Friday, July 19, 2024

Variations on summer themes

The weather, chickens, garden, orchid, and spinning along with the TdF – all are ongoing for better or worse. To wit....

Our weather moderated from 'infernal' to hot, and then on Tuesday neared triple digits again. Thankfully, though, a stiff coastal breeze dramatically dropped the temperature outside and in through the evening and we had lovely sleeping weather. Such cooling breezes used to be near nightly occurrences, but they have become less common with climate change – maybe that's why our tomatoes are doing better this year! Silver linings....

The following is not a silver lining. My husband has taken up the battle with ivy and blackberries. Unfortunately, strong herbicide is his tool of choice, and the other evening, he sallied forth to attack the new recruits making an incursion around the northwest corner of the garden. I expressed concern but he assured me he would take precautions and all would be well that should be well. Well, it's not. When I went up in the garden a day or two later, I noticed my Armenian cucumber, some strawberries, and at least one of my hills of summer squash all exhibiting the stricken curled stems of herbicide poisoning. I've watered everything to eliminate other stressors and can only hope the effects aren't fatal – and any resulting produce doesn't poison US. Environmental glyphosate persistence is real, in spite of what the label – and my husband – says. I'm not too worried about the produce coming from seemingly unaffected plants, but what if the affected ones recover and produce?



Long White Zucchini of Palermo, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Jade Beans, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

My glorious little orchid now:

I've continued spinning up the little fiber snacks from BSG for the Tour de Fleece. As always, spinning is a great way to fill the time, which I've had more of than usual. I have made three trips this month to the Casey Eye Institute at OHSU in Portland, transporting a lady from our church to and from her appointments/surgery; we go again next Tuesday. When I get too cold spinning in the air conditioning, I stroll around outside, taking in the beautiful views from "Pill Hill:"





a much less scenic view in the opposite direction



And Wednesday, Honeybun gave us our first 'pullet bullet'!

At the end of this month, we are getting unexpected company. Rick's cousin's son just graduated from college and is considering vet school, so Rick's cousin called and asked if his son, his wife, and his sister could fly out for a week. Rick, of course, is delighted; I have two guest rooms to clear and clean and a lot of extra cooking to plan for. C'est la vie.

That's it for now from . . .

Technical difficulties

I know it has been more than a week since my last post, but it's not for lack of effort. I have most of a post written for this blog and a post underway for my Dances With Horses blog, but Blogger won't let me upload photos for either. I've tried everything I can think of with no change to the stalemate, so for now you can call me "Blocked at Boulderneigh."

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Black and white and hot-hot-hot


Decided to write another post while it's too hot to do any more than absolutely necessary outside. This is our fourth triple-digit day, and last night, for one of the only times in the almost 35 years we've lived in this area, we kept the windows closed and the AC on in order to sleep. Tomorrow is 'only' supposed to reach 90°; I'll believe it when I see it....

from left to right: pullets Honeybun, Toffee Bits, and Snowcone, and mature Pearl
In the last few days, the three pullets have started moving around more, kinda-sorta mingling with the older hens instead of clustering together as far away from the others as possible. Since I was told they'd be old enough to start laying in August, I was surprised to learn my neighbor's pullets (purchased from the same friend mine came from) started laying this week! I have never had this many white hens before (five out of nine) – or at least since I was a teen and we had a flock of Leghorns. That made me think of all the black-based sheep I have now, also an all-time high; 12 out of 17! Then there are the dogs, the barn cat, and Stella, so yeah; things have gotten very "black and/or white" here. (And yeah, my mind is often drawn to observations like this. ðŸĪŠ)

One of the 'absolutely necessary' outside tasks, of course, is keeping everyone and everything watered. The garden is rewarding my efforts. Photos from this morning:
Tons of tiny tomatoes on my gold cherry plant

that fingerling zucchini will probably be big enough to pick in about 15 minutes


about half the strawberries we've gotten so far on this year's plants

daylilies don't mind the heat

Inside, my little orchid is putting on an encore performance:

All the hiding indoors from the heat has been great for my Tour de Fleece spinning. I've been spinning and plying the fiber snacks from BSG, and just completed plying the fourth 2oz. bundle of my sweater spin (progress to date shown with a fire extinguisher because of the scavenger hunt the Jenkins group is doing for TdF).

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, July 05, 2024

Deep summer

June was a transitional month. Cool, wet spells prolonged the feeling of spring – until that feeling fled and summer stood, fully revealed. The ewes and lambs were shut off the pastures full of nasty grass awns, and I went on full noxious weed attack to root out tansy and thistle before they could flower/seed. That included provoking my hay fever by pulling a forest of tansy from the tall grass in the NW corner of our eastern neighbor's property, and digging up one giant 'bull' thistle just outside our gate. (My husband recently lost a horse to tansy poisoning, so it is absolutely worth doing.)
slain tansy in the neighbor's corner

Goldenrod Crab spider on the pre-felled thistle

Our garden continues to do well, with buds and blossoms on nearly everything and fruit forming as well. Two ripe gold cherry tomatoes – our first  – were added to our salad of homegrown greens (lettuce, kale, Italian parsley, and tender beet tops) last night. 


winter and summer squash all doing well



Near the garden Rick and Brian have embarked on a big project – tearing down our old woodshed in preparation for building a new woodshed and shop (gotta put all that stuff from Texas somewhere! 🙄).

On the last day of June, a friend and I went to Black Sheep Gathering. She got her very first Jenkins spindle while I got my, um, umpteenth Jenkins spindle, joined in some spinning contests just for fun, proxy-shopped, and met up with some of the many "Jenkins Junkies" who traveled from near and far (Texas, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Germany, the Netherlands!). Many 'Jenkies' had brought small prepped fiber samples, as I did, to use as trading cards; I took 15 little baggies of Broadway's hogget roving and came home with 15 assorted souvenirs that I have already started spinning with my new Tulipwood Chickadee for the Tour de Fleece, along with my ongoing spin-for-a-sweater project.
yeah, that's me in a horse shirt at a fiber festival 😁




my new spindle and shawl 'pin' magnet





We had a quiet 4th of July, picking up the last 108 bales of this year's hay (second cutting) and getting it stacked in the barn, then mostly relaxing. We (and the hens) enjoyed the first watermelon of the year. In the late afternoon while I was riding Stella, a drone flying an American flag appeared over our hill; that was fun! After dark, Rick and I sat on the deck to watch the fireworks in the valley to the east, capped off by the display put on at the end of the St. Paul rodeo. Happy birthday, America!
first of two loads





Now we are hunkering down as much as possible to endure the heat dome that has settled over us; it got to 100° today. Even though they are in the shade, the heat is hardest on the hens and sheep; the horses don't seem to mind it. Water, of course, is essential for everyone.

Speaking of sheep, I took time to look closely at Bitsy's fleece. She started out fluffy, but her jet black wool is getting crimpy now – just what I like to see.
Sweatin' in out at . . .