What To Do With Wool Scraps

Just what do you do with all those wool scraps you end up with between harvests? If you have angora rabbits, you know what I’m talking about. Those short trimmings and grooming brush clumps can be put to good use… by felting them!

It’s so easy a two-year old can do it. And she did. I’ll pass this post on over to Cami so she can give you the low down on her simple felting project.
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Hi guys! I am getting a head start on Christmas gifts for my Grammas (because let’s face it… Grammas can’t get enough of our little kid projects). For this project, you can use any wool scraps, sheared or plucked, as long as they are at least one inch long. My mom got all of my supplies together: a big handful of Thistle’s wool scraps, water, dish soap, and cookie cutters.

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Now take a clump of wool and shove it inside your cookie cutter. My mom made sure I tucked the wool in all the corners. Cram that puppy full, wet it down, then fill it some more.

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Then add a drop or two of dish soap. Watch out because I like to use more dish soap than I really need! But that’s what my mom gets for putting me in charge of dispensing soap.

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All you do next is poke it. You heard me right folks. Poke. It. You can’t really over-do this step. Keep poking it until it feels like it has matted up. If you’re careful, you can even flip it over back into your cookie cutter so that you can poke the other side.

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I’m so cool I can do two at once.

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When you feel that you’re done, carefully rinse the soap out and squish flat to squeeze out the excess water. Let dry and you’re finished!

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Thank you Cami for your wonderful tutorial and great insight into the world of wet felting. I think I will be doing a little border embroidery to embellish these rabbit, butterfly, and star shapes. Then I’ll thread a ribbon through the top and call it good.

Paprika Peppers Are Hot!

You’re going to laugh at me… and that’s okay. I deserve it. Tuesday I decided to slice up and dry these puppies in the dehydrator.

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Those red beauties came from the thriving paprika pepper plants in the garden. Well, here’s what happened:

I thought to myself, “You know Sarah, people wear gloves when slicing jalapeños and other hot peppers… Maybe you should wait and ask Trevor to bring some home before you start this.”

I’m pretty sure this is when the little devil on my shoulder chimed in with “Nah! These paprikas won’t be that hot. If anything, you’ll only feel burning for a few minutes. No biggie! You can tough it out! You have to get these peppers in the dehydrator now Sarah before they are past their prime!”

I think you know what happened. I sliced and de-seeded about a dozen peppers. Without gloves. The burning feeling didn’t hit me until after I washed my hands. Then I realized I really should have listened to my first instinct and just waited for gloves. All I can say is that it felt like my flesh was melting off. And that feeling lasted for over 48-hours.

Note to self: peppers require gloves.

Last of the Honey for 2012

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A few days ago we harvested the last of the honey for the year. It was a disappointing moment for sure, but the bees need the remaining frames to get through winter here. In our area we get anywhere from one to three feet of snow since we are right on the snow line. And we’re not talking about a day or a week of snow… it can be up to three months of snow! One year we even got snowed in to the point where we were snowboarding down our steep driveway and into our field below.

But I digress. Because of our cold winters, the bees need as much honey stored as they can get. Wintertime is all about survival and keeping warm. We only removed four total frames this year for honey and left the rest to the bees. Still, taking two frames this past weekend gave us six pounds of honey! And the frames weren’t completely filled either! Crazy. We immediately put the fresh honey to good use by making sugar-free apple turnovers also utilizing the apples we just picked Saturday. Thanks to the honey, the turnovers tasted sweet and you couldn’t even tell that there was no sugar involved. Yum!

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Did You Notice?

Did you notice that I updated our “Cast of Characters” pictures in the right sidebar? Well I did. Just so you know, such things are tedious, but I do them because they make me feel accomplished. As if sitting at a computer updating rabbit names and thumbnails is really doing something.

In other news, I am working on two guest posts for The Prairie Homestead blog for the month of October. One will be all about raising backyard angora rabbits (because we really do specialize in the wooly creatures here) and the second post is still undecided. Any ideas? I will of course post a blurb and a link to my guest posts over at The Prairie Homestead as soon as they are up.

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In other other news, I bred Dandelion to Obsidian today. I know… I jumped the gun by about a week, but I really couldn’t help myself. One, I have quite a few people on my waiting list for rabbits and two, I really really want to see what colors pop up from this pairing. Exciting stuff! Dandelion should be due to kindle –or give birth– in about 31 days. I set the countdown for her litter at the bottom of the page so you can keep track with us. Just remember that Dandelion isn’t a sure thing. Last spring it took her three tries to finally produce some babies! Keep your fingers crossed.

The last of our fall crops were sewn this morning. Garlic, radishes, leeks, beets, spinach, and more cabbage should be popping up just before our first hard frost next month. Again, keep your fingers crossed.

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Today Apples, Tomorrow the WORLD!

Well, not the world. But tomorrow I will be using our homegrown apples to make apple turnovers. Hopefully enough apple turnovers to freeze and reheat whenever we get the craving for autumn.

Picking apples is no easy feat around here. It involves climbing on the roof, navigating around worms and bird pokes, trimming branches, and lowering the good apples down. Luckily, Trevor doesn’t mind walking around up there because there’s no way I would do it. The trimmed branches were thrown down and we chopped them up into small sticks to fuel the cob oven and to give to the rabbits to chew on. It was actually a real nice way to spend the morning.

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