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OOPS  I guess I don’t know how to edit pictures, too many of the same.  I guess I need little help on editing….: 

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Fiber Fun

I have been dying lots of yarns and batts and various other fiber things like my beautiful suri alpaca locks.  Today I spent the day with my friend Chimene and we dyed some of her wool that she said had no color and was not too exciting.  We had 4 different batches that we mixed the colors to try some new combinations.  It seemed some of the wool was less receptive to some of the dyes but all in all most things turned out fine.  Suri alpaca locks, suri 2nd’s, alpaca batts, huacaya alpaca yarn and we had fun.  Chartreuse, violets, yellows in various shades to name a few.  All that was left here at my farm is drying on a rack next to the wood stove and looks lovely.  I hope Chi’s fiber is gracing her living space with as much glory as mine. 
There is something beautiful about color and how it interacts with the light, the natural light really lights up the fiber and today we had a beautiful sunny day with temperatures hoving above freezing. Even in my humble Amish house with limited light the colors of the fiber that we dyed floats there on the drying rack singing songs of joy…..Beautiful reds, corals, pinks, greens, chartreuse, purples and yellows… Love it!!!
The evening was topped off with dinner with Miss Suzie, her husband was off to a meeting and dinner with the local credit union board members so we did our 2nd. annual clams and linguini meal and great wine and sat by the wood stove and laughed. A great day and can’t wait for the 3rd annual meeting. LOL

Winter Laundry Blues

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Here it is the middle of January and it is hit or miss for hanging out the laundry!  It has been a very busy past 6 months but I hope to get back to blogging again.  I tried to cram in too many things into one day and have to sift out certain things like sitting at the computer.  Would rather sit at my spinning wheel or work on a collage making a piece of art work.  I wanted  to take a drive today to see the beautiful colors of laundry the Amish hung out and against my better judgement I put some throw rugs into the dryer.  I will pull out some photos of the last pictures I took in the Cherry Creek area this fall of some of the most beautiful Amish Farms in the area.  Now is the time to get ready for spring planting and pouring through the seed catalogs.  I may have an intern here at the farm and maybe a WWOOFer or two (I hope) to help and learn on the farm.  Check out the site www.wwoofusa.com and see all the people out there that want to learn all that we, the self sustaining farmers are trying to accomplish.  So check out my etsy site under YB Normal Wear or ebrumwell to see the yarns that I have been working on. Maybe more posts will come this way if I could dedicate mayself to the daily blog that many of you are able to do. By the way Happy New Year and I hope all the chick lay great eggs and the fiber on our animals is soft and lustruse.

I’m Back!!

Way too long and I need to let you know what I am up to.  Number one computer problems, and two it is summer and I have been very busy at the farm tending to the alpacas and my CSA.  Hope everyone that has received food from me has enjoyed the taste of summer.  More to come as well as photos and Monday Laundry Day.  At least the clothesline is fixed.

Monday Quandary Laundry

Quandary Laundry Day here at the farm.  Wanted to get out and see the laundry flying in the wind but I was way to busy to capture the thoughts and philosophy of laundry flapping in the wind.  You know that those Amish ladies think a lot while hanging laundry out.  Wonder what they are thinking…… What their children are doing, when the next baby is due, or what they will plant in the garden…… I know I think a lot while doing these kinds of mundane chores.  I think that hanging out the clothes is almost theraputic.  A kind of soap box phiIosophy time when you and only you can do the laundry and get it off your chest.  I did manage to hang out one load of colored laundry on the lines thinking the whole time. jeans, sweatshirts, long sleeved pullovers….all on the line along with my favorite alpaca socks.  There are always a few socks on the line.  I thought alot about my fate at this place trying to pull off the miracle of makeing a thriving alpaca breeding farm, growing vegetables for a CSA, maybe farm meals focasing on the food and wines of the area and an educational place for schools and yeah charter buses of our senors.  To have them come out to see the alpacas.and ask great question and have a great time to share together all the stories they and I have to offer.  Tomorrow I will tell you about my CSA.  My community supported agriculture effort to encourage good good comsumption and to get to know your local grower of food.

Building a Wall

We all are surrounded by walls.
There are walls that we put up in our minds to keep the things out that we do not want to deal with.  Some of those walls are there to protect us against emotional pain or even at times to protect us from becoming too joyful  Now that sounds silly, we all need to express joy in our lives.  Some walls are real, made of different materials like wood, paper, cloth, stone and what most of us here in the US use drywall.  Good old drywall, clean and white ready to paint, or cover it up even more.  I had to make a wall that was non-combustable to satisfy the insurance company and probably some fire code for the house.  Yes we need to be safe from a fire started by a wood stove which is my case.  I heat mostly with wood and the back wall needed to be fire coded safe.  I decided I wanted a rock wall because they are beautiful and not only hold heat for warmth they just appear to have a warm feeling about them.  I think even as a kid I have been facinated with rocks and have chipped a few to try and get them to break in half.  I was given three boxes of the fake stones and I layed them out last summer to air out and see how they fit together.  To tell the truth they layed there until the end of fall just before the snow or lack of came.  I knew there was not enough and I could not afford to purchase more so before winter really took hold I was out looking for rocks that would fit with what I had.  So the porch was the holding place for all the rocks.  Most were layed out

roughly the size of the wall I was to build.  I also gathered many little rocks that I thought I would need for filler.  Then once the rocks were gathered I ventured down to the local building supply with measurements and asked for help.  I gave them the measurements and home came the fireboard, screen, drywall screws and mortor.  I had the plywood they said I needed so I was ready.  My cousin Billy had given me plenty of suggestions and advice on how to do the wall.  So after pondering long enough and endless phone calls to Billy I plunged into the project.  I had to build a wall behind the wood stove area strong enough to hold the stones.   So 2×4’s were used and the wall was made to support the rock wall. On the framed in wall I had to cover it with plywood and then firecoded drywall.  Now to hold the stone in place I used a wire mesh that had to be screwed down every 4 to 5 inches.  The wall  looked like a bad case of measles.  Once that was done I began the slow task of adding the rocks.  I worked from the bottom up and it seemed to grow right before my eyes.  The fake stones and the real rocks/stones fit together wonderfully and in the end they all looked real.  Now I am gradually adding the mortor for the grout to finish the wall.  Once that is done the wall will be framed in cherry.  Can’t affor that just yet so that will have to wait.  There is a large cherry tree at the edge of the property that is starting to dye at the top and I have plans to have it cut and made into boards for the future cherry trim.  I am in no hurry.  It would be nice to see my Amish house trimmed with the wood from the property.  A little at a time is fine with me.  It sure is nice sitting there with a warm fire and looking at the wall.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

No Laundry Day Today

    They warned us that today was not going to be like the last week or month.  No sun, warmth, green leaves, spring flowers and peepers.  No today is lots and lots of cold snow and wind.  The forecast for my hill is up to a foot or more of the white stuff.  Heavy wet snow that can really wreck a good spring day.  I guess there is at least 6 inches so far and it appears to keep falling out of the sky.  No laundry today and I am not going for a ride to see if the Amish hung out their clothes.  Some do even in the rain.  But my guess is that they are tucked away in their blue trimmed houses making bread, soap or cookies.

Today I decided to make my soap boxes.  Not a soap box to stand on to air my  laundry and sound off again.  No I really am going to make soap.  My friend Chimene gave me a lesson a couple of months ago and the soap is wonderful.  I look some of the blue trim that I removed from the house and look it down to the basement and cut and trimmed to make myself 5 boxes to pour the soap into before it is cut into bars.  I have plans for more Chautauqua Honey Olive Oil soap, seems some friends of mine claim that their skin problems have healed up.  So I have orders.  My friend Suzie and I are trying to think of a great name for our new product line that we keep talking about.  Hair rinse, soaps, and vinegar made from our harvest of herbs and berries.  I know soap and vinegar does not go together but what the heck.  Did you know that soap making has been going on for as long as man/women have been around.  Soap making was developed through trial and error until a bar of soap was perfected.  The early hard-working colonists used wood ashes and waste fats.  This gives testimony to the early American self-sufficiency and resourcefulness.  The Babylonians made soap in 2800 BC and the Phoenicians around 600 BC.  Soap through the ages was made using a form of sodium alkali.  The Egyptians are thought to have used local soda deposits for their source of alkali as the Spaniards did.  Other people un various regions burned seaweed producing sodium based barilla for their alkali.  Most people today go to the store and buy something filled with antibacterial ingredients with a lot of added unnecessary ingredients and develop all sorts of skin problems.  I have been using gentle soap for a long time and prefer hand-made soap.  Now I use my own.  Let me know if you are interested in putting in an order.