Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Version of Storing Nuts

And you thought I might be talking about Robin didn't you? Well Robin got a reprieve
until Friday because I am a dope. I thought his day was Wednesday and the farriers was Tuesday. Seems they were both Tuesday. Oops!

My version of nut storage has to do with fabric and yarns. At the beginning of summer I took in about 20 pounds of cotton yarn in all flavors and colors. All either 8/2 or pearl 5/2. Through the summer I have made some lovely fabric purchases too for fall/winter sewing. Compared to weaving and knitting, sewing goes fast, inventory can drop quickly and face it, good fabric is hard to find these days unless you have a great store near you or a good online fabric vendor. I have both.

For those that are looking for an online source for fabrics of interest and quality for garment sewing, try Gorgeous Fabrics. They have wonderful service, and each of the fabrics gives a good idea of weight, a pattern or two that would work well with it and coordinating fabrics, along with the pantone color, fiber content and even recommended needle size and type. A lot of information that makes buying on line MUCH easier. And of course, my local favorite Fabric of Vision with their interesting selection of garment fabrics.

Here is my little fall array of stash waiting to be made into some kind of wearable wonderful. It's been procured over the summer and contains a nice selection of blouse, jacket and pant weight materials.

And a new pattern done up in some nice Birch Organic cotton.

I am in love with this collar and will have to do this pattern again, a little longer with a shaped hem and no ties. I like the ties, I didn't think I would but they are a very specific look and I don't need a lot of tied blouses in my wardrobe, one or two maybe.

But a good looking shirt with a nice soft collar detail can be repeated again and again with variations. For others that like it also, it's Kwik Sew pattern #3620.

And please note the beautiful yarn on the chair.

This is more Kauni with the long color changes producing a lovely shading effect. I loved the naturals on the overshot gift piece and I'm going to try these teals on a dark warp for something different. Websters is still the best place I know of for beautiful yarns

The horses like to spend time watching the donkeys.

The donkeys spend time watching the horses.

The barn cats Buzz and Juno appear religiously for meals. In the barn.

Gene spends time taking the shelter down to rebuild it as a barn
closer to front of the paddock for my ease

and Dandy just wants you to note how handsome he is.
He spends his time standing in the pasture posing.

Parting shot: Only a true friend lets you nap on them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Replace or Repair

This is a repair household that's for sure. To that end, we installed, and I use that plural loosely, a new cook top. Our old one had been used and abused. Gene dropped a cast iron dutch oven chipping the corner, everyday use furthered that chip into a series of cracks. Finally, it just looked like the whole thing was going to give way and ruin the elements below. It was truly time for a new one. We looked into replacing the whole unit with a new one. Down draft cook tops are expensive and over the last 10 years the prices have stayed pretty much the same, about $1300.00 to start in electric. I can't say any of them are worth that. It was a solution to a problem when we built the house and still holds as the best one. There is no gas out here and neither one of us was thrilled with the idea of a propane tank large or small. Electric was the easy option. Now I don't mind the old fashion calrod units myself, but near impossible to find them with the down draft option and we opted not to have a hood hanging over our island and the venting that needed to happen above. It was easier and cheaper to vent out the basement level. So, we had to stay the course set and thankfully, a replacement top is still made. I guess I'm not the only one to crumb them up. What a production getting it changed out though.

I think it took Gene about 3-4 hours and cleaning everything was just plain nasty. You would be surprised at the places grease and grime get into on that appliance. But it's all in, it looks just about like the old one, it has no cracks and it works.

The cost savings was about a thousand dollars (not including what labor would have cost us if Gene couldn't do this repair), so it was worth effort. Good job!

In weaving news the towels are done and sold. I don't know what the three of them brought but last bid was $60.00 for the fire department. I spent all of Friday weaving.

Okay, I self interrupted many times for dog walks and donkey and horse petting, but by 3:00pm, the towels were in the dryer and yesterday morning early they were serged, hemmed, well pressed and tagged for auction.

I have to retie my warp and then I can weave on this wonderful pattern at my leisure.

In farm news, the donkeys are all happy. They spend hours chin to shoulder grooming each other. They rest touching even when lying down and they share hay so nicely.
It does my heart good to see them all relaxed and happy. I am rewarded every time I go out with soft little brays of greeting and sometimes a full blast or two. The girls are quite talkative. This brings me back to their names. Star is staying star, but Lady Jane
is not. Martha at Thistle & Rose Handweaving pointed out what a tragic figure Lady Jane Grey was, and it's true. I always try to give sweet names, because I have found my animals live up to them. Imp was one and Boo wasn't the bravest horse around. To that end we have changed her name to Ladybird, and it will just have to do. :) Thank you Martha! I'm glad you pointed it out.

Robin will be bidding farewell to the furry dice next week. It's that time already! Those five months have gone by in the blink of an eye it seems. Like his sister Stella, it appears that we will be helping along some stubborn baby canines while he's under for the neuter. Nothing is ever simple.

Parting shot: Say Cheese little ham

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One is the Loneliest Number

And that is ever so true for just about any grazing animal. I can't tell you how often I've driven by a pasture and seen just one horse, or one cow and felt pity that they had no comfort from like kind. So imagine how I felt when I looked out to my own pasture and saw one little lonely solitary donkey.

The day I got out of the car after being gone for the morning running errands and having Sugar Foot race the fence line braying at me to come visit drove my poorly planned decision home to me. We had to get another donkey. Even Gene came to that conclusion on his own. I can provide quality food, shelter, vet care and loving attention but it is still all of a human nature. I picked up the phone and within hours the last two donkeys of Sugar Foots harem where delivered. Had I waited they would have been sold elsewhere. As they were loading them into the trailer at the Box R someone was coming up the drive to take them. Sugar Foot is a lucky boy, plan B was a Boer Goat which neither of us would be terribly happy with.
So without further ado, please meet Lady Jane Grey

and Star.

Head count 18. Happy herd of donkeys, priceless.
And no, I will not be posting pictures of the holes in my head....;>

In other news, the weaving has commenced. Mid winding the warp I changed my mind on the pattern and ended up doing the Celtic Knot pattern shown here.

I'm glad I did too. I am mid way through towel two and have only towel three to weave between today and tomorrow. It's a fast and fun weave. These pics are from towel one.

In other news I would be remiss not to mention that DH Gene is walking on air these days, almost literally. He finally got his paramotor. Since he started paragliding again 3-4 years ago I have heard about nothing but the joys and advantages of motored flight. Yeah..right! In any event the motor arrived in all it's crated glory before the donks did yesterday so we both got to delight in new arrivals!

Parting shot: The Runamuck Spa for Overweight Long Ears

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Many Animals Do You Have?

Hilary asked that question on my last post, so really, it should have been updated in the Head Count post.

There are nine dogs. They are in order from oldest to youngest, Dennett,

Peter, Miss Bea, Charlotte, Smoochie, Pogo, Jack, Stella and last on board, Robin.

We have three cats. Rodger the indoor/outdoor house cat ( and champion puppy tolerator..it's my blog and I can make up words if I want to), Buzz and Juno the barn cats.

Three horses also call this home. They are Dandy, Cooper and Nick.
That brings me to Sugar Foot, the mini donkey and a grand total of 16 animals.
I'm just delighted to be in the teens instead of the 20's!

Had hughes.net not been so slow, you might have gotten pics of each and every one of the critters. Consider yourselves lucky!

In other news, the loom is almost ready for weaving. The last picture I took was of her up on bucket stands while I did the 10 treadle tie-up.

I've gotten a little further along and will finish up, tie on and start weaving today.

Over the weekend I went to the Heart of the Basin Quilt Show in Klamath Falls. It was a very small show but the level of quilting displayed could have rivaled any of the larger shows, including Houston. There were some beautiful quilts and it was fun to visit with my friend Sandi from Fabric of Vision as she was a vendor there.

I have managed to do some sewing along with all the other duties tugging at me. Time is running short and the folks are due for their annual fall visit. (That means the annual fall cleaning and God knows, the house sure needs it!) :)

My Mother doesn't read my blog, so I don't feel too worried about showing this. Over the course of a week I have tailored her a beautiful rendition of the Sewing Workshop
Quincy top.

The fabric is a heavier Italian woven shirting in all cotton. It was 60" wide and I eeked a top out of 1 & 3/8 yards. Oh I wish I had had enough to make one for myself from this beautiful fabric. I've embellished with sailboats from a silk tie piece ( Thank you Sandi!), and added a custom embroidered label.

While you can't see it, the inside is completely finished and the garment is heavily top stitched. I'm pretty happy with the level of sewing and detail on this one and hope she likes it. While it is on Rhonda, it is a tight fit since my mom is a few sizes smaller than I am. I will do the final hemming sometime this week and then wrap it up.

Parting shot: Camera,camera in your hand. I'm the prettiest in all the land.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Short and Long of It

Okay, the donkey arrived yesterday and while I don't have any good pictures, I have some pictures. We have had some fun making silly puns about my ass though..and I guess this makes me a true blue Democrat . You sure won't be seeing any mini elephants in my old goat pen, that's for sure!

For those familiar with donkeys, I know he is grossly overweight. The Box R has over 500 acres, many in pasture for the cows. It has not done the donkey population any service, but we'll be working on getting this boy down to a healthy weight. He was never named, so it was high time he had his own moniker and to that end we have dubbed him Sugarfoot although Hot Foot was mentioned too.

It is fire season!

The long of it has been measured, chained, spread and beamed.

I do so love to see the warps in their unwoven stage.

At present we are a quarter into the threading and while I probably won't get the whole ten yards woven, I will be able to get the three towels I need for the fire department's fall dance and auction. I'll cut them off and retie the warp.

In other news, we also welcomed a in freezer.

I have not named the freezer, nor will I. Who could beat a name like Magic Chef anyway? ;) I opted for the smallest upright I could find which is 8.8 cubic feet. This was actually scoped out in Massachusetts when I visited in May. This is freezer number 2 as when we plugged in freezer number 1 it did a fine job of letting ice cream melt and nothing else. I would have gotten pictures of it too, but DH was WAY too grumpy at having to load it back up for a second run to Home Depot to even consider pulling out the camera and lets face it, one picture of a freezer is quite sufficient I'm sure.

Sunday was spent watching football. Basically every team I was rooting for lost, with the exception of the Jets and it looked like they were going to lose for most of the game. The game that did count though was last night and thankfully my team won.
Go Patriots!

And before football Sunday, there was a nice long walk in the woods with Robin.
We both enjoyed it and for parting shots, I'll leave you with just a taste of our stroll.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Long and Short of It

Boy, have I been remiss in catching my blog posts up. For some strange reason, this summer has seemed busier than most. In any event, the "long" is the new warp going on Hannah Hollandia. The overshot is off and done and if it weren't destined for a gift I'd show you, because it is beautiful with it's subtle color changes. At some point in the future I'll post pics, after it's been gifted. The new warp is 10 yards long and will be all towels.

I need to get at least 3 done by the 23rd of this month for the fire and rescue silent auction. Stats are 8/2 cotton sett at 24 epi. Again this year I am taking a pattern from "A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns" page 33, either #134,#135 or #138. I have up to 14 treadles I can use on this loom and of course I can always change the tie up mid run.

Hey Baby Delta loom is also naked and after this towel warp is put on, I'll do another, shorter warp. This will be a gift warp also. I've picked out a pattern from "Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave.

There has also been just a touch of sewing. I have a pattern cut out, but until I get the warp on and ready to weave, that's as far as I'm going to get. I did finish up a wearable muslin and am thrilled with this new Sewing Workshop pattern.

I am hoping my mother likes it also as I would love to make her one. The pattern is "Quincy" and I know I'm going to be making myself at least a few more in both jacket and shirt weight material. This picture was taken before it was hemmed or had the snap tape sewn in. Right now it's in the wash after a day of comfortable " going to town" wear last week. I spent a lot of time in town last week for one thing or another.

Okay, it's time for the "short" of it portion. I don't have pics yet, but I will after the weekend. I had mentioned how much I was missing my goats, and had some alert animals under consideration. So, I'm scanning Craigslist just to see what is out there and low and behold, a neighbor, the Box R ranch, not more than 3 miles from us is parting with the animals that made up it's little petting zoo. (At one time there were llamas, donkey's, mules, goats, and I can't remember what else). Anyway, Don had advertised 5 miniature donkeys and one was a gelding! A perfect fit. An animal that has been well handled, use to our climate, horses and well, cute as a bugs ear. The little doll will be delivered either Sunday or Monday. The jenny's are all spoken for too and are staying up on the mountain with another family even closer to us. Maybe they can all visit once in a while!

And while we are on short. Robin had his last puppy program appointment before he is due to have the furry dice removed (neutered). He is just shy of 8 pounds. We are all thinking he won't be much bigger, if at all, than Stella. He is quite the charmer though
and I need to get some good updated pics of him. He's in his adult collar now and has his official "call my peeps if I get lost" tag. In many ways he has been an easier puppy than Stella, and she was pretty darn easy to take on the puppy scale. He is proving to be a extremely sweet and trainable and looks like he will be the rare terrier who sticks his recalls reliably. We have been doing some off leash work all ready. He knows to come to his name, stays within a ten foot distance while we're walking (even with deer spotted in the distance) and knows sit and sit pretty ( front paws up) upon command.
He is very food motivated which makes training a breeze.

Lastly, it has been very hot here the last few days. We've almost touched 90F and not so much cool down at night. It's hard on Dennett. Early evening I stick him in the utility sink, hose down his paws, belly and neck so that he is still just a bit damp there when we head up to bed. It keeps him cool and comfortable and he doesn't have to work so hard panting to cool himself.

Parting shot: The ball always rolls to the other side of the fence...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Headcount

There has been change around here over the summer. Not only is the kitchen
looking different but the daily routine. I sold the five goats as a spinner's herd and they went off to their new home a few weeks ago. I must admit I miss them most of all. Sylvie's bell was always in the background, their soft morning bleats letting me know everything was okay in our world as I stumbled around in the dark to get breakfast served to any and all outside. The flock went to a nice gal down in the valley, with a small farm and yes, there are horses. I never got to utilize their fine fibers due to our extended cold snowy springs. By the time I could shear, the fleece had long been blown. It is too cold to shear in true spring and often as not a foot of snow on the ground or more and the months long mud season just around the corner. They will be warmer down below and someone will have the benefit of getting that fiber at its best.

The last of the two horses I wanted to move along left Tuesday. Imp, true to his name,
proved to be a bit of a mule when it came to loading in the trailer. Just when we were all ready to cry Uncle and give up, he walked in and that door was slammed shut and locked in the blink of an eye. So began his journey to a new home and new adventures.

So now the farm count is 9 dogs, 3 horses, 0 goats and 3 cats. Still a sizable number of critters. Nick, my sweet little black horse spent the day calling for his friend. By Wednesday morning, he and Cooper were playing as they use to long ago when we were but 3. I am rethinking a guard animal of some sort. A little morning bellwether so to speak. Geese, donkey, something that makes noise when things are not as they should be. I don't need to be guarded, just alerted. My morning routine is much easier and my hay bill will be down by almost half. All things a-okay!

The weather is changing too, Thursday morning found our temps hovering for a bit at 32F and the warmest it got up here was 64F. By the end of the weekend it will be in the high 80'sF and temps only dropping down into the high 50'sF at night.

Parting shot: "Warmth for dignity" or maybe "The heartbreak of hand-me-downs."