Sunday, May 20, 2018


It's that time of year again and I'm back at the High Desert Museum for the summer months on Fridays, well most Fridays.  We do have a couple of trips planned.
This is the "settlers cabin" which is based on information from Western homesteads.  I decided against a spinning wheel this year and have a basket of knitting, some wool and a drop spindle.  I used the spindle a lot this week as we were swarmed with 2nd graders.  There was a communication breakdown and we were unaware they were coming, but after a couple of visitors commented on all the school buses out front, I knew it was going to be an interesting day.  I like the mobility of a drop spindle.
My walking partner Cinda and I are enjoying morning walks along the irrigation canal near here, and we're especially getting a kick out of the waterfowl.  These geese have doubled in size since last week.  Mama bobs her head up and down, warning us to stay away.
I got an email from a couple you have a home nursery about a mile from here.  I followed signs to their sale last year and bought six plants that proved to be vigorous growers.  I signed up for their email notice, and good thing - they didn't put out signs this year.  Cinda wanted to go with me so we took her car which is bigger - good thing! - and got there a few minutes before the opening at 10:00 and found their place was already a beehive of activity.  They charge $6 per plant whereas nurseries run about $12 each so it's hard to resist the temptation.  I planned to buy six but barely reined myself in at 14 and I planted every last one of them yesterday.  Once the plants grow and fill out, this bed will be finished.  I'll only need to weed.
There are 14 pots there if you can count them!!
These two coreopsis were the two plants I had worried about.  They were nearly laying down when I finished planting them, but we had a nice quiet soaking rain during the night and they have perked right up.
The couple have a well organized event and good thing.  There had to be upwards of 70 people when we were there and we were early!  Each plant has an informational sign which I take a picture of.
When I get home I put all the information in my plant care map.  I shot this with my phone yesterday before leaving so I'd know what I already bought but you can see how I have organized it.  I got tired of looking up each plant and now know the zone, height, spread, sun, and season for everything I've planted in our yard.
A new sales event was announced at the Guild meeting on Wednesday.  We've been invited by the raku potters to share their venue in August and of course I'd like to participate.  I have been slow to clear this project from my loom as I was anticipating taking June and July off from weaving like I did last year.  It's difficult to stay indoors during our beautiful summer months but I need to weave at least 30 towels, but first I needed to finish this.  Oh how I am loving tartan.  The fringe is cut at 2" and thus the obnoxious twisting is eliminated.  And all the ends will be snipped off after this takes a trip through the washer and dryer.  There are two scarves, one is for Ian and one is sold.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Spring is springing

The seasons are slowly changing.  We still have more cloudy days then sunny but the tender grass shoots are attracting the deer who aren't atall that afraid of us.  I took this picture in our driveway from my car window.
We're trying something a little different for tomatoes this year.  We're hoping that growing them in tubs and starting them early with Walls of Water will give us seasonable produce.  These are Early Girls which have just about the shortest growing season of all the varieties.
My walking partner Cinda and I have been seeing waterfowl since the irrigation canals were filled April 9th and now we're seeing the babies.  So far the protective parents haven't menaced us but I'm sure that's coming.  They can be mean!
And speaking of Cinda, we came across the signs for an estate sale last week so after our walk we drove to the sale in case we bought something - which we did.  I got this handwoven wool runner from Mexico for $20 and a couple other things including a lamp.  Cinda is the one we needed the car for!  I've never gone to an estate sale before because it seems kinda sad to pick through someone's things, but I came away understanding that the money raised from the sale benefits the family and in this care, the widower himself who was cutting ties here and moving to SoCal.  He left behind a closet full of flannel shirts that he will no doubt not need down there.
And it's time for yard work.  I'm holding off on adding more perennials until the danger of killer frosts has passed.  I bought a flat of marigolds last week from Costco and planted them the same day since the sprinkling system was coming on that evening.  I was reassured by NOAA that it wasn't too cold to plant, only it was.  So no annuals and no perennials but pansies always work, plus I love their happy faces.  I removed the dead marigolds and replaced them with these.
The farmers market downtown has opened fully one month early.  This produce is from a farm in Junction City which is a little NW of Eugene.  It's nice to buy lettuce and not be afraid.
I finally worked up the nerve to wear my Where's Waldo sweater for the first time yesterday.  It was a busy afternoon: book club at noon, followed by the final session of Smart (Start Making a Reader Today), the Oregonwide program to engender the love of reading in kindergartners.  I've read weeky to the same two kinders since October and was sad to say goodbye to them. 

My knitting was on the backseat of the car so I went to Fancywork, the new LYS to knit with friends afterwards.  My sweater passed muster.  I have two more in process right now, hope to have at least one finished soon, while I can still wear it!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Field Trip Part 2

We drove for an hour after lunch to Warner Valley which is east of Lakeview.  The road meanders along Camas Creek through that notch behind the Post Office and is the same Hwy 140 that goes through Klamath Falls, hard to believe.
We gassed up at the Adel Store established 1898 and bought snacks.  A cowboy saundered over to our group and asked if we were interested in taking a look at the BLM Mustang facility about a mile away.
Why not?!  We were already a couple hours off schedule.  This is Beaty Butte Wild Horse  - click on the link for more information on their rehabilitation and adoption of mustangs to keep them out of slaughterhouses.  It was well worth the time we took.
Ian was taking a picture of Joanie and me when we realized we were standing in horse manure.
This is our friends Joanie and David with Ian.  It's a good thing we met them because they invite us to do fun stuff all the time, like this trip!

It turns out that the cowboy who is invited us to visit this rescue operation is Ken Kestner, Lake County Commissioner.  He told us that the county, the largest in Oregon, has a population of about 8,000 and he is one of three commissioners though there are supposed to be four. That means the safety of petroglyphs as well as the Summer Lake Wildlife Area, which has been in the news lately for their work in bringing trumpeter swans back from near extinction - all are in his territory. 

He explained the process in rehabilitating the horses, something he is clearly passionate about.  Andries gave him his card and told him to shoot him an email next time they have an adoption and he'll help publicize it.

The Greaser Petroglyph was our last stop of the day.

The separate piece on the right with the fat lizard was vandalized, then later recovered and placed approximately in the sport where it had been removed from.  These were the best yet, and there are many more sites if we decide on another trip.  Al was making a list for "next time" as we drove back.

It would probably have been 30 minutes shorter had we just gone back the way we came but we voted to go north along Lake Abert, an inland sea remnant, and through Christmas Valley and Fort Rock, home to the largest homesteader museum.  None of us had been there before and I knew Ian and I wouldn't go there on our own. We had left at 8:00 and didn't get back until after 9:00, and though we were exhausted, we were exhilarated. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Field Trip Part 1

Yesterday Ian and I and four other couples took a field trip into Central Oregon to look at petroglyphs.  The trip was offered through the High Desert Museum and our guild and driver was Andries Fourie, curator of Art at HDM.  We met out in front at 7:30 and were underway shortly after 8:00.

Fort Rock was our first point of interest.  Andries explained that once upon a time this area was an inland sea called Lake Chewaucan and this rock would have risen above the surface as an island.  A similar rock to the left is where sandals were found, dated between 9,000-13,000 years ago. The native peoples lived along the shore of the lake and hunted water fowl so the perimeter of the dried lake bed is a favorite of arrow hunters.
Table Rock is another remnant from the volcanic past.  It's owned by the BLM and you can drive to the top on a dirt road that spirals up around it, although Andries says spots are white knuckle - no thanks.
This is what the lake would have looked like before the Cascades rose up and the climate got drier.  I found an interesting blog post of a father/son trip to the region which goes into more detail which you can read here.
This is the crossing from Silver Lake into Summer Lake and the point of our first petroglyphs.  This is basin and range country so this is the uplifted range between the two basins.
We parked the van and hiked to this spot which is just one rock of many in this area.  No wonder the road sign says Picture Rock Pass, elevation 4,380' and there's no way I would have found this without being led to it.
I worked on the research for petroglyphs of Nevada that were used as part of the interior design of the Spanish Springs Library opened in 2005 and that I retired from in 2009.  I was very surprised at how similar these were to those.  Andries said that actually these primitive drawings are similar all over the world, including South Africa where he is from, and also France.
The figure center right looks like a horse and rider but the dating of all of these figures has been established at around 7.000 years ago.  Horses weren't present in the Americas until after the Spaniards introduced them and the rider was added and dated as later.  Andries showed up how rocks were tapped onto the surface to creating these "etchings."
This is known as the Ana Boulder and is on the shore of Summer Lake, or what once upon a time was Summer Lake.  It like many of these remnants of Lake Chewaucan are dried up alkaline lakes now.  This originally was a large rock, however, in 1980 in straightening a road the county blasted several boulders which had been deep grooved petroglyphs.  Six fragments of these boulders remain.  This was the oldest of our trip.

Our trip was a special arrangement made with Andries by one of our group who is a generous supporter of the museum.  The original trip offered and filled within the same day so Andries agreed to do this as a shake-down cruise.  We were running late by the time we arrived for lunch in Paisley, home of the Mosquito Festival.  The first order of fine-tuning for the next group is to make lunch brown bag.  The rest to follow.....

Monday, April 23, 2018

Books, Books, Books

Winter is easing its grip and I am finding a day here and there to sit outside and read.  Which means it's also time for yard word and that is nothing to write about.  However I recently finished a book about a bookstore which made me think of others, so here goes.  Books about bookstores.

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

I’ve loved the books I’ve read that were set in bookstores so I was eager to read this one after I read the description. The beginning was confusing but once the story moved to Paris and into the bookstore, it turned a corner for me and I was engaged by the charismatic George, the adorable Peter and Annabelle, crotchety Madame, and the enigmatic Declan as well as the sense of place Callanan’s descriptions of Paris provided.

The single fly in the ointment for me was Robert. I was perplexed by the relationship between he and Leah. I just didn’t get any spark or romance between them and I didn’t understand Leah’s support and tolerance of Robert’s “write-aways” where he would leave for indeterminate periods of time. Robert’s absences were hard on both Daphne and Ellie and led Ellie to ask, “He didn’t hate us, did he?” We learn that this dysfunction went on for 18 years. It felt like Leah put her selfish husband ahead of the welfare of her girls. Without strong and clear leadership from their parents, the girls became very mature and my favorite characters. I was thoroughly sick of him before the family left for Paris.

This was a coming of age for Leah as well as for her girls and i was glad she didn’t give up. Without giving anything away, the end was worth the journey.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon

This has been around for a while but it's still good.  Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Juli├ín Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

The Storied Life of A J Fikrey by Gabrielle Zevin

My bookclub chose this book and we lean toward literary works, so this felt like a spoof on our tastes, with so many of the book clubs and book discussions developing throughout. The anatomy of a book club, its expectations, a reader's response to a book, and the books they chose will be fun for our book club to talk about. It started feeling predictable, like a happy-ever-after story, but given the press this book received, I knew more was coming. Lambiase kept talking about a book with a twist and this certainly had one. A.J. had asked Maya, "Is a twist less satisfying if you know it's coming?" I'll find out how my book club answers that question tomorrow.  (I read this several years ago)

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

I enjoyed this book in spite of its thin plot and the interludes of predictable sexual tension. I loved the author's voice which made me set aside the things that didn't work like "apartments" in a rural and dying midwestern town and just keep reading on. I liked the motley cast of characters and I really did like Sara, her impressive knowledge of books and her inner dialogue as she ruminated about books and authors. I loved how she created shelves and the seeing which books she chose for them. I want to visit her bookshop! It was cold and snowy outside so I sat in my favorite chair and sank into this book. This book is a translation and I suspect the author has never been to the American Heartland, hence the apartments.

Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I struggled a little in the beginning with the French names and setting, but once I cleared that I sailed into this book. My first thought was - physician, heal thyself! This poor damaged bookseller could put the perfect book in anyone's hands but his own, and then we learn his misery is the self-inflected, the produce of hurt and pride. He refused to use his first name as he drifted through those twilight years, and I noticed one of the first changes in his awakening was acknowledging his first name, Jean. I'm calling this a book fantasy, short of serious literature and much much more than a romance. Imagine a literary apothecary on a barge! With cats!! The one silly thing that niggled at my mind was - where were the cat boxes?? I loved this book.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything―instead, they "check out" large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

Monday, April 09, 2018

April Showers

I finally got the loom warped but boy am I glad I warped from the front for this one.  I miscounted and had to insert corrections in about four places.  I am already planning my next tartan and I will play close attention this time!
Linda Davis, our instructor, gave us each a square PostIt note and had us fold it diagonally as a tool to help us beat to square.  It's so simple.  Just line up the bottom with a lateral line and it's immediately apparent whether or not your beat is correct.  I used it constantly in class and I'm still using it at home.
I finally finished it today.  I love it!
I sold about five pounds of roving which was really freeing, the letting go and also the freeing up storage space.  This is three pounds and the very last of our Shetland colored fleece.  Vacuum-seal bags are the ticket to shipping roving.  It made all the roving that I still have seem more manageable. 
Friday morning I dug through all the handspun yarn that I've complained about storing because I don't have enough for one project.  I found three skeins of the gray Merino in a bag that said "not fulled" and that with the fulled yarn in another bin came to a pound.  It's from a hogget Merino I bought when Linda Loken still lived in Reno, bought from Wayne Jesko and sent off for processing to Morro Fleeceworks.  The white is 17 micron Merino, also from Wayne and I don't know where he had it processed.  I have enough for a yoked sweater.
I browsed Ravelry and found this pattern, another one from Heidi Kirrmaier.  I realize that Ravelry makes it easier to find a pattern that matches up with the gauge of my handspun yarn.
I have about four pounds of processed\ Cormo/Corriedale that's a brown/black, also processed by Morro Fleeceworks, and just like that, I'm spinning again.  It's like riding a bicycle.  I still know how, even with this long hiatus.
This was the second nice day of this year and I probably shouldn't have spent so much time weaving, but I still did find a couple hours this afternoon to sit outside.  I had planned to finish my book but my Kindle died so I read the library's copy of Women's Work: the first 20,000 years instead. The birds were great company.  I even had this robin join me briedly for a bath in our pond.  It rained quite a bit last week and is in the forecast for tomorrow, but you know what they say about April showers?!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fiber Market Day

I ended up not sharing a booth with Laura who was going to sell roving so I made 2-ounce bumps from three pounds of our natural-colored Shetland roving with a sign inviting buyers to a "Mix and Match" spinning experience.  I sold ten bumps and a friend from Arizona has said she'll buy all of my remaining colored roving, about three pounds.  It's freeing and at the same kinda bittersweet, the end of an era.  Don't get me wrong.  I have probably five bins of white Shetland and colored merino processed roving.
This was my booth and the only shot I took of it.  It actually was reasonably attractive but after the icy drive that morning, I thought I'd have all the time in the world for pictures and focused instead on my drop spindle.  I didn't expect much in way of sales so I thought I'd practice for the Museum this summer, talking and spinning at the same time, and also using it as an opportunity for fiber education
I had two astounding experiences that day. One woman commented on my towels, asking me if I had gotten the draft from the Handwoven article a while back. I said that actually I had, that the pattern was mine, I’m the author. She got so excited, was happy to tell me that she got first place in her county fair using my pattern and that she had credited me. Goosebumps!

A couple of ladies visited with me later, one was buying a tartan scarf, and the other, looking through my inventory asked me if I had sold scarves last fall at the guild’s Christmas sale. It turns out that she had bought an 8-shaft huck-lace scarf from me that she loves. She told me that the reason she just joined the guild was because she wanted to learn to weave like that for herself. More goosebumps!!!!
I surprised myself by buying this 3-ounce sliver of Cheviot roving.  I'm actually interested in spinning again, just like that after such a long hiatus.  I'll overdye it with Gaywool dyes when it's yarn.

Oh, and I bought this too, a delicious 300-yard skein of 50% Merino, 25% Alpaca and 25% Silk.

Once again I'm taking a break from weaving towels.  I'd like to focus on what I learned in the tartan class and am playing it safe so far.  This is the fiber challenge yarns in a Campbell of Breadalbane warp.  I made mistakes and am so glad I chose a tartan that I know and also because I was warping from the front, I was able to make corrections while sleying.  I'm at the threading stage but yard work is beginning to enter into my daily schedule.
Yesterday was such a nice day that I planted about 60 winter bulbs that Ian bought from Costco last year and that I never got in the ground.  I recently read that it's better to plant them than risk losing them.  Two hours later I decided that was enough yard work for one day.  The day was still lovely so I checked the library catalog to see if they had a copy of the next Daniel Silva in the series I'm reading.  They did so I trotted the four miles down to pick it up and devoted the rest of the afternoon to reading in the nicest day we've had this year.  As you can see, books are high in my list of priorities.