Monday, February 18, 2019

No such thing as smooth sailing

I think I have vague memories of periods in my life when everything was going hunky-dory. But maybe I am remembering dreams and not reality; reality seems to be more of an ever-changing roller-coaster ride than anything else. Highs and lows, thrills and fears; you can never be sure what is around the next turn of the tracks. Sometimes you just want it to STOP for awhile.... The only thing that keeps me sane is a firm belief in what is waiting for me when the ride finally stops and the safety bar releases – oh, and that I have a Safety Bar!

Sorry; you probably didn't want that peek inside my psyche. So how about some pretty pictures? My orchid is still blooming inside, and the daphne odora is still blooming outside:

We've gotten a break from precipitation (more saddle time; more pasture time!):





Home, sheep home

I got some nifty new bags so I use less plastic (we already have a city ordinance banning plastic grocery bags; yay!):
The bags worked great for apples, pears, flaxseed, brown rice, red lentils, and Great Northern beans.
I have a lot of love in my life:
That's cat drool on my cuff!

Jackson really wanted to go outside, or he wouldn't have looked at the camera like this.

And I have beautiful fiber to spin (thanks to the source of some of that love in my life; no, it's not all from animals):


That's all for now from . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rainy-day pleasures

After flirting with snow on and off through the weekend,

someone turned up the thermostat (a tad) and turned on the faucet.

It poured all day yesterday and last night, and is till raining steadily today. Between the frozen surfaces, slick ice, and soaking, there has been no 'mental health mustang time' since last Friday, and I'm getting cagey. I thought Lance might be, too, so last night I took him out to that shallow lake of an arena to run around, but he said, quite clearly, "No, thanks." 😕 In fact, all the herbivores seem 'off.' The girls have gone off their hay and water for the last couple of days, and even Lance, chowhound extraordinaire, isn't cleaning up his hay like usual. At first I thought it was a particular bale they all disapproved of, but that's not it, either.

This morning I didn't spot the boys in the wooded lot and could only come to the conclusion that they had holed up in the Ram-ada Inn. You know it's a special kind of nasty when Shetland sheep seek shelter! I walked through the lot so I could shut the alleyway gate and confine them to quarters; I've been wanting to give the wooded lot a rest. Of course, then they wanted out:
To keep the wet, gray blanket from weighing too heavily on my mood, I turn to this between to-do tasks:




It's pure pleasure to play with!

On Sunday I surprised my Valentines with an early treat:
That's Jim Malcolm in house concert. I first heard of, and heard, Jim in a public radio segment around four years ago. I fell in love with his tenor voice, sweet guitar, and harmonica lilting Scottish folk tunes, and ordered his current CD, The Corncrake, which Brian and I have listened to in the car and enjoyed together. That got me on his mailing list, and I got occasional notices that he was traveling from Scotland to OREGON for concerts! The timing never worked out – until last Sunday. The venue was a private residence in Salem, and we sat on the front row (there were only three rows); I was close enough to touch him with my toe! Then followed almost three hours of utterly delightful music, humor, and history. Here's a meaningful tune he wrote and shared in the concert courtesy of YouTube:



That search led me to this; oh joy!


That's it for now from . . .

Friday, February 08, 2019

How to Train Your Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Cat

(Are you allowed do a movie title mashup if you haven't seen the movies? 😏)

Lovey Chuckie has been hangin' round the house a lot this week, showing up at the front door and the deck door. He would gladly follow the dogs in from their potty breaks, but has to be satisfied with either me or Brian scooping him up for a little cuddle-and-purr session.

This morning Chuckie was hanging out on the deck, a little too interested in the birds trying to avail themselves of the newly filled feeder. I picked him up and carried him through the house to the front door two or three times, hoping he'd lose interest, but he kept showing back up on the deck. When I turned my head to see a flustered feline in a flurry of feathers, that was it; SOMEthing had to be done. I went to the sink to fill a big glass with water to throw at him, and spied a 60cc dosing syringe. Perfect. I filled it up, went the deck, and squirted Chuckie. He came back twice more in quick succession, getting the same treatment, before making himself scarce.

I was going in and out through the deck doors to shake rugs when Chuckie decided to venture up on the deck again. I grabbed the waiting syringe and blasted his retreating tail end. He pondered this inhospitable treatment from my herb barrel down by the fence while I went about my housework; when I went out onto the deck to shake one final rug, he skedaddled toward the barn. Tonight after dark I heard him 'me-OW-ing' at the deck door; when I opened it a crack he made the mistake of trying to stick his face through – squirt! There seem to be no hard feelings toward me, though; he met me at the front door when I went to get more firewood and I loved on him, then he ran ahead of me to the barn for his supper and more loving.


Today it got into the 40s and almost all the remaining snow disappeared. The pansies, not yet planted, have bounced back as perky as ever. But I have a feeling we're going to wake up to more white stuff in the morning; it's 32° now and has been raining off and on since dark. The two young raccoons came back tonight to fuel up; Brian and I enjoyed watching them until the light made them too nervous and they left.

Good night from . . .



Thursday, February 07, 2019

Comely in color; beauteous in black & white

The colors in this morning's sunrise,

carried over into my barberpole gradient yarn. While skeining it this afternoon, I decided it looks more like Skittles candy than flames:


Better light and Rick's latest vessel, shaped like a giant goblet, invited a second photo shoot to show off my next colorful spinning project:



Jackson, backlit and beautiful:

Chuckie, just emerged from his cozy hay cave:

Black oil sunflower seeds give this family (a third is on the far side of the feeder) an energy boost during our "cold" spell.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Snow dog

Jackson loves snow. He prances out into it, scooting his nose through it and eating it. This afternoon he was munching on the crunchy remnants on the deck when I snapped this photo.

Don't worry, Jackson. It looks like more is coming!

I have my next spinning project ready to go, just in case I get snowed in. ;-)

Good-night, from . . .

Potluck

Serving up scraps saved from Saturday through this morning. First up, Saturday's sunset; all the better because it happened while I was riding Lance down the gravel lane and back.




On Sunday I took Brian to town so he could do some handyman work for some church ladies who wanted to contribute towards his mission trip costs, including washing their vehicles. With a little bribery, he agreed to wash mine when we got home. Of course, after driving it once you can no longer tell it was clean . . . but I have proof!

Our hay supply is dwindling steadily. I'm not sure if we'll make it to the 2019 crop or not.
Good thing the hens are stepping it up a bit to help pay for their food; Monday's 'haul' of four eggs was the biggest in almost two months.

Monday night I finished plying my flame-colored singles with a white single. At first I wasn't sure mixing the two was the best decision, but I'm liking it better now. 

Next I need to skein and wash it, then figure out a good pattern for 100g of 'barber pole gradient' more-or-less-worsted yarn.

Yesterday evening the neighbor called us to come pick up a package. I wasn't expecting anything from blogpal Susan; what could it be? On top was the cutest card imaginable; WHERE did she find a knitting cowboy???

Next I pulled out the tie-dyed fabric, which held a pair of handsome fair-trade chicken gourd-ornaments; she must have noticed my hens aren't represented anywhere on our Christmas tree.

But she mentioned 'making' something in the card; hmm. I pulled out a soft, tissue-swaddled something, which turned out to be the most SQUEE-worthy little squirrel, decked out in a removable beret and matching scarf!!!




Yesterday's snow is mostly gone from the ground, but is hanging on unusually long on the trees. Seems backwards from the usual thawing pattern, but it's pretty!


This morning while loving on the ladies, I was able to get all three of Nightcap's daughters in one photo. That's five-year-old Blaise in the back, with two-year-olds Bette (left) and Bernadette (right) in front. I really like these ewes, and hope to get lambs from all three of them some day....

That's it for now from . . .