This Love of the Land

“It will come to you, this love of the land. There’s no gettin’ away from it if you’re Irish.”
-Gone With the Wind

In the next couple weeks, we should be getting our first frost. The garden is pretty sparse and the harvests are getting smaller. Mostly it's baskets of tomatoes. All of the potatoes have been dug up. Beets and turnips should be ready to harvest soon. The summer squash and bean plants have been pulled and are in piles strew throughout the garden. Parsley, lettuce and bean seeds are being gathered and saved for next year. 

This year I had hopeful plans to try a fall garden. Unfortunately, in my inexperience, I started most of my seeds a bit late. (Though, if I had direct sown most of them, I might have done better. I never have good luck with growing anything in trays or containers.) Luckily radishes are quick yielders so I've had the joy of harvesting a few here and there.  My peas are blooming but most likely won't have enough time to produce fruit. Two short rows of kohlrabi are looking taller and leafier but are also racing the clock. As well as collection of scrawny brassicas that won't amount to anything. I've been doing a little research on how to extended my season with row covers and thinking of possibly building a cold frame in some south facing spot. But I'm not pushing myself too hard as I learn to balance things in my life. 

Until the frost hits, I'll continue harvesting tomatoes, radishes and marigolds (for dyeing.) Once it does hit, then I'll harvest my sweetened kale. Finally, the garden needs to be prepped for winter and the garlic planted.

Chicken Diary : Butchering

Two weeks ago, early in the morning, my mother and I dropped our chickens off to be butchered. Later that day we picked them up, individually wrapped in bags, cleaned and ready to go in the freezer. This is not a surprise. It is not out of left field. It was planned from the very beginning. I ordered six male birds that were being raised for meat. Since May, I worried about it. I second guessed it. I even joked about it. But in the end, I went through with it. And last weekend we had some family over to sit down and enjoy a home-raised chicken dinner with us. During this week, the leftovers were turned into much needed chicken soup. 

I wasn't sure what all to go into in this post. The specifics? The ethics? The taste? The emotions? I'll spare you all the mundane details about my diet journey but I will say I spent the bulk of my twenties as a vegetarian (even a few years as a vegan) which only adds to people's varied reactions when learning about what I'm doing now. Some people are confused, others are proud and, yes, some are even humored by it. As of now I'm trying to find a happy place with my dietary choices (both nutritional and ethical) but I'm very grateful for this step, raising and eating happy, healthy chicken.

To transport the birds, we borrowed a crate from a friend who also raises chickens. When picking it up, my Mom and I expressed a little doubt and worry about this whole process. Emotionally, would we be able to handle it? He reminded us that these chickens lived their lives experiencing only one bad day: their last. I feel very confident that I can stand by that statement. I gave them the best life I could. (In fact many people think the chickens here are overly spoiled.) Overall, it was great experience, from start to finish, and I plan to do it again next year but on a larger scale.

(The photos above are from a few weeks ago when we first let them outside to roam around the yard. The remaining birds now go out every evening for a few hours when they aren't as prone to wander too far and I'm around to listen for any trouble.)

Gifting No. 3 - Travel Hat

The next handmade gift in my gifting series is a hat for a woman who has been such an inspiration and encouragement to me over the years. I count myself very lucky to have gotten to know Harmony of Harmony Art. Her passion and dedication to making a better, more beautiful world is contagious and motivating.

I knew I wanted to knit her something and wanted it to be be special. More special than just hand-knit. I thought about dyeing some yarn for her but figured I wouldn't get around to it soon enough. (This was back in June!) So I turned to a dye-hero of mine: Annie Claire. She dyes with natural plants sources as well and uses organic yarn sourced from a small farm in Vermont. I knew it’d be the perfect fit. Originally, I wanted to give the Cabled Dad Hat a go but was have a hard time getting gauge. Then I came across the Travel Hat by Robyn of She Makes Hats. The gauge was right and the fact that the long brim could be left as is for a slouchy look or folded back for a more snug beanie seemed more customizable.

This is the third item I've completed for my Gifting Series, where I try to giveback, in my own little handmade way, to the people in my life that are important to me.

The World

Well, here we are. It's officially Autumn, my favorite season. Soon the leaves will be all ablaze. The air crisp. Cozy, comforting meals in our bellies. As well as mugs of cider and tea. Woolen sweaters wrapped around us as we hike and knit and soak in the golden light. It's a time for us to seek balance, to slow down and express gratitude for all the bounty and harvest of summer as well as set intentions and goals for the upcoming colder months. (Spinning yarn, perhaps!?)

Since getting The Wild Unknown tarot deck back in the spring, I've drawn a card every single day, offering me a daily meditation (as well as a easy way to become more familiar with the meanings.) Daily meditations have always been helpful to me and in the past I've used a Celtic version and a Marian one. Anyway, back in late August and early September I kept pulling 'The World' card. Drawing the same card twice over a short period of time is one thing but after drawing it at least half a dozen times over the course a couple weeks, it became apparent that either I was horrible at shuffling or there was something rather significant to pay attention to. 'The World' is the final card of the Major Arcana, the last stage of the Fool's Journey. Simply put, it signifies "wholeness and completion." I can't say that I'm there yet but I am continually learning more about what makes me happy, what makes me feel whole. Living with the seasons and their wisdom means I've also learned that nothing really ends. Summer and all it's labors might be passing but the rest, contemplation and new joys and challenges of the winter season are ahead. But first, the golden glow of Autumn.

Do feel a wholeness, sense of completion or balance this time of year? What joys did you have this summer? What are you looking forward to or are hoping to accomplish in Autumn and Winter?


Dyeing with Black Walnuts

I've found that black walnuts are an excellent go-to dye. I can always count on them. They are easily foraged for, don't require any mordant and will always give me some shade of brown, from dark chocolate to caramel. The skeins shown above were dyed the same day I did the marigold and red cabbage.

The dark skeins are a merino/silk blend while the lighter skeins are an alpaca/wool blend. The lighter ones were unmordanted, a bit of an afterthought I threw in the pot later. As you can see the one didn't take up the color as evenly as the other. I love these variegated results I've been getting and am looking forward to seeing how it knits up this winter.

PS: Thank you all for following me over to this new space and taking the time to comment! I'm having some trouble getting Bloglovin' to recognize my RSS so I apologize to those of you who follow that way. (Any tips on how to fix it?) As I said earlier, I can only carve out short periods of time for "blog work." Have a great weekend!

Monthly Sock Challenge : 1 of 12

My Monthly Sock Challenge is off to a good start. Right now I'm working on Septmeber's pair and August's is all done and gifted. These Warm and Cozy Socks were made for my Aunt. I wanted a classic pattern that would offer lots of warmth. Since most people aren’t fond of caring for wool or having it against their skin, I went with an acrylic in a lovely blue-gray-lavender (depending on the light.) More project specifics can be found on Ravelry.

I’ve also upgraded the linky to be longer. As you can see, it runs for a full year. I’ll also be embedding it in my monthly post like I am here. As a better incentive, I’m thinking of doing the occasional giveaway, maybe every few months. Entries would be what is submitted in the linky. (Also, your linky submission doesn’t only have to be a finished object post. You can link to blog posts and even Instagram photos where you share photos of your WIP!)

Melissa and Kylie have joined in! Do you want to join us?

Starting Fresh

If you tried visiting the Liesl Made blog at all last week you obviously saw the lovely error message. I was busy working on things behind the scenes (ironically in an effort to make my blogging experience simpler) when something went terribly awry. Every time I tried to fix it I became so thoroughly frustrated that I just walked away and left it. I also read too deep into it and wondered if it was a sign that I should just walk away from blogging all together. (This year has been a tough one and I've been reevaluating a lot in my life.) But I've calmed down and returned to blogging. I still don't know the cause of or how to fix the problem with my old Wordpress blog but I think there is certain freedom in starting fresh. Well, almost fresh. Luckily I managed to import my tutorial and 2014 posts to this space before the old one went down.

As you can also see, Liesl Made is now Buckaloo View, the name of our family farm. Changing the name was just an idea I had been tossing around for a while but since the Liesl Made blog is lost in an internet wormhole, I figured now was as good a time as any to switch. As some of you may remember, before he passed away, my Dad had started up a shop called Buckaloo View where he sold his woodworking. It's not an easy decision to take on the name but I feel it's the best fit. My blog has always been a documentation and celebration of all things 'home.' I'll still be sharing the things I make and do around this place, the adventures I embark on as I try to turn it back into a working farm again. (There is a lot of talk about goats lately!)

My personal life is pretty hectic and emotional right now but I'll work on fixing up what was imported here the best I can in my spare time. In the meantime, I apologize for any broken links or lack of photos. And you may need to subscribe to this new blog rss to continue to get updates.