Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Gravy Train Freeway?

Hello kittehs & peeps!

Gracie here with a Midweek Report for you.

The Shepherd came into the house the other day and asked Mummy if she knew that we kittehs  had worn a path on the ground at the end of the house.  Mummy said something like "Sure" - but didn't realize how noticeable it was until she looked at this picture that she took of me showing off my resplendent furs.  

As you can see, right along the house is the path where our little footies prance and dance while we are outside.

We have our own Gravy Train Freeway!

Mummy says she'll be back later this week with a recipe that she made up for a gathering last weekend - Muffaletta Wraps  - I have it on good authority that they turned out pretty tasty.


Love, your roving reporter, Gracie


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The "fruit's of his labors - - -

Most of the time you think of "harvest" on the farm as being in the fall.  Not so with sheep - your harvest is the fleece, that comes in the spring with the shearing.  The "crop" you have worked on all year - keeping good nutrition, TRYING to keep them clean, etc.

Elliott's fleece is fluffy and soft, and comparatively clean, in regards to what he's been up to lately -

 As you can see, he's taken a little dislike to the "ramada" on his little barn.  None of the other rams we have ever had have bothered it - they seemed to realize it kept the rain and the heat of the day off  of them - but this little  stinker banged on the 4" support post until he broke it, then proceeded to run and jump up at the roof - further deteriorating the particle board that was under the shingles - covering his fleece with it.  Luckily, while The Shepherd was waiting for the shearer to arrive  a few weeks ago, he had some one on one time with Elliott and was able to pick a lot of that crap out of his fleece prior to shearing. 

This is a sample of Vanessa's fleece - it will  wash up a real pretty honey color, I'm sure.

Another sample of Elliott on the left, with Donna on the right - Donna's fleece has really lightened up this year.  It has nice crimp to it though.

This is the sample that really made me swoon - which I was already doing from the lovely smell of the fresh fleece and the grease from the lanolin on my hands - This is Sandy's fleece - look at those crimpy locks.

The ends are kind of sticky with the dirt/lanolin "gunk" that gets out at the tips of her fleece and The Shepherd was going to take a pair of scissors to it and cut off those ends.

"Wait a minute!" I said - "let me try washing out a bit of it!"

Here is part of her fleece after a little soak in a "hot tub" of hot hot water and wool wash.

Oh, yeah -baby - look at that - and you should feel it.  I think any spinner would love to get his or her hands on this fleece, don't you? 

Here's a close up of the washed locks -

Very nice. 

And of course, an obligatory Kitteh picture of George, that I managed to nab while he was out tearing up the nursery the other day. 

Speaking of Cats - A "sweet 16" side note - The Shepherd was beside himself this evening - do you root for your "home team" - in this case the Arizona Wildcats - from his home town of Tucson, or for the "home team" - the Gonzaga Zags - the local team from Spokane.  I think he ended up rooting for his Wildercats - they won pretty handily.   Go Wildcats! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

To Everything There is a Season

A time to live, a time to die...

Ok, so I acknowledge that none of us are gonna get out of this world alive, but golly, we have had two friends pass away in the past month. 

The first, RB, as his daughter put it in his obituary, was "the innocent victim of  a high speed police chase" - he simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RB loved music and when he bought a small cafe in downtown Bellingham around 20 years ago, he decided to give it a Coffee House atmosphere on Friday nights and have live music.  The Shepherd & I spent many Friday evenings there - listening to music, or, in my case, performing it - for a while, my friend Nancy & I had a duet going - we called ourselves "The Rusty Sisters" - She played stand up bass and I played my 12 string guitar and sang the songs we played.  We didn't practice much, hence the name, - we were just a little bit "rusty" - but we had a great time, got tips and all the cookies & coffee that we could eat.

And met a lot of nice people - and got to know RB.  But people's lives change, and RB sold the cafe.  So we didn't see him much any more.  Imagine our delight when he showed up at our church one Sunday morning.  He had gotten to know one of our members and began coming to church with her - then, sadly, he took a job in another state and we hadn't seen or heard from him in several years.  Until last month when we got the news of the accident and his death. 

In many ways,  - since RB was no longer "in our radar" so to speak, our life will go on without him.  But the world has lost a good guy.  Rest in peace RB.

Then last Friday morning, one of my co-workers came up to my desk - "Did you hear that LS died? - He fell out of his truck & hit his head" 

"Well, where did you hear that?" I asked.  "It was on Facebook", he said. 

All right - I have to do a little rant here...

Facebook - a friend of my sister calls it "Nosybook" and I have refused to cave.  I do not have a Facebook page, and don't intend on getting one - but I will admit, it is kind of hard to come up with the kind of news that floats around on FB, and not all of it is true, so I finally decided to call his ex, and yes, he had passed away, but he'd had a heart attack. - And these "Facebook Friends" had announced his passing to the world even before some of his family members knew about it.  Kind of rude, I thought.  Oh, well, I guess that's the unsocial part of social media. 

When I thought about it, I realized that I've known LS for almost 35 years - We weren't "friends with benefits" (although I wouldn't have turned him down) we were good friends - he was always there with a ready smile and the best big hugs you have ever gotten.

When he was married, his wife had cancer, twice - I was one of the "food ladies" who kept the family fed so they could concentrate on her recovery, and when I had my cancer surgery eight (can it really be 8 ?!) years ago, they were two of my biggest supporters.  She survived, I survived, unfortunately, their marriage didn't. 

But he stayed in touch - he'd stop by my office once in a while - always with that ready smile and that wonderful big hug.  And, darn it,  in less than a month, the world has lost another great guy. 

Rest in peace LS. 

So, as the saying goes, "to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven"

And if there is music there, those two boys will be in the front row -


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Yarn, Navajo plyed

Here is my latest project from my spinning wheel.  I have been wanting to learn how to Navajo (or chain) ply -  What is Navajo Plying you ask? 

Well, to quote  Lee Juvan from, "Navajo plying (also called chain plying) is a way to make a three-ply yarn from only a single strand. Spinners often use this method when they have spun singles from a multicolored top and want to avoid creating “barber pole” yarn as they ply. Navajo plying preserves the color changes of the original singles, giving you a striped yarn rather than a marled one."

I have always just made two ply yarn, but, as a lot  of the  roving I buy to spin is multi-colored, I generally end up with the "barber pole" effect to my yarn and wanted to learn this method so, as you can see, the colors stay together. 

So I asked my friend Yvonne, who is also the current President of our local spinner guild if she would teach a class on how to Navajo Ply, which she did. 

It takes a "bit'o larnin" and a considerable amount of hand-to-eye coordination to Navajo Ply.

Everyone says, "Oh, if you cam crochet, you should have no problem learning how to Navajo Ply.  Au contraire, my friends. 

So the bottom part of this skein is what I plied at guild - kind of tightly wound, so to speak - then I got home, and my wheel sat in the living room for a couple of weeks - and since I needed to get started on some more yarn for The Shepherd's next sweater vest, I really HAD to get this project finished.  So off to the internet I went and ended up watching this video by spinner extraordinaire, Sarah Anderson .  Actually, I watched it several times, and by the time I get around to doing my next project that I need to Navajo Ply, I'll probably watch it a bunch more - ain't the internet grant?

Anyhow, as you can see from the top of the skein above, after watching Sarah's video, my yarn was much more balanced.  I think I will make myself some fingerless gloves for work.

I'm still having a bit of trouble with my eyes and it just isn't much fun to blog when you can't read what is on the screen.  And I've been thinking up quite a few things that I want to tell you about from taiko drummers to, sadly,  dead friends.   So, I promise I'll make an effort to get some things written up in the next week or so.  Till then, Happy St. Catrick's Day!