Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Time Just Flies, That's My Excuse!

Sam's mom, Mary, and I flew to Portland the first of November.  She had yet to meet little Wilder, who was 6 months old on the 2nd of November.  Wilder thought his great grandma was just wonderful!  He is such a happy smiley baby.  Ian and Michelle are truly lucky.  

We were there for 5 days.  The weather was mild, cloudy one minute and overcast the next.  Ian and Michelle's apartment faces east and they have a view of Mt Hood in the distance on a clear day.  We were favored with a glimpse of it one day only.  The MAX (train) station is right across the street and Ian takes it to work downtown every morning.  And Wilder will be able to watch him coming home when he gets a little older.  It's kind of neat.  Mary and I babysat Wilder on Friday for a few hours while Michelle worked.  On Monday, Mary stayed at the apartment with Michelle while I took the MAX in to downtown and went to lunch with Ian.  So I got to experience what his commute is like and got to see the building where he works, if not his office.  Had it not been raining, we would have taken lunch to the rooftop deck area, but it is November in Portland.  All in all it was a very nice trip.  I already have plans to return in late February and this time my mom will accompany me.

 I made Wilder some "Monster Butt" pants.  

I also made him an adorable hat, but it is WAY too small for his noggin!   It may have fit him 6 months ago, but who needs a wool hat in May?  I have promised to make one just like it only bigger.   Sheesh.  Can you tell I am not used to knitting for babies?

Even going out to eat this kid is a delight.  

However, standing in line at Ikea for 45 minutes (!) was enough to test anyone's patience.  I have never had to wait so long in line there before.  It was a Sunday, but I have been there on Saturday before with no such trouble.   


He looks happy, right?

When last I wrote, Grover and I were heading off to our October agility trial in just a few days.  We had a successful 3 days, earning 2 more QQs towards our second MACH and a first place in Premier standard on Friday.  I even took a photo of the placement because we usually do not place and especially not first place!
In second place is T-Bo, who is one of the dogs who was in our beginner agility class 4 1/2 years ago.  T-Bo got his first MACH in March this year.  

Additionally, we earned enough points this trial to qualify for the AKC Agility Nationals in Tulsa,OK in March.  Plans are in the works to go!

Our fall turned cool and rainy.  Rainy.  Enough already.  My birthday was the 23rd and it was a gorgeous day.  A perfect fall day and I requested that Sam go hiking with Grover and me at Lamping Homestead.   It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.  I just wish we had had more days like that in October.  I feel like fall didn't really happen.  

off the loom

But the weather is a perfect excuse to sit and knit or spend time in my studio weaving.  Of course there are some secret things in the works this time of year, but I have mostly finished the Candy Cane towels that were on my loom last post.  Once off the loom they must be washed, ironed and hemmed.  3 are yet to be hemmed.


I have 6 towels and 2 little dish cloths.  These will be for sale at the Christmas Festival in Woodsfield on Dec 1st.

 I have a lacy beaded shawl on my knitting needles.  I have made little progress  because I had to finish stuff to take out to Oregon with me.  It doesn't look like much at this point, but it will be so pretty when it is done.  

I also made this hat for Michelle.  At least it seems to fit.....

But the main thing that kept me busy was this sweater.  I wanted to finish it in time to wear it to Oregon and I did.  I finished it 2 days before our trip and I was able to wear it on the plane.  It is so comfy!  I just love it.  You may have noticed I am wearing it in the photo at the top of the blog page.

Next week is Thanksgiving!  How can that be possible?  We will travel across the state to Mom's, once again leaving the truck in Zanesville because Grover and I will be dropped off there on Saturday to attend our agility trial Saturday and Sunday.  My aunt and my cousin Tracey will be at Mom's for Thanksgiving this year.  It has been a few years since they were there, so I am really looking forward to it.  

After Thanksgiving, gun season for deer starts in Ohio, so Sam will be out with the guys all week.  Then it will be December.   I have the Christmas Festival on the first, followed by the Dog Club Christmas party 2 days later.  I will likely manage to keep busy the rest of the month as well.

Hanging out on the deck in the fall.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mid-October and Fall May Finally Have Arrived!

And here he is, Rowdy, once again gracing the top of the post.  The new medications he is on, while not making him as spry as he once was, have at least made him able to enjoy his life once again to a certain extent.  This photo was a week ago when we were still experiencing high temperatures in the mid to upper 80s.  When Sam was working on the new bridge, he dug the dirt he needed out of what was then the dry creek and made a "swimming hole" right behind the house.  I know he had Rowdy in mind when he did that and Rowdy took advantage of the belly-deep water a couple of days last week.  It makes me happy to see him enjoying himself.

Here is how the new bridge looks at the moment.  Cement trucks leave really deep ruts in one's yard.  The cement was poured around 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon, and at 5pm the very next day, there was so much water going over this bridge that you almost couldn't tell it was there.  Some of the dirt was washed away and some repairs need to be made, but we were lucky the cement had 24 hours to cure before the deluge.  It ain't the prettiest bridge ever, but it suits the purpose.

As I mentioned, we had very unseasonably hot weather up until about a week ago.  The big change came last Thursday and we abruptly went from highs in the 80s to highs in the 50s.  And we have had mostly rainy overcast days since then.  But yesterday, it was at least sunny, as is today.  I hope to get in a good hike around the farm this afternoon.

Sam and five other guys returned home Sunday night from a ten day trip to Newfoundland on Canada's eastern coast, where they went on a moose hunt.  Each of them came home with a moose and Lee even came home with a black bear as well.  They drove out in two trucks, one pulling a trailer with chest freezers to bring back the meat.  It was a long drive and there was a ferry ride of several hours each way to Newfoundland, which is actually an island.  It sounds like a place I might like to visit someday.  Then Monday four of them got together and ground and wrapped several hundred pounds of moose meat.  Lee is on the left and Sam on the right in this photo.  I think they all had a really good time.

I held down the fort here while Sam was away, though I kept pretty busy. I volunteered at a Bingo fundraiser for the county K9 officers, which was a huge success.  I did my usual Tuesday agility class, had lunch with Sam's mom, made applesauce for the freezer and did some knitting and weaving.  On Thursday Mom arrived with some of the ladies from her book club for a two night stay at the newly remodeled guest house and Friday I went to Marietta with them.  They were a lot of fun to spend time with and I think they enjoyed their visit to the farm. 

Of course, Grover and I took our daily walks and here are some photos from those:

While we had temps in the 80s, it was still a bit hot during the day to spend much time in my unair-conditioned studio, but I did manage to get out there on many evenings.  Yesterday, I spent most of the day out there.  I did some mending of a pair of Sam's coveralls and a pair of my barn mittens as well as some weaving.  Here is what is on my looms:  Christmas towels on the 8 shaft loom,

and selvedge rugs on the 4 shaft loom.  

Sadly, I did not make a long enough warp for the rugs, so I think I have decided to not finish the second rug and just unweave it  and re-use the selvedges at another time,  when I do a better job of planning my warp.  I'm not sure what I did wrong.  It may be I just made rug #1 longer than I should have.  So it is a waste of warp, but that's cheaper than the selvedges and easier to get.

Upcoming events include a 3 day agility trial for Grover and me this coming weekend in Zanesville.  All the pressure seems to be off since we got our MACH last month, though we do need to accumulate some points in order to qualify for AKC Nationals, which we would like to do.  

Then I have a little over a week at home and I head off to Oregon with Sam's mom, Mary, to see Ian and his family.  The last time I saw my grandson, Wilder, he was only about 6 weeks old.  He will be 6 months old the day after we get there, so I expect him to be a lot different than last time I saw him.  Sam's mom hasn't had the opportunity to meet him yet and I know she is very much looking forward to doing so .

That's it for now.  Will I post again in October?  We'll see.  Meanwhile, here is pretty Apples the Welsh pony:

Friday, October 5, 2018

And Its October and I'm Wrapping Up September.

A month ago, when I last posted, Grover and I were about to attend a trial where we were anticipating earning our Master Agility Champion (MACH) title. 

Grover's wall in my studio
 So the exciting news is that we did it!  We needed only 18 points going in, which for us meant we had to have 2 clean runs.  We did not have a qualifying run in standard  on Friday, so the pressure was off to get the MACH that day, but we did Q in Jumpers that afternoon, earning 11 points, which meant we needed only 7 more.  So I called Sam that night so he was on alert to be there early Saturday morning and he arrived just before our walk through for standard around 10 am .  Grover and I had a great run in standard, with the last 4 obstacles being a tunnel then 3 jumps.  When we were still clean going into that tunnel, I just knew we could do it and we did!  It was SO exciting.  When you get a MACH you and your dog get to take a victory lap around the ring and someone brings you out a bar and ribbon and the judge congratulates you and it's pretty amazing!  Everyone tells me there is no feeling like that very first MACH and I believe it.  I am so proud of my goofy little rescue Aussie.  He has been such fun and we plan to go on and see how long it takes us to get MACH 2 and maybe even 3.  

But the week prior to our MACH weekend, we had our 21st Annual Labor Day party here on the farm.  It was a very hot weekend, but I think we had one of the best labor Day weekend parties ever.  Our friends Lee and Viktorija brought along 3 families,  all of whom were international but living currently in Dayton.  Viktorija herself is from Lithuania, so the Lithuanians were well represented, but there were also a man from Nepal and 2 other people from France and a whole lot of kids.  The kids had a great time.
 One of the women from Lithuania arrived and took over the grill and cooked some wonderful food and just as it got dark, the guy from Nepal produced a guitar and he and my brother Larry took turns entertaining us on the back deck.  It really was a great time.  That was Saturday.  On Sunday, we headed up to the pond with nieces and nephews and our whole group for swimming and zip-lining and maybe a bit more partying.  It wasn't long before more people started to arrive and I think the final count at the pond that afternoon was 31 people!  SO MUCH FUN!

 It was a great weekend in all and somewhat exhausting, but I know those kids will never forget it and we will remember it for years as a great time had with great people.  Thanks to Lee and Viktorija for bringing their friends and to the rest of our neighbors for joining the fun.


The garden is pretty much done for the year, though there are still some roma tomatoes and a lot of peppers out there.  My friend Tari gave me some heirloom tomato plants and some were these beautiful yellow cherry tomatoes which really thrived in my herb garden.  And the tomatoes were fabulous! I ate a lot just off the vine.  I will save seeds and replant these next spring.

I think the excessive rain we had all summer and spring really hurt the garden.  I got almost no butternut squash and no pumpkins at all.  My pumpkin plants just died after the second time the garden was under water.  Maybe next year will be better.

Speaking of underwater, Sam has worked diligently to try to get a new bridge finished before winter.  Usually September is rather dry, but since we needed dry weather, we got lots of rain. And more rain.  Two days ago, we were finally able to get cement delivered to top the bridge with.

 It stayed nice and dry for the rest of the day, thankfully, but at 5 pm yesterday, the whole thing was once again underwater.  At least the cement had over 24 hours to set before it poured rain, but it would have been nice to have a few dry days.

Sam left early this morning to go to Newfoundland, Canada, with 5 friends to hunt moose.  He will be away for at least 10 days, which is one reason he wanted to get the cement done on the bridge.  We will be into mid-October by the time he returns home.

In other farm news, we are down to only 4 hens now.  The month of September was rough on the chickens.   There were a couple of hawks that seemed to think our chickens were some sort of free dinner buffet, and we lost 4 in about 4 days.  Measures were taken to discourage the predators and for a few days we did not lose any more, but then it started again and once again, we had to intervene on behalf of our flock.  By then we were down to 5.  And just this past weekend, the last old hen we had died of natural causes.  She was about 4, which I think is pretty much a normal lifespan.  So we are out of the egg business for now.  I will decide in the spring whether to get more chickens or not.

My mom and I took a trip last weekend to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to visit my aunt and cousins there and also to attend Artprize, a yearly 3 week long art contest in the city of Grand Rapids.  We spent one day downtown looking at art and we did some shopping as well.  It was a very nice visit.  My cousin Matt and his wife have a new baby who is about a week older than my grandson, Wilder, so I got to meet him.  Sure hope we can get those 2 kids together when they get a little older.   

That's about it on what's going on around here.  I just want to post an update on Rowdy.  We decided a couple weeks ago to talk to the vet about putting him on medication to make him more comfortable, even if it shortens his time with us.  So far, he is doing really well and much more like his old self.  He is not pain-free, but I think it is now at a tolerable level.  It makes us happy to see the spark back in his eye and to have him greet us once again when we arrive home.  I hope it lasts a while longer, but I am at the point where if he were to just pass on in his sleep, I think I would be okay with that.  I wish he could be healthy and happy and live another 20 years, but I know that isn't possible, so I will deal with it.  He is 13 1/2  now.

I have not had a lot of time for Fiber-y pursuits, though I did weave some kitchen towels for my cousin for her new kitchen.  They came out great.  Her new kitchen is colors of grey and these matched quite well.

I also finished a couple of tencel scarves in black and white:

I have several ongoing knitting projects, but nothing finished.  Now that fall is here, I hope to get some work done on those.

Maybe I can also get another blog post done before November.  Time will tell.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wrapping Up August

I know it is September, and it has been over a month since my last post, but it has been a crazy month of so much going on.  So I will do a post now, September 9th, dealing with the last 3 weeks of August and hopefully follow in a couple days with the beginning of September.

So to start off, Grover and I were about to head off to Niles Ohio for 3 days of agility when last I posted.  We needed 60 points to earn our MACH (Master Agility Championship).  From my lack of posting, one could conclude that we did not get our 60 points.  And we did  not.  However, we did get 42 points over the 3 days and one more QQ, so we now need only 18 points.  In just 4 days, we will be going to our club's September trial in Zanesville, which is a 3 day trial. 18 points should be easy.  We should get our MACH.  I will be so excited and nervous that I could totally screw us up all weekend.  But my plan is to  get that MACH!

 The carpet is in in the guest house.  It is amazing what fresh paint and carpet can do for a house, not to mention new drywall, a new bathroom, etc, etc.  It looks wonderful!

Once all that was finished, there was some time to concentrate on my kitchen.  The counters were in, but I needed to paint and do the tile backsplash.


Paint first, of course.  And of course all this was going on in the middle of canning season. My color scheme is completely different now and I really like it.

 Next, the backsplash went in.  This was my very first tiling job and I did pretty well, I think.  The only problem was I came up a little short on grout, so while I had plans of being finished prior to Labor Day, I had to wait until afterward to acquire additional grout to finish the back corner, but it was good enough to have house guests.

I am so pleased with the outcome.  Considering I had no clue what I even wanted when I went to look at countertops, it has all come together quite nicely.  I still need to do something with the flooring, but I just have not had time to deal with that.  Maybe soon, though September and October are looking pretty crazy busy as well.

The garden has come along well.  Except for my squash and pumpkins which have done horribly.  I usually have an abundance of those.  My pumpkin plants just died.  And my squash plants are not producing well at all.  I am placing some of the blame on the garden being totally underwater at least twice early on .  That and lack of good fertilizer.  I will fix that next year for sure.  I have canned marinara sauce, Sam has dried tomatoes, I have made pesto and basil ice cubes.  I canned a batch of peach jam and 8 pints of peaches that I picked from Sam's parents' tree.  Like I said, we have been keeping busy.

 Sam has gotten a really important project underway: the new bridge.  He decided to go with one bridge that could be driven across and he put it where the old footbridge was.  It is on hold right now while he figures out the next step, but it needs to be cemented before October.  The creek needs to be dry when that happens.  But for now, it is usable.  which is really nice.

Sam and I also attended the annual Mountaineer Brewfest in Wheeling on the 18th of August.  As a member of the Wheeling Alers Homebrew club, Sam is kind of expected to help out as a volunteer and I like to go along and volunteer as well.  What a tough volunteer job!  It is always a great time.  I manned the Alers booth for several hours and then went on to pour beer for one of the many West Virginia craft brewers who were there.  It was a lot of fun once again.  That's me with a couple of the "Alers".

In nature news, I have been keeping my eyes open on my walks for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.  I have seen no less than 16 of them in the 6 weeks.  All different sizes.  This guy here to the right is almost large enough to "pupate", or make a chrysalis and become a butterfly. 

And then there is this tiny little fellow, who still needs to consume a lot of milkweed leaves.  I have even had Sam detour with the ATV for several weeks to avoid running over a patch of milkweed in which I have found several caterpillars .

I was also surprised by a black snake that moved into a small organizing bin in a cupboard in my barn.  It was all curled up in a very small space for about 4 days and then departed, leaving behind a 5' skin.  I really didn't think that snake was that large!  

The skin on the left is the one from the snake in the barn.  Sam found the other in a granary down by the guest house.  Black snakes are numerous around here and eat lots of little pests, like mice and birds who nest in barn rafters and crap everywhere.  I like black snakes.  

However, I do not like critters who eat my chickens!  In August, we lost 4 hens to hawks and a raccoon.  The raccoon actually got into the coop at night and killed and consumed one hen.  The rest just disappeared from the yard during the day leaving nothing behind but a pile of feathers.  The raccoon has been dealt with.  The hawks are more difficult to control.  So by September 1st, we were down to 6 laying hens and one old hen.  Very sad.  These hens were less than a year and half old and had lots of laying time ahead.  I have not decided yet whether to replace them. 

I have had very little time to do much fiber work.  So everything that was under way in my last post is pretty much still being worked on.  Since Labor Day is now behind us and the weather has decided to cool off I have had some time to devote to those more leisurely pursuits.  I should have more on that soon.  Maybe I will wait to post again after the agility trial next weekend.  I hope to have big news by then!



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August in Ohio

Our sweet Rowdy spends most of his time seeking out the coolest spots in the house.  I am sure he is dreaming of laying on the porch on a 10 degree F night.  Otherwise, his favorite time of day is mealtime.  He eats very well and is getting regular acupuncture to help with his arthritis.  He has more coat than he has ever had and since he doesn't swim in the pond anymore, it is staying relatively nice.  We cherish each day with him.

I think I don't have much to post about, and then I realize I really do.  August has arrived since my last post, but before that, Grover and I attended a 2 day agility trial in Dayton.  We are "chasing the MACH" as an agility friend put it.  We needed 72 points going into that trial and we came out still needing 60.  It was not our best trial.  Grover was NQd in standard both days by his reluctance/refusal to get on the table, of all things!  That was almost 2 weeks ago and tomorrow we leave for a 3 days weekend of agility in Niles, Ohio once again.  60 points is doable, but it will require us to be flawless.  Will we MACH this weekend?  I suppose anything can happen.  If not, there is always September in Zanesville.  

We have had an ongoing project at the guest house since January or thereabouts and it is about to be finished.  Labor Day weekend is a little over 3 weeks away and we will have lots of company.  The 2 bedrooms that needed drywall have been drywalled and all 3 bedrooms and the living room ceiling (which needed repair) have been painted.  Clean-up has commenced and carpet is scheduled to be installed Friday.  While I am away.  It will be like a new house.  I will post "after" photos next time.

In addition to that, I decided to re-do my kitchen, starting with countertops.  We remodeled our kitchen in 2002 and put in laminate countertops and an acrylic sink and they were getting pretty shabby.  So here's the before  >>>>>>>>>>

And the after :

I will be painting and putting up a mosaic tile backsplash.   Before Labor Day?  Maybe.  

Also keeping me busy has been the garden, though I have neglected it to get painting done.  We are now enjoying corn and tomatoes and peppers and cukes, along with fresh herbs. 

 The tomatoes are just starting to come on and many of the plants are as tall as I am.  Or taller.  I also harvested garlic this past week, though I am disappointed in how little I got.  We got a lot more last year and actually still have quite a bit, so I doubt we will run out.

This past weekend, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of our first corn on the cob, grilled in the husk, along with bruschetta made with roma tomatoes, garlic and basil all grown right here, atop toasted homemade baguettes.  It really doesn't get much better.  Though the next night was just about as good with corn on the cob and BLTs with nice garden fresh tomatoes.  Yum.

While I was away the last weekend in July, Sam pushed the wooden remains of our 2 bridges  that were destroyed in May's flash flood into the now dry creek and burned them, along with the debris pile that was deposited in the wake of the flood.  It is amazing to see the wash out on both sides of where the bridge used to be.  I'm not sure what Sam's plans are on getting a new bridge put in.  He has also been really busy with the construction project at the guest house.  It will happen.

 In addition to everything else, I have managed to work on some fiber-y projects, though lack of air-conditioning in my studio limits my time out there to late evenings these days.

I have 2 more selvedge rugs off the loom and ready to be hemmed and then I will tie a new warp onto the ends of the old warp and weave a couple more in a different color.

I also have black and white tencel scarves on my smaller loom.

There will be 2 of these and I am not sure if I will add a third color into the second one or stick with black and white.  

I am also carding some batts of 60% alpaca and 40% silk.  Each batt is about 2 oz and I have done 5 of them and should have enough of this alpaca to card up 2 more.  I will probably spin that and then dye it.  Or will I dye it and then spin it?  I have not decided.

I also spun up about 4 ounces of some dyed roving I bought at a farm market in Grand Rapids Michigan a couple of years ago.  I spun it long draw and it went really quickly and made a nice lofty woolen yarn.  I think I have enough for mittens.  I also  have another "bump" of dyed roving in a different color from the same vendor that I am looking forward to spinning.

And the last thing I will post about today is a sweater I think I posted about before.  I have made a little progress, but not a lot (I can't imagine why!).

 I am at the point of just knitting in circles with thin grey yarn.  It will likely go to the agility trial with me this weekend for hotel room knitting.

I think that will do it for this post. I will end with a lovely photo of my very first sunflower bloom of the summer.