Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Red, White, and Blue (via Owning Kristina)

This post is for our son John, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

Happy 4th of July, John. We love you and are so proud. You are an amazing young man!

This is a photo of our son John.  Recently, he was injured by an IED blast. Thank God, he is okay – he has shrapnel in his shoulder but is keeping his spirits high and healing well.  I always knew my son was amazing, but the more I learn of the brave acts that he and our fighting forces are doing over there, the more I am in awe!  He is fighting to help keep our country safe and hopefully bring some of that to the people of Afghanistan.

I liked this post because this is what it is all about – FREEDOM. After looking at the photos, I think we will need to paint a flag on a (fake) llama. 🙂

Red, White, and Blue I didn’t realize, until today,  just how many American flags I’ve photographed over the years; some taken on the 4th, but most were on random days. All of the days, especially the random ones, were days when I was out and about, enjoying my freedom. Here’s to the men and women who’ve made our freedoms possible. For without them, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here sharing my images and thoughts with all of you. Enjoy your freedom on this special … Read More

via Owning Kristina


Life has been busy (as usual) on the farm. Spring is a time for barn clean-up, lambing, vaccinations, mending fences, planting a garden, and tree planting. Actually, the list goes on and on. A few days ago, I washed Eino’s brown Finn fleece (ooh-la-la!) and set it to dry. I often am asked how I wash my fleeces. I decided to document the steps with my camera and I will post the photos in a few days.

Today, I wanted to link you to a blog which is a fascinating glimpse into the world of textiles. To quote from their blog, the two sisters of O Ecotextiles “… began a world-wide search for manufacturing partners interested in a cradle-to-cradle process of creating no-impact, perfectly safe, incredibly luxurious fabrics.” I read four of the posts and took away the feeling that our textile choices can have a disastrous effect on the environment.

As people drawn to wool, readers of this blog have an innate interest and love for all things fiber. We creatively use it – spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, hooking – even growing our own! In my effort to make each of my actions more environmentally safe, I now realize that I need to ensure that my wool washing techniques are eco-safe.

Following is the post from OEcotextiles.  Enjoy!

Wool When we talk about wool, we almost always mean the fiber from sheep, although the term “wool” can be applied to the hair of other mammals including cashmere and mohair from goats, vicuna, alpaca and camel from animals in the camel family and angora from rabbits. As with many discoveries of early man, anthropologists believe the use of wool came out of the challenge to survive – Neolithic man used pelts from animals to keep warm. Sheep (Ovis aries … Read More


BP, Boycotts and the Free Market (via The Ve Magni)

I have linked to another WordPress blog post which is a very well written piece of work.  The link is at the bottom of the page, but first a few thoughts of my own.

In the early days of the oil spill, I kept thinking that as unfortunate and environmentally horrible as this disaster is, perhaps it is the wake-up call that we need. The silver lining would be that this event arouses our anger and resolve to the point that we collectively reject our oil dependent ways and turn toward a sustainable future. At least that was my hope during the first few weeks of the spill.

Then I learned that it happens over and over. I did a google search for “oil spill disasters” and was blown away by what I found. Spills are frequent – leading to devastation on the local environment and community. It seems it is just the cost of doing business for the oil companies.

However, the oil companies continue to drill because we continue to demand oil. And here on the farm, we are just as guilty as anyone else who commutes 50 miles one-way to work. We are working on becoming more “green” by planting trees, recycling, composting, and re-purposing items (which farmers have done since the beginning.) I also have a plan to recycle rainwater for the garden this year and buy solar lighting for the barn and landscaping. These things are all good but don’t solve the issue of needing gas for the car so we can get to work.

So while I am actively working to change my own habits, I found myself having an emotional reaction to a report on CNN which suggested that using hay was an excellent way to mop up oil. It seems the oil clings to the hay like a magnet. My first thought was that it was a simple, eco-friendly way to remove some oil. But almost as soon as that thought presented itself I had another thought which caused some anxiety. Hay?! NO! Not hay! Our animals need hay…the price of hay will skyrocket! See what I mean? There are no easy answers.

The photos are from

I enjoyed reading the following blog post from The Ve Magni. I wanted to share it as I think the writer makes some great points.

BP, Boycotts and the Free Market I am one of many people who support the growing “Boycott BP” movement. Obviously the oil spill is a huge tragedy, but moreover, I believe the company’s response has been pathetic at best, evil at worst. Using boycotts as a form of protest is nothing new, and no one really can be sure that it will have an effect on a giant oil-sucking corporation. However, since we consumers cast a vote every time we make a purchase, it makes sense not to vote for … Read More

via The Ve Magni

Meet the President(s)

Meet the ??

This past weekend my daughter Amanda called to say that her school was to have a Very Important Person come to visit on Tuesday (yesterday.)  This person was so important that the Secret Service spent two days photographing classrooms, gathering names, birthdates and social security numbers.  The school staff was told they would have to park almost a mile away and be shuttled to school.  So they new it was someone important.  Perhaps the First Lady Michelle Obama or Vice President Biden or even the President, himself?!?  Amanda could hardly contain herself.  She didn’t know how they were chosen, but the sixth grade classes, as well as the sixth grade teachers, were the ones who would meet with the VIP.  Amanda felt especially thrilled because she worked locally on President Obama’s campaign.

Tuesday afternoon, Amanda called me to say that is was President Obama himself who came to talk with the students!  She said it was quite a morning for the children and school staff.  Everything went smoothly in the morning and they were back to their usual studies later in the day.  Amanda has a nice description of the events on her blog.  Check it out at my Daughter’s Blog.  I saw her class room on the news last night; they spoke of the President’s “Race to the Top” education initiative, which was part of his news conference held at her school.

Here is a photo from the visit.  If you are interested in the video of the President greeting the students, you can click on the website.  I can’t figure out how to get the link to work; you can click here if you want to learn more.

Amanda is the blonde woman smiling on the left. She is wearing her self designed, hand knit "Stockholm Dress."

President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaking with the students.

So I wondered why Amanda’s school was chosen?  I’ve visited her school.  Her school is old, small (TINY!), with limited parking space and outside space for the children.  It is right off a busy highway and near a busy intersection.  This is what I copied from the website:

“You can learn more about Graham Road in the White House background release, but the school made a mark on its community by implementing a comprehensive strategy to turn around student achievement, adopting rigorous and high-quality student assessments, teacher evaluation and professional development, along with innovative and effective use of data systems to track student performance.  As a result, in 2008 all of the school’s sixth-graders met Virginia’s reading standards, and 96 percent met math standards, despite being one of the lowest income schools in the county. The expansion of Race to the Top comes with a plan to encourage precisely this kind of visionary change in schools that apply for the challenge.”

Isn’t is nice when our children take part in doing good things?!?

Meet the Presidents?

As I thought about this post I realized that every member of my family has met a United States President.  Trophy Husband and I met and shook hands with Bill Clinton, as well as HilaryClinton and Al Gore, when they were campaigning in Minneapolis before Clinton’s first term.  Our son John, recently met and shook hands with former President Jimmy Carter when John was on a Marine Corps assignment.  And now Amanda has met and shook hands with President Obama.  These are minor things, to be sure, but nevertheless a fun family remembrance for us all!

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