Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sacred Sunday

A day of rest, family, connection, friends, and relishing in the sweetness of life

Monday, August 11, 2014

Decorating Your Belly Cast

Lars is going on two-years-old now and I'm just now finding the time and inspiration to make something of that darn belly cast that takes up too much room in our storage closet. Every time I saw it laying there I asked myself what the point of casting this momentous period in life is if it's just going to be hidden away in storage. Here's what I came up with…

I picked some ferns, Queen Anne's Lace, honeysuckle, clover and other pretty plants for drying.

Finding the heaviest books you have around, lay down some newspaper for the plants to be pressed in. Two sheets are best so that any moisture does not filter through to the books pages (found that out the hard way with my husband's, The Hunter's Encyclopedia, uh oh…).

Add additional books to the top for extra pressure and let sit for at least four days. I think I gave them a week to really let the moisture out.

In the meantime, I painted the belly cast with acrylic paint. I used a gold tinted paint, white and various hues of ochre.

Once the plants were fully dried and very flat, I made a mixture of Elmer's glue and water, adhering/painting them to the cast. In retrospect, I would have used Mod Podge, making less of a watery-gluey mess and make a thicker coating over some of the more bulbous flower heads.

Let it dry for a few hours and voila!

Additionally, I added a layer of clear acrylic coating for a more finished look and helping to keep some of the loose bits of plant and flower adhered to the cast.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sacred Sunday

A day of rest, family, connection, friends, and relishing in the sweetness of life

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ten Things We Will Miss on Our Oregon Homestead: The Compost Toilet

 What more can I say…who wouldn't love this view from the toilet??

The added bonus is that this is the coolest place on the farm on 90 + degree days.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ten Things We Will Miss on Our Oregon Homestead: Our Beautiful Flock of Wool Sheep

Today, we had to say goodbye to our beloved flock of sheep. We all stood on the gravel driveway, tearfully (just me) waving to their curious faces in the back of the pick-up truck, hoping…trusting…they will have a good home wherever they end up. I have never become so attached to animals as I have with these girls. Since moving day is just two weeks away and I have no clue when I'll ever be able to spin again, let along clean and card fleece, we decided to sell them. We plan to buy primarily meat sheep when we arrive in Idaho and take a break from these delightful primitive sheep that had become a large part of our identity. Even as I write this, I still can't believe they're really gone…Sheila, Wendy, Lucy (Lars calls her LuLu), Kenya, Seth, and Hickory- you will be missed!

We have primarily raised primitive varieties of sheep: Shetland, Navajo Churro, Finn, Icelandic, and the list goes on…We chose these breeds for their amazing resistance to parasites, great mothering and solo birthing abilities, gorgeous wool colors, small and (relatively) easy to handle, prolific breeders- what's not to love about primitives? We were able to hand shear them (A possible blog post?), trim hooves, and administer any shots or wormers that were needed. My husband, bless his heart, took on the majority of the dirty work once Lars was born while I got the better end of the deal with visits to the pasture for nuzzles and cuddling. Yes, we have friendly sheep! Our two Finn ewe mothers were bottle fed and have an incredible amount of trust and ease with us, which to our delight, passed down these characteristics in their lambs.

The Finns are my favorite. We have two purebred ewes which were first time mothers this past year. Wendy had twins on her first pregnancy and Sheila had quadruplets! One of these appeared to be stillborn but she easily nursed and mothered her three shivering triplets, Kenya, Seth and Hickory.
As the third lamb was being born, I couldn't believe it and quickly went to do a bit of research on Finn sheep. Apparently, they average 2-6 lambs with each lambing. So, when the fourth lamb arrived I was somewhat prepared for bottle feeding and even went to the freezer to thaw out some goat milk we have saved for such an occasion. It was bittersweet to hold this little stillborn lamb for it didn't get a chance at life but I also felt a deep sense of relief that I wouldn't possibly be having to nurse both a human baby and bottle-feed a lamb all night long. I'm not quite sure how to articulate it, but death on a farm becomes more a part of everyday life. No less grievous, but acceptable somehow.

So, on to new adventures with our soon-to-flock. Been searching Spokane/Idaho Craigslist this week and it seems there are some interesting leads...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ten Things We Will Miss on Our Oregon Homestead: Yurt Living

We have lived in this yurt for the past five years and can hardly believe that we will have to leave it behind as we shift to a new cabin home in Idaho. There are so many wonderful things to say about living in a yurt, so where to start…oh, the shape…the circular line of our home brings a deep sense of satisfaction that I can enter my home and see everything in it's place and what is going on. I find this particularly reassuring with a toddler running around. I don't have to wonder what he's getting into or about to fall off of since my eye can scan the entire home in a second. The sweet sounds of rain on the roof will be my deepest sadness in moving out of the yurt. I can hear the softest sprinkling to the thunderous drumming of hail (which makes it impossible to carry on a conversation with someone standing face to face!). I have never slept better than when it rains and I am home.

The illumination from the sun and moon will also be something to grieve. With the clear dome on top of the yurt along with six windows, we rarely use any kind of light until well past the sun setting. The light was so bright that we eventually had to build a small bedroom loft one weekend after realizing that our 6-month-old baby was never going to take regular naps or sleep during a full moon (nor were we) if we didn't have a space with minimal light. 

There are little repairs that had to be made every so often, such as patching holes on the roof, scrubbing mildew from the edges where the interior canopy meets the canvas wall, annually washing the mossy mildew from the exterior surface. Overall, I have very few complaints about yurt living. Yes, there were times when I wished dearly for a bit more privacy, to just lock a door and be alone. There has been times when I considered, quite seriously, putting up a concrete barrier around the deck of the yurt to keep our rooster from sleeping under our bedroom at night and waking us up at 3 in the morning due to our close proximity. Having to vacuum up thousands and thousands of flies that tuck themselves under the warm crevices of the tied-down roof for winter hibernation was not a pleasant task either, but overall, this yurt has served as a tiny sanctuary of a home where we began our lives as farmers, bore my son, and have a closer connection to the elements because of the simple structure that is our home.