Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Shots Around Town

We have just had the best summer - I thought I'd show you around Bellingham a little.

This is one of the murals in town - click on it and biggify it so you can see it better - it is really fun.

This is the old court house that now houses our Museum of History - you can see it from out on the bay - it sits on a ledge over looking the waterfront.

Since I was in a hurry and too lazy to get out of my car, you only get to see part of the building - but it is one of my favorite landmarks in town.

It has a wonderful rotunda on the second floor where they hold concerts - great acoustics -

Unfortunately, the old museum is small and they had to have several locations to house the different areas of interest - so they have built this new museum - just a few blocks away. I think they are going to keep the business offices in the old building.

And of course, my favoritest store down town is our LYS (otherwise known as Local Yarn Store) Northwest Handspun Yarns. Nancy and the gals who work for her are the best. This is where I took my spinning class and where I got the fiber for Sophia's sweater. They have all kinds of cool things through those doors, including their shop cat, Miss Knitty.

Thanks for coming with me while I took a little trip downtown.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sometimes ya just gotta laugh...

funny pictures of cats with captions

Yay, it's Friday and it's been "That" kind of week.

click here to see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Around town -

This lovely bit of "yard art" is at a house I've been watching on my way home over the past few years. First they took out ALL their lawn, then put in lots of beds and berms. This past spring they added this charming bit of art to their fence. (if you click to biggify it, you can barely see that they have some hens & chicks in the basket of the bike - cute)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Looking back Sunday

Peace Man!

This picture was taken in August 2006 and it is one of my favorite pictures that I have ever taken in our yard - in fact I still have it hanging on my wall at work. As the tree grew, our"peace sign" disappeared, but The Shepherd's gardens are still one of the most peaceful places that I have been.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I "Demo" spinning at the NW Washington Fair

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from "Marcia" who said she was the superintendent of the wool barn at the fair and my friend Nancy (who was going to demo on the loom) had suggested she call me - she was looking for spinners to "Demo" in the Wool Barn at the fair this year. It seems that all her "regulars" were busy - could I come out and do that?

I talked it over with The Shepherd, as it would not be feasible for me to go out by myself - He was actually wanting to go to the fair to see the draft horses - they always give a great show before the grandstand acts come on. So, I called Marcia back and said I could do it.

I took a half day off work so we could go out a little early. The Shepherd shuttled me up to the gate where Marcia met us and helped me carry my bags in. I have figured out just how to get my Ashford Standard wheel to stay on my luggage rack - with a bungee cord holding it tight - but I needed help with all my "stuff"

By the way, we have 9 gorgeous 6-horse hitches in Whatcom county! Almost too many to run the Crazy 8's any more - but The Shepherd really enjoyed watching them perform.

If I was going to do this "Demo" thing, I decided that I needed a "Story Board" to show people some of the aspects of the craft.

I decided that "How wool goes from Sheep to Sweater" was the story that I wanted to tell - and because I have heard that so many "townies" seem to think that in order to get the wool off of a sheep, you have to kill it, I tried to dispel that myth with a picture of one of our sheep getting her hair cut last spring.

Then some samples of raw wool, roving, top and batts, and some yarn samples and a little swatch of crocheted "Luna" wool - I was all set.

It must have provided just the info that people wanted to see - I had a lot of people reading it.

Nancy G. and the loom were inside the barn, but it was WAY too hot and stuffy in there for me, so I ensconced myself out on the ramada - with a bench to lean my story board on and a spot to put my water bottle, I was all set.

Plus, for a couple of hours, I had the delightful company of Nancy B., the owner of NW Handspun Yarns. She was showing off her talent on the sock knitting machine. Wow, she could really book on the thing. She made several pairs of socks while she was sitting there. Amazing machine to watch. It made me really think about how the "industrial revolution" affected making clothing. All of a sudden, instead of having to knit night after night to make socks , the owner of this machine could make pair after pair in just a few hours! Amazing!

Here are some of the sweaters and items in the wool barn. I only got a few pictures taken before my battery went dead, and boy when this sucker goes dead, it goes DEAD.

My demo went well, I got to see bunches of old friends and made a few new ones.

And, I got this bobbin filled - it will be for yarn for another vest for The Shepherd.

Well, gotta go make a salad for our church "Secret Pal" tea that is happening tomorrow at noon. We don't hold services during the summer (we decided that god trusts Unitarians to take the summer off - ha, ha) It will be fun to see all the ladies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guess What?

What do you think these are?

There must be hundreds of them.

They are hard as rocks, then they are soft and mooshy.

Unless you can find one that is just right. They are very tasty, when they are just right... But mostly they are hard as rocks or mooshy.

What do you think?

A Blip on The Radar - bringing you pretty pictures and strange guessing games, celebrating my 500th post!

How time flies when you're having fun...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fine Looking Fellows

Since they boys didn't get to go to the fair, I thought we'd strut their stuff for you this evening.

This is Cooper - His father is H.B., our HST ram - Cooper needs to find a new home.

He has one of the most unusual fleeces I've seen - the dark is short and crimpy - the white is long and wavy.

He is a really sweet fellow and is taking quickly to the halter training.

And he has splendid horns - They just keep getting wider and wider.

Vern actually is a little darker than this picture, but after shearing, he will be the silvery grey/brown that you can see in the part of his fleece below.

It is soft and crimpy like this all over. Vern will get his own set of girls this fall - coming up in only six short weeks. I can't believe that we are coming up on breeding time.

Does anyone know where the summer has gone?

By the way - anyone in need of some hops?

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Concert at MeadowHouse

About a month ago we received an email from our friend Lydia McCauley. We were invited to a house concert at the home where she and her husband Kurt live, on August 14 - even though The Shepherd was scheduled to be at the Skagit County Fair with the boys this weekend, we knew that we couldn't miss this important event. I sent in my RSVP immediately - her concerts are very popular and I knew that only a few people would be able to attend this one because of limited space.

Training had begun in earnest (much to the boy's dismay) - and they were actually beginning to "respond" to being good boys with the halter and lead, in exchange for one of those yummy alfalfa & blackberry treats. Well, as it turned out, the halter training was for naught - a week ago (even though they'd had his paperwork FOR A MONTH!) we got a call from the fair office, that "unfortunately, there was no room in the sheep barn for our sheep this year" - The Shepherd was so very disappointed. But, it did give us the opportunity to go, unencumbered by worry about sheep on their own at the fair, to Lydia's concert.

Besides being her "sound man" Lydia's husband Kurt is one heck of a master builder. Their home,which he built, is a sight to behold - centered in a meadow and surrounded by lavender and herb gardens.

Inside - the kitchen and the bath have marble counter tops - a professional range in the kitchen - of course I would notice that you say - well, there are just some things that are important!

Lynn (the band's bass player) and her partner Keith opened the concert with a humorous song about a bumble bee and an old James Taylor song about life's changes - Lynn has been with Lydia's band for about 9 or 10 years - essentially all of the time that we have been, and I hate to say it - "groupies" - well - when you find a good band, you go to their concerts - you want to support them, so they will keep finding places to play, right? Over the years we have become good friends with Lydia & Kurt and the other band members, so it's almost like a reunion of friends when they have a concert any more.

If you click on Lydia's name in the first paragraph it will take you to her blog where you can listen to snippets of her music, or if you have an iPod, you can even buy some of her tunes.

Lydia is a very talented musician and has a lovely voice. One of the fun things that we have done together was a few years ago when she and the band came to our little church in Blaine and gave a concert. We packed the house for them . The Shepherd & I got to sing with her! That's one way to get to sing on stage - promote concerts staring your friends.

There were between 40 and 50 people there tonight - including poet Lucy Shaw who lives here in Bellingham, and chocolatier Kevin Buck, owner of Chocolate Necessities, just the best place in the world to get the world's best hand made chocolates! (get a feeling that these people make good chocolate? - you'd never believe HOW good their chocolate is!)

And, in the small world department - as we were preparing to take our leave, one of the ladies sitting in front of us - said "you're Tina aren't you? - Do you recognize me?" Well, I had kind of thought she looked familiar - but after working in two highly customer service oriented companies AND spending 21 years singing in a restaurant, many local people look familiar - Anyhow - long story short - she (Peggy) and her husband and their children used to come in after they got done with church every Sunday night (I mean, we're talking for many months) to have a snack of Nachos and listen to me sing. After she said that, I did place her - and even smaller world department, in the mid '70's, that same family had briefly rented a little house on a street called East Victor here in town - the very same house that I bought in 1981 and where I lived for 13 years until I married The Shepherd and we moved here.

In fact, "That Old House" will be the topic of one of my blogs next week. Check back in a few days to read more about it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

funny pictures of cats with captions

I have had cats who would let me vacuum them and cats who would go scurrying for the door the minute I got the dreaded vacuum cleaner out of the closet - Go figure...

funny pictures of cats with captions

I love this idea and I've got a LOT of lidless Tupperware containers. I don't think The Shepherd is ready for another kitty tho.

See more Lolcats and funny pictures by clicking here. This web site never fails to cheer me up -

Monday, August 10, 2009

Decompression chamber

There are three ways I can come home from where I work. Depending on what my errands were after work - groceries, the bank, etc. - I might come home on the freeway, or through the middle of town.

My favorite is to drive home on Marine Drive. In town it's lined with an eclectic mix of 1950's and Victorian style homes built in the late 1800's with their beautiful gardens.

This is the view when I get to drive home
without errands

And just a few weeks out of the year at the beginning of the summer this ground cover plant begins to bloom and for just a few hundred yards a wonderful fragrance will "waft" its way into my car. The area where it was growing used to have homes there, but the airport bought them all out and moved the houses but left the landscaping. Over the past 15 years that we have lived out here, this plant has grown from one small 8 or 10 foot square patch to a hundred feet or so long and 10 or 15 feet in from the road. It seems hardy and has never winter killed that I can tell. I don't know what it is, but it sure smells good.

When I finally get home (it's only 20 or so minutes max) here is where I park - under this canopy of a River Birch tree with the late afternoon sun peeking through the branches. Sometimes, if the neighbor doesn't have his outside radio on, I will just sit, close my eyes and listen to the birds and the wind in the trees.

Sometimes I might read a chapter or two in the book I have along or browse through the issue of the latest "O" Magazine that's hanging around in my front seat. Anything, just to shake off the cares of the day.

It's my decompression chamber.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

We Remember Neelix

It was just a year ago this weekend that our sweet boy Neelix went to The Bridge. The disease that overtook him came on so swiftly that it defied our desire that he stay here with us. I always intended to write a memorial post for him, but it never quite happened - I thought now was a good time.

We got him from the local Humane Society - he was so little and had this rattly purr - turns out it was "rattly" because he was sick - even the vet said that they should not have given him to us - but I was glad that they had, because from the moment we saw him - he had a hold of both our hearts. We were big fans of the show "Star Trek Voyager" and Neelix the cat had the same orange striped pattern on his head as "Neelix the Talaxian" on that show - so he became our Neelix.

For The Shepherd, he was his "right hand man" - he snoopervised the building of the barn and outbuildings, and required a ride around the farm on The Shepherd's shoulders every evening when he got home from work.

Neelix loved the sheep and was in attendance at most lambings - pacing like an expectant father. When he knew things were all "good" - he would purr loudly - "See what we've done?" he'd say.

For as big as he got (almost 22 lbs. at one time) he had an "itty bitty" meow - left over from the respiratory illness that he had as a kitten.

He used up two of his nine lives - one time, disappearing for over a week - when he returned, he was missing his collar and was a few pounds lighter. There was a bad storm the night he disappeared and we think he'd gotten it caught in some underbrush and was only able to get loose when he'd lost enough weight to get his head out of it. I never put another collar on him after that. The other time, he got locked in our storage room out in the barn for a day and a half in the hot part of the summer. Any other cat would have put up a ruckus that we would have heard, but, as I said, Neelix's meow was no more than a tiny "mew" - Luckily, The Shepherd remembered that he'd had the door open for a few minutes the day before - when I raced out with the key to open the door I was met by one very thirsty kitty. After that, he stayed out of the storage room, that's for sure.

Neelix was the only cat I've ever had who slept on his back. He was our official farm greeter and would run out the door to meet whoever had come in the drive way.

I loved how sassy he was - He patrolled the farm and protected us from skunks (yes, he got skunked once - that was enough), and was observed knocking a young raccoon off our back porch. He had a mean left hook. Most of all, he kept the rabbit population down. The Shepherd has really missed that this spring as the rabbits have decimated his garden.

With his floofy fur, he often looked like he had a halo -

I have written almost 500 posts since I started my blog and if you look at my "labels list" you'll see that he was a part of 50 of them - such a big part of our lives.

Our friends Karla & Miss Peach wrote a beautiful poem for us that weekend. It still "makes my eyes leak" but it is a good reminder of a (not so) little fellow who was a big part of our lives.

For Neelix (and his "mom & dad") -

Close your eyes now, my longtime friend,
and let this time of suffering
come to a peaceful end.
We'll walk together soon, I'm sure,
as winter turns to spring,
when snow gives way to budding leaves
and birds begin to sing.
The gentle breeze shall call your name
along the water's edge.
For what we shared and what you meant
shall never be forgot.
Your friendship spans the years behind,
your memory ahead.
You'll always be there next to me,
companion and good friend.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Three Beautiful Things

Last summer I told you about The Bellingham Lily but didn't have a very good picture of it - that was then - this is now - (and with a different camera, I may add)


How nice it is to sit on our deck and have the colors and the fragrance of these pretty petunias.

Sometimes a simple white daisy can bring back all sorts of memories - daisy chains - or playing "he loves me - he loves me not". What memories does it stir up for you?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Yes, it was PURPLE cauliflower!

It's been a colorful year in The Shepherd's garden - first, there were these beautiful beets -

And then the purple pole beans, and the green beans and the broccoli -

Then came the purple cauliflower. LOTS of purple cauliflower - enough to share with five of our neighbors and one of my coworkers.

And the plant's were HUGE! - They obviously like growing in composted sheep poop!

Isn't he cute peeking out from behind these huge leaves? Unfortunately the sheep didn't like them, so they just got loaded up in the trailer to take to be composted.

Here is one head with a teaspoon to give you perspective.

And one of the neighbors traded for this handful of yummy tomatoes - now that's what I call a great deal!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pretty, Prettier, Prettiest!

The Shepherd was excited about these dwarf hollyhock seeds that he planted. "Ho, hum", I thought - "Hollyhocks - nice - but not very flamboyant"

Boy was I wrong - this was the first bloom to come on a week or so ago - it almost looks fake it is so pretty - like it was made of silk...

He planted them in a bowl of marigolds - aren't they pretty?

Over the week more blooms have opened - I took this picture on Sunday a.m.

I think it is the prettiest!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sometimes the Universe just knows...

that you need a hug............

The mail hadn't come Friday night when we left for dinner, so it made an even nicer surprise to find a package with a familiar handwriting in our mail box when we came home.

My present was from the ever thoughtful Miss Peach (and her mamma Karla, I'm sure, as I've yet to find a kitty with opposable thumbs in order to wrap packages...) who sent this wonderful little tin box with a candle in a little flowerpot with my name on it, a tea bag of "Perfect Peach" tea, a magnet that says "Count your Blessings" and a sweet little card that says "A home without a cat is like a garden without flowers" - (how true that is!)

Wow! What with the hot weather this week and some not so hot changes at work, getting this little reminder that someone cares really made my day! Thank you. Miss Peach, from the bottom of my heart.