Sunday, May 27, 2012

Where have I been?

OK, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.....

The last couple of months, things have been intense at work, and it probably won't ease up through the summer.  Once I get home, take care of the livestock and tend the garden a bit, that's about all I have left, and I  just fall into bed - just like most other farmers who work off the farm.  :-)   For anyone who longs for farm life, that's the reality, even for an urban farm.

I'm enjoying every minute though.   My planting is nearly done.  About the only thing I have left to do is another planter of bush beans, which will go in after the peas are done, and another go at dill. The first planting didn't germinate. I just don't have the room for pole beans.  Last year they made an amazing amount of foliage for no more beans than I got, so I'm going back to bush beans in planters on the deck.  I have some 'Hericote Vert" coming up now, and will plant "Tenderpod" later.

I harvested the last of the beets yesterday.   I've decided I'm still not wild about beets, although they are OK roasted with other root vegetables.  I love beet greens though!  I never liked greens (read spinach only, during my northern upbringing).  Even after moving south, all the cornbread in the world couldn't make up for the 'slime' factor of greens boiled to death with a ham bone.   Then I discovered how to wilt down the greens in a skillet with a little olive oil and garlic (maybe onion),  YUM!!

My other "I don't like that vegetable" experiment this year is peas.  'English' peas here, to differentiate from the other things called peas, like blackeyed - actually a bean.  Mine have pods and are filling out - though the brutal heat this weekend has me worried.  I pulled off a couple of pods the other day and ate the baby peas raw........ they were exquisite!  I think I would like them best fresh in a salad rather than cooked though.    

New for me are cucumbers, acorn squash, and leeks ......which must be the slowest growing things in the world.   I put them in in March, and they are only the thickness of a pencil lead.

Mentally going around the garden, this is what I have planted, besides those already mentioned:


  • German Pink
  • San Marzano 
  • Yellow Pear

  •  Kamo - regular globe type 
  • Little Finger  - long, oriental
Onions -  large and scallions 
Carrots - Red Chantenay 
Blueberry - Duke, just beginning to ripen 
Strawberries - 2 unknown varieties, both everbearing and June bearing. 
  • Bushmaster
  • Lemon 
Peppers (all sweet this year) 
  • yellow bell
  • pimento
  • Corno de Toro (long, stuffing type) 
Turnips - both white and purple-top 

And this doesn't include the perennial plants and herbs.   Not bad for such a small space!! 

The roses were pretty but very early this year, and short lived in the warm weather. June is still a week away, and the roses are all done!    

This really should be two (or three) posts, but since I've let it go so long.....

Last week was the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival  - our 3rd year.  I am SO glad it was last weekend, instead of this one.  The temps weren't  nearly as bad as this scorching weekend, and for once we avoided having a thunderstorm!  I took my camera, and didn't take one picture!!!    Anyone reading this who has not been to KSFF, will just have to content themselves with the photos they will post on the website of this year's festival.   My set-up was super easy and the same as I have done every year.

We had some new vendors, including people who were just visitors previously!  One was Fiber Crazy Studio.and Rabbitry , who also had Angora rabbits.   I met Ben last year, when he brought by a blue Junior English doe by for me to see.  Some of his foundation stock came from the same Rabbitry as mine, Somerhill Farm, so he was happy to see my Holly and Ivy - Aunties to some of his bunnies. Since he had lots of products (and rabbits) to sell, I didn't bother bringing anything.  I did my usual talk promoting the rabbits as an alternative fiber animal, especially for city folks, and if they wanted a bunny, yarn or fiber to spin, I would send them over to him.  It worked great.  New bunny owners got a packet of info from me and a member application for the United Angora Rabbit Club!

Even for us who show, it's still about the shopping!   I bought a burl cherry wood Nostepinne  (ballwinder) from Sistermaide.  Do I need such a thing?  Of course not, but I've always been a sucker for hand-made, hand-turned, beautiful wood items (that's why I have several hand-spindles I rarely use).  She sells at shows and on Etsy, as do a number of our vendors, so you can buy from them all year round!

I also bought some black alpaca/wool blend roving, and a skein of hand-dyed olive green alpaca/wool blend from Dianne at Tanglewood Farm. (thank you so much for the bonus!!!!)  To give you an idea of the quality of Dianne's wool, she took Champion Fleece, both this year and last year (which I bought!) at the Festival!  She has been breeding sheep for a long time, blending breeds to get optimum wool for the spinner and knitter, and her results are fantastic. She usually shows at the KY Wool Fest in Falmouth KY each year also, so if you're in the area in October, her booth is not to be missed.

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



  1. Hello Deb! I met you at the KSFF (we spoke for a bit about seedleaf and homesteading, I know you met many people and I don't expect you to remember me!)--, I bought a sweet Angora Buck from Ben and love him to death. I actually just used your youtube video to give him a shearing and noted you on my blog! Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

  2. Hope you're having fun spinning that black alpaca blend. I've spun some yarn with it and really like it. I think it will be daytime knitting only though, since it is so dark. Can't believe all the stuff you have planted. You put me to shame! I still have so much I need to get planted.