Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Of gardens and sheep

 Recently while studying different methods of making a small farm productive I came across several books by Joel Salatin.  His ready (slightly sarcastic) wit and willingness to work the land and animals in a symbiotic relationship kept me reaching for Salad Bar Beef and Folks, This Ain't Normal 
even after I'd read the principles and agreed with them.

In an attempt to apply his ideas to our farm we are feeding the sheep in our garden area this winter:  temporary wire fence around our garden space (which is in the yard), and a runway to the pasture.  They come and go as they please, but are fed in the garden space each day.  This encourages a buildup of straw stalks which will get tilled under in the spring, as well as enriching the soil with the manure.

 (The ewes think they are going to get something more to eat - that is why they are following the camera so closely!)

The plan for the moment is to feed them here until the first part of April, and then till the garden, let it sit for a month or so, and till it again.  The sheep have no problem with being in this space, but sometimes they forget how to get in for a minute, and stand on the outside of the yard looking in at the hay and sprouted grain.  Then panic kicks in  ("I won't get my share!") and they remember very quickly.  :)   It is a riot to watch.

Last year's lambs are nearly as big as their mothers now (see the white one in the middle?), and the wethers should go to the packing plant sometime next month.

On a different note, Lord willing I'll start work at a local museum later this week!  I've worked there before, several years ago, and I look forward to being there again.


I am not getting anything for recommending Salatin's books. 

Monday, January 21, 2013


Today was the public ceremony marking the beginning of our president's second term. 

As we face another four years with the present administration, it is important to remember that the Lord is sovereign above and beyond all the leaders of the earth.  He warns those who seek to give lip service to Him without sincerity that He is in a position to laugh at them. 

Psalm 2  
Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

These next four years offer a huge opportunity for Christians to reach out to those around us to show the love of Christ.  With the rising costs of healthcare and insurance, along with inflation and the general devaluation of the American monetary system, more and more people will be caught in a downward spiral if they try to do everything on their own.  It is a temptation to live "The American Dream" and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, but the hard truth is that we cannot do it on our own.  Pride is a large part of the reason we're in this mess today.

 Our trust is to be in God alone, not putting any confidence in ourselves or other people.  It is so easy to live as "practical atheists" who know that the Lord is sovereign, but neglect to act like it in daily life. I am just as guilty of this as everyone else.  But the Lord is kind to remind me that I can't go through life without Him, and gently draws His straying lamb back to Himself.   How can we neglect to praise Him and obey Him? 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Flexibility vs. Productivity

Frankly, this is a huge challenge for me.  Productivity (tatting Etsy stuff, learning marketing skills for lace and sheep businesses, chores and fun stuff) often takes a back burner to flexibility (being available to change plans at the last minute, even to the point of all day or all week plans at the last minute).  Now, it is important to be flexible, but I need to implement more of a schedule in my life.  Too often flexibility becomes an excuse to be lazy, or at least, to have nothing to show for the day's time.  So, I'm in the market for a part time job.  It is going to be interesting, as I've not worked outside a home for over six years (cooking and teaching sewing not included), but the Lord seems to be directing that this is the proper time, so full steam ahead.  Of course I still plan to continue Etsy and Tophatter, and if anyone is interested in naturally raised lamb, please let me know, but this is an adventure.  I just have to remember to treat it as such. :) 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Silk thread review

Silk threads vs. Cotton threads in jewelry tatting

Here are a few things I've found after using both silk embroidery floss and size 20 cord:

Silk threads stick to rough spots on hands like crazy!  Cotton threads can do that too, but not nearly as badly.

Silk threads are very luxurious, and super soft.  Cotton can be almost as shiny, but the softness of silk is unequaled.

Tatting with silk threads takes more patience than tatting with cotton threads, mostly because of the issue of silk wanting to stick to itself.  There is a fine line between closing the ring securely and pulling and breaking the thread.

Overall, I've been a bit disappointed with the silk 20 thread, as it isn't as shiny as I'd hoped, but that was more my unrealistic expectations than anything wrong with the thread itself. 


P.S.  I should get pictures uploaded later this week, Lord willing!