Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I can breathe a sigh of relief now. I have all gifts purchased, wrapped and sent. We have one Christmas celebration under our belts already. On Sunday we celebrated with our daughter, Amy, son-in-law, Steve and Olivia and Max, the grand kids. For some strange reason there were no pictures taken except the one above that Olivia snapped with her phone. It says a lot that we were so absorbed with each other that we just forgot the pictures.  I realize that our time with Olivia, a senior in high school, and Max, a freshman is dwindling and therefore, precious. She will be off to college next year and Max is very involved in cross country and track. Isn't it ironic that when the kids finally grow into the independent people that you want them to be and that you enjoy being around you see less of them? They are off to Colorado today to spend Christmas with their other grandparents. I wish them a safe journey.

We have a house guest this week so things will still be lively around here. The kids left their dog Calypso to stay with us while they went west. Our Calliope (Callie) is a happy dog whenever her sister, Clyppie, comes to visit. The two of them always enjoy having each other to romp with and they are finally at an age where they keep the craziness to the outside. The two black labs dash and dart across the lawn chasing the toys that we toss for them. They often go after the same large rubber ball and end up in a tug of war.

Callie and Clyppie last July 
They two girls look so much alike that I often find myself commanding, "Callie, sit!" while Calypso stands in front of me in a puzzlement and Callie is actually in the background, already sitting. So this time I tied a small red ribbon to Callie's collar and a green one to Clyppie. This visit, at least, I know which dog I'm yelling at! They play so hard and non-stop when we go outside that when they come in they both collapse in exhaustion and immediately drop off into one of their frequent naps. I often find them sprawled in a mirror-like formation on our living room floor.

We have two more Christmas dinners, one at our house with Rich's mom and dad and his brother Dan. The final one will be on Saturday, down the road at one of Rich's other brother's house. I took the easy way out this year and for the kids I had Rich pick up some smoked pork and brisket from City Barbecue and I made the sides. For Christmas day, we got a ham from a great little meat market in the country, Hasselbach's, near Fremont. The party is so much less stressful for me if I buy the main dish and just fix the sides. (Thank you, Ina Garten) This is one of those tricks I learned from watching all those cooking shows that Rich makes fun of. This way I can spend more time with my guests.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season! No matter which one you celebrate I hope that you get to be with the ones you love. If you can't then try to spread some of that love to who ever you encounter on your life journey. I wish you love, joy and peace for the new year.

By the Rich and Linda log house construction team.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What a Strange Winter in Ohio!

Mango and her two "boys," Dionysus, 3 months, and Mocha, 1 year

I'm pretty sure that when I look at this post at some time in the future I'll ask myself why I put up a picture of the animals in springtime. Actually, this photo was taken just a few days ago when the temperature went up to almost 70 degrees F. This December hasn't felt like winter or Christmas time at all; nor does it look that way. We are very festive on the inside since Rich and I put up the store decorations on the week before Thanksgiving and the house decorations on the following weekend.

Altogether, we have seven Christmas trees, three in the store and four in the house. There are also many more small wooden tree decorations in the store for sale, including the ever popular (with the little kids) lollipop tree. Our farm store is the place to come for those last minute gift items. Mention this blog and I'll take off 10%.

We have some newly created gift items in the store, too. Rich made some new multi-wood cutting boards, including one in the shape of our state that is selling like the proverbial hot cakes. These cutting boards are made from an assortment of solid hardwoods that were milled right here on our property from trees culled in our woods. There is maple, cherry and walnut in various combinations. My favorite is the "slice of swiss" cheese board that I use for parties quite often.

I also have two new bulky alpaca yarns thanks to my friend Andrea who supplied me with a couple of bags of alpaca fleece from her animals. I owe her big time for this because these bulky lopi yarns are one of my best sellers. Last year I sold most of my white to two different people on my Etsy store, and all of it sold out within a few months. This year's white is lovely but the black is my favorite. The black has a beautiful shine to it that makes it fairly glow. All of my yarns are available on Buckeye Star Alpacas on Etsy. I'm definitely saving some of the black to make something for myself!

Again, thanks to Andrea, I have some rug yarn to sell and it's just beautiful. It is 100% alpaca, with an alpaca core which is how my new mill makes it. Carrie and Rob at America's Natural Fiber Works in Somerville, Ohio produce lovely yarns from our fleece. I can hardly wait until shearing time in late April when I can get a wider variety of yarn weights made. This year I think I would like to have some fingering and DK weights made and, of course, more rug yarn. I'll be making some rugs for sale in the store and at the Farmer's Market next summer.

This year I began shopping in October and finished up recently. I have everything wrapped and hidden away until the Big Day. I even finished knitting all of my gift projects and won't be frantically knitting the week before Christmas like last year. I have two pair of socks knitted, one for each of our daughters. It's OK to talk about gifts in this forum because my own family generally doesn't read it! I am just finishing a bonus gift, a soft white alpaca ski cap for my granddaughter, Olivia. Since I was done with everything else and always have to have something to busy my hands with I decided to throw this in at the last minute.

We will be celebrating Christmas three times this year; the first this Sunday with the kids who will be celebrating the actual day with the other grandparents. The second will be on Christmas day with Rich's parents and one of his brothers, Dan. Then the day after will be the big family celebration with the rest of Rich's relations. After that I should be tired enough to just sit back and relax in January when, who knows, we may finally get a snowy winter.

Here's wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and just a generally wonderful holiday season from Rich and I and all the critters out here at Buckeye Star Alpacas!