Friday, May 31, 2013

Strange Brew

Who on earth gave it to him, he can't remember.  How long ago it was given, he can't recall.  And what's more,  he's not too sure what the alcohol is either!  The snake is a Viper (Adder) if that makes it anymore palatable to you. Wait - the worst is still to come....
Tuesday afternoon, he pulled this 'monstrosity' aka 'Vipperine' out of the cellar and actually convinced three people sample it.  One of them said it tasted faintly like pear - well I don't know where he buys his fruit!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Creative Friday - In The Dog House...

After a chicken keeping hiatus of 5 years we have now resumed egg production.  'Fortunately' the old coop got requisitioned as a tool shed and a new one (much nicer) has been built - or should I say recycled.
When my brother in law and his family moved house a few years ago they decided that their dog should also have a abode, and it's old kennel has been slowly decaying in my parents in law's wood pile ever since.
Richard was none to enthusiastic about having chickens again.  Some how, last time around, we ended up with too many or too many in too small a space.  We started off with four chickens, then got given a rooster and three of his off-spring - one of which turned out also to be a rooster.  This was a father/son relationship with issues!! After the usual dog and fox attacks we were then forced to kill all our birds, out of precaution, due the 'bird flu' epidemic in europe.
So when I suggested to Richard that it would be a fun project for him and the boys to turn the kennel into a wee chicken coop, for two chickens only, he reluctantly agreed.
working together they get the job done
a nesting box was added, new roof covering and a front door
I had intended to paint it dark red with a few details in white, but after pricing the paint, which came to approximately 60€, I decided otherwise.  And as Richi rightly pointed out, he used only old bits of wood and wire that we had lying around and so to waste spend money on new paint would be a shame.  Turns out I rather like it in it's present state, blends in nicely with the surroundings, so with a bit of luck, fantastic Mr Fox might not notice it!

This morning, MORE SNOW, when will it end?
The girls needed a little coaxing to get out of bed today!

Tricoti & Tricota

Rémi chose the names.  Tricot is the french word for knitting.  Do you name your chickens?
Joining in with Linda for Creative Friday 
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yarn Along - KAL Sunny Days Shawlette

Do you ever knit something and know instantly that it's going to be a personal classic, that you'll make again and again?  I feel this way about the Milo vest, the Taproot family mitts, and now the Sunny Days Shawlette!
This one is going to be gifted to a friends middle daughter who will be 8 on friday.  It is the smaller of the two sizes and a perfect size for her.  I'm planning on making the larger one for myself as my holiday knit in July so I mustn't buy the yarn too soon or we all know what will happen don't we!

I was thinking of a autumn orange as my main color and a steely blue for the contrast, in a lovely pure merino  'made in france'.
My neighbor recently lent me these books, exactly at a time when I need them, especially The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (John Seymour).   A few months ago I read and enjoyed, Barbara Kingslover's - 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle',  that followed her family's journey to self sufficiency.  I've always had this romantic notion of a family farm.  My grandparents were self-sufficient (not really through choice, more necessity) and I have fond memories of collecting eggs, feeding chickens and toasting bread on an open fire at their farm.
My father has many times told me that things were not always so idilic.  But never-the-less,  I have of recent been lamenting that 'it's not fair' - how am I meant to be self-sufficient with 160m² veggi plot and two chickens!
Seymours book is very 'complete' but it's not just about being 'completely' self-sufficient.  It's about doing what you can with what you have!   Good advice Mr Seymour.
So what do I have at the moment?  Lots of dandelions - add a little sugar, well a lot of sugar actually, some lemon and pectin - and voila Dandelion Jelly.   And if it ever stops raining and we get some sunshine I'll will have: potatoes, carrots, leeks, beets, broccoli, lettuce, corn, squash, spinach, peas, beans...

... and most importantly I still have lots of time to spend with my children.
Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along.

Friday, May 17, 2013

{this moment} - Caught red handed!

. . . . . . . . . .
{this moment} - A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yarn Along - Wingspan

These came off the needles and  hooks quite some time ago, but as they were birthday gifts, they had to stay all hush-hush!   
The Wingspan was a 40th birthday gift for my friend Amy, who has promised to send me a photo (she lives in the UK) of her wearing it, but well, she's not very efficient in the 'sending of pictures department' so I thought  I'd share it with you minus the lovely model herself.  I added two little curtain rings, that I covered with yarn, to the ends as I thought it looked a bit unfinished as it was.

And these little slippers were for Amy's youngest daughter, Charlotte. They are the same model as I used for Tino's  but I added an ankle strap and a wee flower.

And whilst I'm on the subject of gifts, look what I got!!!!
Yes, one of Lori's Yarn Along Project Bags with some extra fun ribbon, a whale fridge magnet and a lovely card.   I love getting things in the mail.  It always amazes me that someone far away has put my name on something and then days or weeks later, it arrives at my house - how many people touched it, did it come by plane (in this case - yes I think so) train or automobile?
Thank you very much Lori
I'm currently reading Unconditional Parenting - Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (Alfie Kohn).  Kohn argues that conventional approaches to parenting (he doesn't like the word discipline) such as 'time-out' and 'positive reinforcement' are too conditional in that they teach children that they are loved only when they please us. And that the basic need that all children have is to be loved unconditionally.  Obviously we all love our children unconditionally but Kohn asks the reader to consider whether their words and actions might actually be implying the opposite.   He advises 'working with' rather than 'doing to' children, and places great emphasis on talking things through and discussing with kids to find possible solutions to problems - "A child's preferences can't always be accommodated but they can always be considered and they need never be dismissed out of hand".

I like this book a lot.  I know from previous Yarn Along post that some of you have read it, what did you think?  I imagine it isn't everyones cup of tea.  Just last week I read an article on Yahoo 'No Spank You: The harmful impact of physically disciplining your kids' (May 2) and whilst it didn't offer up any new arguments against physical punishment, what was very interesting, were the readers comments.  I scrolled down at least 20 of them and they were all of the 'Spare the rod, spoil the child' opinion.  
Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along