Tag Archives: self-sufficient

The desk has moved into our home

Jim worked for six weeks in the workroom to create this desk. We moved it into the house on Memorial Day, setting it in a place of prominence right inside the front door.  It was supposed to go up in the study facing a wall! No way, Jim’s favorite side is the back.

Desk in house walnut side

Click here to see a slide show with more images of the sides and progress building the desk.

Planted the tomato and pepper seeds

Jim and I planted the garden seeds today.  Now we feel like survivalists again.  Looks like much better starter soil than last year, first step.  It will be up to Mother Nature to help us get the plants growing when we put them in late in May.  Until then the kitchen is our incubator.

Put in three dozen pips of RAMPS two weeks ago in the woods.  Got them from Ramp Farm Specialists, the only place selling Ramps as bulbs or seeds.  Although these delicious alliums have a mystique of being only found in the mountains of Appalachia, we have found them growing in New Jersey and learned they are prolific in Colorado and many other areas. 

An acquired taste, one chef we met says a ramp needs to be “tamed” like a colt. Boiling and throwing off the water once takes the extra bite out of them.

To promote our heritage I have branded my jewelry line R.A.M.P.S. “Rag Art Means Personal Style”.

Branding Ruckman Mill Farm

We have chosen a slogan and are using it throughout our advertising campaign beginning in 2011. 

Everybody needs FIBER.”   and “Every body needs FIBER.”   

Since we are immersed in the textile world specializing in woolen fabric for rughooking, the first version is adressing the “addiction” craftspeople flaunt. We all need FIBER.    Our other time is spent raising vegetables, flowers and poultry on our farm in Hampshire County living as close as possible a sustainable lifestyle.  Every BODY does need fiber to survive.

Follow our ads in ATHA and, as of March, in Rug Hooking Magazine. The website www.RuckmanMillFarm.com will be revamped to reflect this new image also.

2011 Ruckman Mill Farm Branding

Fresh Air Friend

Sometimes you need to get away from a regular routine.  Jennifer Larmour thought that a few weeks ago and called us up.  Seems New York City in the summer gets hot ?!  Determined to travel approximately 320 miles using “public transportation” she caught the Mega Bus from NYC to DC, walked the few blocks to Union Station and AMTRAC to take the 55 mile trip out on the ONLY train going west through Harper’s Ferry, WV on Saturday. 

Great shadows and stacking of shapes

That is where I came in, completing her trip out to Hampshire County in our Toyota (another hour and 45 minutes). You see I wasn’t going closer than Harper’s Ferry to pick her up.  More on the return trip later.

Jim had planned on Jennifer’s visit food wise, shopping at the Romney Farmers Market for fresh snap peas from Bryan Beveridge, cooking up Bob (the rooster in previous post) into broth for Greek Lemon Soup (cold), and marinating some venison from the property till very tender for delicious kabobs with new red potatoes (Bryan’s again) cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (did have to resort to FoodLion for these). 

Talking to the broody hen, while collecting breakfast

We started every morning with farm fresh eggs collected eagerly by Jennifer and served fried on a bowl of oatbran bought in bulk at Miller’s Market, or with bacon and greens from our garden.  Sure is nice to have someone around who enjoys food and preparing it well. Jennifer and I did appreciate Jim.

2010 Garlic Harvest on the Farm, with help

We enjoyed her visit and she stepped in willingly to help with our chores. The big team effort was harvesting the garlic rows before the 90 degree sun got too high in the sky.

A fellow fiber artist, Jennifer and Susan spent hours happily working in the studio.  She finished a portrait of Grandma with very young Jennifer on her lap.  The freedom of interpretation is one aspect of her art we truly enjoy.

Jennifer's hooked rug 2010, Grandma and Jennifer

Tuesday came too soon and we returned to Harper’s Ferry in time for the 11:16 am to DC, coming from Chicago.  When the temperatures get as hot as currently, the trains slow down for safety reasons.  Someone called the 800 number and found out the arrival would not be until 1:45!!   TOO Late for a bus transfer in DC to NYC, we thought about it and agreed to take David (Appalachian Trail hiker who needed to get to a plane for return to Portland, OR) and off we went to Vienna METRO Station about 38 miles closer to the city. Thank heavens for the GPS and my knowing something of the area.  Traffic picked up, the lanes widened to 5 lanes across at one point, but we were in the middle of the dayso not bad.  Pulled into the station, and the travellers had decided to take a cab which would assure them of a quicker arrival in town, WALL-AH a Yello Taxi appeared! 

Received an email from Jennifer around 9:00 pm and she had arrived safe, having consumed a pound of snap peas on the bus trip.  We look forward to another effortless, and very friendly visit soon.  The farm isn’t the same without her, Bob, the cat, misses the extra attention.

Full House

Yes there are 3 Hens in the one box!

These Dominique Hens are fourteen months old.  They obviously are interested in sitting on eggs to hatch.  BUT they don;t understand, only one hen is needed per nest.  We have patiently waited 22 days and are about to throw out the rotten eggs in upper right box and start all over AGAIN. 

The hen is not demonstrative enough to say, “Go Away, I have enough eggs under me, find your own spot to lay an egg.”  What do we humans know about making baby chickens? Not much.

Chicken in the Pot

Two roosters are good for some things: breeding and two part harmony in the morning.  

Bob #1 during the winter blizzard

But when Alpha male decides he is the king of the the roost (and the humans are considered part of that roost), something has to happen.  Sure enough even though Jim thought the crown of Bob #1, was better than Bob #2, we finally decided to add #1 to the freezer.  On April 22 the tenth rooster of the original Murray McMurray Dominques met his end.  He was the first one we successfully plucked (since he was midway through a molt) and weighed in at 5 pounds dressed.  The local farmers said that was a good size.

We noticed the very next day a new quiet and calm nature to the flock including protective BOB.  Glad he is happy we are too.  Now to await the hatching of the first (of three) nests and another generation of hens and roosters named…. BOB.  Wondering why all of our animals are named BOB? Makes for simple conversation, ease in culling the flock(they are all the same name) and we wont forget their name.