Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Serenade to summer

My, June zoomed by like a pesky fly. As it has been the hottest and driest on record here, good riddance – and may the rest of the summer go as fast!

Brian's violin lesson yesterday may well be his last until August (unless we don't go to Cowboy Campmeeting, and no, the final decision has still not been made on that). I recorded part of a lovely, slow Bach movement Brian and his teacher played; it seems a fitting serenade for the dog (cat?) days of summer.

Or maybe these should be called the "squirrel days of summer." This cutie was dining at a feeder outside the violin teacher's house.

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blessed clouds

Yesterday and today were supposed to be scorchers – the hottest days of the year so far. But both days started with thick cloud cover, which kept the temps under 90, even if they were more humid than usual. Last night a cool coast breeze came up and gave us lovely sleeping weather, and the fresh breeze continued into this morning. That made the hours of berry (and currant) picking that needed to be done in our garden much more bearable, and hopefully made Boston's and Belfast's trip north to their new home more comfortable.

Thankful for clouds at . . .

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lads, lavender and lillies

It's hot outside, although not as hot as predicted thanks to cloud cover this morning and some lingering clouds this afternoon. The tradeoff is oppressive mugginess.

This afternoon I headed out to refill all the water buckets, with Brian's help. On a whim I asked him if he'd like to take the lambs on a walk with me. Boston and Belfast are leaving tomorrow morning, and a little more halter time wouldn't hurt them. We found a patch of green grass under the oak tree, and I took some photos to remember Sarai's boys by.

After we put them back in the fold, I took a few flower photos before retreating to the air-conditioned house. I think frozen fruit smoothies are all we are going to find appetizing tonight!

That's it from sweltering . . .

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another thing this weather is good for

BFF Laura called Tuesday; we're looking forward to riding together and visiting next week at Cowboy Campmeeting. While on the phone, I picked my fiber mentor's brain about Blaise's fleece. After discussing various options for processing it myself, I realized it could be my Tour de Fleece spinning project, and got excited – so excited that I washed it that very day!
After one soap-soak and multiple rinse-soaks, I spun the bagged fleece in my washing machine to get rid of as much water as possible. Yesterday I had it outside to dry; this hot weather is great for that. Here it is on the guest bed (taken with with flash in a dark room):

I'm thinking of taking a minimalist approach with this fleece. I don't own combs; my drum carder and I do not have a working relationship; I don't have intact locks to flick; and I'm not very proficient with my hand cards. So I'm thinking of just teasing the fleece into pseudo-roving to spin – although I may try making some rolags with my hand cards first. I'm going to watch this old film again to refresh my carding technique; one of my fleece customers sent me the link recently.


I started this post yesterday, not knowing what today would bring. This afternoon when I got home from work, Ollie was still whinnying for his girlfriend.

It's a sad day at . . .

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some like it hot

I hear some people like summer – love it, even. Here, we're not big fans – especially when it comes early, hot and dry. The only things that seem to thrive are the flies (yuck), the flowers, and the garden (with lots of watering).

Benny has been bumping heads (through the dividing fence) with ewes in the fold, so I decided he was strong enough to go back out with the boys. I waited until yesterday afternoon when they were laying low in the heat to avoid said flies, hoping that would reduce re-entry bashing.
Benny wasn't bullied but acted persecuted all the same, baaAAAing and following me along the fence as if to say, "Why did you put me out here? Please don't leave me out here!" He's been baaaing ever since, confirming that he is completely back to normal. ;-)

What grass hasn't been eaten up is quickly drying up. At least it gives the horses something to do – besides constantly fighting flies.

We've even had a weather fatality.
Just kidding; Oreo was likely the cause of a fatality, not a victim.

The other day I found this on the driveway to the barn.
Obviously a member of the weasel family, but something I've not seen before in our 25 years in NW Oregon. Google to the rescue:
now I can say I've seen my first ermine! May there be others, and may they ALL have a strong preference for gophers and ground squirrels!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, June 22, 2015

Worth its weight in gold (and aspirin)

Last night I harvested the last of 2015's fleeces – that of my petite Blaise. I've had my eye on this hogget fleece all year; it's soft, crimpy, dense, and longish in a gorgeous silvery black. Her fleece test results surprised me; I would have guessed she was finer than she is (29.2µ AFD, 6 SD, 20.7 CV, 10 CEM, 28.3µ SF). And after spending over four hours rooing her lovely fleece last night, I'm still in love with it, and even more surprised at her numbers. Given how much I like this fleece and how much time I have invested in it, I don't think anyone could offer enough money to make me willing to part with it! Now I just have to figure out how/who to process it....
This morning I finished by scissoring off her "lion's mane"
Mid-side after rooing
That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Easy duty

On the eve of Brian's return from a nine-day trip with friends, here are some photos of his little buddy Sprite.

I was charged with taking care of Brian's goldfish and parakeet while he was gone (along with all his other usual chores). The goldfish just needed food, but Sprite is used to getting out of his cage every day for exercise and interaction. He is a charming little fellow!

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, June 19, 2015

The silver lining

I don't remember a banded lamb crying like Boston did off and on through last night. I was worried that I would find a stress-sickened lamb in the fold this morning, but he looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to eat and even readier for loving. My golden teddy bear is finally getting his heart's desire – he gets to be a PET!

Still, it was a blessing for him that today was partly cloudy and cooler. It would have been nice if the clouds had contained rain, but their shade and visual interest were appreciated.

This afternoon I tackled harvesting Vienna's fleece. I started with a pedicure, then skirted off the neck and belly, then put her on the stand to take off her blanket. Kelly had warned me that I might not be able to roo her completely, and sure enough, some areas were firmly attached. Since I was going to have to shear part of her, I made the decision to scissor-shear all of her. What a job! I don't think I have ever seen such a dense fleece. That is a GOOD trait, but between her density and the rise, it took me a loooong time.

One more fleece – Blaise's – to remove. I can't believe it's taking me so long this year!

That's it for now from . . .