Sunday, December 31, 2023

Holiday highlights

As I sit here on the last night of the year, neighbors seem determined to scare off 2023 wth gunshots and booming fireworks. Poppy and Leo have stopped reacting to most of them, but us humans are still a little wary after getting the news earlier today that a person with an outstanding warrant is wandering the area. She got picked up on our dead-end gravel lane last March for violating a restraining order and being in possession of a firearm. Other than those bits of excitement, it has been a lovely, dry-if-sometimes-foggy New Year's Eve day in which we all got needed things done, the ewes got fresh pasture, and I had a decent ride on Stella. We're all looking forward to more – of the quiet part – tomorrow.

All our visiting family members left early Wednesday morning. A good time seemed to be had by all, together and separately. In the first five days my mom was here, we canned a final batch of applesauce together, made various trips to town for work, Christmas program practice, grocery shopping, agility class, meeting up with my cousin at Costco, a surprise birthday lunch for my MIL, church (and said Christmas program) followed by a second birthday dinner for my MIL at her house (after her daughter and SIL flew in), and a Salem Tuba Holiday concert at noon on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day everyone came to our house for Christmas dinner, and on Tuesday I drove Mom to Portland to meet up with an old employer from more than 50 years ago (he's 98 years old now, and absolutely fascinating!) before driving back to enjoy one more family dinner at an Indian restaurant. After that it was a short night's sleep before getting up at o'dark thirty to deliver my mom to PDX for her 6:19 am flight! What a whirlwind; what a lot of wonderful memories made.

An unposed Poppy shot; really!

She wanted this, a gift basket we won in a local feed store's drawing

It was full of dog goodies

Leo enjoying one of those dog goodies

Salem Tuba Holiday concert in the fabulous Elsinor Theater

This number was new to me; I loved the words

Another very special number

I slipped out to use the facilities and got this unobstructed shot in the lobby

My festive cords

Christmas dinner selfie by our niece

This one doesn't include my DH (the photographer) or BIL

Leo says company is exhausting!

My mom with her former boss

Joining us at the Indian restaurant was my MIL's new fiancé (light blue shirt)

After all the making merry, it was back to my quiet, pastoral life. 😉
Ewes sheltering from the drizzle under the big fir in their pasture

The boys sheltering under their feeder

All I wanted for Christmas from my honey was a warping board like my mentor's, and he made it!

Weighing the last yarn spun and plied in 2023

And finally, I thought this was a pretty good motto for the new year:

That's all for 2023 from . . .

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

A little downtime

I could have, and probably should have, spent today in high gear, or at least making steady progress on the long list of things that should, or at least could, have been done. There are still a lot of apples on my Braeburn tree that could be put into jars as applesauce to feed us, ever-present indoor and outdoor clean-up to do, holiday goodies not (yet?) made that would be greatly appreciated, yarn to be wound for any number of knitting projects. But with my mom arriving late tonight followed by a daily commitment of goings and doings until she leaves early next Wednesday, I only did what I really needed to do: wash a load of clothes; put away some groceries bought yesterday along with assorted flotsam and jetsam cluttering counters and table; order a last couple of Christmas gifts online and wrap a couple others; vacuum the guest space in the daylight basement, change the sheets on the guest bed, and ready the bathroom; practice my part for our church Christmas program; and ride Stella (yes, that's a need, not a want at this point; she has not been a pleasant partner in this cooped-up season). I also plied the colorful sample that came with my newest spindle, a Jenkins Merlin (Ed's first and larger six-armed design for which I put my name on the wait list at OFFF) while listening to The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean by Susan Casey. (Here's a plug for every book of hers I've listened to!) This is self-care; I needed this quiet island of solitude and calm before the sea of seasonal busy-ness in the form of much-loved family members washes over us.

With that taken care of....
Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
(Hmmm; I think that whole first line was written about Stella!)
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!

"Are you talking to us???"

Merry Christmas to all from . . .

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Déjà vu?

In case you're thinking "We've seen this before – Christmas tree, weaving, sunrise....", notice that the tree is now decorated, the weaving is FO (finished object) #2, and the sunrise is different (although would you really mind seeing this same sunrise every morning?).

We didn't wait for Brian's birthday last Wednesday to decorate our tree; we put the lights on it Monday night and the ornaments on the next night. I would have been happy with just the lights; they turned out so pretty.

I am also very happy with my second weaving project, started and finished in one day. I wanted to weave a rug but ran out of cotton twine for warp, so ended up with a rug-length scarf, which works just fine with a pin. I've wrapped it for a Christmas brunch and cut-throat gift exchange we're attending on Sunday. From then on our holidays will be bustling with family members flying in from Texas, Colorado and New York, interspersed with various gatherings, some of which will now include my MIL's fiancé, a not-surprising development announced a week and a half ago.

In other recent developments, Brian is behind the wheel of his own (well, his and the credit union's) vehicle again, many months after his old car died. He had to ride to and from work with one of us while paying off an old debt before he could get financing for this; we did not give him access to one of our vehicles. 

My friend Kate brought her six-month-old Flat-coated Retriever puppy over for a romp with Poppy. Poppy was great pals with Kate's previous Flat-coat, and still looks for her even though she's met the new pup a time or two. Poppy does like to play with big dogs....

It has been soggy for weeks before the sun returned yesterday.  The ewes don't like being out in the rain, but the ram lambs seem fine with slogging around in the mud. I hope their fleeces are salvageable next spring!

My littlest orchid is promising some 'winter sunshine.' The last flower stalk (right) has stayed green and appears to be forming buds again, and a new flower stalk (left) has emerged as well – something to look forward to in 2024!

That's it for now at . . .

Monday, December 04, 2023

A new ornament and a tree to hang it on!

Yesterday Poppy and I had another agility match. It was a looooong, soggy day (we are currently navigating an 'atmospheric river' – days of non-stop rain and warmer than average temperatures), and we only Q'd in one of our three classes, but it was still a good experience. The agility club that hosted always puts on a wonderful event with a great hospitality room, and this time everyone got a goodie bag and the dogs all got personalized ornaments!
In spite of the weather, Rick followed through with getting a Christmas tree while I was gone – a big, gorgeous Noble fir from a client's farm. So as soon as I got home, all three of us worked on getting it inside and set up (tied to the hinges of the deck door for sure!), then I got to clean up the needles, water and mud. Rick and I were going to string lights but ran out of time and oomph; hopefully we'll accomplish that this evening. The rest of the decorating may happen Wednesday evening after Brian's birthday dinner; my MIL is coming out for that and she would love to be involved, I'm sure.

For the first time in years, I got a Christmas letter written and am working on getting them sent out with cards I had printed by Shutterfly and never sent in that time. That's my must-do task before I allow myself to return to my loom – now empty after finishing my first project!

after fulling but before finishing the ends
Yes indeed, I want to start another project right away. I found producing a woven object is satisfying in the same way that spinning is, and making a rug(s) be a great way to use up some coarse wool yarn I was given. It may sound silly, but sending off stockpiled cards and using up stockpiled yarn feels like decluttering victories. March on!

Some parting shots:

That's the peak of Mt. Jefferson casting a 'sky shadow'!

Here's to  getting in the holiday spirit at . . .