Blowing hard and cold with that horizontal snow coming off Lake Ontario to the west. We put a heater in the milk room to keep the pipes from freezing and to help out the Milk Room Kitties. Last winter I kept the electric range on with the door open and an oven rack set upright to keep the cats from crawling inside. They love to sit on top of the warm stove but they can't help me with the electric bill. Hopefully the heater will be more cost effective. The barn is shaking and creaking around me now. I still have some ducks on the south side of the barn. Less wind but still cold. It will take some doing to herd them all the way around the east end to get them inside. I just got one band of ducks that were in with the sheep out of that area into the designated duckie land near the milk room door. Ducks are very clannish and persnickety about who they hang with. The summer ducks were in the barn with the sheep where they had wandered all by themselves when the weather got bad. I was not able to feed them without them being run over by sheep and goats. Tonight I took my staff, moved the sheep away (they fear the magic stick) and turned to run the ducks out the door to the non-sheep area. When the two groups of ducks mingled there was much posturing and loud quacking...until they discovered all the corn and sunflower seeds I threw out for them. I prepared some lovely nest boxes with fresh hay to encourage egg laying. I've only been receiving one egg a day from my chicken room and am hoping the ducks pick up the slack. I've grown quite fond of my ducks even though I have no idea of who is male or female. If I see one sitting on eggs I can be reasonably sure it is a female. Maybe. I know they'll miss the juicy earthworms, the crunchy bugs, sweet leaves of grass and drinking out of Finn's water bucket by the trailer. Quite frankly I'm happy to have the ducks captive in the barn where I can have their eggs. Who knows how many eggs they've hidden down by the marshy area behind the barn with only the fox and porcupines to enjoy them. Those ducks are so busted.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
The end of a very trying week, but I'm set on leaving school at school and not going on about it. Very much looking forward to seeing Eric, Annie, Hannah, Luke and Captain AJ in Maine for Thanksgiving. A snow storm coming up the coast might make travelling a bit precarious but with new tires on the truck we are going to give it a go. Would very much like to get this place in ship-shape before then but that is a lot to ask. Two more shows coming up in quick succession and I'm hustling to get ready. We are feeding hay every day now and the sheep love it. I still let them out for exercise but with 5 - 10 expected tomorrow night they might be spending more time in the barn. I'm watching the big pine tree swaying wildly in the wind. It's cold out there. Will be putting the bunnies in the milk room with a heater for the winter. No frozen bottles this year. Not as much to entertain them as the big barn but very cozy. I'm not quite used to getting suited up to go out on the hillside or do chores every night, but here we are. Picked up another wool sweater and silk turtleneck for barn work at The Pink Door in Norwich, a very cool little hospital sponsored thrift shop. The ladies in the pink volunteer jackets are as ancient as can be, and go around the shop with walkers. There are occasionally some very classy brand name clothing there, and I've found a Harris Tweed or two. I clinched another two pairs of Danskos on Ebay, a coup considering shoes must be a very hot item for online sales. I've lost a dozen or so by a dollar more bid at the last minute. I'm on my feet all-day-long and good shoes are a must. When these two shows are over I'll be able to concentrate on fiber and sewing, my first loves. Two weeks off at Christmas with another trip to Maine to see the kiddos. So much to look forward to. The tractor is humming in the driveway with the blade on for snow plowing. The wood room, formerly silo room, is half full. The hay mow is loaded. Wish I could say I'm ready for winter, but commuting 50 miles a day on treacherous roads is something I'll never really be ready for. Would love to stay home with the sheep. Someday...
Thursday, November 21, 2013
It may be only nine-thirty but I feel like it's midnight. I was hoping to make soap tonight but after coming in from chores I don't think so. Got home in the dark at five after several stops...lye at the homestead store, pick up labels at the printer, stop in The Pink Door hospital thrift next door to printer to check for Harris Tweed. No NT but got a herringbone tweed wool jacket that I can def. use along with two sweaters, two turtlenecks and a second jacket for $8 and change. Ridiculous. Three more stops at the Post Office, gas station and Dollar Store then I could finally make my way home. It was dark at 5 and i wondered if I should let the sheep out. Figured they would tell me if they wanted to stay in the barn. They took their time coming out but they are still grazing after nine. Soon the snow drifts will prevent them from climbing the hill. I think it's good exercise for them now. After dinner and chores I didn't really have much fuel left myself. Wanted to make Patchouli and Anise soap tonight. Don't think so. My aide has been out all week and I had the third sub in today. Many absentee staff including the principal and special ed. secretary. I might not have a sub at all tomorrow. Won't I be hopping around like a jack rabbit...
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
These faces follow me everywhere. They are why I am working so hard and why I rush home every night. Of course there are not only sheep waiting for me on the farm, but they are the focus of my farm. Everything else is on the fringe. I'm headed for a teacher's meeting, but after that I will be on the road headed back to the farm where I belong.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Locked myself out of the barn this morning without my purse and the bag full of "stuff" I was toting to school. The spare key was on spouse's ring. I had no license, no money to pick up cat/dog food I needed on the way home. I was out of cat/dog food and they can't eat hay, cracked corn, sunflower seed and egg layer so I made a giant pot of oatmeal with lots of butter and milk. They were not amused, and reluctantly licked the warm goo in slow motion. Poor spoiled rotten kitties. The weather was wet and cold with icy roads. I was late due to the lost key debacle and could not speed on icy roads with no license. I did pass the salt spreader going out of New Berlin and he blasted me with his monstrous horn as I sped by. Thankfully I had my phone and called my classroom but no answer. Sharon, Captain of the Mother Ship, answered in the office and was SO nice to me. What a class act she is. As I pulled up to the school I saw my classroom was dark. My aide was out again today and the sub was late. I ran into school and found my students anxious for their breakfast. Luckily the morning went smoothly. I love working with the little ones, even though it means jumping around like a jack rabbit getting them everything they need. They are just so cute and sweet...and then they grow up and become my high school students in the afternoon. I waited an hour after school looking for artsy things to do with my kids then ventured home. Spouse picked up the cat/dog food I needed and left work early to get home and let me in. It went a long way to making up for taking the spare key off the nail. The left-over ziti and salad hit the spot then it was chore time. We are feeding hay now and, I might have mentioned, did not leave a way to get to the hay holes when we rolled the round bales into the barn. I have to climb a ladder to get on top of a bale, then jump from bale to bale to get across the giant hay mow, then slide down to the floor, fork the hay, then climb another ladder to get back across. As the bales are used up we might be able to roll them around enough to make a path. The hay is lovely, even though it's first cut, with lots of green. The sheep are loving it. I'm still concerned about dampness but don't see any dust resulting from baling hay wet. I'm always thankful for my barn chores that take me outside when I would otherwise stay in. It's tough to get going when I'm tired and full after dinner and the wood stove is making me drowsy. The cold air is invigorating and the time with my animals is so sweet. They look forward to seeing me and everybody is excited when I come out. I was delighted to see the waning full moon struggling to break through the clouds at the top of the piney ridge. The rushing clouds over the whiteness looked like swirling smoke as if the tree tops were on fire. I paused for a while thinking how beautiful this spot is. I often think of moving to a more secluded area, like the Adirondacks, where I wouldn't have any annoying neighbors or lights or road traffic to deal with, but I don't know if I could find a prettier setting. Inside for some rainbow sherbert then cutting up tea tree soap for curing. Must be the moon or perhaps the sun spots working in my favor as my soap is setting up very nicely the last few days. I'm waiting for a delivery of my precious patchouli along with some anise essential oil. It cost a FORTUNE to make all this soap and hand creme, but it's holiday time and I need it. There is a Lincoln/Gettysburg special on. I wonder how many of my mother's blood kin were in that engagement. I expect there were more than a few on the side of the Confederacy. I don't know of any who fought for the Union. With my father a first generation American and my mother's people in Georgia since the late 1600's, I can't claim any credit for the Union victory. The temps are expected to stay low this week with more snow expected. I hope we are able to make it to Maine for Thanksgiving. We surely will give it a try.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Started forking down hay today. We forgot to leave a path through the round bales to the back of the barn where the hole is. I had to climb up on a round bale and hop from bale to bale to the east end. Reba and Tanner managed to wiggle through and found me at the end. Half of one of last year's bales was at the hole so I through that down to the hungry sheep. They loved it. I don't think they are going to have any problem with going on a hay diet. I did a little Christmas shopping today at Barb Taylor's Tack and Field. She was having a sale and I wanted to stop in and say hello anyway. Barb is just so cool. There were big fat kittties lying around the shop like they owned the place. I had to move a couple to look at things. Motored over to Hamilton for feed and food. The farmer's market square looked so bleak and empty. Home to make Tea Tree soap. Oh, I love the stuff. Hoping to make a batch of Peppermint after school tomorrow. I need soap for holiday shows and my own gift giving. Soap is indeed the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving. Weird weather today, warm and windy. I'm so sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure. I put out sheep minerals tonight. They go nuts over the molasses flavored kind I get. I gave out apples with Lilly front and center. I really have to watch my fingers with the girls chomping away. It makes me happy to see their eyes light up. I know what I'll be stopping in the village for on my way home tomorrow.
Was surprised to hear only one muzzle loader going off during our walk this morning. It was much worse when I lived in western New Jersey, when I thought the front was a half mile from our cabin. There was a bullet hole in my bird feeder on the front porch and I kept away from the windows during hunting season. I haven't seen any deer running for their lives this weekend, or wounded ones hiding in my apple orchard. I understand poor people hunting for food, but I will never understand people of means hunting for fun. I'll say it again, we are a primitive, pitiless people. I'm keeping my sheep in today, which means spouse and I rolling out a round bale. This should be funny to watch. On deck for me after routine chores...cutting up lots of lovely lavender soap and making more. I've been thinking lately of how nice it would be to only work with my fibers, and sew on the beautiful fabrics I've been blessed with, but then I get in my giant claw-foot bath tub and rub a warm bar over my shoulder and think I'll always make soap. Every once in a while I buy a bar of handmade soap from another soap maker to try. I haven't found any that I like as well as mine. My soap is sooooo creamy and soothing. Is it the silk fibers I melt into the lye solution? Is it the goat milk, honey, oatmeal and shea butter? I don't know. I make it the same way I've made it for 20 years. Someone at Rhinebeck told me I'm crazy to wrap it all in quilt fabric but that's so much fun. It's like wrapping little presents for people. Someday I'll make a quilt with all the wrappings people give back to me. It will be like a history book of my soap making. Every fabric tells a story, like the lovely prints Carol Crayonbox finds for me in the shop run by a 90 plus year old lady out by Ithaca, or the tie-dyes Annie brings to me from that fabulous Marden's in Maine, or the upscale textiles Sally sends to me all the way from New Orleans. With the silk fibers and cloth wrappings soap making is still a fibery activity. After an eggy breakfast I'll get to it. Only one egg from the chicken room yesterday. I'm hoping spouse will hang a light for me. I won't buy factory eggs for a variety of reasons one of which is that they just taste lousy. The chickens need a rest during this dormant period so maybe just a little light...If I'm lucky I'll find an egg in the box of wool I put on the porch for the kitties. Let me go check.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Nothing frightful about this weather. It is was delightful today, topped off by the prettiest moonrise I've seen in a long time. I caught a lovely little yearling goat who escaped shearing last month - there are two or three more - and spouse held her while I clipped off the soft, glossy grey curls. Hand shearing leaves a lot of fiber on the animal to keep her warm. She needed her vaccinations, wormers and hoof trimming anyway. Sadly, this little girl had played in the burdock quite a bit and it will take me hours to pull the curls away from the crap embedded in her lovely fiber. It's worth the effort as soft mohair blended with wool is divine. This fleece might have to wait until after the holidays.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
It's that other-worldly time between work and evening chores, when we've come down from the hilltop and the sheep have been let out to graze and the dogs have all done their pees and poos held all day long while waiting for me to come home. It snowed on the way to work and snowed all the way home, with temps holding around 28-30. It's always colder in Brookfield with our higher elevation and wind coming through the little valley. I haul in my groceries and go out the north side to let the sheep out of the barnyard before I go inside to greet the doggies. Sometimes I sit in the car and toss out pieces of chicken breast purchased at the corner market for the kitties. The chickens are wise to this practice and zoom in to pick up the tasty morsels and run off with them. Everybody is happy to see the human with the food. I change into my fleece ski pants, a gift from Mia, which have become my winter skin. I wear my long man's Harris Tweed coat for our walks now. It's not very heavy but keeps out the wind all the way down to the tops of my boots. The woven Cheviot and Scottish Blackface wool even keeps out the rain. I have to be sure to remember my hat, of which I have many thanks to Henya Katzatchkof, Kim Parkinson and Susanne Farrington, my knitting and felting friends. This day the angora fingerless mitts were not quite enough and I was happy for the extra long man sleeves on my coat. The little bit of lightness left illuminated the cloud of snow when we looked back down at the barn with the tiny yellow windows in the distance. We could just make out the waxing crescent moon in the sky. It was slippery coming back down but I was happy for the now frozen mud on the descent by the barn door. A barn plus winter equals mud and we need it to freeze. The dogs don't understand that this is the time I need to sit down for a while, after a day on my feet working with kids. Spouse is on his way home and I need to get dinner together. I sometimes wish it was a shared chore, but, my fault, I willingly took on all food procurement and preparation duties early on and have not been able to shirk them. I like to remind him that since I take care of the food couldn't he manage an exclusive on the garbage but that is still a shared chore. Once dinner is done it's time for chores. Dishes often wait until the next morning. I did enjoy wearing my lined wool trousers, turtlenecks and fleece vest under my classic grey flannel jacket today. Wool weather is here and I have wool...and mohair. I have so much dyed wet mohair waiting to be set out to dry as soon as the previous batch is done. I need to spin some bunny yarn for scarves, as my three angora scarves were lost in a freak incident which is so freaky and upsetting I can't write about it yet. Someday I'm going to write about all the worst, gnarly, grizzliest, and nastiest things I can think of without giving a dam. I'm not there yet. I still care what people think. Coming close, though.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Decided to roll out a round bale of hay. We did okay for a cripple and an old lady. Locked up the dogs so they wouldn't get crushed then wedged myself between and behind to use my legs and get it moving. Yes, we have a tractor but it doesn't have an implement for round bales. I usually fork it down a hole into hay feeders but I'm still waiting for the Wilcox gang to come and clean out the barn. I'm worried about the sheep getting enough grass. They are finding plenty as they come in with bellies bulging but I am the Italian mama of the sheep world. Once we got it rolling it went almost all the way to the gate. Had to roll it back a bit to get the gate open. The hay is beautiful. I'm surprised the flock didn't come running back to the barn to get at it. I mashed last night's curried rice and canned cat food into a lovely slurry for the cats and took it out to the barn. Found a cute little kitten gnawing on a big dead rat. I feed my cats plenty but they still catch the nasty buggers. Good work kitties! I'm building up a giant bag of chartreuse wool I've decided to take to Heather and her crew at Dreamweaver for spinning into yarn. I just can't spin all my wool myself. I've got a substantial amount
We are still enjoying this banner year for apples in New York State. Sharon, Captain of the Mother Ship, brought me several bags of organic apples to bring home for my sheep, but some didn't make it home. We've been making apple crisp in my class. The smell is divine and fills the whole wing. Some students who have a hard time sitting still in class have no problem with peeling apples for a 40 minutes period. It's the hands-on approach, and the promise of a delicious treat when cooked.
Yes, I have a favorite kitty and her name is Lizzie. Portia, Cassidy and Petunia are close seconds, but there is something about Lizzie. I am partial to tortoise shell patterned kitties and calico kitties. The Kitty Cadre is very important here on the farm. We would be overrun by rats, mice and pigeons without the cats. When I first moved in with the sheep the rats said Oh Boy, it's chow time, and started moving in from the fields. I found rat bodies here and there where the kitties went to work. Last week a giant rat was placed by the door of the barn as if to say, see, this is why you keep us. I've lived through a horrible rat infestation at the last place I lived, where the rats chewed up the wires under our cars, stole the rabbits food, and climbed up the walls behind my bed. I traded a goat for a Jack Russell Terrier (that was Pip) but he couldn't fly. The rats would sit up on the rafters and laugh at him. Kitties can fly. They climb to the highest point in the barn, the ridge pole, to chase away the pigeons. Some kitties follow us around the fields when we walk with the dogs. Smudge, Cassidy and Strawberry are the trail kitties. They brave the wet grass and playful dogs to keep up with us. This morning Lizzie posed so beautifully for me, then launched herself through the air to perch on my shoulder for the rest of the walk. Luckily I had a thick tweed coat on, or her grip on me would have been painful. She ain't heavy, she's my Lizzie.
The colorful foliage may be gone, fallen on the ground to decompose into fertilizer for all the lovely plants and flowers that will emerge next spring, but the natural colors on display now are stunning. Our morning walk took us to the back field, under the piney ridge, where the hidden pond, now puddle of muck, lives. Future plans include fixing the failed pond and building guest cabins next to the magical apple orchard where the faeries live.
Saturday, November 09, 2013
I drove to work in snow yesterday and watched pretty little flakes come down all day long. Came home to find the fields covered with a heavy dusting of snow. The sheep are always waiting at the gate to go out and graze. Yes, we still have grass, although it's not growing much and time for hay feeding is close at hand. What a banner years it's been for grass. No sheep at the gate. They know it's time for hay feeding, too. I felt badly for them but don't want to put out hay until my hay feeders are set up. Right now the giant water tank I scored from Chris Kupris is filled with composted hay and weighs a ton. Spousal unit is still laid up with back trouble from the time he helped catch sheep for the shearer. A load of wood is coming today and I don't know how we are going to get it stacked. The man who is dropping it off must be eighty years old. That leaves Maggie. Good thing I'm a big strong girl. I spent a while giving Lilly and gang the apples sent home by Sharon Winans, my friend at school. She perked up like a light bulb when she saw the apples. Lilly must be 11. She is withered and thin but still runs over to greet me and get her back scratched when I open the gate, even though she's been without food all day. I adore Lilly. Her mother, Harmony, just passed away last spring at the age of 13 plus, very old for a sheep. I can't imagine losing my Lilly. If you saw her slicing those apples open with her big teeth you would think she's going to around for a while. It was a pleasant way to spend some time with my sheep after a loooong week. It feels weird not to bomb out of here to the farmer's market. I'm so glad for my time on the farm to tidy up the place. Spouse brought home Chinese last night and I'm eating it for breakfast. What a relief not to come up with dinner last night. The mice have eaten so many wires in my oven it won't turn on. I can carry food out through the barn to the dye stove but that's no fun. Will likely cook Thanksgiving dinner that way. I hope the mice are happy. No leftovers in the oven for them to snack on. Lizzie and Portia are doing their best to catch the mice, but they are wily creatures who know where to hide. Will get my act together and set out for the feed mill in Waterville. Will sit down to sew tonight no matter what...So much fabric, so much wool, so little time.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Raining this morning. The sheep are all in the barn, which is a good thing as I went to sleep without locking them up last night. They put themselves to bed after grazing. I won't have to go up the hill and do a round up. I love having a roof over them when it rains, or sleets, or snows. The aged horse - now 41 I think - is still in the field down the road with her youngster and a few cows. I hated watching them endure the weather last winter without even a lean-to to break the wind. I offered the absentee owner my barn but she declined. I still have a couple of goats to clip, but with winter coming I will do a trimming that will leave them some cover. They need their worming and hoof trimming. I've been very lazy lately, and sitting on the sofa with the doggies after dinner and chores. Ten to twelve is usually a productive time for me but after Rhinebeck I lost my mojo. With two more shows this year I have to get it back. I think I might have a farm sitter for Thanksgiving which means spouse can drive me to Maine, something I would rather not do alone with potential for snow, etc. It takes a very special person to take on this crazy farm, even for three days.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
I adore wool in any way, shape or form, but there is something about hand woven textiles. I wear wool whenever I can. I love cool weather because I can wear my wool jackets, wool trousers and SWEATERS. I don't remember when I discovered Harris Tweed. I think I read about it somewhere then purchased a Harris Tweed jacket in a thrift store. I was fascinated by the fact that Harris Tweed is handwoven in the Hebrides, the remote islands of the coast of Scotland. When the yardage came off the loom women would sit in a row and knead the cloth with their hands, a process called "waulking," which would full the fibers. I remember asking a Syracuse University textile professor if she has any Harris Tweed clothing and she didn't know what I was talking about. No kidding. She said I guess you found a chink in my armor. I guess I did. I love the way the British wear tweed jackets and wool trousers when they are working the farm. I read there is a movement to return to this practice. When I was at the farmer's market last Saturday I looked around at the vendors to see what they were wearing. I did not see a lot of wool. I was covered with it, including wool trousers, a wool sweater coat, wool socks, and, oh, a cashmere V-neck I found at a local thrift store a while back. I was warm and comfy and felt very country-classic. Recently I've been cruising Ebay for Harris Tweed overcoats with the intention of cutting them up to make knitting totes. I don't have the time to travel to the good thrift markets in Syracuse, Cortland, Ithaca, etc., where the best chance of scoring Harris Tweed coats cheap would be. There are some good buys on Ebay but you have to pay postage. My first coat came today. I picked it up in the village before voting in the little cinder block town hall. The package was too light was my first impression. I unpacked the coat which was squeezed into two grocery store plastic bags. How ignominious a wrapping for such storied cloth. I didn't allow myself to get too excited but then I saw the lovely tweed. The coat is beautiful. It's a very simple weave and the tailoring is exquisite. I love the pockets and the slits which allow you to reach into your trousers. The shoulders are big to allow your arms to easily slip in even when wearing a big sweater. The length goes down to my knees so my legs will stay warm. I like the boxy look too. I put it on right away and wore it to vote. I must have looked a bit odd among all the Carhartts and fleece jackets in the voting line but I enjoy that. I don't think I'm going to be cutting up this coat. I have two more coming which I bought for ridiculous prices on Ebay, and I'll see if I can bring myself to cut them up. I have a plan in mind to incorporate the pockets into the tote bag with using the sleeves are handles and the back and front as the main part of the bag. I thought I would sew the classy label on the front. Lightning might strike if I touch a scissor to a Harris Tweed although I know many a rug hooker have done it before me....but, I hope, they did it in ignorance of the noble history of this magical woolen cloth.
Sunday, November 03, 2013
On Sunday mornings I like to worship at the Church of the Universal Shepherd. I don't think my son the Episcopal priest, Father Aaron, approves of this practice but he loves me anyway. After rushing around six days a week I just have to stay home - at least for the morning. I do like the Sunday paper but that requires driving to one of three places that carry it and they are all at least ten miles away. Living in Paradise has it's challenges. The last market day was lovely. Most vendors came late, as we did, and we had a good representation of local food and crafts. Sharon, Captain of the Mother Ship (Special Ed. Secretary), came to visit me with her yoga friend, Denise. Sharon loves animals and saves all her veggie scraps for my critters. My darling Robin came to visit with her daughter, Miss Firecracker, and pick up those buttery delicious cookies made by the girls from Hubbardsville. I picked up more beeswax candles, local Gouda and local meadow butter. My earnings went right to Tractor Supply and Price Chopper giving me the satisfaction of feeding the human and animal entities on the farm for a week with my farm products. Hard work pays off. I was feeling pretty good yesterday, after burning the inner candle to get creme made Friday night. The Boys in Brown delivered the goods on Friday afternoon and I had people coming to the market for hand creme. Sitting outside in the fresh air with no kids around, combined with chatting with my market friends and visitors, did me good. This was the best market summer I've had since starting at Hamilton six years ago when my colleagues Gretchen and Laurie told me about it. More tourists? Better products? I can't say I've done anything differently, but it's been busier. With so much work to set up and take down, it helps. Back home on the farm around 4 and I can't say I got much done last night besides chores and dinner. Sunday is a day for the farm and that's a good thing. The egg nog and rum I had to celebrate the time change did not sit well. Will stick to good whiskey from now on. Poured the evil Bacardi down the drain. Spousal unit has been dry for 15 years and never joins me but that's okay. I will put scissor to fabric today at some point. I have five totes remaining and soap is dwindling. Two shows are coming up within a month so I can't slow down. Very excited about seeing Hannah and Luke on Thanksgiving, that is, if I can find a reliable farm sitter...but first....I found enough eggs to make an omelette and that will be perfectly lovely. Wood stove is humming after only two stokings through the night. 24 F. outside. I guess the night crawlers I was stepping on last night when we walked up the hill have gone underground. Fine with me.
Friday, November 01, 2013
Living in a rural area the darkness is darker. I like it that way, as the moon and stars are so much more important to us....and candles. I love candles. Used to make my own soy candles but now I am very much enjoying beeswax candles. I've been buying lots of hand dipped tapers at the farmer's market, along with bars of wax to make my own. It's trickier than you think. You need just the right wick, and the right size container to make the candle burn efficiently. We are blessed with many beekeepers around here so I don't have to raise my own bees - yet. I really shouldn't get into yet another "messy" craft, but I would love to keep bees. I adore honey and have been stockpiling for the winter along with the candles and wax. It doesn't go bad and has lovely anti-bacterial qualities along with the sweetness. Beeswax candles are smokeless and smell so nice, with no additives whatsoever. An older farmer (like me) named Gary makes beautiful, tall tapers with his own wax over the hill in Morrisville. He's offered to loan me his dipping equipment to do it with my students. I'm considering it. It's off to work now. Spouse is home working on wood. I like when someone is here on the farm while I'm gone. So many entities that need watching out for. I hope it's an easy day at school as I am a bit knackered from all the Halloween activities. Very last market day tomorrow, with the weather forecast a bit iffy. High, warm, wind and scattered showers. I'll decide what to do in the morning. Want to buy more candles and honey before the clock changes and the darkness closes in.