Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long, 2011; hello - Spring?!?

This morning it was nice to wake up to a touch of frost art, if not frozen mud, after a week of rain. As I neared the barn to do chores, I noticed this fine fellow fly up into the tree:
And in the island flower bed, look what's poking through the dirt and leaves:
Daffodil shoots!

That's it for 2011 from . . .

Friday, December 30, 2011

Recommended reading

A fellow Shetland breeder's recent blogpost is SO worth reading. His information and photos express so clearly the reasons for breeding historic, fine-fleeced Shetland sheep, which is what I am trying to do in my tiny flock as well.

A huge THANK YOU to Rich and Jen Johnson at
for expressing this so articulately.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What is the soundtrack at your place today?

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yesterday we almost finished the basement ceiling drywall; all that remains is small piecework. Rick built some supports out of 2x4s that made the job a lot easier on our middle-aged selves. Next we can move on to laying masonry of some sort in the woodstove alcove. I have no doubts our masonry will look more professional than our drywall job! (Rick put himself through school as a mason, and we did the stonework on and in our house.)

In between helping with the drywall, I plied some spindle-spun singles I finished the night of Christmas, and cast on some bulky yarn slipper-socks for Brian. I knit 1 1/2 Duck feet during our AZ trip, but dropped everything fibery once we got home. With the arrival of Christmas, I suddenly wanted to bury myself in projects, a strange departure for this monogamous crafter. I am certain it is some sort of reaction to Russell's impending departure, a coping mechanism kicking in. After all, I can't spend all my time crying in this:

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, December 26, 2011

We cleaned house and did laundry... was YOUR Christmas?!?

We had an early morning flurry of gift-opening, followed by the usual post-gift clean-up. But Brian's main gift from us - a dresser and nightstand - necessitated a thorough decluttering, cleaning and rearranging of his bedroom. At first our boy acted like he was having the worst Christmas of his life, but once he had tackled the (considerable) mess that is a boy's room, he got excited about deciding where to put things and moving furniture around. We have used stacking plastic drawers and bins for his things since birth, so having real furniture is special. We hope he takes good care of it; a friend of ours made it for him and it is heirloom quality. (That's cherry with a golden oak stain.)

Of course, moving things around unearthed all sorts of hidden "treasures;" his laundry basket (and trash can) was soon overflowing. I decided to wash his linens as well, so I was nearly as busy in the laundry room as I was in the kitchen. (Rick oversaw Project Bedroom Transformation; whew.) Then, as I continued work in the kitchen (making Christmas dinner as well as my first attempt at pecan log rolls), Rick decided to start sheet-rocking the ceiling in our daylight basement!

At least the critters of Boulderneigh all enjoyed Christmas leisure. Brian got Jackson a new flying disk; Dozer was content with a Christmas morning snuggle in Rick's lap.
The chickens and sheep got green grass (until the rain made the sheep seek shelter under a tree). Friday, our neighbor just east (downhill) of us sent up apples for the horses' Christmas treat, so after chores on Christmas morning I handed them out. How did they like them? See (and hear) for yourself!

That's it for Christmas 2011 at . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A little treat from all the creatures great and small at Boulderneigh.
(click here)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve strollin'

This afternoon we went for a walk (ever so much better for Rick's heart than stollen). The sky was glorious, the son growliest. Oh well, he survived. :-)

But we will focus on the peace and blessing of Christmas.
So, from me to you, click

Friday, December 23, 2011

Travelogue #4: Festive finale

Besides various times of family togetherness, we enjoyed one more special outing before heading home to Oregon. Every year the Arizona Temple of Latter-Day Saints puts on a spectacular display of Christmas lights for the community. We spent a chilly evening walking around the grounds and taking in the sights.

Monday night found us home again in our own comfortable beds. Overnight company arrived Tuesday noon; needless to say they had to take us as we were since I was still scrambling to catch up on laundry and various other things that time away from home generates. We have made the final few preparations for Christmas. The weather continues to be unseasonably dry, with heavy frost blanketing the ground with white nearly every night and fog or sun during the day. Yesterday I snapped the photo below when I rode Russell down to get our mail. The Willamette Valley was socked in with a grey sea, Mt. Hood rising like a vocanic island in the distance.

Tonight the sunset below caught me by surprise; our east-facing property is more frequently blessed with sunrise shots.

City lights and soaring cactus are beautiful in their own way, but there's no place like home!

That's it for now from . . .

Travelogue #3: Sonoran sunset

On Sabbath afternoon, following church, then dinner at the home of friends of my in-laws, we headed out to Pinnacle Peak Park to hike through the Sonoran desert. Both of my friends and their families were able to join us, swelling our total ranks to 20.

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for hiking, photography, and enjoying the handiwork of the Creator. In a short story I read once, rays of sunlight like those shown above were called "fingers of God." Very apropos.

As the sun dropped closer to the horizon, beams of golden sunlight slanted onto the hillside,
then blessed us with a perfect Sonoran sunset.
What a way to end a special Sabbath day!

One more travelogue to come, from . . .

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travelogue #2: Time travel

Friday morning while my MIL went to pick up Rick's sister's family from the airport, Rick, Brian and I set out to renew our acquaintance with a lovely walking path/nature trail along the canal less than a block from my MIL's house. It is a lovely respite from the surrounding city life, and I availed myself of it three of the four mornings we were there.

Friday night the whole family put on the singspiration/vespers at my MIL's church. A long-time friend of mine moved from the NW to AZ just this summer, so in my Christmas letter I had invited her to the program. They arrived late, so as soon as it ended I headed to the back to give the sound tech my cordless mic and meet up with my friends. There, standing beside the sound booth was another old friend - one I've seen only a handful of times since she was the matron of honor at our wedding! Unbeknownst to me, she and her husband had moved to the area in October - and were now members of the very church we were in. And then it hit me. The friend I had invited and the friend who surprised me were in my wedding party, along with Rick's sister. And we were all in one place again for the first time in 27 1/2 years! Of course we got a group photo:

More to come, from . . .

Travelogue #1: Culture shock

A week ago today we drove to the Portland airport where we boarded a plane for Phoenix, AZ. (Let me insert here that I love "our" airport - its design, color scheme, public art, shops.) As we walked to our gate, hauntingly melodic tones reached my ear. A young man perched on a chair was drawing the most beautiful sounds from a small cello, and he drew me in like a siren. I slowly walked past, then turned back for a flyer and a photo:
His music lingered in my mind as we waited at our gate - and I weakened. Back down the long hall I ran, and came back with a CD, From Silence. Listen to the second soundtrack on that album. I think you'll thank me. :-)

Our plane stopped in Vegas, and although we did not need to change planes, a small technical problem on board necessitated the deplaning of all passengers. Unfortunately. For while inside PDX is a calm and inviting space, the Vegas airport is full of this:
Yuck. Not a peaceful corner anywhere!

Rick's mom picked us up from the Phoenix airport and drove us through an alien landscape to her home in Mesa.
In her backyard are a cactus garden and citrus trees:
We brought home two boxes of delicious oranges from that tree!

At least the inside looked somewhat familiar:

More to come, from . . .