Sunday, December 30, 2012

NYR and Grain Sprouting

Every year one of my New Years Resolutions has the health of my sheep and goat girls in mind. After countless hours of research..this year, I'm getting my feet wet in sprouting grains. Besides the fact that it's Winter and it's our farming slow time, there's also not much of anything green and alive coming out of the ground the time for this project seems to be now.
soaking grains

The goal being good for them and great tasting, while also keeping our grain purchases local and lowering the grain intake of the lactating girls. Lowering their grain intake but not sacrificing nutrition - instead we'll be increasing it. The down side..because everything has a down the WORK. There's soaking and multiple rinsing of grains a day and lots of planning ahead. The grains can and will grow mold if you're not careful. Anything that looks or smells suspicious around here goes to those with the iron stomachs..the chickens. Goats and sheep have the sensitive bellies. So for us, this is a serious undertaking.

the family kitchen / grain mill
While in my research I came across a resourceful site on sprouting grains for livestock Land of Havilah . I'm using some grains they recommend and a similar ration amount. I've also included kelp, chickweed, quinoa, peanuts and some lentils to my sprouting. The grains and herbs that have inspired my mix have mostly been for their health benefits and because I can find it locally (without GMO's). If anyone has any wisdom or inspiration to share on sprouting grains for livestock and humans - I would love to hear them. This is rapidly becoming a new passion in my kitchen!

from Rags to Rugs

If you have some left over fabric laying around or some old sheets or both. You don't want to pitch them out but don't know what to do with them..well here you go. I actually have neither of the above taking up space anywhere so I went to the Goodwill and picked up some sheets for $2 a piece. A big thank you to those that do the donating!
To keep things as simple as possible - my rugs are the no cut type. I rip the material/sheets into strips, the strips are knotted together instead of sown. To eliminate as many knots as I can - when I'm ripping a sheet from top to bottom, I don't rip the strip all the way to the end. Instead I stop ripping about an inch or so from the bottom - flip the sheet over and start with another strip. This way we have a continuous long strip instead of many single strips (hope this makes sense). The strips are then rolled into balls of material and then crocheted. Depending on the width of the strips is what determines the size of the crochet needle I use. But I tend to like the big stitch/braid type look for rugs, so I use a rather large needle. I also have never followed a pattern or instructions of any kind so every rug is unique - in shape, size and color pattern.

strips of material rolled into easy to use balls

completed rag rug
 There apparently is a politically correct face-up side to a rag rug..but of course my side of preference to face-up is considered the under side. After lots of use however..the clean side is my side of preference :) We are discouraged to wash rag rugs - give them a good shake and just flip them over. I have some old rag rugs that are considered antiques and are literally dry rotted, I really shouldn't be using them. But if it doesn't get used doesn't belong. So I use them and absolutely love to sink my toes into them and a bit of history each and every day. There will come a time when washing them is a necessity - so below is a bit of care advice from another rag rug fan. I've also heard laying them in the snow and patting them until the snow is no longer brown is a simple, safe way to clean maybe once a year I'm able to do this for mine. We need more snow! I also line dry my rag rugs and they always have to be reshaped a bit when throwing them back on the floor. I started making rag rugs when I young teen - rugs have always fascinated me. I have several that were made with yarn too, these also have stood the test of time but my favorite by far is still the beautifully unique, repurposed rag rug.
top side of a completed rag rug

under side of a completed rag rug

Rag rugs were popular from about 1890 to 1910.
Influenced by the "Arts and Crafts" movement.
Then during the depression of the 1930's
rag rug making gained interest.
Once again rag rugs are making a come back.
With all the beautiful cotton fabrics available these rugs add
a delightful touch as an accent to any room within your home.
Fabric is cut into strips, tri-fold, ironed, sewn into connected strips
and hand crocheted into a beautiful rug.
Rag rugs are very durable, yet they become softer with each washing.
They can be machine washed on the gentle cycle in cold water
using a mild detergent. (Not much detergent is needed).
When a dark colored rag rug is purchased, it is a good idea to soak the rug
in cold water with a least 1 cup of vinegar within your washing machine in the largest amount of water. (X-Large or large load).
Agitate for about a minute or so.
Then, let your machine do the rest.
Your rug can now go into the clothes dryer on a low setting until almost dry.
Remove and lay flat on top of the dryer or on the floor to finish drying.
You may need to give your rug a tug or two to reshape.
If you see any strings, do not pull, simply snip them with a pair of scissors.

Friday, December 14, 2012

..not just soap sale

Open house Simply Soap Christmas Sale:

When: Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where: the Farm House at 3655 Nutbush Rd Victoria 

Time: 9am-11am

What will be there besides my fabulous milk based bar soap: milk lotions, vegan heirloom creams, sugar scrubs, lip balms, room misters, candles, cedar soap dishes & soap crates, body powder, laundry soap & the debut of my new sheep themed products labeled ShabbySheep, which includes things that are felted. 
Come on out ~ I will have the coffee on!