Beads are made from Sulpey, that poly clay that you bake. My mother-in-law gave me a bunch of it years ago. Works great for this purpose, and makes me want a play-doh barber shop for Christmas!

I love December. Wrapping up the outside stuff (still no snow, so always more plants to mulch, pens to clean, and hoses to put away). Time to play with the inside stuff. Time to take on new projects, or old ones set aside for way too long.

About 4 miles from here, there is an old piece of  property on a busy corner. Run down. Piles of stuff everywhere. Looking abandoned. Clearly an old farmstead that the city grew up around. My husband and I have driven by it over and over, looking at the piles of junk and thinking, “there must be treasures in there”. And then one Saturday, we drove by and there was an “open” sign painted on a piece of plywood. So we pulled in.


Beautiful wool yarn, ready for more socks, or a hat, or “wristers”, which are gloves without fingers. Part of the old sweater it was made from underneath. This is after the unwound wool had been gently washed. No more “thrift store” funk.

Turns out it was once a thrift/antique store. The family was long gone, and it had been sitting empty for many years. The woman running the show had been contracted by the new property owners to clear as much of it out as possible before the whole thing gets bulldozed for some new development. Needless to say, the scrounge gene kicked into overdrive, and my husband and I spent the next hour or so picking through several buildings, talking to the owner, and getting a back door tour of the place (which, in places, looked like an episode of hoarders).


How to tell if the fiber is natural? Burn a small piece. If it smells like hair and turns to ash, its wool or cotton. If it melts and smells like plastic, not so much.

We picked up a three-seat-set of theater seats from the old Liberty Theater downtown. Paid $50 for them. Added (the rest was free) a 200 foot roll of ancient red macramé cord, some canning jars (I can’t walk by a table with canning jars without taking at least the jelly jars home with me), a wooden table easel (great for propping boxes on at the farmers market, to display them at an angle), a wood box for slicing bread, a metal table frame, a burned and very heavy low wood table (a building had burned down, and it was sitting in what was left, the legs toast, but the heavy top almost intact), a long roll of wool/cotton/horsehair who knows what yarn. Oh, the treasures! We came back a few days later, and rescued a pile of bricks that used to be part of a kiln, and some big wood planks from an old building that had fallen down.

I returned one more time for a few more canning jars, some old wool sweaters (to pull apart and recycle the yarn), and some old family photos that I had seen on our first visit, that had been haunting me ever since. I HAD to rescue them.

Don't Remember Her Name

Caption: “Me and Pat Carol and…can’t remember her name”.

Pendleton Memories

No caption or date. But don’t you just want to know what became of them?

Merry F'n Christmas

Caption: Me and Dean and Bill selling Christmas trees.

And my husband has since made two benches (one for the laundry/mud room to sit on while putting on/taking off shoes, and one for the outside deck), and a new outdoor coffee table (made from the metal table frame and the top from the burned table – plus some purchased casters). I’ve made two macramé plant hangers (simple half square and square knots – happy to share the formula” if anyone is interested), and recycled three sweaters for the yarn. Have you priced wool yarn lately? Assuming you can find it? Enough for a pair of socks will cost you $15 on a good day. Recycling is the way to go. (I hate acrylic yarn, by the way. Makes me smell like a goat. It may be cheap, but it’s nasty.)

I even had time to finish the black and orange socks that I had started knitting for Michael in Colorado, more than 3 years ago. Yikes. Did I mention I love December.


Honestly, I’m not much of a knitter. I like socks, because if you mess up, it’s hard to see. I am always amazed, as I follow the directions, sweating the whole time, at how the “heel turn” actually works every time. And I like smaller projects, because I don’t knit very fast, and I’m impatient. Heck, these socks took me more than three years. Merry Christmas honey.

New dogs, still sweet, still very energetic (when not sleeping), still learning the rules of the house (no, it is not OK to pee on the living room chair! Arggggg).


“Smell my feet. No, you smell my feet. Wait, lets just smell the human’s butts again instead.”

Cats, still adjusting to the dogs.


“Come down? No, I’m good right here. And I’ll just pee in the sink, rather than go outside through the cat door, which would necessitate walking by the dogs. Yes, they look harmless, but I know better. I AM a cat, after all. I know everything.”

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2012, where we’re miles away from getting the pile of brush chipped up for the chicken house, or getting the quonset hut up (friggen county permits), but are enjoying enough down time to play with new projects.