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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Retriever

Who knew you could get fat on apples ? Not apples baked into pies, sweetened for applesauce, but just plain apples ! Beatrix retrieves and piles apples near our front porch all day. She gets them from our orchard and she doesn't wait for the apples that fall onto the ground, she will pick the apples herself. Of course she eats her fill of apples before stockpiling them. She is a Labrador Retriever who tends to gain weight easily ( like most of us ) and she is on a diet of 2 cups of dog food per day. She had already lost weight and we were helping her maintain a healthy weight until the apples ripened and began to fall during wind and rain storms. She wiggles and wobbles as she runs now.

Fortunately she can only eat so many apples and because she stockpiles them near the front porch my sheep are benefiting from her labors. Good dog Beatrix , my sweet, stout, and loving Apple Retriever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Feather ~Our Little Home On Wheels

This is our little home on wheels, a 16 foot Jay Feather Sport by Jayco. She is small , but I love her. This is our home during the 5 nights spent camping at the Puyallup Fairgrounds while we exhibit my sheep during the Western Washington Fair. So much nicer than the years I would drive to and from the fair every day, at least a 45 minute drive each way. Not a forbidding travel time unless you take into account I leave for the fair before 7:00 a.m. to  get there in time for a very long day and return home around 12:00 a.m. to get ready for the next long day. Now we ( grandchildren & I ) simply walk to the camp-site in the parking lot and climb into our cozy little trailer.
I don't know about you, but I am always curious about the set-up of travel trailers , campers, and R.V.s when I am camping. I resist the temptation to knock on some of the trailer doors and ask if I can see their set-up and how it works for them at the fair especially. I thought you might like to see my teeny home away from home.~ When you walk in the door you step right into the only living area of this small trailer. A table, two sofas, and a mini-kitchen. The sofas convert into a bed when you remove the table and tuck it into the storage slots made especially for it under the top bunk. We have only used it as a bed once , for a granddaughter.
I love the stove, oven, & micro-wave. Yes, I do use them all. I usually roast a chicken and bake muffins, brownies, and cakes when we camp. I cook a lot of side dishes too. I have a full set of pots & pans just for this trailer , plus stainless eating utensils, and all the cooking and serving utensils a person would need in preparing and serving an average meal. I usually serve our meals on regular dinnerware. ( yes, I wash it too  in my nice little sink ! ) There is a refrigerator and freezer in Feather's mini-kitchen and they store a surprising amount of food. Enough for at least a week's worth of meals for our family and I usually have left-overs after our trips to transfer to our home fridge or freezer.
The sleeping quarters are minimal for sure. A double bed that is NOT a double, but still, after we added another really nice foam mattress on top of the mattress that came with the trailer, it is very comfortable. When my husband & I are camping I get the short side of the mattress and I fit there very comfortably. The top bunk sleeps only one, usually a grandchild. During the fair our oldest grandson sleeps here and I share the bottom bunk with a granddaughter. When my husband & I are camping with no grandchildren I use the top bunk for storage and have some very attractive large baskets for that purpose. ( I use the bath tub to store grandkids' back packs & suitcases during the fair. )
The bathroom is VERY small and has a bathtub with shower but no sink. That is a drawback, we use the kitchen sink for brushing our teeth and such, but for me, that is no sacrifice for the privilege of owning this little Feather and all she has allowed us to do.
My bathroom storage. A cloth shoe rack attached to the towel bar gives me plenty of storage that can be left attached through-out the year and even during travel. I keep the sunscreen, insect repellant , anti-biotic wipes, lotions , shampoo, soap...  and any other such items you might need when camping in the pockets.
I do love chickens and have quite a few chicken pillows ,throws, & other items that fit right into Feather as if they were made for her. I couldn't convince my husband we should call her our little "Chicken Coop on Wheels " , so Feather it is. ( Chickens have feathers !!!! )
Because Feather is so tiny I am trying to be creative with her for comfort and storage. My husband is a bit taller than I am and he has long legs. Sitting at the table can be uncomfortable if we have a long spell of cold rain while camping and stay indoors. With this small hassock he can sit back and rest his legs, and when he isn't using it I do. I store my crock pot in the hassock too. ( I use my crock pot often when camping where there is an electrical hook-up.) I love sitting at this table late nights when we're camping, reading while I listen to rain outside.
Our little Feather might be small, but she has a lot going for her. She can be easily towed or backed into campsites, does not require a huge vehicle to tow her, is comfortable, easy to maintain, and we own her outright. I think we have many years to come of happy camping with Feather !

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Western Washington Fair 2014 ( Puyallup Fair )

This year's state fair has come and gone in a whirlwind of activity and busyness that still has my head spinning. I could not have enjoyed the time there without the help of 2 of my grandchildren and my husband. The Western Washington Fair formerly known as The Puyallup Fair is one of the biggest state fairs in the nation. Literally thousands of people passed by my exhibit in the 'Animals Of The World ' barn and my husband and oldest grandson were often answering questions regarding my Jacob sheep , giving me a break.
We set up our exhibit the day before the fair opened. It takes planning and preparation to set up a fair exhibit, and also packing for the whole week I and my grandchildren will be camping at the fair. Here is my husband standing next to my ram pen. Yes, my ram ( not my husband ) is dangerous.
My ram's name is Goth , here is part of my display. The rugs shown were crafted by me using the wool of my sheep. You can also see a Jacob sheep skull and hide on the wall.
We cart the blue "walls' in too, giving the display a border and a place to hang up info regarding the breed of sheep.
This is the back of the display. Usually my exhibit is placed in the middle of the big barn so we created the walls as a way to also define the space visually.This also gives us a little bit of privacy since we are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for five days and nights. With record breaking attendance at the fair this year we often had so many people passing though our barn there was no room for us to get out of our exhibit. At least there was an interesting animal to view pretty much everywhere in the barn for those stuck walking at a snail's pace because of the crowd. ( That is one of my granddaughters above. She was a big help this year )
Goth doesn't seem to mind the crowds and must have had his picture snapped thousands of times over the years. He does play with the big rubber ball while at the fair, and enjoys soda crackers and apples as frequent treats for being good.
A partial view of  the aisles filled with people. This is what Saturday & Sunday look like until after 7:00 p.m. A non-stop flow of people viewing the animals . We are very happy and honored to be able to exhibit our sheep here and love answering questions about them , and we do get a lot of questions !
The table in front of my exhibit contains wool, horns, things made from the fiber of my sheep. All hands-on for the public.
All's quiet before the barn is open to the public. We get there at least an hour before they're open so we can clean the animal's stalls , feed & water them, and prepare for the day.
The sheep on the other side of my display. I keep the ram separate from the girl sheep & their lambs. Yes, the girl Jacob Sheep have horns too.
My best help comes from our oldest grandson. I really don't think I could do this anymore without him, so thank-you C.T. ! This was a great year at the fair and we're hoping to be asked back again next year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Honey-Bee Tea Time on the Porch

 Autumn, my favorite time of the year. I love the crispness of sunny autumn days but this fall the weather is hot. Too hot. I took tea outside on my front porch because it was hot indoors and the thermometer said it was a cool 80 degrees in the shade on the porch. 80 degrees ? It is the second week of October and nary a raindrop in sight for most of the month this far. I am missing my Pacific northwest weather of cool rainy days , cool sunny days , and rain.
 I did however enjoy my mint tea and some cookies on the porch as I watched the birds at the feeder and my dogs snored at my feet. This honeybee cup with a lid was a birthday gift from my sister-in-law Alice * and her husband Paul.
 The cup not only came with a lid ( love this feature ! ) but it came with a strainer that fits over the cup , a plate to rest the cup on and a little hive shaped rest for the used tea leaves or tea bags. The whole set goes perfectly with my honeybee tea pot too !

 Seems like I have not been home much at all the past 6 weeks and just returned home again this past weekend.I am so happy to be back . I will be enjoying tea on my porch catching up on the magazines that have been piling up while I've been away , maybe even get some spinning and wool dyeing done this week too. Might as well take advantage of this amazing weather while it lasts.

I am excited to be back to my Tea-Time Tuesdays too and will be joining these ladies ~
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage *
Martha at Martha's Favorites *
Bernideen's Tea Time Blog *
Ruth at Antiques & Teacups *
Kathy at A Delightsome Life *

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Long Prayed For Gift Has Arrived !

 What a month this has been . I entered a new decade of life ( 60 years old now ) and our youngest son and his wife were blessed with their first-born child after many years of marriage, a son ! My husband & I now have another grandchild, a baby long prayed for . God is so good to us , our little grandson and his mommy are healthy and doing very well.

I have been gone most of this month, starting with the state fair to coming home after being there for 5 days & nights, to unloading the animals and travel trailer so my husband & I could drive over the mountains 6 hours away to see our new grandson.( Just holding a newborn baby makes me want to cry for the happiness of a new life. Precious.) Then we came home for a couple of days to catch up with things around here so I could head back over the mountains with our oldest grandson to help out with the new baby . Our daughter-in-law had to have a C-section and needed a little help. She is recovering quite well now and I am getting back into my daily routine around here , with a bit more spring in my step and a happy song in my heart... a new grandson, praise Him ! " Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights ; " James 1:17

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Was Awesome

 I have missed blogging but have no good excuse for not logging in nightly. This summer has been one adventure after another with one summer duty or need after another leaving absolutely no spare moment that has not left me exhausted and deciding I really need to get some sleep. Yes, this night-owl has been to bed before 10:00 p.m. many nights the past month ( August ), so maybe that is my excuse ! I needed to get some sleep. We did some camping last month with our daughter & her family, and my husband's brother and his wife. ( Above is our little Jayco trailer , our home away from home when we're camping. )
 We camped at Iron Creek Campground near Randall, Washington. I am the gray-haired lady in the picture with my husband and 4 of our grandchildren. This campground is so beautiful with ancient trees, fast moving rivers, hiking trails, berry picking, fishing... just an amazing place to camp with family and friends. A place that is so beautiful and magnificent there are not adequate words to describe it. "Awesome" comes close, if you're using the intended definition of the over-used word.
 We've spent quite a bit of time at our home over the mountains too. Our youngest son and his wife  who live near-by this home are expecting their first baby after 13 years of marriage and this little long-hoped-for miracle is due any day now ! My husband & oldest grandson are shown here after checking out the woods and pond and discussing what needs to be done for next year's hay crop.
 Our oldest grandson is a very hard working young man and has his heart set on raising Galloway cattle. He and his mom ( our daughter ) discovered there was a couple who raise Galloway cattle near our home on the other side of the mountains and our grandson has worked hard to earn the money to buy a calf from these lovely people. We visited them and their herd a second time, where our grandson saw his calf. She isn't ready to leave her momma yet, but in a few weeks ...
 One of the perks of our trip over the mountains is the time to hang out with these characters . Yes, along with our oldest grandson who traveled with us are his 6 cousins ( or 6 more of our grandchildren ) . You just know you're going to be amused and entertained when you sit down with this group. If you make sure you have a lot of Cheetos and chocolate pudding to share you're in for an even better time !
 My husband & I also began a bedroom / bathroom re-model late this spring, and are finally finishing up. I use the "we" generously , because my husband really did almost all of the work himself after the plumber re-fitted the plumbing for our new spa bathtub. This is the old master bedroom as we began to clear away and move things for the work to be done. The room is now repainted, the tub and sink have lovely tile my husband cut & fitted perfectly , and after this month I'll have the carpet shampooed, new curtains, bedspread... oh, lots of things.
 We can't escape gardening around here either. With all that we have going on my husband also raised a bumper crop of beans and cucumbers. I promised him I would process and preserve all his hard -earned harvest . This is the number 1 reason I have had no spare time or energy. We here in the Pacific Northwest have had a record number of days over 80 degrees in July & August. We do not have central air-conditioning and I have been over-heating myself as I have been canning in our kitchen with the temperatures indoors at about 80 to 90 degrees daily. Believe me when I tell you I wilt at 72 degrees. Yes, this wilted blogger was very happy to go to bed before 10:00 p.m. for many a night lately. I must confess, we have a teeny tiny air-conditioner in our bedroom , so it wasn't hard to choose going to bed over blogging !
 The reward for all that hot and hard work was worth it though.
Summer is almost over, and although it is my least favorite season, it was a summer well spent. My youngest grandson shown above with our dog Whimsy  is soon to be the 2nd to youngest grandchild and grandson. My dog Whimsy is over 1 year old now and she has proven to be very good dog, wonderful camper, and all around excellent companion to our family. The year has gone by so quickly and soon my favorite season will bring with it the weather I love . As I look over my blog from its' beginning, a beginning that started as our family eagerly awaited the birth of the grandson shown above with my Whimsy, I see how quickly things can change in a life, how what seems an insurmountable life situation can in a few short years turn into something quite amazingly different. Not what was expected , but every bit as "awesome" and blessed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rain !

Days of extremely high temperatures have left me wilting . All my time seems to be spent watering the gardens and livestock, only to begin again. It's too hot to bake or can the fruit and veggies . We don't have air conditioning except in our bedroom... and tempting as this is, I cannot justify spending the summer days there.

Yesterday thunderstorms rolled in bringing with them abundant rain. Today is a very fine day for baking and gazing out the window, and I am loving it ! "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receive a blessing from God." Hebrews 6 : 7