Early Fall Farm Report

Early fall is upon us (at least in terms of farming and shepherding!).  It’s time to start making lists of all the work that has to be done before the weather turns cold (and dare we say – snowy?).

First on the list was getting the Angora goats sheared.  Their fleeces grow so very fast that they get sheared twice a year, as opposed to the sheep who are sheared only in the spring. Since the summer was so mild there was some concern that the fall would turn cold quickly, so we wanted to get the goats done early enough to grow back just a bit of fleece before we get any chilly temperatures.

Emily came down a few days ago and unfortunately once she set up the skies turned dark and the thunder began.  We whipped through getting them sheared and the fleeces bagged and got no pictures. But I took some this evening after feeding time, though not all the newly-naked ones were cooperative (I’m looking at YOU, Martin and McPhee!).

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Wembley and Margaret (or Sad Margaret, as we call her, since her ears tend to droop down and her fleece covers her eyes in a way that makes her look perpetually morose)

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Miss Hannah. Doesn’t she look velvety with her new ‘do?

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Roquefort, the Silver Fox

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Keswick

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Cassie

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Lucy

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The goats have worked a hole in the fence by the hay.  Not because they don’t already have a fresh hay bale sitting conveniently out in the field or anything.

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Wimbledon

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Monticello

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Fettuccine the Wonderdog

Soon we’ll be cleaning manure out of the field to till into the gardens for next year, scrubbing out the water troughs, winterizing the chicken coops, and setting up a winter pen for the flock.

Right now we are enjoying spending time outside with the flock in these glorious early fall temperatures.  Stay with us awhile, fall!

Probably something you would like…

Labor Day Weekend Pool Party!

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Hope your weekend is as wild as ours!

It’s A Pig’s Life

I’ve been thinking lately that the pigs are really the best animals we’ve got here.  They’re easy, they’re entertaining, they’re friendly, they’re pretty well self-contained, and they eat just about anything.

In addition to the store-bought pig feed they get twice a day, we feed them lots of our kitchen scraps.  Whenever I chop celery, they get the heads and ends.  Those apples gotten a tad too mealy for us to enjoy? The pigs adore them.  Watermelon rinds? Heck yeah!

It’s pretty convenient with our set-up, because I can open the back door and just toss it out to them.  Sure, they have to fight the chickens a bit, but it’s worth it, because those chickens tend to lay their eggs where the pigs like to nest in the shed.

Yes, pigs nest.  There’s a ton of hay in the goat shed that the pigs have burrowed into and made their own, and the chickens love to go in and lay their eggs in there.

The pigs LOVE fresh eggs.

Spoiled rotten, those two!

As they’ve gotten to know me they are vocal in their affections.  They’ll nudge at me and grunt a bit until I reach down and scratch behind their ears (or give them the tops from the carrots we’ve pulled from the garden).  Charley has always been a love, but Churchill took a bit longer to warm up to people.  He’s still stand-offish with new faces.  I feel crazy proud that he’s let me into his affections.

Another thing I’ve come to love is what we call “The Piggy Chorus”.  It happens twice a day.  When they decide it’s high-time to be fed they start singing and squealing for us.  Then, when they’ve spied us headed out with our buckets, they grunt appreciatively.

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Check out the little tusks!  Even though they are neutered, they’ve both grown a small (but impressive!) set of tusks.

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Isn’t Churchill such a handsome boy?

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As for Charley, he tends to develop pig alopeocia every summer. It’s due to how much he likes to roll around in the dirt and mud, and his bristles wear off.  When it first starts he walks around with a pretty bitchin’ mohawk until he manages to rub off that as well.

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Tonight I brought out some little watermelons for them to enjoy; Charley was too busy rooting around for something in the mud.

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Churchill was more than happy to have Charley’s share!

Playing with Color

I am a day late with this and I do apologize! I brought back some kind of respiratory bug from Mexico and I’ve just been dragging since I got home. It’s not bad by any means (trying not to jinx myself here!) but it is definitely sapping my motivation.

Better late than never, though!

Selecting colors and putting them together in color stories is one of the most fun parts of what I do. And it has really changed the way I look at the world! I am literally always scouting for colors, looking  at the way colors work together in nature and studying the colors that people put together when they aren’t thinking about color.

One of the best ways to capture color is with photography and two of my favorite apps for identifying the colors in pictures are myPantone and Adobe Kuler. I use both of them all the time because their functionality is slightly different. Both apps let you import existing photos and take pics on the fly.

 

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With myPantone, when you take or import a picture, the app draw out the color story in the row above it. (The row below can be used to save your favorite colors. I don’t generally use it.)

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The pallets are limited to 5 colors, which is a drag. I would love 10 or 12, which is closer to the number of colors in my color stories.

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The app lets you store up to ten photos and palettes at a time but you can export them easily to email.

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This app may seem expensive at until you realize that I spent nearly $1000 for a Pantone book a couple of years ago! The app is a bargain at $9.99.

The Adobe Kuler app is free but specifies colors in RGB numbers rather than Pantone numbers, which makes it less functional for me.

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As in the myPantone app, you are limited to a five color palette, but the cool thing about this app is that you can hand pick the location in the photo you want the color drawn from. The little dots that you see in the picture move around on their own and you tell them where to stop, and you can also drag them to where you want them.

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In the examples above and below, I’ve moved the dots around to get the palettes I want from the picture.

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This app also doesn’t store the reference picture with your palette, which is kind of a bummer.

Both apps give you the ability to tweak the colors and pallets, and have features like complimentary, monochromatic, triad and other palettes based on the one you created.

For more color inspiration, be sure to check out Design Seeds. Jessica creates all her palettes by hand and by eye without the use of software and they are amazing.

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Modern Country Knits is Coming!

10277411_10204167108195715_5419423139784895054_nWhile I was in Mexico earlier this month, I received the final proofs of my new book for approval and just before I came back, I got a sneak peek at the cover.

I am not sure adequately describe my reaction when I opened the email and saw the cover. It was all suddenly very real, and felt so much more professional that I was expecting. I’m not articulating this well at all, I suspect, but my first thought was how legitimate and book-like it looked. Isn’t  that odd?

The book will be available on November 4th and it’s full of patterns by some incredibly talented designers. Mostly gorgeous new designs but also a few of our “greatest hits”, if you will. The patterns that I felt best epitomize the Juniper Moon Farm style. I was just stupid lucky to get to work with all these geniuses!

I was also lucky in that so many lovely people pitched in to help with this book. I hope everyone who had a part in it is as proud of it as I am.

 

 

Tune in tomorrow for a rundown of the way I pulled colors from my vacation pics.

The Caribbean Blues

I spent the last two weeks in Mexico, partly because I felt like I needed a creative battery recharge. When I feel like I am completely tapped out, I’ve found that a complete change of scenery and culture is the fastest way to get my mind working in interesting ways again. Plus we got a screaming deal on place tickets and lodging,  win/win!

I am always surprised by the color of the ocean in the Caribbean.

It’s just so impossibly blue!

I was so fascinated by the way the color changed throughout the day  based on the weather and the position of the sun.

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I decided to make a study of all the kinds of blues I saw. I took pictures of the water at just about every time of day.

Then I pulled the colors out of each photo so I could look at them more closely.  The variety of the hues is really quite amazing.Theme 17

All of these color are extracted directly from a photo of the water. I’ve done no manipulation at all. (The occasionally tans and grays you see are the colors of the sand or the foam on breaking waves.)Caribbean Theme 15 Theme 18

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This little experiment has really changed the way I think about the colors all around us. I’m sure you’ll see it’s influences in our upcoming yarn lines!

This Evening in Pictures

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The Gift of Sleep

Not too long ago I got pretty sick.  That’s probably a bit of an understatement, actually. I was really, really sick for almost a year.  Then I got some better doctors who figured out why I was sick and what I needed to do to get better.

Besides some amazing and horrible drugs, my rheumatologist prescribed a number of lifestyle changes that she said were just as important. Number on on that list was getting as much sleep as possible. “If you can sleep till noon, then sleep till noon,” she said.

I can’t adequately explain how important those words have been in my life.  For the better part of a decade I had been plagued with insomnia, and sometime didn’t get to sleep until three, four, five in the morning.  The only way I could function at all was to sleep until 10 or 11 a.m., and that wasn’t nearly enough sleep for me to perform well.

But here’s the thing– I felt incredibly guilty every time I slept past 7 a.m. It was something that was ingrained in me since I was a teenager, this idea that it was sort of immoral to sleep late. Sleeping in was equated with laziness in my family.

So, when my doctor told me that getting as much sleep as possible was as important to my recovery as the chemotherapy drugs she prescribed, it was like someone had given me an incredible gift! I had be given permission- no!- I had been given an order to sleep anytime I could. There was no longer a moral component attached to napping. It was so liberating.

And, almost immediately, my insomnia went away. I think that was because my brain was no longer under pressure to get to sleep ASAP so that I could start tomorrow on time.

Today, I make it a project to try to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every single night.  Some nights I get ten, and on rare occasions I sleep for 12.  And if I find myself getting sleepy at 2 in the afternoon, I take a nap.

In spite of all that time spent snoozing, I am more productive than I’ve ever been. It’s amazing what being well rested does for your ability to function and be creative!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you get enough sleep? And do you think there’s something immoral about sleeping late or napping? Let’s discuss.

 

Surprise! We’ve re-decorated!

Lately, I’ve been making all kinds of changes. Setting new goals and boundaries. Drawing a hard line between my personal life and my work. Re-prioritizing my time and the amount of headspace I allocate to my business and my family.

I thought all of that work would be exhausting but, honestly? It’s been completely inspiring! I am more excited than I’ve ever been about Juniper Moon Farm and the things we are planning for the future.

All these changes seemed to call for a fresh new home for JMF on the internet and this is it!

The site is still a work in progress. We will be unveiling a new shop in the next 24 hours that is easier to use and more functional and we’ll be refining the site design, adding more pictures and stuff, but the main architecture is in place and I love it!

I hope you like it too!

There are good things to come, my friends. Very good things.

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