Monday, June 24, 2019


Between the work load, the aches and pains, dawn's early light, and parental worries, my sleep deficit is growing. Not sure what to do about it, so for now I just try to avoid looking at my FitBit dashboard. :-/

So what evidence have I been collecting for you? Well....

The garden is still cranking out snow peas and strawberries. As of tonight, there are 34 pints of strawberries in the freezer, and there is a packed gallon bag of peas in the fridge. I'm finding all sorts of good ways to use those peas; I made this recipe (pictured above) for supper, using snow peas for the green beans and our first sweet banana peppers for the bell peppers. I've tossed them with whole wheat spaghetti and pesto made from my first harvest of basil. I've served them steamed with homemade teriyaki sauce, strips of fried egg, and ramen noodles, we've snacked on them raw, and I'm thinking about getting the Shockeys' book on fermented vegetables; pickled snow peas, anyone? We've also been enjoying lots of lettuce, and I'm going to pick our first cucumbers and make a salad with them for tonight's supper. The temperatures lately have been perfection, but everything still needs regular water and of course weeding.

The fence around our garden is protecting it from hungry, nursing mothers,

but my hostas and several of my potted plants are getting mowed down regularly:

The pansies keep trying, though; I recently got a photo of their smiling faces (on a morning I really needed a bright spot) before they were munched again. (Lord, help me to be like my pansies!)

I finished spinning and plying this 'Red Maple' colorway:

We've got the first small load of new hay in the barn; it's the greener stuff at the back along with a couple bales on top of last year's hay. It's very fine-textured second cutting orchardgrass, and the sheep clean it up completely, instead of leaving behind all the 'straw' in the first cutting from last year.  They all stayed in fine flesh in spite of that waste, as evidenced by....
That's Vienna, the last of my sheep to be sheared this year (and NO, she's not pregnant 🙄). I got her and her moorit granddaughter Bernadette done yesterday, and Bree's musket daughter Bette last week. Now to skirt six fleeces and get them advertised and sold to buy more hay! Here's photo documentation of the last three (let me know if you see something you want):

I forgot to take a photo of Vienna's fleece parted at midside, but at eight years old now her fleece is very consistent from year to year and I have a photo taken last year.

I'd like to do a sort of 'family tree' post of how my sheep are related one another (everybody is related to somebody here). We'll see if I can make that happen soon!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


As in, SOMEtime I might find time and inspiration to blog!

Rural living definitely falls on the crazy end of "those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer." Keeping the garden watered, weeded, and picked is almost a full-time summer job in and of itself. I've picked another mess of snow peas and strawberries (shared some of the former with my MIL and have 17 pints of the latter in the freezer, besides what we've enjoyed fresh), plus a handful of sweet banana peppers. I need to pick again, with or without a certain furry someone inserting himself into my labors.

Getting the year's supply of hay in the barn is another seasonal necessity. Early Sunday morning Brian headed off to stack hay for someone else (he actually brought all his grades up to at least B- by the end of the school year, so he is allowed to drive again). Rick and I thought we had 70 bales of first cutting to pick up from our hay guy, but when I called he said it ended up being wetter than he likes and wanted us to wait on the second cutting he's putting up now. So I got busy pulling tansy ragwort in our pastures and Rick wielded the shovel against thistles. Several years of consistently waging war against noxious weeds has visibly thinned enemy ranks, but there are always invaders to fight back every year; I really appreciate Rick helping on the battle front this year.

Next I caught Bree so I could snip off her beautiful fleece. Wool was peeling off her neck and hanging loose on her belly, so eliminating the unmarketable parts went quickly. Scissor-shearing the rest of her fleece was a pleasant task because it wasn't as dense and tight to her skin as some of the others have been.

Hmm, I see the fluff wasn't ALL wool!

When Brian got home, he and Rick headed off to the river to fish (no bites, just bonding time), while I replenished our bread supply and made a nice supper to celebrate Fathers Day when they got home. We had a big bowl of pesto snow pea pasta (with freshly harvested ingredients from the garden) and cheesecake topped with raspberry puree from my dwindling freezer supply of berries. Rick has been working on our berry patch, but I doubt we'll get enough of anything but currants and marionberries to put in the freezer; our raspberries and boysenberries have all but died out. 😭

I was determined to ride Sunday night after having it crowded out for a week and a half, but after I put on my breeches Rick offered to finally treat my ram's injured knee. The boys have been cooped up in the extra stall for way too long, waiting for Brian to finish cleaning the Ram-ada Inn and Rick to treat Blake, so what could I do but put my chore jeans back on and play vet assistant? Afterwards we moved the boys back to the Ram-ada Inn (even though Brian didn't ever finish cleaning it out) so Blake can recuperate without tussling with the others but still be next to them; Rick will treat Blake again in a couple weeks.

There have been so many gorgeous sunsets recently; every single one is a gift. Since gifts are for giving, I'm sharing some with you. 😊

Some are from around town because of the meetings, some are from a walk with my honey up the hill, and the last one was taken from our deck last night.

Finally, there is nothing like having a good dog happy to see you when you get home after a long day at work:
Thank God for dogs!

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


That iPhone weather forecast I included in my last post? We inched above that and set a new record yesterday, and will do so again today. The ceiling fan in the great room isn't working and I'm not a fan of air conditioning (or its cost), but when the house was 80° by 7:30 a.m. this morning,  I caved and set the thermostat at 79°. I already feel calmer and the dogs are definitely more relaxed:

Yesterday morning Rick and I got up and at 'em while it was still tolerable (Brian spent the night at my MIL's) to get pick strawberries, and I picked snow peas and kale as well. After two scorcher days, we'll need to pick strawberries and peas again tomorrow; in the meantime, I'm busy trying to keep everything (and everyone) watered. As long as they have moisture, the plants love this weather!

The new additions are doing well
Oh, Stella! (d'Oro)

The sheep? Not so much – especially the four ewes still in full fleece. I thought I'd get them all sheared this week, starting with two of them on Sunday, totally forgetting that Sunday was graduation at Brian's school and as a junior, he had to be there. As we listened to a very good commencement service, the speed at which life is zooming by hit me full force, and I warned Rick, "Next year at this time, I am going to be a mess." I'm kind of a mess now, trying to hold steady while Brian bounces between admirable and abominable choices. It's like watching a Piper Cub with engine trouble; my heart is in my throat, wondering if the inexperienced pilot will get it safely on the ground without crashing. I'm all too aware that not all do....

Anyway, we've been going hard like that for most of a week. Rick and I are postponing doing something special together for our 35th anniversary because there was no time to do anything on Monday but hug. I thought I might have to go to work today, but instead I get to stay HOME – and a dear friend is coming over to visit! Yay!

The field on our north was cut and baled this week (above photo taken this morning). When vultures appeared, I worried that hidden fawns might have suffered horrible deaths. So when this fellow appeared while I did chores yesterday morning, my heart jumped with joy.

He was running up and down the fence trying to follow his mom who had jumped it. I opened the gate (since the ram and wethers are still in the barn) but he never found the opening; instead he ran up the driveway and disappeared.

Tonight we will be at church again; we've been attending inspiring daily presentations by a guest speaker that started Friday evening. Yes, the meetings are taking a lot of time this week, but friendship does take time. 😊 (If you'd like to see the first presentation, click HERE.)

That's it for now from . . .