Monday, July 29, 2013

Sweatshirt excitement

This morning dawned overcast and cool, after yesterday's much more comfortable weather than we've had of late. I actually wore a sweatshirt for morning chores, and it felt good! There's no real chance of moisture in the forecast, but the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief.

As soon as Brian let Perch out for the day, she ran off to her hidey spot. By the time chores were done, this was waiting
and Perch was back at her usual spot by the henhouse/yard, filling her crop.

With the pullets laying, our monthly egg tally (right column, scroll down) is at an all-time high. I need to get busy and freeze some eggs for this winter, when production slacks off. I also want to make a double batch of my favorite biscotti, which uses eggs as the sole moisture and fat source. That will be a good treat to take horse-camping next weekend.

We're already gearing up for that adventure. Yesterday when I got home from the horse show (Lance did well and we brought home blue and red ribbons), we unloaded and unhitched the trailer so we could put the camper on the truck. Brian is already packing, and talking about S'mores!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fresh on Friday

I'm not a food photographer (meaning I don't usually have the time or inclination to "stage" a photo shoot), so you'll have to trust me on this. Today I've made white currant/boysenberry/
marionberry crisp with fruit from our garden, One-Pot Kale Quinoa Pilaf with kale and chives from our garden and one of my last lemons from my MIL's yard in AZ* (both for church potluck tomorrow), zucchini patties with zucchini from our garden and eggs from our hens for lunch; and will be making zucchini chocolate chip muffins with more of the same for supper tonight, along with more berries from our garden. Brian is outside picking green beans as I type. This is my least favorite season of the year weather-wise, but the blessings of food from our garden and orchard and henhouse help make up for it.

Of course, not all our eggs are found in the henhouse these days; Perch is still out and about during the day. Earlier this week I tasked Brian with searching out her "nestbox," since I hadn't found any eggs from her yet.
He had seen her in the ivy at the base of this tree, so he looked there and sure enough, tucked out of sight were three eggs!

This morning I saw her there for the first time (now that I know where to look), which is when I took the photo above. Do you see her? Here's a closer look:

Besides eggs, currants, berries, zucchini, kale and chives, here's some other Fresh on Friday things:
I tweaked the settings trying to capture the true color of this dahlia

Have a great weekend!

*My MIL has made the decision to relocate here permanently, so our source for fresh, organic citrus will be no more. :-(

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When it's hot

Find a cool spot and lay low.

Stick to quiet, indoor pastimes as much as possible.

Keep the 'pits aired out.

Water, water, water – and watch the plants GROW! (Looks like I need to make some pesto!)

This evening Rick and Brian went to a Minor League baseball game. I couldn't bear the thought of baking in the sun in 90-degree heat, so I stayed home and baked bread instead. The temperatures are supposed to moderate over the weekend; I'm hauling my horse to Eugene on Sunday for a dressage show so I sure hope that forecast is correct!

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday's music, Tuesday's tête-à-têtes

Recorded at Brian's violin lesson yesterday:

Captured this morning:

Brian and Perch aren't the only pair to which I am referring in my title. Today I had the opportunity to meet a blogpal – although I must admit I didn't know she was a blogpal because she hasn't ever commented on my blog in the 2+ years she's been following it!

Yesterday Pat sent me a PM on Ravelry. She is visiting her daughter in Newberg, and was wondering if we might be able to meet for coffee and spinning. So this afternoon I drove to Newberg, and as with the other blogpals I've gotten to meet IRL (in real life), there was an instant connection. We chatted for almost three hours, and it didn't feel like nearly long enough! So we might have to continue our conversation – and spinning – tomorrow. ;-)

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, July 22, 2013

Perchy Pet

Yes, Perch survived my absence last week (I'll admit I was a bit worried). And amazingly, she has already regrown her neck feathers and looks great! I'm sure being able to free-range and supplement the commercial feed all our chickens get has helped her recover quickly.

Before I left last week, I picked up a small piece of plywood that was lying on the ground between the henhouse and the sheep lot. Underneath were tons of ants and ant larvae, so I picked up Perch and placed her where she could see the buffet.

Mmmm; protein! (And sheep watching chicken TV. ;-)

I don't know how long we'll have a single "Freedom Ranger;" it's awfully fun to have a chicken come running (in that hilarious way that chickens run) to greet us when we walk down to the barn!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crossing the finish line

It's been a busy day here. Helped a friend move furniture, picked blueberries, caught up on laundry and dishes, schooled my horse – and spun. Today is the last day of the Tour de France/Tour de Fleece, and while I will probably spin a bit more during the news tonight, my totals won't look much different than this:

That's 19g of "Sea Squall" BamHuey on my Oregon Oak Jenkins Aegean spindle, 49g of "Bubblegum" wool/alpaca on and off my Olive Jenkins Aegean spindle (broken and fixed to spin again!), and an as yet unweighed/unmeasured amount of Browning's fleece spun on my Hansen miniSpinner. That's a very full bobbin of two-ply on the left, an almost-full bobbin of singles on the mS, and a partial bobbin of singles on the right. I have lots more of the Shetland and wool/alpaca yet to spin, but am still satisfied with what I accomplished for this year's TdF.

Oh, and I have another fitting name for that blue fiber. At a rest area on my way home from my dad's yesterday, I noticed a juvenile Steller's Jay that was far less flighty than its kind usually is. I never got a great shot, but the one below looks a lot like "Sea Squall"!

Seeing colorways everywhere, at . . .

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back to the beach (photo heavy!)

Since I couldn't spin for awhile*, I had time to finish going through the photos I took at the coast on Tuesday.

I had wished out loud that I could take my horse for his first beach ride on this trip, and Rick offered to haul Lance along with us. But there was nowhere other than our horse trailer to put him when I wasn't riding him, and riding him for the seven-plus hours we were there would not have been fair. But I would LOVE to return someday to ride there! Rick's client lives across the road from a "dike road" that provides high-ground access across a broad, shallow tidal bay to the tree-covered dunes and eventually the beach, about a mile away. This road is a lovely, lovely trail, well maintained and mowed, with beautiful views of flora and fauna.
The dike road, headed towards the beach.
The dike road, headed back towards human habitation.

And the beach itself – what a surprise of sweet solitude this stretch is! Separated from development by the tidal bay and dunes, there is nothing man-made in sight. Brian and I saw a grand total of two other people, joggers, in the hours we spent there.

If you look closely in that last photo, you will see hoof prints and horse droppings. A local enterprise offering beach rides avails itself of this area, as do the locals like my husband's clients. And someday I plan to avail myself of it, too!

There wasn't much to find in the way of rocks and shells, but Brian and I had fun looking just the same. Brian also made "sand angels," took flying leaps off small banks, and just wallowed about in the sand – "happy as a clam." :-)
There were lots of birds about, including some very noisy kingfishers. Unfortunately, we never could get close enough to them to capture them on "film."
White-crowned Sparrow
Great Blue Heron

We were told to keep on the look-out for bears – which we didn't see, as well as river otters – which we did, totally making our day!

(Hey, I warned you this post was photo-heavy!)

*I'm home again, and back on the bike! Actually, I was back to spinning before I left my dad's today. He helped me glue and brace Olive Friday night, and by this morning she seemed solid. I put her back together and started making yarn again; yay! It is also good to see my boys and beasties again. :-)

That's it for now from . . .