Sunday, July 22, 2018

And Now I Am Wishing for Rain.

My Co-pilot in the Buggy
We have enjoyed a few days of nice weather in the last couple of weeks, along with some very hot weather.  Pretty typical for July in Ohio.  And of course the rain has let up.  I am now wishing every day for a nice soaking rain for my garden.  Again, fairly typical for July in Ohio.

My garden is not doing so well this year.  Everything was planted late, due to weather and travel, so much is behind where I think it usually is.  Something is decimating my corn.  I have lost about half of it now to something that is knocking the stalks down at night and chewing up the nowhere near ripe corn.  And my newly sprouted  lettuce and swiss chard seems to be under attack from bunnies.  The tomatoes are doing quite well however and I have a lot of green tomatoes on the vines.

The last two mornings when I have gone out to inspect the corn I have been amazed at the number of honeybees collecting pollen from the corn tassels.  Dozens of them.  It creates quite a loud buzzing just above one's head.

While I was out with the camera to photograph the bees, I was also able to get a quick shot  of a great blue heron flying over.  There are quite a few around, but you have to be in just the right place at the right time to get a photo.  They don't wait around.

In other nature news, this week Sam and I have seen some Monarch butterflies on our walks.  They used to be so plentiful, but now are rare it seems.  While picking blackberries at the pond 2 days ago, I spotted some milkweed on the back side of the dam and I was able to find 3 monarch caterpillars on two different plants, ranging in size from less than half an inch to well over an inch. 

 I did not have my camera, but went back yesterday to try to find them again.  Unfortunately, I was only able to find one and I think it was the smallest one because it was on the same leaf I had seen it on the day before.  It was no longer quite so small. however.  I hope the others were just being elusive and had not become dinner for a bird.

Last weekend Grover and I attended a 3 day agility trial.  We had a successful weekend, earning 2 Double Q's and 1 Jumper's Q for a total of 47 points.  We now need only 72 points for our MACH title.  We will be attending another 2 days of agility at the Dayton Dog Training Club this coming Saturday and Sunday.  Fingers crossed we earn some more points!

It has been too hot many days for me to spend much time in my studio, which has no air-conditioning, so I have not done as much as I would like.  I did finish weaving the two selvedge rugs and take them off the loom.  I just need to do the hems on them to call them finished.  I also warped my smaller loom for a couple of scarves in black and white tencel, which is a shiny rayon-type fiber that is nice to work with. 

 I also spun 2 bobbins of some prepared fiber I purchased last year at the Great Lakes Fiber Show,  It is a Merino wool Tencel blend and I am now plying the singles on the two bobbins together for a 2-ply yarn.  I really like how the singles look, but I am not sure if I will like the finished yarn as much since the colors will not be separate like they are in the singles.  I will likely weave with this yarn.

 I found this cute little sheep at an antique store in Oregon last month.  Isn't he cute?  He was only $10 and I am pretty sure he is handmade.  He's about 8"  long is is living on the antique cupboard in my studio.  I just love it.
I also ordered new countertops for my kitchen this past week, for which they are coming to measure in 2 days.  That means I need to clear off the countertops, so I have been purging and re-organizing some clutter and unused items in my kitchen.  It seems like a good time to do that.  I look forward to a new look in the kitchen as it has been 16 years since we put in the current cabinets and counters.  I am keeping my custom hickory cabinets, but exchanging laminate countertops for quartz in a totally different color scheme.  It is time for a new look.
Beautiful morning sky over the studio


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Respite From the Rain, But the Heat Has Arrived.

Grover posing atop Osage Orange log
The lights sticking up are at the end of the bridge
It does seem for now that the rain has stopped.  But first, it had one last hurrah the day after my last post.   We had a late afternoon downpour following another couple of days of rain.  The ground was just saturated and once the rain actually stopped, we watched as the creek continued to rise until our temporary bridge was completely submerged.  The water also knocked over the beams Sam had moved into place for construction of the new bridge  just a couple days before.  Fortunately, though several of the boards from the temporary bridge came loose and went zipping away with the current, I was able to retrieve and replace most of them once the water went back down the next day. 

Sam finally gave up waiting for the forecast to call for 3 or 4 dry days and he mowed hay a week ago.  It was promptly rained upon and he decided to just let it lie.  The weeds had pretty well taken over and it was way past prime time for quality hay.  This was the first time in 20 years of haymaking that we have lost a field of hay to rain. 

I have been trying to keep ahead of the weeds in the garden.  I do not use any herbicides or pesticides in my garden and therefore, I have weeds and bugs.  I am not convinced that Round up is not harmful to use in your garden and I don't use pesticides because it is detrimental to helpful insects, such as pollinators.  Things are doing well.  The corn is about waist high, we have lots of little green tomatoes and peppers, there are flowers on the cucumber and pumpkin vines and we have been eating lettuce and arugula.  I have been harvesting kale to put into my homemade dog food as well.  I planted Swiss chard for that same purpose, but I think there is a bunny who likes Swiss Chard out there.  I caught sight of it scurrying away one day.  So I planted more chard, hoping it will do better this time.  I plan to harvest some basil today and make pesto for dinner tonight.

We did our annual alpaca shearing on Sunday.  One alpaca.  Setting up and then cleaning up took longer than the actual shearing.  I remember the years we would spend days shearing and how ecstatic we were when we got down to that last one.  In those days, that was really cause for celebration.  It was hot, dirty, itchy, smelly work and never have we finished as late as we did this year.  Once shorn, I put Truffels the alpaca  into the same pasture and barn area as Apples the pony.  They are getting acclimated to each other and I will try to get a photo of them together soon.

This morning, as Grover and I went for our "morning mile" walk, we discovered that a large tree had fallen across the road overnight.  It was an osage orange tree, of which we have probably dozens that were planted many many years ago as a natural fenceline along the road.  They are a very slow growing tree with very hard yellow wood.  You can see the rich yellow color in the photo to the left.  The wood really is that yellow.  It makes wonderful firewood as it is incredibly dense and will burn slowly all night long. I am pretty sure the tree fell due to the excessive amounts of rain saturating the soil around its roots.  Sam and our township trustee and neighbor, Larry, cut it up.  Most of it will be used for firewood, but Sam kept the butt log to saw up on his sawmill and see if he can make something with the wood.  I requested a cutting board.  He said it would last forever.

The osage orange also makes a very good yellow dye for wool and alpaca.  I have used it before so I collected a gallon bag full of the chainsaw chips to use.  I will put the chips in an old pantyhose leg and use that like a tea bag in water to make the dye.  


Maybe I will use it to dye some of this 
fleece I washed the other day. There is nothing like a hot sunny day to get a fleece to dry quickly.

 Before it got so hot, I did get some things done in my studio.  I had both my looms "dressed" and in the same place at the same time.  Pendleton selvedge rugs on my rug loom and some cotton/linen kitchen towels on the smaller loom.  

The towels are now off the loom and finished.  I have another project planned for that loom, but it will have to wait for cooler weather as I have no air-conditioning in my studio.  The only cool time of day right now is early morning and I have to choose between outdoor work and studio work and since the outdoor work seems more important than the fun of studio work, I tend to do it first.

Here's another view of my studio.  One I just love.  The boys seem to enjoy being out there with me as much as I enjoy their presence.

Grover and I are going to have a new adventure this coming weekend.  We are going to go "Dock Diving".  At least I hope we are.  Grover loves to dive off the creek bank and the pond bank, but I am not sure what he will think about leaping into water he can see through.  But Dock Diving is coming to a town near us this weekend and I signed us up to try it out.  And I have only ever seen it on TV, so it will be fun to be there and see it in real life.  Hopefully a friend or two will show up and can video our attempts for posterity!

The weekend after that, Grover and I will be doing 3 days of agility in Niles (Youngstown), Ohio again.  We have not been to a trial since the first weekend in June, before our trip to Oregon.  We need to try to accumulate some points toward our MACH.   Next time I post, I should have an update on that.  Wish us luck!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Grandbaby & Graduate!

Wilder with his Nana and Papa

 Finally!  Sam and I both got to go and meet the beautiful grandbaby whose birth I missed by hours in early May.  His name is Wilder James Delmore Redding and he is just wonderful.

Since my last post, we have been busy on the farm.  Not as busy as we would like to be because we have had excess amounts of rain, which has kept us from cutting and baling hay and getting to work on replacing bridges that were washed out in last month's flood.  Sam should have done hay a month ago, but it is still standing in the field as we need at least 3 consecutive dry days in a row in order to have the hay dry properly and that still has not happened.  At this point Sam is debating whether to try to bale it or just cut it and let it lay.  That does not bode well for the second cutting.  

Unfortunately, the day before we left for Oregon we lost one of our 2 remaining alpacas.  Sadly she was the last of our original stock, and probably my favorite of all of them, Peg.  She came to us in 2000 from a farm on the Oregon coast and had many crias for us.  I think most of my photos from her are on old flash drives and I need to go through and find some to memorialize her with.  That will have to wait for my next post.  Peg would have turned 19 this week. We have only one alpaca left, Truffels, who will be 14 this fall.  She and Apples and Star are all that are left in the alpaca barn.

Jethro Tull in the rain with my boys
Our trip to Oregon commenced with flight delays, as usual, which got us into Portland a good 2 hours late.  We stayed in Portland that night and the next as we were attending a Jethro Tull 50th Anniversary concert on Saturday with both our sons.  I picked up younger son, Sam/Zac/Satchmo at the airport Saturday morning and when I got back to the hotel, Ian and Michelle and baby Wilder were there to meet us.  

The next day we went to Corvallis after checking in to our airbnb accommodations near Independence, OR, about 20 minutes from Corvallis.  It was hard to find a place to stay in the Corvallis area because most of the hotels were booked due to the Oregon State commencement which we were there to attend.  We lucked out with the place we stayed.  It was built as a wildlife observatory on a hilltop on 50 acres and had spectacular views in all directions.  The owners were great and while we were there they were putting up 3 tipis that they are also going to rent through airbnb.  We could see them from our place.

We also watched a pair of owls hunting in the field below us and sheep being herded in another field a little ways  away.  The sunsets were spectacular and there was a hot tub on the roof so you could really enjoy them if that was what you wanted to do.  We made use of it only one evening and it wasn't the best sunset evening.  We will definitely stay here again if Ian and his family stay in Corvallis.

On Monday I had to drive younger son Sam back to the airport for his flight back to California because he had to work that night.  We were just glad he was able to come and attend the concert and meet his nephew.  We are so seldom all together as a family anymore.

Then on Tuesday evening, I had to go back to the airport yet again and pick up my mom, who would be with us the rest of the trip.

Very close to the Observatory was the Rogue Hop Farm and tasting room.  It was way out in the country and there were acres and acres and acres of hops.  We went there one day for lunch and some craft beer and to check out the hops, as Sam is an avid home brewer and also a hop grower.  It was a really fun place, though on a Thursday afternoon there was almost no one there.

We had a good week. We did some hiking, went out to a really nice dinner at a farm to table restaurant (and Ian cooked for us one night), and then Friday was the commencement dinner for the College of Forestry, which appropriately was held in a tent in the college's research forest.  


Ian and my Mom

I am proud to say Ian was awarded "Outstanding Senior" in his major, Recreation Resource Management.  I am a proud mom, indeed.

Graduation was the next day.  It was held in the football stadium and was a huge event, lasting about 3 hours. Ian and Michelle and Wilder came over to our place for a cookout later that afternoon.   It was a really nice day and I am so glad we were able to be there.

 I think I have mentioned in past posts that I had been working on a "secret" project.  That project was my very first quilt.  I saw a quilt kit that made me think of Ian and just had to buy it and give it a try.  I am very pleased with  how it came out.

It has a woodland theme and one of the fabrics is a topographical map.  The lumberjack applique even looks like Ian.  It was fun to make and I like how it turned out.  I don't know that I will become a quilter, but now I know I can do it if I want to.  

That was pretty much our trip in a nutshell.  We are enthralled with little Wilder and look forward very much to spending more time with him as he grows.  It would be nice if there were not so many miles between us, but at least we are in a place in life where we can go visit when we want to.  Ian has yet to find a job, and maybe his career will bring them a little closer to us, though they would really prefer to stay in the Pacific northwest.  However, they are willing to move if need be.  

My brother Larry and his two sons stayed here on the farm while we were away.  This was truly a twofold blessing as I think the stress of conventional boarding would be extremely detrimental to Rowdy's health  His special diet also requires a bit of preparation at mealtimes.  I felt so much better leaving him in his own home.  And Larry also got to spend quality time with his two sons.  So the animals were well cared for, my mind was at peace and Larry and the boys had a great time. 

We are home and have no big travel plans in the foreseeable future.  I do have some agility trials upcoming, but the soonest is mid-July.  Sam will be going to the Dayton area in a couple weeks to help my brother Larry with a rather large home-improvement project and right now he is trying to get bridges across the creek replaced.   Sam is using the I-beams that used to support the larger bridge to replace the foot bridge and he plans to use culvert and cement for the "drive-across" bridge.  It would help to get all this work done if it would just stop raining.  But I am afraid that when it stops, it will really stop and we will be dry until fall.  I would really like a good garden harvest this year.  Last year was too cool and wet resulting in a poor tomato and corn crop.  I am hoping for better this year.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Big Flood & June Arrives.

At least it is less than a month since I last posted. For the past 8+ years I have written my blog posts while I was at our Real Estate office.  It was easy to sit at the computer and organize my thoughts and edit photos between phone calls.  When we had a lot going on on the farm (as in breeding, raising and taking care of 50+ alpacas and all that that required) I liked to post on a weekly basis, because something was always happening.  As we reduced our herd of alpacas I found there was less of interest (at least for me to write about) on a weekly basis and reduced my posts to about every other week.  I would like to keep to that schedule, but now that I am no longer captive at the office a couple of days a week I am finding it difficult to sit at the computer for the amount of time required to do a decent job.  I think the fact that it is summer also makes it more difficult to commit to the time because there is so much outdoor work to do.  As I write this, I can almost hear the weeds growing in the garden!
So much has happened since my last post.  It got kind of crazy around here for a while.  Really crazy, which had nothing to do with the fact that Sam left on a Friday to go to fishing in Canada with three other guys.  He has done this before and I felt I could handle things pretty well since we no longer have the office to man or any baby alpacas due.  All I had to do was take care of things at home, which was going to require a lot of mowing, planting the garden and weeding, going to agility class on Tuesday night and spending time on my own projects, such as plying some nice alpaca silk yarn, which is what I was doing in the photo above on Sunday afternoon after a nice long walk.  Little did I know that in just over 48 hours, the view from this deck would change quite a bit.

On Tuesday, I left in the evening for the 1 hour drive to Parkersburg for agility class which goes from 7 to about 8:20 pm.  It was a nice evening and there were possible thunderstorms in the forecast, which is a common evening occurrence at this time of year in Ohio.  When I headed home from class around 8:30 it was still light but it looked dark off to the north which was the direction I was going.  As I got closer to home, it got darker and darker and there was a lot of lightning going on.  About 2/3 of the way home, it started to rain and it rained like I have rarely experienced, and it was truly frightening.  The water started covering the roads and I was very happy indeed to be driving a big Ram 4 X 4.  I just wanted to get home.  I drove through a couple of sketchy places without issue, but when I got to the beaver pond, less than a mile from home, I stopped and contemplated whether I should continue on or turn around and take the high road, which would add 5 miles to my drive.  It was dark.  It was raining, and the water was rushing across the road and it looked deep.  It didn't take long for common sense to prevail, and I backed up to a place I could turn around and went the long, safe way home.

What I found when I got home was incredible.  I drove past the house to see how high the water had gotten and saw it was up running through the poly-shelter where we keep our tractors and trailers and various other machinery and equipment.  This had only happened once before when we were hit with the tail of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. That time we got about 5" of rain in one day.  And all this had just occurred in less than 2 hours!  I parked the truck and went on foot out to see how high the water had gotten.  It was 10 pm and quite dark and the rain had let up, but it was still coming down pretty hard.  This was what I saw as I looked across the creek toward the chicken coop.  The water had already receded somewhat, but the chicken coop looked wrong.  It had actually been picked up and turned 180 degrees!  Both our bridges were gone, so there was no way to go over and look more closely.  As I passed  my newly planted (now flooded garden), I heard a sharp hissing noise above the sound of rushing water and I feared a gas line break, so I returned to the house for a flashlight and went to inspect further.  Where the line from the gas wells goes into the pressure tank before going to the house there was indeed a leak, caused by a valve breaking open when the pressure take was moved off the blocks it sat on by the force of the water.   This really worried me because Sam was away and I have no idea how to repair a major break in a gas line.  And it was after 10 pm at night.  So I formed a plan for morning, had a nice glass of whiskey and went to bed.

By morning, the waters had receded greatly, as they usually do.  The water runs downhill, for the most part, to the Ohio River about 30 miles away and it does go down as quickly as it comes up.  But we had had so many of these drenching downpours this spring that the ground was saturated and, according to the local weatherman, we had gotten over 2.6" of rain in under 2 hours.  The water had come up under our deck on the house and washed all kinds of debris out from under it.  It had run through my gardens.  It had washed away both bridges.  It had picked up our hay rake and put it in a tree in the creek (the hitch end is circled in blue in the photo, the rest is  buried in debris or underwater).  It had run through the barn where Apples the pony and our last 2 alpacas and Star the guard dog live.  Thankfully our power never went out.  However, I had to get the gas back on.  I called the local gas and oil baron who has several gas/oil wells leased on our property, though not the one in question.  He was kind enough to send the  guys who do his well maintenance out to my place and they had things fixed up in no time.  They were able to find everything they needed in Sam's supply of fittings and they used our tractor to lift the pressure tank back up onto its blocks.  It was very nice of him to help me out, especially since Sam was not due back for 4 more days and I didn't relish having no hot water for that long.

In this photo, you can see the footbridge in 2 pieces on the far bank of the creek, one right next to the creek and the other above the pile of debris a little further down.

Another shot of where the larger bridge used to be.  One metal I-beam is still underwater and the other is exposed.  In the left bottom corner is where one end of the bridge used to be.  Part of the footbridge is up on the far bank.

The same view from the other side of the creek a little later in the day.  The water has receded a lot.

Later the in the day the day after the storm, I got the tractor out and hitched up the portion of the footbridge that was parallel to the creek and dragged one end across so that I would be able to cross the creek without wading. This is something I need to do at least twice a day since we have animals on that side of the creek.

The chickens were a bit confused about how to get back into their coop, since their entry door was now on the opposite side of the building.  Their enclosure was no longer enclosing their yard.  I keep visualizing the wild ride they must have had when the water picked that coop up and swung it around.  I think the only thing that stopped it from going further was the buried electric line that goes into it.

Once Sam got home Sunday, we got busy .  There is still clean up to do and bridges need to be rebuilt.   But the hay rake is out of the tree and appears to be repairable and the chicken coop has been returned to its proper place and the fence fixed.  There was a lot of damage to a fence in a pasture across the road from our other house as well and Sam has repaired that already.  Hopefully it will be at least another 14 years before we experience this much flooding again.

In other news, Grover and I attended a 3 day agility trial near Youngstown, Ohio this past weekend, where we earned our QQ # 20!!!!!  We also got another QQ and a Jumpers Q and earned 50 MACH points.  We now need 119 points to earn our MACH title.  It is within reach.  I am SO excited!

Our next trial will be at the same venue, but not until the middle of July.  This weekend Sam and I are heading to Oregon to meet our new grandson and to attend the graduation of our son, Ian, from Oregon State University, with a bachelors degree from the College of Forestry in Recreation Resource Management and a minor in Geographic Information Science.  We are so incredibly proud of his accomplishments and are very much looking forward to our trip  We will be joined for a short time by our other son, Sam/Zac/Satchmo and also my mother.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

And A Month Passes......

One of Grover's greatest joys in life, diving after rocks.
I will blame my tardiness in writing a new post on life changes and just generally being away from a computer with a keyboard.  A lot has happened in the past month, two of which are changes that are truly major events in just about anyone's life, I think.  

The most amazing, of course, was the birth of our very first grandchild, Wilder James Delmore Redding.  He was born at 8:43 am on Wednesday, May 2nd, just as I was lining up to board my flight home from Oregon, where I had been for the past week, expecting his arrival.  However, the induction procedure was postptoned a couple of times, and even though I changed my return travel arrangements and stayed 2 days longer than planned, I missed actually getting to meet him.  But he is here now and he is healthy and my son and daughter-in-law are totally infatuated with him and all is good.  I will be returning to Oregon for son Ian's graduation from Oregon State in about 3 weeks, so I will get to meet baby Wilder then.

About 1 year ago...
The other big life change is of course our retiring from our Real Estate business.  It is now real and it has been over a month since I went in to our office for anything other than to clean things out and bring them home.  I always did my blog posts from our office, as I generally had time to spend organizing photos and my thoughts while I was there.  So it seems odd to be doing it at home.  We are still in the process of cleaning out years worth of accumulated "stuff" at the office and the building itself is for sale.  Sam is doing most of the cleaning out of old records and office supplies, etc.  For my part, my loom room is totally empty now and my studio at home is now quite full.

So I now have almost everything all in one place.  Sadly, however, since it is now full on spring and outdoor work season and it stays light so late, I am finding little time to work on projects in my studio.  And when I have had time to get out there, I have been working on a super-secret project, about which I will post later.

Grover and I have attended two agility trials since my last post, one right before my Oregon trip in April.  This was a 3 day trial put on in Zanesville by my club and we did not have a very good weekend.  Out of 10 runs, we only had one Q.  Most of our runs were good, but it takes only one little mistake to miss out on qualifying.  But this past weekend we attended a trial in Dayton at a facility we had never been to before and we had a pretty great weekend.  Only 4 runs over 2 days and we had 3 Qs, including QQ #19 on Saturday.  We came SO close to getting our 20th QQ on Sunday, but at the end of a perfect jumper's run, I pulled up too soon, causing Grover to hesitate just enough to knock the very last bar.  Talk about frustrating!  Grover also was 3rd place both days in standard, which rarely happens.  There were very few border collies at this trial.  They are always way faster than we are!  Doesn't he look happy?
Our next trial is the first weekend in June, right before we go to Oregon.

Sam and I have been working on getting the gardens in.  So far tomato, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano and thyme plants have gone in.   I have also planted seeds for Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, beets, cukes, butternut squash and pumpkins.  I still need to plant corn and would like to get some sweet potatoes and onions in as well.  We are harvesting asparagus and the garlic has come up.  Sam has hunted for morels with some success, but nothing like last year's bumper crop.  The bees are doing well and I hope to get a honey harvest before too long.  
As far as fibery stuff, we have two old alpacas who need to be shorn at some point.  The set up and clean up will take longer than the shearing!  I still have a lightweight cardigan sweater on my needles, but have not been working on it a lot due to what seems to be tendonitis in my right elbow.  I am down to part of one sleeve to finish and I will be done.  I would like to finish it before our Oregon trip.  I also have some cotton/linen towels in blue and white on my small loom.  They will be so nice.  I haven't used the linen blend for towels before and I like weaving with it.  The blue and white check is rather classic.  I like it.  

I need to put a rug warp on the big loom and weave some more selvedge rugs.  I almost forgot to add that I bought 40# of Pendleton wool selvedges on my trip to Oregon last month and checked 30 pounds of them through as baggage on my flight home. Thank you Southwest no fee baggage policies!  I couldn't fit the other 10 pounds in my dad's old army duffel, so will get them next month.  That should hold me for a while, I think.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Still Cold! And Big Changes.

I let Rowdy lay on the Pendleton wool rug I am mailing to son Sam/Zac/Satchmo in California.  I thought he might like to know a bit of Rowdy is there.  Rowdy was a puppy the summer between Zac's high school graduation and college, so he and Zac have a special relationship.  Rowdy will be 13 on the 30th of this month.  Last fall I wasn't sure he would be here for that birthday.  But he continues on, for which I am glad.

Both rugs are finished.  Zac's is packaged for mailing tomorrow and Ian's will accompany me when I fly to Oregon in just a few days.  Baby has not put in his appearance yet, but it should happen any day now!  The package with the baby wrap and the 12m size sweater was received and the parents to be seemed very happy with both.  I understand wrapping has been practiced.


Since my last post, the weather has been mostly quite cold still.  We did have 3 days that were nice last week, even into the 80's one day, but then right back into the freezer we went. 

In fact it was warm enough that the bees were out flying everywhere. I have been feeding them sugar water, a quart every other day or so, but I will stop that as soon as the weather stays a little warmer and more things start to bloom.  I want honey made with nectar, not sugar water.

Flowers have bloomed, but in general I think everything is behind.  Monday, it snowed.  Today it is near 50.  It was 26 degrees when I awoke this morning and we had a heavy frost.

 So I have been spending a lot of time indoors.  Last week I tore down my big loom, which had been at our office since I bought it 6 or 7 years ago, and moved it home and put it in my studio.  I also brought almost everything else from the loom room at our office home and there is still some organizing that needs to be done.  There is a large storage cabinet that needs to be moved from the office, and all its contents are in boxes waiting for it to be moved in.  
On Sunday I gave the big loom, Mira (the model of the loom), a good cleaning and conditioning and reassembled it.  Sam was able to make some improvements to the brake system on Mira, which I had contemplated replacing while I had the loom apart.  Now I think I may not need to do that.  Once I get a warp on Mira I will be able to tell.  This loom was built in the 1940's and I would like to keep it as original as I can.

The reason for clearing out my loom room at the office is that after 20 years, we have decided to close our Real Estate business and retire.  It seems like such a huge step, but then again, it just seems like yet another change.  Life has been a series of changes for Sam and myself.  We have not been afraid to take on new things, and it has worked out well for us. We feel very fortunate that the choices we have made and the chances we have taken have led us to this place in our life together.  We have been greatly blessed in so many ways.  At then end of this month, our business will officially be closed.  My studio was built last year with that in mind since there was no place in our house that would house Mira, my rug loom.  So it appears that I will now have a lot of time for weaving, gardening, doing dog agility and hiking in the woods and maybe some horseback riding....

And speaking of dog agility, Grover and I attended 1 day of a trial last Friday and earned our QQ18!  This weekend, we will spend 3 days bar hopping in Zanesville.  And then on Tuesday I will be off to Oregon for 6 days.

The lightweight cardigan is still on my knitting needles, though I have given it a break while I work on a kind of secret project.  Something totally new for me.  Details to be revealed at a later date.

I also plied 2 bobbins of hand dyed, handspun alpaca/silk yarn.  I LOVE how this came out.  I have 600 yards in this one skein, that is about 4 1/2 ounces.  And I still have 2 bobbins to ply.  I am not sure what this will become, but it may need to be a big lace shawl.  Whatever it becomes, it needs to be something spectacular!

By the next time I post, I should be a grandmother!  I should say I will be a "Nana" as that is what I will be called, following in the footsteps of some great women I have had the pleasure to know (and be related to!).