Besides learning to spin wool, son, David, showed Alisha how to run the snowblower. His machine is pretty high-tech with a joy-stick control for the chute, double clutches for the wheels, etc. But after only one brief lesson in the dark, yesterday Alisha went out, started the snowblower and began blowing snow. I have to tell you just how handy having a snowblower is to us folks who live in heavy snow country. When we lived in the mountains in Montana, we never even gave a thought to buying a snowblower to clear our steep driveway. It was all hand shoveling and boy was there a lot of hand shoveling! We didn’t have a snow plow truck then and our driveway met the main trail on a steep downward slope. If you missed the trail, you would go crashing down into a ravine. With a snowblower you can easily (and without back strain) clear paths to various buildings, parking areas, trails, and driveways, leaving no plow berm which does tend to catch and drift blowing snow. So, even on a very remote homestead in snow country I can’t recommend having a snowblower enough.

Alisha has now mastered running a snowblower, finding it very handy, indeed!

Alisha is getting very good at spinning wool. She brought some roving and our friend, Dara, gave her some more, all of different types of sheep and one batch that was alpaca. So she got a good try on various wools/fiber and is now working on plying two strands together, which is going very quickly and well. This weekend, Dara is coming over to teach her to knit. I used to knit as a teen but just can’t do such fussy hand work; it makes me want to fly apart! But it sure is a handy skill for those that can do it. David was watching Alisha spinning with interest and she moved out of the way so he could try it. He managed to get yarn but soon turned the spinning wheel back over to Alisha.

David gave spinning a whirl but decided Alisha made it look easier than it was.

I have one more bag of frozen, diced potatoes to can up and I’m thawing it out today so I can put them up tomorrow. Meanwhile, the top of my wood kitchen range was getting pretty ugly, which I noticed when I took photos of our new stove. So yesterday I scoured the rust and lumps off of it, washed it down and let it dry well. Then I gave it a good coat of stove black. Today it’s dry and I’ll buff it, making it shine like new. Much better!

This is the “before” photo of my wood range’s rusty top.
And this is the “after” picture. Looks better — now I’ve got to scrub the rest of the stove.


  1. Over the past three years l have taught my granddaughter how to knit. This year l taught her to purl and she caught on fast. When she started her stiches were very tight and l just told her to relax and her stiches loosen up. Tell Alisha to hang in there and keep trying. I would love to learn to spin, l think it’s great that she learns so quickly.

    • We do too! Alisha wants to learn to knit but she’s left handed and has had trouble learning to knit because of it in the past.

  2. Love your old cook stove! We have one that needs to be fixed up. What is stove black exactly? And id you scour with still wool or something like that to get the rust off? Thanks for all your help over the years.

    • Stove black is a kind of non-paint coating you paint on the stove top and pipe after removing the rust. After it dries you buff it to make it shine. I used an old sock with holes in it. I scoured it with a copper scrubbie. Steel wool is fine but I don’t use one with soap as it’s hard to clean off after scrubbing. Once scrubbed very well, I just rinsed it off with a damp old washcloth and let it dry. Then you build a slow fire and let it set. It does smell as it heats but we just pick a warmer day and leave the window open for awhile.

  3. My sister taught an aunt that is left handed to do needlepoint by sitting across from her and having her copy what she did. This was after the same aunt taught my sister to crochet the same way.

  4. Hi Jackie!! Our 42 year old snowblower blew a hole in the side of the engine awhile back. Can you believe that we haven’t found one we liked yet? We can purchase a lawn mower but not many snowblowers at this time of year. So we’ll save our money and go out and look at the end of summer.

    What kind of snowblower is that that your son has? How wide is it? Looks nice.

    Can’t wait for my seed order to come. I loved pouring over your catalog.

    • David’s is a Troy-Bilt and has a 30 inch cut. We sure like it and you don’t have to horse it around to turn or back it up, which is great on my arthritis. Your seeds are on the way!

  5. Tell Alisha to learn “continental” knitting. Being left handed will not hamper her with this method. Good luck to her. These skills need to be carried forward. Knitting can be so very therapeutic – it is for me at least. Spinning is so relaxing as well. Good luck with your new skills Alisha!!!!

  6. Hi Jackie, that stove looks new. Would love to try using a spinning wheel. I tried knitting,but I made my stitches too tight. Hope Alisha has better luck.

    • She’s a bit nervous as she tried to learn in the past but is left-handed and had trouble translating instructions. But Dara is a good teacher and we have high hopes!

      • Hi again, I’m left-handed too, maybe that was my problem. I just know the stitches were so tight I could barely move the needles.!!

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