Sunday, June 30, 2013

The opposite of intense

Yesterday, while hundreds of top athletes were sweating through the first day of the Tour de France, I began the Tour de Fleece by enjoying the blessings of the Sabbath day. After church and potluck, a large group caravanned to Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, which provided a welcome respite from the valley heat. Still, it was warm enough to play in the cold Pacific,
although Brian did borrow into the sand for awhile to warm up. :-)

I took my "Sabbath spindle" along; it's a Jenkins Aegean in olivewood with Christian symbols carved into it. I didn't get much spinning done,

because I kept getting distracted with photo opportunities.

It was wonderful!

That's it for yesterday from . . .

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thankfully, no helmet or Spandex required

Boy howdy; I got those cherries canned just in time! We transitioned from springtime to swampland overnight. Yesterday the temperatures climbed, turning the cool dampness to a veritable sauna. Today the temps climbed even more, rendering me an ineffective, hot, sticky mess. But not a stinky mess, thanks to this! (Warning: possibly TMI ahead.) I've finally found something aluminum-free that keeps the BO at bay and prevents my ruining clothes in one sweating setting. 'Nuff said.

Tomorrow the Tour de Fleece starts. Fortunately I'll just be spinning wool, not wearing it or pedaling a bicycle. I might even get to spin at the beach; ah, what a delicious thought! A group from church is going to caravan over together after potluck. Rick can't go because he's on call, but Brian and I just might – the forecast looks PERFECT!

Here are my goals, tools and teams for this year's TdF:
Browning's 2012 fleece and my HansenCrafts miniSpinner for
Teams Footloose, My Favorite Sheep, and Spin Your Stash
A 4 oz. bump of wool/alpaca and one of my spindles for
Teams Jenkins Turkish Spindles, Spin Your Stash, and Romi (Hill)

On your mark, at . . .

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"14 more jars of cherries on the wall..."

Yep, last night I put up another 14 quarts of cherries. Feeling pretty virtuous, I am, which must be why I'm rewarding myself with a rare "horse day." ;-)

Brian is at VBS and then will hang out with his grandma for the afternoon. In a bit I'm leaving to pick up a used saddle to try, then I'll come home, load up my horse and haul him, trial saddle, and old-synthetic-saddle-that-fits to a lesson – my first with young Lance. I'm excited!

Never fear, I'm not becoming a "woman of leisure." I just finished a client's newsletter and a load of laundry, and must now launch a short but determined assault against the weeds. After I get back I need to make a batch of bread and think I'll try my hand at cherry butter and cherry preserves. No point in letting all those cherries go to waste; Christmas is less than six months away!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

From A to Zzzz

I didn't notice them when we got back Monday evening, but yesterday morning I spotted them – Ants! Little black ants, randomly crawling on the south side of my kitchen. I wasn't sure if they came in with the food we brought back, the cherries Rick had picked the night before, or what. There was no line to trace from whence they came, so no good place to put Terro. Brian and I kept checking throughout the day to find and kill all we found, and we seem to be winning the war.

Now for trip knitting. I took supplies to make another (yes, another) pair of fingerless mitts in my go-to pattern. Since this yarn is bulkier (Aran weight) than I've used in the past, they knit up very quickly – I finished them before our return trip! Ack; what to do with myself on the way home?!? I did read for awhile, and then looked at my remaining yarn. It looked like enough to make a hat, so extrapolating from my fingerless mitts, I cast on 108 stitches and started with a band of 2x2 ribbing. Once I finished that, I got a little nervous about having enough yarn to finish, so now I think I'll add some cat's paws to the body to stretch it a bit further.

Yesterday afternoon I rode my horse down to get the mail. My friend and neighbor was outside with her grandchildren eating cherries from their trees. I mentioned that her cherries had been allowed to ripen on the trees far longer than usual, and she responded that the man who manages their small orchard was having trouble finding pickers. Then she told me to help myself to all I wanted. We have a few cherry trees at Boulderneigh, but we don't spray so often have worms; it is easy enough to sort through them while eating, but too time consuming for canning. I jumped at the chance to add some jars to our larder, so last night after putting Brian to bed (zzz), I drove back to her place, picked cherries, came home and put up seven quarts and seven pints – all within three hours! I used my new Tattler lids on the pints, which I intend to give to my MIL. (That way I'll get the lids back sooner rather than later.) I went to bed feeling very satisfied with my night's work. Zzzzzz
I checked this morning, and all jars sealed. Yay!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Along the river and through the woods....

We're back safely, and everything at home stayed safe as well, praise the Lord. We were all tired, and slept in this morning; there's nothing like your own bed. It's gray and drippy today, which is fine for unpacking and laundry and school and such; not so great for exercising and riding, but we won't melt. The plant life is happy!

We had a good trip and visits with family on both sides. Watching some of the Ironman finishers come in (the impetus for our trip) was unexpectedly exciting. One older gentleman (no pic) crossed the finish line for the 69th time! (That's 2.4 miles of open-water swimming, 112 miles of cycling and a full marathon – MULTIPLIED BY 69!!!) Here are some highlights:

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, June 21, 2013

Okay, one last post before we leave

Home, sweet home.

It's nice to take a trip, but when away, I'm always looking forward to coming home – to this beautiful place, and my animals, and my quiet(er) life. This is my paradise (on earth).

Wishing you similar satisfaction, from . . .

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Travel knitting and other preparations

We – our family plus Rick's mother – will be spending much of the first day of summer driving. It will be a busy weekend of visiting family on both sides, followed by the long drive home on Monday. Ah; knitting time!

I thought I'd be working on my slooow socks. After turning the heel they weren't feeling so slow anymore; I could almost see the picot edging at the end of the tube. Then I decided to try them on (one of the advantages of toe-up socks). They.Don't.Fit. Specifically, the heels don't fit; they're tiny. Like, toddler-tiny! So much for trying a new pattern.  :-(

Laura has told me several times to just send this WIP to her to finish, and after my disheartening discovery, I decided to do just that. Half-finished socks and yarn are on their way to her now, to fix or rip or frog as she sees fit. I hate being defeated by footwear, but the frustration is not worth it. Last night I cast on for a small gift knit that will be the perfect car project.

Besides the knitting and packing, I'm arranging care for all the critters. Dozer is going to give some friends a much anticipated "bulldog fix," and Jackson will be staying with Rick's secretary. They don't get to stay together, but they both have dog friends at the homes where they will be staying. We're so thankful for friends who take good care of our puppies!

Since moving sheep from fold to turn-out and back is usually a two-person operation, the ewe group will just have to stay in the fold while we're gone. That was worrying me because of this girl:
Bramble is still getting beat up. She used to be a mean girl, but taking away her buddy Bonny has shifted the balance of power in the group. I don't see scuffling when they're turned out any more, but every morning Bramble is huddled in the corner of the fold looking traumatized, often shivering. Yesterday morning she was favoring her right hind leg. This morning, however, everything seemed copacetic. I'm thinking of setting up a "lambing jug" for her while we're gone to keep her safe. Maybe the fact that I just put clean (bigger) coats on Annabelle and Bittersweet will draw attention away from her.

Did I say clean coats? You know what that means; gratuitous fleece shots! ;-) It's early in the growing season so there's not much length, but I still enjoy peeking at next year's "crop":

Thanks to the cool weather, I don't have to worry about watering the garden or plants while we're gone. Weeding and picking are something else, though! Rick and Brian picked strawberries yesterday (I put 10 pints in the freezer) and we need to pick raspberries today – and pick more of both as soon as we return. The salad greens are going great guns, too. And yesterday a neighbor gave me some sweet potato slips; I need to get them in the ground before we leave or they'll be toast – I hate waste.

Look what's almost blooming:
I didn't dig my dahlias last fall, so I'm tickled pink that they survived the winter.

I'd better get back to my to-do list!

That's it for today (and maybe the week) from . . .

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sending more than flowers

I've been collecting flower photos to share with you, but hadn't yet formulated a post for them. Then this evening, in reading updates on blogs I follow, I followed a link on one of them to another blog. The post pertains to surviving domestic abuse and helping a neighbor in need. And suddenly, my flower photos had purpose.
Once before I contributed to something similar, a successful Kickstarter project for Chickens in the Road. It was only a small donation, but it felt good. Tonight I gave a little more to help Kat's modest but critical goal. (And I will be praying for her; too many women in this situation, trying to escape domestic violence through divorce and a restraining order, end up murdered.) Although we have never met and I've never even visited her blog, Kat is my neighbor. And I want to send her more than flowers.

That's it for now from . . .