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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Dangers Of A Wandering Mind

 If I were new to blogging now , I might be inclined to name my blog Thoughts & Tales Of A Wandering Mind or some such title. My mind wanders even more when I am indoors crafting , cooking, cleaning. "Mind: noun~ a beautiful servant or a dangerous master." AU

Last week I began again my seasonal making of little flocks of sheep for nativity scenes. I have my piles of wool, containers of items to adorn the necks of the sheep, ( miniature leaves, bells, hearts, raffia ) paint , and my needle-felting tools.
 When I finally sit down to spend a few hours of crafting my mind says "ahhhhhh , now I can wander". As I am making the sheep my mind wanders over and around the many shades of black & gray wool I have and I think maybe my sheep should be spotted just like my real flock of sheep. So I make a few spotted sheep.
 But hey, my mind wanders over to the bright colors I love and there are lovely bags of turquoise wool I dyed last spring. Maybe I should make polka dotted sheep !
No... I'll make some black sheep, some gray sheep, some brown sheep. Should I make black, brown, and gray ears for those sheep ? I have so many bags of wool from sheep of all different shades. My mind's eye wanders over the little boxes of jewels and seasonal adornments I have for the necks of my sheep, but I also love the sheep unadorned. Should I simply forget the adornment?
Can you see how a simple little wool- crafting can become a real winding road for a wandering mind ? Maybe even lead her to a few dead-ends and detours. And then of course I have to spend time thinking about actually following up on some of the ideas my wandering mind gathered during her meanderings. (not all bad, this can be fun too !!! )

Mostly though, my wandering mind will flit, fly, and even settle on thoughts I have not brought under control. Fearful thoughts, worries, concerns. Often, because I am alone while crafting , there is no one to help me keep these thoughts in check,so I will turn on the t.v. for distraction and watch the news. Big mistake, the thoughts become more fearful , more worrisome, and then if I am not careful the darkness of depression begins creeping in like a low cold fog. "Fear is a slinking cat I find beneath the lilacs of my mind." Sophie Tunnell

I looked up a few quotes and Bible verses to write down and remember  because I know God , my God, does NOT cause fear and worry. He is the God who cares for me and should trials and tribulations be a big part of my life He gives me the ability to be happy and rejoice anyway. "Fear is faith that it won't work out." Sister Mary Tricky

~"Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow ; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has troubles of its own." Matthew 6:34

~"Fear cannot take what you do not give it." Christopher Coan

~*"Put off timid , fearful, and troubled thinking. Put on love and sound judgment in the power of the Holy Spirit ( Based on II Timothy 17 , I John 4:18 )

~"There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them." Andre Gide

~" Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7

Yes my wandering mind meanders here, there, and everywhere when I let fear take hold, and that happens as I sit crafting at my comfortable dining room table  in my home that has all the modern conveniences and plenty of food. My family thus far is safe and healthy, all truly gifts from God. Yet I know even if none of these things were the case...if we had no home, no food, or family members suffering tragedy, I would have no excuse for the fear and worry. And I am ashamed.

How did this post get from crafting little sheep to fear and worry ? How do I get from crafting to being overcome with fear and worry ? By letting my wandering and meandering mind travel and dwell on them. Scary and dangerous , the wandering mind. Time to re-train her and bring her back from her wayward travels. " We need to brace ourselves up and realize that we are responsible for out thoughts , attitudes, and actions." Pursuit of Holiness

* quoted from Biblical Counseling Foundation book on Self-Confrontation.

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 *