Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lazy Days of Summer

I hadn't planned to enter anything in the Oregon State Fair since I've missed the three local county fairs this year, but after I got a phone call requesting I bring entries to the meeting last Wednesday, I dug around and came up with three things.  This is the only scarf from handspun yarn that I could submit.  You're required to include a sample of your yarn and I only had yarn for this, and actually, it's not from this scarf but for the next one I want to weave like this.
I called my DIL Julia and asked if I could borrow back the scarf I just wove and gave her for her birthday last month.  She said, of course!  The iridescence is really cool.
And I'm entering a towel.  Matt and Julia helped me pick this one out when they were here last week. Salem is too far for me to drive but next year I'll be ready to take part in the local fairs.  That's what is fun for me.  We had four "guests" at our meeting, all who had visited the guild booth at the Deschutes County Fair and came to learn more.
Ian and I went down the Les Schwab Amphitheater for the second day of Brewfest.  Our friend Petey had planned to be here and go with us but was forced to stay home because of a threatening wildfire in SoCal.  We parked in the Old Mill and walked across the footbridge and spent a few minutes enjoying the floaters.  Floating the river is a huge tourist draw.  It's the first thing we saw when we stopped here for lunch on our way back to Reno from Washington about 15 years ago.

You know it's a serious beer festival when you can't see the end of the line of porta-potties.  Friday is a work day and it's mostly us old retired guys so they play old-guy music.  We walked through the gate to Eric Clapton's "I shot the sheriff" - stuff like that.
 This is a huge annual event and another large tourist attraction.  Admission is $20 which provides the mug and five tokens. Each token buys a 4 ounce taste and I bought an extra five tokens.  The program came in the newspaper earlier in the week and I marked the ten tastes that I wanted to sample.  I missed Petey because I had no one to share beer tastes with.  What you might ask can Ian do at a beer festival since he can't and doesn't drink?  He hunted Pokies and was thrilled to get some very special ones.

The weather was perfect, we ate lunch from one of the vendors and enjoyed the music.  The cool thing is that it's a fundraiser.  Brewfest buys the beer outright and the sample stations are manned by volunteers who queue up to be accepted, coming from all over the state.  All proceeds benefit charaties.  Our kids went the next day which is geared for the younger crowd with costumes and contests.  They went later, stayed longer and drank more.  They're young and now that Logan is 16 and can drive, they have a DD - they call him L'Uber :)

Yesterday we went to breakfast with friends visiting from Reno and came across this guy three houses down from us.  The house is vacant and for sale and this dude was in no big hurry.

He finished his business and moseyed on.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Time to Weave!

I'm weaving more towels, this time in the neutral warm colors of autumn.  People ask for them.
And I'm still struggling with these baby blankets.  I have 8" left to go on the second one and then one more after that.  This has pretty much cured me of tartan envy.  Splicing the yarns at the beginning and ends of each color is not fun.
I'm going to weave the next baby blankets in huck lace from this cone of white cotton/acrylic.  I'd like to have at least a half dozen baby blankets for our Guild's Holiday sale in November.  I'm trying to offer things that the two other ladies I'm sharing booth space won't have.
This is the yarn for my next set of dishtowels.  I'm going to weave Sarah Jackson's "Crackle Weave" dishtowels in the latest issue of Handwoven which means I'm going to have to follow instructions instead of doing my own thing.  It's been six months since our workshop with Susan Wilson and I decided that this is probably the best refresher for me.
And if I can get the hang of it, I'm going to weave these cones of 3/2 mercerized cotton into baby blankets using Polychrome Crackle and three shuttles.  After all the splicing I've been doing I'll bet that changing shuttles at each pic will seem quick and easy.
This is the last major yard work for this year.  It's turned into a large patch of dirt and I'm trying to decide how risky it would be to buy rhododendrons for this spot.  Before Ian removed the tree it was a done deal in my head but now I'm on the fence, literally and figuratively.  If I'm wrong it would be a costly and disappointing mistake.  The other half of the yard that we haven't done anything with is behind me which is also where the hot tub is.  Our method for dealing with it is called avoidance.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trying to Keep Up with Summer


I took some pictures of Grays River with afternoon light.  When Bob and Georg bought this old farm house there was very little on the property, other than the house, some outbuildings and pasture grass.  Bob planted everything and boy has it grown.
The historic barn is surrounded by Bob's trees and it's startling to realize he planted every single one of them.  We picked figs and pears to bring home.  Apples are coming in next month.  I know he didn't pay for a single tree.  He took pride in his ability to barter for things.
 One year we rolled in for a visit and we were no sooner out of the car when he excitedly said, "Come look at my trees."  He had planted the poplars then decided he could double his trees by cutting them in half the sticking the top into the soil.  The water table is that high.  Those trees are 100' tall now!

It's truly a park setting.  Georg ran the B&B, renting to former clients until just recently.  She and I sat on the front porch reading and chatting and this is what my kind of vacation looks like.
 Everything I know about gardening, pruning and placing plants I learned from my brother.  After being inspired by his yard, we came home to our own.  I'm still trying to groom some areas with perennials so they'll be ready for spring growth.  This is the first time I've ever planted petunias because we don't have rabbits to eat them up overnight. I know the petunias won't winter over but a flat of them was $10 at Costco and well worth it.  This area is the north end of our yard and was completely filled with tall native grasses which had to be pulled, one clump at a time.  We couldn't do anything until the grass was gone which is why my plants went in so late.
This area is west of the house.  I've cut back three over-sized sand cherry shrubs and removed three dead ones.  Two mugo pines that were crushed by the overgrown plants have responded to being staked upright and are thriving.  I planted a half dozen day lilies and hung flower baskets which are huge here.  Instant garden!
Ian worked very hard to remove every trace of the Frankenplant so there was nothing here.  I just finished planting it this morning.  The plants should winter over well and should start to fill out next spring.  I'll add some annuals then so it doesn't look so raw.  For now we'll just spread mulch over the rest of the yard to keep the mud down.  It's $15 for a yard and our truck holds half a yard.  It looks tons better than it did.  I have the fun of planting these but we've spent $500 back here and it's time to stop for this year.
Ian has the unenviable job of removing this dying Mugo pine.  He took a second load of branches to the dump this morning.  It appeared to be a beautiful bushy tree when we moved in last year.
At some point the tree became unstable and started to tip over but rather than stake it, a previous owner wrapped all the limbs with this black wire.  It didn't prevent the tree from tipping over and in fact, the main trunk was flat on the ground with the branches growing vertically making the appearance of a tree.  By this spring the wire had cut into the branches and was choking it to death.

That stump on the bottom right was the main branch.  What a bizarre thing to do to a tree.
That's the bones of the tree, soon to be firewood.
These are the towels I finished before we left.  I put them on Facebook yesterday and two are sold.  I'll open them up and display them better and see if I can tempt a few more buyers.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Quick Trip

It's been three years since I've seen my sister-in-law in Washington and I realized that we just needed to grab some days and go because there always seems to be a conflict.  We left just as our county fair was opening, and while I'm disappointed to miss it, I wanted to see Georg more.  We put Sammie in a local kennel and son Matt was going to look in on Maddie so we headed toward Mt Hood and Portland on Wednesday.
We decided to make Timberline Lodge our lunch stop and once we got there, the source of the name was immediately obvious.  It's constructed at the timberline on Mt Hood.  The ski lifts were running and college students were skiing on what snow is still available.
This WPA lodge is a marvel and a source of local pride as well as the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.  The movie was filmed elsewhere.  We were really impressed with the food as well as by the multinational diners around us - very fun.  It's astonishing to think that before the workers could begin construction they first had to build six miles of windy road from State Route 26.  The  construction workers were local as well as the artisans who created the woodwork and handwovens.
The Grays River is a tidal river off the Columbia.  Low tide.
High tide.  Birds and bird songs are part of the scenery.  My brother passed away nine years ago this month but everything here reminds me of him.  When Georg says she could never not live here, I get that.  Once upon a time they had a B&B here called The Farm on Grays River and to understand what a unique and rich place this is, read Sky Time in Grays River.  The author Robert Pyle, a well known butterfly biologist, is a local resident.  There is magic here.
Bob and Georg raised their grandson Jared through his troubled teen years.  Bob taught him a cornucopia of skills including shearing sheep but he learned cooking from Georg which led ultimately to culinary school.   He drives the hour out from Vancouver to check in on his grandma and do the things that she can't do for herself - like wash and set up this table for lunch.  Lunch?  Oysters on the half shell that Ian drove to Goosepoint to pick up.  Georg is an astonishing 90 years old. I plan more visits soon.
We thought about driving in to Astoria for a day trip but Georg had a bad night and declined.  We started driving but changed our plans and instead we drove out to the end of State Route 4, to Seaview and the bottom point of Washington State at the mouth of the Columbia River.  My pan fried oysters were the absolute freshest and mouth watering that I have ever had in my life.  The rest of the food was unremarkable.
So I went for walks the three mornings we were there, a dicey endeavor since the narrow windy roads have no shoulders, but it's a nice way to see gardens and yards.  And then there were these flamingos.  Georg lives in a little bit of heaven.  Robert Pyle thinks so.  My brother thought so.  I think so too.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Something Colorful This Way Comes

I saw a "spiralizer" on Hilary's Crazy as a Loom blog so I bought this.
And it does this - cuts vegetables into long thin spirals which cook up wonderfully, though I did break the spirals apart to facilitate cooking.  It's really just a fancy mandolin but I don't have to worry about my fingers
I also bought basil at the farmers market.

And it became this - pesto!  Ian doesn't really care for it so I freeze it in tablespoon cubes, then pull out a couple when I need it.  I love to do a vegetable saute for lunch and sauce it with pesto.  It's one of the best parts of summer.  I could smell the basil before I even got to the booth!
Our friends and former neighbors, Carol and Harry, are vacationing in Sun River and personally delivered one box of pink flamingos, a white elephant present she received at Christmas.  She's glad to have them out of her garage.
And I'm glad to have them here.
They invited us down to their vacation rental for dinner the next evening.  Carol is a librarian and we try so hard not to torture Harry with library talk and usually fail.  Also not appearing in this picture are Tamara and her friend from nursing Karen.  Table talk was animated and we laughed a lot - good medicine.
The last several months have been stressful, probably more than I realized, so when Jenny Bellairs sent me this picture of a towel/placement that she bought from me several years ago, I was deeply moved.  There's a part of me that lives and is appreciated in Michigan.  Can there be a higher complement?? 
I had money set aside to do some updating in our bathroom but last month we decided to use it for skylight blinds which were delivered and installed this morning.  The different in temperature and light were immediately apparent.  We've had to run the air in the afternoons for the past several days but not today - that much!  I'm especially glad to have that direct sunlight removed from my looms.  
  The towels are washed and in the hemming process.
Without the glaring sun I was able to finish threading the Laffy Taffy warp, so baby blankets can't be too far behind.
Every so often Stan (my oldest BFF) posts a picture on Facebook of us and it always crack me up.  I have no doubt that my mother sewed the clothes I'm wearing and probably knitted the sweater too.  Stan always teases me that I wore shorts and sweaters in the summer.  My parents took very few pictures and since I didn't remember that, I figured that was a fluke - but I can't argue with a photo.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Moving On

I walked away from the St Charles Cancer Center with glee.  My radiation oncologist said she thought I was doing great and that's good enough for me.
Only two of the lupine volunteers that I plucked from their flower beds survived the transfer and since then the groundskeepers have removed all the rest.  I can't forget this pothole in my life so I decided flowers are the best way remember it.
I promised  myself a visit to the nursery and I went the very next day.  I have planted some of these and rest are tucked away under a bush to be planted after this hot spell.  When I posted this picture on Facebook I got a lot of teasing about the flamingos which I did not buy.  One friend insisted that they'd be the perfect "trophy" to acknowledge that I beat breast cancer - plus they're pink.  Another friend is bringing me some that she has stored in her garage.  I think they'd be fun near the water feature.
Sammie has perked up and is again her waggy self.
We had an unexpected treat, a visit from Ian's oldest daughter and granddaughter.  They spent Saturday night with us, going from California to Washington.  They've never seen downtown Bend and it did not disappoint them.
We ate lunch and then spent some time watching the bicycle racers.  Bend had a five-day race in progress and not all events were downtime.  Some were road races nearby.  The timing was perfect and it was early in the day so the crowds were still small.


They had only driven by Mirror Pond when they were here for Matt's wedding last summer so we felt like a walk along it was in order.  We're in Drake Park but across the pond, actually a damed area of the Deschutes River, are old and very expensive residences.  The red canoe caught my eye.
Both my boys and their families were in Washington so missed the visit, but Matt texted to remind us the Tour of Homes. It's a competitive event that features builders best work. He had done the tile work in this once which won five awards.  We drove up to show them the Northwest area of Bend and ended up checking out four of the houses before we went back home.  All of the visit was unplanned and couldn't have been better.
I'm warping for baby blankets, using some 3/2 unmercerized cotton I bought from the Yarn Barn mill ends club.  Right now it looks like melted Laffy Taffy.  I'm anxious to get it into a more weaverly shape.