November 25, 2009
Heading out the door for a walk in the crisp early morning I started to grab my camera then remembered I still hadn’t posted about an early Wednesday outing way back in October. With Thanksgiving tomorrow it’s a good time to remember the visit with our son and daughter in law, the two grandkids and the blessing of spending a few days with them.
The Wednesday of October sixth dawned bright and full of the promise of hours ahead to spend with the grandkids. After breakfast we helped load the kids in their vehicle then stopped and picked up picnic supplies on the way out of their small town. Heading south we drove down an arrow straight road, with only two or three sharp turns, for twenty miles.
It’s interesting how a person thinks they have a good impression of a place visited while growing up. My mother’s sister lived with her family less than an hour from where G&S have settled. Growing up we periodically visited them in the summers. Ed and I also took mom and the kids to visit Aunt B and her kids and grandchildren in the 80′s. My fondest memory of visiting them was when I was eighteen and on my way to college we stopped to visit a few days with Aunt B. My cousin had a Quarter Horse, Pepper, whom he used to help nearby ranchers with their herds. My cousin reluctantly granted me permission to take Pepper out for a solo ride. Away we went, my heart soaring on a good horse who stepped out eager and spirited. Riding along the canal road aways I spied a small bridge and on the other side was a wire gate and a track leading up into barren bench-land. Turning Pepper we crossed the bridge, soon had the gate closed behind us and were winding along the track leading onto the ridge. Once on top I let Pepper have his head and away we dashed. Topping a rise I saw a group of cattle scattered across the grass hollow. Having dreamed of herding cattle from the back of a horse I nudged Pepper towards the nearest cow..
The seconds collapsed into a small dot of time as the world blurred past. Pepper took charge zooming in three circles around the cattle, each circle smaller until the cattle were collected into a tight knot. My breath was gone, left behind at the beginning of the first loop. I was merely a small passenger on the back of a horse doing what he loved. My legs were jelly from hanging on and maintaining balance through those dizzying circles. Exhilaration and joy rode within for the rest of the morning as we explored the ridge and hollows before finding our way back to Aunt B’s.
Back to the story at hand! I’d always thought of that part of Idaho as rather flat. Sure there were some valleys and ridges but by and large, flat. As we traveled like a crow straight south to the Snake River my head kept swiveling taking in the sight of snow covered mountains stretching across the northern end of the wide Boise valley as well as along the southwestern side. Sure I’d seen the hills north of Boise, but behind the hills were grand mountains I’d never seen (or noticed?) on previous trips. Stunning with fresh snow. (Sadly I was not able to capture the grandeur of the mountains to the north and to the west there’d been a large forest fire smudging the sky with smoke.
After twenty miles of straight flatness and dreaming of riding a horse across the land, my eyes popped at the sight of yawning Snake River canyon dropping away between us and the Owyhee Mountains.
I am a chicken when it comes to heights. I could barely watch Ed standing here long enough to snap this picture.
See how the cliffs simply drop straight down? Yep, it’s the same a few feet in front of Ed. (shiver) DL confidently manuevered the car down the narrow road cut from the side of the canyon as I closed my eyes tight and prayed no rocks would fall from above or the brakes give out.
In 1901 the Swan Falls Dam was built across the snake. Before then there’d been a ferry for the brave souls that actually went back and forth from rim to rim. There was a huge gold mine in the Owyhee Mts and this was the closest, quickest route for prospectors. Before them Native Americans had wintered in this portion of the canyon. It was so still and peaceful beside the river. We all felt our burdens and cares falling away as we breathed in the calm, ate our picnic and chased the many butterflies.A grand old cottonwood tree perfect for playing around.
Finally! It took several days with bits of half hours snatched here and there to get the warp measured, sleyed and threaded through the heddles. Tomorrow morning, after making rolls and putting them to rise, I’ll beam the warp and begin weaving. Can hardly wait!
With a heart full of thankfulness for all our blessings.
November 19, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Spinning
| Tags: Spinning
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I’m afraid if I don’t post tonight it’s not going to happen for awhile. There’s a huge box of needles to be shipped out tomorrow, plus a box of spindles and another box of hairpin lace looms, and several individual orders that need to go out. The small violin ensemble I play in has practice tomorrow afternoon (gulp, I haven’t practiced as much as I should) then Ed and I are going to see Fiddler Hanneka Cassel and cellist Natalie Hass. I can hardly wait to hear them together. Hanneke Cassel played at the local venue about three years ago and was amazing. She’s been a past winner of the American National Scottish Fiddle contest.
Then Saturday evening it’s practice for the annual Christmas playing/sing along that our Friends Church has hosted for years. Great fun. It’s the season of getting back into violin playing. After a long break I’m enjoying playing again.
Sunday is the Friends’ church Thanksgiving Potluck and celebration.
Oh yes, there has been spinning going on! A week or so ago I finally finished a long spinning project and was feeling pretty good about finally spinning what I thought was worsted weight yarn then 3 plying it so it’d be bulky. The roving had been full of vm and gunk that needed time consuming hypervigilance to remove. But I loved the colors and I had just the pattern in mind for it. The first ounce I spun on the Turkish spindle, it’s the spinning being done on the bike – see how far back that goes! Needing to get a move on I used the wheel for the next two ounces using two bobbins. After plying the three together, setting the twist and measuring out the yardage was perfect, 109 yards but it wasn’t bulky, instead it’s maybe a DK.
I had one ounce left, could I possibly get enough bulky yarn? Back to the wheel churning out lofty, thick singles which were then plyed and soaked. 44 yards, the pattern calls for “approximately 51 yards”. With some adjustings and making use of the three plyed yarn in certain areas I believe I can make it work!
Three ply above and to the left of the 2ply bulky.
Most of this week has been blustery, rainy, dreary dark – not conducive to good photos.
The presentation at the Spinner’s Retreat was a lot of fun for Ed & I. I’m always amazed at how quickly the time flies when we’re giving a talk/demo together. The setting was at the beautiful Silver Falls Park at the Upper Smith Lodge tucked on the flank of a ridge admist the tall fir. I wish I could have spent the weekend with the lovely women spinners soaking up their warm friendship, and the sighing stillness and quiet of the park. Rich moist earth and tree aromas bring a deep feeling of peace and wellness. The cabins the women stayed in were tucked between the trees, ferns and moss covered vine maples were built in the 1930s by CCC crews.
There were about a dozen ladies who all made us feel very welcome and were wonderful to us. After the talk we had lunch at the beautiful dining hall then back up to collect our stuff. We still had a full afternoon of work waiting for us at home. Carol and Christine (two spindle addicts :0)gifted us with two lovely batts that they’d carded and dyed, along with stitch markers and cute soap that is nonscented and feels very nice.
Last week warp and weft requirements were figured, cones of weaving yarns selected and warping board put together in high anticipation of getting a warp on during that bright sunny afternoon. The warping board is still waiting. Warping and sleying the reed is one of those tasks that I prefer to do during the day time with lots of natural light and large blocks of uninterrupted time. Ed came in the house just as I was setting up the yarn cone for the first warping bout. He’d brought in the first of a couple dozen knitting needles to be written on. A couple weeks ago we received an order for over 200 pairs of knitting needles and several dozen hook. Once Ed had finished most of the older orders and made a promised batch of Kuchulus he turned his attention to the needles. We’ve become a small needle factory.
November 13, 2009
Posted by Wanda J under Uncategorized  Comments
(I owe so many of you emails, I hang my head in shame. Is anyone else who uses WordPress having difficulties with comments coming through intact to their email. It used to be that I only had to click Reply and the reply would go to the commentor’s email but now it goes back to wordpress.)
I’d been stalling the trip to town to visit a friend hospitalized with H1N1 and pneumonia. The last order for the day was packed and the clock was moving to the time when driving is impeded by school buses. Deciding it was time to get a move on I stopped by the PO then drove out of town. Driving around a sweeping curve I noticed a woman standing next to a horse between the road and pasture fence with three other horses bunched near her. As I approached the three galloped with flashing eyes, high heads and tails into the road. They clattered this way and that not sure which way freedom led. With a blind corner just ahead I pulled over and jumped out to try to head them back, thinking they lived at the bend in the road. A van came around the corner and slowed down enough to part the horses around it. Seeing me they froze then skittered, blasting loud snorts through their nostrils. Waving my arms and yelling I tried to jump in front of the black lead horse in an attempt to turn him back. Blackie shied around me and for a moment I had the sensation he thought about kicking out sideways at me as he leaped past. A spotted brown and white appaloussa and a chestnut followed his lead charging past me with snaking heads and flying manes.
Glancing back up the road I saw the woman desperately hanging onto a lead rope attached to a wimpy looking halter on Big Brown’s head. She was barely maintaining control, her horse was rearing and crashing around trying to get free to run after his buddies. Talking quietly and using sounds that normally calm horses I grabbed the other side of Big Brown’s halter with my right hand and between us we attempted to get him down to a somewhat manageable prance along the side of the road. With each car that swept around the corner he panicked, throwing himself around, threatening to whip our arms out of socket.
I asked where we were going. She replied that their pasture was just around the corner and up the hill. They were her neighbor’s horses. She’d seen her neighbor drive off and then the horses running down the gravel driveway so she’d grabbed up a halter and a bucket of COB (molasses covered corn, oats and barley). The bucket of cob was what had allowed her to slip the halter on Big Brown.
As we headed around the corner Spotted One came galloping back and swept past us back out to the road then spun and ran back up the hill. Big Brown jerked and tried to run after him as my feet tried to stay on the ground. We’d managed to get part way up the hill when again Spotted One loped past us and down to the road where a car honked and swerved. Horsewoman rattled the grain in the bucket and Spotted One circled back to us then dashed on up the hill to where Blackie and Chestnut were milling around still blowing through their noses in high excitement at their wild escape. Big Brown was about to go ballastic and our arms were jelly when Horsewoman said, “Let’s just let him go. I think they’ll go back in now.” She had her own horses and had debated about putting them in with hers but, “my horses are well trained, I don’t want these crazy horses in with them!” I slipped the halter off Big Brown’s head and whopped him in the rear to head him on up the hill. At that moment I remembered my purse was sitting in plain view on the passenger seat. I’d grabbed the keys exiting the car but hadn’t dreamed I’d be gone for so long or out of sight around the bend. It was my turn to run pell mell down the hill and back around the corner to see my red car sitting quietly beside the road. Everything just as I’d left it. Except now my light tan jacket had smears of dirt up and down the sleeves where Big Brown had pushed his head. Blood trickled down one finger from a small cut. My arms felt like they’d been stretched to snapping point. Sighing I merged back onto the road and headed first to the bank then on to the hospital in the big town.
Vineyards stretching along the road about four miles away. Taken on Nov 4th.
It’d been ten years since I’d been at that Hospital. (Most people in this area go to our local hospital.) In that time four more buildings have gone up. What used to be one building with a parking lot across the street has turned into a small hospital complex with four large buildings and a large parking garage with “skywalks” for access between the buildings. Finally finding Sunny’s room I stopped at the nurse’s station to ask for a special face mask and was informed Sunny had just been taken to the Imaging Center. It’d be about 45 minutes. Sigh. Crossing back over the skywalk my heart stopped at the sight of a burning tree. The last sunlight was glowing against a brilliant scarlett maple tree, massive grey clouds piled against the distant snow glazed mountains.
My stomach was growling so I stopped at one of the numerous gift shops with selections of sandwiches and soups, then sat at a table placed along the hall and had a bowl of hot soup and crumbly crackers. Burned my mouth on the soup, littered crumbs all over the table and floor while attempting to look and feel normal. Sitting back down after cleaning up my mess and disposing the remains I pulled out my faithful Kuchulu to spin the time away.
Sunny was back in her room. I donned white pointy mask and spent some time with her. Living in a two- generational house she and her husband practically raise the twin six year olds, their four year old brother, an odd assortment of grand neices and nephews who seem to come more than go. Sunny was hospitalized on Sunday. She still felt weak and exhausted when I saw her. I hope they don’t discharge her too soon. I was able to round up a number of people to provide meals through the week but still once she gets home the little kids will be at her constantly. Her husband has the flu too but he’s a tough dude and is toughing it out.
Rain was pouring in the darkness as I came back into the next town over. A movement and a shape caught my eye – a deer on the right shoulder headed my way. Through town, up and over a small ridge, past my friend’s house, cruising to the edge of town I had a sensation: Look! Another deer stepping from the right into the road at a stately pace. Knowing there’d be another deer encounter I carefully scanned the sides of the road as I picked up speed beyond town. Yep, half a mile further a deer also making its way across the road, also headed north.
I wonder if the deer were planning a meet-up in the rain. With all the large animals moving along the roads it was a wonder that there were only the typical small roadkills of squirrels, possums, and raccoon.
The Packed Kuchulu from last post? I reeled it off onto my niddynoddy to take measure of the yardage. 11 grams = 228 yards of singles. WIP came out to 58.
I’m very pleased and will continue spinning until there are 100 grams of singles to ply. For now this first spun is waiting on a shuttle bobbin until the rest is spun.
Tomorrow Ed and I have been invited to share about our work and spindles with a spinning group having a retreat at the Silver Falls State Park Conference Center. I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve had so many orders for spindles that Ed’s been working his fingers to the bones. Yesterday’s batch is being horded until we can show them to the spinning group. We were specifically asked to bring some and it’d be a fine thing to pack off all our spindles to waiting stores and have none to show tomorrow.