October 26, 2014

Sudsy Sunday

Washing fleece today. Did some yesterday too. I feel a little bit guilty about the water use. I'm hoping to make up for some of it by turning the landscape irrigation down. And maybe I'll skip a shower. The humidity is up and the temps are down a bit so I'm hopeful things can finally go to a Fall irrigation schedule. The drought. So many areas of my landscape that, over the various drought years, have been allowed to die off. This winter I'm thinking about revamping much of the remaining irrigation to save more water. However, I'm worried that it will be money down the drain, so to speak, if the drought continues and harsher restrictions are implemented. Likewise replacing dead/disappeared plants with more drought tolerant ones. They all need water to get established.

Well, that went off on a tangent.

Okay. Washing. Wool. Yesterday I washed the CVM fleece I picked up at OFFF last month. I like the quality of the fleece, and would definitely buy from Cedar Glen Sheep Farm again, if I was fleece shopping. I wasn't really fleece shopping at OFFF, but gosh, I didn't have any CVM in my stash. Heh. This fleece is very well skirted, very clean and every bit looks usable. Spinner's dream. Here is a pre-wash photo.
The sheep's name is Butterfly. At lower left is a bag containing a washed sample. Very thoughtful. The fleece looks tan or oatmeal in this photo, but washes up to a soft grey.

Today I'm washing Navajo-Churro. White from Dovey and brown from Kayla, both ewes at Morgan River Ranch. Navajo-Churro sheep maybe aren't the best fit for Oregon weather, and some of both fleeces cotted near the skin. But there is still plenty of usable fiber. Dovey's fleece is very long and strong and should make some good rug yarn. Kayla's fleece has a softer hand, and might make a nice throw or blanket. Her lamb fleece is almost next-to-skin soft.

I have so much wonderful fiber to spin. I am very lucky.

October 24, 2014

Catching up - Last Part of the trip

The last part of my road trip I drove from Idaho to Oregon. I'd decided ahead of time to skip most of the interstate and take the secondary highways. It was a great decision. From Idaho Falls I headed to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  I needed to push on to Bend and so didn't make time for a stop, but I will some day. What an amazing landscape. Huge, undulating swells of lava, frozen in time and place. As I drove on, I realized my entire drive was all about geology. Volcanic remants, red stained bluffs, wide open spaces. Driving the road less traveled was a real treat with the combination of scenery, tranquility and traveling at just a tad slower pace.

I stopped in Bend, Oregon for the night, and here two pictures of the room I stayed in;
Not exactly a cookie cutter motel room, I really got a kick out of this.

In the morning I headed out for my destination, continuing to make use of the road less traveled. Thanks to some earlier input from my friend Dusty, I chose the old McKenzie Pass road and made a stop at the Dee Wright Observatory. I didn't know what to expect when I got there, only that it would be inspiring, and it was. More incredible lava-scapes, a nice interpretive trail and sweeping scenic vistas. I have a few pictures to share, but before I do, I feel I should warn you about hwy 242 (McKenzie Pass). It is very beautiful and has an incredible range of scenery and it is narrow and twisty as all get out in some places. Not especially trailer friendly. Not good for those who suffer from motion sickness. But wicked fun if you like some spirited driving.

A panorama shot from observatory top
I'm a sucker for scenery.

A few hours later I arrived at Morgan River Ranch and settled in for a good visit. Some beautiful mornings.
A little bit of wine tasting.
Some gardening.
Taking care of animals.
Visiting with friends at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Where I did not take any pictures. Thankfully, my friends did. I did buy one fleece. A lovely CVM from Cedar Glen Sheep Farm. More on that later.

The long road home was a familiar one, no adventures along the by-ways. But at least one more volcano.
I had a terrific trip and made wonderful memories and am happy to be home.

October 16, 2014

Catching Up - Part 5

The last of the Idaho/Wyoming pics. Honest.
We did a little hiking around.
going golden
And we went rafting on the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park. More a float trip, really. We started about mid-day, and the threat of rain lifted and we had a beautiful start.

One place we pulled up to the bank and found animal tracks! Elk, moose and wolf! We could smell what Mike said was an elk smell. It smelled a little bit like sheep.
The clouds started drifting back in.
We stopped for lunch.
And uh. yeah. That cloud kept a'coming and it started to rain. And then hail. But not too big. After the rain we continued our trip. Our seats were all wet. So were our pants.
 We didn't see any large terrestrial animals, but we did see a pair of Bald Eagles.

We hit our take-out spot just as the air started getting chilly. It was a great trip, and I was very happy to hop into a warm car and head back to the house.

October 10, 2014

CU - Part 4

In honor of the cousins' visit, we rented an SUV big enough to hold the six of us plus two dogs, and made a one day blitz of Yellowstone National Park. One day isn't nearly enough, but it's better than nothing.

We saw thermal pools.

 We saw bison. How can you not see bison? They don't cross the road, they just go stand in the middle of it. Made a big traffic jam.
Awkward family photos
We saw an amazing waterfall, from 2 different angles.
The yellow color of the canyon walls gives name to Yellowstone.
Gussied up by my cell phone.

We didn't see any moose, or (Yogi & BooBoo) bear, but we did see this little guy. My brother says it's an ermine.

And of course we went to see Old Faithful. This isn't a very good video. And there might be cursing in the audio.

Visiting Yellowstone in the Fall is not a bad idea, the crowds are smaller, but the park was still plenty busy. The weather wasn't bad while we were there, a little bit of rain in the morning and then the day was shirt sleeve comfy.

Catching Up - Part 3

The Idaho trip is a family trip. I visit my brother, my sister and BIL drive out too, and this year we were joined by two cousins from New York. Cheryl and Teresa. After we picked them up from the airport, we went over to Jackson Hole Resort to ride the tram  to the top.
Starting out in Teton Village
Looking north. Pretty cool even when there is no snow.
When you get to the top, you can have waffles! If you get there before closing. :-(
Looking south into Jackson Hole

October 7, 2014

Getting Caught Up - Part 2

Now, this part, just this paragraph, is out of order. Defending my procrastination. I got home a week ago, on Tuesday. Thursday night my youngest son and his girlfriend showed up for a visit. I knew they were coming, I just didn't remember they were coming. Do you know what I mean? Anyway, they really aren't much trouble to have around. But. Sunday her parents were coming to pick my son and his girlfriend up. She and her family are Jets fans and they were all going to see the Chargers and Jets play at Qualcom Stadium. Football. But. This was a first time meeting for us parents. Do you know what I mean? I mean, I like the girlfriend, she's smart and funny and into crafty things (tho not knitting, yet) and very nice, but, they've only been going out for barely a year. Do us parents really need to meet yet? Since maybe these would be people we might know for a long time, I decided to make food, and do extra cleaning. Which is a really long way of saying, "I'm sorry, I was slightly distracted." I thought the meeting went fine, all 75 minutes of it. Extra cleaning is never a bad thing, and by extra I mean things that should've been cleaned anyway. And we'll eat our way through the food, eventually.

So. Rowyn and I drove to Idaho, the southern end of the Teton Valley, for a visit with my brother (and his dog) and my sister and brother-in-law and 2 cousins from New York. The first part of the trip goes through the desert, towards Las Vegas. Just this side (west) of Vegas, we found a huge puddle in the desert
left over from the rains that washed out 2 miles of Interstate 15 on the other side of Vegas, just a few days earlier. Lake Mead National Recreation Area was offering a waived entrance fee for vehicles wanting to detour around the washout, and I decided to take them up on it. I've decided it is much nicer to drive around Las Vegas than through it. I didn't see much of Lake Mead, but I did see lots of red rock, and at one point, 2 (desert bighorn?) sheep crossed the road ahead of us. It was a delightful and peaceful drive.

After staying in Provo, UT for the night, Rowyn and I stopped by Bridal Veil Falls. Just a few minutes outside of Provo.

We headed east on I80, and made a short stop to admire Echo Canyon.
Look Ma, more red rocks!
Later that day, the desert became mountains, and we met up with my family at Grand Teton Brewing Company. There is a nice grassy area outside the tasting room, perfect for enjoying the scenery, a beverage, and letting the dogs run and play.

October 6, 2014

Just Plying Around

With Spinning & Weaving and Weaving Week coming up, I've decided to get caught up on plying. Most of this is destined for weaving and I'll make 2-ply yarns of them.