Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking up and putting up

The clouds were glorious today, but I didn't have much time to look at them.

Rick did the picking; I did the processing. (While I worked inside, Rick and Brian worked outside stacking our big pile of firewood in the woodshed.) I now have a dehydrator full of drying prunes, seven quart jars full of cinnamon applesauce, and a crockpot full of simmering apple butter.

That's only the beginning at . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2014


It rained!

From fresh-faced . . .

Friday, August 29, 2014


At the end of what will probably go down in the area's record books as the second hottest August ever, we are finally getting a reprieve from the heat. Buh-bye, 90+ temps; don't let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!

Homemade bread+Tillamook cheddar+homegrown tomatoes
The seasons, they are a'changin'. The sun is coming up noticeably later, and goes to bed sooner. The horses are shedding their summer hair. Our tomatoes are finally producing enough for more than the occasional salad accent. The yellow jackets are getting meaner; one got me yesterday morning after years of escaping their nasty stings. The State Fair is nearly over, and school has started. (For us; we're aligning our homeschool year and schedule more closely to our church's school than we have before.) There is a certain urgency in the air; do you feel it?

There's a chance of showers this week-end; I'm crossing my fingers. Even if we only got enough to settle the dust I'd be happy.

Bring on Fall at . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2014

An unusual opportunity (or two)

Remember Blake's beautiful fleece? How about his son Bart's, which is even more gorgeous?

Both Blake's and Bart's 2014 fleeces were reserved last year, but health problems have curtailed the buyer's ability to spin. So these two fine fleeces are unexpectedly up for grabs, long after I'm usually sold out. I'm posting them here for my readers before advertising them on Ravelry, where they never last longer than a few hours.

Getting those sold will help buy hay for the sheep. I just got a call from our hay guy who didn't think he'd have 2nd or 3rd cutting this year but ended up with a little – for $8 a bale. OUCH!

Speaking of fleeces, I still need to monkey-pick Benny's and get it covered. (News flash: This morning Benny asked for and immensely enjoyed some attention for the first time since he was a wee thing!) I'm on the fence about coating Barbados; he's for sale, but if he ends up staying here through next spring's shearing, his fleece would be more valuable if covered.

If Barbados is here through the fall, it would be mighty tempting to breed him to a ewe to see if he'd pass on his amazing fleece and stellar conformation and type. Which ewe? Well, I only have one who isn't related to him, and I may be trading her for a moorit ewe lamb who is Annabelle's granddaughter. (I really want to trade for Annabelle's daughter Bloom, but Franna isn't willing to part with her; the aforementioned ewe lamb is by Bloom's son.) Although I am thinking of breeding my big Bali girl this fall, I don't plan to make a regular practice of breeding ewe lambs, so that leaves no options for Barbados.

Or does it?

Somewhere in a flock far away

That's all the teasing for now from . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

State Fair fun

I always look forward to our annual visit to the Oregon State Fair. Rick usually signs up to be the horse show vet for one day (all the area equine vets are asked to take a day) which gets us free admission; yesterday was his designated day. That worked out great, because it was also the day Brian was to drive in the Draft Horse Show.

Brian's class wasn't until 3:00, giving him plenty of time to hang out with the draft horses and their peeps. Brian likes to drive, but he probably likes "belonging" even more. Don't worry; he has to help with chores, too.
With Sugar, one of the Clydesdales he drove last year
Filling water buckets
I would have napped, too, if I could've; I didn't sleep much Monday night
While Brian was busy, I helped an old friend ready his Shetlands for  the all-breed classes of Supreme Ram, Ewe, Young Flock, and Get of Sire. Picking straw out of their fleeces was interesting; he breeds for a very different fleece type than I do. I think mine fit the breed standard better; 'nuf said.

Finally it was show time. Brian informed me early on that I was "bumped" from riding shotgun to heading the team in the line-up. Fine by me; I could take more pictures that way!
Looking so confident and capable!
In the warm-up arena
In the show ring with Claire and Willy
Brian did a great job, and placed second in the class. Afterwards, he gave his grandma a ride around the warm-up arena. She was thrilled; said she hadn't sat behind a team since she was a little girl in Iowa.
Then it was off to "do the Fair." I was in luck; chickens were on exhibit in the Small Animal/Poultry Barn. The blue Andalusians particularly caught my eye; such beautiful birds!
There weren't any competitions taking place in the dog sports area, but one lady was doing practice runs with her dock dog.

That was a happy Pittie – and much cooler than we were (it was HOT!).

There were two things on my State Fair shopping list –  a falafel sandwich and a new $5 pair of sunglasses to replace my broken ones. I also ended up with a pretty little dress from India for a nice little price. I had stopped to admire it, tried it on over my clothes, then started to walk away. I wasn't trying to dicker, but when the vendor dropped the price twice in quick succession, how could I refuse? ;-)

Since we drove two vehicles to Salem, I was able to leave before Rick could (Brian, of course, wanted to stay as long as possible). That gave me a chance to ride my pony for the first time in many weeks; it was a great ending to a great day.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Out and about

Today we're off to the Oregon State Fair; Rick is the horse show vet for the day, and Brian is driving in the "Draft Horse Junior Team, Drivers 13 and Under" class. I won't be able to take photos; Brian has asked me to ride shotgun. :-)  I may also help an old friend prep and show his Shetlands.

We won't be home until late, so I'll leave you with photos of Brooks Winery. The fire abatement pond is full; the parking lot is paved and painted; decorative white fencing is up; landscaping has been planted, and in-ground sprinklers are watering it. I wouldn't be surprised if it opens for Labor Day weekend.

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, August 25, 2014

Travel knitting

I figured I'd better keep this short and sweet for those of you who waded through yesterday's looong post – and those of you who wouldn't/couldn't!  ;-)

I finished the linen stitch fingerless mitts on the way to Ely. I didn't like the loose cuff of the original pattern, so finished mine with wrist-hugging 2x2 rib (kbl for the knit stitches). The intended recipient has small hands. Hopefully these will be big enough; they are tight on my slender 12-year-old. The yarn is the Targhee I spun and n-plyed during the Tour; it is very soft – almost feels cottony. I like it a lot, and will look for more Targhee to spin in the future.

But what was I going to occupy myself with on the return trip? I had leftover yarn; I decided to knit a coordinating linen stitch headband/earwarmer. This went well until I was ready to bind off. I tried several methods, but wasn't happy with any of them. None looked like the tidy cast-on edge (knitted cast-on followed by a round of kbl), and all flared out. I'm also concerned that it's too big; it certainly is generous on my (small) head. At least this project kept me busy until we arrived in Portland; now that we're home, I need your bind-off suggestions.
Still lovin' that linen stitch!

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blessings and BWCA

We're ba-ack!

Our trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) last week started with some major stutters. I blogged about the first one, thanks to my handy-dandy iPhone, which also let me keep up with emails and some of your blog posts so I wasn't quite so behind when I got home. Blessing #1.

Having the second leg of our flight cancelled and rescheduled for the next day meant we couldn't get to the Minneapolis hotel room we reserved on HotWire, but wonder of wonders, HotWire gave us a refund and we got a discount voucher from the airline. As a result, we spent the night at this posh Embassy Suites
for less than we would have paid for the HotWire hotel, with a free supper (from the complimentary happy hour) and free breakfast to boot! Big combo blessing #2. (If that wasn't blessing enough, I slept really well. Ahhhh.)

Refreshed, Monday morning we flew to Minneapolis where Rick's sister and nephew were waiting for us, crammed all our luggage and family into a Toyota RAV4, and headed north to Ely. There we met up with our friends at some cute cabins. Jim had picked up packs from the outfitters so we loaded up our food and gear, then settled in for a short night's sleep. Jim had planned a leisurely route for our canoe trip, so he was confident we could still do it even with losing a day, if we started early.

At Canoe Country Outfitters Tuesday morning, our packs and canoes were loaded up and off we headed to Moose Lake. As soon as we got in the van Rick looked uncomfortable; I asked what was wrong. He was feeling inexplicably nauseous, which alarmed us both. He rarely gets sick to his stomach, but did when he had his heart attack four years ago. Then he started sweating, and although it wasn't as profuse, that was another symptom of his MI. We were both concerned, and uncertain about what to do. He visited the restroom at Moose Lake and came out looking ashen; that did it. We all agreed that it was foolish for Rick to head out into the wilderness without making sure he was okay. So back we drove to Ely's little hospital, where Rick was admitted through Emergency. What happened to our blessings?!?

Nothing was evident from the initial tests, but the doctor wanted to monitor Rick for the rest of the day and overnight. We conferred, and it was decided the rest of our group should launch on a shorter route, and Rick and I would start at the end of the route and paddle in to meet them the next day if we could. The packs were hurriedly shuffled to remove Rick's and my clothes, sleeping bags and pads, and I rode with them out to the lake again to take photos and say good-bye.
So off they paddled, and back I went to the hospital. Rick was frustrated, and bored. He felt fine by this time, and hated missing any more of the canoe trip. So that evening, since all vitals and blood chemistry were staying normal (blessing #3!), he decided to check himself out against doctor's orders. We spent the night in the outfitter's simple lodge, and headed out the next morning.

Unlike our group's launch site, we put in at the swampy headwaters of Wood Lake. That was a little disappointing, but it revealed its own charms.
After paddling through lilypads and grasses, things finally opened up to the vistas we were expecting.
My man was finally happy.
We spent the day paddling, photographing loons and eagles, and finding the last available campsite (blessing #4) in the area where we were to meet up with the rest of our party.
When our group arrived (after FOUR portages, which I was not sorry to miss; that was blessing #5), we set up a base camp for the next two nights, giving us Thursday to explore, fish, photograph, and fellowship.

The beauty of place was undeniable, in spite of the bugs (mosquitoes, a few deer flies, and leeches for those who went in the water; thankfully, there were no gnats or ticks in sight – blessing #6) and nasty wilderness latrines. We got to observe interactions between adult and juvenile bald eagles, loons, and voles, and Brian was thrilled with his fishing success. We returned home (uneventfully – blessing #7) with memory cards of full of photos, a boatload of memories, and a few souvenirs. While I have no desire to do another multi-night canoe trip, I think it would be wonderful to stay in Ely at night and explore by canoe during the day. In the meantime, I have some photos to frame and some wild rice to cook!

Happy to be home at . . .