Thursday, April 30, 2009

Are you SURE it's our Anniversary?

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary. I got up with the kids who wanted to be awake before I did, and Richard slept. Then I went walking, while he didn't. When I got home, we made 2 batches of soap for his Rossoaps shop... Cedarmint Scrub and Scent Slayer (anise). Our house at least SMELLS wonderful.

He went to work, and I got to work here. Made about a dozen shafts for CD drop spindles, which I let the kids paint (and I painted a couple). I let the girls make "Kin-dles," which is my name for Kids' Spindles, out of wood shapes and 1/4" dowels. They painted them so cute! Des painted the one that looks like an eyeball. The ones with the suns, were pre-made and painted shapes. They all spin pretty well too! (Yes I know that in this pic the hooks are still closed. Didn't find my needle-nose pliers until after I took the picture!)

We also made 52, 1" buttons from some type of sculpting clay. I needed buttons with large holes that could be threaded onto some handspun yarn, and couldn't find any anywhere. So I made and baked them. Hope I did it right, since the clay was made in Italy, wasn't written in English on the label, and didn't come with instructions. LoL! I let the kids paint those too. Des says because I am fun. I think I do it, just because I am nuts. LoL.

Anyway, what I need the buttons for. Tomorrow is Heritage Day at the local public school. It kind of combines a school carnival/free day with "revival" arts to give the kids exposure to them. Last year we did a table with Richard's soaps and did a couple soapmaking demos during the day. In between demos, I took my swift and a sweater to recycle and the kids were fascinated with that.

So this year the girls are going with me, and we are going to do drop-spindling demos and have some raw wool, some cleaned wool, the drum carder, and some carded, brightly dyed wool. I thought I would let kids try their hand at the spindle, then thread their yarn through a button and tie it, let it twist back on itself and the loop formed at the end can be put over the button to make a bracelet or choker. Maybe a hare-brained idea, or not. We shall see how it works.

B has been trying her hand at photography again. Yesterday she had the digicam and kept following me around pressing the thing into my upper, outer thigh. I finally figured out that she liked my sleeping pants and wanted a picture of them. So I helped her hold the camera far enough away, and here it is. Boy a person can't have any secrets.

Two of my kids spent the night at Des' house last night, so she brought them home this evening. We all had Italian-sausage hoagies with green peppers and onions on them. Beverly was BAD this evening. Wow. Des took her in the bedroom, dressed her up in a dress, and put "makeups" on her. Lipgloss, mascara, and blusher, oh my! Then we took her picture. I think she was tired! Her eyes are so red! And the MINUTE they left, she fell asleep.

And, seeing as we have to be AT the school at 8 in the morning, and have to get soap oils together and load the car and all that first... going to bed is just what I am going to do too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Ok, so with a minimal amount of begging, I have come across some luscious little lonely lemon-colored yarn. I think it is a mohair/acrylic blend because is is both fuzzy and it squeaks. Nearest I can figure it is about 350 yards. Here is a pic of it. Don't worry, this isn't all of it.

It was actually one of the UFOs from The UFO Administration Service. I am supposed to make something of it by the 3rd week of May. And, the good news is, I have narrowed down the choices to two. The other good news is, you get to vote!

The BEST NEWS of ALL is, if you leave some way for me to get in touch with you (blog, twitter, or email), I will throw voter names in a hat and draw one for a lil' somethin' free for a prize! Probably something from my HeartFeltFun Boutique, though I haven't decided yet. Mystery Prize! LoL

The first choice is a lacy Tam (to the left) that would be nice and light to throw over beach (or pool, or just-mowed-the-lawn) hair, and would look GORGEOUS in this pretty, bright yellow.

The second choice is this light, lacy summer wrap/scarf (on the right). I am going to alter each pattern slightly, just in case I want to sell the item instead of keep it.

You can read about the winner HERE. Now, got to get on the knitting, ya know!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

General Tso's Eggs Benedict au Ross

Beverly likes to be up at 8:30. Nikki, who likes to stay up until 2 AM, does NOT. That has nothing to do with anything else, it's just information.

General Tso's Sauce
This is so easy you will wonder why you ever would buy some in a jar. If you use your own beef or chicken stock it will be preservative-free (I used store bought, for shame)

1 Cup beef or chicken broth or stock
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (your favorite)
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon water

Heat all ingredients down through ginger, in a small non-stick saucepan. When hot, add the cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken. Remove from heat and stir briskly. Serve over cooked chopped chicken pieces and stir-fry veggies (or use store-bought chicken nuggets)

Eggs Benedict au Ross
We had this for dinner. Kids requested "breakfast for supper" but this is WAY too sophisticated to be confined to breakfast anyway. But EASY! However it will help if you have some help to cook the eggs while you make the Hollandaise.

Toasted English Muffin, topped by:
Eggs cooked and folded omelet-style
Mushrooms sauteed in wine
crumbled bacon

We cut the pound of bacon up, cook it in a deep saucepan, stirring occasionally. Lift the done bacon out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling. Keeps well in fridge to use on salads and such too. Set aside until you need them.

Mushrooms, cut up your choice and place in a shallow saute pan with some actually good wine. Cook over high heat for a couple minutes, until the wine is gone and muxhrooms are soft and dark. Set this aside ready too.

Beat the eggs with a little water or milk and pour them onto a hot, flat skillet. Cook until nearly done. I cut the circle in half and flip them over for a few seconds. Fold each half in half again and put on an English Muffin. Top with mushrooms and crumbled bacon. Spoon Hollandaise over it and eat! YUM!

This isn't some great mystery that you have to go to an upscale restaurant and pay $48 for a meal to get some. Easy and delicious! Cut recipe in half for 1 0r 2 people.

4 egg yolks (throw the whites in with the eggs for the omelets)
(or make meringues!)
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 Cup (4 Tablespoons) butter - NO substitute!
Juice of one lemon
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Beat egg yolks in a small bowl with the water until they are thick and lemon-colored. Put the bowl over some simmering water double-boiler style. While whisking, add butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. Do not add more butter until each tablespoon is blended in. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sauce is meant to be served warm (not hot or cold).

I am carding llama fur today, and it is SO next to impossible to get all the tiny little bits of mulch and weeds out of it, since they take dust baths. Arrgghh!!!

And Beverly decided to try to wash out her own diaper! Arrrggghhh!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Motorcycles, Stars, and LoMein

This morning R and I got up and went to church, by ourselves. The kids and I work in the nurseries on Sat. night at the 7 PM service and try to go to the 5:30 one for worship, but yesterday I was too tired. I fell asleep talking to Des and slept about 45 minutes, missing time to leave. The church now has the 10AM Sunday service in streaming audio on their website, as well as an archive where you can listen to any of the last 12 weeks sermons. We were going to ride, because it was a beautiful morning... but the 250 wouldn't start. Low battery.

We did lunch at the local KFC buffet, which is one of the only "out" places I can eat without getting food poisoning, since I had that really bad case of it last year on vacation. Probably because this KFC keeps its buffet so hot, you can't even EAT your food for about 10 minutes after you dish it up. But, I do get a headache from the MSG that they say is not in their chicken. LoL.

When we got home, Des and Tony were here with the babies. The guys worked on the bikes. Tony actually got my 450 wired up and started, for the first time in almost 18 months since Allen flipped it. It was like music to me ears. I still need a clutch assembly, the brakes to be bled, and to recover the seat (I have some GORGEOUS deep green metallic leather). Tony took Jeremiah for his first motorcycle ride. DON'T PANIC (first rule of the Universe anyway) that they don't have helmets on, they went about 2 MPH around the yard. Jeremiah is not old enough to ride in this state, have to be 5 years old and able to rest their feet on the guest pegs.

Not to be left out, Beverly also had to have a "ride". Here she is sitting on my 250, having her hair done by big brother Artemas.

Meanwhile I showed Des how to pick up stitches around the edge of her shrug and she got the ribbed edging knitted with the black Merino she spun. I carded 6 oz. of gray corriedale and washed several ounces of llama fur to card some of with the corrie, to swap with a friend.

And, I left off doing the Quilt Block a Day about a month ago, so I could help the kids meet the deadlines for the Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge. Des says there were only about 24 actual blocks in the past month, many of which were stupid. So today I did 6 little applique'd blocks with a star in the center. I can't show you, because they are top secret. But that puts me only about 20 blocks behind. LOL.

After everyone was in from all the fun they could have in the yard, we gave Jeremiah, Artemas, Josiah, and Tony haircuts. And, we made Lo Mein for dinner (from our own recipe). Plus chicken, which we served to the kids with sweet'n'sour sauce from a jar (oops, lazy, LOL) and to the grown-ups with a General Tso's spicy sauce that I made up myself and I have to admit was as good as any I have had out anywhere. Plus NO MSG, LoL. If anyone wants the recipe I can try to write down what I did. That was some good Lo Mein, yo.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who Would Have Thought?

Ok, I helped judge baked goods at last night's county finals for 4-H. Since my girls were in the Biscuits and Muffins categories, I co-judged Cupcakes and Cookies. Who would think you could mess those up? There was one set of muffins that tasted like, instead of butter or oil, the kid used bacon grease in them. Bleh!

In the Cookie division, one set of cookies looked delicious (large chocolate chips) but tasted... odd. There were thumbprint cookies that tasted salty with the texture of sand. And there were pale, white sugar cookies that also tasted like they were made with bacon grease. And who would have thought that somewhere among the 7 pieces of cupcake I had to eat and the 7 pieces of cookie (well really 8 since I had to have another piece of something to clear out the bacon sugar cookie), something would give me food poisoning.

So, I got 3 hours sleep last night! Up at 5 AM for the craft show. We took lots of pics of our booth. This was a small, very old, community center with NO atmosphere, in a little residential area surrounded by dairy cattle fields. But it was a good "practice run" before our show in the Cato building next month in Knoxville. Before the next show, I want to get some sort of tiered rack (or cookie plate, etc), to put some of the HeartFeltFun Boutique items on, so they aren't boringly sitting on the table. Also since the next show booth will be configured a little differently (though the same size), we are going to have something to hang more of Desiree's bags on, so the dummies don't look so crowded. (Above, panorama of the booth. Left, Dress Dummy 1. Right, Dress Dummy 2. Below left, Tower 1, Below Right, Tower 2.)

The left tower had Diantha's handspun yarns in it, a couple small bags in the bottom shelf, and a quilt on top. The right tower had recycled yarns, a recycled angora/wool sweater pillow in the bottom, and a quilt.

One last picture from the booth: the table.

At one end we had handknitted items and pillowcases, and recycled felted stuff. In the middle we had a couple handbags, and at the far end, baskets with Richard's soaps and some samples. We didn't sell any handmade bags or recycled handcraft items or yarn or handspun yarns. We did sell about $40 worth of soap.

And I had 4 people ask if that was "some of that LYE soap." Who would have thought? LOL!

I came home to find this Urchin child in my yard. I am not quite sure Whose child she is. Certainly not one of MY perfect, well-dressed, clean, well-combed children. ROFLOL. Despite appearances, she was very happy in her wild-child state, bouncing around among the guys trying to fix motorcycles, running in the grass, and playing in the shade.

Makes me happy too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What We're Gonna Do - UPDATE

So, that was a mighty ambitious list this morning? How'd we do?

  • finish wrapping soaps - DONE!
  • make muffins for tonight's 4-H regionals - DONE!
  • Write recipe for muffins and print for judges - DONE!
  • make biscuits for tonight's 4-H regionals - DONE!
  • Write & print recipe for biscuits for judges - DONE!
  • go get copies of one more soap label (which ecded up being 5 more soap labels ans 2 sample label sheets)- DONE!
  • take some samples to the PO - DONE!
  • buy a change bank from the bank - DONE!
  • call the lady about the craft show tomorrow - DONE!
  • find the stand to the other dress dummy - DONE!
  • find clothes for the dress dummies - DONE!
  • be at the 4-H regionals by 5:30 - DONE!
  • Judge biscuits, muffins, cookies, and cakes for the regionals - DONE!
  • come home and load the car with table, shelves, dummies, totes of merchandise for the craft show tomorrow - DONE!

  • Leaving only...
  • finish 3 items for the craft show
  • card wool and alpaca fiber

  • Not done. And, I have to add one more to the list:
  • Put shops in Vacation mode for the day tomorrow

  • And. since my day isn't over yet, Getting probably 2 of those 3 items done is a good possibility.

    Turns out it wasn't the 4-H regionals, it was the County finals. Both girls took 2nd place in their bake-offs. And both took first place in their respective exhibitions (Diantha with fiber processing and Veronica with spindling and knitting), so they go on to the sub-regionals in May in Crossville, TN. Somewhere in this post are pics of Veronica looking thrilled ans Diantha looking, well, like Diantha.

    Off to finish something else...

    What We Did and What We're Gonna Do

    Yesterday I made homemade salsa at 1AM. Then even Wonder Juggs Woman has to sleep sometime. Up at 8 and fried Cinnamon Crispas to take the the last 4-H meeting of the year. I made enough to fill a 5-quart plastic ice cream bucket. They were light and crispy and good, not greasy at all.

    On to the meeting, where we had a Mexican food brunch and drilled the kiddies on questions from the Clover Bowl (which I am still not quite sure what that is, something like a spelling bee I think). Number one son calls me and says, are you heading past where I work? Cause I broke my belt buckle...

    Home again, to get said belt buckle. Oh and he left his money on the desk. Oh and his gray cards on the floor... can you bring them? Make everyone use the bathroom while we are home. BACK in the car... up to WM where thank God, Diantha is now old enough to send in the store with a list and money, while I go across the parking lot to the UPS store for soap label coopies. Pick her up and hit the road...

    Stop in Farragut at the Super-Duper Grocery to drop off son's stuff. Stop at the Goodwill for baskets. Go into Knoxville to Sam's for bags for the craft shows (I was SO disappointed, they no longer carry white paper bags) and gravy for tonight's hurry-up supper. Oh and school books while they had them. And, Mrs. Ross, your membership is expired...

    BACK to Dollar Tree next to WM for tissue paper and stickers. Then HOME! We got home just in time for Des to pull in behind us, and my dh who was now off work for the day to pull in behind her.

    Cleaned off the table, where Des laid out and pinned 2 lap quilts. Then she and Diantha bagged up and tagged about 150 soap samples for the show. I spray-painted baskets and made a new soap label and untangled 117 yards of the most tangled handspun yarn (not ours) you ever saw, and cleaned off kitchen counters. Then we made dinner (enchiladas).

    After dinner we tagged all my HeartFeltFun shop items for the craft show. Richie sat at the table and wrapped soaps. After that I was too tired to do anything else, and it was after 11 PM anyway, so we called it a night.

    Today we have to:
  • finish wrapping soaps
  • make muffins for tonight's 4-H regionals
  • Write recipe for muffins and print for judges
  • make biscuits for tonight's 4-H regionals
  • Write & print recipe for biscuits for judges
  • finish 3 items for the craft show
  • card wool and alpaca fiber
  • go get copies of one more soap label
  • take some samples to the PO
  • buy a change bank from the bank
  • call the lady about the craft show tomorrow
  • find the stand to the other dress dummyfind clothes for the dress dummies
  • be at the 4-H regionals by 5:30
  • Judge biscuits, muffins, cookies, and cakes for the regionals
  • come home and load the car with table, shelves, dummies, totes of merchandise for the craft show tomorrow.

  • I need some caffeine.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Soap and Second Sock Syndrome

    Beverly likes poptart-type toaster pastries. See? Mostly she wants me to break off all the crust with no jelly in it. Then she likes to eat half the body of the pastry and then get little blobs of indeterminate flavors of jelly on the floor. On her hands. On the soles of her feet, and on the side of the refrigerator. Oh and on her face. See?

    I FINALLY got a new listing up. "Misty," one of the Floozy Girls. Misty's parents named her for the morning mist rolling in off the ocean at Cape May, where Misty liked to play under the boardwalk when she was little (and a little bigger too!). She is aptly named, because that is about what she has inside her head. She makes up for it by the size of her bust, which she stuffs into fluffy, pastel color sweaters that are 2 sizes too small.

    Yesterday we made Lavender Baby soap. Mmmm! This morning I cut it into bars, and took a picture, because it was pretty. Smells pretty, too. Baby fragrance with just a little Lavender EO. This is my daughter's favorite to use on her kids. Available in Richard's Rossoaps shop in a week or two, when it's cured. I love it when we make soap, because my house is a good-smell-o-rama.

    Ok just a little more stuff about soap. Richard decided we should do a plain Lard and Lye soap, just for the tourists and ignorant people. Not that it is ignorant to make soap out of lard. On the contrary, lard actually makes a very hard, white bar of soap with a creamy lather that is soft to the skin, and, unlike beef tallow (which is in ALL commercial soaps... the label will say, "sodium tallowate"), does not contribute to eczema or acne. What I mean is for the tourists who come here to Eastern TN and expect all of us to be barefooted, wearing our hair in a bun with a long dress and apron (or bib overalls), and chickens running around in the yard. Hey, just because I have chickens doesn't mean...

    But I digress. We will go to craft shows and people will pick up our wonderful, beautiful soaps, and the conversation will go like this:

    THEM: "Don'tcha have any of that there LAAA soap?"
    US: "All soaps have lye in them. It is what turns the oils into soap, and isn't active in the final product. All our soaps are just soap, with no remaining lye in them."
    THEM: "No, I mean, you know, LAAAA soap, like Mee-maw usta make, with lard 'n' such."
    US: "No, all our soaps are made with vegetable oils and goat's milk, which has amino acids like human skin, and so they are very good for your skin."
    THEM: "Waaaaall, I don't know about all that stuff. I jest remember ma Mee-maw makin' Laaa soap, and I shore would like to get hold of some of THAT stuff."

    So we made lard and lye soap. We were going to call it Granny's whatever whatever, but the grandkid that can talk calls Richard "Grumpy," so we called it Grumpy's Back Porch Lard 'n' Lye Soap. Actually he mixes the lye on the FRONT porch, where this picture was taken. But who wants to split hairs? This is the label I came up with. My daughter says he looks demented, which should suit the local crowd just fine.

    On my last note of the night: I am knitting a sock again. Last Spring I knitted a pair of socks for Diantha, which she loves. Then I started on a sock for Veronica, and knitted it in June and July. I might note that I would knit on my daily walk but no other time because I just don't have much sitting-around time. Anyway I finished the first and started the second, and had to lay it aside to do Christmas presents in order to get them done in time. Which I didn't, for all of them. ~~ sigh ~~ Anyway, in all my delay in getting back to knitting the ssssssssSSSecond sock (do I actually have Second Sock Syndrome? I think I do! Horrors!), some little person around here took my needles out. Size ONE needles. In Tofutsies yarn, which is the splittiest little yarn you ever don't want to knit on. So I have understandably put off messing with it.

    The other day Veronica, my good-naturedest child in the WORLD, walked thru the kitchen and somehow her completed sock was laying on the corner of the island. She picked it up and looked at it, then wistfully said, "Mommy, I LOVE my sock. And I will love the other one when you are finished, even if you don't finish it in time for my birthday."

    Her birthday is May 5th. I am knitting quickly.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Six Hours in the Car with 5 Kids

    So this is what we did yesterday. We needed some oils for Richard's soapmaking. We also wanted to go to Seymour (which is about an hour's drive for us) to see about a minibike for the kids. We also had lost our internet connection that we pay so dearly for, the night before.

    So I got on tech support and got the internet back, and while I was at it, had them reset the password to an email account I have been locked out of for 6 months because some idiot at the cable company didn't know how to spell the word I asked them to reset my password to the LAST time. I had 753 unread, mostly-spam emails. I cleaned out the inbox.

    We made a batch of soap... Fish Away, which is an odor-removing cook's or gardener's or mechanic's or fisherman's soap with sweet orange oil and coffee in it.

    I started moving code for our infamous Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge, to a free site so we can relinquish the Rossoaps website we have had for 12 years, and which costs us big bucks but doesn't net any sales. I got about half of it done. After years of writing code, where if you left out ONE little quote mark " or caret > you spent an hour looking for it, now they have made it just about idiot proof. I could just cry.

    UPDATE: I finished the N2Quilting Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge page. If you want to see the quilts (and you are very brave), click the link above (it will open a new window) and enjoy!

    Then we all piled in the car, and off we went. First South and East about 25 miles to a warehouse grocery where we have been buying our cottonseed oil for the last 4 years. Guess what? They don't carry it anymore!! So we got some cookies, toothpaste, and packages of eco-unfriendly styro plates and all piled back in the car.

    Next about 20 miles North and East into Knoxville, to the oils supplier. We smelled fragrance oil samples until I was sick with a headache and bought gallons of olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil.

    Then we plunged headlong into Knoxville Rush Hour traffic on the Interstate. Please note, unlike some major metropolitan areas, Knoxville does NOT have backups going 15 MPH on the interstate at rush hour. NO. Knoxvillains (great pun, LOL) go 70 MPH in a 55 zone, right through town, no matter what time of the day or night or how heavy traffic is (with the occasional officer passing you). You take your life in your own hands here at rush hour. The good news is, you get where you are going in record time. The bad news is, if you are in the wrong lane when your exit comes up, you are S-O-L.

    We took the wrong exit. But fortunately we only drove around the bad part of town for about 5 minutes before we got oriented and headed South to Seymour. Then we took the wrong branch of the turnoff to the guy's house and only drove 3.5 miles out of our way on a twisty country road.

    Turns out the minibike was a pocket bike... nothing wrong with that really, but this one was styled like a crotch-rocket, with the handlebars down level with the seat. And the whole bike was only 3 feet long. Josiah fit on it fine, but I think he would be a danger to society in general on it. Veronica and Diantha, both of whom I would like to learn to ride about now, were both WAY to big for it. Their elbows were down behind their knees and no way could they have controlled it. ~~ sigh ~~ Happy thought: it saved us a bill and a half.

    Meanwhile Beverly wet through her pants. Too much DEW! So we hit the closest Big BoX store where we found that you can only buy Capri pants or Shorts, because it is 50 freezing degrees outside, but some buyer decided it was SUMMER. Finally found a pair of little stretchy pants for her on a bottom shelf and after 20 minutes of milling around and buying bullets, we left.

    BACK into Knoxville, where we ate at the only Rally's in the area, and it was the greasiest hamburger I have had in a while. Maybe YEARS. And then 25 more miles back home. Got home just in time to have missed all but 10 minutes of Bones. Arrrggh. And this is what we have to show for the day (not pictured: the disappearing cookies and the eco-unfriendly plates). The fabric is fuzzed out because it is the ugliest fabric I have ever seen and I don't want to scare anybody.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Blogged and Tweeted

    Someone blogged me today! Thanks so much to EssieWB for featuring me on her blog,

    Diantha's Darling Nikki in the Rain yarn got Tweeted today, at Lizet Frijters. Thank you!

    One last thing. Not an exciting day today. I had a terrible headache and only got a load of laundry done and all the floors in the main living area. Oh and cleaned the back hallway. And shopped for groceries for 8 people for 2 weeks. And made lunch and dinner and took care of a sick kid. And spun some laceweight yarn... but other than that, nothing. But Josiah, my 8 yos, made a playdoh sculpture a couple days ago and I have been reminded that I didn't post a picture of it. Sorry. So here is his x-box console, controller, and the "TV set" that his sister helped him make.

    Another artist in the making. LOL.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Oh, Alpacas!

    Today the kids and I went to the alpaca farm. I should say, the kids and Richard and I, and Des and her 2 kids, and my BIL and niece Dana.

    We were greeted by Max, the VERY old Great Pyrenees hound. He did his best to keep up as we went around the farm. Here he is being petted by grandbaby Jeremiah.
    We got to see the Expecting Ladies (there are 23 in this pic!). Half of these are due soon, and half due in the Fall. It takes alpacas 11.5 months to have a baby. As things stand, I have spent 5 1/2 years of my life being pregnant. SOOOooo glad I am not an alpaca!

    There was a pen for the nursing babies. One mom had been shorn for breeding, and her baby too. We have had warm weather, in the 70's! And now this week it has been COLD, in the 40s at night. Today was overcast and windy, in the mid-50s. We all needed sweatshirts. That mom and baby were shivering today!

    There was also a pen for the weaned babies. She said she tries to halter break the babies before they wean, so they don't associate the halter with being deprived of Mama. ONE of the babies in this pen is not weaned, so its mama is in with it. But Sherry said Next Week, LoL! Better enjoy that last little bit of milk, baby!

    She had 2 pens just for the "boys"... one for "teenagers," which are about 2 years old and of market age if she is of a mind to sell them. One pen just for Grownup boys... 4 years old, and she said actually a little old for selling. Good for breeding tho! And then there was a pen for her stud... a gorgeous all-black alpaca. He had 4 ladies in with him. She said they come into heat a few days after being put in his pen and get to stay about a month or so, to make sure the pregnancy takes. We didn't get pics of all the boys, sorry. I heard someone say he wished he were an alpaca! (No names here!)

    Sherry let the kids all pet a couple babies. Just above on the Right you see Jeremiah, Josiah and Artemas petting a Huacaya baby, the youngest on the farm. They have a deep, downy, nappy coat like a sheep (only softer!). Here to the Left you see Diantha holding grandbaby Hannah down to pet a Suri baby. They have a stringy, slightly oily coat that is also incredibly soft. In the foreground is my niece Dana's head.

    Not to be outdone, Beverly had to pet something too. Here I am holding her down to touch the Suri baby. (I am not kidding when I say my hair is colored purple, LoL!)

    We had a good time talking to Sherry, and the older girls and I are invited back in a little while to spend some time spinning. We are looking forward to it! And then...

    When we got back to the house, we had sandwiches that we had taken along for a picnic but TOO cold! Then we did some spinning and Des did some knitting on her shrug. For Christmas I bought her various batts of red Merino wool and others that had black in them, and bamboo, etc. She spun up a gorgeous set of yarn skeins and is knitting this without a pattern. When she is done, she is going to edge the neck/shoulder/back edge with handspun black Merino. Bravo, Des!

    While all the kids were having fun, running around and discovering earthworms in the moist dirt, Veronica didn't feel very well. She endured the trip stoically, then went to bed at home. Where I went to lay with her and sing to her and fell flat out of her TALL antique-frame bed. She said I was funny. Sometimes I feel funny, all right. Downright Stinkin' Hilarious. I managed to make it through the song on the 2nd attempt, without gravity getting the best of me.

    And one last, happy note. Remember my kidney stone attack from 2 months ago? And that I posted I have been in almost constant, dull pain from it? Well on Sunday the pain became acute. Today all that pain paid off. Yes folks, that is a 7 mm kidney stone. A .5 mm (that is half mm) stone would put most people in the hospital on IV pain meds. That pic on the left was taken on Sunday, with a house full of company and a stone stabbing me. Do I look like I can scarcely believe it? Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. You saw it here.

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Tales Left Untold

    So last week was really busy, and there were things I didn't write about. I know you all really missed out. And since today has been a slow news day, I thought I would write about them now.

    One day last week, we went to a guy's farm, who has been a 4-H Volunteer Leader for like 40 years, since his kids were in it, and now his grandkids. He told me he had some sheep fleeces in a barrel in his shed, and if I thought I could use them, to come get them. So R and the kids and I bundled off early in the morning and went down to his farm. What he had, were 3 full Corriedale fleeces: One white/brown mottled, one black, one gray. 33# of smelly, lovely, soft wool. We wrapped it in a bedsheet and rode around in the car, smelling like sheep.

    I processed out the gray fleece already. See it? --->

    Wow, beautiful long wool, very soft.

    I dried it on a rack over my clawfoot-tub garden. --->

    And carded some of it, to send to a friend of mine. And listed some uncarded in Diantha's shop, Fluff4ewe.

    Ok! On to something else!

    In a little town called Loudon, just up the road, there is a former school for sale. it is built on a hill with 3 acres of ground. On the ground floor on the front of the building, facing downhill, it has 3 large classroms, each with 2 doors into them. Very easy to divide into 6 LARGE rooms. I take it on the back side of that floor are the bathrooms, kitchen, and boiler room, since that part of the story is underground. The top floor is like the bottom, except on the back of the building there are 2 classrooms with bathrooms between. Then there is a T which is a foyer with long hall upstairs, and an office or room with a half-bath downstairs. Because we are more curious than is good for us, we stopped and let the girls look in windows. They want us to buy it. "OH! It would be SO cool! We could have rooms for all our crafts!!"

    ROFLOL. We have a history of buying bad houses and fixing them, though it takes years. YEARS. My dh is not into construction, and he is reluctant to undertake any project, or finish undertaken projects. That doesn't phase him in the least. He said, "It would take a fortune to run the place, and what would you do with half the building? It is 9000 sq. feet!"

    I said, you get a grant and make it a "Center for the Arts." You teach spinning and weaving and knitting and quilting and painting. You charge $100 for 6 weeks of lessons and a "gallery showing" at the end, limiting class size to 10 or 12 people for each course, and do it again in 6 more weeks. See? No problem!

    On the way through town, we saw a little old wooden house, abandoned. Attached to it was a brick 3-front little "strip mall." He said, "Now there is what you do that in... have the 3 fronts as classrooms and the 2-room house as Gallery/giftshop." Again, curiosity winning over discretion, we stopped and snooped in windows. The middle shop was FULL of bags of wool! Well you know City Hall was on the back side of the block... might find out who owns the place and see if they want to part with some wool.

    Turns out the guy who owns it works at City Hall. One of the ladies in there says, you might try to call his house... his wife is probably home. Ok, so that turns out like this... she has been wanting to do just that, with the little buildings downtown. Said she has dreamed of doing an Art Center type of thing, just didn't know anyone to partner with, who could teach the stuff. So we are invited to her Alpaca farm this week to talk about it, and see her animals! What fun!

    Alright, totally unrelated. I got a Treasury for Easter, called Empty Cross, Empty Tomb... Resurrection Power! I don't talk a lot about my faith. I try to live it and pass it on to my kids. But I am so totally unworthy, and humbly grateful, for what Christ did for us, and I hope this helps show it.

    We had a GREAT Easter. Des and Tony and the kids came down, as well as a guy that Des and Tony and I used to work with at Sonic, and his girlfriend. We had ham and other yummy stuff, then hid 75 stuffed plastic eggs in the yard and let the kids hunt them. Because my own extended family was not here, no one complained about the food or ranted half an hour if there was food they didn't like. And no one yelled at the kids for acting like kids in the grass. A good time. In the pic, the middle kid is the girl next door. The grandbabies are to the right. I have 3 older kids, not pictured. And Beverly wanted to wear her Chucks with her dress. LoL!

    In the evening, I got a T West called, That's Some Great Grass (Gotcha!) it has all grassy items, including a wonderful soap we have listed in Richard's Rossoaps shop. We also added a new soap today, called Leather Up! It actually smells like leather. Mmmm!

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Hannah Means Grace

    Today we celebrated a year of Hannah. A year ago today, my oldest daughter Desiree "graced" us with her 2nd child and 1st daughter, Hannah Lynn Goode Bowman.

    Such a blessing to see Tony helping Des through her labor with such tenderness, and to see this beautiful little girl! And doesn't Jeremiah look thrilled to see "his" new baby!

    Hannah is a lively little girl with dandelion-fuzz hair. She is ferocious, snooting and hissing and growling at people. Here you see her at about 4 months (last Summer at the fair) with daddy Tony holding her. Aren't they pretty?

    By Autumn, she could crawl around and get into things. Des and Tony took the kids over to Gatlinburg to go to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Aquarium of the Smokies. The town was all decked out for Fall (as usual for every season), so they got this picture of Hannah (and part of mommy). Look at those chunky thighs! Mama's milk must agree with her. I can see why Des is holding on tight to her!

    Personality wise, Hannah is SO much like my 2nd daughter, Diantha. She likes things the way she likes them, and isn't afraid to let you know if things aren't just right! She is a lot of a "mommy" baby too... wanting Des to be where she can see her. I used to wonder (with Diantha) how in the WORLD I was going to get anything done. And I know Des has days like that! But don't worry... some day that stage will be a (fond) memory!

    Here you see Hannah in a Fish hat knitted out of recycled red Merino wool that I hand-dyed with black and sent on to my friend Marion, who knitted it. Look at those blue eyes and kissable cheeks!

    By today, Hannah's personality shines through! She loves her big brother... if someone puts her in her playpen, she will call "Bruh-buh! Bruh-buh!" to have him come rescue her from the injustice. She walks and gets into stuff and plays in the kitchen cupboards and the fabric bins. In short, she is a joy and we are glad to have her!!

    "And now I entrust you to God and the word of his grace – his message that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself."
    Acts 20:32 (New Living Translation)

    Happy First Birthday, Hannah!