Thursday, June 28, 2012

Full steam ahead

Finished this but for the blocking late last night. Full steam ahead on the white shawl! (And soon, some spinning thrown in every day for Le Tour de Fleece.)

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pretty in pinks




Just a quick post before I tackle freezing four big bowls of strawberries and work on two newsletters. (And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to squeeze in a little knitting!)

Call me a copycat, but I've changed comments back to word verification. A blogpal with far more followers than I conducted a survey which revealed this was her readers' preferred anti-spam method.

By way of house blogkeeping, I decided to remove the awards from the right side of my blog, and installed Sara's great art for all to enjoy at the bottom of the page. I got so many great comments when I wore my shirt to Black Sheep Gathering that I decided her creative rendition of Boulderneigh really needs more exposure. Eventually I want to get some notecards with this image printed for my use.

I finally got Brava's neck wool picked and washed and have started hand-teasing it. I need to get it drum-carded soon, for it's one of my spinning projects for the Tour de Fleece, which starts this weekend. Nothing like a little self-imposed challenge to add to my to-do list!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, June 25, 2012

Progress pics

I can hardly believe I am saying this – me, the monogamous knitter – but I am really enjoying having two WIPs right now! I did rip back the white shawl (inserting a small gauge circular as a lifeline first) to fix the boo-boo, and have regained and passed the point I was at when I last showed it to you. Just finished the first skein of yarn, and am ready to join #2.

While waiting for an opportune time to rip back the white shawl, I turned my attention to Taygete. I started the picot bind-off while sitting through jury selection last Wedneday, and have continued to work on it off and on. I must admit to its stronger hold on me; when a "finish line" is in sight, I want to put on a burst of speed and sprint to the end!

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

BSG; no can see!

Playing catch-up here; the past few days have been busy ones and now I have a short backlog of potential posts in my head – and a long backlog of others' posts to read!

I spent Friday at Black Sheep Gathering – but I forgot my camera! I know; some people don't think this is possible as they are pretty sure my camera is permanently attached to me, but it's true. Charged the battery the night before and everything; oh well. I probably enjoyed my time with numerous friends more without it – although I would loved to have gotten pictures of every single one to prolong the great memories.

Friday was a grey, cool day (that eventually turned wet) – perfect for wearing my new long-sleeved tee with Sara's depiction of Boulderneigh on it. :-)  And even though I didn't take any sheep this year, I was grateful that all the animals that were there didn't have to deal with the added stress of summer heat.

The first person I found (and hugged; yeah, I'm a hugger) was Wanda Jenkins. She and Ed had their display of Jenkins Turkish spindles set up just inside the main exhibit hall (and almost always had a crowd). Then I headed to the Shetland exhibitors' pens to see if Wally needed help showing his Shetlands – and ran into Garrett on the way! We chatted for just a bit, then with a promise to catch up later I continued on to Wally's area where I greeted him and hugged good friend (and shepherdess to four of Boulderneigh's fiber boys) Jeannie and her sister Sandy. They didn't need much help, so I mostly got to sit and watch the Shetland show, visiting with Jackie, Donna, Tina and John, Briana, and my farrier/shearer's wife at the same time. I also said hi to Shannon, Joan, and Jared. What fun it is to connect with so many!

After the Shetland show ended, I dropped off Browning's fleece to be processed (I'll pick up the roving at OFFF) then followed Garrett out to see the Cardi crew. Last year Garrett stayed at our house with three of his dogs, and I fell in love. SOMEday I'm going to have one....

After some doggy snoggles I met up with Laura. We exchanged goodies (she bought half of Bart's fleece and sent her mom's sampling loom home with me) and ate lunch together. Then I cruised the vendors, first with Jeannie and Sandy, then with another blogpal, Shelly. Shelly and I first met at Black Sheep three years ago (we think) when she and a friend stopped to look at my sheep. It was great to connect with her again in person.

There was only one thing on my BSG shopping list, and after wandering through all three vendor halls, I finally found exactly what I was looking for! It is a Yarn Keeper Bracelet that I will use as a wrist distaff for spindling (walking and spindling is something I can do; walking and knitting is highly unlikely!). Of course, I had to get a little fiber to keep that skinny metal thing warm, so I also bought four ounces of superwash merino/alpaca in deepest midnight blue. Oh, and those light locks of wool? Those are from Briana's moorit katmoget ewe that produced two boys with tiny scurs this spring. Briana contacted me to try and figure out how THAT happened (she doesn't breed for polled and had no poll-carrying stock that she knew of), and after determining that the ewe was the likely poll carrier, I expressed interest in learning more about the ewe. After all, if everything else about her is desirable, I'd be interested in getting her for MY flock. Briana brought me those fleece samples, and I'm going to have some micron tested for more information. So far I'm favorably impressed; I just have to make room in my flock by selling some fiber pets!

That's it for BSG 2012, from . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do you see what I see? :-(

Yesterday evening I called in to check the jury duty roster and learned I am to report to the courthouse again this morning. Ah, more knitting time for my sweet summertime shawl for my friend! I scheduled a Wordless Wednesday blog post with the peaceful photo above, and sat down to knit until bedtime. Almost finished Section 4! I took a moment to admire my work before preparing for bed, and . . .

AAAAAH! Somehow I reversed my work! The section closest to my needles is supposed to be a butterfly pattern in stockinette, like the section below the ridged eyelets of Section 3. A closer look at the eyelet row along the edges shows me I messed up in the ridged eyelets, so I'll probably try to rip back and pick up at the end of Section 2. But I doubt I'll have time to do such "white knuckle repair work" before leaving, so no Jury Assembly Room knitting.  :-(  X 1000

(On the upside, the fact that I can SEE that I messed up, recognize WHERE I messed up, and can CONSIDER ripping back and picking up stitches instead of frogging the whole thing and starting over makes me realize how far I've come as a knitter in just a few short years!)

There's always a bright side at . . .


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Same song, second verse




Poor Marta; she's taking the separation from her (nearly as big as she is) firstborn very hard. Notice that veteran Annabelle is quiet?

Browning
Bart
I'm planning to go to Black Sheep Gathering for the day on Friday, and I'm thinking I want to take my two remaining fleeces to be turned into roving (to be picked up at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, saving shipping costs). That means I need to get cracking and skirt them! I have too many fiber-irons in the fire right now. I'm still picking Brava's neck wool; it needs to be washed and carded before the start of the Tour de Fleece in ten days. I've set my two-tone Taygete aside (all that remains is the contrast-color picot edging/bind-off) to start a white shawl for a dear friend who is moving to Saipan on July 18.

The yarn is a cotton/rayon blend that I'm hoping will make a cool, comfortable cover-up for the weather there. My friend chose the color and pattern.

The weather today is cold, damp and grey; I'm wearing Polarfleece and sipping hot chocolate. (I finally found a recipe for instant hot cocoa mix I like, avoiding all the yucky ingredients in the commercial stuff. A pinch of cinnamon makes it even better.) Summer weather is supposed to return with "official" summer – tomorrow!

 That's it for today from . . .

Monday, June 18, 2012

The answer is blowin' in the wind

What is the question?

1) What is going on with the Boulderneigh flock? The answer blowin' in the wind is plaintive lamb voices and occasional ewe replies. Yes, it's high time those big boys got weaned! (I left little Bloomers with the ewes to help Annabelle dry off more gradually.) Bing and Bittersweet are locked up in the fold today, where their cries aren't quite as obnoxiously loud.

2) What is going on with the shepherd's eyes and nose? The answer blowin' in the wind is pollen. My allergies were blessedly slow to start this spring, but my immune system is in full-blown defense mode now. Sniff. Rub. Ah-CHOOO!

3) What is the condition of our little riding arena? The answer blowin' in the wind is dust. Larry, my tack and I are coated with a fine layer of it after every schooling session these days. That sand dries out quickly once it stops raining.

Other signs of the season are more pleasant. We've had a few strawberries and red raspberries to tempt our tastebuds, and other fruit is showing promise of good things to come.
Currents – I think these are the red ones
Little green tomato

Yellow raspberries
The last of the rhody blossoms for the year
That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sad

This afternoon I found a baby barn swallow on the barn aisle floor; still alive, but very weak. I've saved baby birds before, but never one this young. Both of us helpless. So sad.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Of food and fiber

Prepped and ready for the oven
Last night we had roasted vegetables for supper. The new potatoes, over-wintered beets and onions were from our garden; the yams, garlic and oil were purchased. Boy, was this a tasty batch! And probably full of fiber, although that is not what my title is referring to.

This is Brava's neck wool from two years ago. It was too pretty to toss and I'm so glad, because Brava died that spring leaving me just this (I'd already sold her fleece) and an orphaned lamb. That lamb matured into my handsome smooth-polled ram Blake; this wool has been collecting dust on my office floor. This year I decided it's high time to deal with it, so I've made spinning it one of my goals for the Tour de Fleece (a spinning challenge on Ravelry coinciding with the Tour de France bicycle race). That means getting all the VM picked out of it so I can wash and card it before the TdF starts June 30. Being neck wool there is a LOT of VM, but I'm making progress, collecting the picked stuff in an oversized lingerie bag:


Taken with flash

Taken in natural light
I've been working on my homespun Taygete since May 25, and am just about finished with the lace section. I love how it just worked out that the deeper burgundy yarn ended up next to the striped section! The edging/bind-off will be done in the orangey contrast color, but once the lace is done I will put this aside in order to knit a special friend a going-away shawl before she leaves on July 18.

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mmm, mmm; trees!

The wooded lot was knee-deep in grass so I've been turning the sheep in there this week. Of course, the grass was not the main attraction!

There are a couple small redwoods in this lot I need to fence off and then I can wean the lambs (this is the only pasture with lamb-proof fence). Redwoods are supposed to be deer-resistant, but aren't entirely Shetland-resistant. :-/

For some reason we have seen little to no deer damage on our property this year. Don't know if the dogs are keeping them away, or if the numbers on our hill are down for some reason. As a result, all the landscape plants are doing really well. My species geranium has never had so many blooms,

and the day lilies are loaded with buds.

The white flags are waving,

but this is the last man standing of the bearded iris.

The astilbe in my island bed are budding,




















and the hanging basket of petunias has come back (albeit rather stunted) for the third year in a row. It probably needs a good shot of fertilizer.

The trial I was involved in ended last night with a hung jury. Serving as a juror was an educational experience; very sobering and yet positive. We worked hard, and even though we couldn't come to an agreement on the verdict there was never a hint of rancor among us. I am in the jury pool for the month of June; I will not mind at all if I am chosen to serve again.

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Doing my civic duty

I had to report to the county courthouse today, and was selected as a jury member for a criminal case. The judge thought it would only take two days (today and tomorrow), but even if he is correct I will be playing catch-up on some things after that. Just didn't want you to worry if things were quiet here for a few days!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday miscellany

Finally, a sharp close-up of a collared-doved (at our feeder).
Now I know what color their eyes are. :-)


I finished plying some Inky yarn yesterday – 109 grams of it!
I already have a 50g skein, and there's a little more of her roving left.

Last year I planted these hostas and astilbe in my island bed.
I'm so pleased with how they are growing this year.


Farm cat Oreo, sitting on our old Ford 8N.

Farm truck, holding some posts Rick reinforced with cement.

I just love my species geraniums.

























And I'm finally going to say it. I really dislike this new Blogger interface.

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Who let the dogs out?



That's a slice of life at . . .

Friday, June 08, 2012

Sheepnanigans



Last night while I was schooling Larry, the sheep – all the sheep – got the sillies. Running, sproinging; it was hilarious. I had my camera slung around my neck as usual, but didn't halt Larry to take a video at the height of the action. (Silly me!) But I did manage to capture the tail end of the sheepnanigans for you:
video

The sheep no longer relish the available forage in the lower pasture, which is of lower quality because it is our sacrifice area for the horses in late summer. Makes for better pictures, though!
I love this shot, because it shows most of Annabelle's legacy here. From left to right: Bing (Annabelle's grandson through her two-year-old son Bunker, not shown), Bittersweet and Bloom (Annabelle's 2012 twins), Bart (one of her 2011 twins), and the grand dame herself, Whistlestop 0338. She's prepotent for good structure and great fleece!

Bart and Bing, the black-based wethers.


Bitters and Bloomers, the brown-based twins.


Bonny, not related to Annabelle, nor past relishing the forage.
This maiden yearling is positively pudgy!


(Bart, Bonny, Bing and Bittersweet are all available for sale. Bloom is spoken for, and Annabelle is staying here.)

That's it for today from . . .