Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Grabbing the last brass ring

It's late on the last day of November – just barely time to grab for that last brass ring. I missed posting just four days this month – not too shabby, considering all we had going on. I'm not sure posting every day is a great idea, though. I've noticed that page views and comments have gone down some this month (not that have I ever have lots of either); perhaps followers got blog fatigue!

In honor of this tail-end of the month post, here are some "tail-end" photos.
The last Red Sex-Link hen died this week, leaving the six young black hens, two old Speckled Sussex hens, and one ancient Welsummer from our first year of keeping chickens (2008!). Chicken longevity seems highly variable, and I don't have a clue what the factors are.

My big Japanese maple is pretty much naked – except for this little spray of delicately colored leaves nestled between their trunk and the spirea bushes. Most of the trees look like this now,
which I still find beautiful . . . beautiful "bones."

I usually show you sunrise photos; here are some sunset pictures for a change. I snapped these from our lane yesterday while riding my mental health mustang.
Lovely remains of the day!

That's it for November from . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

"It just depends which cloud you're under"

Today I wore my chauffeur's cap. First I drove Brian to school in Salem, then drove back home for a quick shower and to let the dogs out briefly. Then I drove the other way to McMinnville to pick up my MIL and take her to a doctor's appointment in downtown Portland, then headed down I-5 to pick up Brian in Salem (not enough time to take the MIL home first). I drove Brian home to start on homework, took my MIL to McMinnville, then turned around and drove home again. I was gone nine hours, and don't even want to know how many miles were logged. (Thankfully I have a little diesel car for fuel economy and longevity!) It was one of those changeable weather days: sun, clouds, showers, and one brief downpour. When my MIL commented on it, I responded with the phrase in my title. I've been thinking there must also be a life lesson in that.
Right now it feels like my time is not my own – like my life is an open appointment book for others to write in their obligations. Sometimes I want to yank back that appointment book, write my OWN SCHEDULE, take care of MY OWN to-do and wish lists! Then I reprimand that selfish beast and work at staying flexible.

I did start test-driving my new spindle during that doctor's appointment, though. I'll have time to spin some more on Wednesday; my MIL has another appointment in Portland.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2016

All over but the blocking

While Brian was in basketball practice #2 this afternoon (his first game is next Thursday), I finished binding off Simee Dimeh. This was an exceptionally satisfying project. It looks much more difficult than it is, thanks to slipped stitches and the genius of designer Romi Hill. Here it is, draped over a school planter:
This outdoor photo op was made possible by a welcome break in the precipitation. It "spit in the wind" off and on today, but the daylight hours were mostly dry. It's raining again now, but I got a ride in, chores are done, and the wheelbarrow is loaded with firewood so I'm fine with that.  :-D

What shall occupy my hands now? I can't cast on any of the three gift knits in my Ravelry queue until yarn arrives; sounds like a good time for me and my birthday spindle to get acquainted. I'll be spending most of tomorrow playing taxi driver, but should have some spinning time during my MIL's doctor's appointment.

That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I always expect to hear the angels sing...

...when witnessing a dawn like this!
When I awoke this morning (refreshed and without an alarm – I sleep so much better alone) and glanced out the window, I didn't notice the sunrise because the action has shifted southward. But what glory met my eyes when I went to let the dogs out! The beauty was equal parts delicate and dramatic; I grabbed my camera and stood in the open deck doorway snapping away. I think the angels were singing; my ears are just too feeble to hear their frequency. ;-)


The angels may have been singing along this afternoon, too. We ate dinner at my MIL's after church, then went with her and a friend to an assisted living facility. She had asked Brian if he would play a couple hymns on his violin for a lady they visit there twice a week, and he grudgingly agreed.
With some encouragement, he/we moved from the lady's room to one of the day rooms so more people could hear, and he ended up playing old hymns and Christmas carols for an hour. The joy he brought those residents was plain to see on their faces; there were even a few tears. I quietly suggested to Brian that maybe he could go back another Sabbath afternoon to play for them, and he seemed willing.

When I attended boarding high school, groups of us called "sunshine bands" bussed to nursing homes on Sabbath afternoons to sing for the residents, so today brought back memories. I will admit it was not my favorite activity as a young person; at this age I can appreciate much more what it means to shut-in seniors.

A lot older and a little wiser, at . . .

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving thanks, part 2

Rick had to leave for the airport at 3:30 this morning, and I couldn't go back to sleep. Not a bad state of affairs; I'm enjoying my early-morning alone time. I'm thankful for a wood fire, a warm house, time in the Word with a hot drink, the world-wide web, and knitting at the ready; let it rain!

And rain it has. Yesterday it blew and poured, overwhelming low-lying areas. Highway 18 was closed right after the exit we take to get to church; it had turned into a substantial lake where it dips below an overpass. The rain abated briefly in the afternoon; I paused here and there to take some photos on my way home from our Thanksgiving potluck at the church. If you click to biggify the last one, taken from our lane up on the hill, you will see a lot of standing water in the valley.
I am so very thankful it isn't 20 degrees colder; we would be buried under feet of drifting snow. I was a boarding student for three years of high school and all four years of college in eastern Nebraska, and Thanksgiving break was notorious for blizzards – much more so than Christmas break. We always made it home and back, but sometimes it was a long, drawn-out, nail-biting drive.

Last night I was thankful to see these three all standing and eating.
What a lot of drama this second little breeding group has been. First, Nightcap was quite lame on a front leg when he arrived (that has since resolved). Second, both maiden girls were shocked – SHOCKED! – with the new arrangements and yelled non-stop about it for days. Then Bree came up lame, first in her left hind, then in a front leg. She wasn't grinding her teeth, but spent most of her time laying down rather than putting weight on the affected limb(s). On top of that, very little hay or water was being consumed. I was beginning to think these quarters were cursed or contaminated in some way (I lost both Bart and Browning in the Ram-ada Inn this year), so you can see why three hungry sheep were a welcome sight!

The sky is just beginning to lighten; time get on with my day although I'll let Brian sleep awhile longer. If it stops raining long enough, the neighbors want him to work for a few hours. This afternoon I'm taking him to a violin lesson, picking up some horse and wild bird feed at the farm store, then dropping him off at Grandma's to spend the night. Woot; I'll have a quiet evening alone as well!

Lots to be thankful for at . . .

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give thanks!

I fell off the daily posting wagon, but I'm not beating myself up for that (thankful for the pressure-free pleasure of writing and reading blogs and the friends I have in/through blogland). The dark, rainy weather (thankful for rain that gives us vibrant vegetation) hasn't been conducive to photography, and my time the last two days taken up by office job and MIL transportation (thankful for work and safe travel to downtown Portland and back). My WIP has screeched to a halt because I ran out of dark brown yarn yesterday after the LYS closed for the holiday, but I'm thinking my way through a work-around; I have some leftover brown yarn I think I can fudge with through the end of a row, then punt with a change of colors (I'm thankful for the mental stimulation knitting provides).

But right now I have to finish my homemade crescent rolls for our potluck Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family in our church's fellowship hall (thankful for God, family, friends, and food). I hope you are having a blessed day, too!

Happy Thanksgiving from . . .

Monday, November 21, 2016

As requested

I got the recipe for the Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake here. For the pumpkin puree, I used butternut puree I had in the freezer; for the boxed cake mix I turned to my The Natural Nine: Cooking with Whole Grains cookbook for homemade inspiration and came up with:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup barley flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice
(plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract added with the wet ingredients)

My laptop is being uncharacteristically sluggish, so I'll leave it at that for tonight.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Nom nom nom

Eating for six, I hope.

Tested a new recipe today – Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake. It's a keeper!

Eating good in the neighborhood at . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2016

More like accessories than clothing

Most of our deciduous trees have "deciduated," but a few still shoulder leaves like scarves or shawls.
Then there are the singular show-offs, like this apple tree in our pasture still flaunting summer-green leaves and ruby fruit,

and a couple of the Japanese maples at the front of our house dressed like Jacob in his coat of many colors.

I think I'll go knit a few rows on my shawl of many colors!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fiddlin' Friday

Here's a sweet little tune Brian has been working on, plus photos of a tree outside his violin teacher's house. When someone said "Fall" this tree must have heard "Ball," 'cause it's dressing up for a party!
That's it for today from . . .

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The haves and the have-not

After several days of blessed quiet, Babette and Bree have started yelling again – I guess they've gotten more comfortable having Nightcap with them. But Bree is also UNcomfortable; she's quite lame on her left hind. Based on how attractive she smells to Nightcap, I suspect she strained it during breeding (or evading breeding) activity . . . hopefully not seriously.

In the meantime, the only ewe who didn't get a date to the prom was making googly eyes at Blake across the driveway.
Maybe next year, Blaise.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Craving color?

There was a wee bit in this morning's sunrise:
A little more at the bird feeders:

But if you really need color, just take a look at my current WIP!
Seventh and last color added today. It's been a FUN knit!

That's it for today from . . .