Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Click-click-click, bang-bang-bang

This morning I was up early winding yarn. I had agreed to take Brian and a friend to a skate park to ride their scooters after chores, and I couldn't just sit there!

It looked like I had enough of the "Forest Camouflage" yarn for a beanie, so I did a quick search on Ravelry. I wanted a top-down pattern for the same reason I like toe-up socks – you can knit until you run out of yarn. Karlchen caught my eye – and rang a bell. I looked in my Rav projects, and sure enough, I'd knit a toddler-sized one five years ago. So I found the printed pattern in my files, gathered yarn and needles, and thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the car keeping an eye on the boys!

I loved this yarn as I was spinning and plying it, loved it even more after it was washed and wound, and am downright enchanted by it as it knits up. It’s a strange and wonderful experience, to be this enamored of something of my own creation. ;-)

As usual, the construction crew was hard at work on the winery early this morning, too. I must admit, I rather like the combination of red metal roof, corrugated tin siding, and old barn-wood they are using on the exterior. I was thinking they were going for a look reminiscent of the old barn that has housed their winery and tasting room so far,

then realized that another winery just down the hill used the same materials.

Interesting. Maybe our hill has a "CC&R" for wineries.

That's it for now from . . .

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 . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Life is hard and then you die"

That is probably what poor Benny is thinking right about now. This morning we finally did the deed so he can hopefully live a long, happy life as a loved-on fiber producer. (Brian will be thrilled with the news; he's told me I couldn't sell Benny.)

A glimpse of Benny's fleece

We'll have to work on the "loved-on" part; Benny's had minimal human touch for the last couple months in case someone wanted him as a future flock sire, and is as wary of people as Barbados is now. But I am confident I can coax out those memories of bliss buried in the back of his mind – memories like this:
Sweet baby Benny!

Speaking of Barbados, he still has all his parts and will keep them if I have any say in things. He is the most stunning ram lamb I've raised; I think he will find a breeding home eventually. Below is a fleece shot I snapped this morning, along with a shot of his scurs, which haven't grown at all.

After torturing Benny, I exchanged Bali's coat for a bigger one (admiring her crimpy fleece in the process), and cleaned up Blaise as best I could and put a coat on her. Blaise's dark fleece is long, very soft, and is finally showing some crimp at the base, but the camera could only capture a picture with flash, which doesn't show it accurately.

We're getting a good, soaking rain on this cool, spring-like day; that's why we took care of Benny this morning. After a couple more mild days it's supposed to heat back up; hopefully by then Benny will be over the worst of his recovery.

Oh, and Rick, 2; ground squirrels, 0.

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All is quiet on the Western front....

Well, not entirely, but with Brian gone with his grandma to Colorado this week, it is certainly quieter.

Yesterday, after Brian left, Rick asked me if I wanted to go on a call with him. I grabbed my spindle plying project, my empty miniSpinner and some new fiber, and jumped in his vet truck, ready for a scenic drive over the Coast Range to Tillamook. The only problem was the shortcut Rick took, a narrow, winding road that had me concentrating on not losing my lunch (I'm a motion-sickness lightweight). Fortunately I had plenty of time to recover once we arrived!
Good thing I was productive there, as the return trip did me in. I went to bed when we got home, and still feel a wee bit woozy today. :-/

This morning the war on ground squirrels began. I got the .22 loaded and ready, but while I was doing morning chores, I heard the .410 go off. Rick, 1; ground squirrels, 0. It was hours before I finally saw another ground squirrel . . . eating false dandelion flowers in the yard. Now why can't they stick to being helpful like that, instead of eating my green beans down to the stems???

So the guns have been quiet since, but the horses haven't. Good grief; at least this didn't start until the minor left!

That's it for today from . . .