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Our Spring/Summer 2015 Collection is HERE!

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity as we prepared to release our new yarns and patterns for the Spring/Summer season.

I know that I am always enthusiastic about the pattern designs that we release, but this collection is actually something extra special. Designer Pam Wynne has created a knitwear collection that pretty much defines the Juniper Moon Farm aesthetic.  And, because Pam is a passionate knitter (like you) the patterns are well-crafted and fun to knit.

I’m going to introduce you to one collection per day, because there is so much here and I want each pattern to get it’s due.

All of these garments are designed using Juniper Moon Farm yarns. (You can find our yarns at your local yarn shop or by using our store locator.) The patterns are available as printed patterns in the same shops and as downloadable PDFs on Ravlery.

First up, The Downtown Collection, knit in Sabine.

Buckham Cardigan

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Clio

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Fenton Dress. Pattern available on Ravelry.

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The Fenton Dress

HOW RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE IS THIS DRESS?!?!?!

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Huron Pullover

This sweater is a wardrobe staple for me. It can be dressed up with a pencil skirt or worn with jeans every day.

If you love these patterns, please help us spread the word by heart-ing and queueing them on Ravelry, and/or pinning them on Pinterest.

All photographs by the brilliant  Caro Sheridan.

Our favorite PITA dinner

It has been a million years since I’ve written a blog post! I would like to say I feel bad about this, but the truth is, I just haven’t had the motivation– or the energy– for doing much but the bare minimum lately. My pregnancy is going fantastically and I have nothing to complain about besides the fact that I’m just tired by the time I finish all the stuff that I have to get done in a day.

Blogging isn’t the only thing in my life that has suffered, though. I have done so little cooking in the last six months that its shameful! We’ve resorted to scrambled eggs for dinner more times than I can count, along with baked potatoes (yes, just baked potatoes by themselves), rotisserie chickens and a whole lot of take-out food. On the rare occasions when I’m home alone for dinner, I can’t even muster that level of cooking- tea and toast are good enough for just me!

So on Sunday, when Mike asked me to make his very favorite dinner, I didn’t have a whole lot of excuses for saying no. In addition to the fact that I’ve been phoning it in for months, Mike has filled the gap in innumerable ways every day, taking over chores that were previously mine and making sure I get plenty of rest. Since he had spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on the nursery (mudding and sanding the walls, painting, putting together furniture, hanging window treatments, building a bookcase, etc.) I figured dinner was the least I could do.

I feel a little bit guilty that I’m sharing this recipe with you all, because the results are delicious and it’s sure to become a favorite with the people you feed. Those people will want you to put this into your regular rotation of meals and the truth is, it’s a total pain in the ass to make. One hundred and ten percent worth all the effort, time in the kitchen and dirty dishes, but a PITA, nevertheless.

Roasted Vegetables with Couscous and Goat Cheese

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Roasted Vegetables with Couscous and Goat Cheese! (This recipe actually originated with Erin, JMF’s very first employee and one of my dearest friends. I will never forgive her for introducing me to it.)

I know what you are thinking. It doesn’t sound like such a big deal to roast some veggies and throw them on top of couscous. But the key to making this amazing dish is in the details, y’all.

Much like my famous Terribly Inconvenient Granola recipe, the key to Roasted Vegetable with Couscous and Goat Cheese is cooking each individual ingredient separately to it’s individual peak of perfection, and then combining them all at the end.

Other than the fact that it takes a lot of time to chop and cook each individual vegetable, leaving your kitchen looking like it’s been pillaged by huns (huns with a deep appreciation of olive oil) it’s a cinch to pull off.

Start by deciding which vegetables you want to include. I like to  do a minimum of eight and I switch some of them up depending on my mood and what’s in season. You can use pretty much anything but I highly recommend including parsnips, mushrooms of some sort, whole heads of garlic and grape tomatoes.  Caramelized onions are a must. This particular day, I added carrots, tiny potatoes, shallots, sweet potatoes  to the mix.

When you are grocery shopping for this dinner, you will need to keep telling yourself that you need more vegetables than you think. People tend to eat a lot more of vegetarian dishes than the do when their is a slab of meat involved. I once served enormous quantities of this dish to a big party at my farm house. I bought a minimum of five pounds of each vegetable, thinking it would be awesome to have leftover the next day to put in omelets. In reality, there wasn’t enough food and I ended up with nothing on my plate but couscous and an onion. For reals. Buy more than you think you need.

When you get home from the market, preheat your oven to 450 degrees immediately. All the veggies will be cooked at the same temperature but for different lengths of time. If you have two oven, thank your lucky stars for all the good fortune you have and preheat them both. I only have one oven but I use my toaster oven as a second.

You are going to need a large bowl, olive or avocado oil, kosher salt and just about every cookie sheet, roasting pan and pyrex dish you own.

Chop each individual vegetable type, keeping in mind that your goal is to create smallish pieces that will cook at the same rate.

With carrots, I cut them in half length-wise and them split the thicker top halves in half again. Same with parsnips. I cheated and bought the cubed sweet potatoes that my grocery stores has in the produce section, which saves a ton of time. I washed and halved crimini mushrooms, trimming just a tiny bit off the stems.

The tiny potatoes I leave whole. Same with the grape tomatoes. After you chop all the carrots, throw them in the large bowl, drizzle them with oil and sprinkle with salt and give them a good toss. (Tongs are great for this.)

When everything is evenly coated, throw them onto a pan and pop them into the oven.  Try not to over crowd your pans, as that will lead to steaming which is not what you want here at all. Steamed vegetables are very hard to get a good brown roast on, so give your veggies some elbow room. Then tackle the parsnips the same way.

For the tiny potatoes, I boil them in salted water until tender before roasting them because otherwise they take forever. Actually, this is why I usually just leave them out.

Keep working through the vegetables, saving the sweet potatoes for last if you are using them. I cook everything for this dish with only oil and salt, with the exception of the sweet potatoes. They also get a half a teaspoon of so of cumin powder thrown in. (By saving them for last, you won’t have to wash your bowl in between the other veggies.) Also, if the sweet potatoes are nicely cubed, they will have one of the shortest cooking time.

With shallots and garlic, leave them whole and unpeeled. Throw them in the bowl with oil and then place them in a baking dish and cover with foil tightly. Into the oven they go.

One absolute essential to making this dish work is caramelized onions. If you are going to leave them out, you may as well skip the whole dish. To caramelize the onions, peel a couple of large onions and cut them in half along the hemisphere (not the equator!) keeping the stem intact. Slice the onion thinly and uniformly into half circles.  Place the onions in a sauté pan over medium heat with a couple teaspoons of oil and cook them slowly until they are brown to dark brown in color. You can’t rush caramelizing onions, but it’s going to take you a while to roast all those veggies, so no worries.

As the vegetables cook on their individual pans, check them from time to time for doneness but try not to open the oven doors too much, as it will slow everything down. You will know they are done when they are nicely burnished and fork-tender. Stuff is going to be coming out of the oven at different times and your faster cooking veggies will have to wait on the slower ones. Don’t fret about that.

When it looks like most of the vegetables are nearing completion, and your caramelized onions are finished, it’s time to start the couscous. Like with the vegetables, make more couscous than you think you’ll need. I usually make two cups of dry couscous for a couple of people and count on having leftovers.

When the couscous is done, fluff it with a fork and then spoon it into the center of a platter. (After going to all this trouble, you really want the wow factor of a platter.) Surround the couscous with various veggies in discrete piles so that your diners can pick and chose what they want. On top of the steaming couscous, place an ample dollop of goat cheese (or Boursin cheese, which takes this dish into the sublime) and scatter everything with the caramelized onions. Encourage your guests to take a big spoonful of the cheese, along with their couscous and vegetables, and to squeeze to some of the roasted garlic onto their plates. (You should probably have more cheese on the table, as people always ask for more.

Voila! You have made an amazingly delicious dinner in only 150 simple steps! Sure it took you three hours to roast all those vegetable but it really is totally worth it.

Some other vegetables I like to use in this dish are:

-roasted asparagus (trim the ends only and roast briefly)

-cubed butternut squash

-pan-charred green beans

-zucchini, slice long and roasted or grilled

- red bell peppers, cut into small strips.

You can use just about anything that will hold up to a hot oven. I’d love to hear what your favorite combos are.

P.S. You deserve a medal for wading through that wall of text. Give yourself an extra piece of dessert tonight.

Chore Day!

I don’t usually sing the praises of warm weather in January; mostly because it’s enough of a tease that it makes those bone-chilling February days seem cruel after the fact.  Today, though, we were lucky enough that it was both a holiday AND the weather was nice enough that we could tackle some more important farm work with Paul home. And BONUS: I had my phone with me so you can see some sweet sheepy noses!

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One of our lambs, Finchley, has been scouring (he has diarrhea), and since they can get super dehydrated, super fast, I’ve been giving him a supplemental bottle of lamb milk.  The dogs absolutely LOVE it.  Here’s Orzo having a bit after Finchley’s evening dose.

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I’ve also discovered that I can’t mix this stuff up in the kitchen if the kitten is around or she will tear me to bits trying to get at it.

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Lamb congregation. They were expecting me to produce their evening food.

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Yeardley and Wimbledon seem to be having a conversation.

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Mabel got moved to the back coop.

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Fairfax is looking sassy.

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Get my good side.

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Fresh bale, delivered into the new shelter……

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….which hopefully can withstand Caramel.

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Check out Perivale’s spotted ears!!!!

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Staunton.

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Perivale.

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Wembley still likes to get all up in your business.

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Suspicious Wimbledon is suspicious.

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We also finally got our Christmas tree out to them, and they dove right in.

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Hannah loooooooves the taste of pine!

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We also got some fresh bedding into the prison coop and discovered an egg had been laid.  Fingers crossed this means we will start seeing some production out of these girls at last! (We’ve been threatening them with the stewpot but they’ve been unphased.)

Now that we’ve had this lovely mid-50′s weather I wonder how long before I’ll be posting super snow pictures!

Winter Work

Now that we’ve finally started seeing some winter-appropriate temperatures we finally ventured out for the weekend motivated to achieve some important farm progress.

It was apparent after last winter that having our water lines partially buried out to the back field was not a great idea; the above ground portions would thaw out in the sun and allow water to flow in the warmest portions of the day, whereas underground saw no benefit whatever from those warm rays. Not wanting a repeat of that this year we dug up the buried hoses and moved them into a different field along with the water troughs. After a long year of wet weather the troughs had begun to sink into the mud, which never seemed to dry or freeze completely. I was sick of the mess, the sheep were sick of the mess, and we were hoping by moving the water we could keep them out of the muddy areas altogether.

After that we decided it was time to install a better shelter against the possibility of freezing rain AND take back the chicken coop that we’d been using as a makeshift lamb shelter.

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There’s plenty of room under there for everyone when they want to get out of the weather – it’s about the same size inside as the run in shelter on Susie’s old barn.  I even put their feed troughs in there. Not that it made any difference at all in yesterday’s monsoon; they would have zero to do with it.  I will probably put their next bale of hay inside both to encourage them to go in and also to help pad the ground a bit with the waste hay.

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We started putting hens from the coop out front into the back one now that it isn’t overrun with goats (there is fencing in front now to keep said goats out!).

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Look at all the room for chicken-related activities! (One of which better be laying eggs, because I’m tired of this egg drought we’ve been having).

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Obviously we will still have to knock off any heavy snow that might come our way, but the pitch of the roof on this shelter will make that far easier than the flat-topped ghetto shelter of years past. Our biggest concern was simply a wind/sun/rain break for them, and I think this will accomplish it marvelously.

Merry Christmas From The Flock!

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We had some holiday fun today.  Not everyone enjoyed it as much as we did, but I think you’ll all like the results!

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Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

Probably something you would like…

10 Tips to Start Living in the Present

10 Toxic People You Shouldn’t Bring With You Into The New Year

A-frozen-lighthouse-near-Lake-Michigan.-The-30-Most-Amazing-Photos-Of-Frozen-Things-In-Honor-Of-The-Coldest-Morning-Of-The-21st-Century

A-frozen-kind-of-depressed-statue.-The-30-Most-Amazing-Photos-Of-Frozen-Things-In-Honor-Of-The-Coldest-Morning-Of-The-21st-Century

The 30 Most Amazing Photos Of Frozen Things You’ll Ever See Actually, there are about 6 or 7 that are amazing, some that are pretty good and a couple that leave you wondering why anyone would publish them, but the ones that are amazing are worth going to see.

This is the trailer for “Addicted to Sheep”, a feature length documentary that I want to see.

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Magical Russian Fairy Tale Photographs. These really know me out!

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Special Delivery: Rare Set Of Elephant Twins Born In South Africa

Best Wedding Photo of 2014

25 Must-See Wedding Photos From 2014. These are all pretty amazing.

What’s making you happy this week?

Oh, you better watch out!

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Come see me in NYC!

I apologize for my prolonged absence from the blog- I came down with a wicked cold a couple of weeks ago, and, being pregnant, I couldn’t take anything for it. It was a pretty brutal two weeks of sore throats, stuffed-up head and exhaustion, but I am feeling much better now and I’m desperately trying to catch up on everything I missed while I was holed up under my comforter.

Before I go any further, I want to be sure and tell you that I will be speaking at Vogue Knitting Live in New York on January 17 in New York City and signing books afterwards. VKLive has turned into a super cool event (think a sheep and wool festival without the sheep.) There are so many amazing teachers and classes, and there is also a great marketplace with lots of vendors. If you can make a weekend of it you really should! But you can also just come hear me speak for the bargain price of $35, if you like.

 

Vogue Knitting Live in NYC

Mike and I are making the trip to NYC for VK Live into a little romantic getaway (I can’t stand the word “baby moon”. Am I the only one?). We’re planning a trip to Mood Fabric and would like to have a couple of knock-out dinners. It’s been 10 years since I lived in Manhattan and my restaurant knowledge is a little rusty.  Do you have any suggestions for really amazing, destination restaurants? Please share!

I am happily past the half-way point in my pregnancy. To be honest with you, the second trimester has been a breeze! More on that next week.

 

 

Probably something you would like…

I don’t know about you, but the last couple of weeks have been emotionally exhausting. I am in dire need of reminding that the world is a wonderful, magical place. Here are a few of the things that are making me happy this week:

 

The Man Who Quit Money: An Interview with Daniel Suelo. Interesting read.

Dishwasher Cooking

Dishwasher Cooking is apparently a thing.

Abandoned Textile Mill

A colourful past: Haunting images of abandoned textile mill show wool still on the looms and stacks of yarn on shelves. Amazing pics.

Van Gogh Inspired Solar Bike Path

Solar-powered Glowing Bike Path in the Netherlands Inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Is there anything making you smile this week? Please share with us here.

A quilt for the baby

I am blessed with a man who is willing to try anything and is good at just about everything he tries. As far as Mike is concerned, so long as there are Youtube videos, her can probably figure it out.

So it was no surprise that when he started sewing clothes for my step-daughter Gabbi last year, he was a much better sewist than I am right out of the box. (His attention to detail is and patience are a lot greater than mine as well.) This week, he decided he wants to make a quilt for our baby’s nursery and this is the one he selected:

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I’m super excited, because I love this quilt and it fits in perfectly with out son-to-be’s room, but there is no way I could possibly have the patience to cut out all those fiddly coast lines! Lucky for me, I don’t have to.

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Mike did task me with picking out the fabric I wanted for the continents. It was much more difficult to put seven prints together than I thought it would be, though. I originally tried using fabrics that sort of represented each continent (i.e. stars/stripes on North America, bold pinks and reds for Asia) but it the fabrics were fighting with each other and it looked too noisy.

 I’ve pulled together five options from our own fabric stash and the local fabric shop. I like them all in different ways but I would love to hear what you think.

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First up is dots of different sizes and colors.

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Next, the blues.

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This one is all bold prints. mostly from the latest Denyse Schmidt collection.

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This is an even bolder collection that I put together from what we have on hand, but it needs to be filled out more.

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Finally, the plaids. I love the gentle colors in this grouping but I think it is too pale to go with the rest of his nursery.

Keep in mind that the water background will be either white or a pale, pale blue.

Help me out, readers! Which collection do you like best with the pattern? Or should I scrap these and start over?

 

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