Monday, July 28, 2014


The skeins of yarn I produced during the Tour de Fleece feel like a harvest of sorts, all 14 3/8 oz. of them.

This was my spindle production (the rest was done on my Hansen miniSpinner):
I still need to get it all washed; it will dry quickly in this heat. When that's done, I'll cast on a pair of fingerless mitts with the pastel blue/yellow/green skein. I have no plans yet for the other skeins.

This morning I picked the first summer squash from our garden. The two yellow squash went home with my MIL; the round one is a mystery variety I bought as a seedling in a fundraiser. I've also picked our first two tomatoes, along with the two little jalepeno peppers I picked earlier for my dad.
Yesterday, Rick brought in a nice bowl of "blue"berries from our young bushes. No, he didn't pick green ones. He was given a plant called "Pink Lemonade;" it produced those light-colored berries. They are delicious, with a more fragrant flavor than the blues.

I'm trying to focus on our garden successes, because it would be easy to let my blood pressure rise over the failures. It doesn't look like the bush beans will recover from being eaten down to the stem, and this morning I noticed that our young carrot tops are being nipped off, too. Most of the cucumber starts I planted after the varmints ate all my seedlings are surviving inside the barrel, but I'm not holding my breath that they will live to fruiting age. The ground squirrels are making themselves scarce after Rick's shotgun assaults, although I've seen my weed-eating friend once more. But Rick mowed down all the false dandelion yesterday, forcing it into a life of crime and, I suppose, the death penalty.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A quiet interlude before the end of the Tour

My dear friend Pam and her daughter are staying with us until they leave for their new life in Virginia. It is wonderful to have this kind of time together; they have been in Saipan for two years, and Skype just isn't the same (although very much better than no Skype!).

Yesterday we drove down to the Willamette River, rode the ferry across as pedestrians (free), and walked through Willamette Mission State Park. The blackberries and wildflowers were plentiful, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Last night I skeined off my last yarn (skein #6) for the TdF. I’ve continued spinning the white alpaca on my wee Bubinga Kuchulu, and have it just about filled to capacity. But this post is already photo-heavy, so I'll share spinning pictures tomorrow!

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, July 26, 2014

About that zebra

Okay, here's the short version; we have company for another week and I'm short on free time.

Early this week, Rick got a call from a circus performing in Salem. Their two zebras and miniature horse needed their hooves trimmed, and they were looking for a vet to tranquilize them and a farrier to do the trimming. So Rick started networking, contacting exotic animal colleagues, our farrier, etc. in order to do the work safely for all concerned. After being warned about how difficult/dangerous even "trained" zebras can be, Rick decided that he'd better take a look at the facilities before the Thursday appointment, and called his circus contact on Wednesday. We were invited to come on down – and stay for the performance that night! We quickly got ready for a date night, veterinary-style. ;-)
We were met at the gate and taken back to meet the two zebras, the two Bactrian camels, and a miniature horse. The animals were beautifully cared for, their handlers obviously in tune with the animals' needs and personalities. Rick began to rethink the approach needed to work on them.

In the meantime, we went in to see the show – and what a show it was! Lots of talented, beautiful and sometimes daring acts, very funny clowns (even though we don't know Spanish and couldn't understand them), and three good animal acts – the miniature horse, a troupe of talented pigs, and the camels and zebras together.
Bottom line: we were SO impressed with Circo Hermanos Vazquez!

The call on Thursday went well, too. One of the zebras didn't even need to be tranquilized to have its feet trimmed, something unheard of by other veterinarians. Getting blood from them for the Coggins tests was a bit more difficult, but they came up with solution that worked. Rick also did health certificates for the camels and pigs so they can all go on to Sacramento from here.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Still pedaling away on the Tour de Fleece

It's amazing how much progress you make when you just keep spinning!

I didn't have any specific goals for this year's TdF; I was just looking forward to the impetus to spin. I can only squeeze in a little discretionary activity each day, so if I'm knitting or riding, I'm not spinning. Well, riding is sidelined along with my horse right now, and the TdF gives me a reason to swap knitting needles for spinning tools for a few weeks. Add to that Brian's absence this week and the chance to go places with my DH, and I get bonus spinning time!

I've been reaching into my fiber stash without a lot of forethought, which has resulted in quite a variety of yarns. I don't think I've shared skein #4 with you yet – approximately 280 yards of two-ply from the hollyberry top.

Yesterday I Navajo-plyed the singles I started during the veterinary call on Monday. Look, Ma; camouflage yarn!

I'm really happy with this yarn, even though it is not "my" colors. Too bad there is only around 100 yards; so glad I have Ravelry to help me find the perfect project for it!

Last night I also finished plying the yarn on my Jenkins spindle:

Part of that was plyed in Rick's vet truck as we drove to and from Salem to see a man about a zebra . . . stay tuned for "Date Night: Veterinary Style"! ;-)

That's it for now from . . .