Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Small Change: A Garden, Canning and Cleaning

I've been wanting to get our garden prepared since, well, since last spring, but I've been talking about it as part of One Small Change since August.  Finally, last weekend I staked it out.  Hubba decided he didn't like it and selected a different location.

I staked it out again and Hubba agreed.

This new location has no underground wires so we can start digging at any time.

Now on to official business: my One Small Change for October was to continue to can and freeze produce.

I added more apple butter and an awesome chunky apple sauce to my September stash.  I have one more sack of apples to process and potentially a few more apples on the tree.  I haven't checked them out since the freeze earlier this week.

I also acquired a food dehydrator.  I'm thinking about drying some of the apples I have left along with making beef jerky.

Learning to can and freeze produce over the last two months has been really fun and satisfying.  I feel I can handle most anything that comes my way next year.

For November, I plan to clean my ovens.  Blech.

Soon after I started participating in One Small Change, another changer wrote this post about her experience with home-made cleansers...  I really need to clean out my ovens, and I like the idea of home-made cleansers.  I  hope it goes well.

One Small Change

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Crocheted Balls

The other day my sister sent a photo of a crocheted cat toy.  She thought it was super cute and wondered if I could make one.  She said, "It's just a ball.  It can't be too hard, right?"

I'm not a huge crocheter.  But there are a couple of patterns I really want to make that are crochet.  So improving my skills has been on my list for a while.

I decided that I should be able to make a couple of crocheted balls and found a pattern for a hackysack.

I went to my stash and found this bright cotton left over from a weaving class I took a while back.

Here's the result of my experiment:

I think they're a little big and heavy to be a good cat toy.  I filled them with dried lentils so they feel very much like the hackysacks of my younger days.  ;-)  I bet they'd be pretty great filled with lavender.

I wonder what we'll see today at Wisdom Begins in Wonder... it is Fiber Arts Friday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Solving Problems: Preferred Content

I subscribe to a lot of blogs via RSS.

I like the convenience of it.  It's passive.  My email isn't full of blog posts.  I can see what's been posted to recently and read in any order I choose.

The down side to RSS is that I don't always have a strong enough connection to receive the feeds when I'm travelling and the RSS subscription is specific to one computer.

Solutions other than RSS:

Email Subscription.  Initially this was my preferred method of subscribing, but I already mentioned I like having less in my email.

Google Reader.  I understand there might be some Phone Apps that work with Google Reader for when you're "on the go,"  but I don't like Google Reader.  Perhaps I don't know how to use all of the "features," so I might be willing to give it a try again.

Links from my blog.  My solution was to create a list of some favorite blogs on the Kathryn's Brain home page.  You'll see them if you scroll down a bit on the right sidebar.  --->

What's your solution?  How do you keep up with your preferred content when you are away?  Or do you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Manure Delivery

This past week we made two alpaca manure deliveries to our friend's garden.

Hubba spent his day's off shoveling the manure into the bed of our truck.

It seemed like a lot... until we dropped it in their (giant) garden.

So Hubba loaded the truck again, then promptly announced he wanted a tractor.

We don't have much manure left.... for now.   I just love making farm deliveries.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Roasting Turkey

Hubba and I used to get whole fresh turkeys from Keller's Farm Store in Albuquerque every 4-6 weeks.

Since we've returned to Colorado, we've had a challenge finding fresh turkey, let alone frozen ones.  I really haven't seen much other than at Thanksgiving.

So I've been asking around, hoping and praying that we would find a suitable turkey source.

In the spring, the chicken farmer at the farmer's market told me he had some turkeys that should be ready for Thanksgiving.  So I made a note and kept looking.

The boy who delivered our hay about a month ago told me the manager at the feed store raised turkeys and that they might be available for individual sale.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago at the farmer's market, the chicken farmer had a sign out that he had turkeys available.

He was embarrassed that they were a little big.  This was his first year raising turkeys and had gotten them a little too early.  I told him not to worry.  I desperately wanted farm-raised turkey and would take a big one.

It was there for me to pick up last Saturday and let me tell you, I got what I wished for...

... a 29.6 pound turkey.

Eek.  I didn't know if it would fit in my oven.  It certainly didn't fit in the refrigerator, barely fit in the sink and was way too big for my roasting pan.

But don't worry, I bought a (recycled) aluminum roasting pan, defrosted the turkey in the sink and roasted it earlier this week.

We've been having turkey sandwiches and tacos for days.  Yum-my.

As for the manager at the feed store?  I'm getting one of his turkeys next weekend.  I plan to save that one for Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Orange Cotton Hats

Quite a long time ago, I was trying to make a hat (Ravelry link) for Hubba that was (a) not too hot, (b) washable and (c) an orangy-red color.

I ended up with a cotton London Beanie.  He liked the hat in spite of some some issues it has.

Then I made one for our friend's young son and Hubba decided he loved his hat.

The young son, decided they would have a private orange hat club, so his dad needed one too.

I didn't have enough of the orange yarn left over and was unable to find more at my local yarn shops, so I went to Ravelry, found some there and knit a third Orange Cotton Hat.

I hope they stay true to their word... that this is a closed club.  :-)

This is, of course, my weekly installment for Fiber Arts Friday.  Please head over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what everyone else has been up to.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Road Trip: Trail Ridge Road, part 2

I haven't been able to post photos for about a week.

The Blogger photo uploader was undergoing maintenance, so I thought that was the reason.  But I still couldn't upload photos after the maintenance was completed.

I re-booted my router and now things are working much better.  Here (finally) are some photos from our trip over trail ridge road last weekend.  Please enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Road Trip: Trail Ridge Road

The leaves have been changing and dropping.  The wool sweaters and fleece pull-overs have returned to our selection of favorite clothes.  There has been snow in the mountains.  We haven't had a freeze at our house yet, but certainly it's getting close.

Hubba and I got to talking about Trail Ridge Road and how two summers are now gone and we had not taken that trip yet.

Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous road in the country.  It passes through Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) from Estes Park to Grand Lake, Colorado.  The road is closed in the winter.

On Saturday, I checked to see that the road was open.  We knew it wouldn't be for long, so we seized the day and went for it.

We were hoping to see some wildlife, but only saw a herd of elk lounging at an overlook with a whole lot of people taking photos of them.

The road winds through the park reaching an elevation of 12,183 ft.  That's more than two miles above sea-level and the views are incredible all along the way.

Once we reached Grand Lake about 80 miles and 2 hours from our house, we took the more conventional way home through Grandby, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Idaho Springs and Denver.  The conventional route was a four-hour trip.

We're happy we took the trip because there's a lot more snow in the mountains today and the east side of Trail Ridge Road is now closed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: Cashmere and Silk

For some reason I thought this was a Camel/Tussah Silk blend.  So imagine my surprise when I read the label again and saw that it is actually Cashmere/Tussah Silk.

I haven't spun anything like it before.

As you can see, I have some overspun areas.  One day I'll figure out how to make those on purpose.  ;-)

Of course this is part of Fiber Arts Friday.  Please head over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder and see what you can see.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 10:10 GMT

This morning at 4:10 am at my home in the Mountain Time Zone it was also 10:10 am at Greenwich Mean Time... 10/10/10 10:10 GMT.

It was the World Wide Moment.

More than 1700 people living in more than 80 countries took photos at this time in the name of peace.

Since it was dark, I decided to take a photo of something in my house that was peaceful.

For me, spinning is a peaceful experience and I am currently spinning some incredibly soft cashmere/tussah silk roving.  So right now, spinning is both peaceful and luxurious.  :-)

This is my World Wide Moment photo:

You will be able to see the photos that everyone else took on the World Wide Moment site.

I am having a couple of issues uploading my photo.

1. It's too big. Mine is 2.99 MB, allowed is 65.31 MB.  I have (so far) been unable to figure out how to save as a smaller file.

2.  The date and time on my camera are incorrect.  While I was looking at the properties of my photo, I noticed my camera thought it was yesterday night.  I vaguely remember not caring about the date and time too much when I got and set up this camera, but I guess I now know why it's relevant.

I'm going back to sleep and will try again a little later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Not So Happy Caturday

Three weeks ago I announced that we had a new barn cat.

Today I tell you that we are again, kitty-less.

The cat has been AWOL for about 10 days.  There are no signs in the neighborhood.  He is not at the Humane Society.  The owls are back.  The fox and coyotes are still around.  There has been no food or litter-box activity in about a week.

Yes, I know the life expectancy for barn cats is shorter than most cats, but it makes me sad to have lost a second cat in less than a year to the food chain.

So, for now, we will be using mouse traps in the barn.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: A Quick Baby Hat

I whipped up a baby hat on Saturday. 

Seriously, I started and finished on the same day.  I think that's a first for me.

It's small.  It's cute.  It's soft.  I guess I'm getting excited for that nephew to show up.

Please head over to Wisdom Begins in Wonder, because it's Fiber Arts Friday.  :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Alpacamundo's Big Thompson

Today, our cria watch came to an end.

For the second time, we were home and completely missed the birth.

I had just finished a conference call and got up to look out at the girls corral and saw a small, very dark alpaca walking around.

I yelled to Hubba that we had a cria and that I thought it was black.

He and the dog went out to the corral, while I told my coworkers I would not make the next conference call.  I changed into grubby clothes, grabbed the camera and a couple of towels to join them outside.

The cria was up, dry, walking around and interested in nursing.  We made sure the milk was coming out, dipped the umbilical cord in betadyne and weighed the cria, then searched for body parts to find out we had a boy.

Alpacamundo's Big Thompson is the son of Enchanted Sky's Kocoa Moon and BRCR's Peruvian Ricochet.  Which makes him part of both the Augusto and Caligula lines.

We have big plans for Big Thompson.

Real Job?

Earlier today I read a blog post where the author mentioned his first Real Job and that it had something to do with developing computer games.

The term, Real Job, put be off.

I assume he meant his first Professional Job, since I can't imagine what a Fake or Pretend Job would be.  Personally, I have had lots of jobs before my first Professional Job.  All of them met Real Requirements, took Real Time and paid Real Money.

I suppose though, there is the scenario where a person's First Job is a Professional Job.

What does the term Real Job mean to you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ravelry Rocks

I joined Ravelry about 18 months ago.  Soon after, I ran into my first Ravelry friend at the Airport in Albuquerque.  She was knitting while waiting for her luggage at baggage claim.

I was waiting for my luggage at baggage claim, because my knitting was in my suitcase.  I was interested to know if she had any issues bringing her knitting on the plane.  So I walked over and asked.

I had been travelling for a couple of months and had just started bringing my knitting.  I was certain TSA would not be keen on knitting needles passing through security, so I never bothered to check if they were allowed.  So this idea of knitting while on the plane and waiting at the airport would improve the quality of my life tremendously.

Since then, I have realized there is a wealth of patterns available on Ravelry, both for free and for purchase.  There is a tool inventory that you can print in pocket size.  There are groups, including the Tour de Fleece which I participated in earlier this year.

Like other networks, you can make friends on Ravelry and see what projects they are working on, or what projects they like.  You can make your own list of favorite patterns and designers which have been helpful when looking for something "just right." 

I understand there are groups where you can ask for help and groups that will de-tangle a skein for you, though I haven't used these yet.  I have also heard there are people willing to de-stash their yarn... aka unload some of the stuff that is taking over their space.

So when Hubba asked for a specific hat out of a specific yarn, I decided to look to Ravelry.

A short search turned up someone wanting to de-stash a few skeins of exactly the yarn I was looking for.  I sent her a note offering to pay for shipping, and within a few days the yarn was on it's way.

Yep, Ravelry Rocks!

If you're on Ravelry (join if you're not, it's free) look me up under Alpacamundo.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The World Wide Moment is Coming

The World Wide Moment is a moment in time where people around the globe take a photo for peace at the exact same time.

This year the World Wide Moment is 10/10/10 at 10:10 GMT.  That means when it's 10:10 am Greenwich Mean Time on October 10th, people all around the world will be taking photos at the same time.

After the moment passes, photographers can upload their photos to the World Wide Moment site.  The photos from 2009 are here.

For me, it's a tremendous moment of peace and purpose.  I participated for the first time last year...

WWM 09/09/09 09:09+09GMT
For me, in the Mountain Time Zone, The World Wide Moment occurs on Sunday, October 10th at 4:10 am.  It will be dark, so I'm thinking about what to photograph and how best to capture it.

Please consider joining me and more than 1400 other people from 72 countries in taking a photo for peace.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Anniversaries are Fun

One year ago today, Hubba and I ceased being virtual farmers and closed on our very own, actual, physical farm.

This makes me very happy.

Fiber Arts Friday: My BFF Hat is Finished!

My Best Girl Friend stopped by a couple of weeks ago with her daughter to meet Apple and Bruce.  Bruce was hiding in the alfalfa, but they did get to meet Apple and a few of the other alpacas.

When we took a break from the sun, I made her try on her in-progress-BFF Hat.  I was feeling that it might be a little big, so I wanted to be certain before I started decreasing.

Turns out she loves it and the sizing is right.  So I finished the section and began decreasing... and now I am done.

The combination of this pattern, color and shimmer reminds me of moving water... like the ocean, but I'm afraid that I'm not skilled enough with a camera to show the true effect.

I really liked working with this yarn.  I will have to get some more merino/bamboo soon.  Since it has very little halo, I think it would be good for knitting a lacy pattern.

The idea for this project was born in June, yarn spun in July, knitting began in August and the hat was finished this week, in September.  It was quite fun going through a product development process for my own personal fiber project.  I have always been a product developer and love that I was able to use this process for my personal work too.

This post was prepared as part of Fiber Arts Friday.  Please take a look at the other wonderfulness going on via The Wonder Why Gal blog.