Thursday, May 25, 2017

We Can Hardly Wait!

"Hey girls!  Over here... I have some great news!"

"That's a little better.  How about some faces...."

"Much better, Hope."

"The mill is finished processing your wool
and I hear it's a beautiful color."

(Hope smiles.... as much as any sheep smiles.)

It's hard to believe that six weeks have passed since shearing day.
However, if you look at Hope's neck you will see just how much wool
she has grown in six weeks.

(Consider that immediately after shearing, her pink skin showed through
 the tiny bit of white wool that was left on her body.)

These girls are excellent wool growers.
And they are only too happy to get rid of it each spring!

Tomorrow afternoon I will head to the mill to pick up the wool.
I am so excited!

Remember yesterday I was experimenting with rye bread?
After three attempts at baking the perfect recipe
I had three loaves to share with the chickens.
They enjoyed it much more that we did!
Back to the drawing board.
I am tempted to email the restaurant that had the bread and ask if they would share 
their recipe.
To be continued....

One last photo of Iceland that I wanted to tell you about...

There more churches in Iceland than you can imagine.
The curious thing is that large farms such as this one have a church
right on the farm....
giving the residents the ability to worship without having to travel
miles and miles over gravel roads (which are often impassible during the winter months.)
Imagine having a farm with your own tiny church on it!

My favorite church photo...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Little More of Iceland

Hopefully you don't mind if I share a few more Iceland photos with you.
They are random, without much rhyme or reason.

Lupines, one of my favorite flowers, grow in abundance all over the countryside.

They were all still in bud while we were there, but I happened to one in the South
that had started to bloom.

This sculpture by the Reykjavik waterfront represents the Viking ships that 
brought the norsemen to this land.

It seems that the Icelanders have a good sense of humor and whimsy.
Sign in a tavern window:

Sign in front of a bakery:

And I yawned quite often!

Sign in front of a bar:

Sign on a gate covered with gloves:

Another tavern sign:


Walking around the towns, you'll find artwork where you least expect it...

The houses are charming...

The farms are amazing...and always so clean and well manicured.

Trolls are a part of their folklore and you see stacks of rocks all over that represent them.

Small churches dot the countryside, tiny and charming...

Children are named according to who their parents are and not by surnames as we use.
For example:

(From Wikipedia):  A man named Jón Einarsson has a son named Ólafur. Ólafur's last name will not be Einarsson like his father's; it will become Jónsson, literally indicating that Ólafur is the son of Jón (Jóns + son). The same practice is used for daughters. Jón Einarsson's daughter Sigríður's last name would not be Einarsson but Jónsdóttir. Again, the name literally means "Jón's daughter" (Jóns + dóttir).

One of the things that I enjoyed immensely was their bread.
One in particular was made with rye flour, barley malt syrup, dried apricots and raisins and chopped walnuts.
I searched for a recipe online and found one to try...

Not exactly the same, but not bad.
I must keep searching!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Things Can Really Change in a Week!

Spring has burst forth in all her glory!
It happened while we were away.

The funny thing is... before we left temperatures were in the 50's.
In Iceland temperatures were in the 50's... while here at home everyone was
enduring a short heat wave.
Now that we are home the temperatures are cooler again.
It seems we chased away the sun by coming home.

That week of heat and sunshine gave the gardens the boost that they needed.
The vegetables have grown like crazy.

As have the weeds and baby grass between the garden boxes.

The multicolored Echinacea plants that I planted in this box last summer
have all come back up again... bigger and better than before.
That's the thing that I love about perennials.

They multiply every year... making them worth every cent of their cost!

We are once again eating out of the garden.
Suppers include asparagus, kale, spinach, broccoli, and radishes... all freshly picked.

It's so good to be back amongst my friends again.

Though I have to admit that Hubbs has been doing the lion's share of the chores
as my toe (surgery) has not yet healed.  It's being quite stubborn.
So, while he picks up manure and shuffles animals in and out of pastures,
I work in the garden and visit with my furry friends.

Yesterday was the new chicks' (now awkward teenagers) first adventure into their yard.

With a gentle nudge from Hubbs' caring hands...

they stepped out into a whole new world....a scary one at first!

This one sought refuge on my arm.

"There you go.... you'll be just fine!"

What we noticed once they were all outside is that we seem to have a bantam hen in the mix.
She'll be fun to watch as she grows into a miniature version of her sisters.

I'm calling her Meg... as she's just a "Little Woman".

Monday, May 22, 2017

Home Again!

We are home again... tucked in safe and sound.
Our travels through Iceland are ones we won't soon forget.
It is like no place on earth.
In fact, it is otherworldly... like landing on a planet in a faraway galaxy that
can sustain life like earth yet vastly different looking than anything I had ever seen before.

Iceland lies on the borders of two tectonic plates...
making it one of the most geologically unstable places on earth...
a land of paradox...

 Volcanoes and glaciers,
rich verdant farmland and barren lava flows,
mountains and craters,
glacial streams, rivers, bays and hot springs, geysers, and steam vents
make up the topography of this visually abundant land.

It is a land once settled by the Norsemen and women, Vikings....
and now inhabited by rugged individualists...
a people with a can-do spirit who live a more minimalist existence
in this land where adventure awaits.

Situated in the Gulf Stream, with a maritime climate...
Iceland is more temperate than you might think.
Because it is just beneath the arctic circle, summers rarely exceed 70 degrees.
And winters hover around the freezing mark.

Summers of light and winters of dark are another juxtaposition...
the prize for 24 hours of darkness being the Northern Lights.
(no longer visible for our visit.)

It is a land dotted by farms... more rural than I have ever experienced.
Everywhere you look are their precious Icelandic horses...
perhaps my favorite part of the trip!

Almost every farm has a small flock of sheep and a handful of chickens.
The number one crop is grass hay.

With such a short growing season, it is hard to grow much in the way of produce.
Although they are beginning to experiment with growing in greenhouses.
Seafood is abundant... and it is fresh and clean like no other.

I could go on and on.
I was charmed by this incredible island.
I think I could live there... raising Icelandic horses and knitting Icelandic sweaters.
On second thought... how could I ever leave my garden?
And I am sure that Ginger and MaryAnn would not enjoy the change.

Seriously, though... it's great to be home surrounded by my loves.

Travel is great fun but my heart belongs to my home.
I missed you!
Hopefully you could enjoy our travels through photos on Facebook or Instagram.
Iceland may be remote, but it has free WiFi nearly everywhere!


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