Wednesday, September 25, 2013

fiber, yarn and knitting (really!!)

this is the fiber i bought in Denmark from Garn Gallerie.  i love those bright, intense colors!!  and then the yarn i spun (it's BFL, one of my most fave to spin) and i really enjoyed spinning it.

and this week i started knitting a scarf... on the diagonal.  it will be as long as the yarn lasts.

i guess i'm easily amused (ok, i know i am).  on Wed. the local paper comes ... the Forest Grove paper. it is local because Banks doesn't have a paper.  anyway, i get my Wed. giggle by reading the police log, and it gets my day started with a smile and sometimes a wtf.  hope you can read it here and that it makes you smile!

Monday, September 23, 2013

a new rose!

this dear sweet man took some time out from crushing the grapes he'd just harvested for my project.  we wanted to do it before the predicted rains started.  i had a grape plant growing in front of this window in my studio, which gave lots of shade during afternoons and kept my studio from really over-heating... however, it put on such heavy growth that it grew onto the roof and the little dome and pulled the trellis to wonky angles.  it was a major digging job to make a 24" hole for the rose thru hardpack clay-like dirt.    anyway, he got the hole dug, his grapes crushed and i got the rose planted barely before a downpour.

  this is the climbing rose which will give me shade.  well, this is the grown-up pic of what it will look like.  it is called "Aloha" and i bought it online from Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR.  they have an extensive selection of beautiful roses and their service is great!

from the photo it looks a lot like my favorite heirloom rose, Gertrude Jekyll.

James took a break from crushing, too, to check up on what we were doing.

so, heavy rain and winds came as predicted, enough to blow over trees and take out power in parts of Portland.  nothing that extreme out here.... just lots of rain.  i know my memory is not as good as it once was, but... really?  this much winter weather in Sept?  just doesn't seem right.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

what's new in my queendom

here is Kobe waiting for another cookie or a romp with any canine who will.  he is a Husky and was listed on the Project Pooch as ready for adoption, so we went to Woodburn to meet him.  Jim would really love to have another Siberian Husky, but Kobe isn't the one.  He is 1 1/2 years and a big clumsy super active puppy... 68 lbs now but i'm guessing he'll get to 75 or 80lbs as he matures.  we took Tasha with us to meet him and she was not much interested in rough-housing (playing) with him.  anyway, Kobe is a way more active puppy than we're looking for.  and big... he jumped up on me and not even at his full height was way taller than i.  and that's OK.  he will be much happier with a young and very active family... which we just are not at this point!

these are likely the last roses of summer.  extended rainy times coming in tomorrow which is depressing.  we've got most of the tomatoes which show any signs they might ripen harvested and spread out on the window sill and in my studio.  i've gotten a couple of large jars filled with dried tomatoes.  not much room left in the freezer, so any more harvest will have to be dehydrated cause dried veggies take up so much less space.

had a surprise visit this a.m. from friends from Boise ... are they giants? or was i standing in a hole?  or neither?  Anna's husband, Steve, and son, Nathan.  Anna was busy with her mom in Ridgefield getting ready for the 90th BD party this weekend.

there have been some gigantic tomatoes from Jim's big garden.  no idea what type they are as there were many many volunteers in the compost pile which Jim transplanted to the garden and they grew HUGE and strange looking.  but they're sweet and juicy.

see these huge fir and cedar trees??  i planted those 30+ years ago when we built our dome in a wheat field.  and holy crap, did they grow!!  i'm impressed.

so, autumn equinox happens this weekend and it always makes me a bit sad because it means that summer is finished and soon the grey wet days of winter are upon us.  3 months til the shortest day of the year... then the light starts returning.  ok.  cycle of life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

flowers, grapes and solar dyeing

 so, while everything else in the garden and flower beds is winding down for autumn, here's the delphinium looking like it's ready for another round.  this totally surprised me as i thought they were thru and have been ignoring and not watering them for about a month.  the earth mother often surprises me with her bounty!
and then there's grape harvest getting close to happening!  these are probably Pinot, but i don't really keep up well with what's what in Jim's vineyard.  i do know,  however, that the muscats are looking full and ripe and juicy... and the bird and yellow jackets seem to also be taking notice.  this is prob. my favorite wine and i'm hoping the grapes get harvested before the wildlife takes its toll.

lots of  harvesting and crushing and dinners for the friends who come out to help,  before we leave for Crete on Oct. 17.


and then there's my experimenting with the new solar dyes.  i've only dabbled a little bit, but am learning as i go.  have to say tho that so far am not really impressed.  i have used the blue, purple and green and the colors come out pretty tame, not the bright and vibrant that i love.  not nearly finished learning and experimenting tho.

 here is one fail.  i didn't cover the fabric with the dye completely.  the fern would not stay in place, so i didn't get the result i wanted.  not really crazy about the fabric i used for this either.  it's sort of a dull yellow with the design done in gold.  this was a blue dye i used.... nah.

this one is a bit better.  used white fabric and purple dye and this time i did get the fabric pretty well covered with the dye.  thinking i might use this in a quilt for Zylie, i cut out some "Z"s from heavy stiff paper... almost cardboard, and they stayed on the fabric pretty well.  also, a stem from a bush... which stayed on the fabric nicely.  so, after painting the damp fabric with the dye, using a foam "brush", putting the cutouts and plant stem on, i put it out in the direct sun.  it was dry in about 20 minutes... and this was the outcome.  probably useable.

i really like the effect on this piece.  after i wet the fabric, squeezed out the water and laid it out on heavy plastic and brushed on the green dye, the wrinkles left from the squeezing gave the result an uneven look that i do like!  not really visible in this photo are very little dots like the effect of sprinkling dye powder on it... interesting!

i planted some sweet potato vine in 2 of my hanging baskets this year and love how it looks.  i had no idea that it would have blossoms and am happy that they appeared!  the foliage is a gorgeous deep maroon/mahogony and sets off the delicate pink blossoms beautifully!

last Sunday, Maggie, Jake and Judy came out for lunch... which they brought and to my delight it was BLTs!!  lovely visit.  and Jake seems to be adjusting to life in Portlandia quite well... big change from living in Brooklyn for years.

it's been a good week!  and i'm trying not to get deep into dread of the rain and cloudy days predicted for the coming week.  and then the inevitable grey days and months coming soon.  guess i better get an attitude adjustment going here... or up the antidepressants.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

from facebook

this is a post from Wild Woman Sisterhood and is captioned:

"Dance is the energy of the Soul set in motion."

i love everything about this...  the colors and the feeling and the sentiment of it!!

end of summer looming

the spiders seem to be abundant lately.  must be building that place to lay their eggs for the new crop.  there were 2 like this... pretty awesome looking... in the window in my kitchen.  on the outside!!

on Wed. we both had doc appts at close to the same time, so went early to meet Robin (sister), see her new apt. and go across the street to the farmers' market at the new Kaiser Westside Medical Center, which is held on an open space outside the hospital.  being at the end of the market season, there were few booths there.  2 food vendors (how do they qualify for a "farmers' " market??)  there were a couple of vegetable booths with a good variety of farm produce.  we were more in the market for lunch than produce as we are pretty much 

overwhelmed with what is coming in from our garden!  so we got our Lebanese lunch and went back to Robin's.

and speaking of produce!  Jim's big garden is in over-drive.  in the last fews days... baskets full of green beans, cucs and enough zucchini to give me nightmares. and tomatoes are starting to ripen, enough that i've put a couple of trays full into the dehydrator.  i've got several heirloom tomato plants in my garden and they are SO good (BLT).

and luscious flowers which i admired... and that's all.  no purchases.  i've got all i want in my garden.  not so much around the house, as the deer seem to love the same blooms that i do and have been feasting when i'm not looking.  i'm really conflicted about this.  i love living where the deer roam thru and i can watch the babies in the spring... however, i do not love that they are so bold as to come up on my patio and devour the flowers... esp. the fuschia baskets.  have tried many many "remedies" for discouraging them and the only thing that worked was to put my roses in the vegetable garden behind an 8 foot netting/fence.  so at least i have them!

and Tasha on her new pillow.  i think she is enjoying being an "only dog" in some ways, but without Meika as her team leader she is awfully timid and freaked out more than ever by loud noises and even going out into her yard alone.  her first year of life as a street dog really impacted her behavior ever since.  for one thing, she never learned to play and looks totally mystified if we throw a ball for her or give her a toy.  even all the years with Meika, her only fun with balls or stuffed toys was taking them away when Meika put them down anywhere.  she is a sweet dog tho. and i'm glad she's here.  but i miss Meika like bloody hell.

Monday, September 02, 2013

garden bountiful bonanza

this is the eggplant year i've been waiting for!  there are 3 types and they are ALL being productive.  now the challenge is what to do with them... i mean we can't possibly eat all of them as they come ripe.  i have done a test of dehydrating 1 of  'em and now need to try re-hydrating and see if they are usable.  tomatoes are coming ripe, so one possibility is to cook up a tomato and eggplant concoction to freeze and use in pasta dish.  freezer space is limited, so am trying to dehydrate as much as possible... much easier to store.  it's a lovely challenge tho... i love having eggplants in my garden!

this doesn't look like it... but when ripe it is white and as wonderful at the purple kind.

Jim made a bench for me at the top of my garden where i sit in the morning for a bit of birdsong filled peace and meditate on the beauty of life in my queendom.  and as i'm filled with all this beauty and grace, i'm also overwhelmed with sorrow for those living and dying in heinous situations, especially right now in Syria.  i have a feeling of helplessness in having any effect on our government or what happens in our world.  yeah, i vote, donate $$, sign petitions...
ok, this could turn into a political rant and i'm just not going there tonight.

there's so much variety in the gerbera daisies and i love 'em all.  this one makes me want to get out the dye pots and capture this brilliance on fiber.

about the solar dyeing i've mentioned... still need to get some supplies before i can go at that white cotton fabric for quilting.  need to do that while we still have sun!

it's hard to discern here, but in the very foreground is a lovely little rose bush that grew from a pruning of my beloved Gertrude Jeckyll heirloom rose.  this is its first summer and the little beauty has already given me 3 roses.

this is what it looks like in bloom.  love love love!