Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy 150th!

The Oregon State Fair is 150 years old, so I guess it is fitting that our family is loading up on fair experiences this year. I kicked it off by spinning in the Salem Fiber Arts booth today, my debut as a demonstrator.

I got there early, so dropped off my rolling cart full of spinning stuff and scurried across the fairgrounds to the livestock pavilion. I said "hi" to my farrier/shearer and his wife, who are there showing Border Leicesters and Texels, on my way to say hi to the Shetland folk, only to learn from them that there are no Shetland folk at the fair this year! I don't know what happened; the gal who bought Marta, Bali and Brosna told me she'd be there.

Oh well; I headed back to the booth, introduced myself to the other volunteers, and started spinning. Five hours passed quickly with the help of spindle, miniSpinner, answering questions from visitors, taking a few strolls around the hall to see other exhibits (spindling all the while), and one quick trip away from my post to get a falafel sandwich for lunch (my vote for best "fair food"). I couldn't resist taking a few photos (although none of my spinning; go figure!).

It was an honor to be part of the booth that featured John Beard's amazing Ravenstail weaving:

I saw lots of wonderful fiber arts fair entries, but these particular ones caught my fancy:
This entertaining fellow caught my eye on my way to find falafel:
And the weather was perfect!
Our rain gauge had an even inch in it this morning; I can't remember if I emptied the first 3/8" or not. At any rate, it was a much appreciated watering, and has transformed everything – including attitudes!  ;-)

That's it for Fair Day #1, from . . .

Friday, August 28, 2015

Promises, promises

This morning we awoke to  – wait for it – DAMP CONCRETE!
WOOHOO! Yeah, well, all it did was make the day miserably muggy; it didn't even settle the dust. BUT! It is supposed to rain, really rain, over the weekend . . . although I'm not holding my breath. ALSO! Last night the TV meteorologist said that yesterday may well be the last day of 90 or above we see this year, given the date and next week's cooler forecast . . . then again, that's based on typical Pacific Northwest weather, and this year has been anything BUT typical. Like one of my blogpals said, maybe abnormal is the new normal. Scary thought!

Hanging on for the ride at . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Late to the Pooch Party

I heard through the interwebs that today was Dog Day. So the boys posed nicely, then we celebrated with dog treats. Our dogs add so much to our days!

Barking from . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gearing up for Fair

Last night I took Brian out to One Mile Shires to get acquainted with the team he'll be driving at the State Fair next week.
I took these with my phone and posted them to Instagram and Facebook; then had to swipe my own photos off FB to share them here!

As you can see, it was a beautiful evening. No photos to prove it, but I "got behind the wheel" of another horse being readied for Fair; it's been a few years since I've driven a horse!

Rick took Brian out again tonight to practice with team and cart. That will probably do it for his preparation. I still need to do some Fair preparation of my own. I'll be demonstrating spinning on Sunday, and plan to take my spindle and miniSpinner (note to self: take extension cord!). The latter is naked, though, so I need to get Blaise's fleece started before I go. Then on Wednesday I'm showing Lance in the Mustang Show at the Fair. Not a whole lot of advance prep possible for that, given my lack of time and riding locations, but I do need to keep Lance legged up and listening to me. Of course, he'll get spiffed up the day before, along with my tack, but I'll worry about that next week.

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend report

As reported, Sabbath was tough. Trapped inside by hazardous air quality while worrying about my horse outside and dealing with a bored, challenging adolescent was trying to my soul. But there was a bright spot. A friend brought a gift for me to church, just because.
She found this knitting box in a second-hand store. Isn't it wonderful??? Since I have no knitting on the needles right now, it's holding the spindle and fiber I'm currently working on.

Yesterday morning the visibility was still bad, but the smoky smell had abated some. Still, the recommendation was to stay inside as much as possible. Rick and Brian picked the ripe prunes from our two trees, and I got to work canning them with spices and a very light syrup (1/2 c. sugar to 4 c. water). I also filled my slow cooker with prunes to cook down into paste for a fat substitute in baking.

By evening, a cool coast breeze was blowing. We threw open the doors and windows to air out our hot, stale house, and I took Lance out for a sunset ride. We didn't go far because he started coughing; between that and the color of the setting sun, it was clear our air quality still leaves a lot to be desired. But it's improving! (Hopefully my mood follows suit.)

Interesting that my camera turned the sun white and the surrounding sky red; in reality the sun was a giant red orb in a pale pink sky.

That's it for the weekend from . . .

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Feeling the fires in a new way

Between arriving at church and stepping outside an hour or so later to put something in my trunk, today's atmosphere changed from "nothing new" to "where's the fire???" The wind had shifted, bringing a grungy yellow haze of acrid smoke from the fire that drove the church members to our house Wednesday night. Eyes burning, I took the following photo on my way home; visibility is less than a mile.
Thankfully, we didn't leave many windows open this morning and our house is an oasis of relatively fresh air. I shut the few open windows and we've been hanging out inside with the dogs. I feel bad for the horses, sheep, chickens and barn cat who are stuck outside – especially my horse, who has suffered from allergies this year.

I hope the wind changes again soon!

That's it from a hazy . . .

Friday, August 21, 2015

A quick update

Our guests stayed overnight; before I left work yesterday afternoon the wife called to say they were packing up to go back home. The wind had taken the fire in a completely different direction and their house was safe; hallelujah! But of course there are many more in harm's way, and this morning we learned that includes members of, or families of members of our Christian trail-riding organization. A young man we know spent all night at his parents' home cutting down nearby trees and bull-dozing the area; it has got to be gut-wrenching to destroy so much in an effort to save a part.

There's not much I can do but pray – and open our home when needed. To that end, it seems more important than ever to put up the food God has made available to us from our own garden and that of the neighbors so we have provisions to share.
The jars call. I'm going to stuff them with dill pickles, dilly beans, and spiced prunes/plums (and fill the dehydrator with prunes) while it's a bit cooler today.

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Just before 10:00 tonight, we got a call requesting prayer for church members under Level 2 evacuation orders. This afternoon a forest fire erupted at the west end of our county, uncomfortably near their home. I told Rick to call them and offer accommodations should they have to evacuate . . . and learned that they have five dogs and cats as well.  =:-O

We hung up and went into high gear, cleaning the downstairs guest room and scrubbing out crates. Then we realized that the husband may not be able to navigate the stairs; we might need to replace the linens in our bed and bath so they stay there.

We just got the call; they are on their way.

I've been saying that it sometimes feels as if the whole West Coast is on fire. Those fires are getting mighty close to "home."

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heat makes me cranky

So I will focus on the fact that Thursday and Friday are supposed to cool down some before we heat back up again, and look at this serene photo.

He's a good man.

That's it for today from . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tsk, tsk, turkey

Spotted leaving the winery property on our way home yesterday evening. And here I thought turkeys were teetotalers like me!  ;-)
That's it for now from . . .

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mercury rising

Here we go again, back into the 90s, making this the hottest summer on record. Rather than focusing on that, the rampant wildfires, or the terrible air quality, here are some photos I took during Brian's violin lesson today.

There is trouble and uncertainty everywhere. Glad I know Who holds the future!

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, August 16, 2015

More spinning

This would apply to my spindle (still) and something entirely different this time – dancing!

This afternoon we attended the 2015 Grand Ronde Contest Pow Wow; our first, even though we've lived in this area for over a quarter of a century. I don't know what took us so long; I loved the dancing contests! There were traditional, fancy, and jingle dances for men, women, boys, and girls, a veritable smorgasbord for photographers. It will take me awhile to go through my photos, but here is a video clip of one of the men's dances to whet your appetite.

On our way back from the pow wow, I finished up the first half of my Black Glitter batts from Sewbeezy.

That's 85g of fiber on a little 21g Turkish spindle! I think I'll use a bigger spindle for the second half; there wasn't much shaft to work with in the end with this one.

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Yesterday afternoon we got nearly 1/4" of rain, enough to wash the dust off things, if not to soak the ground underneath trees. The air feels fresher; my soul feels lighter.

But there was still enough dust in the atmosphere to paint a pretty sunset.

Late last night as I was wiping off the dogs' feet after their final potty break, I caught an unexpected glimpse of white – a night visitor on the bloom of my potted mint.

For all these gifts we truly thank you, Lord!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lemons into lemonade, so to speak

This morning while doing chores, I waded through a shallow sea of crunchy maple leaves. Then I got to the Ram-ada Inn lot, which is a leaf-free zone. Why? When one falls, it's food! My sheep love maple leaves like people love chips.

Then I had a thought. Why waste time, effort, and petroleum products cleaning all those leaves off the driveway? Why feed hay when there are leaves aplenty? I just had to think up a way to keep the sheep down where the leaves are, so they didn't find their way to my flower beds or rhodie bushes (see scary story here). I had a rare morning at home, so I dragged some panels across the lower driveway and let Browning and Bart out to happily munch.

Then I took Lance out for a short ride. When I got back Browning was yelling because Blake was out. How he got out and why Browning didn't is a mystery; fortunately, my ram is a mellow fellow, easy to catch, halter, and lead. I put the boys back in the Ram-ada Inn lot for the time being; but I will try "leaf turn-out" again.

Speaking of food, this morning for sandwiches I opened one of the jars of half-sour pickles I made using the recipe from Susan's blog. They are bright green and crunchy, with good flavor after one week. I will definitely be making more of these. The only drawback is that they must be kept in a frig, and mine is small and FULL. I might try canning a jar along with my lacto-fermented batch sitting on the counter to see if I get a satisfactory shelf-stable product.

This afternoon I needed to make dishes for two potlucks. I headed for the local farmer's market, better know as my garden, and got cukes and tomatoes for this salad, rhubarb for crisp, and harvested a few ripe peppers while I was at it. With Brian's help at the cutting board, the recipes were quickly prepared. We're eating good in the neighborhood!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2015


That would apply to my spindle and my thoughts. I feel this decision about Brian's schooling is our biggest (as in having the most impact on this life and the life to come) since marriage, and we just don't know what to do. To some it would be a no-brainer: just send your kid to the local public school! Well, it's not a no-brainer for us, hence my spinning thoughts.

But since I promised you "more to come" yesterday, above are photos of my filling, then nearly full spindle. I'm trying, probably foolishly, to get half of my six ounces of fiber on this little Jenkins Aegean spindle; I've spun roughly three-fourths of it so far. When it comes time to ply, I'm afraid that "halo" (all those long, sticky-up fibers) is going to cause a nightmare of tangles . . . again, like my thoughts.

The physical atmosphere isn't helping my mental atmosphere. Daytime and nighttime temperatures are all wrong for here, and the dryness sucks the moisture right out of you. The landscape near and far looks foreign, altered as it is by drought and the smoke from distant wildfires.  I told Rick last night that I want to move; this doesn't feel like the place we've called home for nearly 26 years.

Then again, maybe I just need more chocolate; ha!

That's it for now from . . .