Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The words behind the photos

"A picture is worth a thousand words," but photos don't always tell the whole story – or sometimes any of it. If you follow me on Instagram, that applies to the last 12 posts over there. (If you don't follow me on Instagram, you can still click on the blue button at right to see the photos).

Synopsis: We all went to College Place, WA Thursday-Sunday for a basketball tournament, then added a temporary pack member on Monday.

Backstory: In the ongoing trials of parenting a typical teenager, none of us knew until Wednesday if any of us would be leaving on Thursday for said tournament. As parents who value education over sports, we require that Brian maintain a B or better in every class to participate in sports, and at the end of his first semester, he had two Cs. But he had outstanding work in both those classes for which he could earn partial credit, provided it was turned in before school on Wednesday. Cue the suspenseful background music; would he or wouldn't he get that work done and would that or wouldn't that improve his grades enough? You know the answer; I'll leave you to imagine the stress and late nights involved to arrive at it. And the stress didn't end there. Rick and I decided to drive our pickup and camper so we could take the dogs and save money on food and lodging. But we missed almost all of Brian's first game Thursday night after spending nearly four hours at a Ford dealership on the way. (On the upside, it was better to discover and solve the problem without horses in tow.)
When life gives you lemons, take pictures...
...and play with fiber!

We enjoyed our time at Walla Walla University, from which my mom graduated (with me in utero).

Brian had fun and was impressed with the school (the goal of hosting these types of events, I'm sure), even though their team didn't do well. 
The dogs got a little stir-crazy with being cooped up in the camper,

even though we took them out for frequent short walks as well as a longer outing Sabbath afternoon at a local park.

We had an uneventful trip home on Sunday, glad to be able to relax in comfortable chairs and sleep in our own beds.
It was nice to have that quiet evening before adding another dog to the dynamics, increasing duties and dirt!
Meet Gatsby, a five-year-old Australian Shepherd. Poor guy; he doesn't understand what's going on.

Gatsby was born and raised in Hawaii, then flew to Oregon to live with his mistress, my friend's daughter, who is attending OSU. Daughter has severe allergies, the worst of which, it turns out, is to dogs. Gatsby stayed with another friend for a few weeks while this was confirmed, and is now living with us while all the legal red tape is cut to get him moved back home to Kauai, probably a four-month process. (Hawaii hasn't ever had a case of rabies, and takes extreme measures to keep it that way.) He's a good boy, just understandably stressed by all the changes and being "abandoned" by his person. No doubt things will get better as we all adjust; he and Jackson are beginning to explore how to play together, Aussie to Aussie. (Dozer just wants to be left alone!)

I tell myself to keep calm, meet the dawn, and knit on.
Oh yeah, I'm knitting again. That's a peculiar pair of short stories for another post!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Today's feel-good story

Love this! One more example of how much better we could be doing stewardship all around the world.

That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Holed up but not complaining

As predicted, we woke up to gusty blasts of drizzle from the south this morning – 15° colder and it would have been a real blizzard! I was surprised to see Blake and his fellows sheltering on the leeward side of big firs looking a bit discomfited ; Shetlands are usually unfazed by the weather.

Now it is raining harder but coming down straighter; I am happy to stay inside cooking, cleaning, spinning, and blogging. Yesterday I was the only one who left the house; Rick and Brian stayed home sick from church. Both are feeling better but Brian isn't going to basketball practice this afternoon; hopefully they will be fully up and at 'em tomorrow. Brian is supposed to leave early Thursday morning for a basketball tournament in Walla Walla, WA.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 19, 2018

Perspective of a shepherd

I watch my flock differently this winter, with no anticipation of a "Shepherd's Christmas." It is a relief, actually, not to have any buns in sheepy ovens. Right now I have a large-for-me flock of fine-fleeced, polled, breeding goals achieved to love on, fifteen fleeces to harvest and market later, and plenty of yarn and fiber to keep my fingers busy.

(Spinning through Brian's basketball games keeps me from chewing on my fingers when things aren't going as well as I wish they were for teen and team!)

But that doesn't mean that all's quiet on the Western front. Last year's ewe lambs frequently spar these days, running par for the course of cycling later than the mature ladies.

Butler/Bonaparte yearns for them from afar, voicing his manly desire in ludicrous pitch.

Fortunately, my senior ram Blake seems to be taking his year off in stride and without frustration.

The hens are still on winter break; I am getting, at most, one egg per day from the only hen (one of the blue Wyandottes) who hasn't yet molted. Two of the olive-eggers have regrown their iridescent black beauty, but are apparently still on vacation. Good thing I don't use a lot of eggs!


still laying!
After failing with other measures, we finally resorted to poison to reduce/eliminate the mouse problem in the henhouse. It has made a noticeable difference in population, smell, and food consumption/soiling.

That's it on country living for now from . . .

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A walk on the mild side

Just the way we like it. 😉

Sabbath we invited friends over for dinner, then we went down to Brown-Minto Island Park to get outside on a beautiful day. Since the Carousel was open and I have a punch card, the two of us gals and the two teenaged boys took a detour for a mild ride (pictures from my weekend rides on Lance over on my dressage blog):

Then we proceeded across the bridge to enjoy our walk, closing the Sabbath hours with a sweet sunset.

The next night Brian went bowling with friends after basketball practice. When it was time to pick him up, we took the Wheatland ferry. I got a cool photo of the ferry lights on the Willamette River on our way over,
and were treated a great big blue heron at water's edge on the way back:
Love the simple things in life!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, January 12, 2018

Our wonderful winter

If you're a long-time reader of my blog, then you know our flower parade begins in January. I'm in no hurry for spring, because it's followed by summer; I'd happily live in our Willamette Valley fall and winter forever!

That's it from the green, green grass of . . .

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Go ahead, "make" my day!

I feel so productive; I've completed three small knitting projects since Christmas! Yesterday I finished the hat from Theresa's merino/camel/silk handspun; it is slouchy and reversible (could also be folded up and worn as a beanie):

Now that I've scratched my knitting itch, I can go back to spinning the rest of my camel down:

That bowl is Rick's most recent, made out of madrone. I need to take some beauty shots of it by itself to show off its shape and color; it has a lot of interest for a usually bland wood! He has another piece of it roughed out, with that rich red streak at the base instead of going across the top.

Last night was Brian's third basketball game in a row as a starter. He's getting more playing time since one of the seniors got injured, and it's showing. Forgot my camera and iPhone at home, though, so no photos!

That's it for today from . . .

Monday, January 08, 2018

Thankful for family, hearth and home

This afternoon my oldest cousin and his wife came for a visit after attending a conference in Portland and before flying home tomorrow morning. I haven't seen him since my sister's wedding in 2008 and I'd never met his wife before (and they've been married 20 years!), so it was wonderful to get to see them. With grandparents (and in his case, parents) long gone, us cousins get together rarely now.

So I'm thankful Dave contacted us and drove down, and I'm thankful we were able to welcome them here to a warm house and a home-cooked meal....

Yesterday was a busier than usual Sabbath. After church, potluck, and visiting, we came home just about long enough to unload the car, change clothes, take care of the animals, load the car, and take off again – in different directions. I was going to our Christian trail-riding club's annual planning meeting and officers election in Portland; Rick was going to take Brian to open gym at his school to practice basketball. I asked Rick to stoke the fire; there weren't many coals left so he loaded up the firebox and left the doors cracked so it could take off again. I was supposed to close the doors before I left – and forgot.

When Rick and Brian came home (a half hour before I did), the firebox doors were wide open, the house was filled with smoke . . . and a smoldering log was laying on the hearth, inches from the carpeted floor.
Everything could have been gone (most heartbreakingly, the dogs), but we were mercifully, undeservedly spared.

Thankful and humbled at . . .