Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Friend Indeed!

Remember these cute guys:

These adorable goats belong to my friend, Leslie, who lives waaaay up in north Whatcom County.  These were taken in May of 2016 and since then Leslie has posted some wonderful videos and photos of this crew.  She knows I'm a farm girl at heart!

Imagine my delight when I sauntered out to the mailbox hub the other day and discovered a key in my mailbox.  The key means you have a surprise in one of the larger boxes set aside for packages!  A package!!!  Wait, what could it be?  I haven't ordered anything and it isn't my birthday and the box itself gives me no clue as to what might be inside.  I hurry back to my abode and open the box and look what I discover:

How cute is this?  And I love the card that came with it letting me know that Leslie is thinking of me and brightening up my day with a bit of farm life!  If I can't have the real thing, this is the very best substitute and a lovely testimony of a long-standing and ongoing friendship.  Bless you, Leslie!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Phase Three and Counting

Wally worked on the east fence all day yesterday, but now it's all up and the fun part...the planting...can begin!

The first set of trellises goes up. The hardest part is setting the bricks for footings, takes a lot of finagling to get them, as well as the trellis, even.

By 8 pm it was all finished.  A hard day's work, but it's going to look amazing when we get all the various fragrant vines planted and trained up and over!  And it's high enough the deer won't jump it.  Hallelujah! 

And the porch is starting to come together.  We had our first dinner out there last night, but it was too dark for photos by that point.  More to come!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Deer vs. Man Phase Two

Now to the south fence which is wide open and inviting for any four-legged creature that can jump!   We decided to purchase many wooden trellises that we will line the east and south fences with.  Each trellis will have a different vine growing up and around it.  We attached the first trellis to the south fence with plastic ties, but then we had to find a way to keep the Inexpensive (aka cheap) wooden structures off of the ground which spends much of its year as a sodden mess.  So...we lay bricks and placed the bottom of the trellis on the bricks.  Piece of cake, eh?  Not so much, the ground and the fence are not level, they slope a bit.  First Wally had to cut the sod to place the bricks.

Then he had to level the bricks separately, since the ground isn't level.....

Then comes the sand that has to be placed under each brick to make them level with each other and keep the trellis more or less level.

Next comes the placing of the bricks and the fine tuning to keep all things level...

 And finally the trellis is up.  But....we forgot about one thing, the front of the trellis (the part not next to the fence) is not secure and easily knocked out of line.  So next we will have to get some stakes that we can drive into the ground (easily replaced when the constant damp rots them) and attach to the front of the trellis.  We'll have to get some stakes.....if you give a mouse a cookie......

But at least the trellis is up. The rest of the trellises will go along the fence to the right, but they will be placed flush with the fence rather than perpendicular like this one.  But the rain is back, so Phase Three is on hold.......

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Deer Vs. Man

When we first moved into this place, I began formulating plans for our yard and the wonderful vegetable garden I was going to put in the raised bed. 

 I was so excited to think that we were done with the deer issue....wrong.  I think we'd only been here 3 days when I glanced out the breakfast nook window and there were 3 deer staring back at me.  Drat.....this was a problem. Our yard is fenced in with chainlink, but they are only 3' high, no problem for deer who are agile jumpers. And we are not allowed to put in higher fences.   So we began thinking about what we could do to discourage them from jumping from one yard to another.  

Phase One:

Wally decides we'll put up bird netting on the west side of the house. There are arborvitae planted there, but they have not "filled in" so they leave lots of gaps just the right size for deer to squeeze through. 

 So we secured metal rods  to the fence posts and then cut the netting to size.

Then we attached the netting to the poles and voila...we have an 8' "fence"!

We don't have to worry about the north side, the arborvitae have filled in there and made a nice impenetrable and high barrier.

And we discovered this robin's nest while we were busy working out there.  You can't see her sitting on her eggs, she's done such a superb job of putting her nest where you really can't see it well from any direction!

Now for the south and east sides....stay tuned for Phase Two.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I Joined!

I am not much of a joiner, I've never particularly liked group activities.  This issue gets in my way a lot, I didn't like sports with the exception of swimming (a singular activity!) and tennis...only one other person involved!  And I don't particularly like to play games, although I'm getting better at this!   I've avoided book clubs all this time, partly because it's a group activity and partly because I don't want to "have" to read something if there's something else I want to read first.

A few months after we moved to our new town, a woman from my church mentioned that she was part of a quilting group.  Now my experience with quilting groups has NOT been positive. The ones I tried in my old town were full of very wealthy women who owned very expensive sewing machines that basically put the quilt together for you.  Not my reality.  For some reason I agreed to go to a meeting with her "just to see".  Well it turns out it was a wonderful group of very down-to-earth women who had "just regular" sewing machines.  Their meetings are a time of sharing what they've been working on and there is  usually a demonstration of some sort about a new block pattern or tips for making all those seams meet up, always a challenge in quilting.  And they usually are individually working on some sort of quilt projects to give away. The last project was making quilts for the local pregnancy and information center and for those in need at the newborn unit of the local hospital.  

The current assignment was to make a quilt using fabrics in red/white/blue to be given to veterans who are in hospice care, the thought being that the veteran could use some cheer and warmth during his/her last days and then it would become a memento for the family left behind. What a great project, I jumped in.

I found great fabric, got it pieced and then was in a quandary.  How would I have it quilted.  In Bellingham I always had  a dear friend who is a wonderful woman as well as an amazing artist do my quilting on her long arm quilting machine.  My friend from the church here who introduced me to the quilting group suggested a friend of hers might do it, but when I called she said she was just learning how to use her long arm and didn't feel comfortable taking on the challenge. The local quilting store recommended a woman, but I emailed her and called her and got no response.  I went back to the quilting store to let them know the woman had not responded and to ask if they could recommend someone else and the woman standing next to me says, "I have a long arm machine."  I asked if she did commission work and she said, " yes".  When I told her what the project was and what it was for she said, "oh, I'll do that for no charge for such a good cause."  Providential or what!  I got the quilt back yesterday and finally got the binding sewn on. 

Drum roll's the finished product which will be turned in on Monday. 

Here's some detail of the quilting pattern, I love the stars and the swirls, a perfect juxtaposition for all those squares!

I love knowing this will go to someone who has sacrificed their own agenda and freedom of choice  to serve us all!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Digging Their Way to China

McMinnville has a local heritage museum that hosts a variety of farm-related activities throughout the year.  Yesterday was the annual plowing match.  There were to be a total of about 20 teams plowing with horse and hand plow throughout the day, but we were only able to stay for a couple of hours first thing in the morning.  Storms had just rolled through so the ground was wet and the sky was wild and the light was fantastic.  I went crazy with my camera and I think I managed to catch the mood of the day.  

 Each person would plow in one direction and then turn their team and plow in the opposite direction.  Each plowed row is judged on how straight it is, how even the "curl" of plowed soil is turned and how even the depth of the curl is.  I thought plowing was a piece of cake...not so!
 See how "bumpy" his turned rows are?  The curl should like nice and flat and even.

 Some used horses and some used mules for their team.  I wish i could see oxen pulling a plow, that must be a sight.
 This is not a gender specific "sport".  I felt for this woman who was having a really difficult time getting her mules to obey her.  Ultimately she did and managed to plow a couple of decent rows.
 Here's another lady who must have some more experience, her rows were quite straight and even.
 There were also farriers, blacksmiths, and lace makers providing demonstrations of their "lost" arts.
 These women were working on beautiful and delicate lace creations.  Tatting is an amazing art, look at all those spindles of thread that have to be intricately twisted to form the patterns of their creations.  How in the world do you keep them all straight!

 She is making a doily, you can see the pattern she is working on.

 Another accomplished woman--her rows are not quite so straight,  but those are BIG horses to be handling!
 Look how deep his rows are, it's up to his knees.  It's a real art to guide the horse as it plows the row he's working on while  straddling  the row just plowed.  
 I love these huge horses, so majestic and graceful for their imposing size.

 This is one of my favorite pictures.  He's using "old technology" for plowing while using "new technology" for communication.  Old world meets new world!

 I love the light in this photo and this gentlemen was hands down the most accomplished plowman.  Look at how straight his rows are and how even the curl is compared to the other bumpy and uneven rows.  He's obviously done this for a large part of his life!

The little one room schoolhouse was open and two giggly young ladies dressed in period garb where holding down the fort.  This young lady decided to demonstrate old fashioned discipline!

I don't know who ultimately won the competition and observers were able to pick their own winners as well who would received the "People's Choice" award.  Guess I'll find out in Tuesday's paper!  It was a lovely morning for a step back in the past...especially for a farm girl at heart.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Breakfast Served All Day

No birdies at the feeders this morning, Mr. Merlin is keeping them away.  He's camped out and hopeful.