"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lift Anchor and Sail Into 2009 !

~We received a Christmas newsletter that very much impressed me and as soon as I read it I knew I wanted parts of the letter to be my post for New Year's Eve. The letter came from Hubby's cousin Delores and her husband,Terry. I am only going to post the end of their newsletter....... ........"considering the times we live in I feel that it is good to be reminded of the verses in Jeremiah 9: 23-24. The Lord says, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him that boasts, boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord which exercises kindness , justice and righteousness on earth for in these I delight" declares the Lord. I am convinced that the only way to be sustained in the times ahead is by persistently seeking after the real treasure in life- Jesus Christ. He is where authentic purpose and life flow from. There is no other endeavor in this world that has greater reward then immersing yourself in the pursuit of seeking God's face. All other fires of pursuit burn cold in comparison to the fire that is stoked and burns in knowing Him. It is in this walk of faith with God that all the storehouses of Heaven become our supply. So, prepare to lift anchor- the weight of past regrets, anything holding you back. Raise your sail- the expectation in God's great ability to do all things. Catch the wind of God's Spirit and sail forward into the future with the "God of All Hope' at your helm." Terry and Delores Christian
~May you sail into the new year with the hope and expectation of great things He can and will do in your life, even with stormy seas and leaky ships! Kathy B.~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Santa, and the Last of the 2008 Christmas Posts

~One of my small village scenes. The farm with the poultry yard. I don't see any stalking,murderous coyotes in this scene. Maybe I should look into some little porcelain coyotes and fake blood for a dose of reality here. Maybe not, I like to think the whole world conspires to goodness and bliss this time of year. Will someone please inform the coyotes they are not following the plan?Somebody, somewhere ,seems to think we'll all just get along and there will be peace on earth if we just play nice. ~We DID play nice and have peace here on Cedar Pond the 23rd of December. It has become a tradition to have any grandchildren who live close enough, to come over and bake Christmas cookies, play games and spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. Here #5 Granddaughter rolls out the sugar cookie dough and cuts it into Christmas shapes.
~#2 Granddaughter also takes her turn at her own batch of sugar cookies.~
~#1 Grandson plays with MY Rudolph toys while awaiting his turn to roll out and cut his sugar cookie dough. I think he preferred to play with my toys instead of baking . He played with my toys the whole time he was here. How can you resist Rudolph and his reindeer friends anyway? ~The grandchildren and I took the time to glitter up a cardboard village that was the only Christmas village we had when our daughter, their mother was growing up. Since I now have a porcelain Christmas Village, I thought the grandchildren would appreciate taking home the little village that adorned their mother's Christmas memories.
~#2 granddaughter decorates her cookies. We made the cookies dairy-free so their mom can eat them.~
~Poppa also likes to help out, he and #5 granddaughter also do taste tests of the cookies and the frosting. ~The grandchildren have all had visits from Santa in December. For some reason I find them all whispering and giggling as they tell me they are sure Santa is their very own Poppa! I just cannot understand how they would think Santa and Poppa are one and the same.....just because they SOUND alike, and they both wear the same glasses, and they both have the same moustache, and just because Poppa and Santa are never together in the same room at the same time , even though everyone else is present, why would they think Poppa is Santa? Look at the picture above, and then compare it to the picture of Santa (below) , what do you think? Oh, doesn't our dog Hawk look pleased to be posing with Santa? We think it was so nice of Santa to stop by and give Hawk some attention.....
~For more pictures of Santa check out our daughters blog,A.Joy At Home.~

Monday, December 29, 2008

Spot on Winter Weaving

~A while back I posted about dyeing and carding my wool. Here ( above ) is the drum carder I used to card ( comb) together my home grown and home dyed wool with some angora. Below is the result of carding the two together.
~I spun up some of the wool, the rest I plan on felting.~
~Here ( below) is a skein of 2 ply yarn spun from the Jacob / angora wool. Along side the yarn are shuttles of novelty yarns I have picked up here and there, and some of my other homespun yarns. I plan on weaving this yarn into fabric, which I have other plans for. ~Here is the loom where I can look out the window and see my flock of sheep,and listen to music or books on tape while I weave. The loom is on the landing of our stairs. Out of the way, but still convenient and comfortable. This area also allows me to hear the phone, or the animals, or check on any cooking and baking being done while I weave. The dogs and cats also have room to nap on the floor around me as I weave. ~ This is the threader I use to warp, or thread my loom. Threading the loom, in order to weave, is a long process and I do not answer my phone or the door when I am threading my loom. This is not me being rude, but me being unable to do a good job at the loom if I am distracted. Believe me, I know this from experience. ~Here you can see how the very flat and long hook easily goes through the reed to grasp the threads and pull them through to their proper placement in the reed. The reed is what the threader is in. The threads are pulled through this and then threaded into the many 'hettles'. ~Below you can see the hettles. They are long pieces of thin metal with eyes which the yarn is threaded through. For some reason, I find it relaxing to just concentrate on threading, and counting while I thread. You have to count out your threads.....and I get very irritated if the phone keeps ringing while I am threading my loom because I lose count and that causes problems that are frustrating to fix. ~Here the hettles are threaded and there is still more to do before I get the warp on ( loom threaded). So far things have gone smoothly and I am enjoying myself. ~I have combined 2 of my 2 ply handspun yarns with some funky yarns to use as my 'weft'. The weft is what you weave back and forth in your warp to make fabric. I like to be very creative with my weaving and have fun experimenting. My goal here is to make several different fabrics out of the very long warp, and create purses or bags from the fabric.
~This fabric has a lot of the handspun pink combined with some very nubby novelty yarns.~
~I rather enjoy making pretty purses and especially love weaving the wool I grow on my own flock of sheep. I still marvel at the yarn I can produce from my spotted , multi-horned sheep. The wool of each sheep is unique and speaks to me of their personalities, and the things that make each of my Jacob sheep unique!
~And the little purses are fun to make!~

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Imperfect Promises of People

~The night of the ' Big Storm That Wasn't', I went to bed so very thankful and happy for the very nice snow fall that was unaccompanied by the fearful and ferocious winds the forecasters assured us were coming. I slept peacefully only to be awakened by the sound of coyote songs and yips coming from right under our bedroom window. I woke Hubby up , just to listen. I assured him he did not need to go outside and check up on things because all our animals were safely penned up. I heard no sounds of distress coming from any of our animals, and believe me, we can hear all our animals from our bedroom.
Look at my lovely ducks in the picture below. I had 12 ducks. I now have 2 ducks, and I am very upset with myself. I made a promise to my ducks to keep them safe. We made a pen for them we thought would do the trick. All I had to do was pen them up every night...and as I was feeding them I assured them they HAD to stay in the pen for their own good. The day after the storm we noticed something did not look right at the duck pen, but the snow made it hard for us to see the reason
~Look at these tracks in the snow. They are coyote tracks. The coyotes had jumped on top of the netting covering the duck pen and collapsed it, and then must have set about to capture and devour EVERY duck. The little duck footprints were everywhere, under our window, up our road, ON the ice, at our back gate....the poor little ducks had run for their lives, ducks don't fly in the dark, especially domestic ducks. Can you see the blood spot above? It has been a long time since I was so upset about the death of my ducks, I have grown a little hard and calloused about duck death since we lose so many every year...I can't be crying over them , but there is something so very , very sad about seeing the frantic waddling footprints and then a splash of red on the snow and no more footprints...and to see this drama several times over written in the snow ALL around our home, up our driveway and our private road.
~Look at the coyote footprints."The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion the horse, how he shall take his prey." William Blake
~This blood spot is where a duck was taken as he fled to the pond for safety, but alas, our pond is solid ice and the coyotes picked the ducks off with ease. "Even a wolf will not stay where sounds no bleat to offer hope of prey." Greek Proverb
~What I do not understand is why the ducks did not quack, or make a lot of noise. Usually the quacking of the ducks wakes us, in the past their quacking has alerted us to raccoons and coyotes, and dogs after them....and we have been able to save the ducks. But I was awake and heard only coyotes. The coyotes had chased the ducks right up against the house. They were so bold as to leave their scat everywhere, our driveway, our road, our yard! Our dogs did not make a peep, even our outside dogs who HAD to know what was going on. The Mama dog Sienna was with her pups in their snug shed with a heat lamp ( enclosed in a livestock panel fence) and had to have also heard the ducks we eventually found huddled right up against the shed. All around the ducks were coyote footprints, which means the coyotes could also have picked off a litter of puppies if Mama was not there. But why didn't Sienna bark ? Why didn't the big black dog on the back porch bark ? We are a bit concerned around here.The coyotes are TOO bold. My grandchildren saw them on our pond and our road just the other day, in full view. The coyotes had come back again after their big kill. Our friends, Lanny and Dirt have had some big losses too, and I will let Lanny tell their tale, and hopefully a success story in a little coyote control.But Dirt and Lanny's loss has us concerned about lambing time , and coyote watch will more diligent this year . ~The two surviving ducks are safe in a shed with some chickens. The flying duck (above ) is one of my 2 survivors. We have plans to raise another flock of ducks, and plans for a new and improved duck house, but I am still sad, and very mad at myself. I made a promise I found I could not keep. But that is the way of man,or woman, isn't it ? I am thankful there is ONE who can and does keep promises. I am sorry ducks.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering , for He who promised is faithful;" Hebrews 10:28
NOTE: The coyotes are hunting in packs around here. We could tell there had been at least 4 coyotes here that night, and Dirt and Lanny had a yearling ram lamb ( and their Suffolk ram lambs are bigger than my full grown Jacobs)taken down and killed by a pack of coyotes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

No Christmas Tree, A True Story

~Mary Ellen Ladd Lowery and her husband William Henry Lowery, they are my husbands' great-grandparents. The following story was written by my husband's great-aunt Esther Meyer, in 1980 and she was the oldest daughter of William and Mary Ellen Lowery.
~~~The weather had turned frigid suddenly. The homestead shack could not keep out all the icy blasts, but the hearts inside were warm with love and excitement. It was now well into December and Christmas would soon be here. This was a time in the early 1900's. A family had just the previous spring taken a homestead of one-quarter section of sagebrush land in a newly opened project in the Columbia Basin. They had great hopes of making a home here. The town was one and one half miles away and had no more than four or five buildings so far, and only a few supplies. Christmas had always held a special meaning for these God-fearing, devoted parents. The happiness and welfare of their four children was their greatest concern. ( They had more children as time went on) Now the holiday was fast approaching, the young ones were on tip-toe with excitement. With little money and no evergreen trees available, how could they celebrate the big day? The Mother, a very imaginative and resourceful person, lay awake nights planning and scheming. So for many evenings she cut, sewed, stuffed, and pasted until homemade toys evolved for each child. All of those were made from available household materials. Days were spent helping small fingers string popcorn and cranberries; and make paper chains of pages of the wall paper sample book. All the while she made time pass quickly with re-telling the Christmas story, with poems of the season and fairy tales. But now, what about a tree ? Some of the fields were full of sage brush, as there had not been time to clear it all in the few months since arriving here. Down by the big draw where a torrent of water ran down from the hills in each spring thaw, grew bushes four or five feet high." Now why would one of those not be beautiful set up in a corner of the room and decorated?" mused the Mother. So Christmas came at last. Four eager children awoke at dawn. Oh wonder of wonders, there before their eyes stood a grey-green, spicy smelling Christmas tree, aglow with candles, festooned with the home-made chains and ropes as well as the treasured ornaments of yester-years. Four stockings hung in a row from nails on one wall were bulging. Of course there was an orange in each toe, probably the only orange received all year. There was a little striped, paper sack of hard candy, augmented by plenty of home-made fudge. The Father had a sweet tooth, and always saw to that part. Now evening came after a blissful day and four happy , tired little ones fell asleep, content. Now-a-days we are blessed with an abundance of the good things of life, but no children today can be happier or more satisfied than were those little ones over the simple pleasures provided by those loving parents! ~This is the complete family. The Lowery's were one of the founding families of Quincy, Washington...I met Great Aunt Esther, her sisters Martha and Marion. They were incredible women and I hope to do a story on them some time in the future. This is a family that celebrated Christmas BECAUSE of Jesus, and so may you today! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Away in a Manger

~Art work by #2 Granddaughter says it all !~

Christmas, I Love It!

~This Santa was made by me a few years ago, and he hangs on the wall. I usually hang him on the front porch post, but this year he has joined all the other Santas on an upstairs windowsill.~There is no particular rhyme or reason for my photo selection today except these are pictures that make me happy, and they are seasonally appropriate, and I like being seasonally appropriate......no Easter bunnies here yet!~
~Leah, my 9 year old Jacob sheep ewe peering through another ewe's horns. Leah has a funny face, her teeth make her look like she is sneering, or smiling inward at a funny sheep joke...hmmm, what would be funny to a sheep ?Actually the word that comes to mind when looking at my Leah is 'sardonic', what do you think ?
~This is another Santa I made years ago. Some of the toys originally piled around him have disappeared, maybe he delivered them to children on the other side of the globe....
~Thorin, one of my 2 Pygmy / Nigerian dwarf goats begging for crackers. He too has a funny smile, don't you think ?He always appears to be wearing fake teeth or badly fitting dentures and wearing an odd grin.~
~The birdhouse outside our big living room picture window.Every year we have swallows raising at least 2 broods of young in this. I have been watching the chickadees and juncos perch on the steeple but could never get a picture of them perched there. Look at the snow on top, kind of looks like frosting.~
~The little village veterinary clinic. Don't you wish your veterinary clinic was this picturesque ? This little clinic draws the grandchildren to it. I have watched all of them just sit by it and gaze. Although you can't see from this picture, there is a scene inside the little clinic as you view it from outside the window. I have a barn and farm animals around the clinic, and the whole shebang is sitting on our breakfast bar, little animals, and people in the snow. Trees behind them. And room on the bar to eat and drink hot cocoa while looking at the village scenes and talking to Grandma. ~I wore the grandchildren out. They asked to go to bed, after playing with playdough, my Rudolph toys and baking cookies. #1 Grandson went outside with Poppa to track coyote footprints through the snow and ALL around our property and house, on the ice in the pond...down our road. He and Poppa are on 'coyote watch', because lambs are due anytime and we have discovered there are a LOT of coyotes regularly prowling around here. I have been awakened every night lately hearing coyotes on our front lawn, under the bedroom window. ~Tomorrow, we decorate cookies, do some crafting, playing in the snow and reading more stories. And of course, playing with puppies and cuddle time!Enjoy your winter and the Christmas season, it only comes around once a year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spot on Snow Dogs

~A glimmer of sunshine through the cedar trees around the pond.~
~The dogs play on the ice. Being retrievers, they retrieve, and each one tries to out retrieve the other. This is fun to watch them do on ice!~
~Whoossh......here comes Mabel! Slippy slide, .....there she goes !~
~Sienna, the older girl on ice, the mother of the red puppies, slips on the ice trying to out-retrieve her two older daughters, Willow and Beatrix.~
~Sienna and Beatrix grab the stick at the same time.~
~Mama wins every time. This old girl still has it , she can out- run, out- swim and out- retrieve her daughters and still raise a litter of puppies. Way to go Sienna!~
~The weather forecasters were ALL wrong about the effect of the storm on our area. Thank-you Lord ! We had snowfall, a very tiny breeze, and more snowfall. The news did show some bad times for other areas of our region, and it was not a good night to be on the road, but we were safe at home. We had a quiet and pleasant evening. Hubby and I ate well, he tried to teach me Cribbage. I wrapped presents and fell asleep on the sofa with Hubby.A very nice evening. Too bad it takes a snowstorm to cause us to slow down and just be. ~I am baking Christmas cookies with 3 of our grandchildren tomorrow, and we have some crafting to do...some special Christmas story books to read, maybe play some games . If the snow hangs on we'll go outside for some snow fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Storm Watch !

~Cedar Pond was peaceful and Christmas card pretty today.~
~BUT....the weather stations are sending out dire warnings and predictions of a monster storm.The sheep seem unconcerned.But the forecast is for sustained winds of 40 to 50 miles per hour with gusts of up to 80 miles per hour for our little region of the Pacific Northwest. ~Goth the Destroyer, with his cool mask, is only concerned he get his share of soda crackers. But I am very concerned. I am even a little fearful. Talk about Deja-vu, storm 2006, which I was NOT going to talk about anymore. These are the conditions that led up to our tarp covered and tree toppled demise 2 years ago, except that now there are ice laden trees to topple..... ~The ducks are so happy to run free from their pen in the morning. Snow and ice...well, they do fine even if they do skid on the ice covered pond.They do spend a lot of time sitting on their delicate feet to keep them warm and prevent frost bite. They are not worried, I keep them well fed and protected from predators. ~The call ducks are so pretty as they fly into the pond, or onto the ice. They often circle the house in flight and I feel so special when they fly beside me as I carry the bucket of food to their pen for the nightly feed and lock up. ~Thorin and Bombadil too, are not worried. They are competing with each other here for the soda cracker treats. They know they will get their alfalfa and they also have ........
~A fine shelter for goats.You can see Thorin peeking out from the upper story of the goat house and Bombadil is below, at the hay feeder.~
~The Labs are not concerned at all. They are the perfectly equipped for cold , wet weather. They are really concerned with who will get the tennis ball I am about to throw to them. The weather is of no concern. They know the dog food will be dished out in the morning as usual, and they will sleep by the wood stove in the evening. No worries or cares, except...who will get the tennis ball first ?
~Black Bart is not concerned about the weather. He has a fine wool coat to keep him warm. He too knows the alfalfa will be served up every day. He plays with the other young sheep in the crisp weather. ~
~This is my view to a dark day, but a pretty day outside. The wood stove is keeping us warm. The pantry and fridge are filled with good things to eat and drink. But we did cancel our family Christmas party and Hubby's special event because of the very, very bad road conditions and the family party tomorrow night would be in the midst of a raging wind storm that would have precious people going home through forests that will most likely be dropping trees on the roads and highways. Dodging trees on icy roads with power outages..no, a party can be re- scheduled , and so it will be. ~Poor Hubby is stuck trying to help me not be afraid of the remaining trees hanging over and around us. I have a book on tape, and batteries to listen to it when the power goes out. I am sure the power will go out. We always lose power in the storms. So, I might not be blogging for awhile because we will shut down our computer before the storm hits. ~"Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind , fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruit trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and winged fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples;" Psalm 148:7-11