Monday, February 27, 2023

Notable February happenings

The neighbor building a snowman

In between snow showers, it was a Currier & Ives postcard
Mt. Hood on an evening walk down the lane on the 25th
Yesterday morning with a little rain added=slicker 'n snot!
Yesterday afternoon after thawing a lot
Then it did this for awhile

First and foremost, February has been "winter" here. Yeah, we got a dusting of snow and some freezing weather in December, but mostly we've been stereotypically Pacific Northwest cool and wet. We got our first significant snow on Valentines Day; our second, more-significant snow on February 23. It was beautiful – and is still sticking around in spots, although yesterday saw significant meltage. (It also saw heavy snowfall that started to accumulate again, but that was short-lived.) It also got quite windy and cold for awhile, down to 20° with 'feels like' in the teens. Rick put the heater in the horses' stock tank; for everyone one else, I scurried around supplying liquid refreshment – thawing the hummingbird nectar, swapping out a frozen font for one filled with warm water for the chickens, breaking ice in the sheep buckets and adding hot water. And feeding. Feed is the fuel for all the animals' central furnaces; as long as they have water, food, and shelter, they're all good. Surprisingly, the dogs were unfazed by the cold and snow, dashing around as usual, but of course they get to come back inside eventually to warm up and nap.

February has also seen more knitting action than the last several years combined, I think. I did cast on for a second Fair Isle hat and hope to finish it by the end of the month. Yes, that's tomorrow, but I'm on the crown decreases now so it's do-able.
Da Crofter's Kep

Rick is currently basking in warmth and sunshine in Wellington, Florida – not that I am at all envious (I am SUCH a homebody). Well, basking isn't really the correct description; he's suffering from a bad cold and attending a two-day veterinary workshop being held at one of the many fancy horse facilities in this winter horse show capital of the country.

His meetings are in the barn – yes, that's a barn – on the right

Yesterday I had a most enjoyable visitor, the talent behind Silver Falls Fiber Co. A bit of Leann's fiber was included with my most recent spindle acquisition and I liked it so much I contacted her about getting more. She got busy with her dyepots and then offered to deliver it! Of course, she brought along other goodies in addition to the one I requested and I ended up with two braids. We talked about dogs, sheep (and, of course, visited my sheep), spinning, knitting, fiber, and parents; we are definitely kindred spirits. She is working on a website and recently purchased a building in Silverton where she plans to open a storefront featuring U.S.-sourced fiber dyed by her; in the meantime, let me know if you want her email to acquire your own fiber fix!
L–Columbia/Rambouillet; R–Targhee
Lambing is not going to be a February happening here, but Brian helped me get ready for the eventuality. Together we cleaned out the extra stall in the barn, so it can be divided into lambing jugs and bedded with straw.

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, February 17, 2023

Another Hiccup

So far I'm keeping up with my weekly post resolution, but if I take too long to finish this post (started days ago) I'll fall behind. Better herd these cats into formation!

I finished my Crofthoose Hat. It's not yet blocked, but is clearly big enough in the body to be a tam, so will be blocked as such.

You can see the pattern a bit better with flash
If creating this post doesn't take too long, Da Crofter's Kep will be cast on today – while there's plenty of daylight!

Of others' knitting, I was the blessed recipient recently. My dear friend Kate surprised me by delivering a gorgeous sheepy Fair Isle cowl on Valentines Day; I wore it to work and agility yesterday. She also delivered the good news that she has reserved a puppy from a litter of Flat-Coated Retrievers due next month. She has had two, neither of which got to live to old age; I pray that the third time's a charm (and suggested Charm when she solicited name ideas).

I am currently creating a slightly fatter, softer-twist single of white Suri alpaca to eventually ply with the dyed Wensleydale single I spun earlier this year.

Sheep stuff
Last Friday and Sunday I got all the ewes' toes trimmed, and followed up with Spot a few days later. He has been laying around a lot so I was concerned about his feet, but they were actually pretty good. In spite of having free choice high-quality hay, he's lost some weight, so I've started supplementing him with some alfalfa and rice bran pellets. That perks him up! In the meantime, the five ladies from his fall harem are growing bigger bellies, and all eight girls impatiently demand more of this:

Horse stuff
My dressage blog is still languishing from neglect, but Stella's training is not. In fact, she has made so much progress that I started renewing some of my equine association memberships and looking around for show opportunities. That was a downer. In the last five years, the dressage show landscape has drastically changed. I could find NO schooling shows (more relaxed and affordable) in the area, very few League shows (the next step up), and the only venue near me now hosting shows of any ranking requires weekend stabling (plus bedding purchased from them). No matter that I would be hauling in for a couple classes on one day; their requirement almost triples the cost of a show for us. The closest venue that doesn't require stabling is an hour and a half away via interstate. (Oh, how I hate to haul a horse trailer on the interstate; most other drivers don't have a clue about braking distance required for a rig.)

So we could get all dressed up but have nowhere to go. With the arrival this week of a (very reasonable) stock tie I ordered on Etsy, I've completed our "Princess Bride" show outfit. I bought the used saddle pad and bridle last fall from an acquaintance who had sold her horse; the pin was a Christmas gift from a dear and generous friend.

Guess we'll just keep schooling and 'trail riding'!

Sad anniversaries
This week brought round the anniversaries of my first trip of 2022 to Texas, dad's hospitalization, and his terminal diagnosis. Those were already weighing heavily on the minds of my sister, mom and me; then my dad's best and oldest friend died this week, too. 😞

Valentines Day Surprise
In lighter/whiter news, we celebrated Valentines Day with the biggest snowfall we've had this winter!

Rick and I beat the crowds and went to a favorite restaurant for a fabulous meal on Valentines Eve. To celebrate the holiday itself, I made the three of us a nice dinner topped off with these Instant Pot Black Forest Lava Cakes the next evening:
Just add whipped cream (NOT whipped topping)!

Title reference
In case you're still trying to figure out what exactly my hiccup was, it's not mine – it's a friend's! Hiccup, a German Shepherd/Malinois cross, is my friend Debbie's newest family member. She loves dragons, one of the dragons in How to Train Your Dragon is named Hiccup, and Mals have a reputation for being, um, intense, hence the name. He just completed all his puppy shots, so I invited her to bring him over for some socialization with dogs other than her own this week. He was pretty snappish with Poppy, but found Leo less threatening (although if you click to biggity the photo below, you'll notice he's still giving Leo side-eye). We will be doing this again.

Mostly dog pix, but a few other shots, too.

That's the latest update from . . .