Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cat, chow

My work-away-from-home week came to an end Friday afternoon, and I dashed around town doing errands before heading home. I stopped by an animal art boutique to pick up a couple of my scratchboard prints which haven't sold, and met the owner's captivating cat. Meet "Grease," a Bengal cat, the first one I've ever seen and the perfect "shop cat"!
Grease is a retired show/stud cat, therefore a good example of the breed. He definitely had a "wild cat" look about him, and is so very personable and ssoooffft. What was really intriguing is that his pattern is only on the tips of his hair; underneath it is basically white - all over!

When I got home I harvested enough veggies (I already had a garden onion in the house) to throw together a pasta dish to take to church for potluck - angel hair pasta; onions, green (purple) beans, yellow crookneck and patty pan squash, basil and garlic sauteed in olive oil; a little kosher salt and a pint of fat-free sour cream. There was too much to fit in my covered casserole, so I had some for supper (Rick and Brian were still out on calls). YUM!

While I was in the garden, some dark clouds tried to move in and I even heard thunder. I hear you thinking, "Yeah, so?" Thunder is about as common as sultry summer nights here; it's news. (I miss the thunderstorms of the Midwest, but not the sultry summer nights!) After awhile I even smelled rain on the stiff coast breeze, but the clouds over Boulderneigh broke up. I headed down to do chores wearing a jacket.

Bodhran is back in with Barish, Blake and Barry now, none the worse for his touch-and-go surgery. All the boys dove into their hay:
I have two hay feeders in their lot so the smaller boys don't have to compete with Barish, who pushes them around sometimes. From the looks of Barish's barrel, he NEEDS a little competition!

I opened the front door and windows when I got home to let the wind blow through, and by the time I returned from chores, the temperature in what had been a warm, stuffy house was a fresh 59 degrees. Aaah; perfect sleeping conditions!

That's it for now at . . .

Friday, July 30, 2010

Finding moments of tranquility

Working at the clinic this week has given me time to spindle, and with my laptop I can keep up with clients' jobs, emails and blogs, but it sure cuts into what I can do at home. This morning I was setting a drip hose in the garden and realized that the purple bush beans and patty pan squash are overdue for picking, and there's plenty of tender, young yellow crooknecks to harvest as well. Oh well; it's not like I've had time to cook any of it anyway - hopefully I'll get home in time to do that today although it doesn't look promising. The plan was for me to cover the office every morning and for Rick's assistant to cover the afternoons, but it hasn't worked out that way. Yesterday I got home in time to help Brian practice his violin, feed him a quick supper and put him to bed, then do a few tasks and the barn chores, post on the anniversary give-away and fall into bed myself.

ANYway. This post was not meant to be a complaint about my week! I just wanted to share how much I enjoy heading out in the cool, refreshing morning air by myself to do chores. And while it's not exactly quiet - Katie has got to be the loudest sheep on the PLANET - taking care of the animals is a task that brings peace to my soul. Following that up in the garden with boysenberries, red raspberries and black raspberries eaten straight off the canes with this cheery face to keep me company? Priceless!

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the winners are . . .

Today I put the name of each person who entered my little celebratory give-away on a piece of paper, put all 28 pieces of paper in a bag, shook it up and let Brian pull one out at a time. The first name he pulled out gets to choose first from the prize options, then the second gets to pick from the remaining options, and so on until everything is gone. So - drum roll, please - here are the names he drew, in the order in which he drew them:
1st pick - Janna (you haven't enabled access to your Blogger profile; help!)
2nd pick - Garrett
3rd pick - Theresa
4th pick - Shelly
5th pick - Shula
6th pick - Karla
7th pick - Tammy
8th pick - Sara
9th pick - June
(I'll need all your snailmail addies; email me using the link at right.)

And here are the prizes:
Coby 1GB MP3 player:
Three Bags Full, a pre-owned hardcover book:
Chosen by a Horse, a pre-owned paperback book:
4 oz. white "skinny" roving from Braveheart (two people can choose this):
5 1/2 oz. skein of two-ply homespun, black superwash and grey mohair (not next-to-skin soft):

one pint homemade fruit butter, your choice of apple, pear or prune (two people can choose this)

two Interweave Knits magazines from 2009 or 2010, pre-owned but intact

four photo notecards, your choice of theme (such as Oregon coast, sunflowers, lambs, etc.)

So Janna, put your choice in the comments, then Garrett can choose from the remaining items, and so on. (You've got to wait your turn, okay?) I hope everyone gets something they like, and thanks everyone for helping me celebrate my little corner of the internet!

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

I usually change blog backgrounds at the beginning of each month, but since I'm changing my header photo to celebrate the start of my fifth year of blogging, I thought I'd change the background, too. The old header photo featured Dinah, my very first Shetland love (she's in the new header photo as well). Seems like a lifetime ago when I got my start in Shetland sheep! They have launched me on a journey of breed education, friendship, blogging, fiber, spinning and knitting that I hope to continue for many years to come.

Speaking of spinning and knitting, here is 123 yards of two-ply purplish prettiness, spun and plied on my Turkish spindles:
Speaking of purple, here is a bud on my lone clematis:It's bell-shaped flowers aren't showy; the bud is almost as eye-catching as the bloom.

You have until midnight tonight to leave a comment here to help me celebrate my 1000 posts/four years blogging milestones. Tomorrow I will draw names and list prizes, hopefully with pictures, which the winners will get to choose from in order of draw. I'll probably be scurrying around tonight looking for what I can add to the prize list, because the more winners the merrier!

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Turkish delights

Yes, these little beauties are just as enchanting as Edmund's downfall in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Calorie-free, though - and you get yarn!

It is often slow at the clinic since it is a mostly ambulatory practice, which means spindle time. As you can see, I decided to ply the purple sparkly single on itself, thinking it would make a nice pop of color in one of these hats (scroll down). The design is Laura's, and she's promised to teach it to me during her convalescence from knee surgery. I did make a rookie mistake in choosing Paisley to spin the white single and Tamarin to ply with, because Tamarin is significantly lighter (.7 ounce vs. 1.1 ounce). But it worked out okay, and now I know.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. This afternoon Rick took his assistant out and wethered Bodhran (finally). Since Bodhran is nearly four months old, Rick surgically castrated him as he would a dog, only under local anesthesia for less risk. Unfortunately, Bodhran took the procedure hard, bloating in the process for which Rick had to needle-stick him to relieve the pressure. When I got home this evening he was laying under the box fan Rick considerately rigged up for him, chewing his cud. Hopefully he'll heal up quickly and be ready to join his brother Banjo soon!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010


This was today's page on my Mary Engelbreit desk calendar:

This was tonight's sky:
I couldn't have scripted it better if I had the power to do so!

The sun is also setting on my fourth year of blogging. Four years ago this Wednesday I wrote my first post, so you have until this Wednesday at midnight to comment here to be entered into a drawing to celebrate.

I'm off to get ready for bed. Rick's secretary is on vacation this week, so that means up and at 'em earlier than usual to get chores done, shower taken, and open the clinic every morning.

That's it for today at . . .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My bucket list

I've read many people's references to "bucket lists" - those things you want to do before you kick the bucket. I've never really related to those lists, because they usually include things like travel to exotic places, or bungee jumping, or writing and publishing a novel. Maybe I'm odd, but I don't dream of "going" and "doing" like that; I like my life pretty much as it is. Maybe that comes from not have any ideas of "where I'll be in ten years." Pioneer Woman asked that question once, something like "Where did you think you'd be today ten years ago?" So many of the answers in her comments were heartbreaking; so many had dreams unfulfilled, or shattered in one way or another. But I can't ever remember thinking, "When I grow up I want to be _____," or "I'm going to live in a house with a white picket fence with a sweet, loving husband and two perfect children." So I can't look back and think, "This isn't how I saw my life unfolding," and be disappointed! No, life unfolds and I live it (or bear it, as the case may be). I think that is a gift - one of many - from my mother....

Back to bucket lists. Once in awhile I see or read something (usually on someone's blog), and it reminds me that I do have a bucket list, albeit a short and pretty boring one as bucket lists go. Here it is, in no particular order:
1) Knit a Fair Isle cardigan out of my own homespun, natural-colored Shetland wool.
2) Read all the works of C.S. Lewis.
3) Write a book of the wisdom I was raised by, the practical talk of my mother, repeated often.
4) Ride and compete (locally) at the Grand Prix level of dressage, preferably on my own horse that I've trained.
5) See my son raised to be a responsible, kind and Godly man.

Since right now my life is pretty much absorbed by #5, #1-4 will likely have to wait awhile. I'm okay with that.

Do you have a bucket list?

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, July 23, 2010

Until inspiration strikes...

...I'll keep spinning!

I did buy another Turkish spindle from Threadsthrutime, this one in spalted tamarin (whorls) and ebony (shaft); I know, I'm weak. :-/ But before I could take it on its maiden spin, I decided to use its shaft to hold the lavender cop while deciding how to ply it. I know, Paisley's shaft could have held it just as well, but the white fiber I decided to spin next needed Paisley's pretty colors to keep it interesting!
This unidentified fiber came with a laceweight top whorl spindle I traded for last year. I don't know what it is, but it is soft and spins up beautifully. That also describes the white alpaca that is still occupying my wheel....

I've been inclined all along to ply the lavender with black, partly because I think I'd like it and partly because I have a black single available for instant gratification (more weakness). Then someone on Ravelry suggested the palest of yellow as the perfect complementary color for plying; I'd have to spin and dye a single for that. This bumble bee demonstrates that both black and pale yellow look very good with lavender; is he suggesting a three-ply?

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday's theme

IN the garden:
And just OUTside the garden:
Yesterday Rick picked over 43# of blueberries at a client's farm, and we put them up in gallon bags in our new-to-us upright freezer. Our chest freezer is already full of strawberries, raspberries and a few other caneberries, plus all the grocery surplus and bulk items I get on sale and freeze to extend our grocery budget - and we haven't even gotten peaches yet! I remember once when a casual friend who is a big meat-eater and knows we are vegetarians was at our house and saw our chest freezer. He walked over and opened it while asking, "What does a vegetarian need a freezer for?" followed by "Wow; it's FULL!" Uh-huh, and thanks to that and my canning pantry, we eat well all year long on a slim budget, thank-you-very-much!

Right now we're eating from the garden. Monday's supper was a Thai-style curry full of golden cauliflower, new potatoes, purple onions, basil leaves, and the last of the broccoli, all from the garden, plus a few store-bought carrots and tofu with coconut milk and fresh lime juice, over brown rice. I didn't get the seasonings just right, but it was still pretty good. What's on your plate?

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Departures, now and later

Duane and Jeannie picked up Banjo this morning. My little Eeyore joins their two new ewe lambs in quarantine for awhile before joining their bigger flock of fiber pets - including Boulderneigh Beau and Boulderneigh Boo, Brava's boys from last year. If Rick ever gets around to castrating Bodhran (and no one buys him intact before then), he'll join his twin brother eventually.

Katie's little boy Bardas will be moving north in September as a potential flock sire. This handsome dark brown lamb shows a lot of promise:That's not light fiber coming in; that's luster! And the handle? Silky-soft.

Bardas' gulmoget twin Byzantine is tentatively slated to go home with Lois (from whom I got Katie) in September as well.

Dinah and Browning say, "The more who leave, the better; more hay for us!" Dinah and her offspring (including yearling daughter Bronwen) are definitely my aggressive-feeding, easy-keeping "piggy sheep"!

You have until a week from today to leave a comment here to help me celebrate some big blogging milestones!

That's it for now from . . .