Saturday, December 31, 2011

The end of a year

This year has been full of changes for me - for the most part good ones. The ones that weren't have been "character building."

With lambs hitting the ground here (7 at current count, and a couple of "impending" ewes), it's a sign that the new year is coming in. I used to use lambing as an excuse for not traveling in December (until my very bright mother realized that I could change that...). I've missed lambing. Even though these are mostly not my sheep, I still really love it when the lambs arrive - hearing the ewe talk to her lambs as she's giving birth, the first sprawling steps, the little lamb voices, and then the transition from simply following mom, to jumping up and down in place, to, finally, lamb races.

Nothing says Happy New Year to me than lambs!!

Hear's hoping that your new year brings light, warmth and prosperity!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Today is the day that we should sit and reflect on all of the blessings we've received in the last year. If you can, enjoy your family! Or friends, if that's who's around!

Most of all, be kind to yourself...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Back from the Holidays... (long, lots of pictures)

I made a whirlwind trip down to San Diego for Thanksgiving, with a stop in Reno to hook up with my sister, with whom I carpooled down.

I don't have any pictures of my car - suffice it to say that it was stuffed full... I had made a dairy run to Hood River and Portland (my first experience with snow in the new car see this post - passed with flying colors), and got to stay with LindaLou on Monday night. After talking about weaving, what we wanted to be when we grew up, and having a wonderful dinner (it's always good food at Linda's!), I headed out Tuesday morning into a vicious headwind and torrential rains. Because of the rain, I had to run the defrost a lot - this is a point to remember for later...

The wind was so stiff that I couldn't coast down the hills as I approached the Siskiyous - I was slowing down!  So I pulled off at a rest stop in Canyonville, which boasts a casino on the east side of the freeway, and a travel center on the west, and found that my car was making very bad noises. Like from the middle of the engine, bad pulley noises.  I called my son (left a message), then called my nephew, who was in class, but called me back. The upshot is that I burned out the clutch on the AC compressor running the defrost (the compressor runs when you use defrost to dry out the air). Fortunately, it is run by a separate belt than the rest of the pulleys (water pump, alternator, main pulley), and I was advised to cut it off - which I did. I'm now the proud owner of a small, serrated paring knife, purchased at the travel center to do the job. After removing the belt, I started the engine - YAY, no noise. Did I mention that I wasn't even out of Oregon yet, not even halfway to Reno? I was happy to be back on the road.

Got to my sister's, and we took off Tuesday morning for San Diego. We had a wicked headwind all the way south to San Diego (El Cajon, which is east of SD), but made good time.

I should explain that in years past, we have met at my sister's for Thanksgiving, because it is mid-way between my dad and me. This year, my dad was getting committed - it's not what you think, really!

He has found a life partner, Wilma. They are so happy - it's like they are both teenagers again. Since my dad is 87, and I won't print Wilma's age... It really does both family's hearts good to see them.

In this post, I talked about the turkeys that I had gotten, one of which would be the guest of honor at dinner. I took the smallest one, at 24.6 lbs., and because Wilma and her family were bringing pies, and Mary (my sis) had made cranberry sauce ahead of time, we "only" had to make the turkey, potatoes (blue from Mary's garden), gravy and stuffing.

I don't think I've ever had a turkey get done early... This one, this LARGE turkey, cooked unstuffed, was done a hour early... Ok, so we had time to remake some rolls to replace the ones that had gotten a little over done, and to finish up all the rest of the stuff, but geez - who ever has a turkey get done early! You're always waiting for them at the end!  I used a recipe that had fresh rosemary (from Dad's front yard), basil, olive oil and garlic that was blended like pesto, and then rubbed under the skin. The remainder was rubbed in the cavity.  I think this was possibly the best turkey I've ever made/had.

Just before eating, Dad and Wilma did their ceremony. I think most of us were pretty teary-eyed. It was very moving.

And the next day, we did it again at Wilma's with all of her extended family in attendance. My niece, Harmony took pictures at Dad's, but used my camera at Wilma's -
Mary and I singing (in harmony, with feelin')
They wrote their own words
The KISS!!
After Cutting the Cake!

While at Dad's, Mary and Rich (BIL) went to the beach, and I played in Dad's shop, making warp holders like Sharon's. I found a piece of cherry, and we interpolated dimensions from the picture that Sharon had sent me. I'm increasingly distracted when warping, and needed a way to hold the cross while I went off on a tangent...
The best part? I got to play with power tools, ahr, ahr, ahr...

On the way home, I had a quick visit with Amy (saw Sadie - what a hoot), and stayed at Sharon's on Sunday night, very quick visits, but so very fun. We figured out that Halcyon Yarn carries UKI cotton, and since Sharon had UKI's color card, I made a spreadsheet listing each with the respective colors so we can order what we want in the future. Contrary to what Sharon says, I am not always right...

I stopped at Mim's on Monday morning, saw her sheep, and talked fiber. When I left it was with a slight tail wind, and nobody on the road for most of the trip home. I got 29.6 mpg, even exceeding the speed limit by a fair bit (LindaLou would be proud)...

I was just south of La Pine when I snapped this sunset:
The colors were much more intense than it shows - way more pink and purple... But it was beautiful. You'll note that I was pulled over to the side of the road at the time...

Now that I'm back, I'm farmsitting for a friend until December 20. She has a smattering of sheep, goats, alpacas, one llama and 11 chickens. Oh, and 2 cats who are not happy about my dogs being here!

This gig comes complete with breathtaking scenery:

(the place is literally just inside Smith Rock State Park), but also with a complete dye studio! I plan to wash a couple of fleeces, but also brought along the little loom to do some weaving.

I feel kind of disconnected - but at least it's pretty!!