March 30, 2015

Love is woolly!

My beautiful Teapot is in the forefront. 

All of my beauties!

Sweet, handsome Noble (:

All of my sheep (there are six) are shut up in the barn for the winter, or at least until the ground thaws and we can put up some fencing! They have fared very well, which may have something to do with the special 'hot breakfast' and 'hot supper' I bring them each day. It is a mixture of hay cubes that have been soaked in hot water, sheep grain and sheep mineral, and the occasional leftover apple peels from my oatmeal preparations each morning, all stirred up and served in six individual buckets. They are SPOILED! But really, I would gladly just throw a bale of hay into their pen, but when we moved here I brought all the hay I had; It was enough to last a few months, not an entire winter. Soaked hay cubes are a wonderful second choice, and they do quite love them. Yum yum.

Poor Noble has been separated from the main group for a few months now. His leg was injured somehow and he could put no weight on it and was really struggling to stand up and lay down, so I concocted a makeshift 'rehabilitation pen' that is still within the main sheep pen and where he can still hang out with his buddies all day but where they can't ram him. In the beginning, I trimmed his hooves and gave him St.John's wort tincture to take down inflammation. I then made warm comfrey compresses every second day, packed the herb around his ankle and wrapped it well. I don't know if it helped, but I am so happy that now he seems to have healed nicely. He is no longer limping, and can scoot around quickly and bounce in his pen! I am going to leave him in there until the outside fencing is up, as I don't want to chance him getting rammed again. He is blind in one eye so he doesn't see when another sheep is going to bash into him, and cannot brace himself for the impact, which is likely what caused the leg injury in the first place.

I climb into Noble's pen with him every day and give him lots of hugs and kisses; he is a very affectionate fellow. I want him to feel loved and not so isolated, even though he is cut off from his buddies. He is a trooper. He nearly died after being born in the freezing cold; His mother died after birth and by the time the farmer ventured out the next morning, Noble and his sister were frozen and thought to be dead. She didn't make it, and even though they thought they would lose him too, he just kept going. He couldn't walk for weeks because of nerve damage from frostbite, but he eventually learned even though he is a big gangley and goofy when he ambles along. And though he is blind in one eye and his vision is greatly impaired, he has a great sense of hearing that makes up for it. He is a beautiful soul, gentle and loving and so very trusting of us. I love him. I love all my sheep!

March 25, 2015

More food.

A big jar of yogurt! Now that I have finally found the best recipe for making yogurt, I make a jar full each week or so. We like to mix a bit of honey into it, or use it in smoothies. I cannot tell you how happy I am about this! 

Glorious pumpkin pie! I always make them in twos or fours, as out Jarrahdale pumpkins are so large that just ONE is enough for FOUR pies! Sometimes I make two pies and a huge pot of soup, though. 
We still have five or six of them here in the kitchen ~ Grown in our garden last summer, they have certainly lasted well! The pie recipe has somehow disappeared from the website I found it on (Good thing I scribbled it on a piece of paper and tucked it in my kitchen drawer!), and the gluten free pie crust recipe I found here.

Chicken pot pie ~ Gluten free, of course! Made with our own free range chickens and broth, this is one delicious and healthy meal. Jude was kind enough to help decorate the top by adding a sunshine above my chicken. He quickly made it and snuck it on there when my back was turned (:

A gluten free birthday cake! We drove down to stay with my parents last weekend to celebrate my Mom's birthday, and since her cake was indeed not of the gluten free variety, I baked one just for Jude and Ollie to eat and brought it along. They had a blast decorating it, and it was actually quite yummy!

It's funny, I never liked cooking. I loved to bake and make homemade bread when I first dabbled in the culinary world, but never did I have the patience for more elaborate meals. I am still that way, but with so many mouths to feed, I just have to cook-cook-cook anyway! And the gluten free aspect of our lives really forces me to wake up and get creative! Without the convenience of bread, one must come at meal preparation from an entirely new place but I'm getting there. I look immensely forward to summer when our scrumptious vegetable gardens are working their magic and fresh food tastes good again! I fondly remember Jude and Ollie plucking little tomatoes, cucumbers and cucamelons off of their plants and eating them in the sun.

March 16, 2015

I made these!

Aren't they beautiful!?

I made Lefse, a traditional Norwegian flatbread made from mashed potatoes mixed with flour.
My version was gluten free of course, and much thicker than the traditional sort. We have to be very careful around here as our five year old has celiac, so our home - and life - is free of gluten. These were quite good. Everyone ate them all up! Bella had peanut butter and jam on hers, Ollie had butter, Jason and Jude had almond/cashew butter and jam, and I had almond/cashew butter with super thin apple slices. Next time, we'll go the savory route and try something more like a taco or burrito, or cheese and veggies!

March 14, 2015

winter food

Roasted garlic for soup, gluten free pancakes, pizza, and garlic-parmesan noodles with kale and egg...

Food is so important in the winter, especially when you live deep in the woods and far from any semblance of an actual town, the mountains of snow on either side of your driveway are 6 feet tall and your winter is of the Canadian variety: six months long and ruthless!
I'm not complaining. I really am not. This past winter has been full of newness and blessings, warmth and love. I have fared well, sitting in that rocking chair before the fire with a pile of wool on my lap and a basket of felting supplies beside me, the kiddos playing and playing and playing around me. This house is so warm and wonderful, I am just completely in love with it. 

As for the food aspect of our hibernation, well, once I emerged from that post-traumatic-moving-stress business, I kicked right into baking/cooking mode, and I think we have been doing pretty good. Jason, Jude and I did have a 24-hour flu last week and Bella had one a few weeks back, but the recuperation happened swiftly so I think our immune systems are doing well. We seem to eat a lot of kale, spinach and garlic in the winter, so that is a good thing. I really miss the overwhelming collection of eggs piling up in baskets on the counter from years past - we had all our chickens processed before moving here, as both a means to uncomplicate the move (if that was even possible!) and get ourselves off to a good start with a freezer full of our own free range chickens - and while we will be picking up a new brood of peeping chicks next month - it will still be quite some time until we have those wonderful, delicious eggs again! I think fresh chicken eggs have been one of the truly greatest joys in my life. I pondered this as I walked back from the barn this morning, a bucket in my hand and my fingers covered with lanolin from petting Noble and Teapot, who so love to snuggle once they've finished their breakfast. Apparently I am very simple, and so are my joys! The eggs, and my beautiful sheep. These two things are so wonderful, so miraculous to me in their natural beauty and goodness, that they bring me back to a place of center when I am struggling with my purpose on the planet, my reason for living, how to cope with being such a sensitive being in an overwhelming world...etc etc etc.

March 8, 2015

Late-winter creativity!

I drew a quick collection of our sheep for Ollie to play with. He enjoyed that quite a lot.

Jude made a super awesome comic book! He is such an amazing artist!

Daddy and Jude made apple-head dolls. Here they are drying by the woodstove.

My boy Jude, drawing in the sun.

Making a cardboard room for Ollie to play with.

Same sunny spot, different day. This time Jude is making his own version of a pinata, out of cut paper that has been coloured, decorated and stapled. 

March is an interesting month. We know that spring is soon to arrive, but still the snow falls and the wind blows. Here, it seems that we are faring much better than last winter, likely because we are in a new house. The boys do squabble a bit, but they are doing great considering they are together all day, every day, inside the house. Ollie is 3 and Jude is 5 and a half now, so they are big boys enough to work through their disagreements with a semblance of manners and consideration (-; We do a lot of creative projects, although nothing extremely innovative. Jude keeps himself busy drawing off and on every day; wondrous detailed illustrations of machines, houses, pirate boats and robot costumes. His imagination helps him through any bored moments! Ollie is a really easy going fellow, adapting easily to pretty much anything and entertaining himself for great lengths of time with little more than his own fingers to play with (seriously! He pretends they are little people, police men, pirates, elves, you name it, having adventures and facing perilous situations but always making it out alive in the end!). He isn't artistically creative yet, aside from painting the odd picture here or there, but his imagination keeps him entertained constantly. Small children are amazing, they really are, and I really wish I could be that free and expressive and uninhibited.
So, until the snow breaks and the sun flares warm enough to melt the mountains of snow, we will keep our hands and minds busy by drawing, painting, playing (and sewing and felting for me!). 

March 5, 2015

My favourite!

Aside from the barn chores, the cold winter days have pretty much kept us inside this entire winter.
Mostly, we all fight over the rocking chair that directly faces the wood stove, and when I am lucky enough to claim it, I work away at my needle felting in that cozy, wonderful spot. With tea, of course! Winter does have its perks! 
I actually found the rocking chair in the barn, and it is already quite rickety and well-loved, so we'll be fixing it up in the springtime, but for the time being it is helping all of us to make the most of this extremely frigid winter. Jude draws there, and Isabella knits and reads books there. Ollie asks me to sit there when he is upset, and I will rock and cuddle him until he is his usual cheery self again. I of course indulge in needle felting while sitting in that spot, but I also seem to sit there every morning after the flurry of breakfast has settled to drink my first cup of tea (:

March 1, 2015

New line of Chicken Aprons!

I have designed a new line of Chicken Aprons and they are now for sale in my shop.

Available in small, medium and large sizes, they will fit any chicken (:

Please visit to check out my sets of 3 or five aprons, as well as individual ones!

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