Sunday, March 17, 2019

It's that time of year!

We've gone from weeks of colder than normal to a forecast of warmer than normal. Vote for your favorite commentary on that:

  1. That's Spring for you!
  2. What's 'normal' anyway?
  3. There is no 'normal' anymore.
  4. 'Normal' is overrated anyhow.

This morning I saw my first violet-green swallow and it warmed my heart. Last week a male red-winged blackbird showed up on our deck several times, which is very unusual for up here on the hill. I suspect migrating hummingbirds have returned to join those that overwinter here, because we're seeing more and the sugar water is disappearing faster. The other morning at sunrise, I caught two sitting on our little feeder at once, a rare moment of tolerance:

Sheared sheep are showing up all over the blogosphere, and I need to be making plans for that myself. I did take fleece samples from the four two-year-olds and sent them off to Texas A&M for micron testing; all of them look lovely and will be performance-registered with the Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association:

I realized that I never got Bette and Bernadette registered with NASSA, so I took care of that as well. I snapped headshots to get their tag numbers; Bernadette's was too dirty to read but the photos are cute. She's a pretty little girl!

Vienna had a broken leg strap on her suit and needed a fresh one, so I took her photo, too. (Poor position and photo; she's not really rump-high.)

And here are ALL the fleecy ladies with a fleecy cloud backdrop!
Looking northwest from the arena

Looking northeast from the house

Now is the time to reserve fleeces if you're interested, because I generally go by "first reserved, first sheared." Bardot and Sarai are already reserved; the rest are available. No downpayment necessary; just tell me which one(s) you want and I'll get back to you with weight and cost once I shear and skirt your choice(s). Brian leaves Wednesday for a two-week mission trip to Guatemala, so that will be a good block of time to get at it. I'd better stock up on Aleve!

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Appropriately, I'm getting back to a green section of my FatCatKnits fiber:

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Heart trouble

Mine, not Rick's. Emotional/mental, not physical. Not terminal, just trials that all of us endure in various forms, so I won't burden you with details you don't need to know nor can help with.

Well, I take part of that back. There is a physical issue, another dental problem. Looks like a molar that had a root canal and crown less than a year and a half ago ($$$) needs to be pulled; symptoms point to a vertical crack. (I suspect a head-ringing 'upper cut' by Brian's skull when we were playing around. 😖) That will leave me with matching missing molars on both sides of my lower jaw, which pushes the need for at least one implant ($$$$). Financial stress only heightens my dental PTSD. Oy.

This dog o' my heart:
I began to doubt the efficacy of the hyaluronic acid supplement, so I discontinued it and haven't seen any change in Jackson. Perhaps the initial 'improvement' was coincidental – or wishful thinking. I'm going to try the Cosequin supplement sold at Costco; friend Sharon says it helps their 15-year-old Lab immensely. If Jackson could be made comfortably mobile for another four years, I would be so grateful....

Someone would be grateful to be mistaken for a dog:
Chuckie has learned that it's okay to come to the front door for attention, just not the deck door. He is perfectly comfortable with the dogs although Jackson is a bit suspicious of him after getting playfully grabbed a few times; I think Chuckie is jealous of their house access.

As you can see, the sun was shining brightly yesterday – when it wasn't showering; it was one of those variable-weather spring days. I took the shot of the Ram-ada Inn below when I went down to do chores yesterday morning. No, it's not supposed to have a sod roof.  :-/

Our temperatures are slowly returning to normal, which means cool/cold nights/mornings and warmish days. Hard to keep the house comfortable in this springtime transition period; it's too cool without a fire, and too hot with a fire. (I'm too frugal to use the furnace, and no one wants to build a new fire every evening if we let it go out in the morning.) I'd be happy to let it go out and just put on more clothes, but my guys insist on a warm house, not just a warm body. Spoiled wussies.

Speaking of warm bodies, I am finally able to wear all my winter clothes again! For years now, my wacky hormones made my internal thermostat unpredictable; the thought of wearing anything I couldn't easily remove was a nightmare, and I rarely felt cold enough to need more than a light jacket. But this winter I've enjoyed turtleneck tops, heavy sweaters, and even cowls. Not this cowl; I sent it back as a birthday present to the sweet friend who gifted me her handspun yarn. 😊

Off I go; I need to make a batch of bread and a double batch of cookies before bedtime.

Good evening from . . .

Sunday, March 10, 2019

From last snow to first crow(cus)

Since my last post we had a bit more snow (on Thursday, after a frosty, foggy sunrise).

The evening before, the reflected sunset colors on the clouds to the NE created a stunning skyscape:

Inside, things are less dramatic.

While the males doze and veg, I prefer to engage more productive pursuits...
 ...until my head hits my luxuriously-clad pillow.
That's a handwoven pillowcase I received as a gift from a special friend, and feels so nice!

Last week Brian asked if I'd be interested in going to a concert by the Salem Pops Orchestra on Saturday night. I was surprised that he wanted to go (one of his teachers plays French horn in the group, and students only pay $2), but delighted to support an interest in music other than what he usually listens to. It was supposed to be a family date, but Rick had to go on an emergency. His loss; it was a great performance with a guest trumpet player who was awesome, and afterwards Brian treated me to a mocha! Definitely one of those rare experiences with my son to treasure.

Take longer days, mix in Daylight Savings Time, and add a generous dose of sunshine, and you get what feels like Spring, The ewes enjoyed a bit of grass while Lance and I went down the gravel road, as the trails are still muddy and slick, and the arena footing is still thawing.

I thought we'd lose the last trace of snow with all that sun, but a remnant of what slid off the truck down at the barn still remains:

 When I got back to the house, I noticed our first crocus blossom in front of the house.

That's it for weather whiplash at . . .

Tuesday, March 05, 2019


After that glorious first day of March, the unusually cold weather of February continued – kinda sorta. Instead of snow, it's been sunny and windy, which feels more like the Midwest I remember than the Pacific NW. Everything looks and feels desiccated; there's not enough lotion to heal the painful cracks on my fingers and heels – but I think there is enough static electricity to power the house! It's a challenge to keep water open for the critters, and the bit of snow left in shaded areas is freeze-drying instead of melting. But today has felt a bit milder and moister, as some high clouds have moved in. There is both rain and snow in our forecast before temperatures moderate; Brian may have more snow delays or days yet.

The other night the tailless raccoon returned, looking for food; I was glad to see she still survives.

Sunday evening I made bread. It's a usual thing around here, but oh, so much nicer to turn the oven on in cold weather!

Rick and I have both been 'plying our crafts,' me here, there, and everywhere with a spindle and this delightful color-changing roving, Rick in his wood-shop with a gorgeous chunk of cherry.

The last of my orchid blossoms fell to the floor yesterday. I picked them up – and had an idea. Into that lovely bowl they went:

I'm so pleased with the results that I might enter the photo in a contest somewhere (without the 'signature'; what do you think?

At the recommendation of a friend, I've started the dogs on an oral OTC hyaluronic acid supplement. I haven't seen any change in Dozer, but it does seem to have helped Jackson some. He has been able to jump up on the bed again, after getting to the point where he couldn't, and has shown more interest in toys lately than he has in quite some time.

The supplement is no 'fountain of youth;' Jackson still struggles a bit to get up and moves more slowly now. I never would have caught him in a stand-still pose like this when he was younger!
After barn chores warmed me up this morning, I decided to stay outside and clean around the house while it was still dry. I swept the garage, and then took my broom and dustpan to the outside of the house. Chuckie had followed me from the barn.

 The steps down the south side of the house get covered with debris from the big evergreen there, and also grow a lot of moss. When it's dry, it scrapes off easily with the metal dustpan. In the photo below, I've scraped off the upper two step fronts but not the third yet.

Chuckie supervised, and enjoyed the sunshine. You know what they say. "Dogs have owners; cats have staff." 😁

That's it for today from . . .