Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goin' to the Beach -

Last week we went to Ocean Shores, WA. Before I get into "the stories" - I thought I'd share a few pictures of the beach with you.

This was the view from our room.

This beautiful piece of driftwood was up at Taholah.

It always astonishes me that they let cars drive on the beach (in designated areas, though) - it is fun.

The Shepherd snapped this beautiful sunset from our room - as you can see from the above pictures, it was unseasonably sunny and almost warm - we had a wonderful, restful time.

Stay tuned for more to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On the way back from Yakima on the 13th of September we stopped at the Mt. Si Nursery in North Bend. It is a very sweet little nursery and we have stopped there before.

It was almost closing time (45 minutes to go, really)... The Shepherd was concerned that he wouldn't have enough time to look through everything.

I assured him that he could easily get into enough trouble in 45 minutes...

While he perused the beds loaded with exciting and wonderful plants, I sat in a nice shady spot and took in the view - how would you like to have this as the view from your "office" every day?

It was one of those magical warm days where there is just a little bit of a cool breeze that blows over your skin and cools it like a silk fan. Like the warm water that laps over you in a lake at the end of the summer.

Squash blossoms the color of sunshine.

Blue pottery pots, the color of the sky.

And see, he did indeed have time to find a special little plant. A little contorted locust to add to his bonsai collection. And it didn't even take him the whole 45 minutes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I think I know

These top two pictures were taken in the Yakima Canyon on our trip home last Saturday

These next two pictures were taken over at "the ranch" where we grew up.

I think I know now why my sister likes her home in Yakima.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Summer Silence"

"In summer, I do not come to worship

So much as worship comes to me

In the morning, golden light splashed across my rooms, and roses the color of wine greet me in the alley

As they bow to me in the breeze, I bow back

At noon, Sunflowers refuse to turn their face from me

Until again, I give a slight bow

What else was I to do?"

From "Sonata for Voice and Silence: Meditations" by Mark Belletini, copywrite 2008 by Skinner House Books in Boston. Mark Belletini is the senior parish minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's been a "week" that's for sure -

First off, my assistant at work is having "back problems" - so far, she's been to her Nurse Practitioner 2 or 3 times, a chiropractor a couple of times - unfortunately disasterous - and then there were the three trips to the ER - to top it all off - she's only worked about 1/2 time in the past 10 days and word on the street is that she won't be coming back for another week!! Eeek - we are so, so very far behind.

Secondly, The Shepherd and I had planned for a month or so to go to Yakima (in eastern Washington) this past weekend for the one year anniversary memorial service for my Brother in Law. In the Native American culture of the Yakima Indians, the family of the deceased gives a sort of mini "Potlatch" where the family gives a feast for the guests, proceeded by singing, stories, and a "give -away" of items to the guests - some items which had belonged to the person who passed away, some items which were purchased new. It was really wonderful to hear the stories that his friends told - a very nice service.

We received a ceremonial canoe paddle and a beautiful fleece blanket (ironically the pattern on the blanket was by an acquaintance of ours, Bellingham artist Jodi Bergsma).

It was just an "overnight" trip (about 5 hours driving each way) - although we had time to stop in Monroe and take some more fleeces to our friend and Washington Wool dot Net member, Gretchen Wilson, and our house sitter worked out well - she had a good time and even Sinda slept with her on the bed at night.

And these beautiful pears came from my sister's in-laws orchard. Yes, they are as sweet and juicy as they look.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Haircuts in September?

Last spring, before we could get Pearl's 9 inch fleece sheared, it got so heavy that she started rolling (in an attempt to roo it?) on the ground and rubbing up against things, which totally felted it right on her body. So, as her fleece was already measuring 4-6 inches, The Shepherd decided that he was going to have her sheared, now. Unfortunately, our regular shearer Marsha was not available, but she recommended a young fellow named Zander, who lives on Guemes Island - about an hour & a half's drive and a 10 minute ferry ride away. He called Zander and he was going to be available Saturday morning "anytime before 11:00" - so we made our plans - get up early - he loaded the sheep (did I mention that we brought Luna too?) into the trailer - I had to get up early (on a Saturday!) and off we went. Well, there are many beautiful places on the way to Guemes (pronounded guay'-mas) and you will have to trust me on that, because I left my camera at home (remember what I said about getting up early?)

Guemes Island is served by the Washington State Ferry system - They have a little ferry that probably holds 25 or so cars - we just made the cut for the trip over, and had to wait a crossing on the way back. But it was a nice day and surprisingly the girls were very quiet (probably so stunned by what was going on that they couldn't speak!)

Anyhow, Zander seems to have taken naturally to shearing sheep - he wasn't bothered much by their squirmy-ness (I however, was about ready to have a fit because Luna was thrashing around so much I thought she was going to break her silly neck). Even so, she got a beautiful haircut, as you can see, with nary a nick.

He got so close her skin looks like corduroy! Actually with the warm weather we are having this week, I hope they don't get sunburned.

So, sheeps were shorn, and we got back to the mainland, stopped and had a quick sub sandwich, then we headed to Camano Island (this time, accessed by a bridge, not a ferry) where The Shepherd was going to check on another one of his landscaping jobs.

He did these raised beds last spring. Don't these folks have a fantastic view!

And this bed along side the driveway, with another "dry streambed"

And this bed by their garage - these pictures were actually taken in April - everything looks very healthy and "grown up" now.

We were there for an hour or so, while he confered with the homeowners - I sat in the nice sun in the truck and read a good book. And the girls were very quiet.

The trip home was a straight shot up I-5 - Sheep unloaded and back in to the barn - where everyone looked at them and went "Eeek - who are you?" (no matter that they had all been together less than 8 hours before).

The other thing that was planned for the afternoon (before the detour to Camano Island was on the docket) was going over to my friend Den and Sharon's to look at, and hopefully, purchase some Alpaca fleeces to blend with some of our Shetland wool. Here is one of the fleeces we bought - this one is actually for Kathy at Sheep Thrills Farm in Arizona. The three we got were white, rose grey and a little lighter than this one. Hopefully they will mix well with our Shetland fleeces and be fun to spin as well.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

And now for something a little different

Some of you may know that in his "everyday life" The Shepherd is a landscaper. He has worked for the same company here in Whatcom County for almost 20 years. We often will take little drives around to see the jobs that he is working on, sometimes to check on the job, sometimes to admire his handywork.

Last Sunday, we got to just go admire his handywork. The company has done a couple of jobs over the last few years for this nice little lady. She has a beautiful place and you can tell that she works very hard on it.

She wanted an "island" put in her driveway.

The Shepherd/Landscaper helped her design how she wanted it to look. Then they started by piling up the dirt, added some BIG rocks and a huge old stump and a "downed log".

Then they made a dry stream bed with river run rocks and and it end up along the edge.

The homeowner will plant the soil with ground covers and ferns and other plants. She has already tucked some ferns in around the downed log.

And they've planted some pines and another little tree to get her started.

Wouldn't it be fun to be able to do stuff like this all the time. He doesn't always get these creative projects, but it makes it all worth while, when, like today, he got back to the nursery and the homeowner had sent a very nice note to his bosses saying what a wonderful job he had done and how happy she is with it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wasn't me -

Nope, it wasn't me, up at the crack of dawn taking this spectacular picture - it was The Shepherd. Did a nice job, didn't he?

Monday, September 01, 2008

A fun thing to do -

We have two main local grocery chains in town that compete for our dollars - actually it isn't too much of a competition - one is far superior in it's produce and its deli especially - the other used to have pretty good prices but they have been through some hard times and have had to close a bunch of their stores - It had OK store brands (Western Family), but horrible produce and now they've changed to a second rate store brand and they still have horrible produce. But that is where we shop because we've been shopping there for 14 years and know all the people who work in the one particular store.

The "superior" store company has 33 other stores in Washington and Oregon. It is nice, because where ever you go to one of their stores, you can be sure that the deli is going to be one of the best in town - and it is also nice because their stores are essentially laid out the same so you don't have to go hunting around to find what you need. They have a store in Yakima that was very helpful to me last year when my bro-in-law passed away, cause I promised my sister that I'd provide some sweet breads and fruit for after the graveside service (which was at the break of dawn)

Oops, sorry, I digress - anyhow, the "superior" store also buys out ALL the peaches from an orchard in Eastern Washington, guaranteeing that their customers will get the next best thing to actually going right out to the orchard. I love fresh peaches. LOVE them - I can still remember some fresh peaches that I bought in the fall of 1974 on a trip up the Methow river - they were just big and sweet and juicy. I don't know about you, but I find it interesting how such a small thing can still occupy a spot in my memory almost 35 years later... Oops - digressing again.

Anyhow, Saturday I went to the "superior" store to get some peaches, but when I pulled out a cart in the parking lot, I noticed a flier that said something about Hair Cuts to benefit Agape' House (a local shelter for homeless families and battered women) 8-5 at "the superior store" - why, that was where I was! - It was just 4 pm, it was for a good cause, and I've been needing to get my bangs cut for a while and get my hair trimmed in the back ever since I got my ponytail sucked up in the vacuum cleaner a few months ago - (and no, I'm not going to go into the story behind that - let's just say it was an incredibly stupid thing that happened, and leave it at that).

I wandered over to where the hair stylists were, they directed me where to pay - and a young lady walked up and said "I'm Julie and I'm going to cut your hair, and please, please may I braid it when I'm done?" I love having my hair braided, so whis was even going to be a better deal. And here I am, modeling my new Washington Wool dot Net T-shirt and here is the finished hair-do. Pretty cool, huh?

She put enough hairspray on it that it stayed nice over the night and I was able to wear it like that for our church BBQ yesterday too. It was just a fun thing to do.