patterns and spindles

RUSSIAN LILY PATTERNS ON RAVELRY if you are looking for Orenburg spindles e-mail me

МАГАЗИН СХЕМ RUSSIAN LILY НА сайте RAVELRY оплата paypal в любой валюте. если Вы не можете оплатить paypal то напишите на

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Cooking corner: Butter. American, European style and Russian Style.

Butter... such a simple thing.
In USA folk say butter is not the same. First it's salted and unsalted, second... the taste is different, it behaves in baking different... why?

American butter is made of cream, European style butter however is made from aged (aka sour cream), and them comes USA pasteurized milk and Europe - not necessary. Then what do cows eat, are they grass fed.
Can you make your own butter? It's quite easy actually. Here is video about America style butter made at home with kitchen stand mixer.
All one does is : beat the cream until solids and butter milk separate

More detailed process is explained below how to beat t and do not make a mess
Also this one makes sour cream at home using butter milk. In USA organic milk is the best bet.

Now Russian style: from fresh milk she takes tops - cream, and she will make butter from cream, shaking a lot, long time.
It's important to have it at about 20C degrees, if it's hotter the butter will be too runny, if it's too cold - that will be too hard to beat it. 1/2 to 1/3 of the jar has to be empty.
And shake it... 10-15 min.

Use the same principle using the mixer. at 20C is the best.
In 5-10 min there will be a bit of solids.

Beating cream from sour cream - that's Russian style. Sour cream was sitting in the fridge several days. And here comes the drill. very effective :)

See how much solids? that sour cream was already separated, meaning strained.

They have gadgets for that

American farmers do the jar method too. Pls take a look. Also at the end there are couple f butter beating devices


And using kitchen processor


Another useful video with some good details to it . Sour cream can not be made from store bought light sour cream. It's the follow up on the second video I've listed above.


Happy butter making.
Sometimes there is reference about cultured butter
this one basically does work with sour cream European style butter.
This video has important note about ultra pasteurized and pasteurized cream. the process will not work with that. This is similar to Russian style butter referenced in video 4)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Notes about fleeces and combs

came across this interesting video about wool and goat combing, it was made a while ago

It has several interesting points and tests

1) The spinner talks in Russian and in this video firstly she said she just got these new combs, so it's the new tool for her (about a year ago). Quite large combs too. Not medium and not mini I have (for Shetland wool for example or merino)
After that she tests couple of types of wool and she notes very carefully weighting the % of the useful combed rowing versus what is remaining.
These notes are very useful for spinners who start working with combs. These 2 comb sets are what most western spinners would be using because single triangular comb is not common

2) First white sheep wool type tested is wool with fiber and guard hair, some kind of local wool from southern Russia, the test described talks about trying to separate wool and guard hairs. I think I did see some videos on youtube about using combs to separate wool and guard hair if and only if these 2 parts had different length. It is not quite clear what was the length of the fiber and the guard hair in the white sample, kind of looks like guard hair might be slightly longer but it's very hard to see to tell.
Her wool also does not appear it was washed in uniform locks (like some would do that using mesh wash bags to preserve the locks better). Not quite clear what the rowing versus remaining % is, she mentions that it was too much remaining on the combs

The second test starts about 5:20 and it's more gray sheep wool she describes as possibly a merino cross. She says she does prefer hand cards to produce combed rowing.
she said combed rowing for that sample was 7gr combed and 13 grams remaining
On hand cards she is mentioning she has 5 gr remaining and 15gr rowing and she believes 5rg could be still improved

3) 3-rd test starts at about 10:37 and is for hand carded goat down and she makes combed rowing from that using these combs and has very little waste. Results in nice combed sliver. That test is interesting. Take a look, I did not see that done before with the goat down. It looks more like what Shetland spinner does starting from the locks (on mini combs, they go for 3-4 locks or so, very small amounts).
The spinner is self taught and quite particular about the job she does, wants to get out of that rowing every imperfection

Here is the video about processing Shetland fleece locks by Sue Macniven

the combed sliver has little waste and another video below does explain why (about weak spot in that particular fleece type)

Here is the video demonstrating use of larger combs by Susan McFarland
+[Here is the video demonstrating use of larger combs by Susan McFarland][3]
about how not to end up with 50% of the fiber remaining on combs, also combing locks. If you see she barely catches the cut end by the tines, not too much (it is hard when it's too much),

This particular video shows the rise of Shetland fleece aka the weak spot

 (that's the thing where the waste comes from) and how to get uniform locks from the fleece.

I'm mentioning here wool longer as substitute for long goat down fiber is one can not get a hold of goat down, and Shetland as one of the substitutes for finer shawls.

When it comes to Orenburg triangular combs on this side of the pond Valkyrie Superfine Combs is still the closest thing in 2 combs sets. Like these in the video (processing paco-vicuna, it is closest thing to orenburg goat down at 14 micron, but... orenburg goat down is combed, so it's got no cut side, paco vicuna is sheered so it does have the cut side).

One of the reasons why triangular comb is used traditionally is the orenburg down is combed and this fiber is pulled from both sides of the comb (no cut side to lash on the comb so it is put in the middle so the waste sits in the middle nice and put). Here is a very good video regarding that.
Traditional orenburg triangle comb. Rosa Gumerova.

Video shows picking guard hair, then combing (down is combed trice, however when 100% goat down shawl was made for me and orenburg museum that down was combed 7-9 times), also at 10:46-ish they show that comb used to comb down from goats and one guy in the class said he uses that thing to pick gooseberries into a basket and that works real well.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

mean birds :)

It says it :).
Russians are coming. Russian Orloff chickens that is.
Mean girls. Mature Russian Orloff hen supposed to have that hawk look ('orel' means hawk).
Lighter Russian type. These girls are not perfect Russian RO type (compared to German RO type).
This one has the best meanest eye, good 'ball' head and serious nasty mean hawkish look to her. The comb has it's flaws but between picking eye and head versus comb I go for the first 2 and pair with the male that has very good comb
The hopes here is to get more of Russian type offspring from these girls. My Russian type boy is gone but his mix wit German type is here and hoping that he has. He has ok mean look to him and decent oval eye. Also he has much better 'ball' and muffs combated to his fatter-cock. His father is lighter but his mother is not, she had better head at the time last year and that's why he has remained of 8 roos.
His mother has lesser beard and much darker beak. This pair has longer Russian type beard, ok beak, not enough curve so, just a bit
She has best RO color and most even spangling. Half sister of my beauty that was in USA calendar.
I'm very sad to say that my cover girl for 2018 calendar is gone... predator took several RO hens one evening that has painful... my cinnamon program is gone and it will take many years to recover... hopefully possible.
She is a nice mean girl.

And she's going for it what ever that is
So Russians are coming! Russian type Russian Orloff chicks, hopefully the boe does his job well and produces nice chicks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Water management and ditches , close to completion

Winter is such a thing... we have have 60-70+F degrees drop. Thankfully this one came with some snow to cover. One day it's 60-69F another it's 10F... to 0... that was a 2 day drop. But the ditch was almost completed, only there was too late to do rock and it started freezing already.
Previous post is about beginning of the BTE wood chips filled drain.

Some more of the logs from the stash were put to good use, mostly longer ones
This is from the last week when we had to pause... for obvious reasons because it froze...
 Then it was 65F again and on the weekend, so the area was covered because that's necessary

Because that's the same area with the weeds cut already several times between he berm and the grass, 6 types of different perennial weeds at least and 4 types of annuals including cheat grass and cochia and thistles and good old bind weeds

same covered

this is the other side of the same ditch when it was still open so the area between the grass and the rock can be seeing open , it is de-facto a dry creek that does redirect water that was rushed from the lawn, it indeed will make the back berm drier,
but because I put some xeric plants there and drip irrigation and doing some deep mulch soil improvements that will not be an issue even this year due to massively increased soil moisture retention compared to clay and rock cover it used to be... without weed fabric and rock, picture taken in dead summer heat in July and the area was still wet (we do not water this type of grass a lot, it's also a xeric type, not typical lawn grass it does have rhizomes so and spreads past the edging unless it's edged often... learned lesson the hard way :) )
this is the beginning of this ditch-dry creek (left), all the flush flood water is redirected to kitchen garden (right, protecting play area with the drains)

 Where are logs there are some bugs sometimes. and here is my busy clean up crew going after the grabs with...hunger

Completed side and log work before wood chips
 And after
 Also some log work on the side of the lawn and bushes
 And here was our 70F degree drop.

 Hope we will get more snow than this, it is too wry

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cooking corner: Fermenting ACV (apple cider vinegar) and canning

Winter is time for reflection... looking at this
I go inside do some cooking, do stuff with things that are clean and slow.
Fermenting ACV from scratch. It's about 3 weeks. First batch was done in half-gallon jar
 Here is second run of the ACV fermenting from organic apples, also used acv with mother sediment in both batches. The first batch did not develop strong mother. This one looks better but its still small, in half-gallon
 and larger fermenting jar
there is the growth, just not like some show nice and very thick to over an inch.

video I watched :

Some canning, musings ... this is stock from home grown birds, also canning some store bought protein, fermenting daikon radish.
Testing big boss (all american 930) and my large chicken stock pot (38 quart commercial stock pot)
 My canning workhorses that do all the jobs
 Stock... I can lift that pot only when it's about that full even after tossing lots and lots of logs that solid stainless steel pot full of stock at 38 quarts... nope that's probably 2 people job I guess, for one when it's hot, nope :)
 Canning this, large commercial bowl does good job marinating... that's a table spoon in there, 12 inch tiles...
 ready for pantry

 and stocked
 Pickled daikon radish Japanese style, turned out good
Good to use in things like this (my musings with sushi)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Water management and ditches retrospective, looking back ... and forward

Looking back at how system of ditches and dry creek is forking now I can say that so far so good.
Secondary system of ditches i close to be done... the only thing that is holding it is our winter weather. When we have several warm days and really warm week we did water ditch with french drains covered in wood chips and berms that help to keep dry playground.

Ditch system N1 - first line of defense:

I put a post about first set of irrigation ditches before. In high mountain desert we do not have much water to begin with, 2 month no rain or snow - that's normal. It does happen multiple times in one year.
When it rains it does rain :). We did have something called 100-year flood and 1000-year flood or something among those lines depends on  what source one is looking at :), long story short ... it's about lots of water in very short time. If that amount of water would be more spread out say over those 3 month we have not a drop and some morning dew... that would be great, perfect. It does not happen. We can have what is called a flush flood. The effect on bare not protected dirt is not good.
Initially the property had one very small dry creek, and we have learned very quickly why we have to have it
and spotless clean of any leaves, mulch bark (why would pro landscapers do that bark in a windy area... for decoration...)  and other vegetation bits and pieces or whatever could grow in it (water brings many seeds of all kinds). We had to change it to the (left picture, added more rocks), and then when bigger rain came to the (right picture, even more rocks, slate wall) 
this above is a small rain so, when it's bigger and the dry creek did not take it (was too shallow and was fixed very quickly... like in the rain :) , one has to do what they have to do you know...). The structures can be flooded if the dry creek is not big enough and that's no good, that's why we did good deeper dry creek and water management system. We do not like floods. Working dry creek defense system pictures are here :)

Back at the beginning the was a little portion of the dry creek lower than the structure, for decorative purposes I guess,  it goes by that empty spot ... that spot did grow most impressive thistles of all things first spring ... and I do not like thistles that much...
The small trees forest is indeed around these exact rocks... hard to believe right? In high mountain desert... No. For real... Kind of before and after picture of the dry creek. It did take a while to get to that... but man those 2 scrawny aspens did turn into a mini forest/grove. 
Because at the back of the structure ... there was nothing but distressed pasture and weeds of cheat grass and other species and more weeds... the water flush flood was not that much of a concern initially... except of the mud everywhere including the road which we did raise about a foot+ by now. Before where the road is was the mud pit... why would anyone put a gate there to drive over the mud pit... the story I'll never know... :). 
And we really needed a shed... and did not like thistle and weeds field either in that spot and did not want to roundup the entire property either. that was the weedy dry creek dump spot before. Way way better now. That's how we took care of the weeds organically and managed to end up with mini dry creek grove in the desert. Does not look too bad by our desert measure :). 'Weeds be gone' organically accompanied with the rustic stumps sitting and snacking area to enjoy the country scenery.
Well not all the bindweed, but a lot less of it and much less thistle... still get some here and there, much easier to manage and chickens scratch weeds there too an make me compost.
It turned out this area makes very good wood chips compost.

Looking back several years ...when the bigger rain came and most of the property was covered 2 inches or more with water and then has turned mud till it froze eventually that was a clear 'nature told you so' call. The property needed to be improved if I wanted to grow something and do not make it dead. For the garden all I had was this
And view perennials and some rocks in front of the house mulched with tree bark.
Several new trees on landscaped with some rock and tree bark berms on 2 sides of the typical pro landscaped lawn. Looked very neat to sell the house and compensate for dry dead pasture on the entire property... Later we found previous owners made dirt bike track and moved property flush for that. Hey that was another kind of fun and I do not own a dirt bike to appreciate that fully.
For us that was just muddy ground on most of the property and that was not very fun.
That's why we did all that ditches system.

In spring we got this in picture below ... it was taken 2-3 years or so... ducks in garden and standing water right next to the structure... well the standing water we did not like and that's why the ditch system came to be ... and yeah... the chickens... those plaid the role too, about that later.
I was glad we put the garden where we did so for sure. And that's below is in mid May after 15-th several years back. Weeds and cheat grass are nice and green at the back of the garden, only time of the year they are green there.
So in the past think the garden area garden was flush flooded. It's a reclaimed area ... think raised about a foot flush flood reclaimed area of mud and weeds loving long drought and flush flood conditions. hey  I did grow something that year and good bit of it too and was very very happy about it. After summer sun burns the grasses all that turns brown like below... but that year (3 years ago or so I think) I've got chickens to deal with grasshoppers... so the dry creek ditch had to be longer because flooded chicken house is no good thing and where truck is that's the farm road... and that was muddy all the time too
dry creek had to become deeper like so

and the ditch had to be made initially like so (left) and be finished later (right, took over a year)

Also I found the source of wood chips and lots of it and took care of the muddy mess at the back of the garden for good, no it is building very nice compost

Ditch system N2 - second line of defense:
This ditch system runs along tree berms and follows what previous pro-landscapers did.
Completed ditch part is at the end-lower portion of it. Upper portion will be rock

First we had to make berm and swales a bit cleaner, tree berm is on right, swle on the right side and that one does protect play ground from most of the water flowing in spring or autumn.
 After that the ditch is lined with weed fabric. This area has lots of bindweed and other weeds. So I'd love to do no weed fabric, but here I'm buying myself time

 When done the french drains went in like so, 2 of them

 And the area between rock part ( of these drains and hidden french drain part is stepping logs walking bridge, the logs are on stones.

 Here is not complete part off the dry creek/ditch, to be lined with weed fabric and filled with river rocks (left).And finished portion of the french drains covered by wood chips(right)

Now looking at the garden I started with... here
It did really come the long way
To this and this and this and this ... took a lot of work I admit it.
Drain and ditches now protect that. When I'm done with second set of ditches I hope that's it and we can manage 1000 years flood and be quite fine. The water will be absorbed or redirected. Whave learned  lot about the property.