Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday music

Brian's violin lesson is usually on Friday, but was moved to today instead, before we drove to the airport to pick up Rick. Between our schedule and that of Brian's violin teacher, lessons have been hit and miss since the beginning of May. That means that we often work on pieces far longer than we used to, so I was ready to video the fiddle tunes Brian has been practicing. Here they are:

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dark-of-night math and bracing for the blast

Last night Brian and I picked up four pretty gray girls and installed them on the roost in the dark chicken house, increasing our flock to ten. I don't assume that chickens are stupid and can't count or recognize change, but adding new chickens en bloc in the dark seems to create the least drama. As hoped, this morning the pullets were sticking together and the six black hens were leaving them alone. Welcome to Boulderneigh, blue Wyandottes; may you live long and produce well! (An Australorp is showing them how it's done; I really like my Australorps!.)

When I talked to Rick on the phone yesterday afternoon, he mentioned getting a heat advisory warning for our area on his phone. I can't remember when I last watched the local news, so I checked the weather app on my phone – and immediately went out and started watering the garden. I didn't think to take a screenshot then, but here is one from this morning and another from this afternoon:
=:-O     That's it; I'm not checking anymore!

First thing this morning (well, as "first thing" as a teenager can manage), Brian and I did chores and unloaded the last few bales from the bed of the pick-up. On the way back to the house, he stopped to love on the wethers:
That's one nice thing about this selfie-obsessed culture – my son is far more comfortable in front of a camera than I am!

After breakfast (I made Swedish pancakes), I made Brian help me with currants. We didn't get them all picked, but at least we have quite a few more in the freezer instead of shriveling in the heat.
I continued watering the vegetables, and was surprised to see some snow peas ready to harvest – I thought they had just started to bloom! We'll probably enjoy our first mess of fresh green beans later this week, too, along with a batch of fresh pesto.
My two hills of zucchini are doing really well; I think they like the warmer soil from the black plastic. In my quest to use them in tasty ways, I cheated on my non-acquisition resolution to buy a new tool.
My guys love pasta, so I'm hoping they like 'zoodles.' Maybe we'll have them with pesto!

Off to change the water and hunker down to face the heat at . . .

Friday, July 28, 2017

This crazy life

Seems that members of this family have done more coming and going than staying around this summer! Early this morning I drove Rick to the airport so he can attend his nephew's wedding on Sunday evening. He took with him handcrafted wedding gifts, a big salad bowl and a small "loose change" dish (shown with a penny). As a joke Rick engraved the small dish with "Brad's money," as if that's all this med student and future doctor will have.  ;-)

On my way home coming up our hill, I stopped to snap this photo (click to biggify to get a sense of scale):
That lot used to be covered with overgrown Christmas trees; I imagine it will be planted in wine grapes like most everything else around here is these days. The third blog post I did was about similar activity years ago on our hill, and the geologic features that helped me choose my farm name.

Brian had just finished chores as instructed when I got home from the airport. He was eager to get to an acquaintance's at the other end of our lane and dissemble a trampoline to bring home. I don't know how long he'll sustain interest, but right now he finds it irresistible. He's even sleeping on it tonight!

But today wasn't all about play. Our favorite local hay producer had let me know yesterday that he had 72 bales of second cutting for us. He has a grapple so there was no effort involved in loading; we saved our muscles for the unloading/stacking. I was pretty proud of myself; this is the first time I've backed the big flatbed into the barn (with Brian's guidance)!

Now I have ibuprofen on board and need to go to sleep. So glad tomorrow is a rest day!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where's my crab pin?

A dear friend of mine used to wear a hat with a crab pin on days when she wanted to give her family fair warning to tread lightly.
You've been warned. I blame it on sleep deprivation, on (dry, hot, buggy) summer, on lack of saddle time. I am addressing the first one by trying to take a daily nap; the second won't last forever – and I fervently hope the third one won't, either!

I should find out this afternoon if Lance's every-six-hours treatment schedule will continue past today. It wouldn't be so bad if I could go back to bed and sleep after his 4:30 a.m. treatment, but by the time I get back in the house at 5 a.m. I'm thoroughly awake and the morning show has begun. The visual Hallelujah Chorus of sunrise, the fresh morning air, the peaceful solitude, and a hot drink are all too beguiling to trade for another fitful hour or two in bed.

After placing ads on Ravelry, I've been busy skirting fleeces and getting them ready to ship. I never got around to skirting and advertising four of last year's fleeces, so I included them in the ads as well. Comparing the "professionally sheared" 2016 fleeces with this year's scissor-sheared (by moi) fleeces has confirmed something for me. Shearing may take me ten times as long as it does a professional, but I make up a lot of that time when skirting. It also saves me money (a little), my sheep's skin (no nicks), and fleece (I was stricken by the amount in second cuts that I threw away!). Plus, I can shear (or roo) each sheep at the optimum time of the rise for best results. You can probably guess what I plan to do from here on out.

Last night Rick asked me if I am interested in getting more pullets. He has a client with too many chickens who might be looking to part with around four blue Wyandotte pullets. We currently have six good black hens, but I've been contemplating getting a few fall chicks to refresh the flock and keep production going next spring. Some pretty gray girls almost ready to lay sound just about perfect!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The sun also rises

Sorry; I couldn't help myself. ;-)  If you look closely on the horizon in the top photo, you'll see Mt. Adams up in Washington. The second photo features my favorite peak, Mt. Hood.

We were all up early this morning – Rick and Brian to take my MIL to the airport, then meet with a vet school classmate of Rick's for breakfast who was also taking someone to the airport – me to medicate my horse. We've changed Lance's treatment regimen; for now I'm treating him every six hours so I will be seeing more sunrises. Mixed blessings!

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, July 24, 2017

The sun has set on TdF 2017

Looking east this evening at the pretty sunset colors!

For this year's Tour de Fleece I signed up for Team Footloose (for those using Hansen miniSpinners) and Team Jenkins (for those using Jenkins Turkish spindles, also "footloose" ;-). But between Cowboy Campmeeting, time-intensive treatments for my horse, holding down the fort for eight days while my guys were gone, and all my usual work at home and in an office, spinning here and there on my handy little spindles was all that occurred. Since Team Jenkins had a Spindle Showcase thread which required at least 10g on featured spindles, I divvied up my Renaissance Faire mohair into 10g lots and then broke out a bag of Jacob roving from Kim so I could feature all 11 of my Jenkins spindles. By the end of three weeks I had accumulated 161g of singles! Here are all my pretties in a bowl:

In the next week I want to get the mohair plied, then finish spinning the Jacob and ply it, too. I've already had a request for fingerless mitts from some of the Jacob, and I'm thinking it would make a beautiful base for another Sheep Heid hat.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, July 21, 2017

The big kids

As I said yesterday, Brigitte slipped out while I checked water buckets. I easily caught her, then of course had to see how her fleece is developing (very nicely, thank-you!). Figured I might as well document her "well insulated" tail, too, noting that it does have a hair tip and a proper fluke shape on the underside in spite of its appearance.

When I led Brigitte back into the fold, her twin sister Bardot came up to me, so she was haltered for a once-over. I've been keeping my eye on this girl since her birth because I really want a black-based ewe out of Sarai.

She is fading more slowly than the musket lambs so is still hard to photograph, but there's not much to fault on this girl!

Vienna's twins were more of a challenge, since neither Bogie nor Bacall has been haltered before. On top of that, I've been mostly hands-off with Bogie, ram lamb that he is. But since we plan to wether him very soon, I guess that can change now.

Bacall is more shy than Sarai's two girls but usually friendly, if unsure of the restraint.

Her fleece was a delightful surprise – crimpier than I expected, with the longest staple and the softest handle of the four. I don't need three full siblings out of Vienna; there are hard choices ahead!

That's it for now from . . .