Friday, September 15, 2017

Nikki's Blanket Project

My good friend has a tender heart. She saw some photos and videos of the elderly nursing home victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

ABC News Report

Nikki knows they were rescued, and she knows their physical needs will be taken care of. What about their spiritual needs, their emotional needs? Everyone is busy. The clean up efforts are massive, and families and children need to be cared for. Nikki is concerned that the physical needs of the elderly will be met, but their emotional needs will be neglected. They still need love, just like everyone else.

Her vision is to make 100 fleece blankets and 100 pillowcases to send to her contact in Houston who will deliver the blankets and pillowcases to the residents of the nursing homes so those elderly men and women will know that someone loves them, someone cares about them, and someone wants to brighten their day.

I've put the tutorial/pattern in a PDF, and I'm posting it here for anyone in our area who would like to help but won't be able to attend our sewing day.

The goal is 100 blankets and 100 pillowcases by the end of September!

We don't have enough fleece for 100 blankets yet.
We do have quite a pile and are ready to get started!

*     *     *     *     *

Materials and Supplies

  • 2 yards of fleece
  • 75/11 or 80/12 Stretch or Universal needle.
  • Pins or clips
  • Walking foot if you have one
  • Hem is 1/2" (or 3/4" if you're more comfortable with a bigger hem)





Trim fleece to approximately 60” x 90”
(Most fleece is 58”-60” wide. 
You’ll need 2 yards per blanket
for a 60” x 72” blanket.) 

Trim off selvedge edges, and square up the other two sides.


Use corner template (or a small plate or bowl) to trim all four corners. 

You can print the template above. Make sure the measurements are accurate, each side should be 4"

If you have a Creative Grids Multi-Size Curved Corner Cutter you can use either the 2" radius corner or the 3" radius corner cutter.



Fold edges under 1/2” (or 3/4" if you're more comfortable with a bigger hem).

Pin or clip in place.



Best needle choices are a size 75/11 OR 80/12 Stretch or Universal needle.

Use a walking foot (if you have one) and sew the hem with a wide zig-zag stitch or a 2-step zig-zag stitch. Be careful to not stretch the corners as you sew around them.

Sew around all four sides.

Note: We are sewing around all the sides, and using curved corners. We don't want knots or lumps to accidentally get caught under someone and cause bed sores. Please do not make the knotted fringe blankets for this project.
Walking foot, and a regular zig zag stitch, or a two-step zig sag stitch.


Zig-zag as close to the cut edge as you can, cover the cut edge if possible.
This will look nicer, and it will hold the hem flat so it doesn't
roll to the right side of the blanket.

We'll add the embroidery when you're done.

Amber at Embroitique has graciously given us permission to use their design on a few machines for this project. If you have an embroidery machine and can embroider 10 or more blankets, please let Nikki or Tara know. We'll get you the file. 

If you do the embroidery, you get to choose the colors.

Thank you so much for visiting! If you are able to help please contact Nikki, Sue Ann, or me and we'll be happy to answer questions or pass along some fabric for pillowcases or fleece for blankets. If you have fabric or fleece, please contact Nikki so she can have a good count of our progress.

You can also find us on Facebook at Blankets for Houston's Elderly. We'll be posting updates and answering questions there as well.


This year our goal is to
Do Something Kind
for Someone Else
Every Day!

Little Bits from This Week

Sometimes I have a hard time finding ideas to write about. The best thing for me to do is to take pictures and short videos during the week. Pictures help me to come up with a story for you to read each week. I look through all the pictures and try to think about what would be interesting for you to read about.

How do you come up with ideas about what to write?

I hope that you use some of my pictures to come up with questions, and with some stories of your own. I really like it when you send me questions to answer. I hope that you are practicing your handwriting so I can read your questions!

*     *    *     *     *     *

Animals always like breakfast. Some people don't eat much breakfast, some people eat a lot of breakfast!


The chickens always come when I call them for breakfast.
So do the turkeys.
The chickens get to eat until the turkeys arrive,
then the chickens have to wait until the turkeys eat what they want and go away.
Can you hear the chicks peep?
What other sounds can you hear?


Echo likes breakfast, too.

She is always waiting at the door to come in the barn when I go out in the morning.
As soon as I open the gate she comes in and goes right to her bucket of grain.
She gets breakfast while I milk her.


Sometimes she makes a mess on the floor when I get done milking her.
Ewwww YUCK!



Look at how much Loki is growing!
He gets to wear a halter now.
Loki is growing up so we put him in a different pasture at night so that Echo will have milk for us in the morning. If we leave Loki with Echo all the time there wouldn't be any milk for us. Loki is old enough to learn how to graze (eat the grass on the pasture) and to be away from Echo for a while. You're learning to be away from your family, too. You go to school during the day!

*     *    *     *     *     *

Do you remember the ducklings from earlier this year?
They are growing up.
They aren't making regular duck quacks yet so I can't tell if one is a boy and one is a girl.
I think the white and tan one is a boy.
That one always stands taller and acts like it is protecting the grey one.
Almost all male animals protect the females.
That's their job and they do their best!

*     *    *     *     *     *

I found a bunch of eggs this week. Sometimes the chickens hide them in places I don't find for a while. I don't know if the eggs are good or bad until I bring them in the house. Sometimes the eggs are fresh, sometimes they are too old to use.

One way to tell if the eggs are fresh or old is to put them in a bucket of water.
If the eggs float, they are too old to use.
There are a lot of eggs at the bottom of the bucket,
and three eggs that are floating.
What do I do with the floating eggs?

I put them in the garden. They are good fertilizer and help the plants grow.

This chicken likes to lay her eggs in the feeders inside the stall.
Those eggs are always easy to find.
This is one of the chickens that Mrs. Jorgensen brought to us early in the summer.
She's so pretty!

*     *    *     *     *     *

We are working on another project on the farm. We are helping to make a lot of blankets for some elderly people who were in the floods after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.

All of this fleece is getting turned into blankets to send to Houston.

Our part of the project is to put this embroidery on every blanket.
Our goal is 100 blankets and 100 pillowcases by the end of September.
That's a big project!
Mrs. Hahn is helping us with this project, too!
My friend wanted to make sure that each grandma and grandpa that were living in flooded nursing homes in Houston got a blanket to keep them warm, and a message to know that someone loves them.

Are you still doing something kind for someone else every day?

Do Something Kind for Someone Else Every Day!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cutting Down Some Trees

We needed a few trees cut down. They are old and had a lot of dead branches in them. One tree hung over our neighbors fence and we were concerned that it might fall down and ruin the fence.

Another tree was so thin and scraggly that we decided it was better to take it down since it didn't give much shade.

The men who cut down the trees were very careful to save our new walnut tree.
Can you see it in the photo?

Here it is! All safe and sound. With the other tree gone, the walnut tree will get a lot of sun and should grow to be a big, shady tree.

Can you see the man in the tree?
He has safety equipment on so if anything happens he won't be injured.
What happens with the piles of branches?

It will take us hours to clean up all the branches and chip them. We use the chipper on the end of the tractor to make piles of wood chips. We'll use all the chips in the flower beds to help keep weeds from growing, and help us use less water.

The wood from the tree trunks will be stacked and we'll use it in the wood stove in the winter. It will keep our big family room warm. We have to build a wood shed this year, too. I'll show you pictures of that when we get started.


The tree with the skateboard swing is still strong! Everyone loves the skateboard swing!

Do you have any questions about the trees coming down or the chipper? Please write your questions neatly and put them in the box. I'll find the best questions and answer some next week.

If you're reading this at home with your parents you can have them ask a question in the comments. I'll read it and answer the question in the next post!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Keep Your Feathers, Stay Inside the Fence

We have a wonderful neighbor with some very good dogs. One of the dogs is a 'bird dog' called a German Shorthair Pointer. Lady is beautiful! I'll try to get a picture of her for you next week so you can see how pretty she is.

Like all bird dogs, she loves water and BIRDS!

We have a fence between our farm yard and our neighbor's pasture because it's safer for animals to stay in their own fences.

Last week our turkey decided to jump the fence. Lady did what bird dogs do and grabbed our turkey by her tail. The mama turkey has no tail feathers anymore!

I hope you are smarter than this turkey and obey the rules your parents and teachers have for you!

Do you see the other turkey tails? Poor mama turkey!
She didn't stay where she belonged and lost her tail.

She lost a lot of feathers!
We have fences to keep our animals safe from danger. Sometimes there are predators or dangerous animals outside the fences. Predators are other animals that will eat other animals. Sometimes there are dangerous things like old fences or nails in other people unused fields. Farm animals aren't smart enough to stay away from things that will hurt them so we have fences, stalls, and cages for them.

Your parents and teachers have rules for you. Rules are like fences because they keep you safe. I'm sure there are times you think you know better and don't want to obey the rules. Our turkey thought she knew better and jumped the fence. It's always a good idea for animals to stay safe inside fences and children to stay safe by obeying the rules, even when you don't understand why and even when you don't want to.

*     *     *     *     *     *

We had more chicks born on the farm this week!

How many chicks can you see?


Here is one of the new chicks on the day it was born.
I love new chicks, I think they are adorable.
I love listening to them cheep!

*     *     *     *     *     *

We don't want our farm animals to be afraid of our dogs.
Our dogs don't want the animals to be afraid of them, either.
Scout is teaching Loki that he is safe to be around.
*     *     *     *     *     *

We had so many animals on the farm this year that we sold a lot during the last few weeks.


All the little white goats were born on the farm this spring.
You can also see one of the bucks (daddy goats) and the sheep in the picture.
All these animals have gone to new homes during the last two weeks.

Here are two of the bucks.
We still have Curly, the goat on the left.
Zeek is the buck on the right. We sold him to a nice farm near Manti, UT.

We also sold this little buck to a wonderful girl.

She is so happy with her new buckling!

Are you wondering why the buck has green ears? Goats aren't very good at wearing a name tag so we have to put their name and number in their ears with green tattoo ink. I hope you are good at wearing your name tag! It's one of the things that will keep you safe at school and help teachers and other helpers know where you belong.


Thank you for stopping by. We love sharing our farm with you. I hope you learn a lot this week, and I hope you obey the rules that your parents and teachers have for you.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Be Kind, Anyway

It's good to be back! I haven't kept up this summer because a lot of things have happened.

I want to introduce you to a few animals from our farm. Then I'll tell you some things that have made our family's summer eventful, and at times, difficult.


Echo, our cow, had new calf on May 31!


He was up and walking 20 minutes after he was born.

This is what he looks like now.
It's so fun to see him grow up!
Our neighbor wanted us to name him Loki.

You'll learn more about Loki as the year goes on.
 *     *     *     *     *     *

Some ducklings wandered onto our farm a few weeks ago.
We keep them safe in a large cage while to grow up.


 *     *     *     *     *     *

We also have goats and chickens on our farm.
This crazy chicken likes to ride the goats.
Sometimes the goats don't mind, sometimes the goats don't like it!
This goat's name is Misty.
The chicken's name is Dale Evans.


 *     *     *     *     *     *

We have also had a few new chicks born during the last week.
It was so fun to see this one pop out of it's shell and run under the mama hen.

 *     *     *     *     *     *

We have had a rough month our house. A lot of things have broken, and caused a lot of work. In fact, our month sounds like an old country song where everything goes wrong!

We had a leaky pipe, and a small flood. So we had to clean out a shed, to make room for the stuff from the storage room. Since the storage room was almost empty, we might as well take down a wall that I've wanted to take down for years.

The vacuum pump that runs the milker for the cow seized, which means it doesn't work and can't be repaired. That means I have to milk the cow by hand which takes about 30 minutes instead of 8 minutes with the milker. Echo doesn't like standing a long time. When she gets impatient, she poops on the floor of the barn.

The dishwasher broke. That means I need to wash all the dishes by hand, which takes much longer. It can be repaired, but the repair tech won't be here until September 5th. That's a long time to wash dishes by hand!

My big, brand new embroidery machine wouldn't work properly. It took a lot of calls to the company, and a lot of patience and determination to learn how to replace parts and get it working again.

What does all this mess have to do with farming? 

It doesn't matter what you do, or how you live your life, things are going to happen to make it more difficult.

I could get angry about all the things that have been troublesome. I could punch Echo when she poops on the barn floor. I could yell and scream at people because I'm upset about all the extra work cleaning up after the flood. I could break the dishes instead of washing them.

I can choose to be angry, or I can choose to be kind.

There will be many good things that happen to you this school year. There will also be some things that cause you trouble.

The best way to get rid of the frustration and anger is to do something nice for someone else.

Everyone in our family knows that bad stuff happens to good people. We still choose to be kind every day.

This year I hope that you will do something nice for someone else at school every day of the school year. If you're having a good day, do something nice for someone. If you're having a bad day, do something nice for someone else.

It will help you be happier, and it will help someone else have a nicer day. It will make this school year a wonderful year!

This year

Do Something Kind
for Someone Else
Every Day!









Thursday, May 18, 2017

Field Trip

We don't have BIG field trips very often. We usually have smaller groups of 4-12 kids plus adults. We have a wonderful friend that teaches at a nearby school and she was almost desperate for a fun field trip for the grade level.

It's always stressful for me to have that many kids come! She had about 160 children in her grade. We can only handle about 80-90 at a time as we rotate through stations, so they split the group in half. One half visited a historical site while we had the other half going through rotations on the farm.

The previous week (the entire week) was spent cleaning stalls, picking up winter debris, and looking around closely to see if there was anything that someone might get hurt on.


One of our sweet volunteers with Princess, the spoiled goat kid.


Each smaller group of 6-12 children started at one of the stations and rotated through.
One of our volunteers was in charge of blowing the conch shell every 15 minutes so we knew it was time to switch stations.

Station 1
Lamb and Wool

The children got to learn a little about lambs (he's not in the photo)
how to clean wool and get it ready for spinning,
and how a spinning wheel works.
*     *     *     *     *
Station 2
Felted Soap

The children learn how to wrap wool around
a bar of soap and felt it.

The children had a great time,
and it's always fun to take home a souvenir.


*     *     *     *     *

Station 3
Chickens and Ducks

One of our hens hatched a single chick.
She's in a rabbit cage so the visitors can see them, but not touch them.

We had volunteers of all ages!
The little boy in the green shirt is teaching the other children
about the chickens.

Well-behaved groups had the chance to go inside the chicken pen
and hold a chicken, see where they lay their eggs,
and see what their food looks like.
I'm pretty sure the ducks are hiding under the chicken coop!




*     *     *     *     *
Station 4
Feeding the Goats
Before the children were allowed to feed the goats
they had to pick up a rock that filled the palm of their hand
and put it in the old cement irrigation box at the back of the pasture.


The volunteers at this station had to finally put Scout someplace else.
He kept herding the goats into the stalls
which meant that the visitors couldn't feed or pet them!



If I had to guess....
I would guess that this was the favorite station.


One of the benefits we get from so many visitors is that
the goat kids learn that people are nice.
They are generally a lot more friendly after so many visitors.

 *     *     *     *     *

Station 5
Milking


"If you can hear me, touch your ears!"
One of the stellar chaperones!
This guy kept these children under control
and helped them learn a lot!

Fifteen minutes isn't enough time to show children how to milk a goat,
so the process was explained.
They learned why we feed the goats and the cow grain, not just grass.
They learned why we wash the udders well,
and they learned a little bit about how we give medicine when a goat or cow is sick.


They had the chance to explore a milker and feel the suction
as they covered the holes on the inflations.



Last visit at this station is getting to pet Echo.
What a sweet cow!
She stayed down for all the visitors, only getting up on her feet when everyone was gone.
This gave the children a chance to pet her,
and feel her horns and head.



*     *     *     *     *

Station 6
Honey Bees


Bees can sometimes be frightening,
but hopefully after our volunteer finishes teaching them,
they learn that real honey bees are nothing to be afraid of.
Our beehives are empty right now so it
is a perfect time for the children
to get a close look at the inside of a hive
as well as protective clothing.



*     *     *     *     *

We didn't have a station for the turkey and her chicks.
The children all got to see her wandering around the property.


We couldn't have had the field trip without our wonderful volunteers! They were here for almost 5 hours! They were cheerful, helpful, and we love them!


We hope you had a wonderful time!