Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Antlerborns & Wool Coats

My kitchen sounds like it has Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Every time I walk in there I am greeted with the rattle and burble of two fermentation buckets. They bubble and belch in the corner, and at this point in the process they can't help themselves. So much yeast and sugar is interacting with the cider. A whole world of chemistry is happening and I sometimes find myself just staring at the airlocks, counting time between bubbles like I did as a child waiting for thunder after a flash of lightening. My house is old and every step on the worn floorboard sends a chain reaction to the little tanks, the slightest vibration telegraphed sending them into a fit of air bubbles. It sounds vulgar. It is delightful.

Besides a burping kitchen I have a few fun updates. Eight new Antlerborn chicks arrived Sunday morning! That's what I am calling the unique breed of free-range chicken that is thriving here. They are an autumn-leaf colored mixture of pumpkins and flowers, literally. They are part Pumpkin Hulsey and part Swedish Flower Hen and the mixture has created the clever street urchin of chickens. They are so street-smart, so daring, so predator savvy that out of the 20 Antlerborn chicks that arrived so far only two have died. Thats without brooders, folks. These birds are living under their mothers' wings. And they are growing up into these really sleek and beautiful animals, mostly orange and gray, but with yellows, browns, and reds as well. They happened by accident but who knows, the Antlerborn Chicken may be its own breed someday. It is here.

Also, remember my story about thinking about a warm cloak or jacket while driving Merlin? I was hours from home, in the outdoors, and trapped in a sense. I didn't have any rain or warmth gear with me and if it poured or got cold I was stuck traveling at the speed of a horse I refuse to not pace. Walking a horse with wet tack slowly home while shaking and soaked is not fun. So I noted that next trip out I'll treat it more like a trail ride and carry a raincoat, sweater, gloves, and a first aid-kit. Simple solution. Preparedness is the driving cloak of the future.

However, I am far too romantic to sit still. I looked up "wool cloaks" and "wool jackets" online and found very modern pea coats that looked restrictive of arms and under-layered clothes - or flowing costume capes. Both options used real wool and none were under a hundred dollars. I knew there was a way to make a simple cart-driving/chore jacket cheaper. So I looked up the cost of ordering a few yards of wool cloth. WOW. 100% wool fabric was around 20-30 dollars a yard! So I looked at my daybed in the living room. On the couch was this big wool blanket, dark green and super warm. It's the kind you get at Military Surplus stores or from emergency supply catalogs. This one came from the Ready Store and weighed four pounds, I think it cost twenty dollars. It was a lot more than a yard. So I grabbed some green thread and a needle, a pair of scissors, and looked up a basic hooded cape design online. There were a lot of patterns and basic cut-out ideas but to be honest I winged it. I sewed the hood first, attached it to a small half-circle for wrapping around my body, and then attached two big arms. It fit just like I wanted it too! Super comfy, like wearing a wool blanket and with enough room to go over any sweater or jacket. It'll keep the rain off in my cart for sure or double as blanket for my legs. It's more fashionable then a cape and while it still looks a little "costumey" I'm not wearing it to dinner and a movie, I'm wearing it to feed horses and drive a cart. I'm okay with it. I just wanted to show you the simple design in case any of you want to try the same project. It's a $25 wool cart-driver coat. It's the newest thing with all this chilly weather! Some say it is as warm as under the wings of an Anterborn mother hen!

photo by Miriam Romais