Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Trip to Portland and A Big Snow

I flew to Portland OR on the 18th of this month to spend some time with my 2 sons and my daughter-in-law-to-be.  I took photos, but only on my phone, which fell out of my pocket in the shuttle from my hotel to the airport on Saturday morning and has not yet made it to Ohio.  At least it was recovered and my son has picked it up and will send it to me.

But we had such a nice visit.  It was rainy the first couple days I was there, but then on Thursday which was when we went to the wedding venue, Silver Falls State Park, it was just overcast and around 50 degrees.  We got in a short hike and a picnic and got to go to the actual site where the wedding will be held and Michelle made notes and looked for just the right place to hold the ceremony and we discussed the rehearsal dinner and other details.  June is still over 4 months away, but it will be here before we know it.  

Friday was actually bright and sunny and about 60 degrees in Portland, while here in eastern Ohio, we were getting walloped with snow.  I was concerned about my return flight into Pittsburgh via Chicago, but I did not need to be.  Chicago had almost no snow and Pittsburgh had only about 3 to 4".  By the time I arrived at around 4 pm on Saturday, the roads were clear and there were no delays or other issues for my trip.  However, there was 14" of snow on the ground at home!  The farther south I drove from the airport toward home, the more snow there was. 

There was a full moon when I arrived home, so of course Sam and the dogs and I bundled up and went for a walk down the road.   The snow was too deep to venture off the road, but it was still spectacularly beautiful.  Sunday morning I had to go up and dig the fronts of the bee hives out of the snow so they could go out if they needed to.  I have some old hay bales stacked behind the hives to block some of the wind from the west but the hive entrances are at the bottom and they were thoroughly covered up.  The bees seem to be doing okay so far.  I have been feeding them on a regular basis and I just hope to get them through the winter so they can build up in the spring and maybe I can get a honey harvest this year.

 This is not the biggest snowfall we have had.  We had 22" over President's Day weekend in 2003 (I think that was the year).  Sam gets the tractor out and plows pathways between the buildings to make it easier to walk from place to place.  Here is the path from the chicken coop over to the alpaca barn.  

 And from the mud room door over to the footbridge.

Yesterday, Tuesday, it got well above freezing all day so much of the snow has already melted.  

But it was pretty while it lasted.

Since I got home from my trip, I have gotten back to work on the sweater I started in December.  I did not take it with me because it was too big to easily carry along (I took a pair of mittens instead) and work on on the plane.  I have now finished the cabled part of the body of the sweater and have moved on the ribbed lower edge.

This is the back.  That's a lot of cables!  I do like this type of knitting that keeps my mind engaged, though there is a time and place for knitting one does not have to think about as well (like on a plane).  

I also sewed the bindings on one of the rugs I took off the loom before my trip.  Hopefully I will get the other one done in the next few days. 

This one is white alpaca yarn for the weft and I think there are 5 different colors in the warp.  The other rug is the same except using grey alpaca rug yarn.  So my big loom is empty right now and I am not sure what will be on it next.  By March, I plan to have a big project on it, something I can hopefully enter in the Monroe Artists' Art Show in April.  That gives me a month to plan and weave another rug or two.  


Thursday, January 14, 2016

They're Gone

On Saturday morning Sam and I loaded 12 of our alpacas onto a trailer and sent them to Tennessee.  The barn seems so empty.  But all went well and they arrived at their new home safely.  I hope they do well there.  

Meanwhile, I still have the big dogs out there guarding their 3 senior female alpacas and the 2 boys down the road.  I'd like to find a new home for the dogs, but I want to see if I can get some weight off Star first.  I think now that there won't be 20 alpacas to clean up after I may finally be successful at that.  Both dogs vacuum up any little scrap of feed that hits the floor.

Our weather took quite a turn on Tuesday.  The photo above is the view of the state highway from my office window in late morning.  There was barely a dusting of snow when I left home and by the time it stopped snowing about 2 pm, I think there was about 5 to 6" here in Woodsfield.  The temperatures also dropped overnight and we had a low of -6 on Wednesday morning with frozen pipes (as usual).  I spent a lot of time with a hairdryer on Wednesday thawing them out.  

Not much else is new.  I am leaving Monday to go to Portland for 5 days so I wanted to be sure to get a quick post up before then.  Over the weekend I did some dyeing:

My 2 lightest colors are a bit too close.  I may have to dye another skein.  Otherwise I am pleased with how this came out.  It is warp for a big project.

Speaking of warp, just today I finished the weaving on 2 alpaca rugs and took them off the loom.  I used color in the warp and then did solid white and solid grey for the weft.  These weave up very quickly with soild color weft, no cutting and measuring for stripes required.

Check out my hat I knit for my trip to Portland next week:

I just finished it and I plan to put a big pompom on top, even though I am not usually a pompom kind of girl.  This is a free pattern on Ravlery,  the baa-ble hat
and I used leftovers from other projects to knit it.  It was very quick. 

  See, the hat is knit with some of the same yarn as the sweater I am wearing today!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy 2016!

A brand New Year has arrived once again.  I know already that there are changes in store for this year and time will tell what we will make of those changes.

The first change is that 12 of my 17 alpacas are due to be loaded onto a trailer in just 3 days to make a trip to their new home in Tennessee.  We have had alpacas here on the farm since 1999, starting with only 3 and having over 50 for quite some time.  Over the last 3 years or so we have slowly reduced to less than 25, and then to 17 this past September.  I always said that 25 was kind of the magic number:  more than 25 was work, less than 25 was enjoyable.  It is gratifying to know that one of those first 3 alpacas to inhabit our farm will be one of the 5 remaining.  
Another big event for 2016 will be the wedding of my older son, Ian, to his partner of 7 years, Michelle.  The wedding will be in June in Oregon and I am looking forward to it.  In fact, I am flying to Portland in just under 2 weeks to spend some time with them and with younger son Sam/Zac/Satchmo who will be visiting Portland while the lodge at Yosemite is closed for 6 weeks.  I will get to hear about wedding plans and hopefully see the venue and meet some of Michelle's family.  

In late summer son Ian and his new wife will hopefully move from Portland to Corvalis OR  so Ian can finally begin the Forestry program at Oregon State.  He will have established his residency in Oregon by then, which he was denied this past year. 

So those are a few things on the agenda besides the usual happenings.  Tonight Grover and I start back to agility class.  We have been moved to a Wednesday night class at 8 pm, which means I will not get home until after 10 pm.  I am looking forward to getting back to class.  The weather has not been really conducive to practicing outside.  Our next trial is in mid February.

Mom was here for several days between Christmas and New Year's.  We made a trip up to Amish country together so I could take her to the Zinck's Fabric Outlet that Tari and I have been to a couple of times.  I think Mom was overwhelmed at the selection.  It was a lot of fun.


Our weather has been a typical roller coaster ride.  60's before Christmas and then two nights ago we were down to 5 degrees.  On Monday, when the dogs and I left the house for our walk, it looked like this:

The temperature was in the mid-20's and the sun was shining, but we had had snow squalls on and off all day.  

We did the loop up to the pond and by the time we left the pond, it was clouding up and starting to snow again.

By the time we got back down to the road, it looked like this:

And poor Rowdy looked like this:

I had to put my camera inside my pullover to keep it dry. 

Today, it was 9 degrees when I got up and the sun is shining brightly.  January in Ohio!

I made a few Christmas gifts this fall which I did not post due to their gift status, so here are some finished projects:

Socks for Mom
Socks for Jill

Table runners for Mom and Mary
That's about it for Christmas gift projects.  I am in the process of warping my rug loom for a couple of colorful alpaca rugs.    And I am almost done with the shawl I wrote about in my last post.  Hopefully I can finish it today.

In the meantime, I cast on a sweater that I am very excited about.  It will be a big cabled coat-like sweater and I am making it in some yarn I have wanted to use for some time and found a great sale on right before Christmas.  I may have bought enough for 2 sweaters in 2 colors.  But here is my progress on 

This will be the 3rd sweater I have knit by this designer.  I just love her patterns.  The shawl I plan to finish today is also by her.  I just purchased an ebook collection of new patterns by her, which has this sweater, the shawl and at least one other sweater I want to knit.  

The Authentic Collection, by Joji Locatelli 

So this and weaving rugs should keep me busy through the next couple of months until we get to maple syrup season.  We will have to wait and see what the weather brings us in the meantime.