Tuesday, December 29, 2009


One of the nice things about working with iron is making things for friends. The above pin was made for our friend Dawn Russell.
She gifted me with a gorgeous set of deer bone runes, in a buckskin pouch, all handmade for Yule. So, I forged out the above pin. She loves clothes, be they buckskin or Renaissance, so I thought she could use a pennanular for her cloaks.

Yuletide is still lingering around here, and until we wassail the orchard on the 9th of January, it's still feeling sort of "in-between" or like we are holding our breathe.

The tomte's gifts
On Christmas eve Dan set out a gift of risengrot and whiskey for our tomten.
Our tomte lives in the smithy and looks after things all year, so if a nice bowl of extra buttery rice pudding and a shot of hooch make him happy, that isn't much to ask for in return for his keeping things safe and sound.

Bavarian sign, finished and hung
After we hung it I honestly felt it could have been bigger, but budgitary constraints kept it smaller. I am proud of my German shop signs, they are fun to build. I get to sculpt, and that's what I love.

Hand painted by me.
Dan forged the frame, I forged the hops, stein, and the barley.
Not much else to report, the hubbinator needs the computer, so I have to cut this short.
Hope everyone had a good Yule, and I hope this secular new year doesn't suck as hard as the last one, to put it roughly.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yuletide in Oregon..

Happy Yule everyone!
Here Iam, well my hands anyways, rolling out pepparkakor, traditional Swedish gingersnaps. These are rolled out very thin, so the process takes a looooong time. Perfect project for a cold, dark evening. I love rolling and cutting out these yummy cookies. It's very relaxing, roll, cut, bake. They bake in less than five minutes, so you can't wander off and do the bills, or get engrossed in something.
After the baking sheet laden with goodness goes into the oven I take a sip of tea, maybe take another. Then Bam!Time to remove the little nippers from oven. Remove from tray, and repeat. It's all very meditational. I usually listen to the radio as I bake, this year it was the Food and Farming awards show on BBC4


And Squirrel!
Remember those smashing IKEA cookie cutters? Well they are truly cool. Foxes, hedgehogs, and the moose and squirrel. Of course you must say that with a bad fake Russian accent, like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle fame...These are such good cookies, perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning.
"The house smells like Christmas!" exclaimed the Hubbinator , as he grabbed a handful of the warm, crispy little cookies and dissapeared back out to the shop.

Yuletide has hit here, and we have put up our tree. It's lovely, but no pics as yet. Today I promise. Speaking of trees,
Ever wonder where all those trees come from?

Christmas Tree Round Up!
Last week we made a run down to Mt. Angel, a nice little farming town nestled in the Willamette Valley. It was a cold crisp day, clear as can be. The full moon was starting to rise over the horizon as we headed back for home, and it was then the Hubbinator noticed the helicopters.
Yes helicopters airlifting huge bundles of freshly harvested trees. Doug firs, Noble pines, Grands.
All destined for homes the world over.
You see here in Oregon, we produce damn near all the Christmas/Yule/Holiday trees in the world. I know, there are other states who grow them, but for sheer scale, production, and quality, it's Oregon in the lead. We are the land of Yuletide greenery, from holly farms, to wreathes, swags, even mistletoe. Growing plants is the main AG industry, this includes wheat, barley, and ornamentals. Okay and cattle. We do have us some cattle ranching!

The Gorgeous Full moon

The moon rising over the horizon was huge. You can see the Christmas trees as a green band near the bottom of the pic. They await their fate. This spot on Wildcat Rd was achingly lovely, it was killing me that we couldn't just go hiking in those oak woodlands..

Here comes a load...

And another..The moon really was huge and hung like a silver dollar in the sky..

Coming in to the barn.
These were then loaded into trucks for shipping off to everyplace you can think of. All over the valley they have been harvesting trees this way. teams of workers go out into the fields, where they cut , stack and bundle the trees. Then the whirley bird drops a line and off they go!
Check out this little vid of the process...not mine..

Final load of the evening..
Note Mistletoe in oak trees...I wanted to ask the farmer if we could harvest some of it. I chickened out though...We always used a shotgun to harvest it..I know, the Druids used a golden sickle, we always just shot it out, or used a long poled branch cutter if it was lower down, to get a nice big ball of it. for a kissing ball.

Sigh, a gorgeous Oregon sunset, that is Mt. Hood in the distance. It was all so amazing that evening. The area we were in is where I would love to live, but alas, it is not meant to be. Yet.
Okay Santa...