Tuesday, August 28, 2007


This morning, we woke up at 3:45 am. Not to travel to a show, or help a sheep birthing or any one of the other things that usually pulls us out of bed at that hour. We got up to watch the most incredible total eclipse of the moon!

I dragged my big wooden rocking chair out into the clearing by the power pole and settled in to watch. It was cool enough that I was wearing (and needed!) a sweat shirt and long pants. Shawn stood off to the side for a while, then he pulled a bucket over to sit on. The view was stunning.

Now, I couldn't find the tripod for my camera, so posting pictures is really silly, because they all look like this, but here's one anyway. This is after the total coverage and the moon is coming out of the earth's shadow.

It started with the moon crystal clear and brilliant bright. The night was clear, the frogs and bugs were signing and I could hear all the sheep and goats peacefully chewing their cud.

The edge of the earth's shadow drifted like a mist over the top of the moon. Then it took a solid bite out of the top. As the shadow drifted down, the moon's light became redder and redder. The moon grew darker and the stars began to sparkle with full intensity. Orion's belt showed a strip through the pine trees behind us.

As we sat, we talked quietly of hopes, dreams, fears and a few funny puns. After about 15 minutes the goats drifted over to see what we were doing outside at night. Bea rested her head on my knee and Erie claimed my other hand. Yampa stood next to Shawn and accepted his attention. Beth stood close, but doesn't rank high enough in the flock to claim space. When the angoras came up and sniffed my foot Erie BAWLED loudly at them and made it clear that the humans belonged to the dairy goats.

Shawn went back to bed after the moon began to come out of the earth's shadow and the light started returning to white. The goats returned to their night nests in the dirt at the base of the trees and I stayed a wee bit longer, just watching the moon, listening to the night's concert and basking in the utter beauty of it all.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Yesterday, kinda at the last minute, we were invited to a delightful vegetarian potluck. We were very happy at the invitation to meet new people and leaped at the chance to spend some time socializing.

After all our chores were done, we had one hour to shower, dress and put something together from what we had on hand to take to the potluck. One of the mixed joys of living on the top of a mountain in the Ozarks is that it takes us almost an hour to get to any kind of store, so that option was out.

I looked around our little kitchenette and started to create. The dish I ended up putting together turned out delicious. It was quick, easy and somebody asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Foxbriar Fall Potluck Dish

1/2 lb young, tender okra
1/2 lb grape tomatos
1 onion
1 cup water
1 cup instant brown rice
olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
soy sauce

Chop the okra, tomatos and onion into aprox. 1 inch cubes. Stir fry in a big splash of olive oil. Add garlic powder and stir until the vegis are starting to brown. Add water and cover until boiling. Add instant brown rice, stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

(Go shower quickly, not sure if that's part of the recipe, but that was how it went!)

Stir, add a big glug of soy sauce, put in a covered crock and head out to the potluck.

(Now drive at 15 miles an hour over very rough, dusty dirt roads, down a very steep mountain. I'm not sure if the vibrations from that had anything to do with how the dish turned out :-)

By the time we got to the potluck, (30+ minutes) the rice was tender and the dish still warm. The one thing I would have added, if I had it, would have been cubed hard goat's cheese.

We had fun and met lots of really fascinating people. I am looking forward to being a part of many more potlucks!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


So, I'm sitting an my computer, trying to get tech support for our ebay store and getting very frustrated.
The flies in the shop are not terrible, but there are enough of them that I have gotten a heavy duty wire screen fly swatter. I am so itchy from rashes and tick bites that I can't stand having a fly land on me. So, the fly swatter is next to my computer and periodically I flail about, beating at anything that moves like a fly.
After one burst where I managed to smash three of the little buggers, I looked at Shawn and said, "I'm turning into a crazy old lady."

He looks back at me and says, "No honey, you're not TURNING into a crazy old lady."

Now, he swears that's not what he meant to say....

The importance of punctuation.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Road dogs

Quigley (at the water trough), Ani and Scraps watch the humans doing chores and wait to see what's next. Learn more about their adventures in their Dog Blog.

I've always been a dog person. Anyone who's known me for any length of time knew Mr. Duke, my amazing Great Dane, who I started making Mr. Duke's dog biscuits to honor.
I got my first job to bring Smudge, a fluffy little Spitz-cross to the US from Korea.
I bought cars based on whether or not my dog would fit and took jobs based on whether or not my dog (and children!) could come with me.

Over the years there has been Max, Jack, Kodiak and many others. They were my shadows, my friends and my constant companions. When I went to work in the newspaper world, I could not have my dog(s) with me and that connection waned, a bit.

My dogs became farm dogs. Yes, they came in the house, and had to learn some basic doggy manners, but they were attached to the farm, with me as a part of the farm. This January, after more than a year of consideration on the human's part, but rather abruptly for the dogs - their lives changed.

There are three of them right now. Ani is a serious worrier - a white german shepherd-cross male who was dumped at the farm in Colorado about 5 years ago. He wants the animals in their correct pen, the humans to follow routine and things to stay put. Poor Ani.
Quigley (Quigley up over to give his complete name for you movie buffs) is an Aussie cross that we got at the Humane Society as a young adult dog, a little bit before Ani showed up at the farm. He is my shadow and as long as he can see me, world is good.
Scraps is a chihuahua crossed with a pug crossed with a bat crossed with a pot-bellied pig. She is made up of scraps of everything and boss of the world. She found me when I was a rural mail carrier. She was running down the middle of a remote highway. I stopped to get her out of the road. She hopped in the van and has been at my side ever since.

They were happy farm dogs and stayed with the farm and house. Whenever people went anywhere they were happy to see them come home.

Then, the people wanted the dogs to go with them....

I was fascinated to watch how quickly dogs, who had never been in a vehicle, learned the concept and command of "Truck." We learned together what road-food they could eat (Ani is intolerant of any bread products, including his favorite "pizza bones", but loves milk products like ice cream) and where to take them for walks and how best to get them enough water.

And they gave back for our care of and attention to them. I found that I traveled more comfortably if I "have to walk the dogs" every few hours. Otherwise I tend to drive until my body is in pain. I pay more attention to what I am eating and make more healthy food choices when I am sharing it with the dogs. Diet Coke and Cheetos just doesn't cut it for them.

When we are in places where the dogs cannot run free, I walk them for at least half an hour, three times a day. I give them care that I do not offer to myself, but through giving it to the dogs, I benefit.

Several times, as I watched them learn and adapt and change their behaviors, I though "I should be chronicling this."
One sight I will never forget is Ani, quietly watching through the cracks in the wall in the booth at the Colorado Renaissance Festival while two people helped a pirate get up on an elephant in preparation for a parade. I'd really like to hear his thoughts on that!

So, along with the realization that this blog is a chronicle, I started a blog for the dogs. Since they don't type so good and their English is limited, I'll have to interpret and type it for them. Hopefully I'll get it right.

Follow the adventures of Ani, Quigley and Scraps at Road Dog Blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Appreciate You!

There a bits of dialect that become stereotype - "Ya'll" and "Cah" bring instant pictures to mind.
But there are other parts that are more subtle.

In all our visiting and moving and settling into life here in Arkansas, I never noticed the parting phrase, "Appreciate You!" until we came back home from Colorado this summer.

It is interesting for many reasons. I do hear it mostly at the end of business transactions, like at the Post Office. Not matter who says it, it is clearly enunciated - "Appreciate You!" - never " 'preciate yuh." It is always personal. "Appreciate You!" not your business, your help or your money - You.

And it always comes with a smile :-)

Sometimes it comes with more warmth - "We Appreciate You" at the Co-op when I bought wire or "I appreciate You" from Pam who sells us eggs.

I suspect it developed because there are few enough people around here for each one to be special. Many of the towns we drive through on our way to the metropolis of Mountain View (pop 3,786) have thirty-some-odd people. It's easier to tolerate and appreciate individual differences when there aren't too many individuals.

It's also hard to get around up here in the Ozarks. That's a big part of the reason we moved here and we saw it as a plus. But sometimes the reality of roads that mean 15 mph on the curves is a little staggering. When it is that hard to travel - you do appreciate your neighbor, and the person who grows your vegetables and the guy who drives the school bus.

I've started using the phrase myself. Try it - the next time someone does something nice, look them in the eye, smile and say "I appreciate you."

I bet that smile will stay on your face most of the day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Tao of Tools

One of my favorite quotes is from a Terry Pratchett book... I can't remember which one, perhaps Carpe Jugulum, maybe Good Omens.

"If the creator had meant for us to shift rocks by witchcraft, He wouldn't of invented shovels. Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about." - Nanny Ogg

There is nothing in the world like finding the right tool for the job, especially if it is a job you do on a daily basis. There is something sensual in using a tool that fits you - just you- just perfect.
A tool that turns a mundane task into a smooth dance is pure joy.

I have several tools that I love, some have been with me for a long time, through many houses and many different lives. Ones that come to the top of my mind are:

1. My milk pail. It is stainless steel, with a handle and sloping sides. It holds about 2 gallons of sweet, foamy, fresh goat's milk. On top of the pail I have a milk filter - a stainless steel bowl with a hole at the bottom. A stainless steel spring holds a disposable milk filter over the hole, so all that goes into the pail is milk - no hair, no bugs, no yuckies. I've had milk goats since 1982. I think I've had my milk pail about that long. I have not seen any where to get the same set up that I have, even searching on the internet. I think this is my favorite possession. I do so love good goat's milk and I cannot drink bad flavored goat's milk. My milk pail makes the difference.

2. My kitchen broom. Made by Tom and Allie Shadowens back when my two twenty something kids were tow-headed cuties. I have lots of brooms. I have had many more. This one works. It gets the floor clean. What a concept! And the handle is shaped just right for me. It is my broom, the relationship is good.

3. My camera. I've only had it about 5 years. When my grandfather passed on, he left me a bit of money. I bought a lap top computer and my wonderous, incredible, fantastic Minolta DiMage 7I. It has taken pictures on trail rides and fashion shows. It has shot photos in the rain and it took some of the most incredible drought dust-storm photos I've ever seen. This camera has been my constant companion and it has never given me any trouble - talk about a great relationship. Thanks Boppa!

4. My crochet basket. I do have to replace these every once in a while. They have to be perfect and I spend a long time finding the right one each time. This current one is several years old, and still in great shape.
I started making Spirit Bells in 1987. Since then I have crocheted thousands. My crochet basket travels with me everywhere. It is full of crochet hooks, bells, metallic thread, cotton thread, my good rings, a turquoise necklace, a clip on bracelet, finger nail clippers, felting needles, some pottery buttons, a book light, a gas card, some loose change, a stuffed snake that a dear friend gave me a dozen or so years ago and my favorite scissors are tied to the handle.

There are other tools that I am fond of - these are just what came to mind. They are woven into the daily strands of my life so firmly that they are almost a part of me.

Have you hugged your favorite tools today?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Comings and goings

Yesterday we traveled almost to St. Louis, Mo. to get the new buck for our angora goat flock. I think we'll name him Cappucino.

And yes, his fleece is as divine as it looks. It was hard to keep from petting him all the way home!

He came from Herbal Maid Fiber Farm and has generations of solid, beautifully fleeced, colored angora genetics behind him. I am already telling the girls that they all better have beautiful chocolate twins next spring. Of course, they think he's a little kid and beneath their notice right now, but once it cools down, I think they'll be happy to look at him as a boy.

Because it has been so hot, I thought he needed the benefit of air conditioning for the 7 hour trip home. Kathy, his breeder, showed me a trick that worked great. We just duct-taped a disposable diaper around his belly and over the leaky bits. The goat rode comfortably and the truck stayed clean (well, as clean as usual) and dry.

I've always believed, or at least since the early 1980's when I studied this stuff, that the buck/ram/stud is half of your herd. You can breed up a mediocre flock by bringing in top genetics through the male. You can make a good flock better by using a sire that strengthens the weak points.

So to follow through with this concept, we bring in one new sire each year. We raise three types of animals, jacob sheep, colored angora goats and lamancha diary goats. This year, we added Cappucino, next year, we'll be looking for a good, 4-horned jacob ram and the year after that, a new lamancha buck.

Part of being a breeder, especially with a rare breed like the jacob sheep, is helping other people get started in the animals you cherish. I'd like to congratulate Mona Sloop on her purchase of a good starter flock of our jacob ewes and lambs this week. I wish her daughter, Lake, best of luck showing LHF Alice in the breeding sheep show at the county fair. I'm sure she'll do great. Alice loves to show off and I think she still remembers her Reserve Grand Champion win at the 2006 National Western Stock Show in Denver. I'll let you know how they do.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sitting at the kid's table

Checking on the hives at Foxbriar.

We went to our first bee keeper's meeting tonight. We joined the Ozark Foothills Beekeepers Association.

I was amazed at how many people were there. The community center in Damascus was full and my mentor, Lynn and I had to find chairs to have a place to sit. We pulled them into the corner, where several people were visiting and one woman had pretty seed catalogs on the table.

There were several couples in the room. The long tables were mostly filled with distinguished- looking gentlemen. As people talked about trouble with hive beetles and a new spray that is being used on blossoms and kills bees, I looked around the room.

Everyone in the room was fit-looking, and healthy. And, our corner table had the only heads in the room that were not gray. In fact, I started feeling like I was at a community social and sitting at the kid's table.

We were mostly being good kids - we were listening as our elders talked about sugar dusting the bees for mites and how the bees just aren't capping their honey this year. We didn't sneak too many peeks at the pretty flower catalogs and we only had to be told to "either speak up and share or pipe down" once.

Tom Theobald, a columnist who I have read for years and whose work I admire, is also a beekeeper. He owns Niwot Honey Farm in Colorado. He wrote, (many years ago, so if I mis-remember this my apologies to Tom) that one of the biggest threats to the honey bee was that the beekeepers are dying out - and no one is replacing them.

Well, tonight Shawn and I took our seats at the kid's table. Hopefully we'll be able to listen and learn and follow in the footsteps of the wonderful community of beekeepers here in the Ozarks.

The beesies are busy and they have so much for us to learn.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It's cooking!

This is not a complaint - I am finally warm! Really, really warm. Is it ok for your computer if you drip sweat on the keyboard?

And think about it, the great majority of the world does not have air conditioning and humanity has advanced just fine without it.

But my brain is so boiled I don't remember how we thought we were going to live comfortably in Arkansas without air conditioning. We are doing it - but I wouldn't call it comfortable.
People are saying this is an extreme heat wave and it should break next week.

The critters seem to be dealing ok. That is the important thing. They stay low energy during the day.

The sheep have a fan, (look up at the barn roof) but the llamas have taken it over. The sheep spend a lot of the day laying under the trees, resting near the water trough.

The chickens don't seem to feel the heat. They are busy scratching and strutting and catching bugs. I wish I had their energy.

We have adapted. We try to get most of our outside work done between 6:00 and 9:00 am. Then we work in the workshop (though it is not really any cooler!) until 7:00 p.m. Then we are back out at the farm until dark. It seem the majority of our work is getting done between about 9:00 pm and 1:00 am, when it cools down enough to be able to think. And by then, it is cool enough to sleep.
But I'm not complaining.
Now, when it gets cold - I will complain!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Blogging the life

Last winter, I was talking with my friend Amy -

(I wish you all could meet Amy. She's a talented musician, dancer, writer, artist and so much more. You know how some people are a ray of sunshine in your life?
Well, Amy is a kleig light!

- and we were both talking about our lives and how people are always saying - "You should write a book." We both agreed that the fact is, (and I have many writing friends with very complex lives who would dispute this, but to me it is a fact!) it is really hard to live these complicated, fast-paced, multi-layered lives and chronicle them at the same time!

This blog helps with that. It is a way to chronicle our lives and to share things with our friends at the same time. But for it to be an even partially accurate chronicle, it needs to be updated regularly. And there isn't always time to fine tune a post and still get it done. Many of my recent posts have been written near midnight.

The last few days I have posted writings that are very, very, very rough drafts. The editor in me quails when I read over them. There are parts that are indecipherable. Sorry...

But they are there, so, someday, if we make a book, my internal editor can go back and fix all the horrid run-on sentences, make sense out of the obscure wanderings and fill in the gaping holes in the thought processes. Some day.

I think one of the reasons Amy likes hanging out with me is that lots of older people tell her that one day she'll grow old and settle down. Well, the growing older is a given, but I can be her shining proof that settling down does not have to happen!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The gypsies decide to stay planted - for a bit

One of our big priorities on the way home, and after arriving was to find a new show to replace the Meeker Classic Sheep Dog Trials, where we have had a booth at the wool show.

It was a great show and it gave us a chance to stay with Shawn's folks, but it is now just too far to drive.

We have had booths at the Soldier Hollow Classic in Utah in the past, and lots of people told us that the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair, held in Salt Lake City was fantastic, but if northern Colorado is too far to drive from Fox, Arkansas - then Utah certainly is!

We considered two shows in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival was a strong temptation... maybe we'll try it in a few years, but right now that would put us away from the farm toooooo much. The Pennsylvania Endless Mountains Fiber Festival looked like fun, but it's really not a lot closer than Utah.

The two shows we were REALLY seriously considering were the World Sheep and Fiber Festival in Bethel, Missouri. We had contacted them last spring about teaching and vending, but with the move, it took a back burner. It seems like a great show.
And I was very interested in the Cajun Lagniappe Fiber Arts For_'em, held in Reeves, Louisiana. I thought it would help us make good contacts for the time we spend at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival.
And, it's not held Labor Day weekend,
but it is in September, and we really do want to include the Great Plains Renaissance Festival in Wichita, Kansas, in our show schedule. Some year....

Right now, our next scheduled show is
the Wool Festival at Taos, where both of us are scheduled to teach.

And, with everything happening here on Foxbriar, we have decided to stay home, build stock, work on the new designs and plant a fall garden. I don't think there's any hope of our growing roots, but maybe we can get our feet back under us.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Helping animals deal with grief

Some one on one of my sheep lists asked the question this spring - "How do you help a ewe deal with loosing her lamb?"
There were many replies on the physical aspects - make sure her udder isn't getting too full, keep an eye on her to make sure she is eating, watch out for signs of infection. However, a very large number of shepherds gave answers on the emotional aspect of helping the ewe with her loss.
One person said that they leave the lamb with the ewe until she decides it is gone and then she'll move on with her life. Others gave advice about changing scenery, making sure the ewe was with her buddies within the flock.
This group is made up of many seasoned shepherds, who make their living with sheep, as well as small farmers and people learning their way around the flock. No one seemed to find the discussion strange.

A few years ago, a good friend had two dogs that had been inseparable for 9 years. Literally - they even slept touching each other. When the older dog passed on, the younger one was bereft. To try to help the poor dog get some sleep, I gave her one of my wool rugs. It seemed to comfort her and she slowly recovered from her grief at loosing her companion.

When Rosemary, our mmama llama passed away this week, both her sons were sitting with her. It comforts me to think that they were comforting her. Muppet is about 5. He and his little bro, Kermit get along great, so we thought we'd just leave them together. But Muppet is not wanting to get up and around. And Kermit was just laying there with his big brother. They were the picture of dejection. And I was having trouble getting either one to eat.

Their sister, Pequena, also seemed to be subdued and know what happened, but she is currently guarding the lamb and ewe flock. She is serious about her job and patrols the fence and keeps an eye on the lambs when they stray from the flock. So we put Kermit in with her. Unlike Muppet, she was not going to sit around and mope and be sappy with the little guy. She knocked him around a bit to let him know he could not nurse off of her. But then she let him stay right with her as she went about her day checking fence, cooling off in the water trough and checking all the feed pans to see if the sheep left any grain.

Tonight, Kermit seems much more alert and he is back to being curious about lizards in trees, funny spots of dirt and little lambs who are crying. We still can't get him to accept a bottle, but he is eating hay and grain. Muppet is back to his tricks. He snuck in while I was milking and stole a bunch of grain.

We will keep giving them extra attention and treats and keeping an extra close eye on them for a while. Actually, helping animals deal with grief is kind of like you do with your human friends. Just be there and help out where you can.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Balancing while the wheel turns

Coming back to Foxbriar after 2 and a half months in Colorado gives us a unique view of our livestock. It is easy to become "barn-blind" when you see your animals everyday, changes are subtle and an animal can loose condition or bloom beautifully without you even noticing.

Most of the animals look good, Lena is an incredible shepherd. She saves lambs that would never make it in any normal situation. And the sheep are mostly fat, but a wee bit scruffy and everybody except the angora goats - whose fiber is glistening and they are waddling because they are so fat - just looks a little dull coated.

So we set out to find out what we could to balance their rations and deal with parasites.
When we moved to Arkansas, everybody warned us about parasites. We had our set worming rotation for each type of livestock in Colorado and even when we were doing fecal checks we rarely wormed anything more than twice a year.

The old stand by wormers of Ivermec and Strongid still made a workable rotation and parasites were easy to deal with, even when our flock numbered close to 200. We were using a modified version of the FAMACHA method, which selects animals for parasite resistance and everybody was healthy and happy on their basic diet of alfalfa hay and whole corn, with mineral supplements and salt.

But now we are on unfamiliar ground and having to learn a new path.

Last week, we found a feed mill in Damascus that is starting to work up organic feed mixes and uses a lot of natural supplements. They spent a few hours helping us balance rations for our wide variety of critters. The goats are already milking better with their new 16% protein grain mix that is higher in calcium.

Our small animal vet in Leslie had warned us to worm the llamas with Ivermec every 3 weeks during the summer because of the threat of meningeal worm. We have been doing that. Meningeal worm is a parasite carried by white tailed deer. We have them in abundance on Foxbriar. The spotted fawns are so cute!

The equivalent threat to all the livestock in Colorado was West Nile virus, which is carried by mosquitos. Here on the mountain in Fox, I have yet to see a mosquito, but, well, we have lots of those cute deer.

I think it was meningeal worm that sent Rosemary to Summerland. It cannot be diagnosed without an autopsy, and we did not have one done, but all the symptoms were there. Of course, I think any health issue is a whole being thing and stressors bring down immunity and imbalances keep the body from fighting invaders... but that is a whole tangent that can be the subject of many other posts.

So, we are continuing to live and learn and try to balance on the wheel of life.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nourishing imagination

A Renaissance festival is many things to many people. To me, it has always been a way to encourage people to look at life a little differently. When I was a costumer, I wanted to show people how beautiful they were. When I created the kids capes, I wanted to get kids moving around and using their imaginations.

And now, with Common Threads, we are fostering dreams in another direction.
Teacher Jenny (left) runs a school for the children of the Renaissance folks. The kids study regular subjects, and then Jenny takes them around to take advantage of all the other learning that is available in the festival environment.

We were so lucky she found us this year. On Thursda's her school would knock on our back door and we would take a delightful break from making stock to regenerate our enthusiasm for our craft by sharing it with the kids.

Then, during the weekend, they would stop by and show off the wonderful creations they were spinning and weaving. They were weaving the most incredible shawls for their dolls and they left one with us to show off what you can do on a one-foot triloom.

Thanks Jenny and Vi and Little Shawn and all the other kids. I'm so glad we could nourish each other's imaginations!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Keeping the harvest - more living and learning

If you've looked at Lena's blog recently, you've seen the gorgeous tomatoes that grow on here Foxbriar Farm. Lena was enjoying them, but she wanted to see if she could save some for us. She said there was something wrong with the tomato plants, they were wilting.

In Colorado we would harvest all the green tomatoes off the plants when we had the first frost warning. We would wrap them in newspaper and store them in a colander in the pantry. They would slowly ripen over the next few months and that's how we had home grown tomatoes.
She asked if I thought the newspaper would work in Arkansas. "Try it," I replied, and promptly forgot about it.

Arriving back in Fox, we began saying our hello's to the neighbors and I asked several about the tomato plants. They are turning brown and not producing... kind of shriveling up. Do they need food? Is it the heat?

Most everyone looked at me strangely. "It's the end of tomato season," they explained. "The plants are done."

Tomato season? How weird to live somewhere that tomatoes complete a whole life cycle. They grow, produce and die, all before being felled prematurely by frost. Wow!

After Lena left for her visit to Colorado, I started cleaning the workshop so that we could unload all our stock and get back to work. There were some interesting things growing inside... As I cleaned the kitchen area, I pulled the big colander out to make room for some bowls. There was something black, slimy and foul smelling in wrapped up in paper in the big yellow bowl. "What the..."

Oh, the tomatoes.

Obviously, the newspaper trick does not work in Arkansas. I committed genocide when I burned the contents of the colander.

So, I am trying to learn new ways of food storage, without electricity (my freezer is full of fleece, it keeps the bugs off). We used to dry a lot of food, I am going to try drying some tomatoes, basil and jalapenos, but I'm not too hopeful. It is so humid here.

I guess I have to go ask the neighbors another silly question. How do you store the harvest here?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Louie, a modern mystery

There is very little that you can't google up any more. Research tasks that used to take weeks are now fulfilled at the click of a mouse. So it is surprising when you find something that you cannot find information about.

This summer we were lucky enough to purchase several lots of unique spinning wheels, looms and other fiber arts equipment. There were many beautiful antique pieces. Most of them I could research on the web and include all the information with the item. But one of the most beautiful, has also been one of the most elusive.

This spinning wheel is stamped on the bottom with the maker's name, Louie Golob, the date, 1986, the number, #62 and the maker's address.

I googled Louie Golob and found a nice article about his history and how he started making wheels. I sent a note to the address and got back a copy of the article that is on the web.

I am still trying to find more information on this wheel. I am getting quite fond of it. The wheel is a joy to spin on, I am currently spinning lace weight corridale/angora blended on it into a wonderful, fine, soft yarn. But I do want to know more about it, and it's maker. I am posting queries to several of the online groups I belong to.... do you have a Louie - or know anything about them?