The barn isn't leaking but its still wet inside. That's how much rain we have had since summer ended. The wet is just seeping in from everywhere. Since I keep the chickens in the barn, its an issue. I think I am going to have to build that new coop much sooner than the spring time. The problem is that when I am forced to do something before I am ready, any fine , well organized plans go straight down the toilet and I end up throwing something together with whatever I have handy. In this case I have a 4 star chicken hotel planned for the spring time in an all new location. If I have to do it now, in the rain and cold and dark with only a few hours of daylight to work in, its going to wind up a run down shack. A dry shack but still.... a shack. I like pretty plans. Given enough time my plans turn out like my vision. My best is example of this is my new kitchen curtains. A couple of years ago I got an amazing deal on some fabric. Its a very delicate loose weave muslin with a ladder weave stripe in it. The edges were woven to look unfinished. Its cream and a kind of very light rose-ish color. The whole effect is country rustic but elegant. It lets in light but provides the needed privacy. I have huge windows so the privacy thing was important. I have been planning on making these for two years and they turned out exactly like I wanted them too. I have to give credit to the Good Typist for actually getting them done. She inspired me with her newly found enthusiasm for sewing. I have taken sewing for granted for most of my life. I learned the art watching my Great Grandmother churn out items on her treadle sewing machine. If a textile item was needed she would excuse herself and return a while later with the item in hand, pot holders, pillows , a quick dress for yours truly (seriously, it took her about 15 minutes to make a sun dress for a 6 year old). I learned the craft almost by osmosis. So, the only time I ever really think about sewing is when I want something. My thinking about it always consists of what the end product will be. It might be a throw pillow or a Halloween costume , a heavy canvas bag for my rock hounding or just putting a hem in a piece of fabric that I like to use for a table cloth but, its always about the end product. While I know the history of the craft of sewing and the evolution of textiles over the centuries , I have never taken the time to contemplate the philosophy or theory behind the craft until The Good Typist pointed some things out to me. Her expressed thoughts have made sewing interesting again. Will they make me an amazing seamstress? I'm pretty certain they wont change my skill level but, only because I'm content with simply being adequate at the craft. So, thank you Good Typist for the infectious enthusiasm you have injected into my craft world. I also need to thank Mini Break Massage owner Sherry Williams for the enormous bolt of fabric that she gave me on our last visit together. Its a very artsy print that will need to be contemplated before I cut into it.And then there is baby sister. She showed up this weekend with all of her canning supplies in tow determined to break last years record of 80 jars in one day. We did . 90 jars in one day. 65 jars on day 2. At the end of the weekend we split up 155 jars of blackberry, salmonberry, plum, apple butter and persimmon. I found the persimmons at the local fruit stand and accidentally bought $30 worth of them. No I am not going to go into the full Lucille Ball moment that lead me to drag home way more persimmons than any normal person would need. We used part of them to make jam and the rest of them I am going to ferment. Baby Sister and I were blank eyed canning robots by the middle of day 2 when DD showed up to add her support. We had the process finely tuned by the time DD arrived so she took a turn stirring a pot, washed some dishes for us then raided the fridge and took a nap on the couch while Sis and I finished up. To my credit, I added a second water bather to my canning tools this year so we cut the water bathing time in half this weekend. I would add a third but my stove isn't big enough for another one. Jimmy was a man-saint throughout the whole weekend. He would wander up from the basement and his xbox every so often and get a taste of what we were creating and then wander quietly back down stairs. We hardly knew he was here. I cant say the same for him . We spent a full 24 hours stomping around and banging pots and pans right above his head. Altogether it was a very productive time even though I still think baby sis is a slave driver.
There is still more canning to be done but most of this years preserving is finished. I finally took the last batch of hawthorn tea out of the dehydrator and unplugged it for the season. The dehydrator got a pretty good workout this year. The herb rack is almost done for the season as well. It has the last of this years harvest on it and they should be ready to grind and put in jars in about two weeks. I think I miss the herb rack most of all during the winter. It really is my indicator, my seasonal stopwatch even. Its the first thing to go up in the spring and the last thing to get put away in the late fall. While it is still up , there is still work to do.