Sunday, December 30, 2012

It Takes a Skidder to Make a Driveway


Boy, who knew I would ever dream up that blog post title, but it's true. The 30 plus inches of snow left us very little options other than big equipment.

Locally there are a few pieces of heavy equipment set up to deal with large amounts of snow, but drivers unavailable or equipment out of commission at the moment. The Box R Ranch came to the rescue though. Jesse, one of the hands, brought over a huge log skidder with a plow blade on it. I didn't get pictures. I just decided to stay the heck out of the way and let the guys get to it.

 When I finally did go out to do the feeding rounds in late afternoon, I took an extra trip around for pictures.

 I'd say we have a very good start on our snow pack, and there is more at higher elevations. I love the light of dusk, and I love the way the snow dips and rolls, covering the landscape in perpetual soft white waves.

 I can put up with a lot for the beauty it surrounds us with.

 But then again, it's not yet January. Come April, I may be pretty darn sick of the whole thing.

I finally made it to town for supplies on Friday. It was a quick trip, timed around need and storm fronts. I left at 8 and was home two and half hours later. With nicer weather predicted this coming week and the newly dug out driveway, I'll be heading to town for some fun shopping soon.

On the sewing front, I've been slowly working my way through a cotton velveteen jacket.

This is a wearable muslin (Simplicity 2508), for some cashmere blend coating I have. All in all I'm pretty happy with it. I had to shorten the waist and could have added more length onto the hem but a truly short jacket will work just fine for this test piece.

 Of course I'll make other changes and corrections for the longer cashmere coat but I think the fit is quite nice. This pattern offers an endless amount of design options.

 I'm hoping to finish this up today with the hems and buttons.

Before the Christmas holiday I made a very useful piece of clothing following another of the quick and easy patterns from the November Fabric of Vision Swig & Stitch. This one a cowl out of some nice fuzzy knit. I have no clue what is in this fabric but it is warm and snug. The cowl is wider at the shoulder end and narrows up to a funnel of sorts.

 This funnel end folds inside and keeps it quite close to your neck.

 A perfect addition to the feeding garb. The back of my neck stays warm and dry, even if I should go under a low hanging snowy branch. My neck and shoulders warm and protected from wind and wet under my coat.

Over November and December I also picked up a couple quick and easy small quilt patterns.

The buoy one was a gift. It was funny but I was designing a little quilt with buoys and low and behold, a sharp pair of eyes spotted this on her travels and picked it up for me.

Lucy is settling in pretty well. She is more energetic and busy than either Stella and Robin. The long legged Jacks seem to be more hyper in my experience, but she is benefiting enormously from our very steady routine. Stella and Robin are teaching her the joys of just chilling out under the covers. Jack on the other hand, is teaching her how to jump the half doors. Those long legs must have springs in them!

Parting shot: See Lucy, this is how it's done.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Holiday of Sharp Pointy Objects

There was a more than a fair share of sharp, pointy and dangerous things under the tree. Most exciting though, a small chainsaw!

 Light, short and just perfect ( and the only time you will ever see it on my dining room table!), for dealing with routine limbing and cutting jobs around the acreage and low and behold, it had my name on it! And don't you know, everything like that comes with its own accouterments. Specialized head gear, it's own dedicated gas can, oil for mixing with the gas and the promise of chain saw lessons once it is safe for a neophyte (watching all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies doesn't count I'm told), to maneuver around. Two plus feet of snow has put a damper on trudging out into the woods.

Gene and I both received pocket knives. Gene's is all business, sturdy and sharp, ready for bear skinning or something. Mine on the other hand, pretty and classic and just right for around the barn and to keep handy on the trail.

 Plenty sharp too. Oh and talk about creative wrapping paper! Someone had fun with this after I had turned in for the night.


The new wall oven finally got installed.

 Just in time for Christmas Eve pizza but it was quite a chore getting there.

 The opening was correct but the ovens where quite different in how they were configured. The old oven had the power supply coming out of the top where it is lower in depth providing a place for the cord to go when you push the oven all the way in. The new oven the power cord was on the bottom and the oven, a bit deeper overall. Needless to say, it would not go all the way in since those cords don't like bends where they are hard wired into the wall. Gene did two things, he changed power supply to exit the oven from the top instead of the bottom and also raised the junction box where it was hard wired.

 It was time consuming but I was so thankful once it was all done.

The second curtain was completed and hung

 and the new funky lamp made it just in time on Christmas eve day.

 This lovely graphic vintage danish dish that was thoughtfully gifted, is taking pride of place on our table.

 How fun!

Snow removal has not been easy or fun. The Jeep is out and has been transported via flatbed to have a spa treatment on it's carburetor. The plow truck that was going to finish the job around here was too long and too light to make some of the turns or go up the hills with all the snow. So, looks like a bigger piece of machinery will be needed to fully open up all the snowed in spaces, a cat or backhoe or something. Until that happens the Subaru is staying put since I would never get it back into place once I left it. We've had more snow than the last two years combined so far.

I think that about covers Christmas 2012. And a fine one it was. Now its into a new year we all go!

Parting shot: Supervisor Jack, on the job.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Since Wednesday night we have been getting a fine and furious dumping of the white substance.

 All told, about two feet so far.

 And it certainly caused a lot of headaches road wise on little old state Highway 66. We are allotted one state plow. When it's bad up here it often travels to help out on the Interstate 5 over the passes. Well, they'll just have to go fish (and so won't we!), because our designated plow is 30 feet down an embankment in Mill Creek where it will likely stay for a while. No injuries, but it went off at the beginning of the storm. That was just the start of a long day that included a jack-knifed big rig, a second Klamath Falls plow off the road, crashed tow trucks and numerous vehicles sliding into one another or off the road. Highway 66 was closed from 3:00 p.m. Friday until 3:00 a.m. Saturday when the jack-knifed tractor trailer was finally pulled up to a large turnout area. There it sits.  Poor Gene got called out at 9:00 Friday morning (1st ODOT plow), and arrived back home a little before midnight. This is what his truck looked like yesterday morning. I wonder just how he got home quite frankly.


But yesterday dawned clear and beautiful.

 For all the headaches a remote location provides, it also gives us breathtaking beauty.

 A fair trade most times.

 Our driveway is now half plowed, we can get out. Bob the tractor, who was stuck in a drift since Thursday night, was finally pulled out. Gene's now stuck Jeep will be unearthed today. My new wall oven which arrived last week will get in before Christmas. So really, we're left with our picture postcard views and another round of storms on the immediate horizon today and tomorrow. We are warm, we have food and we have power. It's all good.

In other news, a little sewing has gone on. The chairs have been recovered and I'm happy with them.

 It is certainly easy enough to do and change. One curtain has been completed and the other cut and awaiting hemming.

 To stabilize the fabric I put fusible interfacing in the curtain header and also a strip in the lower hem. This is a very loosely woven fabric, which is why I like it, but it's heavy too and would stretch out at the top then hang uneven at the bottom. And it's hard to sew. Many of the warp and weft yarns have threads wrapped around them, giving texture and interest. The sewing needles hate this stuff. Friend and fabric/sewing guru Sandi suggested not using the Pfaff walking foot, and doing a long and narrow zig-zag stitch. Worked like a charm!

I had some fun making a set of four napkins.

 I was able to go to both November and December's Swig & Stitch in Medford and this is one of the great little projects that was covered in November.

 Oh, and the beer and food pairings are pretty dang good. It's usually a big rowdy group at the Medford S&S and Ginger from Women Enjoying Beer brings her amazing energy and sense of humor making for a thoroughly enjoyable two hours.

Christmas is now down to hours, and like every year, the fine folks at NORAD are taking on the task of tracking Santa. You can follow his progress too, right here. :)

But wait, there's more. Last week I got a call from my vet about a Jack Russell Terrier pup in need. Her family had to rehome her. A nice pup, well bred and just 9 months old, spayed, UTD on everything and known at the clinic. Could I, would I, should I?  We all know the answer to that one don't we.

Meet Lucy, who is quickly learning how to be one of the pack.



And everyone, have a happy and safe holiday. Eat and be merry. Laugh lots and count blessings. Gosh knows, we have a number of "blessings" to be counted here and not just the four legged variety.

Parting shot: Oh, so you DO rest once in a while.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Giving a Bit of The Bounty 2012

I would have to say, we're in last minute mode around here. A few stocking stuffers and some special edibles for everyone to enjoy over the holidays. And of course, sharing some of our good fortune .  Our supermarket has coupons you can add in at the register in amounts from a dollar to five available year round. The local food bank then is able to come to the supermarket and use those cash donations to fill in where they are lacking. The cash stays local and those most needy in the area benefit.  No doubt your area has a food bank of some sort too.

The animal shelter is always a good choice IMHO. Everything from monetary donations to toys, old blankets and towels are welcomed. Many shelters have a wish list, things they need or want. Check it out, often times they are not big things. Our favorite here is Dogs for the Deaf. Every one of their specially trained assistance dogs was taken from a high kill shelter ranging from WA to Southern CA. These dogs are then placed in homes all over the country after training. There is a $50.00 application fee and a $500. deposit which is returned after the dog and its partner have been together a year. They are expanding their program to Autism assistance dogs.

There are toy drives by the local police or fire and it is certainly easy enough to drop off a new toy in any of the boxes that are likely set up in YOUR town or city. Abuse shelters for women and children also often have some low key donation opportunities. Then of course there are many national and international non-profits doing good works. If you want to find and see their ratings you can check them all on line at Charity Navigator.
Maybe a gift in that hard to shop for person's name?

The point is, if you can, spread a bit of your bounty (be it in time, goods or cash to something near and dear to your heart),  this Christmas season, do it.  There are few enough easy things in this world that will warm your heart and bring immeasurable help simultaneously.

Parting shot: Sharing

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Something that doesn't happen often with me and fabric and color. But home decorating, that's a whole 'nuther nut to crack. I'm always better with someone else's decorating dilemmas! And mid century modern is a place I haven't visited until now. Before I die it's likely I will have lived with just about every style/period of furniture out there. And I like it that way. Living with the same kind of furniture forever, for me, would be like reading the same genre of books. And it's cheaper than moving because don't you know, I wouldn't mind living in different house styles (and places) too! :) My own form of wanderlust.

Last Thursday was the one day last week that had fine weather and off I tootled up north to Sutherlin OR to pick up 4 dining room chairs. The drive was spectacular. Going north brings you through some spectacular forests and hills. It is one of the prettiest sections of highway I have ever traveled. And there were not just any chairs either, but dog bone backed Heywood -Wakefield chairs.

 I use to live in Gardner MA, on the same road as the old Heywood Wakefield factory, (there are 3 pages to that link, click on "next" at the bottom), drove by the giant chair daily and in general took all that beautiful blonde mid century goodness for granted. I mean you could pick up cottage chests and dressers at tag sales every weekend for a song. Imagine my shock and awe when I looked at adding some more Hey-Wake to my decor now. OUCH! Anyway, these chairs were marked very inexpensively, affordable even by Gene's standards and that means a real steal. ;) They look so much better than the old ladder back chairs, which were a leftover from another dining room table, long covered in storage in the basement.

My indecision comes from picking new fabric for the chair seats, because what's on there now is just plain awful. Pity too because the original fabric was beautiful, but has seen better days.

 So, this is what we did yesterday morning.

Yep, I dragged out a ton from my stash to try, color, texture, scale etc. plus the yard I had bought for the project. Now I wasn't really in love with any of it, but DH Gene felt the love for the black and white weave, and I figured if someone loved it, it was good enough.

 BTW, that fabric was the one I had purchased for the project, not from stash. It reminds me of birch trees and because it blends well with the rest of the choices so far, it will also be used for new curtains. The old lace ones need to be retired. The table will always be what it is, not of this period or any other, but is the one piece in the house that never will change. It was made for us, literally. The fabric has a pretty loose weave. If you had kids and these would be seeing hard wear, it would be a poor choice. I have backed it with fusible interfacing to give it stability and body. The curtains will get an interfaced header and hem but I will leave them unlined as the beauty is in the seeing the lovely patterned, slubby weave. Modern lace so to speak!

Our weather has finally settled on winter. The last few days have been cold and snowy. The ground is getting that nice hard freeze. The road has been ice and snow covered and rather tricky. The horses eat in when it's snowing and out when it's not. The donkeys all bundled up in their blankets. The only drawback to the cold is the constant struggle with keeping water unfrozen for the animals, but it's manageable. The horses love this kind of weather. I spied Dandy chasing Cooper yesterday afternoon. Bucking almost the length of the paddock, head up, snorting and just acting like a 3 year old.  Cooper caught the spirit of the play and they had a fine time tearing up and down the hill and around the trees. Self exercising at its best and such beautiful animals to reflect upon. And this certainly has been a week for deep reflection.

Parting shot: Pax.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

It IS winter after all, and one dry crisp day can be followed by many overcast wet ones.
This time our precipitation came as snow. Since we have that big beautiful deck, I came up with the brainchild of putting a Christmas tree on it, lights and all. And so we did. A tree was found that had been crowded in with other trees and needed to be culled anyway, allowing those that remained more of everything to grow well. This is how it looked early Tuesday morning

 and this is how it looks this morning.

 What you can't see are the three pine cones with peanut butter tucked in among the branches for the birds. More on that later. The birds didn't find them by the time it got dark last night, but it would seem a certain masked bandit was scoping it all out. My tracks to turn on the lights are to the right, his to the left. ;)

 He/She actually got a small cone I had left on a deck post to help out the birds.

 If you look closely you can see the signature long back feet of the Raccoon and on the left side middle top a fine print of the lovely articulated front fingers and paw. It's hard to see, I know. When I go out to feed I'll be able to track this critter easily, even through barn cat tracks.

This isn't a long post so we are already at later! I tacked up Dandy in the late morning yesterday. I had been hoping for a break in the gloom but the freezing fog just wouldn't let up, so it was now or never. My little red rocket hasn't been out since early September ( maybe even late August), so I wasn't sure of the go/whoa proportion. He was a gentleman. We picked our way over the horrid deep ruts left by the power company and took our usual training trail. Stopping along the way to gather pine cones and stuff them into the saddle pack. There is no grazing, but Dandy wore his mountain horse cap well yesterday and stayed right were I left him. Untied, reins over the front of the saddle and patient while I beat around trees and bushes looking for pine cone gold. The squirrels had obviously beaten me for the really big ones months ago.
It was a slow ride and short. The last thing I wanted was for Dandy to get sweaty and in his curly winter coat, that is easily accomplished. On this wet raw foggy day it just wouldn't do to be damp at skin layer. I, on the other hand, was freezing by the time we arrived home. I should have worn a pair of warm tights under my breeches, my legs were cold and wet. A jacket instead of just a heavy sweatshirt would have been smart too.
I warmed up with tea and a grilled cheese sandwich and later in the afternoon the horses got a heaping load of hay for dinner. Dandy got the heavier bundle for all his good works.

So the holiday shopping is done, the tree decorated outside and the mantel inside has 9 little stockings all hung with care awaiting filling. The oven is on order and the fried parts of the electric fence ( which we discovered yesterday) have been repaired. I have only my yearly holiday book to find and a Christmas dinner to plan.

Parting shot: I'll go out and help you track that raccoon, I will, I will!