September 30, 2016

Nature Called...

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

Nature called...but not in the usual way this term is used. I awoke yesterday to the sun rising over the horizon east of the farm. The skies were clear and it was going to be a beautiful day. Bella and Tag were anxious to get out and have their breakfast, and I took a shower and got dressed. We had plans to meet my aunt and uncle by 9.

My uncle is going to be painting the rooms in our farmhouse (he's a retired painter), so the three of us went to pick up the paint I chose while Sherwin Williams is having their 30% off sale. I was purchasing 15 gallons of Repose Gray and 5 gallons of Ibis White, so I didn't want to miss the discount! We made a few other stops and headed back to the farm to unload the truck, and then we headed our separate ways for the rest of the day.

I took the dogs outside and decided it was much too perfect a day to spend inside. I changed clothes, grabbed a large bucket and went to collect hickory nuts, while the dogs snuffled in the grass and explored our property. There was a nice breeze and the land is beginning to smell like fall. I savored every minute.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

When my bucket was nearly full, we went back to the house, parked in the sun coming through the open windows in the kitchen, and proceeded to open up the green and brown cases hiding those precious hickory nuts inside.

Bella was more interested in this process than Tag, so she spent most of the time watching me remove the outer husks. I'd open them in a few moves, toss them into a waiting shopping bag on my left and with the other hand, place the moist nuts into a bowl on my right.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

As I went through these motions, I let my mind wander. The clean, nutty/almost citrusy/earthy fragrance of the outer husks wafted up as the autumn sun warmed my shoulders.

I thought how much Mom would have enjoyed watching me as I worked. Sis told me that she remembered shelling hickory nuts with her grandmother when she was a young girl, and how she loved the taste of them.

I thought about the pioneer women who would have performed this same act as they harvested the bounty the land provided for them. As I collected the nuts from our trees, I noticed that we also have small, sweet, wild grapes growing in the same hedgerow. (I'll remember those for next year!)

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

Sis told me that after the still moist nuts are removed from the outer husks, they used to lay them out on trays to dry. This allows the shells to harden. No need to bake them. Just let them harden so the shells can be stored to crack later.

My bucket yielded nearly seven pints of whole nuts. Friends have shared their favorite family recipes with me that will used the nut meats. I'm looking forward to trying the cookie and cake recipes that have been sent to me, and sharing them with my family.


There was only one sad note to this otherwise perfect day. Handsome and I have been watching the resident red squirrels as they prepare for winter. One particular squirrel has amused us as he'd run across the yard, stick his nose into the grass - and his butt in the air - to bury nuts he'd shelled under the largest hickory tree. He liked to run across the end of our road between the hickory trees and the pear tree in our south tree line. I mentioned earlier in the week that I figured I'd be competing with him to collect my own harvest.

Sadly, as I drove out to meet my aunt and uncle, I found him on the road just past our driveway. He wasn't there when I came home last night, and there were only a few cars that came down to the end of our road to the farm late yesterday. Someone must have accidentally hit him on their way in or out. I stopped the car, actually said how sorry I was that he was gone, picked him up, and gently placed his body into the tall grass on the side of the road.

I haven't seen the other squirrels at all since. I'm hoping that they'll be back to entertain us, and collect the hickory nuts that are still clinging to the high branches of the trees....and I hope they steer clear of the road. I'd much rather enjoy their antics.
 
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September 29, 2016

Latest Farmhouse Finds...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds

I stopped at my favorite antique mall yesterday and came home with a few fabulous finds. Let's start with this stack of beauties, shall we?

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Enamel Mixing Bowl

This is an enamel mixing bowl. It has measurements on the inside and was an advertising bowl for Volrath Company here in Wisconsin. I'm especially fond of enamelware and this will be a useful addition to the collection.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Large Ironstone Oval Dish

I also have a few lovely ironstone pieces, and this is the largest one now. It's an oval dish that measures about 9" long. I'll use it in the (new) studio, and it will also be welcome in the kitchen. It's in pristine condition with no cracks, chips or crazing.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds  - Large Enamel Tray

This is the largest enamel tray I've ever found. I popped a few wooden utensils into it to give you an idea of how large it is. It's about 3.5" deep, and it's also in great shape.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Grain Sack

The antique mall is in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. As I was walking around, I say this intact grain sack that was being used as a table cover. It's like a big pillowcase, so that's likely how I'll use it. I'll insert a king size pillow into it and then close up the end. It might look nice on the sofa or on one of the beds...after it's washed.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds -Enamel Cabinet

Speaking of enamelware, I also found this great little cabinet. I needed something to place next to the washer in the basement for holding cleaning supplies and my homemade laundry soap. It's the same height as the washer.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Cabinet Top
 
The top is in great shape, too. It was marked $35.00, and the booth was having a 30% off sale! I'd say it was the perfect price, too.

I spent $85 (including sales tax) for all my purchases and came home with some really useful, practical and attractive, vintage items. I'm looking forward to installing all of them in the farmhouse.

When I got home, I spent the evening stitching. I'll show you my finished Block Nine tomorrow.
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September 28, 2016

This Is More Like It...

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Crow & Pumpkin"
 
Yesterday was a great day at the farm. I was scheduling work to be accomplished here, pulling nails and playing with my Wooly Critters blocks!
 
I chose my wools when Kathy and I last went to Primitive Gatherings, so I have lots of color and pattern options for the remaining blocks. 
 
Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Crow & Pumpkin"

This one is Block Nine, "Crow & Pumpkin", and I'm very happy with the colors I chose for this one. As soon as I finished fusing this one to the ground fabric, I went right on to the next block.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Squirrel & Oak Leaves"

Block Ten is definitely a favorite! I know. You're shocked, right? I love how the hand dyed wools create real dimension on the leaves and acorns.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Squirrel & Oak Leaves"

I chose the threads for these last night, and I'll start stitching on them in my "down time". Just getting my hands back into my needlework supplies was so nice. Stitching at the farm will be heavenly.
 
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