The riot that’s Spring

After a rainy, cold first half of April the weather turned the corner around the 17th with sunshine and steadily climbing, climbing temperatures. Yesterday and today was in the 80s. Warm Hot for this time of the year. This morning, watching the birds flitting between the trees and the seed Ed throws out for them, their chattering filling the air, I looked around at all the white blossoms and blooming flowers and marveled at the explosion of growth. The scent from a fragrant flowering tree/shrub reaching over our back neighbor’s fence wafted across the yard, mingling with pear and the first lilacs of the season.
Our apple tree blossoms.


Last night we ate the first asparagus from our garden, two nights ago we ate some of the remaining kale that had wintered over, as well as the small buds and flowers of the broccoli planted last fall.
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Ed & I have been spending an hour or two almost every day since last Friday turning the soil in the garden. We till with hand forks in order to keep the earthworms thriving. Sometimes when I’m on my knees removing weeds and roots after turning a fork full o dirt the saying runs through my mind, “Work smart, not hard.” There is truth to that saying but what some people deem as smart might be physically labor saving but is it such a bad thing to engage our bodies in work rather than use gas powered machines and sprays?

Our garden has long been free of pesticides and herbicides, then four years ago we decided to stop churning the ground with a power driven machine. The results in having abundant bird and wildlife in our yard and trees is deeply gratifying.

Friday I dead-headed the flowering dandelions, covered them with boiling water and let them steep for 20 minute, added sugar (next time I’ll use honey), and half a lime then let it cool before draining off the tea and serving it with ice. Dandelion tea is supposed to be good for a person – a Spring tonic. It was slightly bitter but not bad.
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This evening I planted strawberry plants in the front flower bed, refilled the hanging basket with new flowers, and put two tomato plants near the sugar peas which were plantedMonday — we are very late getting them in the ground this year! It feels great to finally be planting for food. Rain is predicted Friday through early next week.

Tomorrow we’ll go to the Grandparent Day at Violet’s school then bring her home after lunch at school. Perhaps we’ll plant potatoes before customers arrive from Boise to pick up the Great Wheel they’d commissioned Ed to build for them.

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1.8.18

The rising Super Moon graces a fir tree in the 2018 sky.

Ed and I celebrated our 40th anniversary on the 2nd.
Home-cooked favorite foods and a quiet evening at home.
Picture of Ed & I taken right before worship service a week or two before Christmas.

2018 has brought spectacular sunrises and sunsets so far.
Colorful displays flaming in the skies, stopping people, making hearts sing.
God paints the sky with colors from the sun’s light hitting moisture in the atmosphere.
The colors intensify with each passing second.
Then the moment passes, the glowing clouds fade, the sky brightens. The color show over for the morning.

Wednesday brought our son and daughter “home” for supper.
A work trip brought Justin from Idaho and we were able to make the most of the evening together.
Childhood favorite comfort food: a huge pot of chicken soup with homemade noodles to celebrate the occasion of having both kids at our table once again.

Violet, Aurora and Gus
Gus, Aurora and her family – Violet & HaymakerI am blessed!

2018 The year to trust God for courage to victoriously face a couple of my lions.

12.5.17

I have the suspicion December will pass in a blur. Already the calendar is a-wash with notes.

  • Music practices for the town’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony this Thursday evening and the Friends church’s annual Bluegrass Christmas Sing-a-long the evening of the 16th.
  • Decorating the church on Saturday morning.
  • Celebration of Daniel’s life in the evening.
  • School winter programs are scheduled.
  • Helping pack Christmas boxes for those in need here in the community.
  • Extra events weaving in and out of regular weekly meetings and tasks.
    We’ll mark them off one at a time.

I’m very thankful that the majority of evenings  we’ll be home.

December is off to a good start with the spindles. Ed’s made some Larks, today he worked on Finches.  I’ve spun 20 grams: 10 grams of maroon were spun as fine laceweight with a 14 grams spindle made from a neighbor’s magnolia branch.

The Mulberry Egret is being used to spin the grey fiber.
Yesterday I started spinning the grey fiber which my daughter, Aurora, gave me for my 60th birthday last December. She bought it at OFFF last year but doesn’t remember exactly who she bought it from, nor did she keep anything that indicates the dyer or what the fiber is. It’s soft and there seems to be some fibers that are quite short. My guess is either baby camel down or yak blended with a long staple wool. There are 98 grams. Right now I’m planning to do some accent color work with the maroon with the grey. I may add another  colored fiber to the mix.

As the days turned to December I’m still choosing to practice gratitude each day. The hard news, the sad news, the grief we’ve dealt with these past two+ weeks has brought home the fact that gratitude is not just an emotion. Sometimes it’s not a feeling.

To choose to be grateful means sometimes checking those feelings that press negatives thoughts onto the heart. To rise above emotions and simply say, “thank you”.

As I have meaningfully practiced gratitude the hard emotions take a back seat. I’ve been grateful that I’ve been able to be far more calm and rational than expected. In cultivating gratitude perspectives have shifted.

It’s hard to explain. Concerns are there but not the worry. One huge difference is when I’ve been awake during the night. (Sunday night it seemed I was awake far more than asleep.)  My mind doesn’t race, anxiety or dread doesn’t take hold, instead I rather enjoyed the time to lie still knowing my body is at rest, the blankets and quiet dark enveloping me. It’s a good time to pray and think about spiritual things.

Grateful for
–  A quiet neighborhood with only an occasional sound.
–  The comfort of the Lord.
–  An unexpected word Sunday morning that was the thread which tied my sermon together. Though close to completion it seemed there was something more. Upon opening my personal email at 6am the Advent word for the day  was “Awaken”: “Awake my soul, awake harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn…!” Psalm 56:8
– Hope, the first Sunday of Advent is Hope. Because I hope in the Lord my soul is awake. And grateful!

A Satisfying Spin

Made it: The third November in a row to post every single day.

November will go out with spinning.

Waiting for the Picperfic fibre to cross the ocean for the September/October Challenge in the Revelry Jenkins Yarn Tools forum I remembered a long term project that I should finish for spinning autumn colors. (If you have a Jenkins spindle, please join the December Challenge fun, it’s not too late! )

This is the fiber and spindle I used to in the video Ply-on-the-Fly with a Turkish Spindle.

Three years later and it still wasn’t all spun. It’d been used at shows and classes to demonstrate the POF method. I dug it out of the workshop tub, took a picture to document how many grams were already spun. Time to finish spinning it so it could be worn.

The last push to finish.My little buddy during morning walks
Only a few grams left to spin and ply.
It’s a wrap!Soaked and skeined.
50 grams of 50 / 50 baby camel / silk gifted to me in 2012 became
150 yards of cushy soft yarn.

It’s going to be a wonderful neck warmer or small scarf.

Grateful for:
– finishing a very satisfying spin which produced lovely yarn.
– a good, brisk walk
– the rain holding off until we rounded the last corner for home
– a decent work-through of several pieces of music for upcomingChristmas events
– meaningful prayer time at the church

Showing Support

The bumpy landscape of the chocolate cake didn’t put off the Wednesday dinner crew. The report was that they devoured it in record time.

Shortly before 8am the phone rang: the police contact for one of the families who considered themselves as Daniel’s parent had called to let them know he’d be canvasing the neighborhood today, passing out flyers, and talking to people. Could Daniel’s friends come help and be visible representatives that his life mattered.

Wednesday is normally a slower day. A day for contemplating, thinking, praying and being more than doing. I like to take an extra long walk with my neighbor before settling into any “must-do” work tasks followed by reading and preparing for Sunday, and taking time to be quiet all evening while Ed is away.  When the call came I immediately knew I needed to go. I called one of Daniel’s good friends and we headed up to Portland.

Arriving in the unfamiliar area of North Portland, there was already a number of people including the very kind, knowledgeable policeman who gave us an update on what they’ve determined so far, including that evidence showed the driver was traveling over 60 miles an hour when he swerved out of his lane, into the bike path hitting Daniel then continuing at high speed along the 35mph, 2-lane road.

Taking flyers to all the businesses of this mixed neighborhood full of mom-pop businesses and residential houses we encountered caring and kind people everywhere. One woman even rushed out of her house to ask for flyers to pass out too. She’d recognized Daniel’s girlfriend, Daria, from an interview she’d given on the news yesterday.

We were all thankful for a sunny day with no wind! Yesterday it poured a cold rain most of the day. Tomorrow another storm is moving in. Today was one of those jewels of an autumn day.

Thanks for reading these non-cheerful posts that I’ve been writing lately.
Tomorrow I plan to post some of the spinning I’ve been doing.

I had enough of the handspun yarn left to knit a headband/earwarmers to go with the fingerless mitts. I’m tempted to keep the set for morning walks. If the temps aren’t below 45F I like ear warmers rather than a hat which can get too hot.
Grateful for:
– a smooth trip to N Portland and back without any traffic delays
– warmth of the sun while walking the streets for almost 3 hours
– the cup of comforting cinnamon/vanilla tea beside me
– strangers who are kind and caring
-a time of serene spinning this evening

Kitchen Adventures

A cake is baked every Tuesday for Ed to take to the Wednesday Community Dinner work crew’s mid-morning snack.

The past two Wednesdays I’d baked an apple cake and a pumpkin apple cake, it was time for a chocolate cake: The Picnic Cake aka Sour Cream Chocolate Cake.

Picnic cake was Ed’s maternal grandmother’s standby cake recipe. It’s a sturdy cake that’s perfect for potlucks and, you guessed it, picnics. Ed grew up eating Picnic cake – it’s still a favorite of his.

I’ll share the recipe, when I have a picture of a normal one. I’m not sure what I did wrong today but when I peeked through the oven window the cake had giant bumps. It will be riddled with tunnels! I’m curious what it will look like after I pour the cooked frosting over it in the morning.

Right now? Chocolate Bump Cake!
Never mind the looks, it should still taste good, and that’s what counts. Right?

Last week my daughter set home a jar of Kombucha from her friend who has been making it for over a year. I suspiciously eyed the brown liquid with a SCOBY floating it in. Hmm, that stuff is what we drink?

Using the SCOBY and 1 cup from the kombucha tea I made a new batch to sit and ferment this week. The rest of the kombucha that Aurora gave us we’ve been drinking all week.

Today, the 6th day, my batch of kombucha looks like it’s doing its thing. Ed can hardly stand to look at it. Can’t say I blame him. The SCOBY mass doesn’t look like anything that should be in something I’m going to drink.
The top has a scuzzy, bubbly, cloudy sludge.
Searching online I was delighted to find that it’s the sign of a healthy and properly progressing kombucha. mmmm

SCOBY = Sybiotic Cultures of Bacteria and Yeast
And we consume this with delight! To our good health!

I can hardly wait to drink some tomorrow and make a new batch to keep it going.

Grateful for:
– the donation of the starter kombucha and SCOBY
– a cake recipe that’s been passed down several generations
– The 10 Bee Hummingbird spindles flying to new homes. I’d love to watch as the buyers unpack the container and spin with them.
– Rescuing a young bird from the jaws and paws of Snowflake.
– Plans for a celebration of life gathering that will be fitting for a young man who loved working on engines; exploring the back roads of the mountains; eating junk food; and quietly gathered friends with his kindness and gentleness.