



I don't have much spare time today - tomorrow I'll post about the weekend. Another busy one around the ThistleDew Farm! Tonight I'm going to make Amy's soup! It looks yummy and with fall here I want soup everyday! Hey, it's cold living like a hippie in the winter - hurry on the house Dan!

Friday, October 17, 2008

View from my porch

I had a request for a view from my porch...

I couldn't find the view I wanted so this one will have to do. It was taken while they were setting the trusses last Spring.

Here's what my house looked like a few weeks ago - all that fall color scares me....winter is to close!

Here's what the sunset looks like from my porch...

How they went from deck to porches...
While planning the house we were originally going to have a wrap around deck. When I think of decks I think of those graying wooden ones that cause splinters in your knees when you're playing jacks, or in your bum from scooching across the floor....I don't like decks. So my hubby proposed that we extend the slab and make the decks into concrete porches. We saw some stained concrete floors that we loved so I was all in for this idea - verdict is still out on who gets to pick the color.

Buck the Wonder Dog loves the porch.

Look up at the logo on the top right of the blog - it is an awesome giveaway - but you have to hurry to register at Pigtails and Snails

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poster Session

I know I should be crocheting for the upcoming craft festival on the 30th, but I have so many distractions. This week it was the Social Studies Poster Session for the Princess aka Ashley. We all worked really hard on her project which was on the Assateague Pony community off the coast of Virginia/Maryland. We'll see how things turn out. Dad took a picture so hopefully you'll see that posted tomorrow. I have also signed up to contribute to a traveling work of art - I'll have to think about that one also!

PS the cooking tomatoes down in the crock pot to make them into sauce was a big failure. My last posting on them had them reduced to juice and the juice put in the crock pot. I left it on after I went to bed and my hubby was afraid to leave them simmering on high so he turned it down to low. Nothing was different in the morning (as in no reduction or thickening) and I didn't notice to turn them up to high, so by the time I got home (24 hours on low) they had started to turn dark and smell scorched and had only slightly reduced in volume. I figured more was better so I turned them up to high and went to bed. By morning the juice was nearly black and definitely smelled scorched but nothing was sticking. So last evening I pitched them....note to self, don't make tomato sauce in a crock pot from perfectly good tomatoes. Perhaps I am destined to be a good salsa maker and never a pasta sauce maker! It must be some type of barrier within my soul! Perhaps I don't "want" it bad enough - or maybe it just isn't worth the effort. I found this to be true about corn also - it is hard to grow, takes up a lot of space, messy to put up and cheap to buy frozen! I think I'm going to stick with Sunflowers and Salsa.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic is Poverty. There are many brilliant ideas submitted concerning this issue.
My favorite way to assist in the fight against poverty is to donate to the The Heifer Project. The concept is that you are donating live animals and the community takes care of them and their offspring are shared with someone else. Generally these are animals that provide a food source rather than being eaten. Goats, sheep, chickens and heifers can be "donated". It is very cool.

I have also volunteered at food kitchens both in the US and overseas. It is a very humbling experience. Especially if you think you are "poor", chances are you ain't seen nothin' yet! until you've stood beside someone who is truly financially poor - funny thing is, often they are emotionally rich! There is a lot to be learned from those we consider less fortunate than us.


If you are into Fairies, check this site out...., it tells you your fairy is kind of cool in that my fairy is pretty much like me...

My fairy is called Columbine Elfdancer
She is a cheerful sprite.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has delicate green wings like a cicada.

Julie Eggers took this photo.

The Song of The Columbine Fairy
Who shall the chosen fairy be for letter C?
There's Candytuft, and Cornflower blue,
Chrysanthemum so bold and fine,
And pretty dancing Columbine.
Yes, Columbine! The choice is she;

And with her, see, An elfin piper, piping sweet.
A little tune for those light feet.
That dances, among the leaves and flowers
In someone's garden. (Is it ours?)

I then did Princess Ashley's fairy name and it is pretty much like her also.
Her fairy is called Gossamer Silverdancer,
She is a protector from evil demons and a poisoner of werewolves.
She lives in spiderwebbed wonderlands and insect grottos.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears tiny black spiders on her dresses. She has delicate translucent wings like a cicada.

Ashley loves the Vanhelsing movie, loves bugs, is amazed by spiderwebs and loves to dress up so the spiders on her dress is very cool for her - it would creep me out. The only down side to sharing this info with Ashley is that in no time we will be constructing a fairy dress with spiders on it!

This was kind of fun....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update on the House

I haven't shown you a picture of the house lately....the Lowe's tyvek paper is just about covered up and it almost looks like a finished house! It is very exciting. I have been helping my hubby (that's him on the ladder) in the evenings to put up the siding. I have learned my lesson about ladders and only help up to the top of the nephew Brian has been helping with the high stuff. Thank you, thank you!!!!

This is Ashley, aka The Princess helping Dad out. The girl's got skills!
This project is either going to kill us or make us very happy! The verdict is still out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shew, what a weekend~

I don't know why I have to pack so much in a weekend. I think it is to ensure that I enjoy work...if it weren't for work, I'd probably kill myself from exertion during the time I'm not at "work".

As I thought back over the weekend and what I would blog about it occurred to me that people are going to think I am some kind of Martha Stewart without the staff. The problem is my stuff doesn't always turn out - I'd like to see a reality show with Martha Stewart's failures and the patch jobs they have to do on stuff to make it look presentable.
On Saturday I went to Hobby Lobby to get items my daughter needed for her school Social Studies poster project - it's on the Assateague Ponies.

Upon returning home I came face to face with two bushels of tomatoes a friend gave me on Thursday. It was time to put them out of their misery!

Terri (my sidekick in crafting crime) from Clay Hill suggested we go to a U-Pick for some apples, we could put them up while doing the tomatoes. Great Idea!

I decided to make one box of tomatoes into salsa and the other into tomato sauce.
The salsa turned out pretty good. I made 6 pints of "cooked" salsa and 3 pints of pico gallo (fresh salsa). I vaguely followed the Kerr Canning book recipe adding some additional spices. When I first tried this recipe in the summer I didn't like the cider vinegar taste, it confused my taste buds. But when I tried the salsa after about a month in the jars, I loved it. My daughter aka The Princess sat down and ate an entire jar! Did I mention she'd like to be a vegetarian - she's only 8!

Salsa Recipe (From the Kerr canning book)
10 cups peeled, cored, chopped red ripe tomatoes (a little over half the box)
5 cups seeded, chopped green peppers (I used 1 green Anaheim pepper and 1 red Anaheim)
5 cups chopped white onion
3 cups (adjust for desired heat) chopped fresh hot peppers (I omitted these because I'm a wimp)
1 & 1/4 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced (I used one grocery store bunch)
2 teaspoons canning salt
1 bulb garlic – peeled (I omitted the garlic because I forgot it)

I added: 2 tablespoon garlic salt, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon Chili Powder, 1/2 bottle of Lizano taco seasoning (I love this brand, I brought back 5 bottles from Costa Rica last year!), one bottle of green taco sauce (like pureed green chile's).

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil (I sauteed the onions first again, 'cause I'm a wimp). Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Pour mixture into hot jars and process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.(Yields about 12 pints)

Notes: Roma tomatoes give the best flavor and will thicken quicker since they contain less water. Tomato paste can be used to thicken the salsa quicker; but I prefer not to use it. If cilantro is not available, I’ve substituted parsley with no adverse effects to taste. Wear gloves when handling hot peppers.

With the salsa on the stove we started on the apples. We peeled, cored and sliced them, dipped them in mildly salty water to prevent browning and put them in freezer bags. Terri put a batch in the crock pot with some brown sugar and cinnamon for desert topping. We also did about 2 gallons of cored and sliced for fresh eating out of the 'fridge. I have about 4 gallons in my freezer (two for pies and two for applesauce...I was to tired to make mine that evening so I'll see if I can make it later in the winter).

That rounded out Saturday.

On Sunday I woke early and decided it was time to hem the three pairs of jeans my daughter received for her birthday in August! Then I tackled a watercolor I needed to send to a friend who lost her two year old niece to a brain tumor.
This is my interpretation of the girls spiritual walk to heaven with the tree of life showing her the way. The short path on the right depicts the short time she had with us. I am a beginner in the watercolor's the thought that counts right?
After finishing up the watercolor it was back to the yak hat...

Here's what the yarn looks like - this is the start of the more traditional style of skull cap tightly crocheted.

Here's the hat I finished for my nephew, Terri's son. Notice the ear flaps, this was a request!

Yes that's my watering can and a bag of sugar acting as the model - we use what we have around ThistleDew Farm. After finishing up Sean's hat and starting the 2nd Yak Hat, I got an idea for a yarn rug hooked project. A pumpkin pillow!

I used burlap purchased on the afore mentioned trip to Hobby Lobby. I used an Ice Cream tub lid and traced the basic shape.

and then I free handed the pumpkin face.

This is as far as I got on this project because I can not find my yarn hook....the woes of living out of boxes!

I decided to go back to the tomatoes and cut up the remaining box. Being out of the salsa ingredients I put them in the crock pot to simmer down to sauce. I don't know if this will work - but it took about 90 minutes to cut them up. I cooked them down in three batches just coring and quartering them, each batch took about two hours to become squishy - then using a potato masher and a metal basket screen I mushed the guts out leaving the peels and seeds. Which I threw away outside only to have ReBox our Retriever Boxer mix find the leavings and feast on them..."please Lord don't let them make her sick!" (I often take time out to say these types of prayers...I'm not sure if they work but they remind me to seek guidance before I do something drastic.) The three batches seeded, peeled and cooked down into juice made one batch in the crock pot. I put this on to simmer until it thickens. We'll see what happens.

With the tomatoes on to simmer and it being about 4 pm, I proceeded to help Ashley, aka The Princess with her school poster project until dinner time. By then the tomato juice was still just that - juice so we made hamburger helper for dinner which was around 8pm. I had hoped for Lasagna....sigh.
As usual I flopped into bed with a sigh of exhaustion proud of my accomplishments but wondering what drives me to such extremes!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Can you answer with just one word?

Last night I started crocheting a skull cap made from Yak. This is my first experience with a Yak and it has been a pleasant one at that. The fiber slips through my fingers with ease and seems smoother than Alpaca. Must be due to the higher oil/grease on a Yak. It is billed as the warmest natural fiber - I guess given the locale's Yak's hang out in, it would need to be warm. Although Yak is very expensive I was drawn to it because of the gorgeous natural rich brown color. I wanted to do the hat in Alpaca but my local store was fresh out of natural Alpaca. Antje at my local shop the Knitting Nest doesn't carry much natural or local fiber....darn! To get local fiber I must visit my sister and go to Fiber and Friends a fab yarn shop in La Grange Kentucky. I usually double up the yarn on hats to make it very thick, however, I am doing this one single skeined because if it is as warm as billed, the wearer might appreciate a little air exchange. I have had a request for a skull cap with ear flaps - yep it's for a nephew! Since I'm only using a single strand I should have enough fiber to do two hats - one with flaps and one without. I'll take a few pictures tonight and post them here on Monday.

Amy, Life in Pink Hi-Tops, tossed down the gauntlet first thing this to the end to see if you're next! You must answer these questions with only one word! YIKES!

1. Where is your cell phone? hmmm
2. Where is your significant other? roof
3. Your hair color? unnatural
4. Your mother? bubbly
5. Your father? immaterial
6. Your favorite thing? smiling
7. Your dream last night? scary
8. Your dream/goal? vacation
9. The room you're in? office
10. Your hobby? crocheting
11. Your fear? cooking
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Paris
13. Where were you last night? bed
14. What you're not? thin
15. One of your wish-list items? tractor
16. Where you grew up? incomplete
17. The last thing you did? read
18. What are you wearing? flamingos
19. Your TV? none
20.Your pet? Buck
21. Your Computer? HP
22. Your mood? Joyous
23. Missing Someone? hubby
24. Your car? Rodeo
25. Something you're not wearing? lipstick
26. Favorite Store? scrapbook
27. Your summer? arid
28. Love someone? you
29. Your favorite color? pink
30. When is the last time you laughed? hourly
31. Last time you cried? September

That was tough! I had to go to the Thesaurus for an alternate for #5 I wanted to put "who cares", #20 is my rescue dog Buck he's the only pet I've really had the others are community property. I really wanted to answer #23 with "my stress free hubby" (building this house in a credit crunch is very taxing). This exercise made me laugh - now it's your turn Lynda from Kilimanjaro, Hidden Haven Homestead (her goats are hilarious and she's a Farm Diva, and Barbara a Daring Baker.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Picture added of Fairy Wand

Not much time to blog today - I have a suggestion from a friend to start a recipe link to all the crazy crockpot meals I make so I am going to work on that. I added a picture of our fairy weekend to yesterday's post....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Windy Meadows Weekend

Our Fairy Excursion at Windy Meadows was awesome. Leslie (PhD in Folklore) kept the children mesmerized....
there were 19 girls from age 4 through 13 and they all enjoyed it! There was not one skinned knee, no tears, no bickering and lots of smiles! After check in Leslie took the girls on a nature walk in search of fairies or the evidence there of. Not the Disney type of fairy, the woodland fairy that exists in nature; if you listen hard enough you can hear them and maybe even see evidence of them. The girls collected fallen objects to use for a fairy wand. The picture above is of Ashley, aka The Princess, with her wand. Ellie had collected shed wool from alpaca's and sheep and collected horse hair from her grooming of the horse tails. These items were put together with amazing creativity by the girls and most were suitable for display in a nature museum... who would have thought such works of art could be developed with so little. Deb, another sister-in-law, brought a load of pumpkins with her and each girl selected one to take home. Leslie then entertained the girls with story time where she dressed up and read a story and told several stories from memory. The girls were enthralled and all wanted more but those activities took us up to tea time. Mr. Barkley the Jack Russell steiff bear hosted the tea party. Ellie had decorated the living room at the big house like a fairyland. The chairs were decked with over sized silk flowers and each table had a multicolored tea set on a brightly colored silk tablecloth. Fresh flowers were everywhere so the house even smelled like a fairyland. In the entrance hall Ellie had arranged her exotic hat collection on a tiered hat stand and the girls were able to try a few on. The afternoon ended with new friendships being formed and great memories that these girls will cherish for a lifetime. A few of us stayed over night in the apartment and woke up to the sounds of a working horse farm. My daughter Ashley and her new found friend Rebbecca helped water the horses and enjoyed running free with only their imagination restricting them. They definitely had a great time. It took us a few minutes to find them and convince them it was time to head home. We continued the creativity all the way home by singing silly songs, telling stories and talking about our favorite things from the weekend! If you have an opportunity to go to Windy Meadows for one of their weekends or have them develop one for you, you won't regret it! I'll post some pictures when Christiana sends them over to me.

Check out this site for a great give away. Very cool bench.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pictures Today!


I have downloaded the pictures and am inserting them where they should go in my previous blogs, you will have to go back and look at them. I will attempt to set up a slide show. I may not get done as I must hit the road at around 3pm to head up to Windy Meadows for a Fairy Encounter Weekend with my daughter.

Windy Meadows is a really cool horse farm in Kentucky that specializes in retreats for ladies and families. Ellie and Randy Troutman are the owners, their website doesn't have the retreat info yet but if you are looking for a place to stay near Louisville or Lexington Kentucky and want a comfortable, fun place, look her up. She has a duplex with two separate apartments all decked out in theme rooms and a house with a zen like atmosphere for rent by the day or for special events. She customizes packages and accommodations depending on your wishes....very cool!

I've done a Sisters Weekend where we went to Churchill Downs on opening day, ate dinner at a local gourmet restaurant in a remote out of the way General Store. The next day we did a trail ride and came back to shoulder massages at the farm (we needed it after the trail ride). Some toured a local winery while others visited the quaint Main Street of La Grange (the local town) then we met up and watched a family slide show and gossiped. It was a great bonding experience for us girls - Mom's, sisters, Aunts in-laws, cousins and daughters - there were about 10 of us.

Now I'm doing a Fairy Encounter; a group of us with daughters are spending the weekend which will include a lady that talks to Tree Deva's and discovers fairies, crafts and a tea party set up by Mr. Barkley a Steiff Jack Russell. Jack does tea parties because he can't work in the US, he's German after all and doesn't have his "green card". Jack entered the US via Macy's Department store in Chicago and was relocated to Ellie's Farm this summer. I'll blog all about it on Monday!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What's in Store for today?

I would not have posted today except I have committed to posting everyday in October, evidently it is some sort of holiday month dedicated to blogging....

Tonight when I get home from work, I shall sort through my pictures and post some of the house tomorrow! I sort of promise!

I must get to posting pictures or you will think I'm just making it up about building a house!
Then I must start crafting. There are some really cute Witch lapel pins I'd like to make - I'll show a sample tomorrow.

See you tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday. She is 74, which is really impossible since I am like 27 (I say like 27 because I'm actually 45 but like to think I'm 27, and everyone else to think it also!) Overall my Mom has had a good life. There may be things she'd change, but not many I can think of, that I'd want her to.

Here's a picture of Ashley (my daughter, aka The Princess) and I sending a Happy Birthday wish from Flash the wonder horse!

My family knows how much I love each one of them, but we rarely demonstrate it. We give the occasional hug in greeting and say I love you, but mostly it's at the end of a telephone conversation like a closing statement.....luv-ya-bye. I can't recall that I've ever just looked my Mom in the eye and told her how important she is. We mostly demonstrate our love by being there for each other. Not a one of her kids wouldn't drop everything and rush to her aid if she needed us. We've all had an opportunity to demonstrate this over the years.

This afternoon I thought I'd take an opportunity to publicly tell my Mom that I love her very much. Not only has she been a role model to me but a source of sage advice. My Mom is a strong woman and has excelled in a "man's world". She passed that on to me and I have benefited from it. Perhaps the most important thing my Mom gave me is the joy of laughter and the ability to dance in public!

Thanks Mom and Happy Birthday! Have a great weekend visiting Windy Meadows! See you Friday night!