Thursday, August 30, 2012


This is my latest FO (finished object), bound off last night. I need to block it and weave in ends, but that will have to wait. We will have visitors in a few hours, thanks to one of those "it's a small, small world" incidents.

Last September when Rick and Brian went to Minnesota for a short canoe trip on the boundary waters, they stopped by our old stomping grounds and went to church in Detroit Lakes. They weren't the only visitors that Sabbath; an older couple from California were also there. They all got to visiting over potluck and starting connecting the dots . . . amazing dots. The gentleman was Rick's dad's college roommate and best friend, and best man in Rick's parents' wedding. He is also my dad's second cousin; his mother and my grandmother (who died a year ago at 100 years of age) were first cousins.

Rick gave them our number, and they called last weekend. They are taking a road trip from CA to British Columbia and back, and are stopping here overnight tonight. They insisted on taking us to dinner; I decided to make a dessert we can come back home to enjoy. I'm off to play with peaches; we're having fresh (not baked) peach pie! :-D

Edited to add this:
Don't look closely at my crust. Pie crust and I are NOT on good terms.
But sometimes it is worth the hassle.... ;-)
That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Change is in the air

A light jacket for chores often feels good. An occasional hot drink hits the spot. There's a twinge of color showing in the Sunset Maples next to the house. The barn is finally full of fresh hay. We've even had a couple of light (very light) showers. Yes, change in the air!

That's a regular-sized egg with an "Ouch; that HAD to hurt!" egg
Canadian Harmony peaches = perfection!
Not that the delights of summer are past. The zucchini explodes when I turn my back while the chickens are laying just a bit more. We are freezing and happily foundering on fresh peaches; the neighbor's seconds this year are just gorgeous.

This is the time of year that the thoughts of the shepherd turn to breeding groups. However, I'm not at all sure that I will be breeding any ewes this fall. I still have two of last year's and two of this year's lambs, and my set-up (and marital harmony) can only accommodate so many sheep. I really want to breed Sarai (a ewe with excellent type and fleece who didn't settle last year) and Annabelle (top-notch producer who is nine years old with limited breedings left), and have access to a total-package ram (full-polled moorit with fine fleece and fab conformation); but such is life with its tough choices. Let me know if you are in the market for breeding stock or fiber pets!

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

Not just another day at the fair

It started out auspiciously.

Wally certainly had grand success...

...and friendly sheep. (It was one of Wally's sheep acting like this at the State Fair seven years ago that sold me on Shetlands!)

Yesterday, unlike all the other times we have attended the State Fair, we were not there just to “see the Fair.” Brian was eager to get to the draft horse area of the livestock pavilion. I had told him he had to make himself useful for the privilege of getting to drive, and he was very helpful. But we got there at 10 a.m. and he didn't show until 4:00, so there was a lot of down-time. Not that Brian minded; he was loath to leave the area where he "belonged" other than for a quick lunch break. So other than a short walk through the poultry barn, a slightly longer visit to the Natural Resources exhibit (Brian likes the sport fish and Smokey the Bear), and a bit of "fair food" (mmm; falafel and watermelon lemonade!), I didn't get to see the Fair at all!

Still, schmoozing with the big, black beauties of One Mile Shires was fun. Brian picked up a bagful of fallen apples before we left home, so they all got lots of treats.

Especially after Duane competed in the six-up event at 1:00 and won the $800 purse!

Finally, the time came to get the junior drivers' teams ready. Duane had two junior drivers, and decided to give the younger girl the more seasoned team of Ninny and Cole. Brian's team was Willy (age 14) and Baby Clare – the youngest at age 5! I'll admit that gave me a twinge of nervousness, but I trusted that Duane knew his horses and besides, his seasoned cousin Sandy would be riding shotgun.
Brian had adorned his hat with both wild turkey AND peacock feathers!
Sandy giving Brian some handling tips
Once everything was ready, it was off to the warm-up arena.
Duane bought this wagon from another farm and hasn't had it repainted.

Then it was show time!
There were five teams competing in the "Junior Driver, Age 13 & Under" class, with all four of the major draft breeds represented – from left to right: a pair of black Clydesdales, a team of mammoth brown Belgians, a team of fancy dapple-grey Percherons, and Duane's two teams of Shires. Two of the drivers were younger than Brian, one was obviously older, and one boy looked about the same age. All of the horses were well behaved and the young drivers did well. I had no expectations other than a memorable experience for Brian, and that was fulfilled wonderfully.

Then the placings were announced in reverse order. Well, he wasn't last! And he wasn't 4th . . . or 3rd. When 2nd place was announced and it wasn't Brian's number, I started whooping. My boy (with the help of his shotgun rider and team) won the class!!!

That's it for our incredible day at the 2012 State Fair!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What is the soundtrack of your life?

Here's part of mine:

Blessings and hope to you . . .

Friday, August 24, 2012


Guess who is going to be debuting in the "Junior Driver, Draft Horse Division" at this year's State Fair?

Last year Duane, a client of Rick's who has Shires, mentioned the possibility of using Brian in 2012 but hasn't said anything since  – until Brian was in Texas. That left precious little time to prepare; Brian got home Monday night and the Fair started today!

We ferried Brian out to Duane's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights for him to practice with his team. Nin and Coalie are both 21-year-old veterans, perfect for a 10-year-old to learn with. He started with "the tire," and then graduated to a two-wheeled cart. Making the jump from the two-wheeled cart to the big show wagon at the Fair seems like a mighty big leap to me, but Duane assures me that Brian is a natural and will have no problems. And Duane will be sitting on the bench beside him in the class, just in case.

So. We will be spending Sunday at the Fair. Brian (and probably his parents) will help clean harness and whatever else needs doing until his class in the afternoon. You know there will be lots more photos. ;-)

Nin on the left; Coalie on the right

Gratuitious cuteness in "extra-large"
That's the news from . . .

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trip knitting

I took two projects on my TX trip and thought that would be enough, but bulky yarn knits up faster than I thought. First up, I finished this cute little Autumn Leaf scarf for a friend's December birthday:
See the leaves around the outside edge? (It's not blocked yet, but given the yarn blocking may not change it much.)

I also took the yarn and pattern to make Brian a pair of slipper socks for his birthday or Christmas. I must have grabbed a partial ball, because I ran out of yarn on the second heel:
With more of this yarn at home (which is not radioactive tangerine!), I was able to finish these last night. They join a pair in adult woman size that's a Christmas present for the same friend who is getting the Autumn Leaf scarf. It sure feels good to knit from stash and check gifts off the list early!

Now I'll be able to resume working on the white shawl I almost completed during the Olympics/Ravellenic Games. I ran out of yarn on the last row before the bind-off (which is a yarn-hogging beaded picot edging) and had to scramble to locate some more of that discontinued yarn. A Raveller in Canada was kind enough to send me three balls she had left over from a project and it arrived yesterday. Ravelry is such a wonderful resource! I've had nothing but good experiences dealing with fellow Ravellers.

To close, here's a shot of Sarai napping in the shade this week. While the projects featured in this post may not be made from wool, my little sheep and their fetching fleeces are the reason I am knitting and spinning today. As my Ravelry handle testifies, "sheepmademedoit"!

That's it for today from . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Expected and unexpected Texas treats

The star of the show:
That's my chunky-monkey nephew Micah. I got to see him before he was a week old, and my, how he's grown! We are all besotted with him, and acted like a troop of monkeys ourselves in attempts to get one of those adorable grins. Of course, it was also wonderful to see my folks, sister and BIL, too. :-)

The unexpected treat?
Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth is hosting an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls – and I got to see it! (Thanks, Mom!)
Headed for the entrance

The exhibition was awe-inspiring in so many ways, I really can't begin to describe it. No photos were allowed inside the exhibition, but they were allowed outside at the 80% scale replica of Qumran, which was littered with ancient potshards from Qumran itself. Each shard was labeled with exactly where it was discovered, and each visitor was allowed to take one as a souvenir. Here is mine:
Pinch me; I'm holding a piece of history over 2000 years old!

The whole experience was a powerful fulfillment to me of Isaiah 40:8: "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever." Amen!

That's my Texas report, from . . .

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Safe in the arms of love

I am home again and so happy to be here. Slept in my own bed last night with the window wide open and the cool night air caressing my (sometimes sweaty) skin. Brian was up and outside early this morning to greet all the animals. It's very unusual for him not to come straight to our room and bounce into the middle of our bed!

Brian and I had a great time in Texas, and have a busy week ahead here. I have LOTS of photos to download and things to share. Thanks to internet access on my mom's and sister's computers I didn't get too far behind on emails and blogs, so it's straight to work for me. :-)

I didn't get one photo that I really wanted. On our way home from the airport last night there was an exquisite sunset to welcome Brian and me home. Happy sigh.

More later, from . . .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No sweat...

...if you're a cat. But the rest of us are withering! I'm sitting here wet with sweat at nearly 10:00 p.m. and I can't even blame it on hormones. It's one of those rare nights that isn't cooling off; sleep will be difficult. But I can nap on the plane tomorrow, and have tunes loaded on my Shuffle and knitting in my bag for when I'm awake. I'm actually looking forward to the trip, culminated by seeing Brian, my folks, my sister, BIL and cutie-patootie nephew. See you on the flip side! (I hope it's cooler then.)

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quiet time

My son hates quiet time; he loves to hear himself talk – with an audience. For two weeks my parents have given him an audience, and so much more. And they have given me quiet time – a precious gift. I've been soaking it up, so much so that even my blog has gotten quieter!

Quiet time doesn't mean idle time. I've stayed busy with inside and outside chores, watering, picking garden produce, watering, riding my current training project, watering, spending some one-on-one time with my husband, watering, spending some one-on-one time with a few friends, watering.... There was also a lot of knitting during the Olympics/Ravellenic Games. I coulda been a contender – but I ran out of yarn. :-(  Of course, it is a discontinued yarn, too. The beauty of Ravelry is that I connected with someone up in British Columbia who has some left over from a project, so I will be able to finish this, eventually:

In the meantime, I finished up another pair of slipper socks (gift-knit) and am working on this scarf (another gift-knit):
My quiet time is coming to an end, so I'm scrambling to finish up some critical things before I leave early Thursday – client jobs, volunteer jobs, clinic payroll taxes, annual volunteer scrapie program inspection, one final, thorough watering in case Rick forgets while I'm gone. Then, after a final quiet time on the flights down to Ft. Worth, I'll happily reunite with my big, noisy boy, and get to see my sister's little boy again. He has grown a lot since I saw him as a newborn in January!

I'll leave you with some shots of the Oregon coast. Rick had a vet appointment at a barn there this morning and asked me to go along. It was deliciously cool there, a wonderful respite from the valley heat. After his call we ate lunch at a restaurant overlooking the sea, enjoying each other and the changing view.
The fog would roll in...

...and out.

Sometimes you just get lucky.
I didn't know this seagull flew into my view until I downloaded my photos!
(You can click to biggify any of them.)

That's it for today from . . .