Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Resolutions or No?

It seems everyone has opinions on New Year's resolutions and so here I am to add my $.02. I'm generally "for" resolutions.  I think it's good for folks to stop and take stock of their lives, reflect, and change what needs to be changed or challenge ourselves to be better.  For many, religion offers such a time and place, but somehow people are drawn to seeing out the old year and resolving for better in the new.  I think it's generally healthy.

I'm excited to launch my Milk Paint in the new year, but that isn't really a resolution - it's a goal, a plan.  What I need to get resolve on is healthy lifestyle.  Yes, I have a bit of the Standard American Diet blues combined with a lack of exercise and advancing years. I've been raised with cultural and media expectations about body image and I largely beyond being overly influenced by them.  Of course that makes me a bit of a hermit and one of my resolutions is that I'd like to have a more active social life.

I also probably eat better than most people (in the world) because I have a garden and chickens and dairy goats and I care about what the animals eat too. We have a beef and the last of lambs of which I raised with care and on lots of good pasture.
Buying this book!

What I want to do is to be more intentional still.  Enter the Mediterranean Diet.  The Mediterranean way of eating is holistic, with lots of herbs, lots of garden greens and wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, olives, goat's cheese, olive oil and milk based dishes.  Wine and tea all play a part.   Add to this a robust social way of eating that is part of the Mediterranean lifestyle:  eating with friends and family and having folks stop by regularly.   Eating is social and generous and gregarious and healthy.   This has to be modified somewhat due to where I live - the opposite of the Aegean sea.  Right now I live in winter hell, but I have hope!  So, I may not be walking too many places until the weather improves, but I can do floor exercises.  I did go for a hike in 10 degree weather with a stiff wind today.  I went looking for my horses that didn't want to leave the trees for the warm water I brought them.

 Do I expect to become slender and 25 years old again?  Will I lose my pasty white complexion and become beautifully smooth and olive skinned? Ah, No!  Thee things are not going to happen.

 By paying attention to great food served under hospitable conditions may all our bodies continue to be healthy, strong and efficient well into the future.

Winter Hell is the reason I'm blogging about food and not out sanding furniture projects now, btw. The description of the blog says.. "and more".  That's a little like "other duties as assigned"

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Linen and Flannel

I know it's not paint... but it is goat!  Here is a pillow I've made as a gift for a dear friend.  You can't really tell in the picture, but the the same flannel is used as as side panel on the pillow.  The linen is quite heavy duty!  The dog kept trying to flop on the pillow as I was getting the picture.

Linen and flannel on a cold winter's day - Yum!
I'm thinking I need to make one for myself too!  Maybe a barnyard of pillows!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursdays Inspire Me - The Oberhasli Edition

    The daylight hours are at their mid-winter lowest and the skies are a dreary gray.  It's important to look for inspiration and beauty, especially in winter.  It is appropriate then that I introduce the inspiration for my everything that is Goat's Milk Paint, and this blog, The Painted Shepherd.  
I'm the baby!
   The girls are ADGA registered Oberhasli Dairy Goats. I fell in love with them after one glass of their milk.  It wasn't goat-y tasting at all and in fact rivaled the milk from my dairy cow! I have studied all the goat breeds available, looked them all over at shows, and can say I wouldn't trade this breed for any other.   They are good producers of excellent quality milk, they are quiet (less noisy in a neighborhood than many cats), they are thrifty, and gentle. Best of all, these goats have lead to wonderful friendships with kindred spirits.

 Goats bring good things.
Oberhasli doeling, River

Giving input on the pen build
Just a little more this way
Sometimes in life, one has to take stock, re-evaluate and prioritize. When this happened in my life I decided to make the goats a priority.  These girls bring joy, laughter, milk, responsibility, chores, friendship, and beauty through the paint I am able to make because of them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Such Simple Joy

   This morning's temp was 20 degrees.   I guess my bare hands were chilly as I did my chores, but they weren't so cold that I was really thinking about it.  I was just going along with the morning routine.  When I stuck my hand under my favorite chicken she cooed at me, and I pulled out two fresh eggs and one very freshly laid egg that immediately began warming my hand.  A chicken's normal body temp is around 106 degrees and as my hand curled around that egg with the hen's downy feathers caressing the back of my hand, I experienced such contentment as full as anything in recent memory.  The warm egg continued to radiate heat into my hand until I went in the house and with some regret put the egg away.  You just can't buy this kind of contentment.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The New Logo

Thank you Rachael for the artwork for our page!  Our registered Oberhasli Dairy goats are the foundation of our Goat's Milk Paint so we wanted to showcase them right upfront.  Rachael knows these goats and captured the doe beautifully.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Preparation

    Whew, where does the time go?   It's like some weird vortex were the closer we get to Christmas, the faster time speeds up.  My restoration work the last few days has been that necessary task of cleaning up.  It seems every couple of projects tools need to be taken care of, sorted and put in their proper spots.  Even those spots need re-organized however.

Santa's Goat Cart
   Without a project on, I was able to begin to begin decorating the front porch. I hung white lights along the eve and posts. I am really going for a modern manger look.  For me, decorating is a way to prepare a place in my home for Jesus to be born.

This cart was a seriously awesome yard sale find.   We will be using it for our billy goat when he stops growing.  We can begin his ground training any time now... any. time. now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Photo of the finished drop-leaf table

     As promised this is the completed table.... as soon as I stop messing around with the finish...really!!  I mean there is more milk clabbering on the counter top calling me to another project!

   All in all I'm pretty happy with the table.  There are a couple of things I want to change in my approach.  One is to crush or sift (or both) the S-lime while it is still dry and then slag it with water to a paste.  I also want to grind the pigments together prior to mixing.  When it came down to getting that last smooth finish, there was a bit too much grit for my liking.  There is some chipping, which is one of the properties of Milk Paint,

    The final finish is a polyurethane because I want to use it for decorating on the front porch and I suspect it will get some hard use.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Drop Leaf Table in Western Sage Milk Paint

    I've been doing a lot of R&D on my Milk Paint today.  I had mixed up several batches of sage green for my table but hadn't been satisfied until today.  I really had to do some research on colors and formulas.  What actually happened is that I mixed stuff until I was happy.  That makes this table a one of a kind color.  Well... I could approximate it, if need be.  To the right is the drained clabber ready to become paint.  (Yes all my photos today are taken in the winter afternoon sunlight).
    I've been dithering over the consistency of the lime slag and the ratio of lime to clabber.  In this mix I also added a small amount of lemon essential oil to carry the pigment deeper into the wood.  I studied more on titanium dioxide and why I like the look it imparts to many pigments.  Most of all, I have realized that I have to use far more pigment than I first thought.
     The first coat of milk paint is always rough.  I'm sure many a person has run to the hardware store for latex paint after the the first coat, but hang in there!  I wish I could get a more accurate picture of the color in this first coat.  But no time to spare - I'm off for a light sanding and a second coat of paint. When the piece is finished I'll post a picture.  It's looking very nice in spite of the first coat blues.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursdays inspire me

Lately I've been gathering inspiration from the things I see in my daily travels.  In particular I find that I see in old that is seemingly passing away, something new.  I appreciate the way they have stood test of time and I try and bring these things inside as I work new life to the forgotten.

The inside of the bent tree has been rubbed smooth by our draft horses scratching their backs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I am a sucker for a drop-leaf table

Oh, how I have been thinking of drop leafed tables.  I nabbed this one the other day:

Background green aside, I am thinking of painting this a medium green.  I've been mixing the pigment and am ready to give it a test run.  I've sanded the top and with a bit of sanding on the base I'll be ready to paint.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What I'm working on

I picked up this table and 4 chairs from a yard sale.   The top of the table is oak and the other pieces are a variety of woods.  Now, this piece doesn't have the good bones that I'd really l'd really like to work with, but such an inexpensive piece is a great place to hone my skills and experiment with technique.

  My thoughts leaned to repainting the entire piece.  The idea offered my partner is that we should refinish that oak top.  I like that look too... but that means a lot more sanding.

 I haven't even looked at the chairs...
progress made but still more sanding.....

Monday, December 1, 2014

You put the lime in the clabber and mix it all up

Hum, well that title isn't quite as catchy as the old song, but it does bring me to the question I was asked about which kind lime I use in my milk paint.  Was it the citrus fruit or the quarried rock?  That's a fair question because some simple recipes for milk paint use store bought, pasteurized milk and then sour it with lemon juice or vinegar. This causes the whey to fall out of the milk leaving the curds.  (At this point you might have to decide to use those curds as paneer cheese popular in curry dishes or continue on to make paint).
photo of my open bag

The kind of lime I add to clabber is known as slaked lime, or hydrolyzed lime or S-type Lime  Caution:  It is NOT quicklime! Quicklime is a caustic alkali which is dangerous to handle and will cause nasty chemical burns.  Now, Quicklime and slaked lime are sold near one another in the construction isle of the big box lumber store, and they are of the same source.  Slaked lime has been soaked in water (slaked or hydrolyzed) and is non-toxic. However, care should be taken to not breath dust.  I find I must handle it with gloves or it dries skin out.  

     In times past, farm wives would crisp vegetables prior to pickling by soaking them first in the slaked lime.  This is no longer an approved food preserving method.