Is your Garden awake?

In my part of the country, the last frost date has past and I am anxiously waiting to get my seedlings and seeds into the ground.  Rain continues to come at regular intervals so the ground is too wet to work and my plants continue to sit in the greenhouse.  I came across this article in Houzz and thought it might be of use to those more fortunate than me.

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I can’t wait to get into the ground and reconnect with the earth.  It is great therapy and whether you plant vegetables or flowers, they nurture the body and soul in the same way.

Enjoy this simple pleasure:  Happy Gardening!

 

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I Can’t Stop Touching my Alpaca Fiber hats and ear warmers!

newalpacas

I have raised alpacas for 3 going on 4 years now.  Different than any other farm animal I have experienced, and wonderful in their own distinct fashion.  I had the raw fiber processed into yarn for the first time this past summer and recently began knitting hats and ear warmers for family Christmas gifts.

Not much of a knitter or crocheter, even though I know the basics, I decided a knitting loom might be a good way to get started.  I love the knitting looms: round, sox, and straight.  You can produce a professional looking item in a short period of time and for some reason, I find I can read the patterns with confidence.  Still trying to find patterns for loomed items beyond just basic hats, but I am having a good time putting my yarn to good use.

Every time I have something on made from alpaca yarn, I cannot stop touching it!  It is amazing to the touch and so warm; Non-allergenic as a bonus. You have to feel it to believe the difference from other yarns, including merino wool.  I have both suri and huacaya alpacas and its not hard to tell the difference between the two.  Suri is much finer fibers and consequently finer yarn.  Huacaya has more bulk and goes further in a pattern.  So far with the knitting loom, I have found using 4 strands of yarn, a combination of both, types makes the perfect weight.  In the hat below, I used two strands of contrasting color yarn.  It is lacy and light.     The rest of the items were made with 4 strands of yarn producing a much denser weave.

Alpaca loom knitted hat with ribbon trim

Alpaca loom knitted hat with ribbon trim

I absolutely love these items!  I gave them all away except for the first hat and the brown turban neck warmer.  My family love the items and I think they would welcome  any other things I get inspired to make!

If you have a little bit of time, consider buying some alpaca yarn and a knitting loom.  Find an easy pattern and revel in the wonderful experience of making something to keep you warm and feels luxurious!       This simple pleasure is so rewarding I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try.  If you need any alpaca yarn, just let me know.  I have about 25 pounds of yarn in cream, taupe, and shades of brown.

ear warmers / neck warmer

ear warmers / neck warmer

4-strand yarn in shades of brown.  E-wrapped knitted on a round knitting loom.

4-strand yarn in shades of brown. E-wrapped knitted on a round knitting loom.

A combination of items: all 100% alpaca fiber yarn in mixed shades.

A combination of items: all 100% alpaca fiber yarn in mixed shades.

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Wreath Idea for any season

I’ve always thought wreaths were a great door accessory and over the years I have made quite a few.  This wreath caught my eye because I love the combination of rosemary and olive leaves with bittersweet.  My Mom loved bittersweet and each fall we would search our farm in Northern Indiana to find the treasure.  Mom dressed it up with all kinds of greenery or just placed it in a vase all by itself.  No matter how it was displayed it always brought an emotional element to the room and the viewer.  If you are looking for an easy craft to complete give this wreath a try!  There is nothing better than enjoying a simple pleasure and making it yourself.  You never know, you may have just found the perfect gift for someone on your holiday list.

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I Love Fall!

Pink glow sunset

Pink glow sunset

It’s been a while since I posted because I have a great job as an Extension Educator, which means I spend a lot of time on the job.  But fall is my favorite time of year and as the leaves fall from the trees here in Indiana, this video I found on houzz.com, provides a way to extend the season.  Please take time to view this 2 minute video and enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures.

 

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Blackberries A Plenty!

Quarter Amish Seedless Blackberry Jam.  Ingredients: Blackberries and Sugar

Quarter Amish Seedless Blackberry Jam. Ingredients: Blackberries and Sugar

The blackberries are ready to be picked.  We had another harsh winter and I was afraid the berries would be damaged this year, but once again the high tunnel did it’s job and salvaged a crop for us.  It is such a pleasure to walk out my back door and pick those precious beauties straight from the vine.  Nice too, to be able to taste summer all winter long with preserves made with TLC!  Life offers many simple pleasures if we just take the time to look for them!

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Raspberries are Ready for the Picking!

Red Raspberries are beautiful and ready to be picked!  Due to the  extreme heat, picking is available mornings until 12 Noon only this week.  Berries are $4 per pound U-Pick.

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Red Raspberries are beginning to ripen

June is here, but it feels like summer.  The temperatures have risen and red raspberries are beginning to ripen.  The plants are loaded and looking great!  Please call for picking conditions beginning on Friday June 19th.  812-623-2803.  Looks like a great season.

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