cool things my kids did yesterday

It is spring break, which means that Opal is home with us all this week. Alice, of course, has scrubbing vacation every day, smart girl that she is. (Oh, okay, O’s smart too, she needs public school and she knew it before I did…)
It does mean a higher noise level for sure, what with the constant litany of book and movie plots, dream details, and just general O drama. Not to mention her penchant for music. We have been on a Magical Mystery Tour for a while now. And when the tour bus has to stop for gas, we switch to Marit Bergman, the Ramones, Yma Sumac, Mary Poppins, Deanta‘s rendition of Willie Taylor (scroll down to read the lyrics…) For the most part, I like the child’s musical taste. Alice on the other hand does not.
So, what about it? There have been a few good homeschool moments in the last couple days… Alice wanting a quick fiber project in which to channel her enthusiasm for color (see photo below), Opal learning a bit about pattern drafting (for use in future doll clothes), as well as whipping up a nice if slightly lumpy crepe batter this morning (infinitely expandable ratio: 1 cup flour to 1 cup milk to 4 eggs with a bit of salt and oil thrown in for good measure, let sit for at least 15 minutes). Plus the kid learned how to use the washer finally and did two loads of laundry!
here’s A’s pillow:
alices first log cabin
It’s stuffed with some fleece that felted in the degreasing. (Future pillows will be stuffed with the washed and cut-up “skins” of thrifted plushies, left over from the girls’ brief project, “Animal Rescue Plushie Purses and Packs.”)
The girls’ favorite websites are also worth mentioning. Opal spends a lot of time at Spatulatta, which is a cooking site for kids. (She learned how to separate eggs from one of the videos. We had to make cake to practice this skill, only when you haven’t an oven the cooking of cake gets a bit tricky. We ended up steaming cupcakes in the rice cooker.)
and then there’s MuseBlog for Alice, the writer in the family. MuseBlog is for fans of the great magazine, Muse, which is absolutely A’s fave mag. A joint publication of Smithsonian and Carus Publishing (think Cricket magazine). We had a sub to this for one year and the girls have read those 6 issues (or whatever) so many times. Anyhow, MuseBlog is the ultimate answer to a 13-year-old’s search for a suitable internet forum. Bravo!

‘kay, that’s all for one night. I promise you some non-kid content the next time.

endless hours of knotting later…

I have this small thing done.
Actually the endless hours aren’t so endless, and I have a large portion of the next section finished as well. Too bad that I had the camera pointed off in some weird direction for this photo, but I need to get this posted and a better picture will come later.
This is for a swap I am doing, but I am seriously considering taking this technique farther, as it is as close to being able to paint with yarn as I have found thus far. I have long admired hooked rugs, but after a few square inches of hooking with a crochet needle, I decided I had had enough.

I have been neglecting the garden. These daylilies have been patiently waiting to be planted.

I picked a basket of nettle tops yesterday, bare-handed as usual. I find that the deep sting has become a part of my spring, and I am certain that nettle helps with arthritis, which is becoming a minor problem in my right pointer finger. And I a stitcher!
I love to cook the nettles in more or less this fashion. I dry them too, for use as tea and a nettle powder that is a good addition to many foods. Eep, I had better check the nettles I have in the dryer. Normally they are air dried but this year, I through a bunch over lights and they are probably crispy by now.

Another thing done this weekend was this hat
new hat
with which I was testing a pattern for an as-yet-unnamed crafter who is putting together a book. It came out large on me; a bit of felting fixed that. The first hat I started (without checking for gauge, tsk tsk) came out way too big. But it reminded me of cake, and before I ripped it, I took a photo, which you can see here if you so choose.

what's in a name?

I was tagged by Shula to explain the name of my blog. I’ll bite. There’s a good story there.
Way back when I lived in the hills of Northern California. (Land of outlaws!) My home away from home was the Paddle Ranch Music Farm; we spent many an evening on the porch, smoking cigarettes, swapping songs and stories, planning gardens and gatherings.

Paddle Ranch Music Farm porch

This was the home of two of my dearest friends, Kent of Lokoyokol, and me best gal, Amy. (one of them still lives there.) Kent was trolling for band name suggestions, and Five Gallon Bucket was put forth. I thought it was capital, but he wasn’t into it.
You see, as Joel Salatin, pastured poultry pioneer, states, “Life on the farm wouldn’t exist without the five gallon bucket.” It is ubiquitous and can be used for almost anything.
The beauty of it, and why it fits my life so well, is that the five gallon bucket is garbage, cast off, a by-product of modern life. I am a super-recycler, it is my passion in all forms, and almost everything I utilize in my craft (and in my life, excepting food) has been thrown away by someone else.
Actually, this is a limitation as well as a gift; I really am unwilling to expand my business venture in any direction that would have me reliant on purchasing large quantities of New Supply. Therefore, I am (happily) locked into one-of-a-kind, which consumes a tremendous amount of energy.

(I have been using five gallon bucket as a business name for years. It is the name of my etsy shop, which I am not supporting at present.)

I tag jarvenpa, Rineke, and Helle.

Since I had the real photos out in search of that porch picture, I thought I would give you an archival kid pic.

Opal and Little Friend

Taken during a photoshoot here at our place, back when I had 50+ chickens, and was featured on the cover of our local cultural monthly rag.