Wednesday, December 31, 2014

That's a wrap!

The last dawn of 2014

I haven't had the privilege of time to ponder my prose, so this will be a quick and dirty (read incomplete) recap of the year.

Tomorrow, The Year of the Sheep begins, so let's start with sheep, shall we? After a year off, Boulderneigh saw bouncing babies once again in 2014. Three sets of twins, with five lambs surviving, two of them much anticipated girls. Jet moved to California, and Vienna arrived from Wisconsin.

I put together a very small breeding group (Blake, Sarai, and Vienna) this fall, but there is also the possibility that Barbados enjoyed his own little breeding group when he broke out the first of September. Next year will have to be The Year of Selling Sheep!

This year has been The Year of the Horse, but not in the way I had planned. I had to scratch every show I entered because Lance sustained a couple suspensory ligament injuries; that ended up being a good thing, financially. We spent a lot of time in careful reconditioning; I also spent considerable time shuffling saddles until finding one (cheap!) that fits Lance well. Through it all, he has been one of my greatest pleasures this year; I refer to Lance as my "mental health mustang."

At Cowboy Campmeeting in July, our son took the biggest step of his twelve years by being baptized. Many of our family and friends attended, some from far away, making the event even more special.

In August we took a memorable family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; we have the photos – and medical bills – to prove it. Still, we are thankful the symptoms Rick experienced were a false alarm and not another heart attack.

We have been blessed to spend time with most of our immediate family this year, and in spite of some scary medical crises, the ranks remain intact. I especially treasured getting to see the littlest family member – my nephew Micah – in both January and December. Kids grow up fast!

In September, Brian starting fencing lessons and was hooked. Fortunately, he was awarded a scholarship in order to continue – and fortunately I have a fuel-efficient vehicle for Mom's Taxi Service!

The summer's blessing of firewood, free for the cutting, splitting and hauling, turned out to be much bigger than we realized at the time. Our heat pump died this fall, so that firewood has been our sole source of heat ever since.

At the end of November, I started a(nother) part-time job, which has all of us hustling and adjusting like never before. But it's what we have to do to make ends meet, so we're making it work – and are thankful for the work!

My goals for 2015 are few:
• Start each day with God
• End each day having reached my activity tracker goals
• Ride Lance regularly (no more than two days off if possible)
• Find good homes for some of my sheep
• Make time for friends

Only God knows what the new year will bring, but with His help, we'll be able to handle it.

That's it for 2014, from . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


What a way to end a year! We're having our second cold snap of the season, this one combined with a stiff wind that makes it feel even colder. Guess I could think of it as nature's air compressor, cleaning out all the dust and debris of 2014 – yeah, that would be a good way to look at it!

I'm tempted, like many others, to say "Good riddance" to 2014, for it seems to have had more than its share of trouble. But I don't want to minimize all the blessings God has bestowed on us, so if I find time to do an end-of-year recap, it will be a list of blessings, not a recitation of woes.

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas critters

Christmas Eve morning dawned damp and dreary. Rick filled our bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds, immediately brightening the day for both us and the wildlings.
(Rick also cleaned the outside of the windows overlooking the deck for me – "I can see clearly now...." Thanks, Honey!)

On Christmas Day Rick made a sad discovery on our front porch. I don't know if it hit a window or what, but this Ruby-crowned kinglet was exquisite even in death:

The creatures that make up our flocks and herd and pack mean a lot to me, so whenever we are away from home, I am drawn to whatever animals are available. This weekend that was my sister's FIL's cat, Fat Albert.
Fat Albert was about the softest, squishiest kitty I have ever felt. He keeps his voluptuous figure by keeping his activity level low (see above), and being a total foodie (see below).
Wasabi almonds
Coffee with cream
Persimmon muffin
Today, Brian's sharp eyes spotted movement at my Christmas hummingbird feeder –


That's it for fur and feathers today, from . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gift knits revealed

It's all over but the undecorating, so I can share my recent FOs. For my sister, to coordinate with her tot's early Christmas gifts:

For my BIL (the color is off):

For a dear friend:

This weekend we drove to Medford to see my sis and family who were visiting in-laws there. Of course I had to have travel knitting, so I grabbed the yarn my friend bought and cast on her requested socks:
My BIL's aunt is a knitter, and suggested a quick trip to Web-sters in Ashland. What a lovely shop!

We each made a small purchase – and were given a free skein of yarn! I also talked to blogpal Theresa on the phone; we weren't able to meet up during my short time in her neck of the woods, but we had a lovely chat.

I have more to share, but I also have to report to work every day but New Year's this week. I'll post and read posts as I can.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

"Yes, but did the sheep get shuffled???"

Poor Benny; he got the short end of the peppermint stick. He had to leave his "flock" after pasture time and join three bigger, dominant wethers and one smaller-but-randy ram in the muddy woods. He's probably thinking, "Bah, humbug!"

Merry Christmas from . . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Work perks

I have come to realize it takes me an inordinate amount of time to organize my thoughts, construct my sentences, and/or connect my photos into a narrative. And I can't really do any of that with distractions, which basically means I can't do it unless Brian is in bed. Which he is at the moment, but the news is about to start and I haven't watched news in days (weeks?), and every once in awhile I do think it is a good idea to get a handle on what is going on around this world I live in. So I'm going to throw a post together even though my brain feels like that fried egg in the old commercial. ("This is your brain on drugs" – remember that?)

First, the title. Yes, there are some unexpected perks to working, besides the obvious – additional income that will eventually help us get our heads above water. I like my job, my co-workers, my boss, my work space. It is lovely to know without a doubt that I'm needed, doing a good job, and appreciated for what I do. Then there are these sweet gestures –
homemade fudge from a co-worker and a box of Belgium chocolates from a caretaker of one of our clients. The boss brought something in for each of us today, too. Gobsmacked!

During our family visit on Sunday, I finished the last gift knit on my to-do list; woohoo! Now to cast on those socks in the yarn my friend bought at the LYS. That friend was diagnosed with breast cancer last week . . . that's got me a bit shook.

I snapped the above photo of Mt. Hood yesterday morning on my way back to the house from doing chores. A bit later on my way to work, I had to pull over to capture the glorious morning sky:

Last night, Brian fenced in his first tournament. It was a Team, Mixed Weapon event, with a beginner, an intermediate, and a rated fencer on each team. At the end of the evening, Brian's team was declared the winner!

Brian had tons of fun, and it was fun to watch. Made for a looong day, though, and a late night.

Now I'm home for a couple days for Christmas. I plan to enjoy my family, clean, cook, eat, shuffle the sheep, ride my horse, and probably watch a feel-good holiday movie or two. We are blessed in so many ways; I count all of you who care enough to visit this little corner of the blogosphere among those blessings – and am even more thankful for those who comment!  ;-)

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Added adornment

Perhaps Bali was trying to cover for her twin's appalling absence of a proper dinner jacket by wearing her dinner? (The question really is, how did she manage this given the feeder construction in the Sheep Sheraton?)

Yesterday morning I managed to reach through the fence and snag Barbados by a back leg while he was eating. I picked the most obvious bits of hay off his wet fleece and put his freshly laundered sheep coat back on him. That was a relief, because it means I am only facing a sheep shuffle on Wednesday, not a rodeo.

Than last night after the Sabbath was over, I got a load of laundry done, a four-loaf batch of bread made, a batch of cookies baked (with Brian's help), and the great room floor vacuumed (with Rick's help), ending the evening with some knitting. I went to bed feeling a lot less pressure, and could actually look forward to taking off today to see family. Travel knitting, here I come!

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2014


And it's not even Christmas yet! :-(

This week I noticed Barbados' hind legs were out of his leg straps. He's a sweet boy and often comes to the fence for chin rubs, but do you think he'd come up when I needed him to? Noooooo. Yesterday he was naked (except for that gorgeous fleece, which I want to keep clean and free of VM) – and he still won't let me get a hand on him. Today he may look chocolate-dipped when I go out; it's been blowing and raining all night and that's supposed to continue all weekend.

It's just one more thing on my stress pile. I need to do a major sheep shuffle (my breeding group is STILL together), but just haven't had the block of time to do it. The few days off I have are consumed with getting Brian through his schoolwork and practice and staying abreast of mail and laundry; squeezing in time for 30-minute rides on my horse here and there feels like the only thing that's keeping me from unhinging. We're going to be gone all day tomorrow visiting my dad and his wife while they are on the west side of the mountains; looks like I'll be working sheep on Christmas Eve. Not that I mind that, but my DH can get kind of cranky when I don't treat holidays as strictly family time. Tough; this is our new reality.

At least I have Sabbaths. What would I do without this oasis in time to turn away from everyday work and worry to worship? I don't want to contemplate that; it wouldn't be pretty.

Here is something that isn't unwrapped yet, but promises to be a lovely gift:

That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just in time for a little holiday baking!

There's no rhyme or reason, but I'll take 'em! Today is the first time all month that I've gotten more than three eggs any one day – and the first time Goldilocks (the Easter Egger) has laid an egg in months.

I should be mixing up some cookie dough right now. But the rare opportunity to sit here in my quiet house, not another creature stirring, is too tempting to ignore for the time being. Maybe I'll sort through the video clips I took of Brian sparring tonight. After his Épée class, he had the second opportunity in one week to practice with a world champion – invaluable experience before his first little fencing tournament next Monday evening!

That's it for today from . . .