Friday, January 29, 2010

When I decided to publish my blog, one of my friends asked me "Why" would I want to "share" this??
Well several reasons actually: firstly I wanted to let my Minnesota and Arizona family and friends know what I have been up to, and for them to see pictures. I get emails from some friends that only forward joke type emails to me, never tell me how they are doing etc. Now they have no reason to say "Liz we haven't heard from you in so long." But I can say that to them. My good friend Debbie from Arizona, has been doing a blog for some time, and I check hers every day, it keeps us connected, I really look forward to reading hers.

Secondly, it brings me back to this image that I have had for along time in my head, now close your eyes and picture this, you are on the Australian Outback, or Nunn Colorado for that matter, on the prairie, it is winter, and the landscape is desolate and barren. Everything is brown. there is a woman standing all alone on her covered porch, looking off onto the horizon. Her hair is pulled up into a bun, but still looks disheveled with tendrils of hair hanging out around her face like English Ivy. Her sun tanned face is etched with wrinkle lines, worn by time, as a single tear streams down that weathered face and drops on to the sun beaten boards of her porch, like an Arizona rain( one drop every 6 inches, my dad always tells me.) She is dressed in drab pioneer type grey skirt down to around her ankles, with pleats almost thread bare from over use and over washing, her brown colored blouse being in the same shape. As she takes her knobby overworked hands and straightens out her skirt, I see her face, it has a somewhat maniacal expression to it. Her problem being---no creative outlet!!!That is why I do this blog, I have always enjoyed writing and need the outlet, and at what better time to do it than my time off. Oh, the lady, maybe she just finished carrying water out to her livestock,or is watching for her man to come home! Had you going however.
Another good reason is I am forgetting how to spell, have you every watched the show "Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader"???Most of the time I am not! Yikes!!!!!Also,I hope to now and then put a smile on your face, and Lord knows, my wheels are always spinning.

Now for quilting. When I lived in Benson Arizona, I joined a small quilt club, when they first saw my Minnesota quilts they said "you have no color!" so this quilt in purple, orange and green was born. It is very lovely, I just finished quilting it after having it sit for years undone. I recently joined a stash buster club, and had to write down all my unfinished projects that I have lying around. Needless to say I have 14+, hence the finishing up of my purple quilt. I call it Lazy Daisy quilt in Arizona. I machine quilted it myself with lazy daisy's, it turned out pretty nice.
Then I was really on a roll, this next quilt is a scrap quilt that was an Arizona challenge to use everything in my stash to create this quilt. I could not purchase anything, no thread, pattern fabric etc. I even quilted this myself, I started it years ago, and due to my stash buster club, just finished it a week ago. This quilt is called Kansas Troubles and has a couple thousand pieces. I plan to count all the pieces and then put that on the label on the back.
While in Arizona, I also did a Baltimore album quilt,

and also a block exchange quilt, my requests from the members was houses or trees, in Minnesota colors so this quilt was born. I added sashing that looked like your were looking out a window to the outside, this might be hard to see on picture, I also appliqued flowers on a vine to give it more pizazz.
I was very productive with the help of my Arizona friends, and I have taken on quilt challenges that I never would have dreamed of. thank you Sally and Sandy for all your tutelage!

This is a picture of a lacy scarf that I just finished knitting, it is yarn from my herdsire Pulitzer Prize. It is very close to cashmere in appearance. I spun this yarn myself. It is going as a gift to my Mom.

AS I went out to do chores this am, it was 19 degrees no wind, but a heavy fog had set in during the night. This is a picture off my deck, looking north. Well needless to say, I won't be standing out here with a maniacal look on my face, at least until the fog lifts!!!!
More latter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Birth of a chicken coop, fishing, and rambling on....

Well it is 25 degrees this am with a light dusting of snow, I am sure glad that we did not get the 1-3 inches that they were predicting. No wind yet to speak of. All our snow has been gone for awhile now, since the last 12 inches of snow we received some 21 days ago. There is something truly spiritual about doing chores on a cold, cloudy winter day. I can hear the earth crackle with each step I take, I can see the breath of the animals as they talk to me and chew their cud happily. And not to forget the barnyard smells, and sweet smell of hay! The goats and Bear are standing in line waiting for a good scratching from me, which is our way of greeting. You could almost hear a pin drop it is such a dead calm, then I hear the chip, chip, chip of Dennis chipping the 1/4 inch of ice that formed on the water buckets last night. Speaking of ice and water, ruminants need a lot of water for digestion, health etc. It got me to thinking, what on earth did our ancestors do in the winter for their livestock. I asked my Mom about that as she grew up on a farm way up north in Minnesota. Her family had draft horses for plowing and then later beef cattle. She emailed me that they had a trough out in the barn, and that when it froze, they had to haul water from the house to the livestock. It is kind of like what we are doing now, but my little animals consume no where near what a draft breed horse would. They were strong sturdy folks those Scandinavians which I came from!

Dennis and Ryan went ice fishing on Tuesday, they caught their limit in 2 1/2 hours
of rainbow and brown trout. Dennis said that before he even had his hole drilled, Ryan had caught a fish! Ryan our son is a natural when it comes to fishing. He is so good he probably could have made a living at it. He loved fishing even when he was a wee little boy.My brother Mike is like that also, too bad he can't go fishing with us but he lives in Minnesota, that is where we are from.This is a picture of Dennis and I at Creedmore Lake, It was one of the first places where Ryan took us fishing.He said it was a short walk from the car to the lake, well, Dennis and I were so short of breath by the time we got there! A short walk to a 30 year old is definitely different when you are 50+.It was worth the walk, as it just beautiful and we were the only ones on that lake. These are book trout that were caught earlier.
I had a migraine that day when they came home so was unable to take pictures of the days catch. Trout are very good tasting mild flavored fish, but have little bones. I always try to have mashed potatoes or bread with the meal, so the bones get washed down in case they get stuck in the throat. These are pictures of Brook trout so you can see how pretty these fish are.
Ryan and Dennis started putting our chicken coop together yesterday, this has been their progress, it always helps to have a dog or two to help out with the whole procedure. We did not get too far after Ryan had to leave, so will post pictures of the finished coop when done

We hope to be more self supporting in the food area, want to have our own egg layers and some meat breeds. We don't feed medicated feeds. Would like to get a few heritage breeds if we can find any. Also included in our little flock will be guineas. We had these in Minnesota, all free ranging. The guineas used to wander the neighborhood,in their cute little helmets walking in cadence, raiding gardens no doubt. In my guinea book it says, don't ever let a guinea eat a tomato, they just love them and will search them out. Well too late. they eat a lot of bugs however, are noisy but are good watch dogs.
Gardening will also be big with us, the quilt gals told me that it is hard to garden in this area, we shall see, Dennis had a big beautiful garden in Arizona, had the best tomatoes ever, we had no guineas there, were too worried about the coyotes.

Go Vikings! The playoffs were last week and the Vikings were beat by the Saints. I here tell that the Vikings have not been to the Super Bowl for 30 years. The Saints won, my dad could not sleep for 2 nights. And little ole me was just about ready to jump on that band wagon!!!!

More later.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday 1/25

Monday morning and the horrific winds have finally subsided. The sun is shining and the clouds are few. You can see Longs Peak off in the distance and snow capped. It is in the 30's again this am. As we were coming home from town yesterday, there was a cloud of dust obstructing the vision on the road, but not as bad as it was in Arizona's dust storms. We saw the movie "The Book of Eli" the jury is still out on that one.

Here is a picture of Dennis, no doubt getting irritated with me for taking his picture yet again, he is sitting outside watching his pigeons take to flight, everyone here is joyous with the winds gone. The weather is never"cold" to Dennis, just "cool" he says, oh brother!

Of course, if Dennis picture has to be taken, Bear wants his taken also. I guess that cameras and dogs go together, as do goats love having their pictures taken. I had to hold Bear at arms length or his nose is right up on the lens. WHo is cuter????
Speaking of movies, Dennis and I recently went to the movie "Avatar". It was truly awesome and spiritual, we saw the 3D version, definately worth the extra money. It was our first 3D movie. I told my parents to go see this movie, as they have not seen a 3D movie for at least 50 years. Well they thought it was awesome also, said that things have sure changed in 50 years. So it got my Mom and me talking about the good old days, when I learned to type on a typewriter with a ribbon no less, and our first TV was a black and white Zenith that could spin around. Things have sure changed fast. Here is a picture of me with the 3D glasses on, scary huh! just think of seeing a whole movie theater filled with people with these glasses on. At least it draws your eye away from the grey hair! hehehehe
On my final note, Rock Star was just begging to have his picture taken today also. He is my up and coming junior herdsire, he is geige, or light fawn colored and has extremely fine crimpy dense fleece. He is out of my female Roxie.
My next writing will be all about my quilting adventure, stayed tuned.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

introduction of goats, alpacas, and Bear

32 degrees and very, very windy this am. I took some pictures while I was out doing chores this am. AS you will notice, the storm is coming from the west just covering the mountains. These are the Rocky Mountains and on a clear day we can see the snow and Longs Peak. The little town you see in the foreground is the town of Nunn, I think the population is around 450,elevation 5185, and growing. We have no gas station or bar, but we do have a little cafe, post office and telephone company. They are good people out here.
The animals seemed to not want to pose for me, they wanted to get down to the business of eating and being milked. Coco is seen here on the milk stand just after I milked her. I have an overhang connected to our hay shed when I milk but I am still open to the elements. At least I am protected from the rain, snow and wind unless they are coming from the south. the brown and black goat looking through the gate are Coca and my Little Orphan Annie, just about the sweetest goat on the planet if you ask me. I also have a picture of little Gabby a goat who I purchased from Niki in Arizona. Dosado was too busy eating.
Bear(aka Polar Bear) is my Great Pyrenees livestock dog, he is not yet a year old, but will be on April first. I got him from Debra in Northern Arizona, a fellow alpaca breeder. He is one of the best dogs I have ever had, well actually all my dogs have been the best, but he is such an asset around our little farm. Always on guard and so protective of the goats and alpacas. We are looking for another guard dog to protect his back so to speak. The Great Pyrenees is considered to be one of the oldest breeds of dog.
And last but not least is Pulitzer Prize, my blue ribbon reserve champion male alpaca, he is saying something to me, but I can't quite decipher it.
I will give more animal introductions when the weather and the pictures are better.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

first day

As I scurry out of bed on this January morning I rush to our kitchen window, and look at our outside thermometer, oh shucks! We have to do chores again on this yet again, below freezing day. Well, hopefully there will be no wind to further chill us, but living on the prairie with nary a full grown tree, the chances aren't that good. Since we have moved to Colorado the end of July we have had 5 days below zero, with 20below being the coldest, and that was not including the wind chill. Seems like I have not warmed up since winter arrived.
My goats are all waiting impatiently for me to start milking. I am only milking 2 out of my 4 as the 2 youngest are, well, too young yet and have not been bred. We only breed our does every other year, as milk is our motivator, not how many kids we can bring into this world. Coco my oldest, is acting like she is in heat again, and will have her milk down somewhat. Goats come into heat every 21 days, we also live downwind from a Boer goat breeder(meat goats) and he has a few bucks, and the girls just love the smell of them, so they come into season regularly.
The alpacas all slept outside as evidenced of frost on their backs. They do love Colorado weather vs Arizona. They are looking lovingly at all the pasture we have(34 acres) and can't wait for it to green up. We only have 7 acres fenced in however.
It is so cold and damp today with the wind picking up, but a good thing is the sun is shining so hopefully will warm up to 40 degrees or so. My sinuses start draining out here in the cold, and me unprepared, have no kleenix on board, so have to do what the farmers do, gee I hate that!
I told Dennis, my husband, that I am starting my blog today, and I have been thinking of this for months, also told him he better watch what he says and does, because he will undoubtedly be one of its main characters, along with my 4 legged friends.
Still no job, but the hunt is on. Idle hands are the devils workshop, so I have joined a quilt group, and was also invited to join the Red Hats, and have signed up for 2 quilt classes, and also joined a spinning/weaving group. With me being home most of the time, Dennis is quite frisky, (I have got to get out more) the buck smell must be getting to him also. On that note and while you are pondering will close, I plan to write in my blog at least 2-3 times per week. Aloha!