Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rainbow Rugs Finished

I have finished the rainbow rug and will take them to the March Farmers Market this weekend. I'm also putting them one by one in my Etsy store. Right now I'm working on a special order rug for a friend then onto some more fabric for my friend Mary Ann to sew up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Many, Many Kinds

Well, here's Joel again, this time getting ready to plant the first tomatoes. This first planting of 20 varieties will go into the hoophouse. Our hoophouse tomatoes are our insurance policy tomatoes. We are subject to late blight here if the plants get too damp for too long at the end of summer so the hoophouse keeps them nice and dry. Some years we also get an outdoor crop but other years they succumb before anything gets ripe.

Why do we grow so many varieties, 50+ lettuces, 20 tomatoes. Well there are a number of reasons. First, it's fun. We love what we are doing, we are interested and intrigued by plants especially vegetable plants and just have to try new varieties every year. There are so many out there and we always want to know what they taste like, look like, how they grow. We just don't get tired of trying new things. And that way we find new varieties that grow better for us than the ones we have been growing.

But biodiversity is also very, very practical. Not only do we grow a lot of varieties of a specific vegetable but we grow a lot of different sorts of vegetables. That way no matter what nature throws at us in the way of weather, bugs, diseases, etc., some of it will survive. Then not only will we continue to make at least some money, but we will have something to eat.

Our customers like a variety of kinds of their favorite vegetables. If we only grew one kind of lettuce we'd have a lot fewer lettuce sales. People will buy 2 or 3 or 4 heads if they are all different. Like me they like to make salads that look pretty as well as taste good. My favorite late summer salad is a Greek salad of tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil and feta. I use every color of tomato, pepper and onion to we have. A feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Lettuce

The farming year has truly begun. Today Joel planted the first seeds in the greenhouse. This in spite of the fact that for 15 minutes it snowed hard; big fat soft flakes. He's planted two flats, 120 plants each, 15 varieties each. Part of this first planting is used as a germination test. He plants the oldest seeds to see if they are still vigorous. If not, they go in the stove. Every year he plants 50 to 60 different kinds of lettuce. There are just so many wonderful lettuces out there. He'll never get to try them all. But he tries.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This Year's Rainbow Rugs

Each year I try and make one or two batches of these rainbow rugs. To do it I have to collect enough old flannel sheets in the appropriate colors. I like to have 9 colors, blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green, yellow, orange, red, red-purple and purple. Occasionally I have to dye a white sheet but usually I can find all the colors I need.
I make some of them like the first picture, just using the 9 colors but also like to play around a bit and mix the colors with one solid color. This year I'm using a set of grey flannel sheets that we've used on the bed for a couple of years. The bottom sheet was getting a wee bit thin and it was time for them to go to rugs.
I really like the way the grey and the rainbow colors are working together. I also have a white flannel sheet and I think I'll try one like the one above with white and colors. These always sell well and are fun to make.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Experiments with Rugs

On the same warp that I wove the previous grey rug on I've been experimenting with rug techniques that I've seen here and there in books and magazines but never tried. This is one of those. Little bits of rag inlayed on top of the rug wefts to make little puffs. I first saw rugs with this sort of embellishment in an issue of Vav Magasinet, the Swedish weaving magazine.
Joel says they look whimsical. I wonder a bit how they will hold up with wear. But they are a fairly common technique so I will have faith that previous weavers know what they were doing. Anyway, I think they are pretty and will have to do a bit more of this.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grey Rug

I decided it was time I tried we aving some sort of rag rug that's different from the doublebinding ones I've been doing for years. I love the blocks you can work with in doublebinding but there are all sorts of other ways to design rag rugs and I want to try some of them. This is what I am currently working on, two shades of grey cotton flannel fabric with a bit now and then of a red and grey plaid fabric. It's woven in a simple plain weave with double threads sett at 6 per inch. It's coming out really nice. Think I'll put fringes on the ends instead of hems...just because.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Here are a pair of ravens that come through the farm several times a day. They check out the compost pile, clean up any spilled grain the sheep have left, see if the ducks have laid any eggs that we have failed to find. They are big elegant birds. These two landed in the birch tree outside the kitchen window and I took the picture through the window because I knew if I opened the door to go outside they'd fly away. There's always just the two of them except for a couple of weeks in summer when they are accompanied by their very noisy offspring. I was recently watching "Making of The Games of Thrones" and the animal handler was saying how much he enjoyed working with the ravens that are used as messenger birds in the story.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Just a few days ago there was no sign of the snowdrops under the big birch tree. Then a day of sun and by afternoon there they were. Just in time for the beginning of spring at Imbolc or Candlemas on February 2, halfway between the solstice and the equinox. Any day now the seed orders will start arriving. And then we're off again into a new season.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Today I planted my delphiniums seeds. these seeds benefit from a cooking period of 3 or 4 weeks so the flat will sit outside in the cold frame until toward the end of the month. then I will bring them into the greenhouse to warm up.