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


Frost in the garden!

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

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Linen Festival on Saturday

Flax crackers made -- check
Flax cookies made -- check
Flax sourdough bread made -- check
Iron linen table cloths -- check
Iron linen shirts - check
Finish indigo dyed bags
Set up display for antique Doukhobor clothing
Set up display for Linen by Linda Heinrich - check
Clean house
Set up chairs in spinning circle
Create Linen Festival map and brochure - check

Just two one sleeps left......

Blog post updated on August 6.

Recipe: Muesli with flax

A common European breakfast cereal  that you can make in your own home.  Our German wwoofer Heike says its better than store bought.  Quick and easy to make at home. Great way to introduce raw food into your diet, with its health benefits.

Mix in a large bowl
8 cups of oatmeal (we use large flaked but you can use instant)
1/2 cup of freshly ground flax seed
1 cup of chopped or ground almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1 cup of chopped dried fruit (apples, pears, cranberries, apricots, cherries, raisins, etc.)
Mix together well.  Keep in an airtight container.  Makes 16 - 1/2 cup servings. 

Serve with raw milk or yoghurt and honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.  Add it to muffins or bread as a crunch and texture boost.  Serve with fresh or frozen berries for an added antioxidant boost. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Linen Festival Line Up

The Third Annual Joybilee Farm Linen Festival is this coming Saturday 10am to 5pm.  Admission to the farm is $7 per person or $25 per family.  Children 5 and under are free.  Become a fan of Joybilee Farm on Facebook and receive $2 off the admission charge.

Here's how the day looks so far:

Gate opens at 10 am.

Ongoing throughout the day:
There will be refreshments by donation -- GingerAle, Tea, Coffee, Apple juice, cookies, flax bread, fresh fruit.  Bring a lunch if you want.  The BBAM Emergency Food Hamper program will benefit from 100% of the donations.

Artisan Flax breads will be available for sale.

The flax break is set up outside the studio for you to help yourself.  Break your own flax for spinning or braid a bracelet to take home.

The Spinning Circle is set up for your pleasure.  Set up your wheel and get comfortable.  New spinner or you left your wheel at home?  No problem, get a quick lesson on spindle spinning and have a go.  Spindles available for loan or sale.  Your life may never be the same.

Linda Heinrich's new book:  Linen will be available for you to preview and preorder.  The publication date is set for the end of the month.

Linen and Hemp garments from the Doukhobor Museum at Fructova
A display of historical Doukhobor hemp and linen clothing and textiles will be on display along with antique processing equipment, courtesy of the Boundary Museum at Fructova.   The museum will have their own linen and textile display with a loom set up for you to weave on for the weekend, so plan to extend your visit to the Boundary and stop by the Museum in Grand Forks to see historical textiles and processing equipment on display.

The Studio is Open and the artisan market (smaller than we had hoped but still linen related).  One must see is the quilt made from antique linen by Rae.

Randy Cowan of Crop Fibers Canada demonstrating on a Doukhobor Flax Break
11am Randy Cowan, from Crop Fibers Canada, will be speaking on the efforts in Saskatchewan to reclaim the fiber from oil seed flax and the R & D into uses for all parts of the flax plant.  He was very informative last year and helpful to those wanting to plant fiber flax for the first time.  He is demonstrating flax breaking on an antique Doukobhor flax break.

Robin Harvesting Fiber Flax
1pm Robin will lead a farm tour to the flax field and explain the steps of culturing fiber flax, scutching, retting, breaking and hackling flax for spinning.  You will be able to try it out for yourself.

3pm Sarah and Chris will demonstrate how to make East Indian Flax Chapatis in the outdoor kitchen.  These are amazing unleaven flat breads that are eaten with East Indian curries, or served in place of Mexican Flour Tortillas, or Middle Eastern Pitas.  Recipes available. Samples will be handed out as they are grilled.  Yummy.
Flax Chapatis puffing on the outdoor grill

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Flax Sourdough Bread for the Linen Festival

We've been baking Sourdough Flax bread for the Linen Festival this Saturday at Joybilee Farm.  Well, actually we've been testing it a lot so there may not be much left for Saturday.  It is so yummy.  So just in case there is none left to sample, here's the recipe.

Sourdough flax bread - The longer this bread sits and bubbles as a sponge the better the flavour.  Plan to give this attention all day -- A bit of attention then wait for a few hours, a bit more attention then wait again, etc.

In a glass bowl, mix together:

2 cups of sourdough starter
2cups of warm water
2 cups of whole wheat flour

Mix together until smooth and allow to sit for 4 hours or overnight.  Replace 2 cups of starter into your glass jar for future batches.  With remaining 2 cups of starter add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of w/w flour.  Mix well.  Allow to sit for 2 hours, it will become bubbly.

Add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (GMO free please), 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 cup of freshly ground flax seed, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour, one cup at a time.  This will make a light sponge.  Allow to become bubbly -- one hour or more.  Flavour will develop the longer it sits.  Once it has doubled in bulk, mix in 2 to 4 more cups of w/w flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead well until smooth and elastic.  Allow to double in bulk -- 1- 2 hours.  Punch down and form into loaves or buns.  Allow to double (1 hour).  Bake at 400F oven for 20 min.  Reduce heat to 350F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Cool to luke warm before cutting.

Come to the Linen Festival at Joybilee Farm on Saturday, August 7th 10 am to 5pm -- and try this bread (if there is any left.  Yummy.)

Sourdough Starter:  It best to get a good tasting starter from a friend.  The one that was given to me is over 100 years old and still good tasting.  But if you are friendless or your friends don't bake bread at home, then you can make your own.

Take 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. baking yeast, and 2 cups of warm water.  Mix well in a glass container or quart jar.  Cover with a cloth and allow to work for 3 or 4 days until bubbly and sour flavour develops.

To use mix with 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water, allow to work and replace original 2 cups into a clean glass jar for future use.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Schiffer publishing Co. called me on Friday.  They are sending a preview copy of Linda Heinrich's new book, due to be released at the end of the month -- Linen.  This is a second edition of her previously sold out -- The Magic of Linen (1992) with updates on what is happening in the world today.

Linda is a Master Weaver, whose Master thesis focused on Linen. 

We will have her new book in time for the Linen Festival on Saturday, August 7th.  And will have preorder forms available. Cost is $50 plus applic. taxes at the Linen Festival.  Shipping in Canada is $15 for this large format hard cover book.  Shipping is free if you order it at the Linen Festival.

I'm really excited about this.  I've been waiting for this book for over a year.  I've read the first book several times -- getting it from the public library. Its full of very interesting facts about the history of linen, as well as helpful tips about spinning, dyeing and weaving with this ancient fiber.