Thursday, December 23, 2010

Recipe: Peanut Brittle (heirloom recipe)

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
2 c. salted peanuts
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix sugar, water, corn syrup in a heavy 2 quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil till mixture reaches 275F.  Add salt and peanuts.  Bring mixture to 290F (hard crack stage) stirring often.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and baking soda and stir in.  Pour onto greased baking sheet and spread to desired thickness.  Allow to cook.  Break into Brittle when cool, and store in a covered container.

Makes 2 1/2  lbs. of peanut brittle, ready for Christmas gift giving or holiday enjoyment.  Do not double recipe.  For larger batches just make more.

Recipe: Almond Toffee (Almond Roca)

Preparation time: 30 min.
Cooling time: 2 hours.

1 lb. butter
2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. corn syrup
1/3rd c. water
1 c. almond slivers
1 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Prepare a baking sheet by greasing liberally with butter, set aside.  In a heavy 2 quart sauce pan, melt butter, remove from heat.  Add syrup, water and brown sugar.  Cook on medium heat to 290F (hard crack stage).  Being careful not to burn or scorch mixture.  Stir in almonds and immediately pour on prepared baking sheet and spread thinly.

Spread chocolate chips over top of hot toffee.  Allow to melt from the heat of the candy.  Spread with a knife.  Sprinkle with extra almonds, if desired.  While still warm score toffee with a knife into 1 inch squares.  Allow to cool completely. Break apart along score lines.  Store in covered container in a cool spot.

Without the almonds and chocolate this is butterscotch toffee at its finest.

Makes 2 1/2 lbs. of candy.  Enough for 7 tins of gift giving scrumptiousness.

Christmas Conspiracy (warning --long and chatty)

I haven't check in much this month.  We've been busy with Christmas custom orders right up until last week and then we entered fully into our own personal Christmas Conspiracy. 

This year we, Dalziels at Joybilee Farm, joined the Advent Conspiracy.  We aimed to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.  This isn't really a change from previous years but this year we are more intentional in our observance of Advent.

Advent is the season before Christmas -- beginning 4 Sundays before Christmas Eve and ending on Christmas Eve.  During Advent, Christians look forward to the birth of Christ, the son of God, sent to redeem mankind from the curse of sin, and restore fellowship with the God who created them and loves them.  The story is found in the Bible (Luke 2, Matthew 1 and 2).  Each night of Advent we gather at the end of dinner, light the advent candles (adding one candle each Sunday, until all are lit on Christmas Eve), sing a Christmas Carol together, read a meditation about the Christ Child -- this year our readings are from the book "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" edited by Nancy Guthrie-- and then pray together. We made our own candles from natural beeswax to put in our pottery advent wreath on the table -- this is a joyous sharing time as the house fills with the sweet smell of honey wax.
Handdipped beeswax candles -- a year's supply

This observance has added a great deal of joy and intention to our Christmas Season.  We avoided the mall completely, and saved ourselves a full day of stress, plus a credit card bill later with its anxiety.  We planned gift giving that would give of our time, honour the person receiving the gift and be about -- giving presence (ourselves, our time, our talents and our love).  We looked for people in need -- those who are lonely, those who are low on cash or ill -- and looked for ways to bless these people with what we have.  Often the call at this time of year is to give cash, more cash, and even more cash.  But cash is something in scarce supply at this time of year for us.  But we can still give and we intentionally looked for ways to do that this year, rather than just dismiss the call because we don't have money.

I wanted to share some of the creative ways that we gave of ourselves this advent, as I thought that you might be inspired to see ways to give that don't cost a lot.  Because we made the gifts our selves, together as a family, it increased our joy and anticipation and made the advent season the best we've ever had.

There was a special offering taken at church for a family in need, the wife was seriously ill and the husband had to take time from his work to take her out of town for doctor's appointments and treatments.  We couldn't participate in the offering without cash, but we wanted to help.  There was something in our studio store that the wife wanted, the husband had arranged to buy it for her Christmas gift, and knowing they couldn't afford it, we arranged to deliver the gift to the husband's work and wrote "paid in full" on the receipt.  We felt so blessed to be able to give from the abundance that we possessed.

Felted scarves laid out.
The three of us work parttime to help with expenses at this time of year.  We clean our church for 10 hours a week (that's just 3 1/2 hours each, over 2 afternoons, so its not too hard).  We work with a ministry staff that is pretty strung out and stressed this time of year -- with pulling together over 300 Christmas Hampers for the community, hosting a community Christmas Dinner, an outreach Christmas Banquet, and 3 services in the next weekend -- and we wanted to give something to them of our time, talents and love.  Being low on cash and rich in wool, we designed felted scarves for each of the ladies in their best colours, and a needle felted teddy bear for the Pastor's desk, holding a book that reads "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (I Cor. 13).  (I forgot to take a picture!) 

Felted scarf after felting
We've been making candy this week to bless our neighbors, too.  Peanut Brittle, Almond Roca, and home made chocolates look great in a small tin (Recipes coming in the next 2 posts).  Sarah and I had a wonderful time making the candy and Robin delivered the tins with our love and a Christmas card, this afternoon.

Tins of peanut brittle, almond roca, and handmade chocolates ready to take to the neighbors.  Our homemade advent candles are burning in the background.
Packing the tins for Christmas giving.
For our own family we purposed to create gifts from what we have rather than buy expensive gifts for each other.  We often save up necessary purchases and give them for Christmas (socks and underwear?) but this year we didn't.  Instead we bought only the portions of a gift that were necessary to fill out the full meaning of the gift -- (can't give too much away here or I'll spoil the surprise).  I did buy new copies of some of my favorite books to share with my family.  We got out the sewing machine and used up some vintage fabric from the stash -- using patterns purchased over 25 years ago -- made some alterations and style updates.

And we increased the music in our home.  We purchased 3 Christmas CDs with Celtic Christmas music, harp Christmas music, and instrumentals -- online.  We played them as we drove in the car, as we worked in the kitchen and as we felted the scarves.  We are learning some, new to us, traditional Christmas songs from the Celtic culture -- "The Holly Bears A Berry", "The Bagpipers Carol", "Wexford Carol", to name a few  We found the sheet music for the tunes on the internet (free) and made our own arrangements for harp, guitar, and mandolin.  Making music together has been a wonderful experience for our family.  We gave the gift of music to our church for their Christmas banquet, too, a tremendously nerve wracking experience for me on harp, but Sarah (mandolin, voice and keyboard) and Robin (acoustic guitar and voice) really shone.

And we've been reading a few read aloud stories -- we downloaded the free Kindle for PC program from Amazon and then found some free or inexpensive books to download and read aloud.  Reading aloud from the PC screen is a new one for me, but we've been gathering around for the story anyway.  Some options are Charles Dickens The Christmas Carol, The Story of the Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke, The Holy Bible, ESV Edition, 25 days and 26 ways to make this the best Christmas Ever by Ace Collins, and Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins. These are just a few of the thousands of free or inexpensive classics available at the Kindle store on Amazon.

Sarah really enjoys reading historical fiction by G A Henty.  Since  G A Henty was writing over 100 years ago most of his books are in the public domain and are available as free kindle downloads.  This would make a great gift for a nephew, grandson or son -- with a coupon for reading aloud (give presence).  I don't have any boys of that age in my family now, but I'm tucking it away for future reference.  Other books available as free or inexpensive Kindle downloads -- "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott, "The Secret Garden" -- have a look for yourself.  You are bound to find an old favorite to share with the children in your life.

We have a new grand child -- Celia born on July 4th.  Sadly, we have not seen her since September or had any pictures, but we have plans to bless her with handmade gifts from her grandparents.  Robin has been out at his lathe creating an heirloom rattle -- he's on his second one, as the first one's rattle sound wasn't very satisfying.  His second attempt is a work of art that will last through a baseball team of grand children.  Cost to us:  just time.  Value: Priceless.

Our eldest son is coming home for Christmas and we've planned a wonderful turkey dinner.  I got the turkey free with my grocery store points (in fact, I got two) and all the other fixings will come from our food storage (preserved in the peak of the growing season).  In fact, I was so blessed I was given a third turkey by the church, which we were able to pass on to a friend who was turkeyless this Christmas, but expecting company.  How awesome God is to allow us the blessing of blessing someone else with a turkey this Christmas!

Robin is making a hope chest for Sarah.  Its been on her wishlist for 5 years and she has been spinning and weaving that long, to fill it.  Our neighbor is alone this Christmas, with his wife in UK visiting grand children, and he graciously offered to help Robin with the project in his heated shop.  Robin is having a wonderful time working with Gavin and the joy for both of them has increased as they make this special present for Sarah.  Ok, it wasn't low cost, but it will last a lifetime, made from quality materials.

Last night was our annual Christmas Carolling evening at church and we invited our friend, who loves to sing, to join us.  Somehow it was more meaningful to sing out the story of the messiah's birth this year -- not just songs but reality -- "♪Now rest beside the weary road, ♫and hear the angels sing.♪♪"

The very best part though was receiving a Christmas card from our friends Carol and Daniel.  Carol told us about a documentary that she saw "The Star of Bethlehem" and she gave us the link.  We had a look and were in awe of our great God who came as a baby into our world to redeem us.  Have a look and be filled with awe and worship, too.  The video is available on you tube as a 9 part download. 
Here's part one:: 

Merry Christmas, friends.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hand dipped chocolates -- Recipe makes 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of chocolates

Yesterday Sarah and I (mostly Sarah) made hand dipped chocolates -- the beginning of our Christmas preparations.  The fondant for these chocolates is a very old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe -- potato candy and I thought you might enjoy it.

Recipe:  Potato Fondant
1  small potato, peeled, boiled and mashed
4 tbsp. butter
2 lbs. icing sugar
Pinch of salt

Totally mix together -- it will seem very runny but will harden up as it cools.  Divide fondant  into 4 to 6 equal portions.

Peanut butter
Mix 1/4 cup peanut butter into one portion of the fondant
Roll into balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets
Allow to cool at air temperature before dipping.

Mix 1/2 cup shredded coconut and 1 tsp. vanilla flavouring into one portion of fondant
Roll into balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets
Allow to cool to air temperture before dipping.

Peppermint Patties
Mix 1 tsp. of peppermint flavouring, or to taste, into one porion of fondant.

Mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 tbsp. butter into one portion of fondant

Chcolate mint
Mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp. peppermint flavouring into one portion of fondant

Mix 2 tbsp. orange liquor into one portion of fondant

Mix 2 tbsp. rum and 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg into one portion of fondant

Mix 1/4 cup chopped marachino cherries, dry by patting with paper towel,  into one portion of fondant.  Add more icing sugar if the marachino cherries make the fondant to liquid.

Melt dark chocolate (use the best quality chocolate that you can find) over water in a double boiler -- be careful not to get any water into the chocolate or any steam or chocolate will sieze.  Some microwaves have a chocolate setting.You can also use semi sweet, milk or white chocolate for an interesting look.

Dip the fondant into the chocolate with a fork and place on parchment lined trays to harden completely -- may take several hours in a warm room.  Be sure to cover the holes made by the fork with more chocolate.  Chocolates should be stored in an airtight tin in a cool room, with parchment between the layers.  Makes 2 1/2 lbs. of chocolates.

Other things to try -- candied ginger, dried fruit or fruit jellies
These are really pretty on a tray with a few of the chocolates wrapped in coloured foil paper (I used to buy this at Purdys chocolates in a package of 100).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

UFOs -- 1 becomes a FO yesterday.

Yesterday I found my box of UFOs and dug through to find an abandoned sewing project.  McCalls Pattern 3323 - a Laura Ashley designer pattern in a pink heart print flannel.  This project was begun in 1997 -- Sarah was 3 and just starting to investigate everything mommy was doing.  Sewing projects left out became a hazard and the project was put away.  After we moved to our smaller log house in 2003 there was no place to set up a sewing station and all sewing projects must be pursued at the dining room table.  You can guess how much sewing gets accomplished with that constraint.

I've taken it out twice before and done a bit of it, only to put it away at a meal time.  It is a challenging pattern with ruffles around the button placket, collar and cuffs -- as most Laura Ashley patterns have. 

Yesterday, with the collar, two sleeves with ruffled cuffs and buttons left -- I took it out after lunch.  Rabbit soup was on the wood stove for dinner and the family agreed to eat in the living room so that I could keep working on the project -- finished at 10pm.  Yes!  The pattern was a size SMALL (8-10) so I wondered if it would still fit -- I've gained a few xx lbs in the last decade.  But it fit with no adjustments.  Yeah!  Done!  Fine!  Sarah is in grade 12 now -- That's only 14 years.

Today I will tackle the curtain that sits in the UFO box -- its mate has been up since 2005, and is pretty lonely covering half a window.  Wish me success.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Frosty Fall at the Farm

We've had an amazing October weather-wise.  So many sunny afternoons, enough rain to keep the grass green, and frost every morning.  We managed to get the potatoes and carrots harvested from the garden -- with a couple extra weeks of growth, which means a better harvest.  Now all that's left is Kale and a few cabbages and turnips.  It was definitely a Cole year in the garden -- cold and wet Spring and long sunny Fall.  But most of the Cole plants (cabbage, winter radish, broccoli, kale, turnip) will keep for a while in the fridge or cold storage.  Nice.  We are actually eating 100% farm raised meals now -- that feels so good!

The first set of lambs went to the abatoir last week and to our customers yesterday.  We were happy -- they didn't have much fat and dressed out to a decent weight-- proof that our switching to whole grain - gmo-free feed is working.  Our flock seems much healthier this year.  There weren't unhealthy before but the switch in feed seems to be making them glow -- softer fleeces, brighter eyes, less problems overall. 

We have a few coloured angora kids available for sale this year -- one buckling and a doe or two.  Plus quite a few white animals that are colour carriers.  You can read about them here

And the fall litters of baby French angora bunnies are available now.  There are some ruby eyed whites and some lilacs in these litters.  I'll be keeping back blacks and fawns for this season.  In the older baby bunnies there are still some lilacs, rews, and spots.

Time to start felting for the Christmas Artisan Faires.  The garden has stretched out longer than usual. 

Musically speaking, we are practicing for a 20 minute performance of harp, mandolin, xylophone, guitar and recorder for a Christmas banquet.  The Christmas carols sound heavenly on the harp and I am being challenged and stretched in my arrangements for this event.  All the pieces are our own arrangements and there is a lot of satisfaction in that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What to do with all that pumpkin: Pumkin Brownies

A friend gave me an immature giant pumpkin that he had to harvest in our early frost.  Yesterday we cooked it up and strained the flesh and got 16 cups of pumpkin puree. 

I've been baking brownies to take to our HOME Group on Sunday nights cause brownies are one bowl quick and can be taken while still warm to a gathering.  So here's a twist for a brownie that is moist, sweet, chewy and almost healthy.

The key to really wonderful brownies -- besides chocolate -- is to under bake them so they are chewy, gooey inside and not over cooked on the outside.  

Joybilee Farm Pumpkin Brownies with white chocolate glaze

1 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups pureed pumpkin, canned or home made

Mix together and beat until smooth, incorporating lots of air.

2 cups to 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat or all purpose flour,

Mix gently until just blended.  It should be the consistency of muffin batter.
Fold in 1 cup broken pecan pieces or other nuts

Spoon into greased 7 x 10 pan.  Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until firm but still moist in centre.  Don't over cook.

Melt 3 oz. white chocolate and 1 oz. semisweet chocolate in separate bowls.

Spoon and Spread white chocolate over brownie while still hot.  Then make criss cross lines by drizzling the semisweet chocolate over the white and running a knife through it to swirl it.  Sprinkle with Scor toffee pieces or broken pecans, if you like, for added crunch.

Serve warm or allow the top to harden and the brownie to cool completely before serving.  Will keep well in the fridge.  Brownies are great for mailing in care packages, too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fleece Lust

At the Slow Fiber Show in Summerland on the weekend there was a booth across from us with washed Romney Fleece -- coloured and white -- for sale.  It was the loveliest fleece from a coated flock.  The staples were 4 inches long, with excellent crimp and lustre.  Everything I love in a fleece.  And they were already washed.

Now you need to realize, I have a thousand lbs. of fleece, skirted, weighed and sitting on my deck ready to wash.  I have a wringer washing machine that is ready to hold the fleece in hot, hot water while it steeps.  I have bottles of Dawn and Simple Green ready to work at removing grease and dirt.  And I have 5 or 6 already washed fleece ready for the natural dye vats.  The wood stove is lit and ready to dry the fleece as they are washed.  In short everything is in place.  But I wanted those fleece.

They were just beautiful.  Were they different than the fleece I already have?   No, they were a little coarser, just a little mind you.  But the colours were, well, natural...vibrantly natural browns, greys and white.. like the fleece sitting here waiting to be washed.  Fleece lust...plain and simple...fleece lust.

Looking at all the lovely dyed rovings, merino tops, corridale and half breed from New Zealand that Andrea at Auralia has, I just admire the colours, bring home a few bags for specific projects but I don't lust.  I don't think about them when I am away from them, and long to run my fingers through their lock structure.  Or imagine separating the locks in my fingers and spinning them, as they are, from the fold, over my finger.  Fleece lust...

I didn't buy any of those other fleeces.  It would somehow be unfaithful and adulterous to caress another fleece while my own is sitting at home waiting for me.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fabulous Felted Clothing

My new felting book, Felting Fashion, Creative and Inspirational techniques for feltmakers, by Lizzie Houghton, arrived yesterday and I'm very excited.

The jacket on the cover is enticing and inspirational.  The book covers regular felting, cobweb felt and nuno felt techniques, using both flat felt and 3D felt with a resist/template.  The colour combinations and textures on the garments are rich and invite you to stoke each one.  Ah, but they are only photographs.  The directions are thorough and invite you to get out your soap, water, wool and silk scraps and have a go.  From simple but inspirational broaches to funky hats, scarves, shawls and on to fitted jackets

I have a jacket in my closet that I get compliments everytime I wear it. It is made with a patchwork of velvet and satin fabrics in rich jewel tones.  It is loose and flowing and looks great on my voluptuous sillouette.  I have wanted to recreate this designer garment in felt but I wanted the patchwork look without actually having to sew together a bunch of squares of fabric.   I wanted the contrast in textures and the flowing lines.  This book tells me how to create exactly the feel and look I am after using nuno felt techniques and a resist.  Awesome.

If you love wearable art, wool and silk, felting and fiberart you need to read this inspiring book.

I can't wait for next week and my dye vats to begin to dye some of our fleece for the project.  And speaking of slow fashion....

This Saturday in Summerland we'll be at the first annual slow fiber festival being put on by the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers in Summerland at the Youth Centre.  It is a festival about local fiber and local designers who are using local fiber for their creatons.  It is a brand new baby so there are sure to be some messes, but I'm looking forward to participating and giving some of our energy to the adventure.   On Saturday at 1pm and again at 3pm I'll be demonstrating flax/linen.  We'll have the artisan flax break for breaking the already retted flax and we'll be talking about the steps it takes from linen flower to final garment.  Come on out and enjoy the momentum.  It can only get better.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Bugs are ironed out and we are back on schedule

Well the bugs with the Satellite internet are getting ironed out.  Apparently we can download as much as we want between 11pm and 2am, so our updates are scheduled for that time period.  It could mean a few late nights to upload website updates.  Windows has been reined in to comply with our wishes regarding update times.  AVL is now loaded and up to date.

I`ve got a high quality web cam and speakers on order so that we can use Skype.  Did you know there are harp teachers who will teach harp lessons through Skype?  I was hoping to visit with my son and his family through Skype.  Most of the grand parents we know use Skype to visit with their grand children -- most of them weekly.  But I've been informed that they don't want to do that.  Its really sad for me.  But we're going to install it anyway.  Maybe my eldest son will hook up Skype and we can visit.  It will be a long time before I can travel to Vancouver again. 

So look for website updates coming soon to  I washed 3 white kid mohair fleeces yesterday.  Made our last batch of Joybilee Farm Hemp Rescue Remedy of 2010, used up the 2010 harvest of Balm of Gilead, and harvested 2 rows of potatoes, with Robin's help. The dehydrator is full of prune plums and white grapes.

The garden continued to produce even after the frost started.  I'm really happy about that.  We've had awesome broccoli, potatoes, chard, kale, and a few beauty radishes and cabbages. And finally we've had enough season that I'm sure we'll have carrots to harvest in a week.  The squash didn't produce but I bought some butternut squash from Mobetta Farms in Grand Forks, so we are good for winter.

A farm visitor brought some corn, grapes, apples and plums on Tuesday and invited us to come to their farm in Westbank after the Fiber show on Saturday and pick plums.  Our friends are bringing more apples and some pears back for us from Keremeos when they travel for Thanksgiving Weekend.  So by next week we should be good for winter fruit, have all our potatoes harvested and be getting the garden to bed for the winter.  I will still need to buy a bag of onions.

Robin had to cut down 7 trees for the satellite dishes path so once he's cut it all into stove lengths we'll have another cord of wood for winter, too.  Just 200 more bales of hay to bring home for winter.  The first 100 we got were dusty with mold so we have switched hay sources and are getting it from another farm, closer to home -- better quality -- lower price -- less time and this farm is helping Robin load it.

Homesteading is rewarding work.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Satellite internet

The satellite internet is in and working.  The new computer is empty, or so it seems with its 1 T. of memory and 6 gb of ram.  I downloaded firefox, malwarebytes and AVG and everything was going smoothly.  Sarah updated her AVG after almost 6 months and then the unthinkable happened.  Windows, all on its own, with no prompting from me, and without my permission, downloaded 28 updates and used all the available bandwidth -- 250 mb.  That exceeded our allowance for the day and we are down to less than dial up speeds -- actually its worse than that -- I can't even load blogspot on it.  Now it should be for just 10 hours -- the end of the first 24 hours on the satellite,  but instead it is for the next 24 hours -- how does that work?   

I can see that we will be curtailed on our internet usage considerably over the next two weeks while each of our 3 computers downloads the updates that are necessary to allow it to function optimally.  (I'm currently working at the 7 year old Gateway computer) It may be a month before I can actually get down to business with website upgrades.  So we'll keep the dial up for a month or two while everything get sorted out.

Our satellite internet provider is Xplornet, but we are hitchhiking on the Hughesnet satellite over Spokane.  We have a great connection -- its just the bandwidth that's a bit weird.  Also we don't have an email account yet.  Hope that comes in soon.  John, at the Source in Grand Forks, told us that we could download between 11pm and 3am without affecting our bandwidth limits but I haven't seen that in writing yet.  In fact I haven't seen the contract at all.

I'm not very high tech but I do try to learn what I need to know to keep our website useful to you.  Hopefully this learning curve, (actually it seems more like a mountain, with steep precipices and death-defying cliffs, along a narrow, curvy inclined road) will be surmounted soon and I can get on with business.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Satelite Internet and Joybilee Farm's Law of Acquisition

Telus dialup has been out since Thursday.  A cable was cut between Hope and Princeton that cut off dialup internet access to the Southern B.C. Interior.   Can you believe it?  One cable has silenced a huge part of the province and greatly curtailed our ability to update our website, blog, and facebook fans.  One day was manageable but when it stretched into 5, Robin had to go to the neighbor's, who wisely is on satellite internet, to check for business emails.  Then I went into Grand Forks yesterday, to check emails again.

Enough!  Today we are hooking up to Satellite internet.  Hopefully, that will mean more efficient website updates, greater blog-ability, and more striking Facebook entries.  My goodness, I will even be able to upload videos!  Hey, I will even be able to watch other people's videos on spinning, weaving, -- even harp playing.

And all while leaving the phone lines free to take your calls.  Nice.

To celebrate we purchased a brand new computer on the weekend.  The computer I am using right now is 7 years old.  It was time to upgrade.  But the old computer will still be in use.  The problem was that Robin needed the computer to do his HST returns, and keep the business books, while I needed the computer to update the blog, facebook and website.  And Sarah needed the computer to print out her school work.  Now there will be a choice of computers and hopefully a more efficient Joybilee Farm, and a calmer family atmosphere. 

Ok, if I could I would knit a computer, but it aint possible yet.  So I'll save the knitting for clothes and household textiles and spend the money on the computer.

Our new computer has an energy efficient LCD screen -- bigger than our old screen but uses only the power of a 60W light bulb.  Wow!  You could run this new computer on solar power.

And it was 1/3rd the price of our former computer.  What's with that?  The downside?  All the programs that we previously needed to run our business have to be bought again for the new computer -- for the most recent editions.  Hey, Microsoft Office costs more than the computer did. 

Joybilee Farm's Law of Acquisition:  For every acquisition, another acquisition must be made to use, protect or maintain the original acquisition . Carefully consider each acquisition that you bring into your life.  Don't be owned by that which you acquire.

See our website to learn more about Joybilee Farm, sustainable and ethical livestock husbandry and our natural dyes and eco-friendly wool, mohair, and angora fibers and yarns.  Farm fresh Goat's milk soap and herbal moisturizers and healing balms are made weekly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Spring and Summer 2010 Wwoofers

17 young people wwoofed at Joybilee Farm this summer.  The first 3 arrived at the end of March and the last one left last Wednesday.  Wow!

Wwoofer are people who sign up under the wwoof (willing workers on organic farms) program to help on a farm in exchange for room and board in order to learn some of the unique things that each organic farm in the program has to offer.  At Joybilee Farm we offer animal husbandry (that includes cleaning up, feeding, and milking), cheese making, soap making, herbal rememdies (harvest and creation), organic gardening in a mountain climate, linen production and processing, natural dyes, wool, mohair, angora -- harvesting, processing, spinning, weaving and felt making, craft marketing and tourism experience.  We hope each of our wwoofers will learn to prepare fleece for spinning or felting and take home a project that they created themselves from the fleece. Many of our wwoofers come to Joybilee Farm at a cross road in their life, searching for a better vocational fit and their Joybilee Farm experience helps confirm the direction for their journey.

Please meet our wwoofers for Spring and Summer 2010.  Each is unique in their experience and personality and it was a joy sharing our lives with them:

Kelly (Australia) arrived just a few days after Paco, David and Cedric (Quebec).  She had a degree in fashion design and wanted to learn more about using natural dyes.  She came the day before Good Friday and left on Saturday of Easter Weekend, after deciding that wwoofing wasn't for her. It seems that Joybilee Farm in April wasn't a good fit for her.

Paco, David and Cedric stayed for 6 weeks and helped immensely.  They cleaned out all the barns to get ready for lambing/kidding which began in May this year.  Steve came at the beginning of May and the 4 of them built a wood shed using pine logs off the property and recycled roofing from the collapsed hay shed, which they dismantled to salvage timbers and roofing.  They were full of energy and had superb rhythm - -lots of music in their souls.  They also helped with Spring shearing.  When the first goat kids and lambs started coming it was a magical time for these guys.  All four guys did some spinning on drop spindles.  Their biggest joy was learning to cook vegetarian for themselves.

Paco, Cedric, Steve and David with the wood shed they built

While the guys were here our septic system failed and the guys learned about the workings of a septic field and helped us lay a brand new field with a better design than the old field.  They also saw our community in action as our neighbor came over with his back hoe and dug the new field and helped to lay the pipes.  At a cost to us of less than $1,000 we had a brand new septic system put in place, thanks to kind neighbors and our wwoofers who helped with the fine digging work.

Melinda (South Africa) came just as the guys were getting ready to leave.  Melinda was full of energy and determination and we loved getting to know her.  She helped with lambing/kidding, and especially worked at getting the garden planted.  Melinda was into dogs and dog sledding, and she learned how to spin dog hair and create one of a kind fiber art with the yarn.  The World cup of soccer meant that Melinda had to get home to Durban earlier than planned.
Melinda with her dog hair yarn

Paula arrived a few days after Melinda left.  Paula is a weaver and she helped us put a blanket warp on the floor loom and wove off the first blanket.  (Its still sitting in the finishing basket waiting for a quiet day.) We did lots of felting with Paula and dyeing with both low impact chemical and natural dyes.  Paula learned how to make her own gluten free tortillas while she was here and renewed her love of weaving.  Paula also helped with planting the garden -- and we had a wonderful harvest of broccoli (best ever) thanks to Paula's help with planting and weeding.
Paula renewing her love of weaving

A couple of days after we said goodbye to Paula, Damien and Fiona (Ireland) arrived.  They were a very shy couple and were hard to get to know.  They weren't interested in spinning, weaving or felting and were content to put in their helping time and disappear for the rest of the day.  They were tired most of the time -- possibly due to their vegetarian diets.   Fiona helped weed the linen bed -- a major but extremely essential task in June.  And Damien helped us get the garden ready for the photography club that came by on the July long weekend.  Since Damien was a professional photographer, we thought that the opportunity would be a delight for him, but he shied away from meeting other professional photographers -- too bad.  Unfortunately a black bear freaked them out and they left after only 5 days, preferring to stay in a motel rather than at Joybilee Farm where the bear might be lurking.  After they left we weren't bothered by the bear again, although there are several bears that live in the vicinity.

Matt Shaffer arrived on the bus that Damien and Fiona left on.  Matt was an engineer in water and gas and while he was here the water line broke.  He didn't want to ply his trade here, though, so we got the help of our neighbors to redesign the water line to prevent another occurrence.  Matt met the bear a few times on his hikes with the dogs but it ran away when it saw him.  Matt learned to spin and wove a scarf for himself before he left.

Lori (Israel) came during Matt's stay.  Lori only stayed two nights.  Lori was looking for something and it wasn't here.  Apparently it wasn't in Nelson either, as she left the next farm after only one night, too.  Lori did some felting while she was here and helped me clean up the Cottage Industry carder to get it ready for the next batch of fleece, as well as weeding the asparagus bed.

Heike and Aki with their golden rod dyed and felted scarves
The day after Matt left, Aki (Japan) arrrived and a few days later Heike (Germany).  Aki and Heike were beams of sunshine in our world and a huge help with all our work.  We were delighted that they included Joybilee Farm in their travel to Canada.  They met when Heike arrived at the farm but it seemed like they had known each other for decades.  Aki and Heike felt like part of our family in just a few hours of their arrival.  They tried to learn to spin but to talk to each other they had to speak English (their second language).  Since it was too difficult to spin and converse at the same time, we decided to do some felting instead.  Each of them felted a scarf from Sapphire's fleece and then dyed it with golden rod, which we harvested together.  Wowzers!  Those scarves were just beautiful.

Heike helped clean the wool picker -- and I was in awe with how clean it was when she was finished.  Aki helped in the garden, in the soap making, in the moisturizer making and in the felting.  It was just amazing to me how much Heike and Aki accomplished in the short time they were here.  The linen festival happened while Aki and Heike were here and they had a blast helping out.

Masumi (Japan) and Sasha (BC) arrived just a few days after the girls left.  Masumi struggled with her english and she felt awkward but persevered.  Thankfully Sasha was an experienced ESL teacher so that helped out immensely.  Masumi and Sasha helped us with the linen harvest.  And we felted quite a bit.  Sasha was an experienced felter and made the most wonderful works of art with her felting.  She spun yarn (she already knew how to spin) and wove a gorgeous scarf on the Ashford Knitters loom.  She liked it so much she bought a loom to take home.
Sasha in the linen field that she helped to harvest.

While Sasha was still with us, Marie and Pierre (France) arrived.  Marie and Pierre won our hearts in just a few hours of their arrival, with their cheerful enthusiasm and honest conversation.  It was amazing to me how each of our wwoofers came to us with the skills that we needed most during their stay -- as if their stay at Joybilee Farm was planned by God before they arrived.  Marie has a Master's degree in Cultural Tourism and while they were at Joybilee Farm there was a tourism workshop which we attended, with her.  Pierre is a fabulous cabinet maker and designer and was able to take a picture and turn it into a work of functional art -- our new flax break.  Pierre repaired gates, doors, and cabinets -- all those irritating repair jobs that Robin couldn't seem to get to.  Marie helped with felting -- Spa Bars and toys, with packaging soaps and moisturizers, with weeding and thinning carrots, but her biggest contribution was the tourism marketing suggestions that she made.   We were able to put some of it into use immediately when Story & Co. came to the farm as part of the community branding exercise.  And Pierre's flax break will save us hours of time in processing our abundant flax harvest -- besides giving us much joy by its beauty.  I fondle its smooth lines every time I pass it.
Marie and Pierre with the beautiful flax break.

Amy came just a few days after Marie and Pierre left.  Amy learned to card wool on the Ashford Wild Carder, spin a wild yarn and weave on the Ashford Knitters Loom -- all in order to help us at the Rock Creek Fair.  Her constant smile and enthusiasm for learning were contagious.  And she too, felt like one of the family before she left.
Amy with her handspun and woven scarf.

I've learned so much from each of our wwoofers -- even the ones that didn't stay very long.  Thank you for investing time in Joybilee Farm and sharing in our spring and summer.  We are richer for the experience of getting to know you.  And its made me want to travel to some other places to meet you again.  Its caused me to appreciate even more the wonderful peace, climate, and community that we have here at Joybilee Farm and in Greenwood.  There's no other place in the world quite like this one -- pure, good tasting mountain spring water, clean air, natural beauty, warm friendships, mountains, creeks, and historical turn of the century architecture, gold rush history, wild life, and abundant natural dye sources, and the perfect climate for growing wool, mohair, angora and linen.  Even if frost does comes before the end of August every year.

Thanks for the memories.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Academics of Craft and sustainability.

Making Futures: the crafts in the context of emerging global sustainability agendas, a conference at the Plymouth College of Art (UK), in Sept. 2009.

The papers presented at this conference are available for free download  

Many interesting  perspectives on globalization, craft, culture and sustainability.  If you are of an academic bent you will find it a valuable resource.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

City of Grand Forks recognizes Arts and Culture Contributions

Last night Robin and Chris Dalziel of Joybilee Farm were awarded a Certificate of Merit by the City of Grand Forks,  for their tireless volunteer contributions to the well being of the Community of the City of Grand Forks.  Robin and Chris have worked as volunteers over the years on the Grand Forks Farmer's Market, the Boundary Artisan Association, the Canada Day Artisan Market and the Art Gallery's 25th Anniversary Artisan Market.  One significant contribution was the liason with the Columbia Basin Culture Tour to have the Boundary Region included in the 2010 Culture Tour as a Pilot project.  "If you need something accomplished in Arts and Culture the Dalziels are the people to talk to."

12 certificates were awarded at the award ceremony that took place at the Grand Forks Art Gallery on Wednesday night.  Robin and Chris were one of only two couples recognized together, for their contribution, one of only two awards given for a contribution to Arts and Culture, and the only volunteers who reside in the West Boundary region, rather than near the City of Grand Forks.

Robin and Chris Dalziel receive the award from City Councillor, Chris Moslin
Thank you to Dawsha Hunt (Grand Forks Tourist Information Centre),Wendy Butterfield (GF Art Gallery and Heritage Centre -- Gallery 2) and Cher Wyrs (Councillor, City of Grand Forks) for your nomination and support.  It was a great encouragement to us to be recognized by the City of Grand Forks, since we live outside the City.  It demonstrates the desire of the City of Grand Forks to be inclusive of the rest of the Boundary Region, working together to build a better region.

There were 12 other recipients recognized for the extensive and tireless volunteerism on such projects as the Economic Development Committee, The Transition House, Habitat for Humanity, Music in the Park, and the Grand Forks Solar City Project. 

The Boundary Region is a great place to live. 

Amy is a spinner and a weaver

Amy was our wwoofer for part of September. She came to us from Minnesota with a BS degree in Business (Fashion design and merchandising). Amy learned how to prepare wool for spinning, how to spin yarn, how to weave on a rigid heddle loom.
Amy's first spinning

Amy entered her first ever skein of yarn in the Novelty Yarn section of the Rock Creek Fair last weekend and won first place. Wonderful work, Amy.

Amy weaving on the 30 cm. Ashford Knitter's Loom
She then took the yarn and warped up the Ashford Knitters Loom and wove a beautiful golden rod dyed scarf. There isn't another scarf like that one any where in the world!

There isn't another scarf like this one!

Amy was a huge help on the farm taking care of the chickens and helping with the goats, sheep and llamas. She also helped us package natural dyes and goat's milk soaps to get ready for the fair last weekend.

At the fair, Amy demonstrated the new Ashford Wild Carder, and the Ashford Kiwi Spinning Wheel and helped with the Indigo Dye demonstrations.  Amy, your tremendous help was very appreciated.  And your beautiful smile lit up our days while you were at Joybilee Farm.
Michelle, our wwoofer in Sept 2009 with her scarf

At the Rock Creek Fair, Michelle (Alberta), our wwoofer from last year's Fall Fair, came by the booth to say hello.  Good to see you, Michelle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I-cord knitter made from Lego

This is really SWEET! Although not very practical. It looks like something a homeschooler would dream up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rock Creek Fair Weekend

Joybilee Farm will be closed today and Saturday for the Rock Creek Fair.  My big job today is to pack up the studio/store and get everything to the Fair Ground then set up for the Fair tomorrow -- opening at 7am. 

I'm looking forward to connecting with so many friends and demonstrating Indigo dyeing to the crowds at 2pm on Saturday and 12 Noon on Sunday.
Indigo Dyed Weaving

Kiwi as a lamb feeding on Donder
Kiwi will be going with us to the Fair along with Iota, a black angora kid, and Amethyst (a lilac French Angora rabbit).  Kiwi's been to school and the art gallery as well as the science fair so lots of kids have met him before.

Kiwi today.
Maybe I'll see you at the Fair.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rainbow Rovings

This week the dye pots have been going in earnest -- Ashford low impact acid dyes not natural dyes -- for rainbow rovings in fine wool, and tussah silk.  I thought at the time that I was getting heaps of dyeing done, but when it was dried and packaged it didn't look like as much as I thought it was. 

Now there is fresh stock of all the wool roving colourways and most of the silk roving colourways.  4 kgs. of wool and 3 kgs. of silk.  And its just in time for the Rock Creek Fair on Saturday and Sunday.  My friend Karen always comes by in the first hours of the Fair to dig through the dyed rovings for her felt work and rustic decor.  So Karen this is for you.

Wool Roving in Circus, Circus
This will be our 7th year at the Rock Creek Fair.  We are in our usual spot by the Sheep barns with a huge demo tent plus our modest vendor tent.  At 2pm on Saturday and at 12 Noon on Sunday you can participate in a hands on Indigo Dye Demonstration.

Lynnette with her Silk Charmeuse, Indigo dyed scarf -- Beautiful!

Dye blanks will be available for sale for a modest fee ($3 for cotton fat quarters to $15 for a silk charmeuse scarf ready-to-dye).  Its a great time to make some gifts for your friends and family -- while someone else has to clean up the mess.  We'll have a table with string, buttons, elastics and clamps ready for your creativity and a vat to play in .  Kiwi (last year's bottle lamb) will be with us along with Iota (This year's bottle goat) and Amethyst (a bottle bunny -- our first). 

Kiwi, last year's bottle lamb

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Your work matters to God

I'm reading, Your work matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks (NavPress, 1987).  Sherman and Hendricks discuss a biblical view of work and offer insights into working for the Greater Glory of God in the secular world.

It is a refreshing book.  A renewal of the Great Reform theology on the place of work in the Kingdom of God.  Nothing is secular to God.  He is concerned with feeding, clothing and sheltering each person -- the poor as well as the rich.  When we join him in His work of providing for the needs of people and prospering our communities we are engaged in a sacred task, as much as the professional pastor is engaged in a sacred task.  90% of the church works to meet the physical needs of people and part of that task is meeting the spiritual needs as well through friendship, caring and compassion. (I John 3:17, 18.)

When we prayerfully made the decision to leave the workforce and move away from the city to Joybilee Farm to create our living with our hands, a Baptist Pastor told us that we were outside of God's will because the job of all Christians was to earn as much money as possible to support the work of the professional pastor.  "NOT!",  my heart said.  At the time Robin, my hubby, was engaged in full time Christian service, teaching accounting at a Christian University for a pittance in comparison to what his salary would be at a secular university.  He was working 60 hours or more a week and teaching 4 upper level accounting courses.  When he resigned from teaching it was a relief.  My children actually saw their father during daylight hours.

The university pay scale rewarded the professional ministers at the top with 6 digit salaries -- the president, vice presidents and theologians.  Those engaged in teaching business were told that they were sacrificing to equip the saints for the work of the kingdom and they should be content.  Because the important work was being done by the pastors, university presidents, theologians, and missionaries.  The job of business was to support the real work of the Kingdom of God...and equip students, who would one day be alumni, to make as much money as possible.  "NOT!"

According to my Bible, God is concerned about the work we accomplish with our hands as much as he is concerned for the salvation of the lost and the temporal needs of widows and orphans. Sherman and Hendricks' book gives a biblical examination of the double tier view of secular or sacred work prevalent in the church today, that places more value on the work of pastors, evangelists and missionaries, a middle value on the helping professionals -- counselors, medical professionals, teachers, and much less value on business, and agricultural work and the least value on artistic work.  This book calls the church back to the biblical and reformed view of all work as a sacred call from God -- good works that God has prepared in advance for you to walk in.

Although this book is 20 years old there is a movement in the larger Christian church today to value and affirm Businessmen and women in their calling and to equip them to bring the good news to the poor and needy.  

This book is an affirmation of God's call to work for the other 90% of us.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Pierre Pflieger and the Flax Break

2010 Flax Harvest -- Ilona on the left and Hermes on the Right.

Pierre Pflieger and his artisan flax break

Pierre and Marie (France) Robin and Sarah (Joybilee Farm)
Wwoofers, Pierre and Marie came to us from France.  Pierre is a cabinet maker and Marie has her master's degree in Heritage and Cultural Tourism -- a perfect pair for Joybilee Farm.  Marie learned to needle felt and wet felt while she helped us in the garden, and the kitchen and got to know the animals.  She had many very good ideas to help us promote Joybilee Farm as a tourist destination, too.  We will be implementing some of these ideas very soon.

Pierre's expertise as a wood worker and furniture designer was put to good use designing a beautiful artisan flax break.  Pierre used scrap wood that he found in Robin's workshop and used his expert alchemy to transform it into a beautiful tool that will be a joy to use for many years.  We are so excited about this because the bottle neck in our flax processing has been the breaking process -- which with our first flax break was slow and painful.  With this new flax break -- not only is the process much more efficient and quicker but it is even pleasureable.  Beautiful tools make the work seem like play.

Thank you, Pierre and Marie, we so very much enjoyed getting to know you. Our gates and doors are mended thanks to you.  Our appetites are satisfied and our hearts are richer for your friendship.  Your upbeat attitudes were inspiring for us and we have new ideas to make Joybilee Farm a better attraction for tourists and fiber artists.  If you are a wwoofer host and you have a chance to welcome Marie and Pierre to your farm -- don't hesitate for a second -- you will be so much richer for the experience of knowing them.

Pierre will be selling the woodworking plans for this beautiful artisan flax break soon -- in English, French or German.  Contact Pierre if you'd like to order them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dog Attack again

My neighbor's Rottweiler again attacked my herd.  This time he chewed the backside right off of a my best registered dairy goat.  The brave goat walked with the herd all the back to the house, almost a km.  Her tail was chewed off.  She no longer had a vulva, only 1/3rd of her rectum was left and she could no longer pee. 
But she came all the way home and had a bowl of grain.  She only cried once while the vet examined her.  What a brave and faithful animal.

But it was impossible to help her and so she was mercifully put down. 

At times like this God's strength is the power that demands that we continue to 'love our neighbor as ourselves' and it is his loving strength that enables us to obey his commands.  I need that strength today.  I cannot do it by myself.

The dog will most likely be relocated to a home away from livestock.  I hope he doesn't harm a child next.  But he will not be coming back here, the neighbor promised.  The very wealthy neighbor has promised to pay for our loss.  But what about the loss of milk, the loss of companionship?  He just said he was losing his dog, too.  Just because he did not take him through obedience training.  I feel sorry for the dog.  Dogs need proper training, not foolish owners.

We have cougars, bears, lynx, bob cat, coyote, wolf and have never lost an animal to predators (except for a few poultry), but this untrained rottweiler has attacked twice in 4 months.  Why does the neighbor not keep him on a leash as he promised he would? 

Good bye Netty Betty.  You were a very special friend.  We will miss you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dipping lower

Zukes and beans are still in the garden, too small to harvest.  -2C this morning in that garden and -4C in the lower garden where the potatoes, chard, carrots and dye plants are.  Will the frost cover be enough to fend off damage?  Stay tuned......

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Joybilee Farm -- Triple Tasking

Lots of farm work is going on this week and I'm too tired for words.  We finished harvesting the two linen beds this week with the help of Masumi and Sasha, our wwoofers.  (pics coming later).

We also finished retting last year's linen harvest.  That was just in time.  This year's will be ready to go through the retting tank (a repurposed bath tub).

Heather's Litter. 
We're also in the middle of the summer angora harvest -- 5 rabbits done so far and 15 more to go.  We'll be rolling in angora fiber before mid September and the Rock Creek Fair.  And no the bunny is not killed to get its fiber.  It sheds just like a cat or dog and we groom it off, while the bunny purrs.

At the same time there is a woad vat and a golden rod pot going on the gas stove in the outdoor dye kitchen, plus a  fleece sitting in alum water, waiting its turn for the yellow pot.

And tomorrow is Sunday!  I love Sundays.  We put the farm work on hold -- except the life and death work like feeding the animals-- and visit our friends at church, worship God in song, listen to words of wisdom from the Bible and relax, read a book, go for a walk.  Its my favorite part of the week. Oh, and on Sunday I get to play my harp as much as I want.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Boundary Artisan Studio Tour -- This weekend

Harvesting linen by hand pulling
Joybilee Farm will be participating in the Boundary Artisan Studio Tour and the Columbia Basin Culture Tour this weekend.  We are just one of many studios participating in these annual events.

At the farm there will be an indigo dye demonstration as well as harvesting the linen field.  Come on out and play in the dye vats with me.  There will be 5 indigo vats set up (these are the left over vats from our totally awesome indigo/meteor shower party last night).  We don't want to waste a single molecule of this precious natural dye.  These vats will give both paler blue shades and dark indigo blue and the magic transformation of indigo on cloth is a breathtaking.
Lynnette's first indigo dyeingWhat a beautiful scarf, Lynnette.
Indigo Art drying in the sun

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indigo Party and Meteor Shower

Tonight is the Perseid Meteor shower.  Joybilee Farm has the ideal darkness for viewing the night sky, with very little light pollution -- just the occasional passing car on the highway.  We have a private party booked for the event beginning at 3:30pm with an Indigo Dye Party.  We will teach our group traditional Japanese Shibori resist patterns (similiar to Tye Dyeing).  Traditional Shibori attempts to imitate the brilliant white stars on a dark indigo sky background -- a perfect appetizer for a night of sky watching.

Then we'll have a potluck dinner, visit with the animals and set up the telescopes.  There will be 4 or 5 telescopes set up to view various sky objects.  The meteor shower can be seen with the naked eye. The forecast is for clear skies and perfect viewing conditions.

It will be dark around 9:30 and the meteor shower will begin to be visible, coming out of the East.  Officially the meteors are supposed to emanate from the North East constellation, Perseus.  But in reality they come from anywhere in the East and streak across the sky on both the North and South horizons and even through the apex.  We saw some spectacular streaks last night near the dipper.
From Sky and Telescope

We had a practice run last night and found Arcturus in the constellation Bootes (Latin for Shepherd)  Bootes can be found in the Western Sky around 10pm.  Just to the South of Bootes is the Corona, a circle of stars, (Latin for the Crown) and Just South and toward the horizon from Corona, one can see the Snake.  It looks just as if the Snake was trying to steal the crown from the Shepherd.  That sounds like an illustration for a very old story that I know.  Do you know that story, too?

Another story in this section of the night sky is found close to the Corona Borealis -- where the hero (Hercules) is seen to be kneeling on the head of the Dragon (Draco).  Does this echo another story that you know?  We read in Genesis that the 'seed of woman' would crush the serpent's head and that the serpent would crush His heel.  That story was written in the stars centuries before the Greeks would name the hero 'Hercules'.  

2010 Linen Festival at Joybilee Farm

Breaking flax at the Linen Festival.  This lady traveled from Oregon with her family to take in the Linen Festival.
Retted and dried flax ready to break.  This variety is 'Evelin' and is similiar to 'Hermes' in growth and yield.
Randy Cowan from Crop Fibers Canada speaking to the audience.  That's Robin (Joybilee Farm)  in a naturally dyed linen shirt on the right.

33 people attended the 2010 Joybilee Farm Linen Festival -- down from last year but those who attended were keeners.  It was a great day.  Some of our visitors traveled across the country to be here for the day.  

Heritage Doukhobor Linen garments on loan from the Boundary Museum in Grand Forks.  Child's dress, woman's dress and mans burial garments -- trousers and shirt.  The garments of handspun and handwoven linen were of interesting construction.  The trousers were button flied.  The fabric was a broken twill, durable and resists wrinkling.  Handwoven linen yardage was 30 yards per loom full.  That's a lot of very fine spinning.
The day ended with some flax cookery -- Indian Chapatis puffed on the outdoor grill, served hot with butter.  Yum!  Sarah was the chef for this demonstration. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our wwoofers

Today we said goodbye to Aki (Japan) and Heike (Germany).  We were sad to see them go and very happy that they came to spend two weeks with us at Joybilee Farm.  They started to learn to spin but with English being their second language it was more difficult for them to spin and talk English at the same time.  And they did like to talk English to each other and to us.  After a few days we realized that spinning was not as relaxing for them as it should be so we decided to felt instead.

The girls washed a fine, rambouillet fleece and we carded it and I showed them how to lay out a fine, felt scarf.  After quite a lot of hand felting they each had an embellished, light weight, soft scarf. 
Aki laying out her scarf from Sapphire's fleece

The girls also gathered some golden rod flowers and we dyed the scarves together with the golden rod extraction.  The scarves were washed and dried in time to pack for the next trip.  It was such a priviledge to meet Heike and Aki and to get to know them .  What beautiful young ladies!  They will succeed in life.

Heike (Germany) and Aki (Japan) with their felted scarves