Tag Archives: farm

Fun with Felt: The Farm – Preliminary Drawings

One of my favorite websites to peruse is craftgawker. It is an excellent site to get ideas for art and crafting. A few weeks ago, there were these wonderful felt dolls. I absolutely loved them and decided that I would make some for my niece (this will be a whole other post so stay tuned, and man did I have fun with this whole project). This led me to what I would make for my nephew. He is the youngest and I decided that I would make a felt farm!

First, I needed some animal shapes. I couldn’t find anything online that I liked. Everything was either too simple or not cartoony enough. I ended up on Google Images looking at photos of real animals and drew my own.

Photo of preliminary animal drawings.

This was so much fun and I actually had to stop myself from making more. If these are a success as a toy, I have lots of additions to make (goats, baby animals, ducks, mice, birds, and so much more).

Close-up of cat and chicken drawings.

There is also going to be a barn, tractor, trees, some fencing, bales of hay and water troughs (and again, more farm equipment if these are a kid approved toy, one of the other Crafty Sisters suggested a wind mill, wouldn’t that just be awesome?).

Photo of preliminary drawings of pig and sheep.

I have this really silly tendency to giggle (sort of a cross between a giggle and a mad cackle) when I am particularly happy about a project that I am working on, and this was practically a non-stop giggle project. I think I kept Lynne really entertained during our Google Chats while I made them. I really have had so much fun creating these that I need some more kids to make them for.

Photo of preliminary drawings of horse.

And here is the first set of animals that I made in felt. The chickens are dangerous, let me tell you. I made the white one at the top first, and from there, they just got addicting and I just kept giggling and they just kept multiplying. The next thing I knew, there were ten chickens. So, there is a good sized flock of chickens to go with my felt farm now.

Photo of flock of felt chickens.
The flock just kept growing.

Please don’t worry. There will be detailed instructions, photographs and a printable PDF of the animals in my next post about the felt farm so you can make your own. This is, in a sense, a teaser trailer to the rest of the project just to show some of what I have been working on lately.

Photo of felt chicken up close.

Those chickens really are just so adorable, but wait until you see the felt sheep.

And the felt cat.

And the felt cow.

Okay, like I said, the whole felt farm is just way too cute. Keep an eye out for a giggling madwoman the next time you are in Michael’s. It might just be me.

Happy crafting,

Kristin

Notes from the Farm on Wetlands

Creek in wetlands
This is the creek flowing out of the wetlands.

Lynne: My last post was about the beauty of the prairie on the farm, today, I want to post about the beauty of the wetlands on the farm. One of the best things about the farm, is the number of different habitats you can see.

The wetlands are as wonderful as the prairie, but I like to look at them more than I like to walk in them. There are insects and snakes and sucking mud that make me careful about what I wear when I do go exploring. I put on those Wellingtons I spoke of the other day and resign myself to getting really dirty and really wet. But there is so much to see, it is worth whatever it takes to get clean when you’re done. I think of it like swimming in cold water those first few days of summer, once you’re in you enjoy it so much you don’t want to get out.

The photo above is of a stretch of creek that has already been filtered by the main, marshy areas and you can tell that the creek is running clear and swift. The bank of yellow flowers in the foreground is a showy clump of  the pointy sticktights you find on your clothes and your dog after a walk.

The creek is clear, because the wetlands have captured the silt and fertilizers that run off of fields and land cleared for building. The marshy areas act like a sponge that absorbs this run-off before it is dumped into rivers and streams. The wetlands also act as areas of flood control as they absorb water during periods of flooding and release their water during periods of drought. Purdue has a very informative webpage on wetlands and water quality, if you wish to know more.

Pond formed by beaver dam.
The start of a pond behind the beaver dam.

These two photos show a beaver dam. Footprints and the more telltale tooth-cut logs and branches helped us discover it. The Great Plains Nature Center has great photos of beaver and their chewing habits. Water is dammed and pools behind the dam create more beneficial marshy areas. However, wetlands change quickly because of their response to the weather. A beaver dam today is not a beaver dam tomorrow and ‘busy as a beaver’ has meaning when you have to repair or start over whenever a big storm passes through.

Beaver dam
Beavers have been working like beavers and left a telltale print.

Now that I think about it, maybe I do like the wetlands better than the prairie. Oh wait, I haven’t posted about the woods yet or the pond. Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about which is best…If you can’t choose which one you love, love the one you’re with.

Notes from the Farm on the Prairie

Prairie at the farm.
Not vast acres of prairie, but a wonderful vista.

Lynne: Have you ever watched Little House on the Prairie and wondered what it was like to be Laura Ingalls running through the tall prairie grass? Well, the farm has an area of prairie grass and at this time of year it is turning the most fantastic shades of purple and gold.

I cannot describe properly the look and feel of the prairie. The wind moves in waves over the grass and the smell is like hay but less dry and the feel is people-less. Just me and the wind, the grass and the sky. I have tried to get the colors and the feel captured in these photos, but at every angle the light is different. I’ve played with Photoshop to give an approximate vision of what I see with bare eyes, but of course it is not the same. We need more than sight to see something properly.

Prairie grass
Now, this is up close and personal.

I wondered about the prevalence and history of prairie in this area and came across this book on google, The History of Cass County, Volume 1, edited by Jehu Powell. There are numerous references made about prairies and prairie fires in Cass County. Isn’t it a marvel that I can yearn for the days of vast plains and yet rejoice at the ability to read and search a rare book with ease.

Jehu Powell relates the troubles the pioneers had with prairie fires and I suspect that every acre of grass turned into farmland made them feel safer. I cannot imagine the tremendous heat and roar of a prairie fire, but the grass needs fire to reseed itself and to keep thickets and trees from taking over. One third of the prairie here at the farm is set on fire every year. Careful attention is paid to weather conditions, proper fire breaks and there are firefighters on standby.

Mac and prairie grass
Mackie is sure that the deer he saw is somewhere close.

Mackie, my black labrador, loves the prairie grass. He bounds up and down through it like a deer. You can just see the top of his head and his ears flapping for a split second and down he goes again. His tongue hangs out and he has what looks like a huge grin on his face. Sometimes, watching him, I wish that I were young enough to run with him. I remember running through pastures barefoot and wondering why running meant fewer cuts on your feet than walking. However, I am satisfied watching him from the Mule and dreaming of past times.

Notes from the Farm

Chickens!
I am filling the bird feeder. These chickens know some of the food will spill on the deck and are in their 'ready' position.

Lynne: I have been on a working vacation for the past few weeks. My grandparents had a farm and I have always held an affection for the rural life, but the thought of having a library nearby has kept me firmly within the city limits. Every now and then, however, I have the good fortune to be able to pretend I am a farmer.

The farm I pretend is mine sits on 140 acres of prairie and woods and has a large pond. I can sit on the deck and watch ducks, geese and even bald eagles go about their daily tasks. The night is so dark, I have to use my cell phone to see. There has to be a moral in there somewhere.

I have not been posting much because rural Indiana is woefully behind in its broadband coverage. Blogging is not possible on a dial-up connection. At least, I cannot do it. I begin to froth at the mouth when a page takes 30 seconds to load. It is hard to remember that the internet is really a new thing and not so long ago 3 minutes to download a page seemed a miracle. Anyway, I will be posting a few notes I have taken during my stay.

I get up in the morning and put on the clothes I wore the day before. I have found that changing clothes 3 or 4 times a day is ridiculous and wearing the dirty clothes for morning chores is the smart thing to do. I also put on rubber boots. It may feel weird to clump around in boots to your knees, but it is really necessary when you are caring for horses. Mucking out horse stalls is a good way to ruin even your oldest shoes. I have found also that I have to stop and put on socks with these boots because they will wear gurry sores on your ankles. (Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling is my information on gurry sores–the results of the chafing of oil-skins on bare flesh.) In this day and age, gurry sores are treated by antibiotics and a tetanus shot. (Has it really been 10 years since I had one? Ouch…)

I will continue my tales of the farm in more posts, but I will leave with this musing on the vagaries of chickens. If you have food in your hand they gather under your feet, if you don’t have food they are under your feet and if you are even thinking about food they are under your feet. I stepped on one this morning in my rubber boots. Luckily, the stable floor and the boots were soft and I only stepped on the chicken’s foot. I believe chicken feet are tough. At least, this one has tough feet, it squawked and didn’t budge an inch. I was giving grain to the horses. Silly chickens, they think the horses are going to let them have some.

Next time, I will muse on the the chore of watering…everything.