Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Renewed energy for the tasks at hand

Yep, I feel MUCH better today. That meant I could enjoy this day, instead of just slogging through it. Look: beauty (even if it does mean raking)!

Last night during basketball practice I finished my mohair lace scarf with a few yards to spare.
So this morning I spent a little time planning some gift knitting and choosing fiber for the December spinning challenge in the Jenkins YarnTools forum on Ravelry. Camel down!
When I went down to ride my mustang man this afternoon, I saw a little ram lamb where he wasn't supposed to be – nose to nose with his grandpa Blake!
How did Butler get into the chute between the wooded lot and the Ram-ada lot? Fortunately there is a short fence panel across the aisleway on the wooded lot side, but they were testing it. I hustled over to put Butler back where he belonged, checking the gate on the Ram-ada lot end of the chute. Still closed; the little squirt had somehow managed to slip through. I made some minor adjustments and went back to tack up my horse.

Once out in the arena, I looked over and there Butler was again, the wee rascal!
Again I removed him from harm's way, this time blocking the gate on the Ram-ada side of the chute with a piece of plywood and reinforcing a couple of other spots with extra wire. It's not pretty, but it's working:
Bogie was relieved to have his little buddy back, but Butler hasn't been happy since I removed them from next to the girls. He has hollered so much one of the neighbors inquired if all my sheep are okay. Hmmm, diminutive and determined.... maybe I misnamed this guy. Butler never really suited him; perhaps I'll register him as Boulderneigh Bonaparte!

Speaking of the girls, I snapped a few shots while they were out. That's Bree, Butler's Bonaparte's dam, near our welcome sign, followed by the beautiful Bardot, and finally Butler's Bonaparte's twin Bette, still waiting for her clean-up and coat. Isn't she a cutie?

That's it for today – with nary a whine! – from . . .

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Bring me some cheese to go with this whine

Is it Wednesday yet? It's already been a long slog of a week, dealing as I am with a cold Brian gifted to me. Me, of the iron immune system! Apparently that was the younger me, as I've gotten it far worse and longer than the gifter – as well as STILL dealing with the unwanted effects of two weeks of antibiotics in OCTOBER.  😣

This morning I cancelled my weekly date with my dentist (can I bear to miss TWO Tuesdays???), figuring he didn't want my germs – or the risk of me gagging when the sudden need to hack up a lung struck. At least that puts the next dental bill on December's paycheck; November's was used up long ago.

All this driving and killing time while waiting on Brian's basketball practices isn't helping my cold or my budget. Last night I went to a grocery store to see if they had any good deals, and scored several. But when the clerk scanned one particular item, the scanner picked up the bar code of the sale sticker AND the original bar code, charging me both prices. I caught it, and the cashier deleted it, but after paying and checking my receipt, I realized that not only had she not deleted the mistake, she had repeated it, resulting in two full-price charges and three sale price charges for the same item! Striken, she looked at me and she looked at the line of customers behind me, and referred me to customer service. The good news was that the cash register generated a coupon for $1 off another of the items I got on sale, plus a dollar off my next purchase, so I figured I might as well take advantage of it after visiting customer service. Soon I was back at the same cashier's with a third non-GMO, vegan mayonnaise – which rang up at $5.99 before coupons. ACK! I told her the shelf sticker said $2.99 and I had just paid that for the two I had already purchased, and she said no, they had rung up at $5.99 as well. 😳 I checked my original, now-marked-up receipt and sure enough, I was overcharged and hadn't noticed. So after paying 99¢ for the third one (correct price less coupons), I went back customer service for another overcharge refund. The clerk there noticed two more coupons for the same item generated by my second purchase and offered to credit those, bringing my cost down to $1.99 for the first two. So my comedy of errors was really a cascade of blessings . . . and added up to more steps on my FitBit and more of practice time occupied. Only, I did have something else I planned to spend that time on . . . maybe I'll finish that mohair scarf tonight. 😬

There was another big blessing yesterday. Sunday I got an email from a neighbor who has let us cut Christmas trees – no charge! – from their property in the past. They've turned into snowbirds and turned tree management over to someone else, but they had arranged to have their gate unlocked for three days for neighbors wanting a tree. There wasn't time (again, basketball practice) or weather to act on the offer Sunday, and even though Monday turned out sunny and dry, it's my non-stop, four-city/town commute day. But I got off work early enough to run up the hill and let our long-suffering dogs out to relieve themselves before heading to Salem – and lo-and-behold, Rick was home. When he asked if I had enough time to choose a tree, I knew it was then or never – whether I had the energy or not. (We really want to have a tree this year with my folks coming.) We must have set a family record, Rick and I. Spotting, agreeing(!), cutting, loading, unloading into a bucket of water; I think we bagged a tree in a total of 15 minutes! With rain projected by this morning (which came, and stayed) and Brian available to help with the heavy lifting, we got it inside and set up (with support string secured to the French doors' hinges!) before bedtime last night. Who knows when we'll find time to decorate it, but hey, Project 2017 Christmas Tree is well underway!

That's it for now from . . .

Saturday, November 25, 2017

It coulda been a contender!

This afternoon after a brief friendly family tussle, all three of us ended up on our bed together. Through some miracle, Brian fell asleep between us, probably because he's still getting over a cold (that he generously shared with me and Rick is battling). Jackson slipped up on the edge of the bed behind me, and the four of us took a heavenly nap. (Dozer dozed on the floor nearby.) While drifting off I couldn't help but think we could have taken the perfect family selfie for our Christmas card/letter this year, if only a phone had been handy.... (Photo or no photo, I need to get busy on that Christmas letter!)
Dozer found an apple outside, and wasn't about to leave it there!
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving with kind people and good food. The next day Brian begged for a ride to school for open gym time, so I took him (Rick was working). That meant I had two hours to kill on Black Friday, so for the first time I can remember, I did some shopping. =:-O  But as soon as possible we were back home to enjoy the beautiful day.
Pale gold leaves on the aspen behind the now-bare flowering cherry.
The sheepy girls got out,

me and my horse got out,

and after dark my knitting came out.
So it was a good day in spite of shopping! ;-)

That's it for this week from . . .

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Close to home

That's where we're staying for Thanksgiving. We'll once again be joining a group at our church (including my MIL) for a shared vegetarian Thanksgiving feast; I love it because it's neutral ground and no one has to do all the cooking or cleaning. (I'm taking homemade crescent rolls and cranberry white chocolate walnut cookies.)

I was out and about most of the day, but the best parts were close to home. On my way up our hill, I saw the starlings in flight. I pulled over and captured a magnificent murmuration; I could watch this for hours, I think.

After backing into the garage, I enjoyed the view:

And on the way down to the barn to ride my mustang man in the waning daylight, I was treated to an entirely different colorway:
So much to be thankful for (I'm thinking of you, Theresa!) at . . .

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Eyes wide open

Yesterday was every bit as hectic as expected, but there were highlights. There are ALWAYS highlights. ;-)

The drive from school in one city to Brian's violin lesson in another town was particularly fruitful. At one point I noticed a big bird on the wing, large enough for one conclusion. As we drove under it, we confirmed the white head and tail of a bald eagle. Then I glanced to my left and saw a second one perched in the top of a large deciduous tree near a house.

One of my best friends remarked while we were trail-riding together this summer that I'm much better at "looking up" than she is. That surprised me; doesn't everyone look up . . . and down, and all around? I guess my eyes are always wide open; I just wish I had a built in camera to be able to capture things I see, like those eagles!

The clouds were spectacular all day, but I had not had time or opportunity to take any photos. Seeing that we were making good time and coming upon a wide spot in the road, I pulled over to take a photo of the afternoon cloudscape. Back on the road but still looking – always looking – I noticed some unusual clouds close to the horizon. "Look at those clouds, Brian; they look like shark fins!" Then I shoved my iPhone at him and told him to try and get a photo through the windshield. He did, and I posted both our photos on Instagram:

This morning Julie Zickefoose, a blogger I greatly admire as an artist, writer, Science Chimp, and mother, commented on my IG post: "Those are Kelvin Helmolz wave clouds!! Very rare!!" They're what? Was Julie pulling my leg?? So of course I turned to Google and sure enough, Julie was right! (If you don't follow Julie's blog, you are missing out on sooo much good stuff.)

Speaking of Brian's violin lesson, I shot this video of him and his teacher cranking out "Plains of Boyle." It's not perfect, but notable because Brian chose on his own to add a lot of embellishments:

I tried not to fall over when Brian said he wanted to find music for a Rachmaninoff violin duet he'd heard so he and his teacher could learn it together. Playing violin with two young ladies in high school ensemble seems to have kindled a little musical fire in my son, for which I am THRILLED. Shhh; don't tell HIM. We must be secretly happy for these things so as not to discourage the tiny seedling of maturity. ;-)

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The wheels on the bus go round and round

Last week Rick finished a second pear bowl with a rustic bark edge. I've been using the first one he did to hold napkins, but the second one is bigger and prettier, so even better suited to the role. Here it is showcased, and shown with pear #1 and an unfinished hazelnut bowl with a bark edge. I told him he can gift the two smaller ones; see, I don't claim all his work.  ;-)

Rick is gone until early Wednesday morning, so my car and I are really putting on the miles for a few days. Yesterday I drove Brian to a church an hour away where his school choir and handbell choir shared music. (Second time for choir, first time for bells; here are links to most of their pieces if you'd like to listen: One Thing Have I DesiredDown in the River to PrayThe Word Was God; Sing We Now of ChristmasI Vow to Thee, My God; Pat-a-PanWhat Child Is This.) Last night I drove him to his school for open gym. He was supposed to go to basketball practice this afternoon, but said he didn't feel up to it (from a head cold supposedly, but he got up very late and had homework and chores that were prerequisites to playing, so I think he saw the writing on the wall). Tomorrow I have to take him to school, go to work, pick him up from school, drive him to his violin lesson, then drive back to school for a required basketball parents meeting and basketball practice. (His school is 40 minutes away from home, and an hour from where I work and where his violin lesson is.) Tuesday I have to take him to school early because he has high school ensemble practice; school lets out at noon but he wants to stay for an indoor soccer tournament which will give me a little more time to catch my breath. Wednesday morning Brian has dentist and doctor appointments since he is on Thanksgiving break; sometimes I really miss the flexibility of homeschooling!!! Even after Rick returns I'll be racking up the miles because of basketball season. They have begun practice three days a week, and twice-a-week games start December 5. Brian thinks the hassle will make us amenable to letting him get his driver's license at 16 (coming up very soon) and drive himself, but we are not seeing the responsibility and transparency necessary to trust him with a vehicle for which WE pay. Ah, teenagers....

The pause that refreshes (NOT Coca Cola) is a little time with my horse outside on a beautiful day. Thank-you, Lord, for the nice weather and my mental health mustang!

That's it for today from . . .

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Colorful carpet

Still lots of color above, but today I looked down.

It is impossible to tell that Rick rented a backpack blower to clear the leaves off the driveway just two days ago. :-/

I also found this little surprise among the yellowing leaves of my spirea:

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, November 17, 2017

Unplanned blog fodder

I was going to share some mushroom photos for "Fungus Friday," but ended up with better blog fodder. ;-)
The sun came out as I finished morning chores, so I decided to "make hay." I've had a sheep shuffle in mind for awhile to reduce labor (for me) and stress (for the sheep), but it required some reinforcing of the Ram-ada lot fence to keep Butler and Bogie contained. I had some plastic fencing from the days of showing lambs at Black Sheep Gathering; it was just the thing for it.

Once that was done, I haltered Sarai, Blaise, and Vienna and led them to the Sheep Sheraton to join the rest of the girls.

Then I caught and haltered the pinballs ram lambs – who weren't at all sure they wanted to move. (Made for some pretty photo ops, though!).

Having an intact ram lamb living nose to nose with a bunch of cycling ewes made for a lot of angst and arguing betwixt and between, and the boys didn't have much space. So into the Ram-ada lot they went – but not before I got photos of Butler's mid-side fleece. It's actually nicer than I thought when picking him Wednesday, the crimp just isn't as organized.

Meanwhile, the girls had all crowded into the corner pen just vacated by the boys. I guess the hay was greener in that feeder. ;-)
Later the girls got turned out into the truly green pasture, something that the three older ewes haven't gotten to enjoy for awhile.

That's it for today from the sheep and shepherd at . . .