Hand Spun

Hand Spun
Campfire Hat

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Great end of a Very Good Week

This last week has been full of wonderful things and today was the cherry on top. First, there was the buildup to Thursday. Thursday was my official one year anniversary of spinning! A year ago I made one of the best decisions for myself that I've ever made. I met Cleo Gallinger that day and she taught me to make things with my hands that I never imagined I would be capable of. Spinning and the people who were brought into my life because of spinning changed my life for the better forever. I've grown as a person, I've learned new and wonderful skills and I've made great strides spiritually as well. Last year I remember being in a spiritual crisis of sorts. Now I'm not saying that today everything is resolved and perfect, but the journey started last year and I'm growing. What more could I ask?
Then Friday was the year anniversary of my friendship with Carol Dunn and the purchase of my first fiber animal - an angora rabbit named Neema. A gentler, sweeter bunny you couldn't find. Here she is sleeping on her back in my lap the day I brought her home. :)
My lesson to myself here is this I guess. There is A LOT of sadness in life. The world is full of it. Grief and sorrow knock on everyone's door eventually and demand an entrance. But there is also healing to be found. It doesn't all come at once and sometimes you aren't even aware that it's happening until you look backward and realize the vast difference that stands between the you who exists now and the you who existed then. The last year has held that for me. Healing. I have moments of actual joy now. There were days when I doubted I would ever feel that again. And yet here I am.
Friday was also my Quaker parrot Buttons' hatch day. Here she is just after giving herself a bath in her water bowl and looking at me as though it's my fault she got water in her nose.
Buttons turned 6 years old and I've had her since she was just a year and a half old. I remember thinking when I was researching what parrot I wanted after getting my cockatiel that I would NEVER want a Quaker parrot. They were noisy and not very pretty in my eyes. Then I met cranky, mistreated Buttons who was cage aggressive bit me every chance she got. I fell in love. And we've been learning to love each other better every day since then. Even as I brought other parrots into the house, Buttons and I have always had a special relationship.
 And now, thanks to her stellar example of parrot awesomeness, I am the proud owner of FOUR Quakers. FOUR? Yes, you read that right. On Thursday I would have said THREE. But Friday changed everything. I went into Parrots N Stuff in Boise to buy some bird food and pellets for the crew and lingered to play with some of the babies Melody has in the store. Just before checking out and leaving with the food, I heard that Melody had a blue Quaker in the back. I had to see it. I've always wanted a blue Quaker. The moment I met "Bo", I was in love. Of course. Bo had her doubts at first. She came out of the cage readily enough but proceeded to show me she wanted to boss me around by biting and fluffing up and throwing her weight around. 45 minutes later she was giving me kisses, rubbing her head on my face and mumbling in my ear. I called my husband and ended up bringing that girl home. She's a 5 year old Quaker who's had a multiple household past but I will be her 3rd and last home. She's found a forever home here with us. The honeymoon period may wear off and she may bite and act like a normal Quaker in a few weeks. But it won't matter one bit. She belongs here. I changed her name to Ellie and have been taking pictures and video like a maniac. Here she is.
Today I left Ellie at home with Jeff and my friend Susie and I went to Shelly's Birds owned by Shelley Reedy and visited baby Quakers and baby caiques. Susie did all the driving and I went along for the ride and got to know my sweet friend a bit better. She's a pretty amazing lady. She got right into playing with the baby birds when we arrived. Shelley made us at home and we got to have fun with all the babies! What clowns! Here's Susie with both of the caique babies. One is facing forward on one shoulder and the other is backward on Susie's other shoulder.
While she played with them, I messed around with the Quaker mob. Even though I had a new one at home, it was hard to resist these little ones. I have a soft spot for Quakers, what can I say?
You can just see in their eyes that they're plotting mischief can't you? Shelley raises these babies in her home hand feeding and socializing them all the while. By the time they go to new homes they're healthy, well adjusted birds who are hand tame, good natured and very sweet if somewhat mischievous. :) I like a little mischief in my birds.
Finally our visit was over and it was time to head home to my crew here. By the time I got home my awesome husband had watered sheep and rabbits and he changed the birds' waters and swept the floor and wiped it down for me. When they're out all day my crew can really make a mess so it was nice to have that taken care of. Jeff is wonderful with the birds and very good to me.
I covered everyone up and we all said our nite nites and then it was off to La La Land for the birds. Now I'm here blogging and feeling a bit sleepy myself. I just couldn't let this week end and pass into history completely without recording the great things that I celebrated and the fun things I got to have a part in. Life can be good, God is always great, and I am truly blessed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sawtooth Mountain Mama Craft Fair

The annual SMMCF came around again this month and my friend Karren and I had it on our list of "very important things to do." So we met in town at 7am and started to drive. It's an easy 3 hour drive from here to there but we had good company, a little music and loads of beautiful scenery to keep us busy!! The craft fair itself first of all smelled amazing. They had this bakery there that was making Navajo tacos and scones with honey and butter. Mmmmmmm!!! I didn't splurge on a scone but it was very tempting. There was a booth with dutch oven food - pulled BBQ pork and potatoes and cheese, a sno-cone booth, ice cream in giant waffle cones and a ton of other food we ended up just avoiding to keep from putting on 150 lbs each. :)
As for the craft booths, there were A LOT of jewelry booths. Some good. Some not so good. I don't wear much if any jewelry so it wasn't hard to look and not touch. There was a booth of homemade Native American flutes and a really amazing booth of these giant bells that were welded onto things like gears. They were functional art and too expensive for me but lovely to look at. I only found ONE fiber booth. Nobody was spinning either which disappointed me. Basically, as wonderful as it was to wander around and look and "oooohhh" and "aaaahhh" at things, we didn't find anything we couldn't live without. So we drove to Redfish Lake next and bought shirts. I try to get one every year when I go up. Here is this year's version.

Here is a picture of a few of the Sawtooth peaks as we were leaving Redfish Lake. Man I love those mountains!! I used to hike and backpack in them when I was younger and some days I long to do it again.

We went next to Alturas lake, got out our flip flops and towels and headed for the beach! The wildflowers up there this time of year are gorgeous too.
 Alturas was FREEZING! There is still a lot of snow in those peaks and it feels like it's melting directly into this lake. lol! Karren and I waded in until we were up to our knees and almost immediately lost feeling in both feet. My ankles started to ache and I realized why all the kids on the beach were making sand castles instead of swimming. ICE COLD WATER will do that. lol!
These gems grow just about everywhere you look. It's purple penstemon, buttercup and sheep sorrel in this picture. American bistort, monkshood, lupine and indian paintbrush grow in perfusion too. It's a wonderful area to learn about local flora and edible vs. poisonous plants. I cut my teeth on the subject up here. Just me and my field guides. There were fields of blooming blue camas up there as well. When the breeze blew it looked like a rippling lake of blue with the flower heads bobbing in the wind.
Next stop was this lovely little waterfall off the side of the road. I've driven by it a hundred times at least and never really stopped to play in it. This time we stopped. Both of us got down into the pool at the bottom and splashed around. I stood under it completely clothed and got a good soaking and I laughed the whole time. These are the things that seem ridiculous and frivolous if you think about them too long and you just keep driving by that waterfall until one day you don't go that way any longer and you've missed your chance. I'm not going to miss any more chances to enjoy something even if it's childish or frivolous. I got doused in this waterfall and even though I looked funny and even though I steamed dry on the way home, it was wonderful to laugh and feel good. The water was pretty cold but not as cold as Alturas lake was.
The Payette River was running high. Lots of groups were out riding the rapids. They looked cold but seemed like they were having fun. When we drove by the rafts when the river was calm on top the rafters were spread out on the rafts soaking in warm sunshine before they hit the next patch of cold, rough water. This picture is of a narrow area and although we could walk down to the water's edge, no amount of coaxing was going to get me in there. It's deep, fast, cold, and the undertow would be incredible I'm sure. But it was lovely to look at.
We just basically had a great time being outdoors on a warm sunny day in the middle of the woods. We had a little craft fair, a little lake time, some waterfall action, a river walk and a long drive to soak it all in. We topped it off with dinner in Horseshoe Bend at a nice little restaurant with good service. Can't ask for better than that.
Today I had to go back to work. Somehow even the grind of the normal every day activities didn't seem as onerous after Sunday's activities. I definitely need to get out like this more often.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tour de Fleece

My one year spinning anniversary is in a couple of weeks! Yay!!! This has been the best crafting year I've had in years!  I started spinning during the last week of July 2010. This year, on Ravelry, I read about the Tour de Fleece. It takes place from July 2- July 24 this year and I've joined the Namaste Farms team! My goals are:

1. Spin every day during TdF
2. Finish my blue angora/wool blend yarn and work on my yarn for the 2011 state fair
3. I will spin baby camel fleece on 7-22 since it's the "challenge" day

I finished the yarn I was working on my Sonata (Susannah) and I think I'm going to try to spin the angora on her now that her bobbins are freed up. Rowenna (Majacraft Rose) will be spinning the wool. I plyed the yarn I've named "Twilight in the Berry Patch". It was a one-of-a-kind dyed roving from The Fiber Addict. She said she didn't like the way it came out when she dyed it. I was pretty fond of it so I decided to tackle it and see what I ended up with. Here it is still on the bobbin before I put it on the niddy noddy. I have 3 skeins. One = 200 yds, one = 160 yds, one = 93 yards. So I didn't get as much out of that 8 oz braid as I would have liked but it's a nice fingering weight yarn and it will make great socks!
Basically this means I have all my tools and all the material ready to rock for tomorrow night when I officially start TdF.
I also got 8 oz of fiber from Susie Drukman in Montana in the mail today and I got 8oz of a new soap scent from Majestic Mountain Sage. So my whole holiday weekend will be spent enjoying good weather, playing with the animals and Jeff and crafting to my heart's content. Can't complain about that!