Claymation





Claymation in the works.  I love how new art supplies can cause an outpouring of creativity.





Read More

How to Treat Poison Ivy

Homesteading:  A weekly account of our journey to becoming off grid homesteaders.  Our path will be long as we are only paying in cash and our funds are very limited.  Mike and I have no idea what we're doing so we'll be learning as we go.  I know we'll make mistakes and that's ok.  It's all part of the process.  

We would love to read about your homesteading experiences, so if you'd like to share your favorite resources, tips, funny stories, recipes, books, website or even just a photo from the week, please leave a link in the comments.

* * * * *





That is one beautiful hillside, perfect for tree forts and a rock stair case, and.... poison ivy.  I thought we had done our best to identify the leaves and avoid them at all costs, but not this time.  All of us have broke out in the rash.  Mike and I have the worst of it.  Head to toe oozing, insane itching, the works.  It's been a long week and I'm still seeing new spots every day.  

First we went to the river banks for our tried and true remedy, jewelweed, but it's too late in the season and the plants were all woody.  Next we went to Facebook and asked around to see what our customers and friends could recommend. 

 Here's the list we ended up with:

* Calamine lotion (which really helped the best with oozing)

* Jewelweed salve (We made some earlier in the year with beeswax and coconut oil; best smelling, but didn't help much as the jewelweed needs to be fresh to get the most benefit.)

* Oatmeal bath to sooth the skin (I didn't help at all, except for a half hour alone to soak in the tub.)

* Tea tree oil 

* Burt's Bees Rescue Ointment

*  Colgate octagon soap

* Benadryl (In a last desperate attempt to get some sleep I took one, and it worked great.  I wasn't up all night itching.)

* Rubbing alcohol

* Baking soda and water paste

* Zanfel (Very expensive and too many ingredients I can't pronounce!  I went and looked them up. YIKES!)

* Bleach (I DO NOT recommend this, but it was suggested.)

* A trip to the doctor for steroids.



If you've had poison ivy, I'd love to hear what worked for you!  Also, any tips on eliminating the plant from our hillside would be great too.




Read More

Off Grid Soap


We tried making soap without electricity.  After stirring for a hour straight, he gave up and used the stick blender.  Trying again next week when it's not so hot outside.
Read More

10 Reasons to Love Homesteading


Homesteading:  A weekly account of our journey to becoming off grid homesteaders.  Our path will be long as we are only paying in cash and our funds are very limited.  Mike and I have no idea what we're doing so we'll be learning as we go.  I know we'll make mistakes and that's ok.  It's all part of the process.  

We would love to read about your homesteading experiences, so if you'd like to share your favorite resources, tips, funny stories, recipes, books, website or even just a photo from the week, please leave a link in the comments.

* * * * *
















Top 10 things we decidedly love about our homestead this week {in no particular order}:

1.  Free wooden pallets.

2.  Multi level tree forts made out of free pallets.

3.  Building multi level tree forts until it's too dark to see and then rising with the sun to finish the work.

4.  Large warm fires.  It got down to 33 F on Sunday night!  

5.  Cooking simple meals over an open fire.

6.  Northern lights streaming out from the horizon.

7.  Shooting stars.  {Not the 149 we counted during last week's meteor shower, but still impressive!}

8.  Watching the chickadees land in the new bird bath.

9.  Savoring a very rare treat of candy.

10.  Lounging on a blanket under a tree discussing our top 10 list, and deciding it's ok not to finish all the projects we had planned for the weekend.

I also finished Luke's sweater over the weekend.  Do you see that funny line on the neck?  As I knit up the turtle neck, I realized that the ribbing pattern needed to be worked opposite so that when it was folded down it would match the waist and cuffs.  I was tired of ripping this one back, so I just kept going!  No one will notice when it's folded anyway, right?  {Joining in with Ginny today, too}

.......................................................................................................................

Just a quick side note:  I'm doing some redesigning on the blog layout and playing around with html so things may look a little funny for a few days!
Read More

Upcycled Wool Longies




Good afternoon!  Today we're off to the land to build an outdoor shower, compost bin, and a privacy area for the compost toilet.  All out of recycled wooden pallets!  Stop back on Tuesday for the Homesteading series to see our progress.

In the mean time, I couldn't wait to share my latest collection of upcycled wool longies with you.  I'm really loving these cozy autumn neutral colors.  They're unisex, go with just about everything, but still have lots of texture to keep them from being boring!  You can find them in the shop here, along with a few other new colors.


Read More

Whistle for Happiness


My dad once told me that my grandmother would whistle while washing the dishes.  I imagine she must have been happy.  This morning, I whistled over a sink full of dishes.


Read More

A Shift in the Universe



A quiet, subtle shift in the universe a few weeks ago, whispered fall is on the way.  My friend mentioned it too.  I'm compelled to knit heavy cabled sweaters and make carrot soup.  

How about you, did you feel it?


p.s.  Joining in with Ginny.



Read More

Plant Dyed Yarn




After an overnight of soaking and then a good hard boil this morning on the stove, the dye was ready for my yarn.  I used alum as a pre mordant and then let the yarn simmer for about an hour.  This is what came of todays work:  
Yellow: Tansy flowers  
Green: Tansy leaves and stems (I added a rusty railroad spike at the end to make it really green!) Brown: Acorn tops

Subtle, harmonious color, just as in nature.  






Read More

Natural Dyeing: Tansy

                                                                                                                 Photo by Cole

                                                                                                                  Photo by Cole






Cole and I snuck out to the woods between rain storms this afternoon to collect a basket full of bright yellow tansy flowers.  It was so nice to spend a few quiet moments alone with my middle boy, talking and working together.   We filled a few jars with the flowers, leaves and a basket of acorns I've been hoarding since spring.  I filled each jar with boiling water and will let them sit overnight.  I'm planning on dyeing a few skeins of wool yarn tomorrow, so stop back and see how it all turns out!






Read More

No, it's not a Package of Ramen Noodles


No, it's not a package of Ramen Noodles gone wrong.  It's going to be a turtleneck, for Luke, made with 100% wool that I dyed in a warm honey wheat color.

Notice the knitting needles at both ends?  I had the body all finished, but decided I didn't like the way the cast on edge was looking.  I made a little snip on the first body row and picked it apart.  Now I can re knit the twisted rib band and use a tubular bind off, instead of long tail cast on, for a more finished edge.  

What are you working on (or ripping out) this week?


p.s.  I'm joining in with Ginny and company over at Yarn Along.
Read More

NaturalKids


I'm blogging today over at NaturalKids.  I'd love for you to pop on over and say hi.


Read More

The Best and The Worst of Off Grid Living (thus far)

A friend recently had an opportunity to rent an off grid cabin out west, and asked if we could give them some advice; a list of our three favorite things about living off grid, along with our three biggest challenges.  Since we're only living on our homestead a few days every other weekend right now, I didn't know how much perspective I could give, but I thought you might be interested in the list as well.

Our favorites:
1. The stars.  You can't see stars in town.  It's like living in your very own Imax movie!

2. Fireflies.  I haven't seen fireflies since I lived in Iowa!  I turn into this 10 year old little girl, every time I catch one glowing in the grass!

2.5.  Running through tall grass, with arms outstretched, as fast as you can!

3. Compost toilet.  Weird, I know.  More on this soon, I promise.

Our biggest challenges:
1. Water.  We don't have a well yet, so each week we have to carry along enough water for drinking (humans and dog), cooking, and cleaning.  I'm amazed at how little water you actually need to use in a day, compared to what we use at home.  So far we've been "bathing" in the lake, but are going to use a solar shower when it gets too cold to swim.   We also haven't been able to plant any new trees yet, which was part of our plan for this year.  With the severe drought we've had, though, it was probably for the best.

2.  Keeping food cold for extended periods of time.  I know they have insanely good coolers now, but I'm not spending $100 on one of them.

3.  A farm truck and trailer.  Right now we have one vehicle, a Honda Accord.  I giggle when I think we must look like the tiny little clown car at the circus whenever we stop for restroom breaks.  Last week we managed all 5 of us, plus our 90 lb English Setter (who really thinks he's a lap dog!), a lawn mower and all of our gear into the compact car.  Good times, indeed!  A truck and trailer would also be really useful for picking up free building materials we find routinely on Craigslist.  We've had to pass up a few really great items because we had no way to transport them up to the land.

3.5.  Only naming three was definitely a challenge.  Mostly, we just love everything about spending time out there right now, and knowing that all of the challenges will be solved in due time... with a little patience and a lot of resourcefulness.

If you live off grid or on a homestead, what does your best and worst list look like?
Read More

Summer Nights









It was one of those magical summer nights that we'll be reminiscing about in fifty years.

Read More

Playing with Color





I've been experimenting with some new dye methods.  Like using acid dyes as watercolor paints, to find just the right color.  Painting on paper, then painting on yarn.  Oh, how happy this makes me.  







Read More

Homesteading

                                                                                                               (Photo by Mike)

Homesteading:  A weekly account of our journey to becoming off grid homesteaders.  Our path will be long as we are only paying in cash and our funds are very limited.  Mike and I have no idea what we're doing so we'll be learning as we go.  I know we'll make mistakes and that's ok.  It's all part of the process.  

We would love to read about your homesteading experiences, so if you'd like to share your favorite resources, tips, funny stories, recipes, books, website or even just a photo from the week, please leave a link in the comments.


* * * * *

Mike's words on homesteading:

It's a sunny day outside the car window. 
Smell the pine and fresh cut hayfields.
Watch as the countryside passes you.
Follow the long winding road.
Farm fields tucked into the wooded hills.
Reflections of opposite shores on the lake.
Winding rivers cut through the woods.
Slowing for wildlife, as they cross.
Finally, reaching the end of the road.

I see a path, so I follow it.
While walking, I stretch and look up, seeing a hawk gliding in the breeze.
The corn rustles.
Birds sing songs to me as I reach the end of the path.
An endless meadow of wildflowers grow before me.
Dragonflies and monarchs dance with the wind.
In the distance, I see great white pines. 
Hundreds of years these trees have watched this meadow.
I wonder what they've seen.
As I come to the top of a hill, I lay down so I can see only the blue sky.
As clouds pass over, I know I'm finally there...
Home.



Read More