Of indigo and wool…

Just had to post this gorgeous fiber photo from one of our fleece customers in anticipation of our fall shearing which is less than 2 weeks away!  

 

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This is Molly’s grey fleece, spun single ply, dipped in a homemade concoction of indigo that makes for something delicious!  

 

Our customer is purchasing Drifa’s and Einar’s white lamb’s wool this fall to try more of the same.  I just can’t wait to see how white wool takes this natural dye!

 

We LOVE when our fleece customers send us photos of their work!

 

 

Sad news from Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country, but it’s harsh conditions with everything from active volcanoes to long and extreme winters, have made the Icelandic sheep breed the hardy and wonderful animal that it is today.  

 

As much as Icelandics seem to thrive here in the winter, this recent blizzard was just too much for many of these animals in their native habitat.

 

The first picture below looks like our little Drifa, which, ironically, in Icelandic means “Snowdrift.”  Luckily this little lady seems to have been a survivor…

 

 

From Iceland Review Online: 

 

17.09.2012 | 22:07

Search for Trapped Sheep in North Iceland Downscaled

The extensive search for sheep trapped in last week’s blizzard in North Iceland has been scaled down. The Húsavík District Commissioner’s Office, the Police and Civic Protection Department are examining the needs of those farmers who have suffered losses as a result of the storm.  It is not yet known how many sheep are still missing.

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District Commissioner of Húsavík Svavar Pálsson said at a meeting on emergency relief funds today that crisis counseling will be provided to those affected, ruv.is reports.  

According to the president of the National Association of Sheep Farmers, Þórarinn Ingi Leifsson, the slaughter season is going well and the search for sheep stuck in snowdrifts continues albeit to a lesser extent. 

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ICE-SAR search for sheep in North Iceland. Photos courtesy of ICE-SAR.

Þórarinn Ingi says the sheep that have been rescued seem to have recovered quickly but that hundreds have died while buried in snow and the likelihood of animals still being alive decreases by the day. 


ZR

 

Sweet potato harvest!

Today was the perfect day to harvest our sweet potatoes.  

 

The ground was still moist enough that it was easy to work with the pitchfork, but not entirely drenched like it will be tomorrow after the rains we’re supposed to get tonight.

 

Roy and the boys went off to build another run-in shed for the sheep while the girls and I got to work in the dirt.

 

We had over 100 slips planted back in May, and have had our most successful sweet potato year ever!  

 

The potatoes for the most part are nice and smooth and of a reasonable size and very few had been discovered by rabbits and voles.  Those seem to be our worst enemy when it comes to sweet potatoes.  They will find the biggest potatoes that are close to the surface and nibble right into them!

 

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Harvesting sweets is much like harvesting the Kennebecs.

 

Find the plant stem — that’s a bit harder than white potatoes because of the huge vines!

 

Dig under with the pitchfork — search to either side to look for stragglers.

 

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Sometimes you can pull up the whole plant with a bunch of tubers all hanging onto it.

 

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Sometimes the tubers are huge and the plant breaks off.

 

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These four huge tubers are all from the same plant!

 

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Two hours and 200lbs of potatoes later, we have cleared another part of our garden!

 

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Here’s part of the harvest, along with some watermelon and cantaloupe and even a sweet potato blossom (after all, I did have girls helping me, so they had to pretty things up!)

 

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We put the potatoes out on the porch for the outer surface to dry off — also, they need to be cured a few days at high humidity and temperature — we’ve certainly got the humidity!  We’ll finish off that process as we always have…in our bathtub!  We figured our master bathroom is humid at least a couple of times a day when we shower – and we never have time to use the bathtub anyway, so it’s become our sweet potato curing facility every year!

Part of our harvest is being donated to Wheeler Library’s Farm to Table Gala calld “A Local Affair” on October 27, which will feature locally grown foods and wine!  How cool is that?!

 

 

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When life gives you grapes…

Concord grapes grow wild around here…so wild that the vines can actually kill trees as they vine up and smother them from light!  

 

But as bad as those vines can be, they yield a delicious, sweet native grape that every kid who’s ever eaten a good old American PB and J with a glass of Welch’s grape juice can attest to!

 

I’ve been eyeing up a vine laden with ripe grapes over the past week of my walking along our road, so yesterday we brought the whole family and ended up quickly picking over 6 lbs of delicious sweetness!

 

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I looked up a recipe for grape jam and found an old fashioned recipe that required no pectin because it relied on the natural pectin found in the grape skins.

 

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We started popping the pulp from the skins and cooking things down, straining out seeds and adding some sugar, and viola!  Over 4 pints of grape jam for the cost of a bit of sugar!

 

SOOO yummy!

 

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Want a bite?

 

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Got eggs?

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We don’t! 

 

We have 30 layer hens and our egg selling business is booming so well that we often don’t have any eggs for ourselves!

 

And how do you know your eggs are REALLY good?  

 

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No, not because of the blue ribbon you won at the fair.

 

You know your eggs are awesome when the grocery delivery people show up with your order asking for them because they know they’re better than the eggs they deliver from the grocery store! 

 

Yes, we’ve hit a new high today when the delivery person from ShopRite showed up asking for eggs on behalf of ANOTHER delivery person who has bought from us before.  And because she needed eggs and had never had them farm fresh before, she wanted some, too!

 

It was a win-win situation.  We tipped her for her service today with eggs!  Yesterday we sent the refrigerator repairman home smiling with a fresh cantaloupe!  You never know what you’ll go home with if you visit us!

 

And now WE have no eggs until tomorrow morning!