September Spinning

September was a good month for wrapping up a couple of long-term spinning projects.

Today’s spinning show and tell is the 50/50 Yak/Silk started over 3 years ago this project was all spun on an early Kuchulu
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and the first little Antler spindle Ed made.
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This was an on-the-go project which traveled to several hospitals waiting through friends’ surgeries; to appointments; going through the car wash; during meetings… This month I decided to concentrate on finishing the spin, after all, it is only 2 ounces / 56 grams.

The four balls of singles were chain-plyed with the Victoria wheel Wednesday  morning resulting in 175 yards of shining, lush yarn that will be destined for a scarf.  525 yards of singles from 56 grams.
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September has been a gentle, though busy month. A month of sunshine and warmth without the sapping heat of summer. This afternoon a pigeon flew twice to our back kitchen door, flapping his wings looking in at us. While the small birds, and occasionally a blue jay, quite often brave coming onto the back porch we’d never seen a big pigeon come this close. There was an explosion of whirling wings when I went to throw them some bird food: Doves, sparrows, chickadees, finches, pigeons and more flew to the surrounding trees. One pigeon sat on the utility wire alertly watching. After broadcasting the seeds I went to the garden to snack on cherry tomatoes. While standing in the garden the air became filled with the chatter, chirps, clicks, coos and song of a multitude of birds. I was engulfed in a riotous cacophony of bird sound as though I was deep in the jungle. The clouds trembled with the weight of moisture while there was a sense of stillness in the backyard, other than the noise of birds. Birds fluttered back to the ash tree next to our back porch, then a breeze ruffled the tree and they shot up into the sky. Then complete silence for about 30 seconds before a few birds started up again and the air was once more filled with their chatter and song. All this time the solitary sentry pigeon stayed firmly gripping the wire while sweet tomatoes filled my stomach.
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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.

A Busy Saturday

I try to not schedule anything out of the ordinary on Saturdays for I need the day to finish preparing for Sunday service and rest.

Today was an anomaly.

Sure, a basic house cleaning is normal. I did get in a couple hours of studying this afternoon and a couple more this evening but I’m not nearly as settled with the lesson and sermon as I like. I have confidence that it will all work out, after all, I have the best Teacher/Guide possible!

Today was fun!

Baked a couple pies this morning then a spinning / knitting friend drove down from Portland to deliver chunks of crabapple trunk and limbs that her neighbor had cut down this week. Afterwards we went to Silverton to hang out awhile at Apples to Oranges, the fabulous yarn store, where we met up with another fiber friend, and bought goodies. I resisted fiber, bought a set of needed dpns and caved on some stitch markers. Afterward we trooped up the street to a restaurant to have lunch and chat.

Suddenly it was almost 2pm, time to scurry back home before leaving again, at 4, with pie, for a birthday barbecue with family and friends.  We got there early so I could help set up. While waiting for everyone to arrive I was able to get several more rows knitted on the hand warmers that will be a Christmas gift. The fun part? Knitting them in front of her and she has no idea. 🙂

This first go-round on Wednesday turned out too big.
That one, above, was frogged. Size US5 / 3.75mm  needles were exchanged for US3 / 3.25mm. The first mitt is now to the point of starting the gusset. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a picture to post here.

What have I gotten myself in to?

On a whim this past May I attended a Toastmaster’s open-house event. Years ago we had a friend who encouraged us to join as he thought it was the best experience for helping people not only with talking but in listening. A friend’s name was on the list of the current Toastmaster, knowing someone there made it easier to take that deep breath and walk in the door where I was immediately and warmly greeted.

I loved the vibe, the people, the enthusiasm and the positive feedback people gave to those who gave speeches. After the second week I became a member.

Every week I dream of quitting, to drop this weekly obligation of being in town before 7:30 on Friday mornings. It doesn’t take long after the meeting begins to remember why I continue.

Someone put my name in one of the googledoc slots as a speaker tomorrow. I’d noticed it over two weeks ago. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. In fact, I was scheduled to speak in August but cancelled the night before due to not feeling confident and prepared. I’ve given two other speeches, the introductory “Ice Breaker” and one I called “The Original Intentional Spinner”.  But the topic that’s been bumping around in my thoughts for a number of months is personal, and controversial. I do not feel prepared
with a passionate, informed, well reasoned speech.

This is short. I need to get a good night’s sleep, wake up early in the morning to finalize the last bits into place.

Michelle asked to see a picture of my neighbor’s wolfhound, Shayna.
Here’s a picture that I posted a year ago, she was not quite 3 years old:I’ll try to get a better, updated picture of her next time we walk.

A Day of Rest

This week God has been impressing on me the need to “cease striving and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10

He longs to communicate with us but He doesn’t use loud winds, earthquakes or fires – we hear Him best when we’re quiet.

Following church service on Sunday mornings I like to rest. To be quiet, to think, read, and listen. I often knit or spin as those activities can clear space in my head enabling me to listen better.
Sometimes Ed and I will go for a leisurely bike ride, or I join my neighbor for a walk but usually it’s an afternoon of relaxing, of stepping away from work and expectations.

It’s not easy with the frenetic pace that so easily entangles us! I have to intentionally make space. To slow down, be still, see the beauty of God’s creation, to know Him.

I want to cultivate peace. In my inner life, in my home and with others.

I hope you’ve taken the day to rest, to be recharged, renewed.

Pictures taken during a morning walk in late October.
Scotts Mills Friends Church

Hiking at Silver Falls

DSC05523-001Throughout April thoughts of blogging would cross my mind but by evening either I was knitting or spinning (usually some of each) with little desire to be staring at a screen. I even started working on some photos shortly after hiking at Silver Falls State Park; editing them and uploading them in readiness to blog before getting sidetracked and forgetting all about them until this evening.

Looking back I’m struck by all the goodness that April held, despite the exceedingly many days of rain. Towards the end of March a friend, Rose, who works in Slovakia emailed to let me know she was coming to Oregon, would I be able to walk the loop at Silver Falls  April 3rd. Knowing how wet some of the sections of those trails can be, especially going behind the falls I told her I’d pray for clear weather.

While there were downpours the week leading up to the hike we had two days of no rain and the morning dawned sunny. What a blessing! A Slovak friend, Ren,  accompanied Rose in order to practice English and see this part of America. Two other friends of Rose who live relatively close by, joined the hiking party.DSC05523-001
Can you make out the specks in the center of the picture on the backside of the falls? They are people on the trail that passes behind South Falls.

I was surprised at this chunky, sturdy fence. For many decades there had only been a small metal handrail between the trail and edge, a thin barrier that made parents fervently grasp their children’s hands. DSC05529
The path is now narrower but significantly safer.
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Looking back from the other side.
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Looking back up the trail.
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Instead of walking the big loop we ended up taking one of the shorter loops of just under three miles. Wildflowers, moss draped branches and the rushing creek caused us to stop numerous times to marvel at all the beauty we were walking through.
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I should return mid-summer to snack on the fruit of this blossom,
salmon berries.
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Down, down switchback steps to Lower South Falls.
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We’ve had 148 days of rain since Oct 1st, which was evident in the thick moss and fast flowing water. This past February was the wettest on record for Salem, dating back into the 1800’s, with March close behind, and it looks like April will also finish in a top position for rainfall amounts. Crazy wet!

The sun shining through the trees felt like grace.
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Looking across the canyon at the steps we’d just descended.
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Going down meant going back up, and up the other side.
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Near the top Rose took a break to hug a tree, after all, she is a native Oregonian!
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Crossing the tiny Frenchie Creek Falls plummeting 48 feet — which only runs during wet seasons — presented a perfect photo-op for the bit of spinning I managed while on the trail.
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Back at the top of South Falls for one last look.
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What a wonderful, refreshing day! I hadn’t realized how much I’d needed to take a walk in the woods, along a creek, with friends.

By the end of the day, this is how I felt:
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Ebo didn’t seem to mind dangling off the chair.