Friday, June 24, 2016

Can Do

The Rogue Valley is a generous when it comes to farmer's market bounty. Fruits and veggies of all stripes abound from April to November and this year I'll be saving a little of that summer in a jar and learning to can. The glass electric cooktop we chose 16 years ago was a poor choice for canning and not my favorite but neither one of us wanted to bring in liquid gas for just a cooktop. A couple of years ago Ball came out with an electric water bath canner and I waited a bit longer to see the reviews come in and got one first hand locally too. No time like the present.

The canner came this past Wednesday and I picked up a hefty assortment of Strawberries, Tay, Blue and Marion berries and one little pint container of Raspberries. Those may end up as nibblers. The weather is cool and I'm thinking a perfect day for our first foray into an age old art. With luck I won't poison friends and family.

We've had our share of visitors this past week. Miss Raccoon has been feasting at the buffet under the bird feeders. This was taken about 8:00p.m. Monday night. Her usual arrival time.

 The birds throw a good amount of the seed around and with her sensitive little fingers she sifts through the shells for the fat rich intact seeds. I didn't get a picture but Raccoon and Fox happily share the seed. They were side by side, a whisker apart, searching peacefully. There is a lesson in that.

The fox retrieves the eggs nightly.

egg 1
egg 2
 One evening I saw the pair out together and I'm betting the youngsters were out also on the forests edge waiting for the evening hunting foray to begin in earnest.

Weaving came to halt last week, a little progress was done on the linen and hemp warp, but not much.
We did get two apple trees planted and caged from deer.  These two are Pink Lady.

 If they take well I'll try putting in a few more and maybe a pear or two.

In the sewing salon a few easy quick makes made it out. The patterned portion of this cute tank was a sale fabric from the winter.

There was only a bit over a yard so I paired it with a lightweight natural linen I had in the scrap box and did a cute shirt tail type hem.

The white linen crop top is all leftover fabric using the top portion only of the Peplone pattern.

 I added pockets but I'm not sure they are worth the effort for future short versions.

Lastly is the beautiful black and white border print I picked up on Etsy. I used a TNT crossover tunic pattern and spent a lot of time carefully cutting it out to maximize the pattern.

 I'm very pleased with it. The cotton fabric is such a beautiful weight and weave, smooth and light, almost like a lawn but not quite. This print is made by Art Gallery Fabrics.

I need to get new pics of the gardens for next post. The weather should be darn near perfect this weekend and I want to spend a bit of time just kicking back and enjoying it, time for some fresh air spinning I think.

Parting shot: When you look over your shoulder, I'll be there.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Endless Spring

This feels like a summer of old. I'm impressed with our extended spring. I wish it could be endless and take us right back into fall. ;-) We have had rain, and we've had some real cold snaps, almost to frost warning levels. Gene had to go out and scavenge up some more wood to heat the house. There is nothing like having the A/C in the bedroom window and the heat turned on. And this is so much more typical of what our mountain weather should be. I'll take it!

Oh and yesterday, not more than a half a mile up the road, I sighted a cougar on my way down to town. It was early in the morning, around 6:45 a.m. and the cat was heading into a deep ravine where some true old growth timber still stands. There is no mistaking the tawny coloring, the haunch and the very long tail.

The crackle warp on Fiona the wolf pup has been woven off.

 It was a shortish warp.  Four napkins and   a runner for the holiday pile

 and the last of the warp a small dresser scarf for my nightstand.

 I liked the crackle in small doses. Not in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) could I imagine doing a solid crackle piece. Three shuttles in rotation endlessly would send me over the edge, but these small touches were fun, challenging and pretty enough to keep me sane and enjoying the process.

 I am prepping a new warp for Fiona, linen and hemp, white and lime green. For those with a Handwoven magazine collection, the pattern is from Nov/Dec 1992 Textured Mat with Lace Bronson pg 65. It's not a large warp but it is a slow one with the center part being 5 white and 1 lime times 20.

This Tina Givens modified Peplone duster finished off my cut out stash.

 The linen was originally from Mood fabric in NYC, brought in to Fabric of Vision last summer after a trip there.

I grabbed 3 yards the moment it hit the floor. It was a dream to sew and a dream to wear especially for our cool days up here. I spent my sewing time this past week filling my buckets up again with cut patterns. I gathered some of the smaller yardages for cami's, cut two at a time. A couple of left over linen fabrics for cropped Peplone jackets, a nifty fall weight Esme in two fabrics. This fabric was one of them, I think I had shy of 3 yards but it was an end of the bolt purchase on 75% off and had this blemish right across what was left.

 I managed to work around it. There is also a crossover T using an interesting border print and a deep cherry red/burgundy pair of linen pants.

I found some nice hot weather lettuce starts that I'll throw into the little garden, tuck them under the growing tomato plants. The flower garden is doing well but would really like some sustained heat and sun to really bust out.

 The Takilma Gold sunflowers are a show stopper though.

 With luck it will be a warmer ,sunny weekend and give everyone, plant and animal a little boost.

Parting shot: Study in grey.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

In the Summertime

Last week we crossed the temperature divide from spring to full blown summer. Days went from mid 70's/ low 80's with cool nights to 90F up here (and triple digits in the valley), and steamy uncomfortable nights in the low 60's. Hello Summertime! Maybe a little Mungo Jerry since the weather is fine. ;-)

Both cats, Barn and Basement could be found lounging in the heat.

Barn cat

Basement cat
Of course some of the terriers were very excited to spy Juno in her resting spot top right in pic.

Stupid dogs barking at Basement cat
 She was oblivious to the excitement she generated.

The garden was happy with the addition of a deep watering. Our Paperbark Maple has grown over 2 feet this past year and the trunk has thickened substantially.

The normal winter water wise made all the difference for it.

There has been a lot of action in the sewing closet. Two weeks work of summer makes in light cottons. This Merchant and Mills pattern is actually in Brussell's Washer (linen and rayon) with a cotton bib yoke.

 These fabrics were both "clear the bolt" fabrics and not enough of either to do this tunic but together they worked. And I do love those almost neon brights. On a dreary day they certainly perk things up.

I tried the Esme tunic with cap sleeves.

 The version with sleeves is still my favorite but this pretty cotton tunic will gets lots of wear this summer. I don't have a lot of dark tops.

Double gauze fabric in a nice crossover tee.

And lastly two very lightweight cotton pants.

  I've gone through just about all from my stash of cut out patterns. I have a fair amount of linen scraps, large pieces and I would like to make a few more of the crop topped jackets. I also ordered some yardage of heavy weight linen for a bathrobe. I just haven't decided on the lining.

The warp on Fiona is almost done.

 I am 1/3 the way through a runner which will finish off this warp. This pic is actually from the first runner. I've changed the colors up for the last one. Next post!

Temps are in a cooling trend.  It could get cold enough this weekend to snow in the high Cascades. I've seen some reports of snow as low as 5000ft. We've had snow here as late as June 14th. It certainly doesn't last though.

Parting shot: Mother Nature is a master of subtle beauty in color and texture.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Out My Front Door

At 5:00 a.m. the birds are already up and chirping away so along with a cat escort and soft nickers from the horses my morning route is filled with some of the most beautiful music Mother Nature can provide. I have been known to dawdle out there in the early dawn.

You'll have to enlarge for a bit of detail.
 Most mornings I shoo the raccoon along her way home, or the fox has doubled back in hopes of a second handout. It is my favorite time.  No matter what happens, I have at least had these few moments of wonder and grounding to start my day.

The garden is shaping up. It has been a slow start with the cool temps and lack of sunny days for a good portion of May.

Takilma Gold
The shade area is looking lush.

 On the other side of it all, some of the new rhodies that have been planted.

This tree is a test one. A Chinese Pistachio.

 It is a hot, dry disturbed area with poor soil. We've amended the soil a bit but this tree is supposed to be tough doing duty as an urban tree in sidewalks and such. This year we'll give it plenty of water and love to settle it in and then it's on it's own.

After being completely defoliated by deer last summer, this Bloodgood Maple has come back beautifully.

Scented geraniums

Raised Bed garden. We've been enjoying the lettuces and there are only a few left, but just as well, the hot summer weather has arrived. The tomato plants are finally looking to flower.

Little annual carnations I think. They smell delicious. Pungent and spicy.

This is one of three bird baths.

 It is on the deck with the solar water bubbler. The Evening Grosbeaks love the running water and flock to it in the afternoon. What a loud little tribe they are. Calling and squabbling among the trees. Taking over feeders and watering holes. Mixed in we see a few Black Headed Grosbeaks but they are completely outnumbered by the evening variety.

Parting shots: The Summer Cuts. Just in time too!
I had Smoochie professionally done. No need to suffer the heartbreak of a home haircut this year!
Marigold, almost lab like!