Thinking of spring…

I love this time of year. It’s cold and crunchy outside and I have my two favourite seed catalogues. I’m expanding the garden again in the hopes of being able to grow even more of the food next year.

As it stands we’re definitely moving towards increased self sufficiency. We milled our first grain today – more on that and photos soon. J and I talked about getting cows (very loosely – as in I pointed out we’re a dairy eating family and yet… can provide none of our own). He doesn’t like goat’s milk or cheese and didn’t get to try any of the sheep’s milk when we had them (but I think he wouldn’t have liked it even though I did – it was really sweet!) so I have been wondering about cows. They wouldn’t be my first choice – a smaller ruminant (say sheep or pygora or cashmere goats) with a couple of companion llamas (or yaks?) would be more along my lines but it’s a worthy discussion (although a bit bleak given the lack of fibre but I digress – again). I’m still not sure that I’m ready to go back to that level of work commitment. I need more time but am feeling very swayed by having one more thing I wouldn’t need to trust to mass production. I hate that cows are treated as they are on dairies -even the good ones – and I hate trusting my health to a huge food system. I have no illusions about cost savings – I know what animals cost me. I might make money or break even but I might not. It’s not why I would do it.

Alright, so cows were a bit of a tangent from seeds but anyone who knows me should expect such things. So yes, planning tte seed list for the expanded garden and looking forward to it. I plan to grow a 9th century barley this year – that ought to be very cool.

Bees are still a go for this spring. It’s looking like three or four hives.

Solar food dehydrator is also a go – confirmed with J today.

We’re looking at a small non-electric washer. To be honest, we’ve been looking at it for years but and I think we just need to do it. J has plans to build one but it’s a summer item, the one we’re looking at would be year round.

We’ve also been exploring solar options a bit again. Not just power but hot water as well.

I’m excited about what 2010 could bring…

Knitting wise, I’m still on track to do 12 pairs of socks in 12 months – although reserve the right to make that 12 socks. I want to knit another Sister Hat in a different colourway. The pattern needs a few trials before I ask other people to test it for me so I might as well get a cute hat out of it. I’ve been trying to figure out a matching scarf for it and have an idea or two… I also plan to knit this shawl. In fact, I already have the wool for it – this gorgeous lace weight Malabrigo. I know to many this will mean nothing but my family has come to learn the importance of Malabrigo in my life.

Oh yes – and in answer to the question I’ve had from a few people but keep forgetting – I have named my Wheel. I had considered a few names but Holda is what’s sticking. Penelope, for those who don’t recall, is the loom. Holda has a great many good characteristics and seemed just perfect (even though I wanted something a bit… I don’t know… sexier?).

Well, I have done my diligent updating and now I must knit socks.

Good night.



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3 responses to “Thinking of spring…

  1. Cows are definitely a ‘cost centre’, not a ‘revenue centre’ – although the right breed will do well on pasture, maybe even WITH the horses, depending of course, how the horses feel about bovines.

    I love Sasha, my Dexter cow. It took some time to get her tame, and to train her for milking, but she is just … I dunno, she’s everything I want in a cow. 🙂 She is mostly a backup plan at the moment – I simply cannot bring myself to take the time to go out and milk on cold mornings … not in advance of the hour commute to the office every day. However, she WILL let me milk, and because we share with the calf, it’s not a big deal to let her go without being milked by me. Maybe when the next calf comes in the summer I’ll try again. The chunk of infrastructure we are missing is the ‘cow road’ from barn to pasture – if we can get that put in this summer, it’ll be a lot easier.

    Sasha and the current calf are in a pen with a few sheep at the moment, and they get along just fine – although the steer who just went to the butcher was not as friendly to the smaller ones, and a friend of mine had their ram killed by the bull, so it isn’t something to risk lightly. Still, mixed livestock are a possibility, especially if everyone grows up together.

    Hey, do you think that pressure washer would work for felting? 🙂 I have a front load washer, and so have been hesitant to try some of the felted slipper things and such, as I can’t just stop to see where the felting is at …. I had thought these were more expensive than they are …. hmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmm! You got me thinking. 🙂

  2. Yeah, I’ve seen that and thought … well … that looks like a lot of work. 😀

    The Yarn Harlot attempted it on some slippers and her subseuent description of the event was …. most memorable. Enough to make me think a trip to a laundromat was probaby preferable to attempting hand felting with a plunger! Of course, plenty of people have gotten it to work so … maybe I just need to be brave.

    Or, maybe I just need a mini washer. 🙂

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