Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crocheted Cowboy Boots & Breakfast Basket

Over the last week, I've been working on some gift sets. 
They are for Calf Fry & Auction to benefit academic scholarships for students at our oldest son's agricultural college.  He was a scholarship reciepient last year so I wanted to make some nice things.

Cowgirls Rule

Of course the gift sets had to have AG themes.

Baby Buckaroo

I absolutely LOVE the cowboy booties complete with tiny spurs!
I think they are some of the cutest things I have ever made.

These will definitely be made for baby gifts in the future.  The pattern is by The Lovely Crow and found on Ravelry.  She has the cutest patterns on Etsy too.

I also did a breakfast basket filled with a few of my homemade mixes.  You can find the recipes right here on the blog.  Cranberry Nut Muffins and Angel Biscuits with gravy will be auctioned along with free range eggs and sausage & bacon. 

All fresh from the farm and packaged in true Red Farmhouse style! 
Who wouldn't love a bright red bowl and milk pitcher, right?

Hopefully, the items will bring big $$ for the guys and gals who are working hard to further their education.  But even if they don't they were really fun to make.

And now back to finishing up crocheted Christimas gifts!

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pass the Pie!

It's my new challenge.

Since moving into our farmhouse three years ago, I began a pursuit in baking. 
Seemed like a farmhouse should be full of smells like:
It's been a lot of work and some epic failures but I now feel somewhat accomplished in the art of baking bread.

It's time to move on to dessert~

The first pie of my new challenge ~ S'mores Delight Pie
layers of vanilla pudding, graham crackers, hot fudge,
and whipped marshmallow cream with toasted marshmallows on top.
Good grief, talk about rich!
Recipe in Perfect Pies by Michele Stuart

Seriously, who doesn't love pie?

So, I will be regularly rolling out the crust,
trying out new recipes,
maybe even looking for some new pie plates.
Let's hope I don't pack on the pounds while mastering pie.

Tomorrow when you are gathered around the Thanksgiving table don't forget to pass the pie.
And give thanks, of course, for all the good things in life that the Lord has given to you.

For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Deuteronomy 16:15

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beaded Crocheted Bracelets

I have been wanting to try a beaded crochet project for a while.  When I ran across this pattern, I had to give it a try.  If you know how to crochet, they are super easy and very fast to stich up.

Picking out buttons to match the beads is the hardest part.

I basically used this pattern but I made a few changes. 
  • I coated the end of the yarn with glue and let it dry instead of using a needle to thread the beads. 
  • I strung the beads in groups of fives and I put on extra just in case I didn't think it was long enough.  You can't add more later if it's too short!
  • I reinforced the buttonhole with single crochets back across the loop.  This gave it a more finished look while making it stronger.
  • Also remember that these will stretch when you wear them so make them to just fit around the wrist.

After making a few of these for gifts, I stitched up some of my handspun Jacob yarn.  I just HAD to use this cute button that I found.  I nearly squealed with delight when I came across it in the fabric store. {Actually, I think I did squeal!}

Such a cute country scene with a farmhouse, frog, and a tree.
Some may say it has a goat on it but you and I both know that is a Jacob Sheep. ;)

These make really cute ponytail wraps.  Just make it shorter or wrap it around twice. 
The possibilities are endless with this project, girls.  Grab some yarn and give it a try. 

Praise the Lord.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Glory in the Morning

Thanksgiving week started out with a glorious sunrise here on the farm this morning.  Watching the sun come up with such color reminded me that no matter what happens in the dark times, God's glory shines bright and new in the morning.  I love that!  Things aren't always picture perfect on the farm and after a week filled with "one thing after another", I needed a good sunrise.  It helped put my little problems into perspective and reminded me to be ever thankful for the blessings in my life.

I hope that you will see something this week that will make you ever thankful for your blessings.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


There are two things about pigs...

1.  When they are little, they are so stinkin' cute!
Like the four new guys we got yesterday.

This guy was promptly named Groucho for obvious eyebrow reasons.

Piggies are funny and playful.

I mean, just look at that {um}... cuteness.

Everyone on the farm loves them.

And then...
2.  They get big and stinky and you are ready for them to go to the freezer. 

Having issues getting 300 pound pigs in the trailer makes the process of parting even easier.  {No story. Just use your imagination.  I'll just say, I had to get IN the pig pen and it takes a lot to get me in there. Enough said.}

Suey Pig and Here Pig are now in the freezer. 
They had good piggy lives.
These little guys will too!

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

Friday, November 9, 2012

Set the Twist

I just finished spinning Simon's alpaca fleece and I thought I would show you how to set the twist. 

After you spin yarn on a wheel, you need to set the twist.  This just means that the yarn gets a bath (or two).  It evens out the twisted fibers and fluffs up the yarn a little.

Start with hot soapy water.  I use lavender Dawn.  It removes any remaining lanolin from the wool and the lavender scent helps with the lingering "sheepy" smell.

The yarn is still tyed in loops secured in four places so it won't get all tangled up.  Dump it in the hot soapy water and walk away.  Just let it relax for 10-15 minutes.  It takes that long to unwind in the tub, right?

Next up is the rinse.  Drain sink and refill with hot water again.  Try to keep the water temperature consistent.  This time add a little white vinegar ~ just a glug.  A glug is when you turn the bottle upside down and it makes a glug sound.  Yep, that's one glug.  It's not an exact measurement, obviously.

Let the yarn soak again for a few minutes.  Just a few.

Drain.  While you are draining and refilling the sink, hold the yarn up out of the way of the faucet.  You don't want to run the water on the yarn because it might felt it. Rinse in clean water again if you want.

Or if you are impatient like me just wrap it up in a towel and press it dry.

Now you want to shake out the yarn.  It will start fluffing up immediately.  I love that!  Amazing how good a tub soaking can improve things ~ even a skein of yarn.

Give it a little shake.

Lastly, it's time to snap.
Hold the loop of yarn with both hands.
Stretch the skein out between your thumbs and give it a quick snap. {Snap!} Water will splatter a little while the twisted fibers even out along the length of the yarn.

If you have done a good job spinning, the skein should hang with an open loop at the bottom. (sorry, no pic of that)
Then you just need to hang them up to dry.  I loop mine over hangers in the shower. 
Since, I'm preparing for handspun holiday gifts, there have been a few in there lately. ;)

Once it's dry, these silky skeins will be made into a wonderful men's scarf for someone I love.

{Please know that I am a beginner spinner so please double check what I do when trying this for yourself. I'm just sharing what I am learning and hoping you will enjoy the journey.}

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Breeding Sheep

This week we put our sheep into breeding groups.  As new shepherds, it was challenging to decide which ram to put with each ewe but it was fun to matchmake all the while imagining what their little lambs would look like in the spring.

Twinkle & Precious with Hawthorn

Of course, we spent the year setting up our flock to be self-sustaining for years to come.  To do this, we brought in sheep with different bloodlines for diversity.  At the same time, we made choices according to what we liked in the Jacobs to develop our own look within the breed.  That's one of the great things about Jacob Sheep.  Unlike other breeds, you can emphasis traits that you like and over time your flock has it's own look.  After studying other flocks, you may come across a picture of a sheep and be able to identify where you think it came from.  I know, you really have to like sheep to do that!  And yes, I've become one of those sheep people. 

Ralene & Callie with the very attentive Dazs
Each ram has his own strengths and weaknesses (except for one which I think is just about perfect).  Placing the rams with ewes that balance those traits are important.  But there was one other thing we had in mind for our flock.

McCarthy with Pistache

  Having the only registered flock of Jacobs in Oklahoma at present and living so far from any other breeders, we felt it was important to establish "parallel flocks".  This is encouraged by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy and is done by breeding multiple lines and crossing them every few years.  Keeping the sheep bloodlines several generations apart is important if you want to maintain a closed group and not have to bring in new blood every year of two. 

Auburn is with Ziggy & Flora
Anyway, we have put a lot of time and thought into our flock.  It's kind of become a passion.  You couldn't tell, could you? ;) 

The ewe lambs are learning to be big without the older girls

We find ourselves watching and waiting...
 for sniffing, flirting, tail flagging, mounting. 
And we are looking forward to spring and the little lambs that will arrive.

"You want me to do what?"

 "Be fruitful and increase in number..."
Genesis 1:28

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Western Pleasure Weekend

Last weekend our college boy competed in an equine event on his home turf.  We had not seen him compete before.  It was wonderful to watch him ride!

I loved the easy quiet pace of the competition,

the hair buns
and the bling on the competitors 

and the horses too!

Jonah worked as a handler all weekend, tacking & grooming horses and leading them around.  Hard work!

But the best part was watching the team ride.

In the intercollegiate equine program, you don't get any time on the horse before showtime.  Minutes before they mount, they draw their horse.  They then are led around by a handler for a few minutes. 

 With no time to see what the horse is like, they enter the gate and immediately the judging begins. 

A few times around the arena at a walk or trot and then they run their pattern that was posted earlier that day. 

The pattern is like a dance as they maneuver through the steps all the while paying careful attention to their posture, rhythm, and timing.

Then they stand waiting for each competitor to finish.

In a female dominated field, guys do really well. Jake's been blessed with a 1st,2nd, or 3rd ribbon each time. 

Red ribbon for this ride

Being on the equestrian team has made him a better rider and given him experience that will last a lifetime.

O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
Psalm 84:12


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