Sunday, March 27, 2016

Springing into Spring

We asked the kids to keep an eye on the house and to check on Maddy to make sure she had food and water and, oh by the way, please scoop her litter box. I knew they were looking forward to the hot tub but I wasn't expecting this! They posted these pictures to Facebook while we were gone and we're still laughing about it. It was all staged but it reminds me again how much this move has given to me.
This is what the First Day of Spring looked like at our house. We're still weeks away from planting anything but want to get our raised beds ready to go. And I'm putting my peonies into the ground this week no matter what - my first ones ever!
Last week was really hectic for me. I decided to finish the towels and the last two scarves from the dyeing that Laura and I did last month.
This is the last of the scarves and it's from the roving that we poured all remaining dye onto, which turned out to be our favorite. I was done with everything except pressing the last two scarves late Wednesday afternoon. I planned to press them the next day and start putting labels on everything, but alas it was not meant to be.
Early Thursday morning Sammy barked at the back door and half-asleep Ian opened it for her without first turning on the light. Oh my. There was a visitor on our deck of the skunk variety who let loose a volley of stink of the first order. Sammy's head and right shoulder got it and because Ian was naked, it got onto his skin too. We gave her two separate baths in Dawn and then Ian went to the farm supply place for Skunks Etc, an enzyme preparation that was very effective. Unfortunately when Ian drove to the store he introduced stink into the car. We let it sit out with the windows down for two days to clear it out. Sammy was sick in the living room and then slept almost all day.
We turned the furnace down and tried opening the windows but that let me more of the stink that was still outside. A friend suggested that we place small bowels of vinegar throughout the house and since I'm a dyer and buy it by the gallon, I placed them liberally throughout the house, about a gallon's worth. Ian assures me that he will turn on the light before opening the door in the future.
That means that I wasn't able to start labeling things until Friday. My tags were Mini Moo cards which I punched and threaded with a thin hemp string. It took four hours of hunching over but I'm glad I did it. It really payed off when we got busy and people got all the information they needed about the item on the tag.
The car was loaded from the night before so I left here about 7:00 for Prineville, 45 minutes from here, though I know now that I needed to leave earlier. We were still setting up minutes before the doors opened and tweaked it as we went along. I'm pleased with how much we got out of a 5 X 10' booth though another time we'll absolutely get a full one. It was an interesting location, right after the Information Booth and the first vendor that people came across. The morning was slow so I was surprised when the afternoon sales picked up, and very often they were people who had come by a few hours before.
The towels did great, but while the scarves got lots of appreciative comments and feels, only two sold and they were Tencel, not my handspun. It makes me think that it wasn't the right audience. By law studded snow tires must be removed by April 1st so Fiber Market Day is always the last Saturday in March to allow people who want to over from Portland to comfortably make the trip. But this year that neato plan got tripped up when it fell on Easter Weekend. I was pleased with my sales but heard that others weren't so happy.
I had a little fun with this which I posted to Facebook. My daughter quipped "Park yer rear right here." I used PayPal Here to scan credit cards from my phone and couldn't have been more pleased, though surprisingly a lot of people paid cash. I have kept my towel prices at $20 because I think people are more willing to whip out a single bill. But I must say, the skunk distraction plus ten hours of standing on concrete with very few breaks has left me utterly exhausted.
This is what's next on my horizon though I am going to take a few days off to let my lower back rest. That gives me a chance to start putting photos in albums.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Back to Business

Our airport experience changed in Portland where we were greeted with rain while we waited for our baggage to be unloaded to the cart. And of course our umbrellas were in our bags. We still haven't gotten the hang of being Oregonians.
We had heard good things about the airport from everyone and weren't disappointed. The meal we ate wasn't overpriced and the food was excellent. I've certainly never experienced live music in an airport before. This guy was busking and selling CDs.
This guy was just selling CDs and at the other end of the concourse so you got music at either end - loved it.
Our layover was a couple of hours so we took a stroll to get the lay of the land. I've never seen play equipment in an airport either - great idea!
We were gone for several days so decided to use a local shuttle rather than have our car sit out in the weather and pay to park. If we had been gone one more day the costs would have been equal. When we walked out past security our driver was there, holding up a sign with Ian's name on it, just like in the movies. For about five seconds I felt like a celebrity.
I ordered yarn before we left and it was waiting for me when we got home. This 8/2 Tencel was from the Yarn Barn of Kansas "yarn club" priced at $5 a pound. The yarn cost $15 and the shipping cost $14.
This is the Tencel I bought at Webs when I was in Northhampton MA but the sale yarn is not the same.
Webs Tencel has a nice luster that the sale yarn is missing. I'm not sure how I'll use it though I will add extra warp on my next scarf and weave a small sample to see if luster appears when it's washed and ironed.
I also ordered this washable cotton/linen yarn from Knit Picks for the baby blanket. I am not pleased with the navy blue that will go between each color block so I'll weave it, but if I don't like it I'll order more yarn and save this for a baby gift.
The last order I placed arrived just last night. Webs had Tencel on sale, $7 off their usual price per pound so I ordered three replacement cones and four new colors. I figure the savings paid for the shipping. The fiber show I've been getting ready for is just one week from today and I hope I sell enough to cover my new yarn costs!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Going Home

Son Matt was the tile setter for the upgraded Redmond airport bar. I love all of his work but it's wonderful to see it acknowledged by a contract. It obviously wasn't open when we flew out at at 5:00 in the morning but I took pictures so he could see it finished since it's inside security. What a pleasant little airport. They're working on upgrading it, hoping to attract some larger carriers with the longer runway currently under construction.
We landed in Ontario to a lovely morning. It's 'old school" when you fly this small.
However we found lots to like about Alaska Airlines including this "a la cart" when we exited the plane. There was no scrambling to removed heavy bags from overhead bins since the bins are small and don't hold much more than a jacket. All bags are loaded underneath and by deplaneing from both ends of the airplane we were off in no time.
We were surprised that of all the cars on the rental lot, the one they pulled up for his was this Hyundai Elantra with Nevada plates. It seems there's no getting away from our Nevada past!

Rochelle had a house full including the youngest member of the family this year, her grand-nephew Levi. He was a happy smiling and chatty boy with a juicy cough which I came home with - a souvenir.
He was also a very busy boy. We blockaded the stairs though even though someone had an eye on him at all times - just to be safe.
Rochelle's party Saturday night was at the California State Citrus Park. Palm trees are a trademark of the Inland Empire but oranges are what it's most famous for. Everyone was delighted by the fragrant orange blossoms thanks to the recent rains. Everyone was delighted except me whose allergies went into overdrive.
The venue was absolutely beautiful and beautifully decorated by Rochelle and her daughter Allison. Note the high chair - children were welcome.
They even had their own coloring table though chase was the activity of choice. It was a birthday party and also a family/ friends reunion. Ninety RSVPed and 17 stayed overnight at the house. It could not have been a more fun weekend.
Rochelle arranged a wine and orange tasting before dinner and of the two, the oranges were a clear winner with everyone. The guy, a volunteer, was knowledgeable about all the varieties he cut for us and their history. The blood orange took us all by surprise. Most of us had heard of them but never seen them. The pulp is truly blood red!
The table setting was spectacular and the beautiful flower arrangements ended up going home with the various guests. Each place was labeled with favors tagged with our names, orange-scented candles for men and orange honey for women. We were seated with both of Ian's sons, Doug and Carlos, his wife and son - an extra treat.
We played games, visited, laughed a lot and watched movies. This only child snuck out for some quiet "me" time. A heavy rain storm had come through two days before the weekend and we felt especially fortunate for the timing of the sun.
The Ontario airport is a ghost town. I read that major carriers have cut back flights to it in favor of other airports like LAX and John Wayne. I assume that's why Ian had a hard time booking flights for times that worked for us. I dislike this airport more than any other I've been in and it's because of their hostile security. There were just a couple flights preparing to depart and yet they put us through rigorous inspection. I didn't set the scanner off and made sure to wear an elastic in my hair so I wouldn't sent it off with a barette. She still patted me down for seven "hot spots" including my bare ankles. It wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if this airport shut down.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flying Small

This is a new experience for us. We have taken for granted flying with Southwest where bags check in free. Suddenly we're learning how to the rest of the airlines live. Alaska charges $25 per bag and I'm stubborn. Nobody flies into or out of Central Oregon except for Alaska and if you want to fly out of CO on a commercial carrier, you'll be on their plane - at 5:00 in the morning on a very little plane with our very little bags.
We have spent the better part of the past two days figuring out how to pack four-days of clothes and stuff into these two little bags. Ian found a local shuttle that will take us and pick us up for only $16 more than it would cost to park our car in their lot and then scrape the weather off when we get back next week. The dogs are at the kennel, first time Sammie has been in a kennel in her 12-year-old life.
We're headed to Redlands California first thing in the morning to celebrate a big and wonderful birthday and to celebrate our family and friends. Life is good!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Feeding my FitBit

I bought this pattern from Yarn Barn of Kansas as a kit and then ordered the same yarn and made it a second time a year later. The only disappointing thing is that the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece yarn they provided says to hand wash.
I love the crayon bright colors but since I've woven this, Brown Sheep has added some colors and dropped others so I went shopping. Ultimately I ordered CotLin from Knit Picks for it's easy care though I was disappointed by the limited color choices.
It has rained quite a bit this week so instead of walking out in the muddy field I've taken the opportunity to explore our neighborhood. COID (Central Oregon Irrigation District) runs a network of canals for irrigation during the summer months but they shut off the flow during the winter except for an occasional release to let ranchers refill their stock ponds.
Properties that back up to the canal go for a premium. Occasionally a deeper spot doesn't empty to the joy of the birds though I would worry about mosquitos. A flyer I recently picked up in front of home for sale on the other side of the canal was listed for $599,999. It's a nice house but the new ones in this subdivision go for 350,000 - yikes. And it's only .18 acre, good for people who don't like yard work I guess.
I was surprised at how small the backyards are. They seemed much larger when we were house hunting online - we were thinking about one of them. It goes to show that you that there's no substitute for seeing the physical property.
Compare that subdivision to our street. I took this in front of our driveway on my walk this morning. This is a highly sought-after area but as someone told me at a Guild meeting, she had looked down here and while she loved the neighborhood and the landscaped yards, the houses were dated with demented floor plans. That pretty much describes our house.
I took this picture of Matt's neighborhood today. These houses are constructed on .1 acre so are even closer together. Bend has a housing shortage and house building is going gangbusters, but all of it has to be inside the Urban Growth Boundary. That translates into high density residential construction.
When summer rolls around the tourists roll in and it's very difficult to do anything downtown so we do it now. We were going to take Matt and Julia to lunch at the Wild Rose, a northern Thai restaurant downtown on Oregon Street that we like very much Julia was ill but Matt was not. They're watching the cat while we're in SoCal next weekend. We'll take Julia to lunch when she feels better.
Laura called this "peacock" but it says "tidepool" to me - a work in progress.