Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Windy, it was windy! - part two

Really windy - sounds like a jet plane windy.

But not too windy for the deer - they are everywhere up there - these two were just calmly munching on some new wheat - they were making quick work of the crab apples in the yard a the ranch too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

On our visit home - part one

Mansfield, WA is the little town where I went to school when I was growing up. Our family's farm was about 7 or 8 miles west of town. For most of 12 years I rode the big yellow school bus with the other two dozen or so kids who lived out west of town.

We got groceries at the Mansfield Mercantile and hardware at the Mansfield Hardware Store. Sometimes, if it was open, we went to dinner at the Mansfield Cafe.

Funny - even after I was of "legal" age, I didn't feel like I belonged in the Town Tavern. According to my mom, it just wasn't a place where "nice girls" hung out.

The Fusion learns to be a "farm car" covered with dust from one end to the other!

The area Mansfield was settled in the late 1800-early 1900's - in 1907 my grandparents homesteaded the property that my sisters and I inherited from my parents. In 1909, the Great Northern Railroad finished their spur to the area bought a quarter section of land and set up streets and blocks - with sort of an "if you build it, they will come"attitude, the original town, which was a mile to the northeast picked up and moved to the new little city.

A couple of buildings on Main Street have burned in the past thirty years, but one vacant lot now has a new office - A Medical Clinic! Very cool - and necessary as the closest doctors office or hospital is 30-35 miles in any direction.

A group from the community has remodeled the old Post Office and turned it into a museum. I wish I had thought to ask our friend Doug if we could get in to see it - maybe next time. If you biggafy this picture (just click on it) you will see the big domed building at the foot of Main St. - that is the "new" school that was built in the mid 80's.

Like many small towns in Eastern Washington, grain elevators dominate the horizon.

"Last year, there were a total of thirty three farmers that delivered there crops to the Mansfield elevators. Annually, the elevators bring in nearly 1.7 million bushels of grain, the third largest intake in North Central Washington. The main grain harvested in the area, soft white wheat, is shipped around the world for production of pastries and noodles." (from the Mansfield website)

When he was alive, my father worked passionately for the marketing of our area's wheat, even making a trip to Japan and the Philippines as a member of the Washington Wheat Commission to drum up business for our wheat. I'd like to think that the ground work that he worked so hard for continues to benefit the farmers in our area.

Of course, every town has the rock or wall or some kind of landmark that the high school seniors traditionally paint with "their number" on one of the last nights of school. Ours is out east of town - a rock the size of a two story building - someplace on that rock is a little "70" painted by my class members - I was there, but it was darn dark so I don't remember where we put it....

And, we went to visit family - they mostly all reside in the cemetery now. I have always loved the headstone that marks the grave of my great grandfather.

Sorry mom and dad - It didn't occur to me to bring a trowel to cut away the dead grass around your stone - maybe next time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Looking Back Sunday

Okay, so it's Saturday - It's Sunday someplace in the world tho, so I'm doing this a day early.

Last year at this time found us in one of our favorite Vacation spots - Ocean Shores, WA. I picked a couple of my favorite pictures from our weekend.

I love watching birds - seagulls, crows, whatever - they all have fun traits - I think seagulls look like they are meditating - I think this one was looking for a French Fry...

Gotta have a good crochet project for on the road - this blanket turned out to be incredibly easy - I think I need to get another one started - just to have in case I need a baby gift.

This was just the best salad - crab and shrimp AND salmon - yum.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about this year's vacation. Tonight we're going to see Ricky Skaggs!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Road Trip in the Fusion

Are there images that you have so fixed in your mind that you could describe them to anyone at a moment's notice?

This is one of those images for me - "home" - or as I've talked about it before "The Ranch" - where I grew up - the only other place that I have lived besides Bellingham - and that was for the first 18 years of my life.

Out of this writing will come a few more - a few book reports - stories of sisters - and stories of memories - but I have to do my church newsletter first, so I hope you'll stop back in a week or so to see what I have to say.

This picture of The Shepherd and The Blueberry Farmer (my B-I-L) was taken about two years ago on the front porch of the house where my dad was born. There are actually two houses hiding behind all the trees and greenery in the picture above - this is the house on the left hand side of the picture. We have that little house fixed up with beds, full kitchen, etc. We just - after thirty or so years - have purchased an "apartment sized" refrigerator - an upgrade from the little dorm room sized one that we had in the kitchen that would only hold enough food for one or two people for one or two days (now we actually have a REAL freezer!) - Something that was so simple we don't know why we didn't do it years ago.

If you notice in the picture above, there are two REALLY big steps and not a very big area to stand while you are fixing to open the door. Plus the area in front of it was a cement pad that, over the years had broken and heaved up - a very dangerous place to walk -

This past summer my nephews, our farmer (& good friend) Doug and my B-I-L took a jackhammer and a tractor and took out all the old bad cement and we had new cement poured and the boys build these wonderful new steps (not quite finished - face boards on the top two steps and the hand rails still need to be put up - but, again, something that was so simple, we wonder why we didn't do it years ago.

Here is a side view - an area just waiting for some patio furniture, don't you think?

If you scroll back up to the very first picture you will see this tree on the very far right hand sided of the landscape. The tree is planted on a "scab patch" about 200 or so yards in front of the house I grew up in. Farmer Doug planted it in memory of my dad about 30 years ago -

But, when I was growing up, there was no tree there - just the truck sized rock that it hides.

My younger sister and I would spend hours climbing up and around this rock - it would be a sailing ship one day - a classroom the next.

Thinking about it now, it is funny that we spent so much time out on that rock - there were no wildflowers to pick and bring back to our mom - just the sound of the wind and the buzzing of the flies and bees to be heard - and our imaginations gone wild with what adventure that we'd face next up on our big rock.

The Shepherd is checking the map and getting ready for our Saturday trip to Dry Falls State Park - one of my favorite places in the world.

One road trip and you already need a bath! Poor little car.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Round and round she goes and where she stops...

A story that needs no words..........

New fashioned wheels

Old fashioned way to spin - true evidence of first civilizations - they had spindles - some only as simple as a well shaped rock and a really good stick. With the string they made they could make rope, thread to tie together animal skins for clothing or shelter.

This is going to make one pretty pair of socks.

Denise's new wheel is an antique she purchased this past week. Isn't it a beauty? With a few modifications she has planned, she will have a really nice wheel.

Guess what I'm going to do?

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's a beauty -

Last summer I told you about the Sheep to Shawl that we did at the Skagit Highland Games - Here is the finished project. It really is beautiful.

One of our members went in with John & I to donate a Shetland fleece that was to have been used for this project, (ie. Shetland fleece for a Scottish Highland game project) but the warp that they came up with clearly would not have looked good with the brown fleece that we donated.

The group made plans to use our fleece for the Sheep to Shawl that we did at the NW Washington Fair.

And here is the lovely Deb modeling the finished product from S-2-S from the fair.

Wow - fall colors really look good on her, don't they? (click on this close up to biggafy it - it kind of takes your breath away) The reds, blues and golden look really great with Taylor's brown fleece.

We are selling raffle tickets to raise money for our guild treasury. I may have to buy a few more - but you know what they say about raffles - it only takes one ticket to win.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spinning on the Sidewalk

Our spinner guild met today and instead of our regular place at Nancy's Farm, we met down town B'ham at NW Handspun Yarns where we set up our wheels (or whatever) on the sidewalk and became ambassadors for our craft.

We started at 10:00 but it was not too early for coffee.

There were probably about 15 or so people who showed up. Long time members like Linda who was hand blending three rovings for this thread that she will ply with a midnight blue - I hope she brings what ever she makes with it to the next meeting - I think it is going to be stunning.

And brand new spinners, like Camile who sat on my right - she had only been spinning for a few days. She gladly accepted advice that was handed her way.

Nancy was warping a loom for her Anniversary week weaving project.

It was absolutely beautiful today and she was smart enough to wear a hat - I was not - the back of my neck is burned to a crisp - yeow!

This picture says it all - A wonderful time was had by everyone who attended!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Soon it will be time to "Fall Back"

Labor Day might be over, but the frost isn't on the pumpkins yet - It is supposed to get into the high 70's this weekend!

Our spinner guild meets this Saturday - we are going to be "Spinning on the Sidewalk" down town in front of NW Handspun Yarns (my favorite LYS) - should be fun - We'll see how my Ashford traditional wheel fits into the trunk of the new car.

Speaking of which (new car, that is), I have to come up with a name for the Fusion - The Shepherd was the one who came up with the Jelly Bean for the Festiva. Hmmm - any ideas?

The Shepherd found these pretty Black Eyed Susans last weekend at an "end of season" sale at one of the local plant nurseries.

He'd been looking for some "color spots" to put on the driveway - I think they look quite nice.

By the way, did I tell you that I volunteered to be the newsletter editor for our Spinner Guild? I'm kind of torn between "What was I thinking" and "This could be fun".

My friend Kathy says it's a "self-inflicted" wound... But you know what "they" say - if you want something done, ask a busy person. And of course, I started a blog for the group.

You can find it here and eventually I'll get around to putting it on my blogroll so you can check to see what we've been up to. We have such talented members, I thought it would be fun to take pictures during our show and tell times as well as documenting our events.

Back to the farm - The Shepherd found several different pots of cheery fall flowers that he planted out in the driveway - it looks very fallish/festive driving into our place now.

Sinda thinks so.

Monday, September 07, 2009

How we spent our Labor Day...

Yes, we got a new to us car - It isn't a very good picture - I didn't realize that there was so much reflection - it looks like there is a big divot in the side of it, but there isn't - and it's dark now, so I'm not going outside to take a new picture in the dark, that's all there is to it....

Here you have our new(to us) 2006 Ford Fusion - and if I can borrow a theme from the competition's advertising - "Zoom, Zoom..."

I'm afraid I'm going to consciously have to keep my foot off of the gas or there goes my "ticket free" insurance rating!

The Jelly Bean, as we affectionately call my 1991 Ford Festiva, has started to have some major problems in it's "major" systems - and looking at putting a couple of thousand bucks into an 18 year old car, however much one loves it, didn't seem to be very practical. And, I made the final payment on his truck last week.

So, while I'd been doing some internet car reviewing, The Shepherd had been keeping his "eagle eyes" open for different cars that he thought I'd like. About 10:30 this morning he said - "Did you want to go into town and look at cars??" I said - "Sure, why not."

We looked at a couple of Subaru's - specifically the Forester, as it has a lot of head room, but we felt kind of cramped "side to side" - A Legacy sedan, which was really cute and had a lot of cool options but was WAY out of our budget and, again, I felt kind of cramped. The sales guy, who was helpful and not too pushy (for a car sales guy), said pointing at this car - "have you thought of trying out a Fusion" - Not really, but we thought, heck, why not. Wow! - lots of room in this little car - both for The Shepherd's long legs and for my "ample" girth - I didn't feel like my arms were being squished into my torso by the door - it's a little bit hard to get out of, (but maybe that will be a good reason for me to start working on some flexibility exercises, no?) So we took it for a drive. It's got a "pernundle" aka PRNDL aka Automatic transmission - I've driven a stick for, oh, about 30 years now - but, manual Fusions are few and far between. Actually we realized while we were at lunch that Fusions were pretty much few and far between - could that be a good thing? Actually it's one of the top 4 selling cars in America right now. And besides that, my dad would probably turn over in his grave if I bought anything else but a Ford...

I'm not one of those people who change cars with the model year - in fact for my "real" adult life (after college) - I've only owned two cars - and I bought both of them new off the showroom floor - a 1978 Mercury Zephyr (I LOVED that car) and the Jelly Bean, which I bought from this same dealer in 1991. (I think they got rid of the Festiva because it was so trouble free - service departments don't like cars that are trouble free...) So, I'm not into dickering for price - we did feel that this was pretty fairly priced - but wish they had thrown in the set of tires that The Shepherd wanted. (car salesman - whining "You know, we're not making anything on this car" I just hate to listen to people whine - OK, fine - we'll take the car without the new tires.

And they only wanted to give me $100 for the Jelly Bean! How Dare They??? - Nope, we'll keep it.

So, I've got a couple of ideas up my sleeve for the JB - one is a fellow in town who has built an electric Festiva - He was impressed that the body on mine was in such good shape - or, I'll donate it to the local public radio station who says they'll take donated cars, running or not...

First I have to clean it out - AAAaaaRRRrrrGGGgggHHHhhh! I hate cleaning out my car.

I'm going to miss you little Jelly Bean - we had some pretty darn good times together, didn't we?