Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Wordsmithing and photo-wrangling

I am currently at a standstill on an overdue newsletter, waiting for more information, so I'm going to try to pound out a weekly post while I wait. TBH I'd rather spin on one of my new spindles while listening to another excellent audiobook; it's so much easier than wordsmithing and photo-wrangling!

I did promise to post more on my new 'flock members,' the spindles I purchased at OFFF. I also have an in-use photo of my new shawl fastener, which I am happy to say functioned perfectly. From top: a Vine Maple Dovekie (updated Delight); a BigLeaf Maple Weaverbird (one of two new six-armed inventions of Ed Jenkins); an Oregon Oak Wren; and an Oregon Oak Gooney. I didn't expect to buy the last three; they were end-of-festival surprise options that I couldn't pass up. A few Weaverbirds were there 'only for display' but were made available as the festival closed, and Ed pulled a handful of Oregon Oak beauties out from under the counter at the last minute. Yes, I am weak, but I did destash two of my old spindles later that week so only have a net gain of two. 😉

Between getting spindles shipped, catching up on graphics jobs, and Rick's birthday celebration, my loom has continued to sit idle. My mentor hasn't called to suggest we pick up my introduction where we left off, so I assume she is busy, too. Time will tell; it may be impossible to shoehorn weaving into my busy life.

In 'farm news,' the advent of wetter weather has brought an end to pasture season for the horses and makes training Stella more of a challenge. I'm still putting the non-breeding ewes/ewe lambs out on pasture as often as possible, both to save hay and because the Sheep Sheraton is getting deep and badly in need of stripping. I sure hope I can get help with that massive job before the end of this month, when I plan to break up my breeding groups.
my three ewe lambs

The hens, from whom we've only been getting an egg or two in recent weeks, have started picking up production a bit. The other day I got four eggs for the first time in months. In response (not really), the henhouse got a new window on Sunday. We've been swapping out the window for a heavy wire 'screen' during summers to keep it cooler. Rick recently put the window back in to keep the rain out, but the air quality took a nose dive. So we discussed options to improve the situation and Rick set to work building a new, hinged window. Problem solved!

a colorful sunrise before the clouds took over
The days are getting dramatically shorter and lately have been 'dawning' with only a slow paling of heavy, gray skies. This week is noticeably colder and a fire would feel good, but we haven't yet built one. There are still apples on the trees and good intentions to make one more batch each of applesauce and apple pie filling before they drop and rot. In the meantime I readily turn on the oven and stove for cooking, welcoming the additional heat in the house as I am loathe to turn up the thermostat.

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

OFFF and its aftermath

It was a beautiful day for a fiber festival!
Last Sunday the friend who gave me the loom (not to be confused with my weaving mentor friend, who didn't return from a camping trip in time to go) and I spent most of the day going to, walking around at, and coming home from the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (OFFF). Once again I spent most of my time at the Jenkins booth, not only because they have the most beautiful, functional spinning tools in the world, but also because I offered to be a proxy shopper for those not fortunate to live this close to the Jenkins and the events at which they vend. Trying to buy their spindles online has become an exercise in luck or frustration because they get snatched up so fast; attending an event or having a proxy shopper allows people a guaranteed opportunity to acquire their spindles. Well, almost guaranteed. Lots of people want to get their hands on a horn or antler spindle but Ed makes very few of those (there were none at OFFF), and Ed debuted three new styles at OFFF – one of which sold out, and one of which was mostly just on display (people could put their name on waiting lists).
Ed holding Merlins, one of his new styles
I ended up with a shopping list of spindles for 23 people before I finally started turning people away. The shopping itself was actually a lot of fun, like playing Santa's helper. Like a blogger I follow said about shopping at a Shetland pony sale: "I am thrilled for her and there is something nice about not coming home with another but having all the fun and thrills of helping with the purchase." (Only I did come home with another . . . cough, FOUR spindles for myself as well; more on them later.) 
In addition to spindle-shopping and visiting with the Jenkins, I picked up the roving I had had processed (Bling for a customer and trashy Broadway for myself), met up with several friends, Ravelry-pals, blogpals, and the Shetland breeder with whom I traded lambs this summer, and window-shopped at some other booths with the friend who traveled with me.  The only other item I actually purchased (other than a pin loom for someone else) was this stone shawl closure. It has a super-strong magnet on the back (so strong it's not safe for those with pacemakers!) so you can use it through your shawl and a blouse or t-shirt to hold it in place; the vendor was recommended by both Wanda and another friend.
(Sorry for the background color of the text above,
but it's not a quick and easy fix so it stays.)

I didn't plan to be gone so long, so there wasn't much 'day' in which to get things done upon my return. Rick was finishing up grading the arena after blowing out leaves (again), a much needed and long overdue maintenance chore made easier by our new tractor. I would love to have ridden a cooped-up Stella but couldn't justify taking more 'me time' after being gone from 9 to 5, and he didn't finish until about sundown. (I should have just done it, because I didn't have another chance to get her out until yesterday afternoon and she was practically self-combusting after four days!)

While proxy-shopping is fun, the aftermath is a bit of a slog. I take photos to send, figure out shipping so I can give each person their total due, find boxes to ship them all, pack them up and take them to the post office. As of tonight, after three busy days, most of them are sent, and it makes me happy to think of the joy all those packages will bring when they are opened by eager hands.

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Today's tally

Today was the last of a stretch of warm, sunny days in the 80s. Since I spent much of last Sunday at an agility trial and I'll be spending much of next Sunday at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, I felt pressured to make the most of it, and the available bounty. The results? Five quarts and one pint of 'strawberry' grape juice; eight pints and one quart of condensed tomato soup; and seven quarts of applesauce. I planned to make a peach pie out of the last, tired peaches saved for the purpose, make double that amount of applesauce, and prep a batch of apple pie filling for canning in the morning but ran out of daylight and energy. Guess I will pick apples in the rain tomorrow and carry on.

Rick spent much of his day diagnosing and addressing fluid leaks in his vet truck, which was less than he wanted to get done. Brian did whatever Brian does in his room most of the day, but did blow the leaves out of the arena and off the driveway around the house for us before the coming rain.

All three of the ram lambs were showing interest in their ladies today, but none of the ladies appeared interested in return. Five months from now would be a very good time (for me) for the ewes to lamb, but there's nothing I can do to facilitate that.

Nothing is blooming here, but at a friend's where I'm doing chores and at our church there are some beautiful blooms:

There was a wee, bright green frog in the arena yesterday; I finally got close enough to snap a shot when it got to the side board:

Chuckie is hard to get a photo of because he tries to get too close to me:

That's all for now from . . .

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Fall flurry

There has been no further progress on becoming a weaver, as I need to wait until my mentor can come over again. That won't be for a couple weeks, as she is going out of town tomorrow. That's a good thing, as we've been busy preserving 'windfalls.' One of Rick's clients gave us bushels of beautiful table grapes, so we've been steaming and canning grape juice (and I froze six pints of grapes for future frozen fruit salad). Another client gave him peaches, big beautiful peaches that aren't perfect enough to sell. Can you believe it? Picking peaches in October!?! So we've been freezing them, trying to squeeze them in among the pints of prunes I put up thinking we weren't getting any peaches this year. Such blessings, but they keep us hopping 'til late every night.

In the meantime, apples continue to litter the ground under our trees; I still need to make more applesauce and pie filling even though I'm running low on jars thanks to the juice. I was hoping to have time to get to that Sunday afternoon after Poppy and I got home from an agility trial, but ran out of time . . .  and steam. The trial was an interesting experience, quite different from our first three. Poppy completely blew me off in our first class, to the point of jumping out of the competition arena and running off to meet and greet on the grounds. Talk about humbling; I figured I'd just wasted our entry fees and a Sunday I could have been working at home. But she turned that around in our second and third classes, qualifying in both and winning the third, which included our first competition weave poles and teeter.

When we finally got home Sunday, Rick and Brian were initiating our new tractor by loading and spreading manure, another of those fall chores. Still on the fall agenda is to acquire more firewood. Crafting is going to have to wait awhile!

P.S. I've been unable to comment on some blogs lately, including A's and Dormouse's. I know some readers have had trouble commenting here at times, too. Frustration on both ends, I'm sure!

That's it for now from . . .