Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ram-ada Inn update

I shouldn't take the time to post this, but I really wanted to show you the latest! Rick didn't have any calls scheduled this morning (an all-too-common occurrence in this economy), so he took advantage of a dry day to work on the Ram-ada Inn. He removed the temporary horse-panel-and-plywood side from the west side, got boards up on both sides, and reoriented the middle divider. I think it's going to be the nicest looking outbuilding on the place!(Gratuitous shot of a pretty Shetland head. :-)

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's a nice place to visit...

Rick and I had a lovely date in Portland last night. We arrived in plenty of time to have a leisurely dinner at Pastini Pastaria, (go ahead, click on the link and prepare to drool!), then walk the few blocks to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, look around and find our seats. The city was romantically dark and drizzly, and our first visits to Pastini and "the Schnitz" were sensory delights. The program itself was completely different than "The Rhubarb Tour" we saw at the State Fair; this was Garrison Keillor alone, spinning tails of Lake Wobegon for two hours. It was often funny, sometimes familiar, sometimes poignant - and occasionally quite blue, which made both Rick and I less than comfortable. Not unlike city living itself would be, I think.

It is definitely nice to have Portland and Salem near enough for such excursions, but even nicer to have our quiet piece of heaven, populated by God's creatures, to come home to. The creativity of man is but a dim reflection of our Creator's abilities, visible here in the feathers of a gentle hen who gives us pink eggs:
That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just a quick note... comment on how much effort it takes to fit in a date night around here! Tonight we are going to Portland to see Garrison Keillor, thanks to the tickets my husband gave me for Christmas. This means extra pushing to get Brian through his schoolwork and practice while I slam through a hospital employee newsletter; picking stalls and giving all the animals a midday meal so they can last until a very late chore time tonight; gathering up booster seat, supper, sleeping bag, and PJs for Brian, who will be picked up from youth group by my neighbor friend; taking Brian and a new friend to said youth group - dropping off three dozen eggs at someone's house on the way; then running as many errands as I can fit in before Rick and I take off for Portland to eat and hopefully r-e-l-a-x for a couple hours. Then we'll dash home (picking up a sleeping Brian on the way), do chores, fall into bed, and rise bright and early so I can show up in court first thing tomorrow morning because of my car accident. After that I'll connect with Rick to pick up Brian, spend the afternoon in the homeschooling co-op, and come home to squeeze in violin practice before supper. After supper I have GOT to finish Rick's clinic's W-2s (I need a new typewriter ribbon; one of today's errands). The next day my mother-in-law arrives for a five-day visit....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Of Katie and cake

Shhhh. Don't tell the others, but Katie has staked a claim on "most favored status" in no time! Here she is coming (looking for her grain treat) -from the side (sans diaper) -and going.That final photo is not a lucky chance shot catching her at her widest stance, either; that is how she ALWAYS looks! Purty little fluke tail, too, where you can see the bluish cast to her light grey fleece. I took a close-up shot of her fleece at mid-side that shows the mix of light and dark fibers; without flash it really does look bluish. I've always said I'd love a "blue" katmoget, but this will definitely do for now!
Katie isn't the only treasure Lois delivered last Friday evening. After loading up Katie for the trip to Boulderneigh, Lois came around the truck with a box. She explained that it was something she got years ago when she lived in "hunt country," and thought maybe I could use it since she had other cake sets from her mom and Brook's family. On top was this exquisite cake plate, with cups, saucers and plates below. I've never had a cake set, and since I seem to be making several German chocolate cakes a year now, you can be sure I will be serving them in style - and the warmth of a friend's love and generosity:
That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Expanding fleeces, expanding flock

Yesterday morning while doing chores, I imagined beginning baby bumps under the ewes' coats and fleeces. Took pictures of everyone, although not everyone's portrait turned out. My two fawn (modified) gully girls are pocket pets, always lookin' for lovin':
Here are the mothers of those two pocket pets, Inky in the foreground and Dinah in the back corner:Dinah is also the dam of this chunk of chocolatey goodness, wether Browning (obviously, no baby bump there!):Hey, stop chewing on Brava's fleece!

Brava posed very nicely:She has many nice qualities - big, dense, soft fleece; straight topline; pretty Shetland head (yes, there's a little poll wool up there); wide, square hindleg set. Her tail is very woolly, but she threw proper tails on her ram lambs from Franjean and I expect as good or better on her lambs from Braveheart this spring.

But I wasn't just talking about lambs in the "expanding flock" part of my title. There's a new ewe in town!This is McTavish Katie, sporting this year's hottest beach-bunny fashion. (Okay, okay; my neighbor graciously lent me her pickup with topper since all of our vehicles were indisposed, so I put a diaper on her to keep the back of the truck clean. Lady that she is, she didn't soil it.) Katie has come to Boulderneigh so I can investigate further the possibility that she carries a poll gene. Lois has not only graciously let Katie join my flock, but she exposed her to THIS handsome fellow before she left Stonehaven Farm:He's Sheltrngpines Constantine, and although he looks like (and Lois fervently HOPES) he has full-horn genetics, his sire IS Roban Dillon, so the possibility is there that he is aberrant-horned. Both Lois and I are hoping that Katie has lambs for me that clearly show their horn genetics one way or the other, but regardless of that, they should be stunners in every way. While waiting for them, I am going to enjoy getting to know Katie of the intelligent eyes, pretty head, and soft and lustrous fleece. I do hope she'll be happy here. I know I am happy to have her here!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New skill learned...

...with only one battle wound!

Brian and I entered Shannon's felting challenge recently, and finally had time Tuesday afternoon to pull out our kits and play. I encouraged Brian to follow Shannon's instructions and make a sheep, but I had decided in advance to try making a "bust" of a horse. It really went pretty fast, and I'm reasonably pleased with my first needle-felting attempt:
I have a feeling I'll keep poking at it, fine-tuning it here and there before submitting my final photo. I also see some sheep ornaments in my future, as my Christmas decorations are woefully skimpy in that subject area!

That's it for now at . . .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More local topography

(click on either to biggify)

Took these photos this morning. The first shows Mt. Jefferson through the blurry trees at dawn. We used to be able to see Mt. Jefferson from our house when we lived in the old manufactured home, but the house we built sits a bit further east so our views of the mountains are obscured. The second shows Olallie Butte, which always reminds me of a big-top tent.

That's it for now at . . .

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All in the family

January has turned into "family month" here at Boulderneigh!

My dad and his wife are spending tonight with us after completing a nearby job for a client friend and before heading home to Spokane. That means Jackson and Dozer get a visit from their little buddy Fritz as well. :-)

Rick's mom arrives for a visit on January 28 and stays until February 2. She plans on bringing some citrus (oranges, lemons and grapefruit) from her own trees. Yum!

My Texas folks talked about coming for New Year's, but that never materialized. What has materialized at the last minute is a short-term mission trip to Zambia! They leave January 25 to help with this project, and will get to see some dear friends in neighboring Zimbabwe who used to live in Texas and attend the same church. This family returned to Zimbabwe to spread the gospel among their countrymen before things completely fell apart in that country, and have been just surviving since then. My parents send what they can and we have contributed, too; it's very humbling when you send a some money and learn they used it to be a ton of maize to live on through the year.

Rick's brother-in-law, an orthopedic surgeon, has answered a plea to go to Haiti to help with medical relief efforts there. He's hoping to fly out tomorrow but has to get his expired passport in order. Not sure how long he'll be in Haiti; I'm sure the first-hand reports will be even more sobering than what we've seen on the news.

Finally, I learned this morning that my sister is coming for an interview at a Portland hospital in February! I am trying not to get too excited at the prospect of her and her husband living nearby. But she is one of my best friends, so it would be wonderful to have her close enough to see more than once a year.

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Welcome to my world

Brian and I went for a short ride this morning, and were treated to an incredible view from the lane that leads to our house (click to biggify):That's Mt. Hood due east, the clouds streaming from its south side looking almost like an eruption. Between us, the lovely Willamette Valley, the "Eden at the end of the trail" to the weary settlers who came west. On our hill, acres of wine grapes have replaced many other crops like prunes, cherries, hazelnuts and timber.

I feel like we own a little piece of paradise here. It is not perfect, unlike God's Paradise, but it'll do for now. :-)

That's it today from . . .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blessings of life and lumber

This morning we slept in a bit, so it was daylight when I arose and looked out the window over our bed. A vague dark shape in the chicken yard caught my eye. At first it didn't move, so I wasn't sure what I was seeing. Then it started walking around, and I realized it was Tawnie, our gold-laced Wyandotte! We do evening chores after dark, and last night Rick shown the flashlight into the henhouse so I could collect eggs. There wasn't enough light to count hens, but why in the world would Tawnie have been out in the chicken yard after dark? But obviously she was, and remained so all the rainy night. I was thankful to see that she was none the worse for wear, but she scrambled to the feeder as soon as I opened the henhouse door!
After breakfast we headed over to where we buy our firewood. When Rick picked up our last load, the seller had some piles of rough-sawn cedar he mentioned he was just going to cut up. Rick expressed an interest, and Bob said we could have any of it we could use. So we loaded up the back of the pickup (and beyond!) with the materials to side the Ram-ada Inn with board-and-batten, and maybe start on a new woodshed to replace our current one. We got drenched doing it, as you can see from the photo I took through the back window of the truck while Rick was securing our load. Below is a photo taken at chore time tonight, with the intended destination of some of the wood in the background. We are thankful for this windfall!
That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fiber fix

Here it is, the third week into the new year, and just today I got some fiber on the wheel. More white alpaca - I can't help it, I'm duty-driven! As much as I would like to try out these bumps of lovely Gotland/Finn that Franna surprised me with (you should feel that white!), I feel compelled to finish spinning half the fiber the alpaca farm owner gave me. Once that is done, my obligation to her is satisfied, and I can spin anything I want. Well, when I have time to spin. Which is seldom. Sigh.

I finished the second lady-mitt last night. It didn't go quite as fast as the first one; I had to tink and reknit a couple times in my efforts to make it a mirror image of the first. I need to weave in the two ending tails (I knit the starting tails into my projects), wash both pairs, and deliver them to our mail carriers at the post office next week. I think that's the last of the gift knits for now!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wait for it...

...spring is coming!

Hyacinth and daffodil shoots near the front door.

Daffodils in the island bed.

Andromeda flower buds.

Yellow croci ready to pop.

Sarcococca sharing its heady aroma.

Snowdrops in full bloom.

That's it for now from . . .