Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks, Claire!

This week Claire over at Whispering Acres gave me the Premios Dardo award. It always humbles me when someone shows their appreciation for my little corner of the blogosphere by reading, commenting on, following or awarding it. The Premios Dardo award is especially meaningful because "the original intent is to show admiration for a blogger's 'word darts,' i.e., getting one's point across cleanly and pointedly, as well as having a point to get across." I like that; thanks, Claire!

Here are the rules that go with the award:
STEP 1: Respond and rework. Answer the following questions, replacing one question that I dislike with a question of my own invention.
STEP 2: Add one more question of my own.
STEP 3: Tag eight other bloggers.

Here is Step 1 (I'm going to take a pass on Step 2):
1) What is your favorite day of the week? Most definitely the Sabbath - Saturday, the seventh day of the week. At God's bidding I get 24 hours to set aside my non-essential labors to worship, fellowship, rest, and reflect. It keeps me from going crazy! (And for those who think six days a week aren't enough to get everything done, I'll let you in on a secret. Just like 90% of a tithing Christian's money goes farther than 100% does for a person who doesn't return God's tithe, He blesses time the same way.)

2) What is your biggest fear? I used to have all sorts of Fears - with a capital "F"! Now I can't think of one, just some things I wouldn't want to experience, but know I would survive with God's help.

3) What was your worst subject in school? Health. I already knew the diet and exercise stuff, and the "sex" stuff was sooooo embarrassing!

4) Who is the last person you hugged? My hubby. He's very huggable, big enough and tall enough for a good bear hug.

5) What websites do you visit when you go online? A whole lot of blogs; The Animal Rescue Site and its related "click and contribute" sites; eBay if I'm watching something.

6) What was the last item that you bought?This cute little teacup and saucer for cheap, along with some groceries at the Grocery Outlet. Isn't it sweet? Oh, what's that inside?A regular 8-oz. mug! (This planter is going to be so cute filled with pansies and primroses on my deck where the deer can't eat the flowers. :-)

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would love to roam all over the British Isles, hike the hills and dales, visit the coastlines, see the native ponies and sheep and cattle, soak up the music, admire the textiles, and sit and listen to the people. But then I'd probably want to MOVE there!

8) What is your dreamlife like? In a word, busy. My mind is running constantly as I drift off to sleep, and continues all night. If you woke me up at any time between bedtime and rising, I could tell you what I was "dreaming" about the moment before. Mostly run-of-the-mill, daily life kind of stuff; occasionally stressful stuff; never weird or completely improbable stuff.

9) If you couldn't have your current job, and money were not an issue, what would be your second choice? Considering that my current "job" includes being graphic designer, editor, first grade teacher, maid, chef, baker, veterinary clinic payroll specialist, animal caretaker, gardener, hand-spinner, dressage trainer of horse(s) and person(s), I think I've used up more than my share of choices, don't you?

10) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle? Farrah Fawcett's "feathers;" didn't every young female (and a few guys) back then go for those? (Did I just date myself, or what?)

11) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions, what would you do? Call a couple girlfriends, load up the horses and haul to the beach to ride. Sit down and spin once I got home.

12) What was the last movie you watched? Day of Discovery's "The Eric Liddell Story," the true story of the man behind the movie "Chariots of Fire," complete with interviews of his daughters and others who knew him. The testimony of his short life is powerful; he was truly a man of God.

13) If you were to win the Powerball, what would you do with the money (besides invest it)? Pay off our mortgage, buy the five acres next to us, fence everything the way we want it, put away enough money for all of Brian's education, finish the basement, contribute generously to those causes we care about, buy a newer car, and cover the arena. And get the carpets cleaned every month. :-)

14) What is your favorite plant or flower and why? Oh my. If I had to choose just one kind to surround myself with, it would probably be Japanese maples. That would give me shade, color, architecture, even container plants - the works!

15) What do you do to try to make the world a better place? Treat others the way I want to be treated; share the gospel, using words when necessary; recycle; conserve resources; contribute to environmental and earth-centered charities.

Now for Step 3. I am tagging eight blogs who, for me, fit the spirit of this award. Please feel free to join, if you wish!
1. A Day Late and a Dollar Short
2. Antiquity Oaks
3. Boston Lake Farm
4. Chronicles of a Country Girl
5. Karen's Shetlands
6. Musings from Fairlight Farm
7. Punkin's Patch
8. Stonehaven Farm

Here's yesterday's calendar page as my parting shot (click to biggify):Yep, that's it; I'm protecting the masses - hee!

That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow white, blood red

The weatherman nailed the forecast again; we woke up to at least 4" of snow with more coming down! It's not supposed to last long (it IS almost March in the Willamette Valley), so the first order of business was to take pictures, of course!Hungry juncos.

Buried daffodils and happy Jackson.

Snowy sheep lot.

Douglasfir on the way to the barn.

Then I got busy with chores. Open the henhouse door for the day and check the girls' food and water; hay the horses and pick their stalls and paddocks; feed the cat; feed and water the sheep. WHOA! What in the world? As I walked into the sheep fold, I saw blood first, and then noticed that sheep were everywhere. Braveheart, probably frustrated by being cooped up these last few soggy days, had bashed his way out of his pen, bloodying his bone knobs in the process. He then proceeded to bash on three of the other sheep - Brava, Browning and Butter. Dinah didn't have a mark on her; it didn't appear that Inky did, either. Everyone was was standing and walking on all fours, so it looks like no harm was done. I just hope all the girls are already pregnant, because I don't need late July lambs!(Look at Inky's baby bump! I sure hope her little lambies are okay in there.)

That's it for now at . . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two down, three to go

I have two of my Pay It Forward gifts all packaged up and ready to mail today! Photos will be posted just as soon as the surprises reach their intended recipients. I'm tickled with how they turned out; I hope the "giftees" are, too!

Pay It Forward gift #3 is halfway done; the others are still in the "figuring out" stage. I have ideas for both, but haven't started implementing them yet. I gave myself until June, but hate to leave things until the last minute - although heaven knows I do that often enough. :-(

Here's some "project progress" I CAN show:I'm almost finished with the first eight ounces of alpaca top singles! I gave the alpaca farm owner the choice of an 8-oz. skein or two 4-oz. skeins of two-ply; she opted for the 8-oz. skein. As soon as I get it done, I'm going to take a short break from alpaca to spin at least one of the roving samples Sara at Punkin's Patch sent me in trade for some of my Shetland. Then it's back to another eight ounces of alpaca.

That's it for now at . . ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Soggy; soon to be snowy?

Yesterday I woke up to rain, but by chore time it looked like it might clear some so I put the sheep out. Then it rained for hours! Mid-afternoon there was a break in the weather, so I went out to put the sheep away before leaving for Brian's violin lesson and bluegrass group class. My little wet woolies were definitely ready to come in:I know they won't melt, but I do wonder if wet sheep suits rubbing on wet wool could cause felting.

More rain was predicted for today, so although the sky tried to fool me with another little break about morning chore time, I left the sheep in the fold. Wouldn't you know it; all we've had is a few sprinkles, and the standing water in our arena has disappeared. But I'd bet money (if I was a betting woman) that if I went out to work my horse, it would start raining in earnest again....

As for the rest of the week, the weatherpeople are saying we could get snow down to 500' (we live at around 700-800') on Thursday. It IS still February!

Here's a parting shot of another "sign of the season" around here. These are catkins on a volunteer hazelnut in the sheep lot (which has become Braveheart's winter turnout). I think they are rather decorative!

That's it for now at . . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend, part two

Our lovely Sabbath repast came to an end exactly as predicted by the weatherman. He had said the rain would move in oh, about 5:00 Saturday afternoon, and I felt the first raindrops at 4:50. Mind you, these were not big, quart-size, Midwestern raindrops; we rarely get rain like that here in the Willamette Valley. Usually it's more of a drizzle, or what I sometimes call "spit." We need rain; we're down about 8" from average for our "rain year," which begins October 1. Hard not to enjoy the drier, sunnier weather we've been having, though! Really makes one think it's spring, especially with buds swelling and daffodils emerging:
It really wasn't doing much precipitation-wise on Sunday, so Rick and Brian got busy in the garden trellising the caneberries, planting some new blueberry bushes, and fertilizing everything. I was playing catch-up housemaid when the phone rang. It was an acquaintance from church, inviting Brian to go bike-riding with her and her daughter at nearby Willamette Mission State Park. Rick and I don't send off our boy without our supervision often, so since Rick was on call, I had to decide whether to say yes and go along. I didn't really have time; taxes (both personal and for my small business) needed doing, along with a job for a client and more housemaid stuff, but Brian needs outings like that and raising him should be my first priority. Taxes, etc., would have to wait yet again.

Said acquaintance stopped by and picked us up, and off we went to the park. Of course, as soon as we got to the parking area to unload our bikes and cross the Willamette River by ferry, it started sprinkling. Oh well; we don't melt, so off we went. By the time we made it around the park, we were all wet and dirty. But the kids were having fun, and were loathe to go home. So after crossing the ferry we hung out on the gravel bar for awhile so the kids could throw rocks and discover empty liquor bottles to pour water. It even stopped raining and some blue sky peeked through the clouds!
Fortunately, I had assembled Brian's favorite "green and white" lasagne before we left, so I was able to call and ask Rick to put it in the oven. By the time we got home, it was hot and ready to serve along with a tossed salad I threw together. Jackson provided dinnertime entertainment, throwing his toy around trying his best to get someone to play with him. Sorry, dog; no rest for the weary. There's still laundry and that client's job to do!
That's it for our weekend at . . .

Play, a universal "language"

Sabbath afternoon after church and potluck, Brian and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful day. While Brian was off slaying dragons, I picked some grass for the chickens, schmoozed with my horse a bit, then sat and watched my sheep graze. Jackson was feeling left out on the other side of the fence, so I opened the gate so he could join us. Turned out he didn't want our "company," he just wanted to "graze," too - on sheep poo! Browning, being the bold and curious fellow he is, had to go investigate.
"What is this?"
"Doesn't smell like a sheep."
"What's so interesting down here?"
"Come on, let's PLAY!"

From then on, it was "game on." Brian and I laughed and laughed at the two youngsters' exuberance and obvious delight; don't you just love how play crosses all boundaries of language and even species?

That was our weekend, part one, at . . .