Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's Summer on the Farm

I can finally post about the throw I made and gave to Ian and Michelle as a wedding gift.  I started spinning alpaca fiber for it way back in August, thinking I had lots of time to make this as they had yet to set a wedding date.  I think they called me the next week and told me they had set a date of June 4th.  No pressure.  Not only did I have to spin at least 2000 yards of alpaca yarn, but I had to dye it in no less than 10 colors.  Then I had to weave it.    I finished it in time to enter it into the Arts Council's April show, where it took second place to a basket (to be fair it was a nice basket, but the judge was given a score sheet calling this a woven other info or any clue as to how much work and how many hours really went into this).  I am so happy with the result and Michelle seemed to love it despite the fact I gave it to her in 90 degree temps.  The photo was taken prior to me trimming the fringes.  
We are settling into summer farm work.  The mowing and weeding is so hard to keep up with at this time of year.  The garden is growing.  This is just  shot of the area where we have peppers planted.  There are tomatoes on both sides of this area and the large plant in the foreground is one of the sunflowers.  We have a whole separate area where we have corn and squash and beets and chard and onions and lettuce and cucmbers.  I had yet to weed it when I took this photo, so I will post it next time.  I got a lot of weeding done last night and then we had lots of rain, so I will be weeding everything again I am sure.

I checked into the bee hives the Saturday after we got back from Portland and I will do so again this Saturday.  

 The Swarm Hive will likely need another box to grow into.  It seems to be a very active hive for as small a colony as it was when we caught it.  You can see that they are doing housekeeping and removing dead bees from the hive.  That is what is on the rug there in front of the hive.  

I hope to be able to harvest some frames of honey from the other 2 hives this weekend.  I had thought maybe I would be able to 2 weeks ago, but the bees were still busy filling and capping cells.  I decided to give them more time.

 My buckwheat and sorghum are coming up nicely.  These photos are from several days ago, and we have had rain since then, so I am sure everything has grown.  Buckwheat is below left.


And here is the sorghum:

The cicada noise has been dwindling as the days go by.  They are still around, but have mostly gone off into the trees at this point.  I posted about part of their life cycle as they were emerging from their 17 years of life underground and finding themselves in the daylight and becoming creatures of the air by shedding their shells and drying their wings.  The next step is to mate and lay eggs and start the cycle all over again with the next generation.  The females, once mated, choose the tender tip of a branch and cut slits in it and lay their eggs into the branch
 Here you can see the slit cut into this branch.  This is why many people cover new plantings or just simply wait until the cicadas are gone to plant young trees.  This really does not hurt large trees, but can kill new young trees.

I think the cicadas somehow chew most of the way through the branches, which causes them to die and fall to the ground:

Here are some branches that are hanging from the tree:

And a view of the entire small tree with damaged branches still attached:

Once these branches fall to the ground, the eggs will hatch and the little cicada larvae will burrow into the ground and spend the next 17 years there.  I imagine the adult cicadas dye shortly after their work of guaranteeing the next generation of cicadas is done.  I hope the short period of the freedom to fly and mate is worth the previous 17 years...I'm not sure it would be, but I'm not a cicada.

Quite a fascinating life cycle actually.  Now to wait 17 years to see it all again.  I will be in my 70's.  Wow. 

In addition to endless mowing, Sam has been pulling some fallen trees out of the woods to cut up on the sawmill.  I think some of this wood is destined to become     2 X 4s for my weaving studio.  He also acquired laminate flooring for it at an auction last week.  This may actually become a reality.

I have my small loom at home warped for some towels:

This warp will make 6 towels.  I am in the process of warping my big loom for a couple of baby blankets.  One is to be a gift for the woman who cuts my hair who is due in early August and the other will just be a back-up.  It's just as easy to warp for 2 baby blankets as 1, so why not?

I also finished a pair of socks for myself.  I started these back in February when we were doing maple syrup and got one sock done at that time.  Then I took the other along on our trip out west and managed to get a good bit of it done mostly on the flight home, and then finished it last week.

Oh and Grover and I ran in a trial last weekend.  We had no qualifying runs, but our 2 jumpers with weaves runs were pretty good despite no Qs.  Here is a link to a video of our Sunday run:

 Jumpers Run Sunday June 19th

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Oregon Wedding Trip

Spectacular view of Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake.
June 4th was the long-awaited wedding of our son Ian to his girlfriend of 8 years, Michelle.  It was at Silver Falls State  Park in Oregon and a large portion of my family made the trip.  It was really special to me that both my brothers were there, Larry's whole family drove up from Arizona and Mike flew in with Mom.  My aunt came from Michigan, and my mother-in -law from here in our area.Of course, younger son Sam/Zac/Satchmo was best man and he traveled from the Yosemite area with Ryan Evans, who was also a groomsman.  We had so much fun.  Of course our trip got off to an annoying start when our flight out Tuesday evening was cancelled due to bad weather in Chicago.  So we had to stay overnight in Columbus and take a 5:45 am flight out the next day, putting us in Portland around 11 am.  We were due downtown at around noon to get wristbands for our soccer game that evening, so we were kind of rushed for time.  But it all worked out.  The soccer game was a great experience.  The Timbers won    1 - 0 despite being down a man the whole second half.,

The next day, we shopped for the food for the rehearsal dinner we were preparing the following day at the wedding venue.  There were to be about 30 people and we were doing  pizzas on the grill, salad and dessert.  Son Sam was in charge of the shopping list and we got to pay the bill.  Then we traveled to the house we were renting for the next 3 days, about an hour or so from Portland. 

Friday we were at the Old Ranch (wedding venue) a little after noon with all the food so the prep could begin.  It was a long day, but the dinner that evening went quite well.  Sam/Zac/Satchmo, Sam and I prepared and cooked 15 pizzas!  The chef (S/Z/S) even got a standing ovation from the guests.   His sauce was declared the best some people had ever had.  It was pretty darn good.

So that meant most of my stress was over.  Saturday, Sam and I got up  and drove the the park and did their 8.7 mile "Trail of Ten Falls" .  It was a really nice fairly easy hike and we did it in about 3 hours and then went into the town of Silverton for lunch together.  Then it was back to the rental house to shower and change and head back to the park for  photos and the wedding.  

The groom and his groomsmen

The wedding was held at the "Old Ranch" which consisted of a huge old barn with a circular fireplace in the center.  The actual ceremony was outside under a tree and then dinner and dancing was in the barn. 

 It was very hot for Oregon, in the 90's. 

 There were bunk beds in the loft of the barn and many of the members of the wedding party stayed there overnight, though  we headed back to our rental by around midnight.  It was a great day.

On Sunday, we needed to get back to Portland because my aunt and mother-in-law had early flights out Monday morning.  We stayed at a hotel at the airport and after we saw them off in morning, Mom, brother Mike, Sam and I headed off to stay in the Mt Hood area for a couple of nights.  We visited the Timberline Resort on Mt Hood, where we saw people snowboarding and checked out the historic hotel.  We did not get to sit and have a drink however, as they were shooting a TV show episode in the bar and it was closed.  It was a neat building though, with interesting history.

That evening the 4 of us took a 2 mile hike around Trillium lake which was very nice and had lovely scenery.  On Tuesday morning, Mike and Sam and I headed off to do a 7 mile hike which included part of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt Hood Wilderness.  We ended up hiking 2 extra miles, because we got on a wrong trail.  We were lucky it was only 2 extra miles.

It was the Twin Lakes Trail Loop and the lakes were very secluded and beautiful.  The upper Twin Lake had spectacular views of Mt Hood, though it kind of faded out in the background of my photos.

 The following day, Sam and I had an early flight out of Portland and we arrived home Wednesday evening around 8 pm.  It was a long event-filled trip and it was just a wonderful time.  

Now that I am back home, it has been time to catch up on the garden and the mowing and everything else that got neglected for over a week.  

The cicadas had stopped emerging and shedding their shells.  They are now just making a horrendous racket all day long and they are flying everywhere.  I was even "attacked" by them when I tried to use the weed-eater and I ended up shutting the weed eater off and running from it!  I am told the cicadas are attracted to the engine noise.  Hopefully they will finish out their life cycle in the next couple of weeks and we can live without them for another 17 years.

Grover and I are off to the Cincinnati area this weekend for a trial.  We will be staying with my mom from Friday until Monday morning and trialing Saturday and Sunday mornings.  I have arranged to meet with 4 of my high school friends for a dinner out on Sunday evening.  It has been a couple of years since we last got together, though some of them came and watched Grover and I when we attended this same trial last June.  We have not been to a trial in 2 months, so we'll see how we do.  We have been practicing a lot, though not in the last 2 weeks.  Hoping for a couple of Qs!