Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Computer woes

My Christmas was a quiet time, as it is most years, and I've come to really like it.  No stress, no mad shopping at the mall, no deadlines, no pressure.  Just time spent with some friends, good food, Christmas eve candlelight service, and lots of quality time with the pets at home.  

In the meantime though, I've been having trouble with my computer lately, and it's getting worse.   I can get to most things, like my blog, Yahoo for e-mail, but when I click to open, or read e-mail or blog comments, I get the message "this page is not available at this time....."   I've checked my settings, defragged and run scan disk for errors several times, but it's to no effect.  I think the computer is.just.too.old.   I shouldn't complain, since I didn't have to pay for it.  It was a hand-me-down from a friend.  

So, I haven't been able to send e-mail from home, enter new posts on the blog, comment on others' blogs.  (I can still  read them if I go there directly from the search engine, but not the 'reading list' on my blog) or send our standard Amazon gift cards to each other to my siblings for Christmas.  I've gotten messages on several sites that soon they will no longer support my browser, and I have tried to upgrade (Firefox,etc) but they always say what I have can't support it.   The budget won't support a buying new one, so I will have to do what I can on my work lunch hours.

Ahhhhh, technology.

It was fun having several days at home with the pets.  Abigail is breaking out of broody mode and becoming more interactive. She gave Ciaran a warning peck when he got too near the open door of her cage.   Ciaran is feeling the cold, and wants to sleep under the covers with me at night.   After nearly two years, Michu has gotten so brave she comes downstairs mornings and evenings - but still sleeps upstairs.  After claiming a
new' chair I bought at the auction, she has started to share.  Ciaran is the only one who muscles his way in when she is already there, though.  So sweet to see them sleeping all in a tangle. 

I got Holly out of her cage (always a traumatic event for her) this weekend and when I settled her in my lap and stroked her for about an hour, I think she would have let me do that forever.   Holly and I are coming to an understanding.  She is still a drama queen, but she has begun to understand I am not out to kill or attack her every time I stick my hand in her cage.  When she sees me stroking and paying attention to the other buns, she either starts flinging her toys out, if the door is open, or she flops over on her side with a big sigh, and stares accusingly at me.  Drama queen.  

All of the buns are more mellow in the winter when hormones aren't raging.  I've gotten all three of the Mini Rex to lay on their back and go into the 'bunny trance,' while I rub their belly, and Truffle will too, if I hold him 'just the right way.'

Niko and Ivy, the two buns in the 'bottom bunks' just love letting themselves out of their cage for some playtime when I leave their door open - and then putting themselves back in when they are tired (although their outings are not at the same time).  They do NOT want me to take them out or put them back in though.   Niko loves to visit 'Rion, my Mini Rex buck, whose cage is just at the right height for sitting up, putting his paws on the ledge, and saying hello.   It's soooo cute.  'Rion seems to like his visits,  but I'm not going to risk letting them out together.

But then I have to go back to work........thank you, Lord, that I have a job to go to!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a good time of the year for it

I realized recently that I have been pretty much living on soup for several weeks now.  I love soup. Soup and good crusty bread is my idea of a great cold weather meal.  But this began when a month ago, I got a cold......that never left.  I think it really was a cold in the beginning, but has morphed into bronchitis and a sinus infection.  Soup sounded really good with all that going on, so during this time I have made all kinds of soup, and really enjoyed this simple but good food.
One of my favorites during this time has been a basic turkey-vegetable recipe I made with some turkey stock I made and froze at Thanksgiving.  I sauted lots of onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, added the stock and veggies, then minced some of my homegrown/canned jalapenos and added them.  It was wonderfully spicy - good for keeping those sinus passages open - and chock-full of of vitamins.

An easy-easy soup I like all the time, starts with basic potato soup.  I steam or simmer cauliflower, broccoli, or brussels sprouts (or a combination) until very tender, then mash them and add them to the soup.  It adds thickness and nutrition, especially with a handful of shredded cheese stirred into the hot soup.

I found a recipe for hot-and-sour soup (my favorite when eating at a chinese restaurant) but haven't tried making that at home yet.   It may be a while because we have a combo of ice/snow and slush on the ground that makes anything other than necessary travel - to and from work - unthinkable.  So I will wait to go out to buy some of the exotic ingredients it takes.

Do you have a cold-weather soup recipe that is a favorite?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Earth stood hard as iron .......

......... water like a stone.   Familiar lyrics from "In the Deep Midwinter, " and very descriptive of the conditions here, only it isn't even winter yet, much less 'mid.'   We had a couple of inches of snow here last weekend that are still hanging on, because it's so coooooold! 

Not much farming goes on at an urban farm in the winter.   I still haul bunny poo out - 5 gallon buckets at a time - and dump it on the garden, but I quit composting when it started getting so cold.  I know it should still be able to 'cook,' in the winter, but mine is such a haphazard pile, I doubted it would do that for me. 

I've upped my diligence about filling the bird feeder - and don't mind other critters that share in the dropped seed.  Last winter I saw definite wild bunny tracks going from heap to heap of bunny poo - checking it out.

Abigail is still broody, the Angora bunnies are about halfway through a coat-growing cycle, the Mini Rexs are molting, and the cats are practically hibernating.   Not much going on here - farm wise.    I went to Versailles after work one day this week to pick up chicken feed, and there inside the door was a huge, black, stove (coal? wood?) giving off lovely rays of heat - just the thing when walking in from the cold.  The hiss of the stove, the homely smells of the feed, the people in coveralls coming in and out.......why do I live in the city?

I made another score at the auction last week - that as usual I did not plan to go to - a lovely old piece of transferware: 

I had said in another post that I would like to find another piece or two of brown transferware, and even though this is a LOT more elaborate in design than what I really like - it was mine for a low bid.  A blogger who seems expert in this area was nice enough to tell me the pattern when I e-mailed her.   The really exciting part is she is sure it was manufactured between 1826-40.  I don't have to have old things, and I'm usually just has happy with reproductions and Home Goods ware, but the history-lover in me was impressed with the age of this.

Lastly, thank you to Michelle , who surprised me yesterday with a package of some samples of her Shetland fiber, because I said that was one breed I had never spun.  The samples are luscious, and I can hardly wait to get to them.  I may even pull out a spindle for the occasion.   I keep telling Michelle I wish someone in this area would get into Shetlands for fine fiber, and now that I've felt her Shetland roving, I'd like that even more.

Until next time from Wren Cottage ..........

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The beginning of it all.......

A year ago this month, I brought home these two girls, innocently enough, to gather a little luxury fiber for my spinning and knitting.  In that year I've added 2 more Angoras, and 3 Mini Rex for a total of 7 rabbits.....plus a chicken!   'And I'm not even breeding them!   (dang!  Those baby coats look good on those girls!)  

I would love to breed a couple of my rabbits, but really had a pang of fear and dread put in me recently when reading on one of the Yahoo Groups that a "cull buyer" was planning to attend an upcoming show.  I had never heard that term before.  That's even worse than knowing the extras go in the freezer.  "Cull buyer" -  it sounds positively Dickensian.  

The reality is you can always breed more animals - rabbits, in my case - than you can reasonably sell, and the future for the extras is grim - pet stores, food for snakes (the mini rex), etc. - something I just will not do.   I found out this week that spaying and neutering rabbits at the local 'exotic' Vet runs $298, per bun, before pain meds.  So......I won't be doing that anytime soon, either.   

It's got to be a very difficult balance for those who breed livestock - to breed enough to develop the  characteristics / wool / fliber, etc. that you want, while not creating so many you have to harden your heart and mind to the consequences of what happens to the unwanted ones.  

A downer post.  Sorry, but it is one of those hard things the farmer has to think about, whether they are farming in the rural, suburban, or urban setting. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not what I had planned

Thanksgiving was fine this year, just not what I had planned.  I am on Day 9 of a bad cold, involving head, chest, and everything in between. The cough is the worst - so much for the Pertussis vaccination I had earlier this year.  I had to decline the invitations I received to go for Thanksgiving dinner, for fear of passing along this bug.  I cooked for myself, so I had the turkey, broccolli casserole and potatoes - Macy's parade on TV, "Miracle on 34th St" on DVD - it was fine.  I always buy and cook a small amount for myself - invitations out or not - because you never know if you will get sent home with leftovers, and that's the best part!

I had Thursday and Friday scheduled off for a long weekend, but after coming in on Monday with the cold, by Tuesday I completely lost my voice; and my boss made me go home.  When you work in a hospital, you have to think about possible transmission to the patients.  Wednesday was the only day I felt bad, so I called in.  I don't think I've had this much time off at a stretch since I started this job nearly 7 years ago.  (???)   The one thing I'm loving,  in spite of the cold symptoms, is being able to spend so much time with my animals.

Abigail has gone broody - about the same time I got the cold.  I was concerned I had made her sick, or maybe she had made me sick (?) but no, she is in full broody mode now.  She has stopped laying, her comb and wattles are pink, not red, she pecks, fluffs out her neck feathers and raises a fuss if I try to get her out of the nest box, and she is producing big broody poops. If it were spring, I might have bought a couple of hatching eggs to put under her,.  It's a good thing I haven't though, because - being a young bird, probably broody for the first time, she isn't entirely dedicated to it.  Today, as a sunbeam came in and fell across her 'coop,' she started digging in the shavings with her head, then rolling over .... I realized she was taking the equivalent of a 'dust' bath in her nest box!  Any eggs would have been scrambled!   The "Backyard Chickens" website and Forum have been very helpful for this first-time chicken owner!
The kitties have been very lovey since the weather got cold - taking advantage of any temp spikes on my part to snuggle in and warm themselves up.  No one ever said cats were not mercenaries!

I went out Friday night to the auction and bought an old (30's or 40's?) Singer sewing machine in a flip-top table - $30.  I already have a portable sewing machine that I use only for mending because I don't really enjoy sewing and don't make clothes.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it was really cool, and it could be an end table in the meantime.    I also bought an upholstered chair ($5)- the kind you've probably seen in your grandmother's house.  It is scaled well for my place, comfortable to sit in, and the more upright, less slouchy style will be better for sitting in to knit.  The upholstery is in good shape except for a quarter- sized place on the seat.  I'ts just brown, and very ugly.   Reupholstering or a fitted slip cover will make it right.  Now I just need to figure out how to get them home, since neither will fit in my car.

So, it wasn't what I planned, but it was a good holiday overall. .

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Prayer for Animals

The events at a friend's farm this week brought to mind this prayer, which I came across many years ago:

Hear our humble prayer Oh God, for our friends the animals, especially for animals who are suffering, for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry, for all that must be put to death.  We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.  Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
                                                                                                             -  Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Relationships - part deux

Picking up on Michelle's theme today of 'relationships,' I thought I would talk a little about my own peaceable kingdom.

Abigail is displaying some personality.  She is regularly laying an egg every other day.  When I come in from work each night, Fiona always greets me, and the other three kitties usually do.  If it's not an "egg day," there is silence from the coop as I come in, but if she's layed an egg, Abigail begins to 'chortle' as soon as I come in the door.  Wants me to come and see what she's done!  She seems to love being made over, and cocks her head from side to side while I tell her what a good girl she is.  None of the sounds or other animals seem to bother her, and she seems content in her little cage/coop.  If I leave the door open she doesn't even try to come out.  The indoor chicken thing is working out OK.  The shavings absorb the droppings and smell well, and are easily scooped out like a cat box.  It's no worse than having a Parrot or Macaw in the house, and she might even be less messy than the cats or rabbits.  She gets supplemental greens and vegetables, and I throw a tablespoon or so of scratch grains down for her from time to time. The former dropping pan of the re-done rabbit cage is the inner floor of the new chicken coop - thick and super-tough plastic, so she can scratch away!

Setting up the cage and getting Abigail installed in her new home - big mess then, less now. 

Michu seems to have taken a liking to Abigail.  The day I set up the cage, she parked herself in front of it, and can be found there much of the time.  In my split-level townhouse, the bedrooms are downstairs.  Michu is the only cat that won't come down and sleep - if not on the bed - at least in the room with me.  She stays all by herself upstairs.  I keep a small light on up there all the time.  Who knows - maybe she's afraid of the dark!?  She seems to enjoy the company of having another animal there with her. 

This is Fiona in a nutshell.  While she is very bonded to me, she hasn't buddied-up with any of the other animals, and here is perched on a favorite spot high above the fray, wondering what kind of creature Mom is bringing in now!    Poor thing, in the last year she's had a lot of new animals to get used to!  

Ciaran and Yoshi are buds, play-fight and chase each other all the time, and sleep tangled up together - very much what Yoshi was used to with her siblings at the shelter.   Ciaran is very lean - not an ounce of fat on him (I think of he and Michu as Jack Spratt and his wife) and does seem to get cold.  Especially on weekend mornings, when I get to sleep in and Yoshi has taken off, Ciaran will to crawl under the covers with me and snuggle up against me to get warm.  

Having the bunnies lead such solitary lives, each in separate cages, bothers me.  It can't be helped, but I do try to give them lots of "Mom-time" and attention to make up for it.  I've given some serious thought to spaying and neutering Ivy and Niko.  I don't want to breed either one of them, and if they were "fixed" they might be able to bond and play with each other out of their cages. 

I was such a bad Mommy last night.  I was clipping Bambina's nails and got one into the quick.  I didn't have any Quick-Stop so she bled all over me and all over the bed.   She was good about letting me squeeze her toe tight with a cloth to try to stop the bleeding.  She doesn't seem to hold it against me, but I felt like a heel. 

All the Mini Rexs, including the new one (who shall be Orion, 'Rion' for short) have gone into a molt.  It's nothing like when the Angoras begin to slip their coats, but they look pretty patchy.   Not very practical on a hobby farm, but they are cute and loveable pets.

Until next time from Wren cottage ......

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just a Little More.....

Here is another fall arrangement in my house that I wasn't able to add to yesterday's post, because I had forgotten to put the photo in the computer.

Beautiful hand-thrown pottery pitcher from Flat Creek Pottery with silk dogwood leaves, a copper tray from the auction (I left it unpolished for now) and a bird and leaf dish from Home Goods.   I love to decorate for fall, and do more at this time of year than I do for Christmas.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Blog I Like

I have mentioned before in my auction finds, that I like transferware china.   I had discovered an ETSY shop that had tons of beautiful transferware, but too pricy for my fleamarket budget.   Then I found the same lady has a blog - and you know how I love to read blogs.  Nancys Daily Dish blog.   Like a couple of other blogs I had mentioned here, it is waaaaaaay more 'busy' than I would want to live, but I can zero in on a decorative element or item and sometimes put the idea to use at home with what I have.     

Like mixing yard sale, flea market, antique and Home Goods items together.       

I don't have a 'style.' Right now my house looks more like an episode of 'Hoarders'  - with  fleeces, books and magazines, and enough general clutter that it's even getting on my nerves.  If I did have a style though, it would be fairly simple, with some interesting finds as decoration - fun things to look at.   

I never make New Year's resolutions, but one of my goals this winter is to continue to de-clutter (between spinning sessions) and to put some of the lovely things I have to good use.     

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekend Fun and a Surprise!

When I got home last night, I found that Abigail had laid an egg!  She wasn't sitting on it, and didn't object to me taking it from her.  I told her what a wonderful chicken she is.
It's bigger than I thought it would be - certainly bigger than the ones I saw at the poultry show in coops and the eggs they were judging.  It looks small-to-medium to me.  Here it is next to a store bought large egg:

Last weekend, after leaving the rabbit show, I went to Equinox Farm for the first annual "Hug a Sheep Day."  The Shepherdess at the farm had an open house at this time last year, but the sheep, for the most part, were too scared of us to play.  This year we discovered the secret...........bribes.   She had some of the friendliest sheep penned next to the barn, and when the others saw they were getting something from the strangers, and liking it, their curiosity overcame their caution.  

This is Graham Lamb.  He seems to have an identity crisis.  Not only does he think he's a pumpkin, but when he speaks, out comes something that is far more "mooooo" than "baaaaa."  

sigh......it ain't easy being "The Great Pumpkin......"

oooh look, some nice hay.........wait!  Do I smell...........cookies?!?

Yeah!  Over there!   Get her, guys! 

I think Sara knows that we participants from town enjoy coming to her farm as much to satisfy our unrequited "farmer genes" as for the knitting, spinning, food and schmoozing - although we had a lot of fun doing those things too!

Pastorale - can't you just hear the music?

Hank - ever vigilant guard dog - and Miss Ewenice 

Nilla wafers, aka "sheep cookies"

Learning from the master - Mary Hal

 Sorry babies.  Mommy said no more cookies, they will upset your tummy.

Hey Lady!  I know you've got cookies on you!  Hand 'em over! 

Miss Ewenice - aaaah, it's been a great day....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's New at Wren Cottage

I have been SO busy in the last week, it may take more than one post to get it all in.  My little hen has gotten a name.  She will be Abigail, or Abby, after Abigail Adams.  (although I can't imagine anyone calling Mrs. Adams, Abby).  IF I get any more chickens - and that may have to wait until / unless I truly find myself in the country - I will use a First Lady theme to name them.  Only the earlier ones though, no Michelles, Hillarys, or Nancys.


Not to worry, this is just a travel cage.  Abigail's repurposed rabbit cage is several times larger.  In the Spring, she will get outside time in a covered pen, so she can scratch the dirt and eat bugs and worms like other chickens.     

Saturday morning, I got up long before dawn to head to Shepherdsville for a rabbit show.  There I met up with Jessica Redelman of Redelman's Rabbitry, to pick up a blue Mini Rex buck from her.  She was terrific, and very patient with my questions.  She had lots of rabbits there to show, but took time out to set up my new bun, give me a quick lesson in how to assess Mini Rex conformation, and honestly describe his stronger and weaker points. She is a Nationals winner, and is far, far ahead of everyone else in youth sweepstakes points this year, so I think she knows what she's talking about.   Lovely girl, and studying to be a Vet. 

Jessica watching Judge Wade Burkhalter judging one of her rabbits.  She won just about everything, with her "leftovers" as she called them,  (her Nationals Team stayed home) even with LOTS of other Mini Rex there. 

Rabbit shows are organized chaos, with many different tables judging different breeds, all at the same time.  

My new bunny, Redelman's R581.  He has to keep that as his 'official' name if he's shown, but as usual, I haven't come up with a name yet to call him at home. He's a good bit darker than this, and really does have a blue cast to his coat.  He's very well socialized, lets me pick him up and cuddle him, and is as inquisitive as any little boy.   I really like this guy!  

Isn't he cute?   He's just over 3 months old, and about half the size of my does.  

Ciaran says "hey, buddy!  What do you think you're doing on MY cat tower?" 

I've tried to get new photos of my Angoras, to show those who have asked what they look like with their wool cut off, but they aren't good about staying put.  That and the delay on my camera shutter got me photos of only heads turned away and rear ends.  I'll keep trying.  

The cats couldn't be less concerned about all this 'livestock.'  The only thing that seems to bother them is another cat coming into the house, but that's not going to happen .........I promise! 

Next time, "Hug a Sheep Day" at Equinox Farm.  


Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Poultry Show

A-HA! So you thought I could not go to an animal show without coming home with something, huh?  Well you would be............RIGHT!

This isn't my chicken, but it is a Buff Brahma Bantam (say that 3 times fast), the same kind I came home with..

More about her later, but I will say that my first poultry show was a lot of fun, and DID help me with the "county fair" fix I needed.    There were all kinds of birds there, one goat (!) and even a few rabbits and kittens!   Most of the birds were bantams, probably outnumbering the large fowl by 3 to 1. There weren't too many surprises there, since I have been reading so much about chickens.  The  large fowl are really big, (and kind of scary, especially the rooster spurs as big as my little finger!) and I was surprised at how big the ducks were - nearly the size of geese!  

Of course my eye was drawn to the small, cute, and impractical.  The Call ducks were adorable, but noisy.  I could easily pass up a lot of the breeds - pretty, but not for me.  I wanted to see Wyandottes, since that is what the guy who taught our backyard chicken class recommended.   There were only 3 or 4 standards, and maybe 10 bantams.  The owner of the bantams I talked to said they do lay well, but will peck you a lot.  He didn't have any for sale.   Americuanas were tremendously popular - in both sizes.  

One lady I talked to with bantam Cochins said they were very easy keepers, and most were kept in (reasonably sized) cages, rather than free-range or in a run with a shelter.  She said those and the Brahmas are as docile as puppies, love to be held, and tolerate cooping very well.   (wheels turning) 

I walked through the "for sale" tent, and there were a few I liked, but no one wanted to break up pairs.  Then I convinced one good 'ol boy that the "pair" of bantams he had in one cage didn't even match.  The hen was a Buff Brahma, and the cock a Partridge (Cochin? I forgot to look).  "OK," he said, "I'll let you have just the hen."  

I stopped at Versailles Feed on the way home, and explained I just had the one chicken, and could I get feed in anything less than 50 pounds?   "Sure," she said, then (with a perfectly straight face) she asked "will this be a house chicken?"  I admitted it would, and she sold me 5 pounds of laying mash and a pound of grit ($1.27 - cheap pet).

I got home to find a "Premier" catalog in my mailbox, and felt like a real farmer!  (no snorting from you real farmers!)   The hen is a sweet little thing and is currently housed in one of my rabbit transport carriers. (those have come in SO handy)  I already had cages on the way because I wanted to replace the cages my Angora does are in.  Their old cages, after scrubbing and disinfecting, will be the hen's new home, with urine guards installed to (help) hold in the bedding shavings.

She has been with the rooster (and her worn back feathers show it) so ideally she would lay a clutch of eggs, go broody, hatch them and I would have my handful of bantams.  But, Brahmas aren't good layers, and are not particularly broody, so that is unlikely.  I think for my first chicken, the small bantam and gentle nature of the Brahma are a good choice.  Any suggestions for names?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Change of Seasons

With the end of the gardening season comes the beginning of another phase of productivity. I hope to spend a lot of my free time the next several months washing and blending fiber, spinning and dyeing yarn for the spring fiber festival.

Education is also high on my list.  I have always loved reading and books, leaning toward information rather than fiction.  Over the years, and especially since I decided to really try to do as much 'farming' as possible in my small space, I have consumed books on related topics like potato chips.

But  - you can only get so much from books.  Sometimes you have to really get your hands in the dirt, or on some livestock.  Even though I can't imagine chicken-keeping ever being approved by my townhouse association, I can dream can't I?  I favored one or two breeds of chickens, only to find at the "Backyard Chickens" class I took through the county Extension office that they weren't the best choice for a couple of reasons.   Next Saturday, Oct. 23, I found a chicken show in Frankfort  - an easy hop for me, so Lord willing, I hope to go over there next week and see me some real chickens!

The breed the teacher in the class liked is Wyandottes (buff Wyandottes pictured above) so I hope they have some, so I can have a look.

In my hometown  - Lancaster, Ohio - they have a truly wonderful county fair.  The fairground is only a block from the house I lived in and my favorite part was going to see the livestock. The fair there ended yesterday and I wasn't able to go.  I'm feeling nostalgic and homesick for that, so trying to find some livestock shows where I am now is the next best thing.

The following weekend I found a rabbit show in Shepherdsville KY .  I've been to a couple of rabbit shows in other states, but I would like to try to make it to this one to connect with KY rabbit breeders.  They are having an open show for Angoras, so I would like to see which varieties are there, and meet their breeders. I always enjoy browsing around looking at the other breeds too. (alert! danger, danger, danger......) 

Then next month is the North American International Livestock Show and Exposition at the State Fairgrounds in Louisville, with all the big stuff - cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, etc. I would like to go to see the sheep at that one.

For anyone interested in hobby or urban farming, fire up those search engines!  If you don't live in my area, or are interested in different kinds of livestock than I am, check for events in your area.  I have always found people at this sort of thing very willing to talk to visitors who have an interest.  You might even get some hands-on experience, like the time I was at a show to participate in a 'fiber to shawl' competition, and while I was looking around to see what other kinds of animals were there, a dairy goat breeder made me encouraged me to milk her goat!  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Look What My Office-Mate Gave Me!

She is the one that got me addicted to interested in auctions.  She goes to a lot more of them than I do, and found this in a box of tchotchkes she bought for a dollar or two.  Knowing my interest in bunnies, she brought this little 'family' to me.  Aren't they cute?  Mom has a really mean expression - which I thought was pretty accurate, from what I've heard.  I love the baby scratching his ear.

I went to the Fall planning meeting of the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival  yesterday afternoon.  Plans are well under way for May 20-22, 2011.  Although I'm not free to name names, there are a couple of really exciting people who might be coming to teach classes.   Many vendors have already reserved and paid to confirm their spot here.  Last year was very successful, and we are doing all we can to make it bigger and better next year! Come early and come often to the website to keep up with the plans, then join us in the Spring!

Monday, October 11, 2010


End of harvest clean-up, or whatever you want to call it.  I went over the pots on the deck and the mini-garden, to see if there is anything left that can be of some use.  I came in with some salad tomatoes, rose hips for tea **, flower heads for saving seed (marigold, mini snapdragon, and my favorite blue salvia), and I put the red pelargonium in a pot to see if I can overwinter it inside.

**For tea, Rose Hips  may be used fresh or dried:
  • For fresh brewing - steep a tablespoon or two of clean hips in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey and enjoy.
  • When using dried hips, use only two teaspoons to one cup of boiling water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
The monster tomato plants at the corner of the deck were showing no ill effects from either the drought or the chilly nights we've had lately.  They are 7-8 feet tall and just as wide.  They didn't seem to produce much, though.  All foliage and little fruit.  I cut them back by about half and threw the cuttings on the compost heap.  I don't know why I didn't just cut them down.  Lo and behold I found several pounds of green tomatoes,  medium and large.  I have ripened a few inside already, and will do the same with these.  I like fried green tomatoes, but juicy red ones beat that for me.

I have seed beans saved from the pole beans and I put some herbs I have dried in jars and labeled them - Dill (weed and seed), oregano, peppermint, lemon verbena and basil.  I still have some marjoram to do.   There are still chard, lettuce and turnips growing, and I'm hoping the seed on the basil will develop and begin to dry before frost.

 I'm doing a little gleaning inside, too.  I pulled out a couple of boxes and started looking around the house with an eye toward what to get rid of - some to Goodwill, and some I want to take to the auction to sell, and see if I can recoup a few of the dollars I have spent there.  It is usually a buyers market at the auction I go to, so if they sell, I don't expect to make much.  It's better than messing around with selling on-line though and it feels good to have some of the clutter going out of the house for a change. 

This week - be still my heart - I bought a partial set of old (Enoch Woods Woodsware) cranberry red transferware dishes, for a price that I have seen one or two pieces go for in on-line auctions.  22 pieces in all.   I was so convinced I didn't have a chance at them, I was shocked when I had the winning bid.   They are in pretty good shape for being old (1900-1940).  No crazing in the glaze,  and only 3 pieces had chips.  My favorites are a small platter and vegetable bowl.  The pattern is "English Scenery" and each type of piece has a different scene.  The serving pieces had a man and boy herding sheep (no wonder I like them best) and the man has stopped to talk to a woman in a cottage.  The boy has his arms up and hands on his head, and even on such a tiny decorative element, the body language screams "I'm bored.  Let's go..." 

I would like to find a few more pieces of brown transferware, then I'll quit.  Like the silver spoons  I collected, my view is there can be too much of a good thing, where decor is concerned.  I like the charm of old transferware, and have several pieces of blue, and now the red/pink.  I only have 1 piece of brown , and those are the only colors I like.  When I get enough, it's easy for me to stop.  (She says.....am I in denial?)

Now, with books, or animals for that matter, it's a bit harder.....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Lovely Month of.......October?

I'm probably going to take some flack for this one, but I hate Halloween.  I always have, even as a child.   Sure there are the treats, and I think dressing up is a fun as a the next person does, but.......

I have borrowed this quote, because the writer expressed so well the way I feel about this too.  It is from a now-defunct blog called "Appalachian Dream."  Since it is no longer in existence, I don't think I'm too out of line for borrowing it:

"I'm one of those who is glad when Halloween passes.  October is one of my favorite autumnal months, and I...well...I truly detest turning around in stores all month, and seeing big spiders and melting rubber faces, and hearing ghastly recorded moans.  Being creative, I guess I hate destruction.  Loving life, I hate death culture."

October is one of my favorite months as well, (the other being May) and I really resent it being interupted, and sometimes ruined by constant ads for horror movies, creepy decor everywhere, and the month-long emphasis on a hideous, pagan celebration that disturbs me.  I don't see autumn as 'death,' but dormancy - with a promise of life to come again. 

In Jan Karon's books, Father Tim would frequently ask his wife Cynthia for a list of things she loved or hated. She was always ready with an answer, and very definite about her likes and dislikes.  In October, I love: 
  • Breezes that are cool, then nippy, then frosty by turns. 
  • The slowing down from the frantic pace of summer, to the cozy, stay-at-home with hand-work of winter. 
  • Settling back into the couch with a throw, a cup of something hot, a cat on my lap, and a good book.
  • The riotous color of foliage, the quieter yellows of the underbrush, the deepening color of streams and ponds, and the changing light as the angle of the sun drops lower.  
  • The change in the kitchen, from light, quick meals, to substantial comfort food.  Soup - especially chili - and good crusty bread.     

What are YOUR favorite things about October?  If you say "Halloween," that's OK too.  To each his own . 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Day with Urban Farm Magazine

First, I must apologize.  Apologize to my "rabbit fancy" friends and acquaintances that have owned, cared for, bred and shown rabbits for years, and really paid their dues. 

A couple of months ago I got an e-mail asking me if I would be willing to be video-ed clipping one of my rabbits for Urban Farm Magazine.  They are a member of the Hobby Farms  family of magazines.  They are going to run an article in an upcoming issue about keeping rabbits in an urban or suburban setting, and the video will appear on their website as an accompaniment to the article.  They picked me because their offices are here in Lexington, and I had communicated with them about coming to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival last May, and mentioned that I have Angoras.  In other words, I was what they had available.  I didn't say anything about it, because I wanted to wait to see if it actually happened.  The date was firmed up a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday, I spent a delightful hour with Lisa and Rachel of Urban Farm Magazine, in Lisa's back yard .

It was a glorious day, sunny and temperature just right.  They had a table set up and I just clipped and talked about Angoras for an hour.  They will edit it down to about 5 minutes for the website.  I took Truffle to clip, and Holly to show how sometimes a coat will grow out at all different rates.  She has a patch on her back that is partly 1/2 inch and unchanged since the last time I clipped her in May, with some 1 inch patches of black outer coat (guard hair) and a very thick, long 'petticoat' of coat that could be clipped now.  Both of them behaved well - at the shoot.  Holly saw me get the transport cages out this morning, and she knew.   She bit me when I reached in the cage to take her out.  (I didn't tell them that)  Truffle was a trooper, but was embarrassingly more matted than I thought he was, given that I had been working on him regularly for over a week. Some of the wool came off in hunks, not wispy, floaty, locks.  It was apparent a week or two ago that his coat was going, and I have found that he really begins to mat then. It wasn't a real complete job - his belly wool was short and didn't need clipped but I went through the motions.

By the end, both of the girls seemed considerably more interested in Angoras than at the beginning, and they said they have gotten lots of positive feedback when they posted on Facebook that they would be doing an article about keeping rabbits. Terrific!  I really want to see Angoras grow in popularity here.  The author of the article is from California and will give an overview of the pluses of rabbit keeping - fiber, meat, manure/fertilizer - but the breed she keeps are not fiber rabbits.

So, if you go online to see the video later this fall, be merciful.  I couldn't say everything in an hour, much less the edited 5 minutes, and I just hope that as a relative newbie rabbit owner, I didn't say anything that was flat-out incorrect!

Monday, September 27, 2010

at the Auction this week

I didn't intend to go at all. (but of course I did)  Then I wasn't going to bid on anything (but of course I did)
I got a couple more Ball jars with zinc lids.  Pints this time, for storing dried herbs from the garden.  I also got a kerosene lamp converted to an electric that is cute and just needs a shade.  My real find was this though,

It's a pewter chamberstick, a Colonial Williamsburg reproduction made by Steiff.  No one else was interested because it appeared to have been dropped, and had a little dent in the candle cup.  I don't care about that, and thought I got a real bargain. 

In the 'ones that got away'  catagory, I went to a different auction a couple of weeks ago, specifically to bid on an antique standing skein winder.  The arm assembly was a tad wobbly where it attached to the stand, but it was beautiful.  I was way out of my league there, though, and it sold for more than twice the amount I could pay.  As it happened, I ended up in the "pay" line (I did get one hand blown goblet for $5) next to the guy that bought it.  Of course he had no idea what it was - they had advertised it as a Flax Wheel.  He has his Aunt's spinning wheel, which just sits, for decoration.   The winder was going to do the same.  When I told him I would have used it, as a valuable piece of equipment, he just smiled.  Grrrrr....   What a waste. 

They had 4 spinning wheels there that day, 2 that had all their parts, and 2 that didn't.  One huge 'walking' wheel sold for less than $100, and you could have stepped right up to it and started spinning.

Can you tell there's not much 'urban farming' going on at Wren Cottage right now?   The Angora bunnie boys will be getting clipped soon, and I'll try to post some 'before' and 'after' pictures. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

The WEG and my love affair with horses

The World Equestrian Games (WEG) open here tomorrow.  It is a pretty big deal for us, and the area has been constructing, remodelling and sprucing up for over a year to get ready!   I won't be attending as the tickets are so pricy, and a plan for volunteering through a charity didn't pan out.

It would be interesting to see, though.  There will be jumping, cross country, dressage, endurance, reining, and even vaulting (a sport I didn't know existed before this).

I attended a Continuing Ed class this week at one of the nicer hotels here.  As I walked to the conference room, I passed many athletic looking people in their spandex britches, intently talking with other people (coaches?) each in a different language unknown to me. But, as we passed each other in the hall, each one would smile, then slowly and carefully greet me with "good morning."  It was so cool!

My passion for horses goes way back. I was the typical horse-crazy little girl. I even had a horse (grade) of my own briefly at age 15, and had all the usual bumps and tumbles trying to learn to ride (I never did, due to very poor balance and sensory integration issues) but a particularly traumatic fall made me lose my nerve, and that brought an end to that.  The mare happily went back to her original owners.

 My true love though is Arabian horses.  To me there is almost no other breed.  At some point in my central-Ohio-based teens, I attended the Ohio State Fair and wandered into one of the horse show classes.  The horses were mostly smallish, mostly gray, very beautiful, and had exquisite heads. I was in love with the Arabian horse.  I found out later that one of the early and most important importers of Arabian horses to the United States was Roger Selby of ......Portsmouth, Ohio!

He bought a group of horses from an important breeder in England - Lady Wentworth - who, along with her parents, brought the breed to their Crabbet Stud in Britain from Egypt, and elsewhere.

Lady Wentworth and her stallion Skowronek

Raffles was a son of the Crabbet foundation sire Skowronek, out of a Skowronek daughter, Rifala. Lady Wentworth deliberately chose an inbreeding cross in hopes of producing a suitable Arabian for crossing on Welsh ponies.  She partially succeeded, as Raffles only matured to be 13.3 hands, but he was never able to settle any mares in England and was thought to be sterile.

He was 'thrown in' as a free gift with a group of Arabians that Roger Selby imported into America in the late 30s.  After proper management,  Raffles successfully sired well over 100 foals.  I'm sure it was some of his offspring that stole my heart in the show ring that day. 
Raffles - slightly stretched.  A flat croup is not one of the Crabbet-based Arabian's strong points. 

As the early breeders died, Mrs. Bazy Tankersley of Al Marah Ranch bought up some of the most important foundation stock and continued the dedicated linebreeding.   In a 'full circle' kind of incident - Mrs. Tankersley provided the primary funds for building and opening the new permanent Arabian Horse exhibit that opened this Spring at the KY Horse Park.

When I saw my first Arabian in the early 60s, they were still pretty rare, and Crabbet breeding was THE thing.   They have fallen somewhat out of fashion now. (op ed: they are now breeding Arabians to be 17 hands with giraffe necks and looooooong backs and a trot with their knees up to their chin - if they want Saddlebreds, why don't they buy those!?)

Skowronek proved to be such a prepotent sire, and in the US his progeny were so intensively linebred to Raffles and Raseyn (a Skowronek son on the west coast) that the 'look' was cemented in - to the point that they can still be easily identified at a distance.  When I moved to Lexington in 1990, I took advantange of the many horse-related activities here, and picked up my 'horsey' interest again - albeit as a spectator.   One day at the Horse Park I saw a lovely, light gray mare in a paddock that I immediately knew as an Arabian, and from the 'Raffles" head, knew where she was from.  Sure enough, when she came to the fence for an ear scratch, her halter said "Al Marah (something or other).'

They are promising cooler weather beginning tomorrow.  Whether or not you get to the WEG, I hope you enjoy the break from the heat!   (now if we could just get some rain......)

Monday, September 6, 2010

End of Summer Wrap-up

With Labor Day weekend being the unofficial end of summer, it seems a good time to review my gardening efforts, a mixed bag, at best:

Tomatoes - the only thing that did well was the yellow pear salad tomato. I won't repeat the varieties I used this year. The heirloom paste tomato I used is the size of a cherry tomato, only oval.  The 2 plants bore fairly well, but since they are so small, not enough to do anything with.  I will go to tried-and-true Romas, and the German Pink I saved the seed for.

Potatoes - a complete failure and mystery. They grew like crazy, bloomed, died down, I waited 3 weeks, and then......not one potato.   I dumped the container out into the wheelbarrow and sifted through - nothing.  My only guess is the die-down was a blight, not the normal harvest signal.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts.  Broccoli did OK, but takes up so much room for one head each and some follow-up shoots, I don't know if it's worth repeating.  Brussells Sprouts are doing very well - it's a good thing I like them!  They say a light frost makes them sweeter, so I will be looking forward to these for a while yet.  Maybe only 2 plants instead of 4 next year.

Chard - great in a new location.  Doesn't grow as big in a pot as in the ground, but that's OK.

Eggplant - I found out if I prune the plants back by about 1/3 when growth stops, it will restart growth and give another flush of flowers and fruit.  I can't decide if I like the long, thin Japanese style or the more traditional bigger, rounder fruits.   Not bothered by bugs - a real plus!!
Green beans - I got enough of the 'Greasy Grit' beans for a couple of servings and I still have pods forming to save some seed, but I miss the sweet and tender bush beans too.  I may grow both next year.

Lima beans - forget it.

Onions - I had quite a lot, but none got larger than small-to-medium.  Some came out of the ground after a whole summer of growing, looking nearly the same as the set that went in.  I wasn't the only one, and read on a blog of someone else having the same problem.

Garlic - did great.  Plant LOTS MORE! 

Peppers - I got lots of jalapenos off one plant . Only had to buy a few more to have enough to can and dry. Maybe 2 plants next year?    Bell peppers - don't bother, or try in the ground.  Got a few smallish misshapen peppers off 2 plants.

Turnips and beets - didn't get big enough to harvest as babies before hot weather hit and ruined them.  I have re-planted some turnips for fall to see if they do any better.

Herbs - all did great, but who can't grow herbs?  I have enough dried to give some away as little gifts.  The basil LOVED the hot summer, and I got enough for 4 little zip-bags of pesto and 2 ice cube trays full of just chopped basil and olive oil - for throwing into soups, couscous, etc. It's still going, so  I'll let some of the rest go to seed for saving.  

Patty Pan sqash - the bugs got it, but try again next year

I had LOTS of bugs - my brassicas and beans were nearly more holes than plants, and I lost count of how many tomato hornworms I picked off the tomatoes (ick). Next year get more serious about companion planting and organic sprays (using things like oil, soap & baking soda) to try to control them early.

That my story.....how did YOUR garden grow?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Buy Local!!

For those readers who don't live in my area, we are blessed to have several farmer's markets in my town.  There is a big one downtown each Saturday morning that is very popular.  They have recently built a pavillion to cover the area, but tents spill out all over the site - the grounds of the old City Hall.  I think there may be some irony that the same site where the farmer's market is now, was once the slave market several generations ago.  Thank God He has brought something good to cover something awful.

There are a few other small markets with just a few tents on various days and places around town, and this one (shown above) on Southland Dr. on Sunday mornings that is growing and becoming more popular all the time.  (before you start thinking I'm a heathen going shopping instead of worshipping on Sunday morning, I left the church I was attending a while back, and I'm looking for a new church home) 

For those of us who have only a little room to garden, or experience crop failures, this is the next best thing.  I've bought some really nice produce at the markets his summer, and so much of it goes into the dehydrator, that I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy some of it fresh, too!!   Yesterday I got some huge peaches, some green beans and new potatoes, and Roma tomatoes. I'm happy to be able to support local growers, and I'm grateful for them - those who produce food for those who can't do for themselves.  I didn't see any egg sellers, but I wish someone would step up, especially with the new Salmonella recall. 

There are more than fruits and vegetables at the markets.  It seems to be a tradition that everyone bring their dog.   Big and small, cute and some barely under control, there are all kinds at the market.  Yesterday I saw this bruiser......

Remember....if you don't or can't grow your own....BUY LOCAL!!  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tomato Season

I love tomatoes.  I have since I was a kid.  This time of year, when the tomatoes are coming in, I could just about live on them.   To eat a nice, juicy tomato with nothing but a salt shaker, and the kitchen sink to drip into - heaven.  Or tomato sandwiches - good crusty white bread, thick slices of tomato, and mayo......yum!      

I didn't grow the tomato in the photo above.  My office-mate gave me one.  It is called "German Pink," and is an heirloom type.   She grew it from plants she bought, but said her mother in Menefee Co has grown them for a long time. One website I found for organic seed (in Carmel, CA) described German Pinks like this:
Kentucky Family Heirloom. This was the only tomato grown by Lettie Cantrell of West Liberty since the ‘40s. Lettie died in November 2005, at 96 years. Her tomato won a “Best of Taste” award at our  Tomatofest in 2006 from over 100 entries. This produces big, regular-leaf, indeterminate plants with wispy vines that yield wonderful, large, 1-2 pound, slightly-flattened, pink tomatoes. Delicious tomato for eating fresh, cooking or canning. A great sandwich tomato." 

I agree - it was one luscious, meaty tomato, and I am trying to save some seed from it.   

My own tomatoes are a mixed bag this year.  The yellow pear salad tomato is still producing, the paste-type is just starting to get some ripened fruit, and of the 4 beefsteak types I have, 2 plants are enormous, healthy, but not setting much fruit.  1 sickly little plant had several large tomatoes on it that I picked (green) last night before it gives up the ghost altogether.   The 1 in a pot is finally getting some more blossoms after producing one nice, but lonely tomato. 

My whole garden has seen mixed success at best, but I will save that for the end of the season gardening round-up.

That's all for now from Wren Cottage.......

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Green blood

"A botanical miracle is the close similarity between cholorphyll and hemoglobin. The one difference in the two structural formulas is that the hub of every hemoglobin molecule is one atom of iron, while in chlorophyll it is one atom of magnesium. Chlorophyll is green because magnesium absorbs all but the green light spectrum. Blood is red because iron absorbs all but the red.

Chlorophyll is green blood. It is designed to capture light; blood is designed to capture oxygen. I was in awe when I learned that."

I just read this in the comments of the latest post at "Way to Garden.com."  Isn't it fascinating?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Refrigerator Pickles

I'm not a huge pickle fan.  I do like watermelon rind pickles, and hope to make and can some this weekend.  When I was a kid, my mother used to make something we called refrigerator cucumbers.  I looked for a recipe recently online, and found something that seemed similar  - but of course I couldn't leave it alone, and had to diddle with it.  The recipe called for lots of sugar and vinegar, but since I don't like anything "sweet and sour," I converted it to a dill version:

1/2 of a medium onion - sliced thin
5-6 pickling sized cucumbers (I don't grow cukes, and bought English cucumber. Used 1 1/2)  sliced thin
1 Tbs. pickling/Kosher salt
about 2 tsp. dill   (I used dried)
pinch dried red pepper flakes   (optional)
solution 1/2 water, 1/2 white vinegar to cover cukes.

Place sliced onion, salt and dill in a medium (preferably glass) bowl.  Muddle a bit with a spoon to help release the flavors.  Add cukes, cover with vinegar/water solution. Stir, then cover tightly, and refridgerate at least overnight before eating.  Keeps a week or more in the fridge. 

These get icy cold in the fridge, so are a nice side dish on these hot days.  I also like them on cold sandwiches.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A fun experiment

I read a lot of blogs, so I don't remember where I read this, but they said if - instead of pulling celery stalks off the bunch one by one - you cut the root end off and plant it, it will grow.  I happened to have two bunches of celery here, so...... I cut off about an inch or so of the root end, and stuck them in the nearly empty pot where I had to pull up my squash plants. 

Look what I got!!

I found this sprout yesterday!   I have never known anyone to grow celery, so I don't know its growth habits, or whether there is enough time left in the season to get anything, but it's kind of 'something for nothing" so I've got nothing to lose.  (yes that is bunny poo you see) 

As for the other plants, I have fed the birds from a feeder off the corner of my deck for years, and there is a nice thick layer of sunflower shells on the ground there.  I had a couple of extra tomato plants, and not wanting to waste them, I stuck them in next to the rose that grows there.  Even though they only get sun for a few hours in that spot, they are very robust, full of blooms and little 'maters.   On the other hand, my potted tomato plants on the deck steps are only doing OK.  The yellow pear is still producing, but I think it may be succumbing to the tomato blight that is going around.  The heritage/non-hybrids varieties of tomatoes are still healthy so far.     The Burbee Beefsteak has only 1 tomato. (sigh) 

I always put a few flowers on my deck to enjoy from inside the house, and I think this is my favorite combo ever: 


I bought one dark red pelargonium, stuck in a clump of rudbeckia "Goldsturm' that spread like wildfire this Spring in the postage-stamp garden.  Likewise a piece of lavender 'Hidcote' I broke off last year and rooted over the winter, and my all-time favorite 'filler' annual - salvia 'Victoria Blue.'  There are also a few mini snapdragons at the foot of the lilac, but they didn't have any blooms at the time I took the photo.    It may be a little heat-stressed, or a tad past it's prime here, but I really like the combination of colors and textures.  

I am staying home from the auction this week!  I scored some neat things again last week - a copper heart-shaped tray, a signed piece of Israeli art pottery from the '50s, an old (1935) copy of one of L. Frank Baum's "Oz" series books, and a couple pieces of jewelry I plan to take apart and re-do more to my liking.  I keep spending more and more each week though.  I've got to regain control!    

That's it for today from Wren Cottage.....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mid July catch-up

In the garden, failures and successes:

Remember this?

Earlier this month, my pattypan squash went from this..... to wilted icky mush within days.  I saw the tell-tale signs on some stems, picked them apart, and there were the culprits - squash borer!  The damage was done, they were too far gone, and had to be pulled up. 

My sugar snap peas produced a grand total of 27 pods. I thought I would get more than that from 6 plants.  And my lima beans, for all that fantastic growth earlier, have only produced 4 pods.  4 lousy pods! 

On the successful side, the tomatoes are doing well, and the yellow pear has given me lots of salad tomatoes.  The eggplant has put out new growth and blossoms, since I pruned it back. I hope to harvest basil and make pesto this weekend, and the onions and garlic are booming too.  OK, so my garden leans toward Italian - a good thing!

Speaking of Italian, the name 'Terra' just didn't work out for the newest Mini Rex. It just wasn't her.   She likes it when I speak Italian to her.  If I call her ''la bella bambina," (about the only words I know) she sticks her nose in my face, gets a dreamy look in her eyes, like "more, tell me more...."   So she says she is either Bella or Bambina - take your pick. 

Truffle, who has always been so laid-back and disinterested in anything, (although he learned to like having his head and ears stroked) has really perked up since he discovered FREEDOM ....relatively speaking.  The bedroom hallway has become the designated play area for the buns.  They are all much better about not leaving 'deposits' on the floor, so I let them out (one at a time, of course) from time to time to run and play in the hallway, since there are no dangerous electrical wires there, and I can close the rooms off if I need to.  Truffle was out for the first time a few nights ago, and I'm sure it's the first time in his life he has been out of a cage, except to be groomed.  After a little tentative sniffing and looking around, he started chasing the cats and doing 'binkies' all over.  He loved it, and has been a lot perkier when I come in to the bunny room to feed and water.  Poor thing. 

I went to the auction again last week, and though I spent more money, I still came home with some neat stuff - 2  half-gallon blue (old, pre 1937) Ball canning jars with zinc lids, two old kerosene lamps with blown glass chimneys and sweet little chamber-stick handles, another glass candle holder, and an old Lodge #8 (5 quart) cast iron Dutch oven. 

Mine is just like this, except it has a wire handle.  It's in good shape - just needs a little wire brush taken to the inside of the lid and to be re-seasoned.  A woman at the sale asked me as I was carrying it out, "what are you going to do with that old thing?"   I'm going to cook in it!    Since it's older, it's nice to know it's made in the USA, not one of the chinese-made ones that don't get the 'patina' as well, or so I'm told. 

I am loving my dehydrator.  I've had it going a lot since I bought it.  I've done lots of onions, diced celery and carrots (for making soup mix for this winter when I don't feel like chopping all the veggies), red and green peppers, jalapenos, mushrooms, some of my yellow tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries and a few plums.    Love it, love it!  

Until next time, from Wren Cottage....