Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good morning muffins

As part of our on-going effort to eat healthier, I've been making a big batch of these muffins on the weekend and then dividing them up and freezing them for us to eat on all through the week. I found this recipe at Farmgirl Fare sometime last winter and think it is the best one ever. I will admit to changing the recipe a little, mainly because I don't have something on hand. Sometimes I add raisins, sometimes cranberries, sometimes both. Occasionally, I will use just a dollop of sour cream in addition to the yogurt and once I even used buttermilk instead of plain milk. It seems to be fairly bomb-proof, as recipes go. These days, I'm mixing up the dry ingredients in zip-lock bags, listing the wet ingredients on the outside of the bag with a waterproof marker pen and storing them in the freezer. I don't even have to look for the recipe that way. If you eat one of these muffins every day, you will never have to worry about getting enough fiber in your diet (if you know what I mean!).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What did I do before Post-Its?

This jumble of projects has at least one thing in common. Look closely and you will see a Post-it on each pattern page. I cannot function without Post-its. I have them in every color, size and shape. They are in my knitting baskets, in the car, on my desk, on the kitchen counter, on my bedside get the picture. I've been known to make a note and put it on the bathroom mirror, on the back door, on my steering wheel-----all to help me remember things I'm likely to forget. But, most of all, I use them for knitting. I have way too many projects going and know from experience that if I put one down and then don't get back to it right away, I'm in for a painful experience trying to figure out where I left off in the instructions. I'm terrible at remembering numbers, especially. These little pieces of paper save me lots of time and the fact that they're sticky helps them stay where they are supposed to be. I would be in trouble without them. I'd list them right up there with some of my favorite knitting tools.

Looking at the project pile, I can see that they have something else in common. There's a lot of green there and rusty red, even right down to the rug and the Mexican tile floor. How predictable am I? Clearly I need to work on stepping outside my color comfort zone.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spinning brightly

There has been very little time for anything but animal care around here lately, but I did manage to squeeze in a little spinning time over the weekend. I started on the really bright roving I dyed a few weeks ago and I'm loving it! I know that the resulting yarn is not likely to be knit into something I would wear, but it is going to make something wonderful because it is so soft and the colors are luscious. I seem to be using the word "cheerful" a lot these days as a descriptive adjective, but I can't help myself when I look at this on the bobbin. One of the most fun things about spinning is seeing what happens to the roving when it is spun and then, the change in appearance when the singles are plied together. I'm trying to hold firm and finish spinning all of it before I start any plying, but it's not easy! And, I know that if I give in and ply just a little bit, next thing I know, I'll be casting on stitches. Just, well, you know, so I can see what it looks like!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Poppies appear

This morning on the way to the barn, I passed by the flower beds in front of the garden fence and never saw this. How is that even possible? On my way back to the house (after feeding all those lamb's bottles, sheep, baby chicks, adult chickens, four Great Pyrenees, and Buster, the cat) this sight stopped me dead in my tracks! I must admit that I really prefer the salmon or peach colored poppies and have planted many of those since we moved to the farm, but these screaming orange ones were here first and they definitely dominate the scene. They are self-seeding, so no matter how many times I try to rearrange them into other beds, they keep popping up where they want to be! I'm ready to surrender because they do have their charms. I just can't help being cheered up when I see those bright, shining faces.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The waiting game

This girl has been on the nest for a while now, though we are not sure exactly how long. It's funny because I try to stay alert, so that I know when she decides to start sitting on her eggs. So far, she has managed to fool me every time. Unfortunately, for all the time she has devoted to laying eggs and trying to hatch out babies, she has not been successful. Last spring, she hid her first clutch of eggs so well that we never found them. She hatched one chick and promptly lost it. Next clutch of eggs went a little better---two babies to show for her efforts. The only problem was that she made her nest high in the barn, on top of the hay bales, and the babies came down without being big enough to fly. Not a pretty picture. This year she made her nest on top of the hay bales again, right up under the barn roof. We made an unsuccessful effort to catch her last weekend, with the plan to transport the nest and eggs to the ground floor of the barn and place all of them inside the dog kennel. Our thinking was that the chicks would hatch out and she would be able to keep them safe inside the kennel until they were big enough to be out and about. She had other thoughts on the matter, thank you very much! You would have thought we were trying to commit murder for all the commotion it caused. We retreated. Now, every morning when I go to the barn for the first round of lamb bottles, I climb the ladder to check on her and see if by chance any eggs have hatched. So far, all I see is her indignant glare. I do not feel very hopeful that this will have a happy ending. Stay tuned.