Monday, January 31, 2011

Several-things Sunday

(as reported on Monday)

Bronwen and Annabelle are enjoying the last pumpkin of 2010. This one graced our front entrance until signs of decay prompted me to split it between the hens and ewes.

Russell heard we were expecting guests on Sunday, so he insisted on dressing up. :-) Well . . . the company part was true; Russell just happened to be wearing the new sheet I got him (I keep him covered to reduce grooming time).

My friend Laura hauled her new mare Kiri to Boulderneigh so she could have a "spotter" (at least that's what we called it in gymnastics), good footing and an enclosed area for their maiden ride. Kiri is seriously cute and very much wants to be joined up with humans, but she did take exception to the idea of having to work. A few attitude adjustments and some time changed her mind - that is, until she met the V.E.T. (I'll let Laura share the details of that on her blog.)

After Laura left, I turned Russell out for a bit of play time before riding, and captured the above photo. I think it may be my new favorite of him!

We needed more hay to get us through the winter and spring, so Sunday evening we picked up a load of coarse valley hay (the stack towards the back). The horses don't really like it (the sheep can't/WON'T eat it), but mixed with the 3rd cutting we already had it should provide adequate nourishment and forage.

That's the Sunday's "news" from . . .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why Lucille isn't laying

Lucille, the other of our adopted Red Sex-Links, laid dependably through December before leaving all the responsibility to Lucy. It is now apparent why; she's even lost her tail feathers in this moult! As for the Welsummer and the Rhode Island Red, who knows what their excuse is.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sobering truth

I've had it on my calendar for weeks. Tonight a local book store hosted Alter Wiener, Holocaust survivor and author of From A Name to A Number: A Holocaust Survivor's Autobiography. I knew going in it would be powerful and moving; it was a good thing I was somewhat mentally and emotionally prepared. There aren't words enough to describe the impact of seeing him in person, of hearing him relate a fraction of his experiences. But more than that, the reality of who he is now - scarred, yes; but also funny, compassionate, seeing not just the evil but also the good in people of all stripes - made the evening memorable.

The opportunities to hear this history first-hand are diminishing daily. I am so thankful Brian and I had the chance to take advantage of one. Let us never forget....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting "lucky"...

...although I really don't believe in luck. I like the saying, "In a Christian's life, there are no accidents, only incidents." So how else to put it? I know - I was incredibly blessed by random acts of kindness and generosity last month! My number was drawn for prizes in three of the blogs I follow, and I received a veritable treasure chest of goodies!

The first is from an Etsy seller from whom I bought some superwash fiber years ago. My prize from her give-away is a creative smorgasbord:
Besides some hand-dyed superfine Merino, there is a scarf, a knitting book, an art book ('Twas the Night Before Christmas; now a permanent part of our Christmas decorations), some jewel-like stitch markers, a package of little felted balls, some scrubby foot soap, and two flavored fortune cookies. See what I mean about a smorgasbord?

The second is from Dianne of Sheep Dreams in Kentucky:
I am in awe of Alice Starmore's books and patterns, so hardly dared hope I might be chosen to win her Fisherman's Sweaters, plus a bunch of yarn in colors I love. But win I did, and knit I will! I think those three skeins of bulky variegated wool might be just perfect for the Oregon vest I've been wanting to make....

The third is a Pay It Forward de-stash from blogpal Theresa down in southern Oregon. Theresa is a faithful supporter of non-profit animal shelters, and asks those who win her frequent give-aways to donate to their favorite cause. Since one of our local animal shelters has a gift shop, I thought I'd knit some or all of these yarns into accessories for the gift shop to sell. It will be fun figuring out what to make!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

Egg donor

Lucy, the second and smaller of the two Red Sex-links who sought asylum at Boulderneigh from the neighbor's, continues to give us an egg nearly every day. Ahem. The rest of you hens, old and young, could step up to the plate any day now!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Morning and evening

Yesterday morning's setting moon

Our dogs and Rick one recent evening. Watching them play is one of my favorite forms of entertainment, and seeing Rick love on Jackson and Dozer never fails to warm my heart.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

Like dessert for the other senses

Yesterday I was at loose ends in both my knitting* and spinning, so to fill the time during my break at the homeschool co-op, I grabbed a sample I received from Corgi Hill Farm (75/25 BFL/silk; MMMmmm!) and my exquisite Jenkins Jay. As I twisted a leader and started spinning, nearly everyone in the break room was fascinated. I understand; spinning mesmerizes me, too. And spinning with such beautiful materials is pure pleasure!

*I have decided to wash and set aside my marled skeins for now. I am very much up in the air about what I'm going to knit next; if I'm going to enter a natural-colors Fair Isle tam in the State Fair, I'd probably better make it a priority. To that end I checked out Mary Rowe's Knitted Tams from the library on Wednesday.


This morning I noticed blossoms on a rosemary sprig!

Then, as I headed into the garage after chores, I noticed some quail under the bushes at the SE corner of the house. I managed to sneak up fairly close (and zoom in even closer) before they startled and took off with drumming wings. They are such appealing birds!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breakfast in bed

Yesterday morning Inky was bedded down when I added hay to the ewes' feeder. She was still bedded down when I came back with chick feed and her morning grain ration; usually she's up by then. I decided to just serve my grand old dame breakfast in bed.

Hey! Why aren't you serving US breakfast in bed?

Silly spoiled gully girls!

Inky was up last night at chore-time, so no crisis; she was just having a hard time moving the old joints on a chilly morning. I'm glad I didn't give in to her hormonal urges or my own temptation for more lovely lambs; carrying a load would have made getting up and down (and moving around) so much harder for her.

Speaking of last night, did you see the full moon?

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today's headline

"Joint venture completed; old and new technologies complement one another."

Now I'm ready for compliments! (Just kidding; I'm only reinforcing what I read on Pioneer Woman's homeschooling blog's most recent "Mean Ol' Schoolmarm.")

The last of Braveheart's roving, spun up on my Jenkins standard spindle,

set up unconventionally on my Jennie plyer to ply with the remaining Jacob singles on my HansenCrafts miniSpinner.

I wasn't sure which would run out sooner - room on my mS bobbin or one of the singles! Fortunately it was one of the singles - Braveheart's; I have a wee bit of Jacob left on the bobbin, as you can see.

My second skein of marled yarn (approx. 684 yards):

I remeasured the first skein, and it's actually longer (approx. 528 yds) than I first calculated - but shorter than #2 because of my inconsistent spinning. I'll have to take several WPI measurements on both skeins to determine if they can be used for the same project or not.

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Or, if you are one of those buried under snow and ice who might be seized with severe "season envy" - NO LOOKEE!!!)

I always forget about our little area of snowdrops until they surprise me with their winter blooms. This year I got my surprise on Sunday. (They are much prettier in person, but it's been too wet and grey to get decent photos of anything outdoors.)

The candytuft in the bed nearest the front door almost always have a few flowers; in the spring they will become a MASS of white.

Around the corner from the front door, the sarcacocca flowers are opening. Interesting that all these winter bloomers have white flowers!

Total number of mini-sweaters knit: seven. Current inventory of mini-sweaters: five. I knit two more in pastels this week (using up that remnant of yarn), and gave one away. (The first one I made in the other colorway also has a new home.) On to another bit of leftover yarn!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, January 17, 2011

Powerful truths

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

Find many more Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes here.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oregon brands

I've had this post on the back burner for quite some time. Since other inspiration/photo ops are coming a little slower these days, now seems like a good time to pull this out and dust it off. On top of that, blogpal Theresa recently did a post on two companies she appreciates for both their products and their customer service, and we've emailed back and forth about encouraging others to showcase companies worth patronizing. When I realized how many of the products I love are made right here in Oregon, I decided to make that my focus!

Listed below in alphabetical order are seven Oregon companies. Each name is a hot link, so you can click on them to learn more. I'd love to hear about companies in YOUR state that make products you love!

Dave's Killer Bread. A church friend introduced me to this line of bread, and I must say it is the only bread I eat outside of my own homemade bread - it's that good and wholesome. (Fortunately we also get free close-date loaves at church sometimes, as it's rather spendy.) And Dave's story is as inspiring as his bread is good!

Honest Chocolates. When the owner opened a retail store in our town, I made the mistake of visiting it. Fortunately, I don't go to town that often! Everything they make is good, but Mac Mochas are my favorite by far. MMMMM!

Keen Footwear. My sister has worn Keens for some time, and encouraged me to try some. We have very different feet so I had my doubts about whether they would work for me as well as they do for her, but they are WONDERFUL. I've replaced most of my shoes, sandals and slippers with various models (bought on eBay so I can afford them), because I have no metatarsal pain when I wear Keens. The company has a conscience, too, contributing to the community and making choices with an eye to preserving the environment.

Jenkins Woodworking. I first took notice of Turkish spindles (which happened to be Jenkins) at Black Sheep Gathering in 2010. I didn't buy one, but I couldn't get the design concept out of my head. After purchasing a couple Turkish spindles from a very nice Etsy vendor, I finally broke down and ordered a Lark/Jay combo from the Jenkins because of wood-lust and the desire to support a local business. A standard has since joined the stable, and an Aegean is on order. Ed's craftmanship is superb, and Wanda is one of those rare gentle souls who makes you aspire to be a better person (I got to meet her at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September and am blessed by her friendship).

Nike. My first "serious" running shoes were Nikes, back in college when I was averaging 35 miles a week and participating in runs from 10K to half-marathons. When we moved to Oregon 21 years ago, it was exciting to me to be moving into Nike's backyard! I have since found some other brands' models that work for me, but when I think of running shoes, I still think "Nike."

Stash Tea. I used to buy a brand whose teabags came in a waxed paper package that didn't seal once opened. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Stash teas, and found I preferred their varieties and individual teabag packaging. It was later I realized they are an Oregon company - bonus! I've been completely stuck on their Wild Raspberry herbal tea for some time now.

WooLee Winder. What can I say? I'm a surprised convert! I have heard of WooLee Winders since learning to spin, but they sounded like an awful lot of money for a little convenience. But the HansenCrafts miniSpinner I tried at OFFF had a WooLee Winder on it, and since I was wanting to increase my production it only made sense - that and the fact that a miniSpinner equipped with a WooLee Winder was cheaper as a package deal than purchased separately. NOW I know why people love 'em!

That's it for now from blessed-to-be-in-Oregon . . .

Friday, January 14, 2011

A winter walk

Up in the trees grow lichen and moss; I love their colors and textures.

In my island bed, tasty rosemary has grown up nicely around the electric box I wanted to hide, and daffodil shoots promise bright blossoms in a few months.

A mystery. Why do my gully girls paw around the water buckets (they do it in the fold, too)? Are they trying to dig their own well?

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's all good

I vehemently disagree with this saying (just as I do its twin sister, "anything goes") when generally applied. But it's useful in narrow scope, such as spinning. In other words, use what you love, and remember, there are no spinning police! Case in point:

I've almost filled another bobbin with my marled two-ply, but ran out of spun Shetland. So I whipped out my Jenkins standard Turkish spindle to spin up the last of Braveheart's roving to ply with the remaining Jacob. I love the juxtaposition of new and old technology, both executed in beautiful woods, and both doing their jobs so well. Here's a close-up of the myrtlewood spindle's whorls; so, so pretty:

The first skein of marled yarn came out noticeably bulkier than this second bobbinful, so I don't think I'll be able to use them for the same project. Disappointing; I obviously need to get better at spinning a consistent single.

That's it for now from . . .