Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And So, We Move Forward

As of course we must. End of summer is always a busy time and this year more so with the arrival of my parents mid September. We had a rocky few days here at Runamuck. The seven remaining dogs ( I am never dog poor that's for sure!), were just as quiet and missing their long time friend Peter. Tuesday of last week we brought him home and buried him between Miss Bea and Dennett, gave him a fine cairn of stones and walked back to the house to be among the living.

 Gene is playing catch up on the business after two weeks plus away with various fire related duties. I am getting into the swing of things fiber wise. The prayer flag warp came off the loom.

 There are four full sets of flags. Two were pulled off previously and given away, but these four contain personal prayers for Miss Bea, Rodger and Peter, along with all the other animals who call here home. Two sets are already up on the deck, two still waiting for sewing work. I tried weaving these without the nylon rope ties woven in. Won't do it again. It makes for a little bit cleaner flag but not worth the effort of sewing them in.

The Murphy loom deserved a new warp and one was ready for him.

 This warp is a gift warp, so details can't be shared just yet, but it beamed on like a dream and we are in the threading process.

The one drawback to this old loom is that neither breast nor warp beam come off. So threading means a long reach over the beam and slower progress.

The Gilmore Gem II will be arriving Thursday. One of the volunteer firefighters is down in Laguna Beach surfing, he'll pick it up on his way back home here since he drives right by Stockton. Thank you, Thank you!

The sewing room has even seen a little action, some fun prints and a mini cutting marathon.

This is the third crossover tunic in a fabric I fell in love with when I used it for a jacket lining. It came back in stock after a year and I snatched up three yards for this.

I really wanted to work on something happy and colorful, so I grabbed this from stash.

 It probably would have made a better bathrobe given the print, but oh heck, if it makes me smile sewing it and slipping it on, what do I care. Pattern used is a modified Schoolhouse Tunic. The fabric itself is a very light cotton canvas.

If I wear it for autumn riding with a bright turtleneck underneath, I am sure to be seen! :)

I think that about covers the last week or so. Thank you all for your kind words, the outpouring of sympathy and care. I believe I answered each and everyone privately. Thank you again so much.

Parting shots: Combined sports, wrestling and ball hoarding.

Front to Back: Stella & Blue Timmy, Spike and Robin

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Power of the Dog

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware        5
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

-Rudyard Kipling

Suffice to say Peter was a very powerful dog, attracting to him all manner of people where ever he went.  On Saturday evening 8/16/2014 Peter was euthanized. He had been failing for a couple of days, plagued by fainting episodes and a weak heart. There is nothing as dreadful as those three small words you whisper to either yourself or to those near you. "It is time." Once uttered, they are irrevocable. And so it was after 19 years of companionship I sent Peter on his way to the bridge. He'll have a lot of friends there waiting. Good friends, friends also missed. Those who follow this blog have seen Peter as a stately greyed gentleman, but he was an exuberant young dog when I first met him, about 9 months old. Tall, dark and handsome and always happy. So, since words are utterly failing me, I will share a few favorite pics from our many days together.


Both of these are our first months together
One of the pack. L to R: Fat Sam, Miss Bea , Dennett, Sammie-bug, Peter


A group of black blobs, but I'm sure you can pick Peter out. And Charlotte makes her first appearance too!
Me and my shadow and Miss Bea

Scoping out the property pre house. Peter LOVED to camp and we loved having him. He was a great traveling companion.

Parting shots and last looks. I love you too Peter.
For those whose hearts have also been torn or are susceptible, here is a full version of Rudyard Kipling's poem. Have a read, hug your companions, because no matter how long they are with you, it is never long enough.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Long and Winding Warp

Nothing like the Beatles to supply a decent ear worm! The new warp for Big Sal has started in earnest.

 I was able to get over to visit with friend and fellow blogger (and weaver and fiber artist extraordinaire), Cindie to pick up some yarn I had ordered last week. I needed the cone of 8/2 natural unmercerized cotton for this pillowcase warp.  Stats on this are 488 ends, 11 yards and sett at 18epi.
The pattern is an 8 shaft basket weave and in the May/June Handwoven 1989 issue. I got a fair amount of other yarns too. Lots of new colors in both perle and unmercerized cotton. I even did a little reorganization of yarns. All naturals, whites and blacks are together since these make up the majority of my warps.

 Colors all live together on the other shelves and it is an inspiration to walk by them.

 Wools of course are put away in the big buffet for protection.

And just where did that sectional beam end up.....on the ceiling!

Of course, I did spend some time weaving on the Murphy loom. The only one set up right now.
I decided to play with both new colors and treading for what may be the last run of prayer flags before this warp runs out.

 We'll see. I no longer remember how many yards I put on, maybe 10 but it could have been 8. So far some fun and bright flags.

I also promised an update on the latest sewing. I redrafted the Grainline Scout Tee for an empire crossover version. I ran out of the muslin material ( the cute bicycles) and used a scrap of green linen to finish it off.

 I will need to make some fit adjustments, take it in and a little shaping work on the next one, but I'm pretty happy with this first run through.

Next up was the Socialite dress/tunic pattern by Anna Marie Horner.

 I like the overall shape but I have to admit, hand stitching the inside neckline down is the kiss of death for me. I'm sure I will figure out another way, but the pattern offers limited options since it is sleeveless. I could draft a sleeve, and I might if I do another one. We'll see. It might be easier to take the elements I like and translate them into a pattern that has already been worked out to suit me.

I never got a chance to mention it but I came home from MA with a new computer. My Mother and I both have really old Mac Books, hers was a 2007 model, mine not much newer, maybe a 2009. When hers died while I was there my Dad decided to do an upgrade for both of us. We each got a new Mac Book Air. It's a little smaller but oh so portable.

 I LOVE the lighted keyboard for use at night in the dark. I bypass the full sized one I have hooked up.

Now onto fire news.

Gene took this last week from the flight he took in the Sheriff's department helicopter
Fire near the Klamath River
 The fire is about 64% contained. There is a fire line around the perimeter. Copco Road is on Level 1 evacuation as are we still. Fires are unpredictable things and until it is in full mop up we'll stay on L1. There is a Red Flag warning in effect for much of Southern Oregon. As Gene says, the lightening bus is coming through. We are expected to multiple storms and many lightening strikes through this period. We got a gift last night as they fizzled out hitting the mountains coming up from CA. But of course, that isn't the end of the update. Idiots abound and one walking the Pacific Crest Trail started a fire yesterday in the Soda Mountain Road area. 80 foot trees fully engulfed in flames. Luckily two helicopters stationed  locally for the Oregon Gulch fire were swung over to help the ground crews and the fire was in mop up by early evening. Then Idiot Two decided to have a campfire (bonfire?) in a remote area around one of the lakes. I have no idea how that one turned out since Gene still wasn't back when I went to bed. There are signs burning, no smoking in the woods, no running of any gas fired anythings, not chainsaws, not ATVs, not cars, not lawn mowers, nothing that creates a spark.  Heck I wouldn't even take a horse with shoes into the woods right now since it could spark on rocks. It's that dry.

If you want to see Gene giving a local news interview here is a link from yesterdays news.

Parting shot: Smoochie, wagging his tail and smiling at mannequin Rhonda , hoping for treats maybe?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

35 Percent

The Oregon Gulch Fire at this writing is 35% contained. What an amazing feat it is when you consider dry fuels and the size of the fire, topping out around 36,700 +- acres! To give you an idea of size, that is about 58 square miles. Just think about that for a moment.  Now think about putting a fire break around that and at the same time knocking down flames in unbearable heat with a 40 pound pack on your back in long sleeves, hard hat, heavy pants and boots and many times breathing apparatus. And did I mention the terrain is often steep and dangerous for even just hiking? Who needs make believe super heroes when you have firefighters? And up here on the Greensprings we thank each and every one of them for their hard, dangerous work on our behalf. Not only the boots on the ground, but air and communications support who supply such needed services in these wild land events. Gene tells me good cooks should be thanked to, because like any army, they run on their stomachs. We are hoping to be off Level 1 evacuation alert tomorrow. Copco Road is on Level 2.

So, while I don't have a lot of pics, there has been some sewing going on. A new little shift dress is in testing stage as is a woven crossover tee shirt. Both of these are muslin's, in the same print with scraps and such for any detail work.

There has been some steady weaving on the prayer flag warp and I've played around with a little inlay
here and there.

 This is something I want to experiment more with, on this warp and another one, at some point.

And Big Sal has been outfitted with the plain beam and apron.

 Can't wait to get another warp on her! The pillowcase warp I want to do is actually an 8 shaft pattern.

The deer have been pretty scarce around here. Oh, we've had a nip or two on the garden edges, but for the last two days I haven't even seen a deer, but my family of Grey Foxes has been around as has other wildlife. It will be interesting to see if some numbers go up of displaced wildlife from the fires.
What we do have for constant entertainment is the Hummingbirds. And you know I just adore them. I set up many of the plantings in this garden with them in mind.  We have mostly Anna's Hummingbirds but also one clan of Rufus too. It is hard to tell the difference between females which is which. And I spend a lot of time snapping pics of them. Challenging little subjects but here are some of the better ones.


This one is very obviously a fledgling. She rest often there on the rock, but is a great little flyer when she gets going. The cats avoid the garden BTW, because of the scarecrow, so our little hummers are pretty safe there.

And they aren't the only ones making use of the garden. This little frog was enjoying the view ( and many little bugs!), after climbing up the Bee Balm stalk.

 We also have a resident toad. I find him often times when I'm weeding. A few little garden snakes have been spied too. I caught one just because. A very pretty black with yellow side stripes. Not too big, maybe about 9 inches long. Upon release he slithered under the plants and disappeared.

Thank you all again for all the prayers and positive thoughts. We really appreciate it. Not out of the woods yet (bad pun I know), but things are looking much better especially for those on the east and south east edges of the blaze.

Parting shot: Morning nap.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wildfires, An Equal Opportunity Disaster

We're guessing either Thor (Norse) or Zeus (Greek) didn't want Oregon to feel left out this fire season, so he did his thing Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday. Southern and Central Oregon was pummeled by lightening storms. Many small smokes were put out and crews across the state are still discovering fires from the storms in remote areas. Copco Road, a private gravel/dirt road about 8 miles east from us took a strike that went from 10 acres when spotted at 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning and roared into almost 27,000 acres by Saturday evening. The residents on Copco went from Level 1 to Level 3 ( Ready, Set, GO are the levels), in the space of three hours. Most homes where saved in the 6000-9000 area and then the Oregon Gulch fire headed out for the really remote areas SE into CA and E into Klamath County. Last night a number of remote little roads with homes also went under Level 3 evacuation in Klamath County. At this point in time we are under a Level 1 evacuation order. If it goes to Level 2, I'm moving the horses, Level 3 the dogs and I will head down the mountain. But for now, we're good and the further south and east this fire goes the better it is for us along Highway 66 in the Greensprings.

Needless to say, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who pick up and come to these things. Wildland firefighters are a hardy, generous bunch and we have over 700 of them from all places near and far. For information on this fire and the resources on it here is a link. This site is mostly where everyone goes for updates. Gene is home getting some much needed rest as are all the members of the Greensprings team. They were first on scene with our local ODF station and worked over 30 hours straight ( on a short night since we had little fires on Weds. night they worked on quelling), on the south side of the fire keeping the evacuees safe in a large irrigated field while they fought to save 6 surrounding homes Thursday night.

The irony of fire season in the dry west; the Oregon Gulch fire is spreading into CA, The CA fire at Happy Camp is moving slowly towards Oregon. I guess you get to give as good as you get.

So, you want to see some pictures? :)

Fire from our front deck, Thursday afternoon.

 Copco Road closure complete with massive smoke plume. It was only at around 1,100 at this time.

 Lots air support.

And lots of smoke if the wind changes.

 Communications are very important.

 Along Copco Road after the fire.

 Fall Creek Ranch, where residents were evacuated too. This area along Copco has numerous springs and marshes. While the property is solar and generator power only they have made good use of the wet conditions with many ponds, streams and irrigation canals. Check out the Hughie Helicopter in the last of the series, scooping water from a fire pond. The smoke plume is quite apparent in a couple of the pics.

 Parting shot: All will be well.