Friday, August 25, 2006

Please Help If You Can!

Today I am sad to report that a very special rescue group in Chicago is closing its doors. After many years of hard work placing many many grateful dogs, cats and guinea pigs, the organization is planning to be done by October 15 of this year. The link to their site is and if you know of anyone who wants to adopt a great dog or cat, please pass this post about!

My sister and her fiance adopted their sweet Mason dog from this group and he is just the most wonderful dog! (that is his picture and I thought the sentiment would fit today too!) They also adopted a Great Dane mix just about a month abo from this group and Mason and Livi are fast becoming best friends.

This group rescued many many pitbulls and crosses from sad situations, often re-training and re-directing their little lives onto a more happy path. It is a very sorry thing that this breed or type of bully breed takes such a beating in the press. The dogs have every ability to be wonderful, safe pets, IN THE RIGHT HANDS! Unfortunately, they are often in the hands of people who brutalize them in order to make them fight. The torture they endure is beyond comprehsion and the ones who should be punished are not the poor dogs, but the people who continue to get away with abusing them. Stronger animal abuse laws should in my opinion be directed at the owners first.

No dog is adopted out lightly from any reputable rescue group, this group has fostered many of the dogs themselves to get be able to say to a future owner that they should not have a cat in the house, another dog or whether the dog is just agreeable to anything! Most are adults but please do not over look them--they are often over looked in shelters and such because most people go for the undeniably cute puppies! However, an adult dog still has wonderful love to give and would love to be in the perfect home to live out their lives.

A dog was recently adopted from this group and the new owner could not figure out why the dog seemed so blue. He had everything he could want, was spoiled, loved, walked but still seemed sad. A young neighbor boy walks each night with the dog and its new owner. He asked if the dog could do any tricks and the answer was 'not yet'. He asked if the owner had tried a Spanish word for 'shake' and guess what--that dog knows TONS of tricks and commands! That boy unlocked the mystery of that dog, who had been trained within the Spanish language--a fact that changed the dog's attitude instantly! He is now a happy, well adjusted, very smart dog who has had lots of great training from someone in his past--now that he knows his owner is on to the whole thing, his life is the best! Funny how that all worked out.....

We lost our friends at the OohMahNee Farmed Animal Rescue farm in Pennsylvania who closed their doors last fall. We hope that if you have a favorite rescue group, no matter what the critter, that you will help to support them through donations of not only money, but time too! It is a tough world out there for everyone and donations have become increasingly hard to come by for these little groups--anything you can do is always appreciated. A bag of pet food, treats, collars for newly adopted pets, walking dogs once a week or helping to care for any critters in the shelter would be a great start.

Not up for the emotional attachments involved with time donation? Most shelters need help posting fliers for events, creating advertising campaigns and maybe even some accounting services so if you are like me and would take every animal home each night, there are lots of ways to help--just call and ask/offer! Anything you can help with, no matter how small it may seem, will be greatly appreciated by both the staff and pets waiting for their forever home......

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ta-Da! Desk is done!!

Well, here it is! Done! I had a great time gathering up all my favorite little pictures, advertisements and such that I have been stashing about for years! I love to collect old post cards and pictures--sure hate to see the family albums and such hitting the trash 0r being unwanted. There are so many great farm pictures, spinning and weaving related pictures and of course the vintage ads are fun too! I decoupaged them onto the top of the desk and just love how it turned out. I am sure this will be one of my continuing projects, we used this as our desk at the show on Sunday and it was great--a great conversation piece. I plan to add some upholstery tacks to some of the picture corners and also paint our farm logo/name on the front panel. Too fun! There is plenty of room for more vintage 'stuff' to decorate with later--the fun of a collage!

The weather has been wonderful and almost like an early fall. The apples are getting ripe in our little orchard, although I have to admit that the critters have been enjoying the windfall apples (or a good shake of the tree treat) for weeks now. Specially our pot belly pigs Peanut and Pal.

We are going to introduce a new line of knit items on the site in the next few weeks so keep an eye out! My mom (Nancy Hilton, Wonder Lake, IL) has been busy in the winter time knitting beyond beautiful scarves for me with our handspun yarn--and some fun extras. We just drafted our best friend & talented knitter (Barbara Toren, Elgin IL) to start knitting mittens and hats with our handspun--her first box will be on its way this week! Too fun! Our new part of the website will be 'Three Chic Knits' and I am sure there will be plenty of great items for gifts and such.... more updates to follow!

The sheep are enjoying the fall like breezes, spending days out laying in the cool grass, watching the world go by--hope you get to spend some time like that too!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Antique Teacher's Desk 'Recovery' Project!

Working as close to deadline as humanly possible--as usual! Our first show of the fall is on Sunday Aug 20 (for time, directions click here) at the cool Milton House Historical Museum--located at the underground railroad station! It is a great show with lots of artists, a book sale at the library and a rummage sale at the church down the way. Lots to do-hope we see you!

My project has been lurking about here for some years. I found it in the basement of a local antique shop and since it had Albany painted on it after the name (our former home town), I bought it for a 'future use'. It is a very very old teacher's desk that this teacher would most likely have built him/herself and carried it from school to school as their jobs required. Mainly one room school houses. It was used to hold everything they could need to teach their students.

We are planning a new use for it, it needs a good cleaning, some elbow grease and paste wax, then I have some 'decoration' in mind (more pictures later!) so we can use this at shows to hold the money box, extra receipts, bags, etc--all that little stuff you forget to pack if it is not in one spot! The washing has already taken place so as soon as it is dry again, I will break out the elbow grease and ideas and will post pictures when it is done......

We are currently enjoying a wonderful break in the weather so new fences are going up, hay is coming in again and we are working toward getting through our shows so we can concentrate on our fall Angora goat fleeces--and the first ever fleeces from our little Wensleydale lambs! Hope everyone is having as nice weather as we are here!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Meredith Your Yarn Is Done-- Please Email!!!!

Lots of fun yarn spinning going on around in this humid weather! However, I hope our new customer Meredith reads this post! Your yarn is done and thanks to our computer crash, I do not have your email to contact you with--- WAH! SO, please email us so I can get your cool yarn on its way!

The yarns pictured are on left, our Sophie and Louis' 'strappy' button yarn. I spun up a single ply of yarn that includes Sophie's natural black/bay Rambouillet wool and stripes of Sophie's wool combined with her brother Louis' white Rambouillet wool. When I plyed it, I strung some very pretty buttons and gems in random spots--a very soft, fun yarn. I also spun up matching single ply yarn and some other creations with their wool so take a peek and see what you find!

The yarn on the right is a departure from my typical choice of fibers--it is some pretty vintage fabric that was 'strappy' and I spun it up with a variety of novelty threads. It would look great as stripes in a tote or purse?? Very fun to spin!

I should explain the term 'strappy'! My younger sister (when we were much younger) had a pair of brightly colored striped socks, toe socks no less--that were her absolute favorite. She wore them all the time but they were not striped, not stripey, but STRAPPY! Thereby, the basis for my self striping yarn names! Hope the weather is cooler for all and keep an eye out for more fiber, yarn and wool postings very soon!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to an Angel!

Wanted to tell the story of my amazing life time friend Charisma, aka Crissy, who would have been 32 today. Unfortunately for us, we did lose this angel of a horse three years ago. She was probably my first 'rescue' and she was given to me when I was 11, she was approximately 5 months old at the time. By the time Crissy arrived in my life, all I could think about was a horse of my own. I was busy shoveling stalls out and brushing other people's horses just to fulfill my need to be close to them. The place my mentor Ruth boarded her gigantic Saddlebred Pinkie at- raised Egyptian Arabians that were more beautiful than words. One night, their papa horse (imported from Egypt no less) went out to 'visit' the older Quarter Horse mare they owned who lived in the pasture. Thereby, Crissy was born! They did not want her because she was not a purebred and were looking to give her away--a fact that filtered to my Dad through Ruth.

My Dad had promised my Mom that if I could have Crissy, he would do all the driving involved with an 11 year old who would want to spend every waking moment at the barn with her horse. Mom wisely knew that this would not be the case as Dad was a busy, dedicated teacher and she did end up doing most of the driving--for years til I got my own license. Even though she was busy working evenings at the hospital as a nurse AND raising three very active girls! I think there are halos for both of them too!

I will never forget the wonder of having such a beautiful horse just GIVEN to me. I had no idea the arrangements were in the works until my parents told me about it when things were final. We could not afford board so I worked cleaning stalls and such to pay for her keep.

That gift was the most precious I have ever received and one that kept me close to home, out of trouble and learning every day. I was lucky to have Crissy (named to irritate my sister initially--her name is Kristie), but my horse's full name was Charisma--and it fit. Crissy had miles and miles on her, I am sure if she ever had a pedometer, it would have broken long before its time. She carried me on countless adventures, many with my friend Margaret and her horse Smokey. We galloped up hill and down pell mell, taking the horses to splash in the pond to cool off, then eventually wander home after eating our sack lunches out in a long grassy meadow.

That horse put up with more 'stuff', from carrot cakes on her birthday to mittens on her ears to make her look like a reindeer at Christmas, she always had grace and style- no matter what we braided into her tail or mane. I trained her myself- since I had never done so before her, I trained her 'all wrong' for showing and then went about re-training her. This led us to a very successful showing career, ribbon after ribbon for a beautiful, red haired horse with the blonde mane and tail--and as my son called her when he was very young-- Crissy with the white nose'.

Words cannot tell how much I miss Crissy, she was my friend, my peace and always there for me to work through everything by pouring out my heart to her. All she ever wanted in return was a safe place to sleep, lots of treats (of course) and a good brushing to keep her shiny and clean. She was a scamp too with a wonderful fiesty spirit. I miss her but am convinced she is healthy now and keeping a good eye on all the pets and critters that have gone before--until we meet again.

Her best friends here were our Diamonte and Casper. Diamonte the now 27 year old polo pony from Australia and now that Crissy has gone, Casper has taken over as Monte's best friend so he has company and a good friend. Do not discount the effect that a pet of any kind can have on your children-- A child attached to an animal and given the room to learn and expand their horizons through them is gifted and blessed! It will never leave them! Crissy is definitely my angel!