Sally went first. When we got home last night, the headlights flashed the shed - it's raised up off the ground a couple was under there. Sally had gone under the shed, probably to get away from Sam the Ram, and she was licking a little tiny lamb. I got her wrapped up in a towel, and seduced Sally into the barn, where she promptly started panting, and, you guessed it...gave birth to #2.


The little (white) lamb has just stood up for the first time in this pic.

Man, I am getting cavities just looking at this much sweetness.

Now it's Holly's turn. She's been having a rough week and a half. We've been doctoring her for high ketones...she went into toxemia...also known as twins syndrome. Mama can't get enough all goes to the babies, and her metabolism goes out of whack. We thought we were going to lose her, but she seems to be back...eating hay, drinking water, all systems go. I'm still supplementing with vitamins and calcium. Hopefully, the stimulation of having Sally and the twins in the barn with her (separated by a bale of hay) will get her goin'!

Long Time Long Time

zombie sock dude and artie

Okay okay. Meet my banjo playing zombie sock monkey. He doesn't have a name yet. Would y'all help me find the right name for him?

He came home to me via a circuitous route. First, he was created my Danette, she of the brilliant She calls this little feller a "pocket zombie." Now, the thing is, she ran a contest this fall. Zombie haiku. And yes, friends and neighbors, yours truly won! YAY ME!

That so inspired me, that I sat my bum in the chair on November 1st and I began to write. (November is NaNoWriMo, right?) And on the 27th day, in time for me to make dinner, I won that too. Yep...right over the 50,000 word mark.


So, what does this mean? It means I STILL haven't finished knitting Tom's sweater.

So...Bye Bye Wave Wave

Sheep & their Peeps

See, it began with a spindling lesson at the depot a couple years ago. I taught Lenore how to spin, and, well, it stuck, and she addict. Addicts need their fixes on a regular basis, and they need more and more and higher and higher quality stuff, as time goes by. Adding fiber critters to the homestead was inevitable. I'm delighted to have, in some small way, instigated this process.

Lambert and the GA Folk

Ah...welcoming us on the tour is Lambert. Lambert is a GCN ram lamb about ohh, 5 months old. He's the half-brother of my twins, Holly and Sally. He's been very cranky, driving his poor (brand new) shepherd insane.

The New Nichols Crew

To the rescue come "the flock of 3" - all the way from Georgia. That brown faced lad (wether) is a Gulf Coast X Suffolk. The two fair dames beside him are GCN all the way. They are half-sisters of my ram lamb Sam.

Lenore N Lambert

This is Lenore. Well, this is the top of Lenore's head. She's the new mama to the flock. She is very excited and happy that the flock of 3 has decided to move in. Now, Lambert has stopped his incessant hollering.

The Hancock Kids

Ahhh, Martha and Randall. Enablers extraordinaire. The best. Sweet. Hearts. Ever. Driving down from Georgia with a vehicle full of sheepy wondrousness to spread the love and keep this endangered breed going. We love you guys!

Hot Stuff

Lady Magdalene

What do you get when you combine 99 degrees in the shade with the urge to knit? You get lace. This shawl was designed by Kimberly Delacruz - it's a very easy pattern, and a satisfying, fast knit. I used some singles yarn that I had spindlespun a couple years ago. The wool is Border Leicester, thus the fuzziness. Totally thermal! What a yummy thing. I tell ya, this will be the go-to rag when I head out to the henhouse in the winter!


Sam & Sally

Today, we had company. Martha & Randall drove down from SoGa with precious cargo...a ram lamb we've named Sam. He's a Gulf Coast Native like the sheepesses, and they share a bloodline, distantly. At first, there was a lot of chasing and craziness...Sam baabaabaaa-ing, and running after the girls...wanting to be included. But the sheepesses weren't having any of it. Then Smitty and Tom went out there together, and Tom reports, "Smitty was the unifier." Ahem. Yes, well. Now, the ladies are taking turns orienting Sam. And they're acting very affectionately and dopey around us. I mean, look at Sally's face. I half expect to see a toothy grin. It's as if they're saying, "Can we keep him, Mom?"

More pictures on

What a hoot!


"Dill Pickles"

I've made a crate of bread & butter pickles from our Yamatos. Today was the day to try something different. Here's a recipe based on one from last year's canning class. This was an IFAS (UF Extension) class, and I halved the recipe, and used Yamatos rather than Kirbys, so double away - and use those little ol pickling cukes whole!

NOTE: This recipe assumes that the cook is familiar with the principles of boiling water canning (jar sterilization, etc). Prior to making this recipe, learn how to can.

Quick Fresh Pack Dill Pickles
(makes 6 pints)

4 pounds pickling cukes
1 gallon water
5/8c canning salt
3 c cider vinegar
2 T sugar
1 T whole mixed pickling spice
1 1/2 T mustard seed
2 1/2 T dill seed

Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16-inch slice off blossom end and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. (I couldn't do that, as my jars are not 2 feet long - but the cukes are.) Dissolve 3/8 c salt in 1 gallon of water. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 12 hours. (I cut the cukes into 5" lengths, then halved them. After dousing in salty water, I popped them in the fridge overnight.)

Drain the cukes. Rinse them. Combine vinegar, 1/4 c salt, sugar and 1 qt water. Add mixed pickling spices tied in a clean white cloth (cheesecloth). Heat to boiling. Fill jars with pickles. Add 1 t mustard seed and 1 1/2 t dill seed (or 1 1/2 heads fresh dill) per pint jar. Cover with boiling picling solution, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts in a boiling water bath.



aestlight unblocked

While clearing the decks for the annual spinning challenge - le Tour de Fleece - I found a skein of commercially spun yarn...Schaefer Anne. I'd bought this sock yarn a few years ago, before I became determined to use only my own handspun. The put-up is generous, 560 yards of a merino/mohair blend. The color of this yarn - sage, slate, tan...vaguely camouflage. No, I didn't want hunting socks. But I wanted to get rid of this yarn. So, I looked for a fingering weight yarn challenge, and found it in Gudrun Johnston's shawl pattern, Aestlight. The pattern called for 550 yards of fingering weight...and even thought I'm known to be a loose knitter, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Well, it took a week to knit, very part time. It's a fast knit, no doubt because it is a paean to the garter stitch. Talk about easy!

Le Tour starts on July 3, to coincide with le Tour de France, and actually follows the flow of the race. I'm on a team: Team Hopelessly Overcommitted. That does fit, doesn't it? My challenge is to complete the rest of the yarn for Tom's Gracie sweater - a sport weight that I'm spinning from about a CVM/Romney fleece. Expect updates...

More Purple

blackberry turnovers

Blackberry Turnovers

What do you get when you roll out rounds of shortbread crust, dust them with cinnamon, flour, and sugar, and drop a blob of blackberry jam or a half-dozen blackberries on each, and bake at 400 for 25 minutes? Well, you get the most tender, amazing, luscious handpies on the planet. These turnovers are little, but boy, are they packed with WOW!