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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bring On The Wool

With the advent of cooler weather my thoughts go straight to wool. I've started a pair of boot socks using worsted weight yarn, size #4 needles and reviewing this two-at-a-time, toe-up tutorial for knitting them. It's been a couple of years since I knit socks using this method so the tutorial is a good reminder.

I use my clothesline as often as I can, but I've meant to make a set of felted wool dryer balls for awhile. Did you know they cut down on the time it takes clothes to dry in the dryer? They also eliminate static cling, and you can add a few drops of essential oil for scent if you like.

They can also double as scoops of ice cream. Mine are, obviously, having a difficult time making it to the dryer. Here'a a tutorial if you'd like to make some. Note: I made mine a bit larger than the ones in the tutorial with yarn I found at a flea market. Some of the older yarn isn't as skin-friendly as what we have today so I didn't mind using it for dryer balls. These cost me only $.22 ea. and freed up some space for my quilting stash. ;)

Shrub with berries along the pasture fence line. Note: These are not Autumn Olive berries. I got these and Autumn Olives mixed up when I first posted this entry, but thanks to Jacqueline's comment I realized my mistake. I wanted to mention that because I do not want anyone eating these thinking they are Autumn Olives. Sorry about that! Always be sure you are identifying wild foodstuffs correctly.

Close-up view.

 Goodman and I were out walking and noticed this nearly foot-high anthill... eek.

Eastern Red Cedar berries... love their frosted blue color.

See you soon, the Good Lord willin'.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nifty, Thrifty Finds

I hear there will be frost in the foothills this week... just as our hydrangeas decide to bloom again. They were blue when we got them last year, and one of the three we planted stayed blue until mid-summer, but then they all eventually changed to pink. I really want them to be blue and have been reading how to do that naturally. I read one way is to mulch them with coffee grounds, and another is to give them a tablespoon of vinegar in a gallon of water once a week. I've been doing both. So, now they're lavender. We'll probably have to wait until spring next year to see if they turn completely blue. 

I've been picking sage leaves before the frost arrives.
I use it for cooking, of course, and I sometimes add it to homemade soap for it's astringent properties.

I picked a cabbage, too but not from the garden... I found it at a garage sale.

It's really handy...

 Remember the gold Corning Ware mixing bowls? I've had this bowl on the left for forty years and didn't even know they had sold casserole dishes, too. Youngest found it at a thrift store for me.

 I've taken up a new hobby - learning to play an organ. No, I've never played a musical instrument before, but this organ is really fun. In fact it almost plays itself. I found it on craigslist for a song. O.o My answer to modern radio - thank you, I'll just make my own music.

I better go practice now. O.o
Have a great week and keep warm....brr.
Linking to Natural Living Linkup, HomeAcre Harvest Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall in the Foothills

Greetings, Y'all!
 My pink verbena is still blooming.
 I heard they are loved by hummingbirds, but the hummers we have haven't figured that out yet. O.o
 I've watched this Eastern Kingbird catch insects all summer long. He's very wary so this is as close as I could get. Click his name to hear the different songs he sings.

 In other bird news, I had arranged to get a new flock of chickens, but sadly it didn't work out.

 Goodman and I will have to make do with these two gals until spring unless I find someone locally with hens for sale. That's not likely this time of year.

Our burning bushes are beginning to show a little color. It's still warm here and we're having wonderful fall temperatures daily.

 I've been busy gathering walnuts from our tree that grows along the fence line in the pasture.

My workstation isn't very glamorous...I stand under the deck and place the walnuts, one-at-a-time on a brick then give them a few good whacks with the rubber mallet to loosen the hulls.

Then lay them out to dry for a few weeks before the real cracking of the hard shell begins. O.o They are a bit of work, but the flavor is unmatched in the nut world for me.

Yes, it's a messy business but rewarding in every aspect. I'm saving the hulls to make a stain for baskets and furniture. Works great.

Our bluebird family of five shows up every day around 5 o'clock for a bath, usually about the time we sit down to supper. I call that great dinner theater.

 Yesterday I made Hungarian Cabbage Rolls. The roll (green) is under the chopped cabbage, sauerkraut and tomatoes. It was so I good I, actually, had a bowl of the vegetables with broth earlier for breakfast. O.O That. Was. Good.
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