Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

This is the first Father's Day I have ever picked tomatoes!
Last year I thought I was lucky to pick tomatoes in mid July. These little Bumble Bee tomatoes are delicious and apparently very early. I started them from seed in February and they were flowering when I planted them. The ones we had last year from Rodale were a little bigger, but we shall see as the season progresses. And the snow peas are just beginning as well.

My hubby is having fun with his Father's Day present, a pressure washer, and washing our camping trailer with the youngest.
It looks soooo much better after just a rinse.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Washing Wool

My daughter and I finally tackled washing some of the skirted wool from the fleeces. It had been soaking for about a week and was starting to get nasty. Of course I couldn't find the bottle of Kookaburra wool wash I picked up at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival last month (it must be somewhere really safe!)
When my husband built his shop in the garage he put in this great big double bowl sink. It works great for washing wool.
The best parts of the wool are at the processor so these were the bits I couldn't bear to throw away, but will take a bit of carding/combing to be able to do anything with it.

After drying I tried my hand at carding (boy do I need to get better at that!) Finally I was able to spin my own sheeps' wool that I processed myself. The top half of the bobbin is some mystery roving I got from a friend, the bottom half is all mine!
I am a very beginning spinner and still have a lot to learn. But, heck, I spun my own sheeps' wool!!!
(Note to self; write post on my spinning wheels and beginning spinning attempts.)
 My indigo plants are just about to bloom so need to be cut back. Maybe we can try dyeing some of the cleaned wool blue.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Finally, the raspberries and grapes have their trellises! Last year I could only pick about 2/3 of the raspberries because of the way the branches fell over. And we have never harvested any grapes.
The job went much faster with the new post hole digger.

The grape vine trellis had rotted away years before we moved in and the grapes had taken over the arborvitae for support.

I found these cool gadget called wire vises that make stringing and tightening the wire supports so much easier. They work like a chinese finger trap. The wire goes through in one direction only.
There is a predrilled hole (1/2 inch) in the T post that accepts the end of the wire  vise.
The wire is cut flush with one end and has a little tail on the other end to tighten up the wire as needed.
The grape vine trellis is just three posts with two holes drilled in each post to accept the wire supports. The raspeberries have two cross pieces attached to each post at 24 and 48 inches with the wire at the ends of the cross pieces. Most of the Mennonite farms in the area have similar raspberry patches and we took the design from them.
We had a nice surprise when we received the package of wire vises from Orchard Valley Supply. Turns out our niece works for them and packed our package and this was written on the back:
Our niece moved to North Carolina years ago and we had no idea where she was working.

Now the raspberry patch is nice and tidy.
Just in time for a bumper crop in July.