When someone is *even better* in real life than you could have wished for…

Sheep Stash: wooden fiber animals rating money for Heifer International, with free patterns by Susan B. Anderson

Last week, I sent a few sets of wooden sheep and alpacas to several of my “famous” knitwear designer friends and yarn makers to see if they would dress them up to help us promote them. They have been appearing on Facebook this week, and Susan B. Anderson just took this game to another level. She made sweaters for her animals, and if that wasn’t amazing enough, today she published free patterns so you can make them too!


I gave a speech in NYC a couple of months ago and one of the slides I showed was, “People will help you, if you ask them.” I am so grateful that I stepped out of my comfort zone to ask busy, important people to help us with this project. And I am even more grateful with their response.

You can get your own set of sheep, alpaca, goats, llamas and bunnies in our pop-up sheep shop.

More Fun with Sheep Stash

Today’s project is easy peasy!

Sheep Stash

I painted these Sheep Stash pals with two coats of chalkboard paint (available in the craft paint section at Michael’s) and then glue a magnet to the backs. (The magnets were in the jewelry section at my Michael’s, but you can also “harvest” some magnets from your fridge.)


Gabbi loves giving the sheep different colored fleeces with chalk and the “shearing” them with an eraser and starting over.

Get your sheep and alpacas while they last here!

Everyone in my house has been down with what I now think may have been the flu for nearly two weeks. That plus all this shipping is wearing us out so we may bring the Sheep Stash fundraiser to an end on December 1st instead of the 15th. I’ll let you know.

Sheep Stash- Part Two

As promised, I’m back today with some cool ideas for things to do with our Sheep Stash sheep and alpacas besides decorating your Christmas tree. This weekend was super fun for me because I got to go to the craft store and go wild!


Everything is better with glitter, right?


For my first project, I want to make a winter wonderland inspired wreath using some gorgeous handspun yarn that I’ve had in my stash for years. This skein is absolutely lovely- soft and with an incredible sheen- but at only 105 yards, I never came up with  a project for it.

Sheep Stash is a great way to actually use some of those lovely “art skeins” you bought because you loved them but haven’t used yet. And you get to see and appreciate the yarn every day.


First, I spray painted my sheep and alpacas. I did some in metallic silver and some in white. I also spray painted a grapevine wreath from Michael’s silver.


Then I wrapped the animals in the handspun.

All that was left was to attach the sheep to the wreath. You can use a glue gun if you want the sheep to be on the wreath semi-permanently or you can use twist ties like these:


I found these in the cake decorating section at Michael’s. By running them under the yarn I was able to attach the sheep and it will be a snap to remove them and change the yarn if I want to do a different color next year.




Sheep Stash!

The finished wreath! I was super happy with it and it only took a couple of hours from start to finish.

Next up, another wreath, but this one is yarn-less.

Once again I spray painted a grapevine wreath, but white this time.


Then is was glitter time! (I thought these glitter trays were silly at first but they were actually really useful. You use a separate tray for each glitter color and then you can use that little spout in the upper right corner to pour the overage back into the bottle. Genius! Also from Michael’s in the Martha Stewart section.)


This is the shade of blue glitter I used. It’s called Crystal Mint (I thought it said Crystal Meth the first time I read it!) but it looks like a wintery blue to me!

For the other sheep I used a silver glitter and a white.

I bought the Martha Stewart Glitter Glue but Elmer’s and a paint brush would work just as well, I think.


I didn’t have yarn to hide the twist ties on this year so these guys are glue gunned to the wreath itself.


If you haven’t ordered you Sheep Stash yet, get on it! We will only be selling them from now through 12/15 (or when my husband collapses from making sheep all night, every night, whichever comes first.)

If you are going to Michael’s for supplies for these or any other project, don’t forget your coupon like I always do. This week’s coupon is 25% off your entire purchase (including sale items). Just put your zip code in here and it will take you to the coupon page.

A portion of your purchase price will go to Heifer International to buy real live sheep to help lift families out of poverty. In past years we’ve donated between $1500-$2000- this year our goal is $3000!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more ideas for decorating your sheep! In the meantime, we’d love to see yours. Please post your pics on our Facebook page.

DIY Sheep, Revised

Sheep Stash by Juniper Moon Farm
A couple of years ago, I did a blog post about some really cool DIY sheep ornaments I made for my Christmas tree.  I cut realistic sheep shapes out of wood and wrapped them in scrap yarn from my stash. The results were so lovely and rustic that I ended up making a who bunch more to use as gift tags for my handmade gifts.  It was one of our most popular, most Pinned post of all time.

I also get tons of emails every week from people who don’t have the tools or the skills to cut their own own sheep out of wood, and are looking for a source for realistic wooden sheep cutouts.

Sheep Stash by Juniper Moon Farm

I found a few sources for good wooden sheep but no matter how often I updated the post, the emails still come when the suppliers I linked to sold out.

So my amazing, adorable husband volunteered to become my sheep supplier. He can do just about anything and he always exceeds my expectations. For example, I gave him the outline of one sheep to use as a template; he came up with the other two on his own.


Sheep Stash by Juniper Moon Farm

Our adult ewe sheep has been joined by a yearling and a tiny lamb! Aren’t they the cutest?

Sheep Stash by Juniper Moon Farm


And for the alpaca lovers…

[We are temporarily backorder on alpacas.]


You can use any kind of yarn to wrap your sheep and alpacas.


I wrapped this one using a self-striping yarn. You just have to pay attention to the color changes if you want to make stripes. (A dab of glue from a glue gun can help keep everything in place if you’re anxious but it’s definitely not necessary.)


Here’s another example of variegated yarn. I didn’t try to keep the stripes together on this one.

Here’s the best part:

This year, we will be donating a portion of the profits from the sale of Sheep Stash to Heifer International, to continue or long tradition of donating livestock to help lift families out of hunger and poverty. In previous years, we have raised enough money to purchase 6 sheep, 2 goats, 2 pigs, 2 hives of honey bees and several flocks of geese, ducks and chickens. It’s one of the most rewarding things we do here at JMF and it’s a tradition I hope to keep up for years to come.

To purchase your very own set of Sheep Stash Sheep, visit our etsy shop. You can also make a purchase directly through our Facebook page.

I’ll post the total of our donation to Heifer International when all is said and done.

Oh, one more thing– I would love to see your Sheep Stash once you wrap them! Please post them to our Facebook page so we can all be inspired.

Garlic Soup for a Vampire-Free Halloween

Everyone in my house is sick with a nasty cold. Mike is miserable. Scout is miserable-r. And I may be the miserable-ist, although exactly who is the sickest is always a hotly debated topic around here.

Today, I grew tired of wallowing in my stuffy nose misery and decided to take matters into my own hands by making Garlic Soup. I don’t know that actually believe in the healing powers of garlic but I figure I don’t have to believe for it to work, right? And since Halloween is just around the corner, I’m sharing the recipe with all of you lucky healthy people.




You’ll need four or five heads of garlic for this soup. When buying garlic, look for heads that are firm and tight.


Separate the heads of garlic into cloves, but there’s no need to peel them Plonk them into a baking dish with a couple springs of thyme and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (around 180 Celsius) for one hour or until soft, but not brown.



Carefully remove the foil and allow the garlic to cool for about 20 minutes.


When the garlic is cool to the touch, squeeze the pulp into a medium pot, discarding the paper peels. This is the fiddliest part of this recipe and also the messiest. You will surely have roasted garlic all over your hands before your done! Just keep telling yourself how amazing this soup is going to taste.


Once you’ve finished squishing and washed your hands, use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash all the garlic cloves into a smooth paste.


Now throw a bit of flour onto the garlic paste- about 2 teaspoons- and stir thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the garlic. It’s really important to get all the flour into the garlic before proceeding to the next step.



Now for the liquid. You’ll need four cups of stock, either chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade but good quality store bought will do just fine if it’s all you have. If you do use boxed, adding a heaping teaspoon of Better than Bouillon  will perk it up.

Using a whisk, slowly incorporate the stock into the garlic-flour paste, then set over a medium-high burner. Allow the soup to simmer and thicken for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from heat and stir in a good squeeze of fresh lemon. The lemon with brighten the soup immensely.


The Essence of Autumn

Although it’s hard to tell here in Virginia, Autumn has officially arrived! In an effort to jump start my favorite season, I decide to bake something pumpkiny a few days ago. My first thought was pumpkin muffins, but– let’s face it– a pumpkin muffin is really just a cupcake without icing. I decided that it would be hypocritical of me to make cupcakes and call them muffins, so I started searching the internet for pumpkin recipes.


I googled pumpkin + cake + easy, because I have a five-month-old excuse not to engage in anything too difficult/cerebral/time consuming. I was looking for a seasonal version of the classic Southern Wine Cake that your aunt used to make if you grew up where I did. (I have two aunts that make it. My Aunt Cricket makes the classic version but Aunt Shirley is a strict Southern Baptist so she substitutes white grape juice for the wine. We call her’s Baptist Cake.  Both are really good but Aunt Cricket’s might just barely have the edge.)


Nothing I found was exactly what I was looking for, so I did a bit of combining of recipes, some improvising and threw in a tried and true hook that I was sure would throw this cake over the top. The result was magical. So good that my husband and step-daughter said it was the best thing I’ve ever cooked. (I went to culinary school and I don’t happen to believe this was true, but still.) So good that we devoured it before I could take a picture. So good that I decided I need to make another one to refine the recipe and photograph it. This cake is as easy as it gets. If you can pour something from one vessel to another, you’ve got this knocked. There is one step that is time consuming but it’s the most important part, so I urge to you to give this a go. And it’s not hands-on time consuming. It just takes a bit of planning.


Autumnal Equinox Cake

Autumnal Equinox Cake


1 gallon apple cider (Yes. 1 whole gallon)

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

2 or 3 cloves (optional)

1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar with a tablespoon of cinnamon mixed into it)

1 box Spice Cake Mix* (Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker will do nicely)

1  15 ounce can of pumpkin

4 eggs

1/3 cup melted butter or canola oil

1/3 cup greek yogurt (unflavored, of course)

2/3 cup sugar


Pour the entire gallon of apple cider into a large pot and add the cinnamon stick and cloves if you are using them. Bring to boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and then find something to do of the next hour or so. (Your house will smell heavenly during this process, BTW.) When the gallon of apple cider has reduced to about two cups, it’s done. The apple cider reduction will be syrupy, although it may be hard to tell until you allow it to cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves and set aside. Pat yourself on the back– you just made liquid gold.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Grease a Bundt cake pan with cooking spray and “flour” the pan with the cinnamon sugar, tapping to coat the pan and discarding any excess.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the remaining ingredients plus 1/4 cup of the apple cider syrup you just made. Mix slowly until combined and then on medium high for a couple of minutes.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake at 350 until done. (In my convection oven, this took about 50 minutes, but every oven is different so start testing for doneness at about 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Carefully pour 1/4 cup of apple cider syrup over the cake while it’s still hot and in the pan. Wait about 30 minutes for the cake to cool, the ever so carefully invert the pan onto a cake round or large plate. Now pour another 1/4 cup of apple cider syrup over the top of the cake as evenly as you can.


Serve with whipped cream, because if you’re going to eat all that cake, why act all high and mighty when it comes to what is essentially a garnish? Drizzle with yet more apple cider syrup and devour the essences of Autumn.

Store any remaining apple cider syrup in a tight jar and store in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for however long you freeze stuff. For ideas on how to use it, see this post, but definitely try it on salmon.

* Once, many moons ago, I did a post about making chicken soup for a house full of people while we were all sick with a nasty cold. In that post, I conceded that homemade chicken stock was always preferable to boxed broth but admitted that we were so sick and so short on time that I was using the boxed. Not long afterwards, I noticed we were getting thousands of hits that were coming from a famous (actually notorious might be a better word) website. I clicked the link and found that someone had posted a link to my soup recipe and the entire forum was outraged (OUTRAGED, I TELL YOU!) because anyone who cares about food would never use boxed chicken broth. Anyone with the slightest taste would rather go hungry than use it, in fact. It was actually pretty funny, now that I think about it, that total strangers were ready to burn me in effigy because I made soup in my own house for my own friends with an ingredient that they didn’t approve of. It’s a funny world we live in these days.

Anywho, I say all of this to say, I get it. Boxed cake mix is the WORST. You would never DREAM of stooping so low as to feed your family boxed cake mix! How could you possible inflict such a plebeian and base concoction on the refine and sensitive palates of your family?!? I should be locked up for even suggesting such a thing, etc. etc.  I wish you peace and send you on your way.

Meanwhile, I’ll be here eating cake.

Summer’s Sunday

I’ve been seeing a meme on both Facebook and Pinerest lately about how August is summer’s Sunday, and I quite like it.  It’s appropriate this year, given the changes I’m already seeing.

Though, to be fair, it isn’t always like this.  This summer (and last, too) was pretty mild.  In Augusts past we’ve had brutal days and nights where it’s still 90 degrees at 10:00 at night. Now may days are bracketed by farm chores completed in downright comfortable temperatures.  Three years ago I had to be out by 8 am to beat the awful oppressiveness of it. Evenings I would just sweat through it.

But these last few……..

It’s been perfect.  My friend Lisa and I agree that we can put up with frigid “polar vortex” type winters if it means we can have these summers.



The stream is totally overgrown, but it’s a lot of wildflowers and color.  It’s so difficult to properly photograph.


See that wild morning glory in there? It’s that time!



Alabama, in our pasture wasteland.  The grass (not that we had much to begin with) is all gone for the year.


Happy Sabine.


Roquefort is so “majephtic”.


Sweet Keswick




Basil, who has never lost his cuddliness.



Chicken watering hole.

Our curriculum for the school year is submitted, plans for share dyeing are in the works, Emily the shearer has been contacted about shearing the Angora goats. Our first tentative steps toward fall have been taken.

Scenes From the Farm, Mid-Summer















Where have three months gone?

Scout and I have been having a fantastic time getting to know each other.  He is– bar none– the happiest baby I have ever encountered.  From the moment he wakes up until he goes to sleep at night he is all smiles and laughs.





IMG_2100\ \IMG_2111

More soon…

Introducing Scout

The last two weeks have been such a whirlwind of change that I completely forgot to update the blog until Fran mentioned our newest lamb in the comments of Amy’s last post. It’s so hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks and one day since Scout Thomas arrived, two weeks early thanks to a wicked and fast acting case of pre-eclampsia. We are completely, utterly, hopelessly in love and nothing will ever be the same again. 11037180_10206053626837502_9028858308409763832_n For those of you keeping score at home, Scout weighed 8 lbs 1.5 ozs, was 19 inches long and was born very suddenly at 9:05 p.m. on April 13th. IMG_0131 IMG_0155 IMG_0221 IMG_0315 IMG_0318 IMG_0333 IMG_0337 IMG_0364 IMG_0385

Mom, Dad, big sister and baby are all doing well– exhausted but very happy.

More as soon as I figure out how to juggle all this.


« Older posts

© 2015 Juniper Moon Farm

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑