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Bay Colony Farm
Fibers and Rabbits For Sale at Bay Colony Farm
Fibers For Sale
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Another Day at Bay Colony Farm
Monday, November 28, 2005
Mood:  special
Now Playing: Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf"
Topic: Knitting

Finally finished. The lack of a needle to weave in the ends delayed the final result by a day, but wah-lah! Here we are with my son modeling them.

O.k. So you're looking at them and saying "What is the big freaking deal? They're mittens, so?"

Ooooh, but it is a big deal. Mittens have evaded me for several years now. My first "real" project when I got back to knitting in 1997 was a sleeveless top made out of Egyptian cotton. It turned out just fine until I washed it, and it got W-I-D-E-R instead of growing length wise. Throwing it into the dryer didn't help. I had followed that pattern down to the last word, even using the suggested yarn (I was SUCH a blind follower then). ;-) My second project that summer were a pair of hand knit socks, with a short rowed heel, knit on 12" circulars. This began my love affair with circulars. The sock yarn was double stranded with alpaca yarn. They were stunning socks! The fit was perfect. I could try them on while knitting with those circulars, something I was sure would never have happened on DPNS. It took me three whole days of beach knitting to get those puppies done. They did have a nice (but short) career keeping my feet warm for a couple of winters until my husband put the first one into the washer on HOT water, followed by a trip through the dryer on HIGH heat. Poor socks were never the same again.

Various other projects followed. Hats, scarves, shawls, the occasional sweater. Mostly things that I could knit using circulars. Large things for adults. The kids hats I made only needed dpns at the very end. My friend Marcy even gave me several pairs of lovely short dpns one year. I knew that she was trying to make me jump off that cliff with the rest of the lemmings. I believe her chant at the time was "socks, Socks, SOCKS!" But I was not to be a lemming! I even tried making my mom a pair of mittens several years ago on 12" circulars, but never finished the first one, feeling a sort of superiority in thinking that mittens were really for kids, not adults. That thinking prevented me from having to knit the thumb using dpns.

But these blue mittens represented the final frontier for quick knit projects this past weekend. I saw the need, I bought the yarn, and I conquered DPNS and mittens!

I think I can hear Marcy laughing all the way over here. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:04 PM EST
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Actual knitting content!
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Air Supply "Lost In Love"
Topic: A bit of everything

Well, it's been another long weekend.

Thanksgiving went well, in spite of the early snow. I spent lunch with my dad and I know he appreciated my being there. I'm thankful he is still here and that he still laughs at my jokes. :)

I came home and made dinner for the four of us. The cookbook said that a 20-24 pound turkey without stuffing should take 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours to cook. So, I put the bird in at 1 p.m. At 4:30, I decided to go up and check on it and get the potatoes cooking. Oops, the thermometer says 177 degrees (a turkey is cooked at 170!) and I forgot to set the alarm on the thermometer. Great. So we had Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, corn, homemade cranberry sauce and two kinds of olives. Usually, I have 2 more side dishes to go with all that, but not this year and it was actually o.k. My husband pronounced this the best Thanksgiving meal I've made yet, so I guess it was a success. And even though the turkey cooked longer than it was supposed to, it was still a juicy turkey. Buying a fresh turkey directly from the farm really does make a difference instead of one of those "fresh-frozen" ones at the grocery store.

Here is a picture I took on Thursday afternoon while the turkey was cooking. It was beautiful outside, and perfect weather for doing some barn chores. I couldn't resist taking this photo as I thought the sky looked beautiful behind the bare trees.

Friday was spent doing some work, and I did take a trip to Webs. One of the things we discovered with the snow is that our youngest son doesn't have any mittens that fit him. So I promised that I would make him a pair. I picked up a skein of Brown Sheep Lambs Pride yarn, and some dpns (which those of you that know me, know that I really don't' like knitting with them. But, for my son, I'll do that.

Here is what I have so far:

Not too bad for someone that hates dpns. :) And my son is enjoying sitting next to me while I knit, asking to try on the mittens every 15 minutes or so. ;-) I will say that I'll never use this mitten pattern again. This is my first pair of completed mittens, and I pulled a free pattern off the web. I'm not finding it to be a user friendly pattern, as the designer makes assumptions that the knitter is familiar with knitting mittens. I'm one of those people that learns best being shown how to do something, but if I have detailed instructions, that is good too. I should have just looked in my bookcase, as I have a copy of "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns" by Ann Budd, and that gives detailed instructions on mitten knitting. Next time though, I'll call Marcy and we'll do a mitten knitting session.

All I need is a needle for weaving in the ends, and I'll have these babies done later this morning.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 7:37 AM EST
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Look what followed me home
Mood:  bright
Topic: Knitting
O.k., I'm seriously bummed out because my AOL Radio isn't working. It is probably corrupted somewhere, and I'm not about to reload AOL. I'm hoping that I'll be able to figure it out before too long. I miss my tunes!

I did get over to Webs yesterday. A while ago, I purchased a Denise Interchangeable needle set. I like it (although I do like the Addi Turbos better, but the Denise needles wind up being a lot less expensive in the long run), but I've misplaced my original set. It could be anywhere from in my office, to inside the trailer if I packed it up to take to a show sometime. And since I'm not unloading the trailer until at least this weekend, I bit the bullet, and purchased another set.

But look at what else I found!

Actually, I spotted the Yarntainer and the Suri Merino on Monday, when I stopped in, but resisted. Yesterday, I decided that the Yarntainer would be perfect for holding the new yarn in it as I design a pair of fingerless mitts. That is all I'm saying, but the mitts will have a design on them that I haven't seen elsewhere. :)

And how is this for a sky picture? I was out in Richmond, MA yesterday morning for my job, and passed this lake. It was raining, and it looked very dramatic. On the way home, it was sleeting and raining. Not exactly nice weather for driving on the MA Pike, but I made it home safely, which is all that matters.

Today I'm doing a spinning/bunny/felting demo for the kids at my son's preschool class, then shopping for Thanksgiving, visiting my dad, and finally home to start cooking for the big feast tomorrow!

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:29 AM EST
Saturday, November 19, 2005
We should do this more often!
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: Alphaville "Big In Japan"
Topic: Fiber Friends
Yesterday, I had a few friends over for a fiber gathering. When I used to hold these on a regular basis up until a couple of years ago, we'd have upwards of 25 people here, but today was just a few, and that was fine, because we had the chance to sit and visit without the shouting over one another. ;-) And the food people brought was great too.

Laura brought corn muffins, Cath brought Wallace and Gromit Wensleydale cheese (how cool is that?!), green apples and three kinds of chocolate; ivory, milk and dark (YUMMMMM!), Deanna brought my favorite pea salad and Terry brought two pies, pecan and pumpkin (Terry, my son Nathaniel seriously thanks you; he had two slices tonight after he ate dinner!). I made black bean soup and marinated tofu. We actually had too much food, but it was all delicious. And we got to meet a new fiber friend of Deanna's named Susannah, who is a spinner and knitter and she works with Deanna. I look forward to seeing her at the local SnB soon! :)

These types of gatherings have always left me energized. I feel like I could knit on 10 projects at once! I did get some spinning done today. I plied most of the black/green/blue Magical Roving that I spun up at Rhinebeck. Then I spun up another Magical Roving which is white, lavendar and peach. I have no idea what this will be, but I like it anyway. It reminds me of early Spring.

Terry was working on a pair of socks, Cath was working on spinning a beautiful batt by Indigo Moon, Deanna was spinning a batt from Spinners Hill, and Susannah was working on what looked like the beginning of a sweater. Laura was knitting; I can't remember what she was knitting, but she was also getting ready to go see Harry Potter in Boston. We also got to see Cath's gloves from Pam Allen's pattern in IK 2003. And Laura brought me an autographed pattern for fingerless mitts. I want to make a pair for my husband for Christmas and a pair for me (these work SO well during bunny feedings and watering!).

Anyway, I think I'm going to go back to working on my knitting.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 7:30 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 20, 2005 7:59 PM EST
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
There we go again
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Ray Parker, Jr.
Topic: Knitting
Stephanie in her bookbookbook2 talks about "IT".

If you've read her book, you know what I'm talking about.

Finally, someone that understands the insanity of what we put ourselves through. And to be honest, a lot of what I've read in her book (which I really am enjoying!) I can identify with. From the wool stashed away in various places in the house to making myself crazy with IT knitting.

My first time "IT" happened was when I stumbled across a yarn store in Northampton back in 1986 I believe. A nurse from the local hospital had opened a little shop for machine knitters, selling the ISM, and coned yarn. It was like heaven to me to walk into there and see all these various colors of yarn and think "Ohhhhh, wouldn't it be nice to have one of those, and one of those and one of those....". So, I talked my father into helping me purchase an ISM. Only, there was a catch. I had to knit hats for each and every one of my cousins that were under the age of 16, which was about 15 kids. So, I set about picking out various colors of yarn, setting up the ISM in the family room and getting to work. Only at that time, I really didn't understand how knitting worked, so there were a lot of dropped stitches at first (which I was able to fix, but lets just say those early ISM's weren't the greatest). I went down to the wire on that one, handing off the last hat to my parents as they packed up the car to spend Christmas at my Grandmother's house while I stayed home to work at my job. Not fun. And did I stop there? Oh no. I went back to that yarn shop and learned how to knit a sweater for myself on that machine. That was an experience I never wanted to repeat. The ISM sits in the basement of my parents house, unused and unloved for 19 years now. Perhaps that is where my fear of sweater knitting started?

Fast forward to Christmas 1997, when I relearned how to hand knit. This time knitting was fun! I had oodles of time with my husband working the night shift and I enjoyed spending my evenings sitting in front of the tv, knitting while I watched my favorite shows. And, being pregnant, I had lots of ideas for what I was going to knit for my bundle of joy. But instead, I decided that I was going to do "IT" again. Only this time, I was knitting for my own nieces and nephews and other family members. Hats and scarves were the projects that year. Three girly girl hats for my nieces, a nice hat for our nephew, a hat for my mother, scarves for my younger brother, father and uncle. I started out with 2 weeks to go. Surely I could get 5 hats and 3 scarves done in 2 weeks working a full time job. Yeah, right. Instead of sending the knitted items with my parents again as they traveled down to my Grandmother's house, I wound up FedEx'ing everything down so that it reached her house on Christmas Eve, with specific instructions for my brother to wrap everything up for me. I was nice enough to wrap up his scarf so that he wouldn't see that. My nephew's hat was finished on Christmas Eve afternoon, just in time for me to take it up to my husband's family Christmas party.

So why am I writing about this now? Because it just occured to me that I'm about to do this again. I have lots of ideas on what I'd like to do for people this Christmas, when I know that they would be just as happy with something that was store bought (especially my kids; after all, is any knitting safe with kids that go to school? Isn't that what the Lost and Found is really all about?).

I'll do it because I love them. And because a little insanity is good around the holidays, isn't it?

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:03 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 4:42 PM EST
What's Cooking?
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Survivor "Eye of the Tiger"
Topic: Food

One thing I love to do is cook. But, I must have enough time to cook, or else I don't get a meal prepared that is really worthy of even having said "I made dinner tonight".

I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and I adore buying cookbooks, especially regional cookbooks from New England, Southern NJ/Eastern PA, and Nebraska/Midwest area.

Having been born in New England, this area really influences my cooking. I love making various seafood dishes, and LOVE fried flounder!

But today, being a rainy day, well, it just struck me as a "soup" day. And one of my favorites is black bean soup, even though it isn't a "regional" food.

Now, my favorite local restaurant for lunch is Panera's. And until a couple of months ago, they had a vegetarian low fat black bean soup on the menu which was to die for! As much as I love Panera's sandwiches, most of the time I would order half a sandwich and a bowl of the black bean soup. Only they changed it. They now offer a Cuban Black Bean soup, which isn't as good IMO.

So, I was forced to scour the net and my vast cookbook selection for a soup that was just as good. And I think that I've finally come up with one. I've taken the 2 basic ingredients from one recipe, and seriously added it. Keep in mind, that this recipe isn't vegetarian, or even low fat, but it's pretty darn good, and I've made two versions of it which I'm happy with. The one I'm sharing today is the Hearty Black Bean Soup. My batch is in the crock pot as we speak, and will be ready for dinner tonight. Yummmmm!

Place into a crockpot the contents of:

2 cans black beans (15 oz. cans)
1 can chicken broth (15 oz. can)
1/2 jar salsa (any brand, any variety depending on what you like)
1 pound of ground beef - browned
1 TBS. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 TBS. oregano
1 tsp. Hungarian Sweet Paprika
1 TBS. lemon juice

Mix together, and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. This allows the flavors to mingle.

Serve with chopped onions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or guacamole. Crushed tortilla chips in the soup is very good too!

For a different variation, leave out the ground beef. Or you can mash the beans from one of the cans to have a thicker soup.

Either way, this is delicious!

Oh, and if you want really good spices, I highly recommend Penzeys. I've only mail ordered spices from them, but they really are the best spices I've ever used. And that Hungarian Sweet Paprika, well, I use that on fried eggs, in my Curried Chicken salad and anything that I think needs a little zip.

Penzey's does have two stores in New England, one in Norwalk, CT and the other in Arlington, MA. I haven't been to either one, as their hours aren't the greatest, and with the price of gas now, it probably costs me less to have things shipped than to drive to either one. But, if I ever get down to either area, I'll be sure to stop in.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 8:23 AM EST
Monday, November 14, 2005
And the color is......
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: Foreigner "Say You Will"
Topic: Knitting


O.k, so I didn't go for a sexy, vibrant color for the Rogue sweater like "Wine", "Raspberry" or "Turquoise". Instead, I went for a classic color and something that is going to look awesome with blue jeans. :)

I swatched up the baby blue Berkshire yarn today. This yarn is so soft against the skin, yet has nice stitch definition. It is 85% wool/15% alpaca.

Here is my sample swatch:

My gauge was right on with my first swatch on a #7 needle.

I'll be casting on tonight. After seeing Heather's post about the Rogue (which hit Bloglines *right* after I finished my swatch!), I knew it was fate and I had to go get the new yarn.

Of course that leaves me with about 130 yards of the baby blue Berkshire and a whole skein of Cascade 220 Quattro in the blue to use for some thing else. Maybe fingerless mittens?

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 6:49 PM EST
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Foreigner "That Was Yesterday"
Topic: A bit of everything
Today I celebrate my 300th blog posting! I've been blogging since April 12, 2004. I've really enjoyed every minute of it, and have met so many bloggers in real life who have turned out to be exceptional people. :)

This showed up on Steph's blog.

You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.

You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

What Advanced Degree Should You Get?

Since I originally wanted to be a professional photographer for sporting events and musical concerts, I'd say this is right. :)

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 4:32 PM EST
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Nature's show of color
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Kool & The Gang "Too Hot"
Topic: A bit of everything

Last week, while pulling out of the Service Center Road in Hamp (those of us that have been around a long time call Northampton "Hamp", the newbies call it "Noho" which makes anyone that has lived here longer than 25 years just cringe) after visiting Webs. These trees struck me as being so beautiful. There was a burning bush on the left side, which didn't show up as vibrant in this photo as it did in real life, but I had to share it with you. We didn't have a particularly "red" autumn. This year was mostly golds and yellows, but these trees were especially pretty.

The only colors that are left now are the deep browns and burgundy's from the oaks, a few yellows on the remaining sugar maples and the deep merlots of the Japanese maples. But it is beautiful still. Fall never ceases to amaze me, in the colors that show up on nature's pallet.

My cold seems to be abating. Maybe the Airborne is working after all, but I'm still not going to further irritate my respiratory system by breathing in a lot of angora fur and shearing the rabbits. They will have to wait another day.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 9:53 AM EST
Friday, November 11, 2005
You know you are nearing the end of warm weather watering when....
Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: Stevie Nicks "Leather and Lace"
Topic: Rabbits

You turn on the hose to fill water bottles by the barn and there are icicles coming out of the hose into the water bottles. :)

Yes, it is that cold outside. But the weather reports on NECN are saying that we should see temps in the upper 60's tomorrow.

I was planning on finishing up shearing today, but I've come down with a cold. A chilled-to-the-bone, shivering, sneezing, when-is-this-going-to-end kind of cold. Not even my Airborne seems to be working. Or if it is, I'd probably feel even worse.

So I'm going to hang out on the couch this afternoon (what is left of it), and sleep.

Maybe if I get really ambitious, I'll make some bunny coats for the rabbits that will be shorn sometime in the next week.

Posted by baycolonyfarm at 4:19 PM EST

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