Do you have a passion for making things entirely by hand or appreciate it in other people? In my teens and twenties, I got a thrill out of being my own mechanic on my old '75 Mustang. Yep, I've changed a few water pumps and brake pads. I have sewn every stitch of handmade rag dolls with a needle and thread (no machine stitching), and I prefer to cook from scratch. Isn't it much more rewarding to gather family and friends to put in fence posts, and raise barns? So naturally for me, prepping the fleece, learning to spin, and then making things from the alpacas' luscious fiber is my idea of happiness! -Kaylen

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sharing a Great Find: Kevin & Amanda

A blog I really like has just posted an awesome recipe for Crispy Shrimp Pasta with gorgeous pictures and easy instructions.  I'm drooling and I know you will be, too.

Kevin & Amanda have so many fun categories to explore, and I bet Miley and Howie will become fast favorites of yours.  You'll have to visit to see who these wonderful little lovebugs are!  I'll warn you...they are adorably addicting!  :)

I love when I find a good blog and I just HAD to share.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nectar Recipe and Hummingbird Migration

This is a little friend I rescued last summer.  Remember all of our garage visitors?  Snakes and toads, oh my!

The first 2011 hummingbird sighting in our state was reported yesterday.  Time to get the feeders out!  If you don't remember how to make your own nectar, here is the recipe I use:

  • Boil 2 cups of water for a few minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Let it cool and fill the feeder.
      Basically: 4 parts water / 1 part sugar

Check out this neat site for migration maps or become a citizen scientist!

Which kind of hummingbird is in your area?  We only see Ruby-throated  here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Cow Says Mooove, a 'Paca Says Squeak

I woke up early for the second time this morning to a loud ruckus in the pasture.  I made it to the fence with my camera just in time to catch the big one on the hill bellowing and my fellas scampering away at the noise!  (Ha!  That shows you where my priorities are... Catch the shot for my friends first THEN address the situation)

I don't think they've seen our neighbor's cows before.  He usually keeps them in another part of his property.

It did make me laugh, but I'll have to check the direction of runoff and any potential viral problems this might cause.  I might have to move the boys to another pasture for a little while.

You might have picked up on my first sentence.  That the cows were the second morning wake-up call.  The first one was when Little Missy came diving under the covers, having a fit because a mouse was in her room and sounded very loud and really big!  THAT ended up being the 'paca boys neck wrestling in the wee hours.  I guess their squealing might sound like a squeak to sleepy little ears.

Between moos and "squeaks" I am one tired girl.  I'm feeling a need for a nap, but I have my priorities straight...share my goofy life with my friends first, THEN catch some zzzzzzzzs!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wearin' of the Green

These just make you smile!  I LOVE making these baby slippers. 

I made these based on a Mon Petit Violon pattern.  If you like to crochet, here is Vita's facebook page: Crochet Patterns by Mon Petit Violon 

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate and Mint Grasshopper Pie

How about Grasshopper Pie for St. Patty's Day?

Here is Eagle Brand's easy version: (obviously this is a quicky not-from-scratch style recipe, but it IS last minute)  :)


  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 to 4 drops green food coloring
  • 16 fudge mint cookies, coarsely crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (6 oz.) prepared chocolate crumb pie crust


  • BEAT cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy in large bowl; gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  • STIR in peppermint extract, food coloring and crushed cookies. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust.
  • CHILL at least 3 hours. Garnish as desired. Serve chilled.
  • Top with chocolate shavings, additional cookie pieces or mint leaves.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Overseeding From Missy's Point of View

Dear Friend,

Boy, do I have a tale to tell.  I was enjoying my afternoon in the front pasture when all of the sudden Mr. C  came  toward us with some odd looking contraption.  It moved FAST.  A lot faster than when he walks on his feet coming at us with those long white herding poles.

We had to move quickly to get out of the way.

I don't know what the heck that thing was on the back, but it scratched up the dirt pretty good as it passed.

We decided it was best to just get on out of there!

The next thing we knew the whole family was out tossing seed everywhere.  Whew!  I thought they had a new herding technique.  Excuse me...  I think I found a little something green here.  

I sure hope the yummy spring grass comes up soon!  Drop me a line from your pasture!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Homemade Glass Cleaner

With the flurry of spring cleaning looming, I thought I'd share my favorite homemade glass cleaner. I watched my mom use vinegar and newspaper growing up, so it was easy for me to grasp  the concept that I didn't need anything blue or fancy and I likely had the ingredients already on hand to make something suitable.  

Here is the recipe I think works best.

1 cup of water
1 cup of isopropyl alcohol 
1 tablespoon of white vinegar

That's it.  

Just put it in a spray bottle.

I haven't tried to make laundry detergent yet but the blog  Home Sweet Farm has a recipe for it, so I might be giving it a go soon.  

Another resource for homemade substitutions is  They have a great list of green solutions and ideas.

If you have one you like, please share!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Donkey Otie

This is as close as I could get today to show you Otie, the donkey that lives across the street.  I don't really know what his name is but I call him Donkey Otie.  Get it?  Say it fast.  (Don Quixote)  He is the spotted one.

There are four donkeys in the pasture.   They are so cute!  I've heard some people use them as guard animals for other livestock because donkeys really dislike dogs and coyotes and will run them out of the area for you.  Here is a fun story about one person's experience  in Grit Magazine.  "Sweet Pet Gives a Mean Kick"

There are many things to consider before choosing a donkey and I'm not convinced guarding alpacas is a good mix but some people have had success.  A friend of mine has one and he wanted all of my attention for himself when I visited recently.  If my eyes and hands wandered to another animal, he would nibble and grab my clothes with his teeth until I came back around to only having eyes for him!  What a hoot!

I'd love to read stories about anyone that has donkeys or different types of guard animals.  I hear geese are good alarm systems!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Feeding Time Story

I'll give you a hint.  This is how it ends.

I went out to feed the alpacas yesterday and took my camera along.  Alpacas and llamas mostly eat grass and hay, but we give them supplements in the form of grain to give them some additional nutrients.  

Smoke made it to the fence first.  He is the guard llama currently in charge of the girls' pasture.  He is curious about something.  See how alert he is?

It's Lucy.  She always follows me out and snags the tidbits that make it through the fence.  Smoke and Sabrina are making sure she stays on her side.

I have to tell you Smoke has a bit of a personal problem.  You can count on him to pass gas when he moves too quickly.  Of course this always gets a giggle from any bystanders. Out of the other end comes grassy, green spit.  Here he is about to tag one of the girls who is intruding on his feeding space.  I think he has given fair warning to get out of the way, don't you?

Due to recent storms it is very, very muddy here.  Our property is hilly, too, so it is a bit tricky getting around right now.  (Aha!  You can see where this is going can't you?)  With shearing time coming soon we moved the boys to higher ground hoping to keep them drier and cleaner.

After navigating a sea of squishy sludge I made it to the far side.  Ringo is standing tall and proud today in spite of his dirty self.  He does not have the same gas problem as his brother but he is the class clown.  Remember the nose-to-nose picture I captured when Missy was born and when he took my sun hat right off my head?  I don't know if all llamas are like this, but Ringo and Smoke are big goofs!

Everyone was wet and sloppy so no cute fuzzy pics today....but here's Teddy fussing over his space, too.

This is when I decided to head back to the house...turned... and slippity-slurp... down into the mud I went!  Yep..this is me....sitting on my fanny in the muck.  As you can tell, I rescued the camera. 

Smoke thinks I'M the big goof!