Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

My daughter and her family including grandson Kiernan drove up from Reno the day after we got back from our trip to retrieve Alexia.  We enjoyed several days with them and then they hit the road, to be back to Reno on Monday.  Alexia had an orientation to attend.  Nevada has a program called Nevada Youth Legislator where high school students can apply to the state senator in their district for this position.  There are 21 state senators so 21 high school students, most of them in the south where the population is.  She still isn't clear on their mission but it is going to be a great learning opportunity regardless.
She applied to Senator Heidi Gansert's office and was accepted.  A term is for two years and next year the Reno kids will fly to Las Vegas for the orientation since they came up this year.  She even has her own business card!
And State ID.
It's back to babysitting on Thursdays and Fridays for me.  Delaney is now four months old and can roll over!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch - the living history department bought a hand crank ice cream maker on eBay.
It's been a huge hit with the kids.  They line up to take turns cranking and then go to the end of the line so they can do it again, even though they know we're unable to give them any of it.
But the past two weeks have been too hot to do much of anything, too hot to bake, and too hot to make ice cream, so we've been playing cribbage.  Izzie taught me last week.  Her grandmother taught her when she was seven and now she's taught us.  Yesterday we played a tournament and surprisingly it was a big hit with the public.  Many adults have played it and the kids love helping us add up the cards - 15-2, 15-4.  It's not as easy as it looks as these reproduction cards only have the spots, no numbers.  It's gets confusing after a while.
Our county fair was just a couple of weeks ago and my demonstration shift was the first morning it opened.  In spite of the air conditioner not working in our room, we still had very good turnout.
My scarf took the Superintendents Award.  I don't know what that means or who the superintendents are, but that's a mighty big ribbon.  It's headed to the State fair tomorrow.
 And I settle back into my routine, enjoying the last days of summer.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Island Hopping

Ian rented an AirB&B in the old part of Victoria and within walking distance to everything.  I love this picture of Alexia on our balcony, the spitting image of my mom.
It was her heart's desire to have high tea at the Fairmont Empress and she wanted to dress the part.  She bought two dresses and brought them both with her, but this is the one she asked me to iron.  She felt like a princess.  Unless you've met her, it's difficult to convey the unaffected poise that she conducts herself with.  An elderly German woman walking with difficulty aided by a cane, stopped to tell her that she reminded her of her childhood, what it was to feel like 13 again.  Alexia sweetly and in all sincerity said, "I'm so glad that I could do that for you."
She had studied the menu and tea choices in advance and had given us the whole run down before we got there, but then Todd, our server, explained it to us all over again.  We selected our own teas and we each had our own teapot. She had wanted us to share with each other, but it became a race against Todd who would suddenly reappear and refill our cups.  Let me tell you that three pots of tea is too much tea and Lexi stubbornly drank all of hers, then reached for Grandpa's pot.  We told her NO!

She said it was everything she had wished it would be.
This was our view of the bay from our table.
We spent one day at the Royal British Victoria Museum and we really needed a second day to see it all because we were worn out after five hours.  We spent one day at the Butchart Gardens where we also wore ourselves out.  We took the public bus for the hour ride out and back - very interesting, but that's another story.
 I think I came away learning the most from the gardens as they were very instructional.  I asked Alexia to stand on the path to provide perspective for the lily and hydrangea on the right, both taller than her.  I brought home their plant guide and also bought two packets of columbine seed which I had to declare at Customs.  The Canadian Customs people were much nicer than the American ones, I must say.
We took the ferry back to Port Angeles where we picked up our car and drove to Vashon Island to spend a few days with our sister-in-law at her place there, which is way down on the end.
Turning around, I took this shot looking the other direction.  Click for big to see Mt Ranier hidden in the cloud.
The summer compound is right on Puget Sound so maritime traffic traveling to and from Tacoma passes right by.  Alexia loved watching them with both the telescope and binoculars.  We found a great app called VesselFinder Lite that identifies the ships, tells what country owns them, whose flag they're flying, usually a picture and lots of details that I don't understand.  We had a lot of fun with that.
Low tide reminds me of Limbo - how low can you go?!
High tide, however, is getting higher.  I took this picture of Ian from the second floor, and you can see how high it is, so high that the stairs are damaged and unusable.  Homeowners on Vashon have been meeting with the Coast Guard, looking for ways to protect their property.  They were told that in a hundred years, these shoreline houses will be under water.
So what to do?  Enjoy it while we can.



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Busy Summer

It's been a month since I've written anything here and that's in large part due to this adorable girl.  Alexia was with us from June 26th to July 26th and those days were packed full.  I was at the Deschutes County Fair all day today, demoing spinning with a drop spindle.  I'm tired but we're going to have baby Delaney for the next two days and I can't count on any free time, so this post is me trying to get a little caught up on the last month, while I can still remember it.

One of our favorite things to do together is shop for books.  We've done this since she started reading in second grade.  She had planned on a visit to Dudley's Bookstore and was really disappointed that it no long has a teen section.  We even spent a half hour at the library - no luck.  We ended up at Barnes and Noble where there are plenty of books to chose from.  I hadn't planned on buying any for myself, but then I found a display, Buy Two, Get One Free.  I had read about half of the books on the table and reasoned that surely I could find three books from the remainder.  I did.
She has gotten a little more confident in her knitting and started a shawl from a Ravelry pattern called River Fog.  We were going on another road trip and this would be her trip knitting.
And once again she volunteered with me as a living history interpreter at the High Desert Museum.  I showed her how to crochet and she went to town, making a "washcloth."  An older teenager and experienced crocheter spent some time with her, showing her tips and tricks.  She attracted little girls like a magnet the rest of the day.
Ian, Alexia and I took a hike to Tumalo Falls, a truly magnificent piece of our local back country.  We had planned to go up to Newberry Caldera, the source of much of the old lava flows that dominate our landscape. That hypothetical trip would have included a stop at the obsidian dome along with a visit to the lava-cast forest and lava tubes.  So they're on the list for next year.
I had forgotten how much time a newborn baby takes and Delaney gets all of me on Thursdays and Fridays. I just hope her temperament is like her daddy's and she doesn't run my legs off in the upcoming months.  I'm not complaining.  She already loves to be read to.

The day before we took off on our road trip was the opening of the Tour of Homes.  Delaney's daddy has had his work in the show for many years but this is the first year that he was a project manager on several. This house was his baby from the moment the framing was done.  It was very stressful and he was exhausted by the time of the show.  He'd drop the baby off at 8:00 and there were times that Julia had to pick her up (she works later than Matt), long days for all of us - not complaining :-)

The good news is that this house took the top award in its price range in every category except for landscaping.
The next day we were on the road to Tacoma to our sister-in-law's, but just for one day, and our favorite thing in Tacoma is the Museum of Glass.  We had more time this year and spent a couple of hours watching the glassblowers in the Hot Shop.  Okay, I have to admit that we went into the UW Tacoma bookstore which was right across the street and I bought two more books.
The work of Preston Singletary, a Tlingit native representing their story of Raven was the artist in the main gallery.  Not only had he made all the glass art, he had written original music and choreographed lighting to accompany it.  Breathtaking!
The next day had us back in the car headed to Port Angeles, Washington where we parked our car and took the 1 1/2 hour ferry ride to Victoria, BC.
We said goodbye to American soil as we crossed the straits of Juan de Fuca for Canada.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Changes and Progress

I got a text from Clover that she had left an envelope in our mailbox.  It was ten $20 bills, totally unexpected.  I was just happy to know we weren't going to see the hottub on our power bill anymore.  I took myself directly, do not pass go, to our local nursery and bought five shrubs:  forsythia, two varieties of elderberry, burning bush and a quince with peach colored double-blossomed flowers, plus three daylilies.  A friend gave me clippings from her yard and I plan to get a few more.  There's still a lot to be done but that's all I'm going to do this year. 
The move was Thursday evening and they had the hot-tub heated and running by the weekend.  Clover sent me this photo.  The outcome pleases me no end.
Last Monday Alexia and I were back at the High Desert Museum living history ranch and Izzie once again baked a rhubarb pie from the garden.  The pie plate was missing so she baked it in the muffin tin as tarts.  I have a feeling this was pretty true to authentic baking, figuring it out without a recipe.
Izzie started as a volunteer when she was a high school student Alexia's age and now as a college student is hired as a seasonal worker.  It took two people to get the tarts out of the pan with four forks but they were just as good as the pie she made last week, notwithstanding the improvisation.
Alexia and I drove up to Redmond on Tuesday to take a painting lesson with Erik Holland.  His girlfriend moved here earlier in the year and is a nurse at the hospital, and has also joined my bookclub.  Erik decided not to make the move just yet as he's still teaching high school art.  This is his demonstration piece on two-dimensional art. I haven't had time to finish my piece but plan to before Wednesday because we have a second lesson that evening. 
I snapped this candid shot Wednesday July 4rd.  She and I went to Tuesday Morning at the Outlet Mall for yarn because we've decided she's ready to tackle a real project.  I found a shawl pattern on Ravelry that has basic stitches and is also interesting.  I was trying to figure out what we did that day, we tend to keep ourselves pretty busy, so I asked her.  "We bought yarn and then knitted for like five hours."  Yes we did!  We said on Patio A by the water feature in the tree's shade and knitted until could could knit no more.
We were supposed to go to a neighborhood yard party that afternoon but got carried away and the mac-and-cheese that I had taken from the freezer to bake was still sitting on the counter at 5:00, but the potluck started at 4:00.  We didn't go.  But we did light off legal fireworks that we got at Costco, watched an episode or Outlander, then Lex and I went down the driveway to watch the fireworks shot off at Pilot Butte and Grandpa toddled off to bed, keeping terrified Sammie company.  The same people who had wandered up our street looking for a good vantage point for the official fireworks ended up coming in our driveway and watching with us again.  They had guests from out of state so we all visited and watched.  It was really quite fun.  As they left we all laughed because we've never seen each of in daylight and would never recognize each other if we did. 
This is Alexia's scarf, and she's a little frustrated because there are mistakes that you can see if you look for them.  My grandmother always said, Who's going to notice that on a galloping horse???  Isn't that the truth?!  She has finally forgiven herself and continues to knit, says it's a fun project.  She's doing great for a first project and I'm really proud of her.  BTW, the Ravelry pattern is River Fog.  I've knitted it for a prayer shawl once and am now knitting it again.
This is my weaving project.  I have a long way to go but I can only weave so long as a time.  I am having to rebuild my strength and tolerance.  Sigh.

Meanwhile, I'm getting my things together to go to my last Ambassador shift (the volunteer who keeps the doors open) at the Bend Art Center.  Bankruptcy has eliminated another nonprofit organization.  I'll post more on that next time when I know more.  We're very sad but are looking at this as an opportunity, a Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes event.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Juggling Patios

We enter our fenced yard through a gate that opens onto Patio B.  (Ian has named our patios A through C.)  It's on the north of our house and where I sit in the mornings drinking coffee next to the hosta shade garden.  It's morning shade only.
This deck runs all along the west side of our house.  This small lawn is the only manicured grass we have and perfect for games of Corn Hole.
Our bedroom opens onto the deck on the south side of the house and this is about as far as we got when we looked at the house to buy.  We were in a hurry, fell in love with the yard even though it was overgrown and realized this was the best house we could get for our money.  We went back inside and made an offer.
And if I had continued along on this walk it would have led me to the side gate and front of the house.
If I would have continued I would have realized that the house came with a hot tub.  It wasn't included in the listing so I didn't look for one, didn't expect one.  It's been used a couple dozen times at the most and certainly not in the last three years, yet Ian has kept it clean and maintained.  This past winter was really cold so it had to run a lot to keep it heated.  I hated to hear it running, knowing it would show up on our electric bill.

About a month ago I was having coffee with two of my neighbors, Cinda and Clover.  (I posted a picture of Clover's house in my last blog - it's where the deer hang out because she provides them water.)  I mentioned that I was so tired of heating that hot tub, even though I know it's a good one.  We have the purchase receipt - almost $9,000 for purchase and installation.  Clover said wistfully that they sure missed having one.  Half in jest, I said you want a hot tub?  You can have mine!  And that's where it all began.
Which led up to yesterday, moving day.  Ian drained it last week and Matt came over to remove the panels so they wouldn't get scratched.  How do you move a hot tub?  With that skinny four-wheeled cart and a lot of guys.
They tipped it up on the sturdy cart and wheeled it around the house, out the RV gate, down our long gravel driveway, down the street to it's new home, just two properties away.  Oh, and the RV pad complete with hook-ups was also missing from the listing.  How lucky we were that the sellars didn't have a professional agent or this house night not even have been on the market!
Without the hot tub it becomes a large patio that will be shaded by our house in the afternoons.  Our yard doesn't have a lot of shade so I'm really looking forward to enjoying this.
This is now Patio D.  It's going to need a little attention before it's ready for a party but it's going to be ready for afternoon reading today!
Patio C is on the other side of those overgrown junipers.  Did I mention that the yard is badly overgrown????
Patio C is all flagstone, which is where we had the table and chairs.  We've done quite a bit of work here pulling grass from between the pavers but there's still a lot more to do.  It gets a small area of shade in a certain part of the afternoon but you have to time it just right.  I'm thrilled to have Patio D and Clover's family is thrilled to have the hot tub.