Archives for July 2011

Sia’s Baby Blanket

This is my new niece Sia on the baby blanket I made for her. I didn’t take any step-by-step photos or anything, or even any finished photos of it before I wrapped it up to give to Marissa & Brooke. They did take some for me after I realized this mistake.

With so little to offer you you’re probably wondering why I’m even bothering to post this. Well, I’m posting it anyway because you can find great step-by-step directions right where I found them; click on The Purl Bee, which is the craft blog for Purl Soho, a terrific sewing, knitting and craft store in SoHo in Manhattan. I even took a rare trip into Manhattan to go to Purl Soho to get the fabric for it, but you can purchase everything on line from their website. They don’t have a lot of fabrics there, but what they have is really unique. I found the most amazingly soft fabric. Certainly not one would think of automatically as “baby blanket fabric”, but I thought it was perfect. I also used the wool batting that the pattern called for (and I got at the store), which was really fluffy and should be much warmer than a fiberfill batting. I did make the quilt slightly smaller than the original directions — I used traditional crib quilt dimensions of  45″ x 60″. I also chose tie down the batting with a french knot rather than the knot and hanging threads they had in their pattern since I thought that would be safer for the baby.

If you are looking for a unique baby gift, or for a throw for yourself for when you’re watching TV (which is what the original pattern is for), you should really try this quilt. I bought fabric to make one for myself. One of these days I’ll actually find the time to make it, too.

Sia Elizabeth

I finally got to meet my new niece, Sia Elizabeth, today. She will be 3 weeks old on Monday.

She has beautiful long feet that are in constant motion

Evan was completely fascinated by her. Evan & Maia were the last grandkids born until Sia, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with babies. He asked me the other day if she was walking yet. I think he thinks they are like baby goats — that they’re walking around a few minutes after birth.

This is her serious face.

Grandma is beside herself with joy and excitement. She couldn't help grabbing kisses and touches.

Any mom knows that adorable hungry mouth face

'm probably not a very good baby photographer for them since I always focus on the abstract, like Grandma Donna playing with Sia's feet when she was holding her.

She’s beautiful. Perfect. I can’t wait until I can spend more time with her.

Inner Tubes

So far it's been a hot, lazy weekend. The dynamics of the house have changed significantly with ALL 3 of my girls away. Evan's kind of bouncing around in all of the emptiness and quiet. I'm trying to get things done. What I'd really like to be doing is inner tubing down Fish Creek in Wilson, Wyoming.

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it immediately. Amanda has been waiting and waiting for me to make this Devil’s Food White-Out Cake, the recipe for which I’ve had open on the kitchen table for about a week now, but she’ll just have to wait.

The original Martha Stewart Recipe was all chocolate. Sprinklebakes added the layer of whipped cream on top, which I thought was a necessary addition, but to give the whipped cream layer more body, I thought to add some Marshmallow Fluff would be key. Because I added the marshmallow fluff, I reduced the sugar in the topping to 1/8 cup. Wow. With the salty peanuts on top! Perfect.

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine

Adapted from, who adapted it from a Martha Stewart recipe. Adapted by Crafty Farm Girl, July, 2011.

12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips, or 12 oz. chocolate, chopped evenly
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups heavy cream – divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cups roasted, salted peanuts
Wax paper or parchment
Baking spray

1. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with baking spray. I used a canola spray.

2. Line the pan with a long piece of waxed or parchment paper. I doubled mine over so it would be strong enough to lift out the terrine without tearing. Make sure there is enough paper to hang over each end of the length of the pan. Press the paper to the sides of the pan allowing the oil to adhere the paper to the sides.

3. In a medium bowl, whip 1 ¼ cups of the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

4. Melt chocolate – you can do this in the microwave at 30 second intervals, or over a double boiler. I used the microwave.

5. Stir peanut butter into the hot melted chocolate until the peanut butter has melted and the mixture is consistent. Let mixture cool slightly.

6. Gently fold together chocolate mixture and whipped cream.

7. Pour into prepared pan.

8. Whip remaining heavy cream, gradually adding the 1/8 cup sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add the 1/2 cup of Marshmallow Fluff and beat until stiff peaks form.

9. Top chocolate layer with sweetened whipped cream. Spread evenly with an off-set spatula. Cover whipped cream with peanuts; gently press them into the whipped cream with your fingertips. Pick up the loaf pan and drop it once on the counter to settle the layers.

10. Wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze for 3 hours.

11. To remove the chocolate loaf from pan, use a dish towel soaked in hot water to warm the sides and bottom of the pan (Note: I did not find this step necessary – mine just lifted out with a slight tug). Lift chocolate loaf out by gently tugging on the wax paper.

12. Peel paper off sides of terrine. Slice about 1 inch thick with a large warm chef’s knife heated up by running it under hot water, wiping the knife clean & re-heating between slices. I garnished mine with some grated chocolate. Plate and serve immediately.

Strawberry Compote

An enormous pot of freshly picked strawberries

I was just doing a rare cruise-around on the internet of some of my old and favorite blogs, and noticed that Molly Wizenberg of Orangette had a lovely piece called You Don’t Forget today about strawberry compote. I could relate so much with this post I just had to put a link to it here. Not only am I a fanatical jam-maker but not a jam-eater, I am crazy about strawberry compote. Yet for some reason, this particular product seems to mystify and confuse most people.

I just thought you might enjoy reading it today. Click here or the link above if you’d like to check it out.

Ground Squirrel in the Fading Light

This ground squirrel up at Lost Creek Ranch in Moose stayed still long enough on this rock for me to get a nice shot of him in the beautiful fading light of the day.

New Chicks

My favorite kind of mail arrived yesterday. While I was anticipating a call in the morning that my chick order had arrived at the post office, the call actually came at 9:30 PM from the next town’s post office, which I guess is a central processing center. Rather than let them sit all night after a hot day of traveling, I decided to run down and get them.

Bullet was SO excited to have new chicks. He loves to inspect them when they arrive and takes his care-taking responsibility very seriously. Somehow he drools and licks his lips, but has never ever hurt a chick, or chicken for that matter. Such a good boy.

Thankfully there was only one dead chick in the box. The last shipment I got there were more, and I had a lot of loss in the first 24 hours as well, so given how hot it had been yesterday I thought that was pretty good, but I was glad I’d gone down to Stamford to pick them up. Obviously I took the dead one out of the box before I took the picture. Poor thing.

I hadn’t really planned on having more chicks this summer, but I’ve experienced so much predator loss that I figured if I didn’t supplement with some new chicks come winter I’d have a pretty thin flock. was having a great offer about a month ago – 25 all female chicks with free shipping for $50.00. That’s a pretty good deal, so I took it.

When you first put them into their pen, you have to dip their beaks into the water dish so they get a drink and know where the water is. It’s amazing to me every time how such a simple thing really does get everything off on the right foot. Soon they were all drinking and eating (they seem to find the food OK once they get the water thing figured out) and warming themselves under the heat lamp.

Now this is the first time IN TEN YEARS I have ever gotten a shipment of chickens in the warmth of summer. Because of that, I have always had a basement full of chicks for a month or so until they are sufficiently feathered out and can safely move to an outside coop. This time was going to be different. I was going to take advantage of the summer warmth and have a chicken free basement! I did put them into a temporary pen last night in the basement simply because I did not feel like working outside at 10:00 last night to get them settled. This morning though I moved them into the small brooder coop. By the end of the day though I had made the decision to move them into my now-empty old chicken coop. So after dinner Evan and I gathered them all up and switched them over. They seem quite happy out there now and when they are ready to go outside this coop will make it easier for them to do.

I have this buff cochin chicken that has been broody in the goat house for about a week now. It’s an odd situation though because she has no eggs under her. Normally when a chicken goes broody she’s not only busy laying her own eggs every day, but she’ll take any of her friends eggs that are willing to donate to the clutch as well. So this oddball has sat out in the goat house for days on nothing. She doesn’t come out to eat, and if you pick her up and bring her outside she gets very upset and goes right back into the goat house. I gave up a few nights ago and just let her sleep in there with Melina and Kate. They don’t seem to mind.

My friend Sue has had some luck in hatching chicks and sticking the just-hatched chicks right under a broody chicken. The chicken accepts the chicks as her own and everyone is happy. I thought I might try it with this chicken and see what happens.

Evan and I each grabbed 3 chicks and we tucked 3 under each wing. At first things seemed to be going pretty good. She kind of adjusted her wings a bit and seemed to be tucking them under her better. We sat quietly watching and waiting.

Then after a few minutes she reached under her wing, grabbed one by the leg with her beak and pulled it out from under her.

Who the heck are you?

and what are you doing under my wing?

Things went downhill from there. She pecked her a bit and we scooped her up to safety. Then she dragged another one out and did the same thing to her.

At first we thought perhaps 6 was too many, as she seemed to settle down a bit with just 4 under her. Then after a bit she did the same thing. Grabbed two more and threw them out.

Where are you all coming from?

And once again, after she got 4 out she seemed to settle down with just 2 under her. No luck. A few minutes later she yanked the last 2 out.


Oh well. It was worth a try.

While I was delighted to find 3 eggs in the new nesting boxes today, the chickens are still completely infatuated with the goat house. The majority of daily eggs can be found in there. This one was in the corner of Grace and Kiki’s stall.

It’s like having an Easter egg hunt every day here at the farm! You just never know where you are going to find one.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the ladies enjoying some free ranging around the yard.

Back on the Farm

Look how big Grace & Kiki got while I was away!

It is hard to believe how big baby goats can grow in just 12 days! Look at grace in that picture; she’s almost as tall as Princess Kate now! I swear I think they bred Cissy to a Gazelle instead of a Nigerian Dwarf goat too, since Grace can jump like you wouldn’t believe.

Everybody seemed genuinely happy to have me back home, and it was nice to see them all waiting at the door as late afternoon approached on Sunday and feeding time was near.

I was excited to find the new egg cartons I’d ordered waiting for me. I designed a label for the carton yesterday so they’ll be all set for sale at Free Range Friday. They are a 6-egg capacity octagonal carton for those people that just don’t use that many eggs.

And lots of progress was made on the goat house and chicken coop while I was gone, which I was very pleased to see. The rubber flooring and the cabinet was installed in the ‘human’ part of the goat house and it looks terrific. The cabinet still needs to be stained and a Formica countertop will be installed.

and the composite decking was installed too. I chose this multi-colored wood color and my father, a carpenter his entire life, thought that it was some fancy imported hardwood, so I guess it really does look pretty good.

Construction of the silo has begun. This and the roof are the last pieces that need to be completed on the two barns.

The fencing is really coming along as well. I wanted them to get a bit more done before I put up pictures though. It’s a really large area that will be fenced in, and I’m so excited to be able to have all of my animals in that large area and not have to worry about the babies wandering into something dangerous.

Now that the inside of the goat house is complete I felt it was time to “move in”. I hung the curtains that I’d found at a bargain price a few months ago, hung up a chalk board so I can write down supplies I need to buy, a clock, and I couldn’t resist the adorable battery-operated paper lanterns I found at Joann’s Crafts today for 70% off.

It’s all so wonderful, outrageous, fanciful and completely over-the-top terrific. My animals have no idea how lucky they are. Although I have to say that sometimes when I’m scratching Princess Kate and she’s looking into my eyes with those gorgeous yellow eyes she has, I think she knows. Remember, she came from a goat meat farm. I’m sure she’d heard stories.

Gazing Longhorn

I love Longhorn cattle. Oddly enough, I saw exactly one longhorn when I was in Texas in March, but I see lots of them in Wyoming. This particular one was in Kelly gazing longingly at the Tetons.

New Linoleum Prints

Lest you think I was just lolling around in Wyoming not doing anything crafty, I’m here to prove you wrong.

As I discovered on my trip home from Wyoming last month, doing linoleum prints while on a plane is a great way to spend time normally spent doing mindless activities into productive crafting time. I left for Wyoming this time prepared with a few linoleum pieces all drawn and ready to cut. If you ever feel like trying this yourself, remember to bring a small baggie to put all of your cutting scraps into so you don’t anger the flight attendants!

Then while I was in Wyoming for essentially 10 days (I’m not counting the two travel days), I did manage to get one done every few days as well. I got one last complicated one done on the plane trip home as well, but I haven’t had time to print it yet.

Angry Rooster

I did this print especially for India. It is of her 3 favorite stuffed animals. I spelled 'musketeers' wrong though - that's what happens when you are drawing at 2 a.m.