Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Cranky

Do you know what a cranky is???  I have to admit that I was not familiar with that term before The Best of the Valley Quilt Show last Sunday.

I have SEEN them, but I had no idea what to call them...

What am I talking about you ask???

A cranky is what collectors call a pre-electricity vintage hand crank sewing machine like this one.

I LOVE vintage sewing machines.  I have a featherweight, a treadle, and a few toy sewing machines too.  I have always wanted a non-electric machine that I could actually use if we ever went off-grid (a future goal).  I am not coordinated enough to move the treadle pedal with my foot and sew a straight line though.

At the show we met vendors Ginger and Mike of SewCranky and their wonderful working antique machines.

There were several brands and models.  We saw the familiar American brand Singer, a few British brands, and even a few German machines.  (These machines were all imported from the UK)

Back in the days before in-home electricity, these portable hand crank machines were more affordable and more common than big bulky treadles for rural people.  I imagine that the cost of transportation for a big, heavy cast iron treadle influenced this fact.

The crankies were remarkably EASY to use. My hubby Jerry and I tried them all out.  I had no problem sewing a straight stitch as I cranked away.  That was a pleasant surprise.

the little hamster wheel in my head was turning...

All I could think about was how practical one of these little machines could be.  No more power outages ending a sewing session... or a glamping excursion in a tent.  I could really enjoy demonstrating its use at a primitive rendezvous re-enactment (another adventure I hope to enjoy someday). Heck, I could enjoy sewing with one of these little babies anywhere.

Willpower kicked in long enough to allow me to finish viewing all the wonderful quilts and vendors; and to go have a bite to eat and say goodbye to our friends.

Before I knew it my hubby offered to take me back to get one.  Our 23rd wedding anniversary is coming up in a few months and he didn't want me to let this opportunity go. I might not see one again. We headed back to the show after lunch.

As we struggled to find a parking space a few blocks away from the actual show (it was that busy) my heart was fluttering.  We almost did not get a machine because they had just about sold out in the short span of time it took to eat and say our goodbyes...

Somehow, this machine was right there waiting for me upon my arrival.

I had fallen in love with it earlier.  It's a German machine by Frister and Rossman that was made in the early 1920s.  Notice the unique decorations.  After the opening of King Tut's Tomb, the world was enamored with all things Egyptian.

The quilt show was great fun.  You can see pictures of a few of my favorite quilts HERE.  I saw a few old friend's quilts and met one of my longtime quilting heroes, Nancy Rink.  I cut my quilting teeth on her patchwork patterns back in the day.  She is just as friendly in person as she is in film.

So goes my cranky adventure.  I plan to break it in this weekend.

Do YOU have any old treasures you love?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

kidding season arrives at tres rios farm

On Monday, March 31, 2014, our nigerian dwarf doe "Lily" gave birth to four healthy bucklings.  I was with her as she kidded, though she did not need any help from me this time.  She pushed all four babies out in just seven minutes and was standing up to greet and feed them as soon as she was done.  

These boys are the first born on our farm and will carry our herd name.  They all weighed in above three pounds at birth.  

Hello Tigger!  

We are in the ADGA Performance Plus Program this year which means we are participating in milk test, we are having the whole herd linear appraised, and we are proofing DNA for our herd leaders.  Show season is just around the corner too.  This summer is going to be really exciting, and a big learning experience for us.

We need to settle on names this week and get these boys registered so they'll be ready for all these adventures.

Sweet Dreams

Friday, March 28, 2014

the FARMGIRL FRIDAY blog hop #151 & WINNER of the 150th Anniversary Goveaway

Welcome back to the 151st Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Boy howdy you've all been so busy!

We are so happy today because we FINALLY get to announce the winner of our 150th Blog Hop Celebration GIVEAWAY!   Are you ready?

 Our hand-picked winner of the whole kit and caboodle is Solar Bizzi from looms4izzi blog! 


You won the mother lode of farmgirl goodies!

Please check out her delightful blog. She's a chicken keeping, weaving, gardening, crocheting and knitting farmgirl!

From Deb you get the spring issue of MaryJanesFarm Magazine, one large Farm Girl T-shirt, a bandana, three packets of organic seeds, a pair of sturdy work gloves, and a $25.00 Gift Card for Tractor Supply Co.

TWO fabulous homemade ( with love ) farmgirl aprons. The cute little western number in red is from me (Heidi Gonzales) and this lovely Heirloom Apron below is one of Dolly's own designs inspired by an apron her grandmother Cora wore.

As if that weren't enough, Debbie of Farmgirl Unleashed made you some of her homemade Sugar Scrub. Perfect for relaxing after a nice day of farmgirlin'! 

 On behalf of all of your Farmgirl Friday Hostesses we thank everyone for your continued participation in our weekly farmgirl hop! Just keep doin' what you do... We love it and you! 

Deb, Heidi, Dolly and Debbie~

 Heidi of My Simple Country Living 
and White Wolf Summit Farmgirl Blog
Dolly of Hibiscus House and Dolly is Cooking
Debbie of Farmgirl Unleashed 
and me of course!

You don't have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters 

Brag a little ( or a lot ) about your farmgirl talents! Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals, quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea! Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends! 

 Enter up to three entries per hop! 

Let's get H-O-P-P-I-N-G!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Let's Celebrate!!! FARMGIRL FRIDAY blog hop #150

It's a PARTY.  Please join us in celebration of the 150th edition of the best weekly FARMGIRL shin-dig on the web... 

the FARMGIRL FRIDAY blog hop

It's our blogiversary!!!  Yaay!

In honor of this fun event, we are hosting a little farmgirl giveaway on our blogs.  I will let Deb, our fearless leader tell you all the details:

"Can you believe it? Today marks 150 weeks for the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!
Where does the time go?  I know exactly where it goes! We farmgirls mark time by the seasons. Planting season, breeding season, fresh egg season, farm baby season, growing season, and harvest season. And somehow in between we manage to raise families, nurture friendships, craft, run businesses, go glamping, volunteer, work, and spend time with our elders. And it's time well spent in my book! When we follow our heart we are always right where we should be.

Heidi, Debbie Dolly and I are so grateful that your hearts lead you here to our humble little Farmgirl  " roundup " every Friday! 
You are the friendliest, kindest and most talented group of farmgirls in blog land and we count you among our dearest friends.
We've been chomping at the bit for weeks to tell you about our


We're giving away the FARM! 

 Each one of us is adding to the GIVEAWAY goodies bag so be sure to visit all of our blogs to enter to win the whole kit and caboodle!

Let's get on with it shall we? I'll go first!
  I love to take my farmgirl shopping at the local Tractor Supply Co. so I went on a little shopping spree with my farmgirl friends in mind! 

My first item is a $25.00 Gift Card to none other than the Tractor Supply Co.! If you don't have one near you, you can shop online!

Every homegrown farmgirl needs a pretty pink T-shirt to start a new season of farmgirl'n!
I got a large so you would have room to grow!

There's a good chance you'll work up a healthy sweat while you're doin' chores in your new sturdy work-gloves so I tucked in a pretty pink bandanna for you to wipe your brow with!


What farmgirl doesn't love sunflowers? You'll love seeing these pretty ORGANIC sunflowers ( and pole beans that are hidden behind the sunflower packet ) in your garden!

The Spring issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine is choc full of farmgirl take homes and inspiration! It's a must-have for every farmgirl at heart.
But wait! There's more!

 Farmgirl Heidi is adding one of her latest farmgirl apron designs to the goodies bag too! Her western retro pin-up girl fabric just whistles farmgirl doesn't it?

 Farmgirl Dolly is whipping up an apron exactly like this one ( fabric is a surprise ). It's inspired by an apron her grandmother wore. It's practical and pretty designed by Dolly for everyday farmgirl work inside or out! 

Farmgirl Debbie ( Farmgirl Unleashed ) is giving away some of her homemade farmgirl body products! Her
Wake me up Sugar Scrub pictured above is one of three items she's tossing in the Farmgirl Goodie Bag. 

Boy howdy! That's a lot of FARMGIRL GOODIES! 

One comment on all four blogs gives you 4 chances to win the whole lot!


It's still Farmgirl Friday so don't forget to enter your posts and 
HAPPY SPRING from all of your Farmgirl Friday hostesses!"

That's all there is to it.  After you leave a comment HERE on my blog please GO TO EACH of my farm sister's blogs below and leave comments there too, to complete your entry for the whole shebang!

Farmgirl Friday creator Deb of Deborah Jean's Dandelion HouseDolly of Hibiscus House family of blogs Debbie of Farmgirl Unleashed  

Don't forget to LINK UP as soon as you've secured your four entries from all of our blogs!!!


Friday, March 14, 2014

the FARMGIRL FRIDAY blog hop #149

When we moved here we were in a rush because our old home sold the day after we started escrow.  We had to be out FAST so we cobbled together what we could in a hurry. We knew we could eventually work out the kinks.  This week, we did make a few improvements on the homestead and we are preparing for a new adventure in the garden too.

Originally, Jerry put together the chicken coop and run in two days. This week, he finally had time to work out the bugs.

He moved the nesting boxes from the front to the back wall, raised it up off the ground, and added a roost to the front for the hens to hop up on.  It sounds like a small thing, but it gave the girls about sixteen square feet more space on the ground and there's no direct sunlight hitting inside the boxes now.  We hope this change convinces our hens to lay in all of the boxes instead of just the two corner boxes as they've been doing.  

**Having everything up off the ground will help me see what is in there this summer too.  No more rattlesnake surprises for me, I hope.  

Grow-blocks soaking up warm water before seeds are planted into them
I just planted my first warm season vegetable and herb seeds into grow blocks (above) instead of my usual seed starting medium.  I am anxious to see how they do.  In my farm lab classes at college the hydroponics plants always grew much faster than our row crops.  I expect these blocks to give the seeds a quick start so I can plant them sooner than usual in this unseasonably warm weather we've been having all winter.   

last year's garden now sits under the tractor in this photo...
This year's garden will be improvised.  Jerry is starting a new large building project that will take up most of the front yard not dedicated to animal pasture, so I will not be trying to garden anything out there. Instead, I will be planting my seedlings right into garden soil bags up on the paved driveway.  I will simply poke holes in the bottom of the bags for drainage and on top to plant into and water as usual.  I already bought several bags for the project.  I got the small one cubic foot size for easy moving and handling.  I read about this in Mother Earth News and Organic Gardener a few years ago.  I am looking forward to seeing how this works. 

These are my closest neighbors...  
The image above has been my view every day this week from my 2nd floor sewing room...  Can you imagine?  THIS is why we moved out of suburbia!  The view and tranquility of this beautiful rural community are invigorating to me.  

I have been having a blast sewing several projects for various hops and swaps lately.  This week, I completed a few more fun aprons, gifts for friends.  This one below featuring an Alexander Henry pin up girls print is MY favorite so far...

Even more exciting to me, is that I have had a few requests to make them.  I never thought anyone would want to wear one of my homemade aprons, not in a million years.  The idea that friends are actually willing to PAY ME to do something that I LOVE to do blows my mind.  

Anyway, long story short, I AM going to start building up a small reserve of completed aprons and get to work selling them.    I am SUPER excited at this opportunity and the chance to make a little pin money to stash away for Christmas.    

Stay tuned!  I picked up this new Paris Market fabric for my next apron...  

There is still time left to get one of those adorable FARMGIRL magnets to put on your fridge.  All you have to do is SEND ME a mailing address...  There are fifteen left right now...

Finally, there are so many FUN farmgirl activities going on right now online.  I hope you don't miss any of them.  

On my blog, the 2nd Annual GRAB YOUR APRON blog hop runs through the month.  I invite you to link up and share pictures of your apron collection HERE.  

FARMGIRL CHIT CHAT, the Facebook Group for farmgirls is BURSTING with activity too... there are SO many wonderful farmgirl activities going on over there right now that I am not sure I will remember to share them all, but here are the few I can think of...  

We are in the middle of Deb's awesome APRON SWAP!

We had a COOP photo day yesterday. It was a fun opportunity to share pics of your hen house and brag a little about your hens.

Every day we see more wonderful pictures of treasures ladies are getting in the mail from Michelle's Craft Swap.  

Lisa Tucker of the blog My Ordinary Country Life just shared a post that made my mouth water... here's a hint- it contains quiche! Yum.

Connie Meyer of the blog Urban Overalls shared a fantastic post about aprons and it's FULL of her own gorgeous aprons.  What a collection.

Well, I am sorry if I talked your head off.  

Let's get H-O-P-P-I-N-G!!!

Your Farmgirl Friday Hostesses
Deborah Jean aka "Deb" of Dandelion House
and me of course!

Enter up to three entries per hop!


As always, thank you for your continued participation! Wishing you all a wonderful week!