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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I like to tinker

I am probably the worst person for not following directions or recipes or instructions. Not sure if it my adventurous side or rebellious side coming out. Either way I like to tinker and that is what I have done today. Now that I have this nifty sewing machine that can do most anything but jumping jacks, sewing and altering has been my focus for a week or so. I spent most of today going thru my closet and getting clothes sorted, I guess thas the right term, for winter and summer wear. I also tried on lots of pant to make sure they fit and put them on hangers in order of wear. Such as dressy, casual, jeans, sweats. Tops I did the same way. I loveeee tee-shirts. I live in those things. I have some that fit at the top and sleeves and are just a tad too long. So now that I have those pulled out I think maybe put elastic in the seams vertically on each side so kinda scrunch the sides to make them a lil shorter and more to my liking.Then I have some 3/4 length sleeve long tail button up shirts that are too long as well. Soon I will come up with a plan for those so I can at least get some wear out of them.  Then I found many articles of clothing that is in desperate need of ironing. So add ironing to that list of things to do. Did I mention I had to iron stuff? Well I do. If it ever gets warm enough to be outside during the day I wont have much time to sew and craft and tinker inside. I got lots of beds that will need my attention. Gosh we already have some ornamental things starting to bud out here and the temps are pose to be below 20 tonight an tomorrow night. Damn this global warming stuff. What the hell happened to spring?

I was in the mood to test another lotion recipe today too. Now this is where my tinkering came into play big time. I now have on hand several oils and butters that each add their own great quality to lotions and creams. Not one recipe could I find online that included all the things that I wanted in my lotions. So off I go to create my own. I broke all the cardinal rules of lotion making too by not weighing or measuring the ingredients. The only thing I did was weigh the total of the oils, butters and water so I could get the correct amount of Germall Plus(preservative) in the lotion. This is to make sure the lotion will be shelf stable and not turn into a petre dish after you stick your fingers in there to use the lotion or cream. I had also got a bottle of vanilla essential oil for use in making the lotions and oh my it smelled so nice. If you close your eyes you can smell vanilla cookies with a hint of chocolate in there. Almost smells good enough to eat. But the lotion was great. I put almond, apricot, coconut castor, avocado oils with shea and mango butter and some cocoa butter. I used my homemade herbal tea blend as the liquid or water part. I did use the vegetable emulsifier wax and a bit of stearic acid as an emulsifier and thickener. Turned out perfect, just nice and thick and not greasy. I am a happy camper with my summer supply of lotion made now. Yippee!!!

I am a lil bit concerned after my baby chicks did not arrive today in the mail. The post office always calls me when they come in and no call today and our sweet mail lady didn't deliver them either. So am sure hoping they arrive in the morning. If not tomorrow for sure I will have to refuse the shipment. Baby chicks can live fine for 72 hours after hatching without food or drink but longer than that they will be so very weak and not likely to live or thrive. I got online and tracked the order and it was due to be delivered today. Not sure what happened to em but wont be happy if they someone drops the ball and lets my lil birds die. But I have everything ready for them, a large tote with straw and a feeder, a water jar ready to give them electrolytes and vitamins as soon as they arrive and a heat light for them to keep em warm. Just sure do hope they arrive and are OK.

Once I get the lil ones settled in and happy I need to get my trays from the old greenhouse and get the potting mix in them to start seeds. Rodger don't have my benches in the new greenhouse yet so I will probably just get the soil in the trays and the seeds in and put them in the summer kitchen till the benches are ready. That wont be a problem cause the kitchen is near the new greenhouse. Not to mention I am not starting near as many plants as I have in the past years. (I don't think anyway) But I do get accused of not starting enough, but alas starting toooo many. But my thinkin is , "is better to have em and not need em than to need em an not have em". So I just keep planting .

My 3 lil setting hens are still setting and not a peep yet. I sure hope they at least hatch a few chicks. I like to use the standard breeds for making stock and canned chicken. It is better canned because I can let the chicks free range with their mommas till they are big enough to butcher or when I get time to butcher em and they by then are usually a bit tougher. So much better canned for soup and casseroles and such. But I got to hatch chicks to can chicks, so maybe best not count my chicks before they hatch.

Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

We keep puttering along

If spring would just get here and stay here I think I would feel better. I hate this feeling rotten for seems like no good reason. If I am gonna hurt like hell I at least want to be able to DO something to have reason. Not sure whas up with my joints and back unless I am in the middle of a big ole flare up. The usual things I do that provide some relief are just not working right now. So me thinks is a flare up. But I will get over this hump too like all the others. I had to spend most of last week inside because my knees hurt so dang bad and bad knees is just not conducive to going up and down the porch steps and walking around in an un level yard. So I just puttered with my toys in here. Mostly the sewing machine. I have been in need of an apron with a wider than normal top section for a while. A normal size apron leaves too much of my shirt exposed to spots of grease and other cooking mis-haps. So I started making one  just fer lil ole me with a wider top section and much longer ties so I can just cross them in the back and tied them in the front. After shoulder surgery on both sides most days it is impossible to tie on anything that requires me to put my arms behind my back. So this is what I came up with.

So now hopefully I can prevent stains on my clothing. Not to mention I am the worst for wiping my hands on the bottom of my tee shirts when I am in the kitchen. So this was one of my projects for late last week. I even added a large pocket to the front so I don't lose my phone when I am in the summer kitchen too. I know most older ladies, my grandmother for one , always wore an apron, even to the garden. An apron tail is good for lots of things. From totin orphan babies of some sort, gathering veggies, drying hand and a multitude of other things. And those ladies alas had pockets too. But us modern day grammies have to keep up with things like cell phones and cameras for blog photos ya know. So I, still in the tinkering mode, made a lil baggy to hang around my neck for the phone and camera if I am away from the house. And both mine will fit in this lil bag.

This was a fabric scrap that was left from upholstering a foot stool for Jason several years ago. Kind heavy fabric for this application but does provide a lil extra cushion if I happen to bump into something. That is where my creativity ended.
We did go pick up my lil greenhouse Saturday and did some other shopping. I picked up several bags of potting mix to start seeds in. That will be getting under way as soon as Rodger gets my benches bu9ilt for the greenhouse. He did manage to get it put together and put up today too. And it is anchored to the railroad ties on both sides.

This is before the cover was totally in place. It was pretty cold outside today and really hard to work with the plastic material. Once it gets warmed up we can maneuver it into better position. But this will be so much more convenient for me. A blessing not trudging up and down the hill several times per day to check on the greenhouse and water and make sure some critter is not in there eatin hearty.

You can see the plastic has a mesh like heavier material inside it. Easy to zip the door closed and you can then un-zip an area over the door and one in the back for better cross ventilation. It is pretty heavy for a portable greenhouse. I will be a happy lil camper to know I don't have to walk so much to care for another one. Now I have to round up all my trays and planters and get busy.

I got baby chicks that should arrive about Wednesday of this week. I think I will keep them in a Rubbermaid tote for a week or so out in the summer kitchen so I can check on them many times per day. It will be much easier to keep the temp steady for the first couple weeks in there than in a large building. By 2 weeks of age they should be much stronger and able to withstand a lil variance of ambient temps. I do think my 3 hens should hatch sometime this week too. They have been really good about staying on their own nest too. Having 3 girls taking up 3 of the 4 nest boxes on the bottom row of the laying box had put a kink in some of the girls laying habits.

The 3 girls in the bottom row are the ones that should be hatching anytime now. The buff in the top laying box inside the fence jumps the fence everyday to lay. She will make a big fuss when she is done so she can get out.The 2 nest boxes on the end are occupied and 1 lady is pacing. After I took this photo she decided she was not waiting anymore and scooted in beside the lil hen on the bottom row. Out of view is 2 more hens waiting on a place to lay. I just put this section of wire up haphazard to try an prevent hens from laying with the setting hens and it has worked pretty good.

It started raining shortly after Rodger got the greenhouse up so we had some home canned veggie soup for lunch and he went to find some scrap lumber to make the benches with while I did inside stuff. I know we need rain, ya know, rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, but crap cool and damp and me are just not compatible any more. Who the hell came up the idea of "global warming"? They need to move to Ky. Well on second thought , nope they don't. We don't want their kind here.

Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

I learn something new almost every day

Ya know I think we get busy with life and don't pay attention to things in our life. Not quite sure how this happens but I am convinced it does. But its little things that amaze me. But I am easily entertained. I have played with my sewing machine for the past couple days to learn how to use it for all the things it is good for. No the machine is not new. I bought it probably in 1981 or 82 when I was a young newly wed. Every home needs a sewing machine of some sort and you should have the ability to use it to do what ever repairs or sewing you need or want to do in your home. I have used my sewing machine a lot over the past 30 plus years. It is still in perfect shape. It does embroidery, yep I knew that. What I did not know is just how many different things it can do. My machine has 30 cams with it. Each cam will do 3 different designs. Who knew? I sure didn't. I knew I had cams, just had no clue how to use em. SO I started looking online to see if I could find a users manual to it and located one. So I downloaded it and had Rodger print it off and put it in a book for me. (Nice book to by the way) I was reading in the book about the different presser feet the machine has. Hell to me up to that point they were just lil odd shaped pieces of metal. I find that 1 attachment can do rolled hems, another can do a blind stitch used for hemming garments. One of the attachments will hold a button in place while you sew it on with the machine. Who knew? Well long story short, I have a sewing machine that is top of the line and I didn't even know. Good thing I have kept it and taken care of it all these years. I am guessing that a new sewing machine that will do all the things that mine will would run about $400 or more. I cant remember what I paid many years ago but I know I would not have paid much for it. So I decided today to get out the cams and see what they would do. What fun, really neat tools. I had some fabric and got some out and proceeded to make myself an apron to suit my personal needs. I wanted an apron that would cover the upper front part of my shirts and the front of my clothes. So when I am cooking or frying especially I don't end up with grease stains on my tops that are impossible to get out. Most aprons I have seen have a really narrow top section and if something pops about the only thing covered is the center part of your shirt. I made my apron wider at the top to cover more (can we say no more grease stains on my boobs) an long enough that I don't spill stuff down the front of my clothes. I just had fun making it and kinda custom designed it to suit me. I like being able to do that. I am happy with my new apron. I will get some pics tomorrow, my camera is charging right now. I was thinking as I worked on the apron that I might like to have some new sweat pants to wear around the house. I have a pair of jammies already cut out somewhere in this house so I need to locate those and finish them. Then I can use the same pattern to make me some sweats in the style that I like. Most sweat pants you see now are low cut or Capri length and I don't like either of those. About the only ones that are to my liking are in the men's department. I think I might make another trip to Hobby Lobby this weekend and get some fabric to sew up a couple pairs. The ones I have right now are just beyond pitiful. I am sure I will think of other cool things to do with my new learned tricks and sewing machine.

I am tickled pink to be able to go get my lil greenhouse this weekend. I have to get our seeds started right away or we are gonna be far behind. Its time to get tomatoes, cabbage and other things started that we usually transplant to the garden. Hard to imagine it being time to start thinking seriously about gardens when we got a good half inch of snow this morning. But it melted by this afternoon tho. Sure didn't hurt my feelings a bit. We surely have had typical March weather here this month. Almost hot one day and snow the next. I worked in the yard on Sunday and today, snow. We have some of our young fruit trees starting to bud, and several of my ornamental things have swollen buds on them. Hope we don't get frost or a hard freeze. Might put an end to the possibility of fruit again this year.

I "thought" I had ordered my baby chicks back in February before we went to Las Vegas and when I called today they said it was obvious that my Internet order had not gone thru. But the nice lady at Cackle hatchery said she could ship some chicks out to me today if I wanted. How nice is that? Good customer service is so hard to find but very much appreciated these days. So I have chicks ordered that will be here next week. About Wednesday. Yippee!!!! So I guess I added another task to our ever growing  list for this weekend. Have to get the building ready for babies.Not a lot to do other than get the old bedding out and put in fresh straw and get feeders and waterers set in place for them. Rodger said we have to run a new extension cord for the heat light cause he hit the other one last year with the lawn mower. Guess I need to remember to pick up some high protein feed when we go out of town to get the greenhouse this weekend.

I had to call the vet today about my Luna. She has some sore spots on her that she keeps scratching at and a couple of them are really raw looking sores now. We are so lucky to have a nice vet that will come out to your house for a dog. Most of em wont. They tell you to being the dog into the clinic when its open. Well if you have a lil small dog you can put in the car or truck and tote off the see the doc thas great. I can not see me getting Luna into the truck at no price. Not no way, not no how. For one thing she weighs far more than I can lift and another is she does not like riding in a vehicle. But I called the vet and tole him what was happening and he said most likely mange. Oh my goodness. I thought only neglected malnourished dogs got mange. But I find that mange is caused by a tiny lil mite that buries under the skin and then the dog scratches till they dig the hair off and get sores. Not sure where she got this crap but I don't like it. He said he has seen more cases of mange this year so far than is normal. But any way he gave me some medicine that she has to take twice a week for a month and it will kill the mites on her body that are causing the intense itching and she will be fine. I was so afraid he was gonna tell me I had to bath her in some kind of solution for every but he said he knows that is not alas possible with big dogs. She does not like even a water hose much less being put in water and soaked. Can you imagine how would get the most dip on them in this process? Pretty sure I would be flea free for a long time. Anyway while he was here he gave her the rabies vaccine and got her up to date on all her other shots. I was very surprised that he only charged $60 for a house call, meds and shots. I was happy with that. He did say that in just a few days she will be much more comfortable when the medicine starts working but it might take a good bit longer before her hair grows back on her leg and ear. She don't look bad but I just hate to see her so miserable constantly scratching. I know what its like to have chiggers and the vet said these mites on dogs that cause the mange are comparable to chiggers on a person.
This is the same vet that fixed lil Abby's leg when she was just a baby and jumped out of Robs hand and hit the floor and broke her lil leg. The vets in Richmond wanted $1000 to fix Abby and do surgery and Rob brought her up here to Joey and he put a cast on her leg an tole Rob to take it off in 6 or 8 weeks and she would be fine. You cant tell she ever had anything wrong with her now. So living in a small town does have some advantages.

Not much else happening here on the farm this week. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, March 11, 2013

It looked like spring, and felt like spring

I just have to wonder if it was really spring or a false alarm again. We worked out in the yard today. That was my plan for yesterday too but we made a run out of town to see if we could get plastic for our greenhouse as finding it in our town is impossible. We had been to Lowe's last time we were out of town and they didn't have the width we needed so this time we stopped at Tractor Supply. And we didn't make it to the plastic till we spotted some 6 ft by 8 ft prefab greenhouses. The price looked good so we checked it out. They didn't have the one we wanted in stock but will have it this coming week. So we will go get it when they give us a call. So the project for today was to make a place for the smaller greenhouse closer to the power source and water source. The best place would be in the back yard. I had already decided that I was taking the pyramid bed out that was in the back and with doing that it made a perfect place for the greenhouse base.

I had strawberry plants in the pyramid for several years and every time we turned around out back this thing was in the way of some equipment. So out it went and Rodger and Jason used railroad ties for the base of the soon to be greenhouse so we had something too anchor too and it would be level.

This took some leveling and using the tractor to haul rocks and dirt to fill it in so I don't have to trudge in mud when I water. So this is where the new lil greenhouse will do. Much more convenient and it will serve my needs well. Much easier to put up and when I am finished for the season I can take it down, put it in the box and take care of it till next season.

While the fellers were doing this I got all happy with the pruning shears and started on the grapevines here at the house. They did sure look scraggly.

These things sure look ratty before I got in them with the shears. It is a lil late in the season to prune grapevines but they did not bleed at all so all is well. Not as many limbs after I finished.

Now there, don't they look all better now. They say ya cant over prune grape vines so I guess we will see. But I think I helped em some.
I got those done as Rodger and Jason were workin on the base for the greenhouse and I made my way around the house intending to prune the kiwi vines, Too bad I didn't make it that far.
I stopped at the shrubs on the east end of the house and just started clippin the limbs off to trim them up a bit, and after workin my way thru all of em, i had the bright idea to just cut em down and take em out. They are a pain to work in as they make me itch so dang bad. I had Rodger take the chainsaw to the main truck of them and I pulled the rest of the roots out. I should not be pulling on stuff like that. Now I am so dang sore I can hardly walk.But we went from a nice row of big spreading junipers to this.............

Now that I have mud, what to do, oh what to do. Not sure just yet how I will finish this off. The main reason for taking out the shrubs was they grow branches toward the base of the house and they push the under skirting material off. So now I got that fixed and had to hose the house off cause I left muddy glove and hand prints all over the siding. I may just get a load of gravel for the drive way and put it all the way up to the siding. And if want plants there they will be in containers. After all this mess dried out. The shrubs also kept a lot of moisture at this end of the house too. SO they is all goney gone. Rodger used the tractor bucket and he helped get all the mess hauled away in the middle of finishing up the greenhouse base. When I went back around back of the house this is what I have.

I guess now its dig out the grass send in the building and plant some grass in the areas where the pyramid use to be and around the edges of the base before the chickens excavate all the dirt over the hill.

We finally got all the tools picked up and put up and I had to use the hose to spray off the under skirting on the end of the house where I got mud on it so I got the brainy idea to hose off the front porch. I had to get the dirt off the porch that Luna had brought in this winter so we can sit outside and enjoy the nice spring weather that is coming soon. I had too many chairs so I had Jason come get 2 more to take to his house to use so they can sit on the porch in nice weather if they want too. Now to find  a couple smallish tables to sit drinks and such on would be nice. Wonder what I have around here that I can re purpose into small side tables. I will have to look around tomorrow and see what I can come up with.

On Saturday we planted the fruit trees that arrived that I had ordered a month or so ago. I got a replacement for my apricot tree that met  its fate with the weed whacker last year. And we added 7 more apple trees to the orchard too. Most of the new ones are old fashioned standard varieties. We now have Wolf River, Moyers spice,Keepsake, Gold Rush, Smoke House, Stayman Winesap and Granny Smith apples. Just so have it I had my hand pruners with me in the orchard and got most of the trees pruned there. Somehow I got in this pruning and whackin off limbs mood lately. No people limbs tho.
And who knew pear trees had these huge thorns on em?

And trust me these big damn things hurt when ya get poked. I ain't too sure about this tree and how long its gonna live. It is supposed to be a Keifer Pear. My other big pear tree don't have thorns. The deer mangled a couple of my apple trees. I am pretty sure one of em is dead but I paid good money for it an will give it a chance. The deer broke the top off of the tree during the rut when the bucks rubbed their antlers on the tree, Kinda made me mad with all the dang trees and they kill my lil young apple tree in the middle of the field.
Our grape vines we planted last year look pretty good. They will get pruned a lil bit and staked up so they will grow upright as soon as we have time and weather permitting. I still have to tend to the raspberries too. Rodger will mow them off for me and I can spread compost over the area and thas about all they need. Not sure how the strawberries are gonna do over there this spring. But I have plenty planted here at the house if I never see those plants again.

I think that is about all we have accomplished this past week. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The weather is unpredictable, as am I

I guess since I don't get up every morning like most hard working folks and leave the farm to go off to my job I don't keep any kind of schedule. If I do set times for thing they are kinda vague. The time frame of usually a week, give or take and few days. I got started on the baby cocoon that I had told you about and posted pics on my last post of the finished product. Later that night, couldn't get to sleep so I started on the lil hat to match. I got it all done the same night but too late to add to the post. So here is a photo of the lil hat. I have no pattern for this either, I just started at the top with a chain of 6 stitches and linked them together and did double crochet to increase till I got the the size that would fit over my fist then started the single stitch to decrease a lil bit and finish it off. Then made the lil poofy ball for the top by wrapping the yarn many times around my fingers, tied it in the middle and clipped the loops. Then with the ends of the string used to tie it together I put those thru the top and tied it off.

So what do ya think? I like it and I think its cute. Just long as it keeps a lil boy warm and happy is all that matters. Now on to the next project. Not sure what it will be just yet tho.

I have a doc appointment tomorrow to get meds refilled and I am mailing some kefir grains out to a couple folks. One package will go to my good friend Deb in MS and the other will go to my reader and new friend Lisa in Wyoming. Had intended to get those out today and it has not been a good day. I have felt like hammered crap all weekend. So I stayed lazy and stayed in. Rodger picked up lil padded envelopes today on his way home so I will bag up the grains tomorrow and mail them on my way to the doc. These things grow something ferocious.

When I put the grains in fresh sugar/molasses water 48 hours ago the level of the grains was at the line. You can see how much they have grown in that time. So ladies when you get these grains they will grow. I am sending enough for both of you to start 2 quart jars of Kefir just in case you happen to kill one. That is how I did the first bunch I got. I usually put about 1/3 cup sugar(white, brown, just nothing artificial) along with about 1 tablespoon of un-sulfured molasses in a quart jar, add water about 4/5 the way up the jar and stir to dissolve the sugar and molasses and add the grains along with any liquid that is with them. I cover the top of my jar or jug now with a coffee filter and put the ring only on the jar to keep out "stuff". Let sit for 24 hours and taste, it should be slightly tart. After 48 will be more tart and at this point you can strain the grains out of the liquid, save the liquid, that is your good for-ya kefir water, and mix a new batch of water, sugar/ molasses and put the grains back in there to continue the process. Tonight when I made the water for my grains I used maple syrup instead of molasses. Just to change up the flavor a bit. When making kefir water you do not want to use chlorinated water. Only spring or good well water. We have well water here so I have no issue. Also if you want extra calcium in the kefir you can add a piece of clean, organic egg shell. This stuff will almost dissolve the eggshell in 48 hours. Makes the shell really brittle. And we know us girls need our calcium. If you want to make a batch of flavored kefir that is a lil fizzy after you strain out your grains you can take the jar of kefir water you have made and add some pieces of fruit to it and let it sit on the counter with a lid on for another 24 hours to ferment. I have so far made raspberry and strawberry and I used my homegrown frozen berries. It tasted great. So get creative and enjoy your new science project.

I love getting free stuff in the mail. I tinker around online and sign up for free product samples just cause I can. Today in the mail this is what I got and just for filling out a simple coupon online.

Kinda neat, eh? I can do 2 loads of dishes, 2 of laundry and have lots of coupons and travel size shampoo and toothpaste, all for free. And free is good, yes? Yes it is.

Our weather is as unpredictable as I am this month. Dang over the weekend we had probably an inch or more of snow, it melted the next day, then some rain and cold, now they are giving more snow for tomorrow and by Saturday it is pose to be in the 60's. What the heck! If it is that warm this weekend we will be outside pruning grape vines, planting trees in the orchard. I finally got the trees I had ordered a month or more ago and they are nice for the cheap price I paid for them. I desperately need to get my asparagus bed mulched to keep the weeds down so I don't have to weed so much this year. Dang I don't have time or energy for that stuff. We have 30 plus new grapevines planted near the orchard that need to have stakes so they will develop straight trunks for a couple more years. I am sure the trees in the orchard need some trimming too. And here it is March again and we don't have our grapevines here at the house pruned back yet. I need to get the building ready for baby chicks too. Not sure when they will be here but very soon I hope.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Its March already

Where the heck does time go? Seems like just a few days ago I finished up canning the last of the  garden stuff. And here it is almost time to start more seeds for another crop. Or maybe its just that I have gotten older and times just seems to go by faster. Not sure, but this new year has took off to a running start. And just when I thought winter might be behind us, we get snow. It is snowing here as I write this. Big ole flakes too!! It most likely wont amount to much but we have a lil on the ground from it. It is cold out and with the snow I guess we can say March is coming in like a lion. So we can hope it goes out like a lamb. Not much gets done around here when the weather is cold and nasty. I have stayed in and puttered in the house. I did finally get started on the lil cocoon I was telling you about in earlier post. I guess you could say I cheated. I used a knitting loom. I makes really pretty stitches and a nice pattern. This is what it looks like.

 The loom has 2 rows of 18 pegs. I made the back panel of the cocoon using all 18 pegs for the correct width. Then made 2 more panels using only 9 pegs and the same length as the back. You can use a crochet hook to finish off the piece once you have the panels made. I wanted the front to be open a lil bit at the top. So here is what it looks like finished. (sorry I didn't take pics as I progressed) You know how well I remember to do that stuff.

With wrong sides together you crochet stitch the sides and bottom and up the front leaving about 1/4 open at the top center. I just put it on the floor to get a pic so I had dark contrast. I really did not follow a pattern for this. I looked online for ideas of cocoons that I liked and would not be hard to use  with a wiggling wee one and started knitting on the loom. I think I would like to have a round loom to make the lil hat to go with this cocoon. This cocoon measure about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. Just right for a wee one. I made a "tool" to cast on the knitting loom with. I am sure you can use prettier ones but this did the job for me. It is hard to weave the yarn around those lil pegs with your fingers. This makes it much faster.

Yes I took apart an ink pen, fed the yarn thru the pen barrel and it was much easier to cast stitches on the loom. Made for faster work too. Thas called hillbilly ingenuity right there. Or skin flint for not buying the "tool". So my lil grandson will at least have his cocoon.

I checked on my vinegar start today and it had got invaded with some strange mold. So I had to toss it. I did save the mother and placed it in some apple juice for now. I am really just toying with this vinegar making idea as I have no clue what I am doing. All I know is I inoculated the first batch of apple cider with raw apple cider vinegar and that is where I got the mother to develop. That part is pretty easy. I think maybe it needs to be warmer to work better. It is warm enough in the house for us but not for making vinegar. Any who, we got the mother in juice for now till I get some apple cider.

I also strained my Kefir grains and put them in new sugar/molasses water to brew. I have Kefir grains all over. I have 1 quart jar stored in the fridge for if and when I manage to kill the ones that I am using. The jar on the left is extra grains headed for the fridge, the jar on the right is kefir with added strawberries for flavor and added nutrition. This will probably be my saving grace this summer as I usually lose all my potassium if I sweat the least lil bit. Hopefully the kefir water will add back the minerals that I lose.

This is the kefir grains that will go back in fresh water with sugar, molasses and a piece of clean egg shell (for added calcium) and allowed to ferment for a couple days. This is how much the grains have multiplied since I received them from Ivie.

I started out with grains about to the line on a quart jar and compare to above photos to know how they have multiplied. They seem to grow by leaps and bounds if you give them extra calcium such as egg shell. Fun to grow and good to the body. Me thinks me kitchen has become a science lab of sorts. Next I want to try to start sour dough starter. Don't laugh, I will do it just to see if I can.

I went to close up the chickens this evening and to gather the eggs. They are such pretty colors.

A whole range of color from white to beige to brown to light green and occasionally some that look light blue. I love getting colored eggs. I also have 2 lil hens setting on nest. They had been having problems with other hens laying in the nest box with them. So last evening I out a "fence" of sorts around the 2 nest boxes they are setting in so they can still get off the nest to eat, drink and do their business and not have other hens hopping on the nest to lay. And the others still have 4 other boxes to lay in. I should have babies in about 3 weeks.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.