Friday, August 26, 2016

The Days Dwindle Down

I finished the first set of baby blankets and ran them through the washer and dryer.  They were so linty that I had to clear the lint trap four times.  I didn't have time to babysit the dryer again so had to wait until the next day to run them through a second time.
 I hemstitched them leaving 3" between blankets, then sliced them apart with a rotary cutter.  I'm really pleased with them but they were beyond tedious.  All the color changes had two ends for each color so it required a very careful haircut on both selveges.
I've never woven anything with so much lint and snippets.  I'll be looking for another way to weave colorful baby blankets after this.
Ian and I went to the Art in the High Desert show today down on the river which is a juried show with artists from all the western states.  I was mostly curious, telling myself that I don't need any more stuff, but it's really fun to see all the creativity.
Apparently I did need something - this small leather purse from Salt Lake City.
I've been thinking about a tiny purse for our trip to New York in October.  It'll hold my phone and leather coin purse that I'll use for cash and a credit card, but what sold me was this small pouch just under the flap that will be perfect for quick access to my subway pass.
There weren't many floaters when we first got there but by the time we started walking back to the car, the river was full of them.  These kids were having the time of their lives.
It was 1:00, we were hungry and hot, and there was a shaded table available on the patio at Pastini's, so we had a pasta lunch, watched the floaters on the river and the occasional pedal cab roll by piled high with laughing families.  In another month we won't be eating outside anywhere until next Spring.  It will be September next week!
As you can see there's not a whole lot of weaving going on, but I am steadily pecking away at this set of dishtowels.
And I'm slowly but steadily getting an eight-shaft huck lace baby blanket warp on Arthur, my 40" Gilmore.  I got all eight shafts tied up before we left this morning and threaded for a little while after we got home.  To be continued......

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.