"The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that the simpler the life the greater the peace." - Elisabeth Elliot in The Shaping of a Christian Family

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Handspun Yarn

I just have to show off some of Sarah's handspun yarn.

In this first picture she's gently plucking some loose fur from Winston and spinning it directly from him to make very soft white pure Angora yarn. This is premium stuff and we hope she'll be able to get a good price for it. Usually we brush the rabbit and collect the hairs in a box for later spinning, but she wanted to try this method once. He didn't sit still for too long so I doubt she'll do it again.

After spinning and plying (combining two or three thin strands into a plumper yarn), she rinses the yarn and hangs it to dry - called finishing.

This gorgeous blue yarn is a combination of Angora and dyed Polypay sheep wool that we bought at a sheepshearing open house.

After the yarn is dry she twists it into a lovely skein. This one is priced at $18 for 100 yards. 

She plans to start selling at a local farm market in two weeks, so is working hard at building up stock. We're thinking about the idea of an Etsy shop when the market closes down.

I crocheted this fun hat from some of her early attempts at spinning. It wasn't perfect yarn, but it sure makes a cute and very warm hat.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wise Words Wednesday

Spiritual Growth Checklist 
by Beth Moore (with a few of additions by me)

  • Is my most important consideration in every undertaking whether or not God could be glorified? (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • Do I desire God's glory or my own? (John 8:5054)
  • In my service to others, is my sincere hope that they will somehow see God in me? (I Pet. 4:10-11)
  • When I am going through hardships, do I turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He an use them for my good and for His glory? (I Pet. 4:12-13)
  • Am I sometimes able to accomplish things or withstand things only through the power of God? (2 Cor. 4:7)
Then I add:
  • Do I honor others more highly than myself and give them preference? (Rom. 12:10)
  • Am I letting God control my tongue? (James 1:26)
  • Do I value relationship over rules?
  • Do I endeavor to remove the log from my own eye before I try to remove someone else's splinter?
Just a few things to think about, pray for, and work toward.

Do you have some more suggestions?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wise Words Wednesday

"I was raised to believe that the quality of a man's life would greatly increase, not with the gain of status or success, not by his heart's knowing romance or by prosperity in industry or academia, but by his nearness to God. It confuses me that Christian living is not simpler. The gospel, the very good news, is simple, but this is the gate, the trailhead. Ironing out faithless creases is toilsome labor. God bestows three blessing on man: to feed him like birds, dress him like flowers, and befriend him as a confidant. Too many take the first two and neglect the last. Sooner or later you figure out life is constructed specifically and brilliantly to squeeze a man into association with the Owner of heaven. It is a struggle, with labor pains and thorny landscape, bloody hands and a sweaty brow, head in hands, moments of severe loneliness and questioning, moments of ache and desire. All this leads to God, I think...Life is a dance toward God...and this dance is not so graceful as we might want..."                       - Donald Miller in Through Painted Deserts

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Visit to the Fiber Mill

Last week Sarah and I took a drive through the country to a fiber artist's heaven - Stonehedge Fiber Mill.

The small store filled with cheery colors of yarn, balls of roving (unspun strips of wool), and packages of wool batting as well as some knitting needles and patterns. It also contains a few finished products like a crocheted poncho and some knit hats and stuff.

Don't you just love these crazy colors?! And sure enough, it's called Crazy Yarn.

Sarah picked out some balls of roving to get and then learned that she could order some done up in a color she liked better.

So we were led into the spinning building where the spinning machines are, back into a storeroom where we could see what other colors were available. I wasn't quick enough to snap some pics of all the machines, but here's a quick look at some of that area.

After ordering a few balls of a blue-green, we headed back out to the shop, noticing some of the sheep grazing in the back yard.

This fun place processes a lot of fleeces for a lot of Michigan shepherds. I kept wondering which ones of the unprocessed fleeces, if any, had been shorn by a friend of ours at a farm open house we'd recently enjoyed.

After exploring East Jordan a little more and finding a fun junk shop which might provide some interesting touches to our remodeling, we headed home to let Sarah spin up what she'd bought. She hopes to sell her yarn at the Bellaire farm market this summer.

So if you want some handspun yarn, either sheep wool and/or angora, you know where to go. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A New Breakfast Favorite

Cooking is not really my schtick. Still, I do enjoy gifting my family with good healthy food (and sometimes not-so-healthy food) that they find tasty. Sunday's breakfast was just that. And I'm going to share it with you even though I'm definitely not qualified to be a food blogger.

Here it is, a slightly modified egg and ham muffin bake whose name will henceforth be known as Frederick:

The amazing thing is that everyone, including those who are sick of eggs because we've been trying to do low-carb, loved these.

Here's the formula in all its simplicity:

Arrange thinly sliced sandwich ham in muffin cups in a bowl-shape. 

Add the secret ingredient...a little slice of cream cheese. (Cue the angelic choir.)

Drop an egg into each cup. You can scramble them a little, but I didn't.

Next comes cheese, garlic powder, Italian herbs, and onion powder. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on how hard you like your eggs and if you scrambled them or not. Scrambled cook quicker.

A keeper great Sunday morning low-carb breakfast loved by all. Try it; you'll like it.

Adding link to http://simplelifemom.com/2017/05/16/homestead-blog-hop-135/

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Remodeling Begins

The house we're buying just doesn't have much living/dining space.

It does have a mostly finished, open basement which now serves as a family room, storage for the stuff we haven't yet unpacked, and has the laundry area. 

So, the plan is to turn the basement into two bedrooms and a sitting/library area and knock out the wall behind the piano in the current upstairs living/dining area which is a bedroom wall.

 This will make for a much larger living/dining area and make better use of the basement.

Today was the official start of it all as Lovey borrowed the excavator from his workplace (bless his boss, our nephew-in-law) and began digging out the space for two egress windows (for fire escape and light purposes). He began by digging up an overgrown bush in front of the house since I want to put in stuff that looks more like an English cottage garden. Then he moved to the end of the house and dug down about six feet by ten feet.

While he had the big equipment, he redid the fire ring for hotdog roasts as well as making the start of a pond that Roo wants to build.

And so the adventure continues. Follow along if you like.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Raising Rabbits

Meet Winston. He's my French Angora bunny. Handsome, isn't he. 

This one is Spinning Jenny (Jenny for short). She is Winston's lovely wife.

My daughter Sarah owns her and between the two of them and the two of us we hope that they will produce some kits around May 13th.

Meanwhile, Sarah gently combs them every other day and harvests the fur for her spinning. 

She spins on a two hundred year old spinning wheel that has been in the family for that long. It had been damaged by little children (yes, mine) but when she was regularly going to a wonderful art center where we used to live, one of the woodworkers there was able to repair it and get it back into working order. I'm so thankful and think that it is wonderful that the wheel is back in use again.

Try not to notice the unpacked boxes in the background.

Yes, that says 1813!
The raw wool on the spinning wheel right now is sheep wool which I was trying to spin, much to my dismay. I sure haven't gotten it down yet. But I will try, try again.

This gorgeous aqua and white mixed yarn is a combination of dyed sheep wool and white angora. It is soooo soft. She doesn't know what she's going to do with it yet, but may get into selling it after she feels more confident in her output.

Meanwhile, we're enjoying learning about rabbits and raising them. My youngest daughter, Faith, is raising a female lionhead and male lionhead/netherland dwarf mix. They are expecting their first kits on the 27th. She hopes to sell all but one female.

Getting most of the rest of the family involved, my husband and daughter, Ruth, made a luxury rabbit hutch this weekend with the idea that if Ruth enjoyed that process she could make more for selling. They're all learning accounting skills as well as taking responsibility for animal care.

It also gives us all something to do as we settle into a new area and don't yet know very many people outside of the multitudes of family up in this north country.

And fortunately, Charlie the cat whose nickname is George seems to tolerate the rabbits well.

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