Nesting Instinct

The days bend shorter, the dahlias put on a show (my friend Barbara and I make a pilgrimage to the Dahlia Festival each September, just to fill ourselves with the glory of the changing season),(my fingers just typed “flory,” and I almost left it there as a happy portmanteau word for the glory of flowers each autumn),

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The flory of the Swan Island Dahlia Festival

and it’s this time of year again when vegetables are rolling in from the garden at a pace faster than they can be consumed. The canners are boiling in the kitchen where the temperature is around 100 degrees, and something inside a woman wants to start putting things by for winter.

It’s apple-picking and saucing time:

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It’s pickling time, too, and we have

Dilly Beans on their shelf,

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Bread and Butter Pickles,

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Mexican style hot carrot pickles,

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and pickled eggs in a giant bottle.16aug_eggs2_cr_sm

The tomatoes in excess of any possible fresh

consumption are jarred and stored in their ranks,

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and there are still more to be eaten, so many we have tomato sores in our mouths, but we keep on adding them to salads and plates, and making tomato sandwiches and tomato gravy and fried tomatoes. And there are peppers, too, waiting for their pickling piper to show up.

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These are a pretty little pepper called Biquinho, from Brazil, and just coming ripe now. They are intended for pickling, to be used in salads. We first found them at a Brazilian restaurant in Portland where they are part of the “market table” salad bar. Pretty soon we will have to bring them into the greenhouse if they are to finish their season.

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Deeper in the garden, the frost isn’t yet on the pumpkins, but they are ready for it. Ours are Rouge vif d’Etampes. It’s a beautiful French heirloom, once common in the markets there. It deserves to be kept in gardens. It grows easily and large, is sweet inside and beautiful outside.

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I can’t stop taking pictures of them!

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The summer squash are at last beginning to fail while the winter ones are ready for taking. The one below is Thelma Sanders’ Sweet Potato Acorn squash. It’s much like the more familiar dark-skinned acorns (we called those Danish Squash in our house when we were kids). As we know to be the case in other things, the skin color makes no difference. The meat inside is golden and sweet.

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The hay is in the barn, so that culinary detail is taken care of.

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Pears are still hanging on, waiting for their moment. These are Comice:

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Oh, and…

murder1_cr_sm there was an unfortunate day for some chickens. They are now resting peacefully in the freezer. They are not fryers but stewing hens waiting for their day in the winter pot. Chicken butchering day is also custard dessert day for us. Old hens still have a supply of egg yolks inside, and it would be a terrible thing to waste them.

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Having a satisfied feeling about the larder now, I feel it’s time to settle in for an evening of knitting, and to finish up a nice sweater project.

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The nest is feathered and it’s time to sigh and be content.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on September 26, 2016 at 7:51 am  Comments (6)  

It’s a Fair Day

13aug_fairpie2_smsmIt’s County Fair Time again!

Fairs: you either love them or… it’s expensive, it’s hot, it’s dusty, it’s crowded, the food is bad, it smells like animals, all the vendors are con artists, and my feet hurt…

All of those things are true.

I love the County Fair.

County fairs are a cheerful remnant of simpler times, when people came together to sell, to buy, to share their work, to compete a little, and to perspire in common under the summertime sun. At the fair we can eat overcooked corn on the cob, sausage on a stick, sugary lemonade, and pie from the Methodist pie concession. We get advice from the County Extension booth, and admire the gigantic tractors,

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or sit on them,

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or drive them.

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We gaze upon the patient cudding cattle mothers and marvel at their size,

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and we eye the flat-backed steers on their way to the judging ring,

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overseen by the haughty llamas, superior in every attitude

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to the slumbering pigs,

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the smiling, slumbering pigs.

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Who cannot love a sleeping pig?

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At the fair you can learn how to milk a cow.

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You can admire the curls of the visitors.

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You can buy a thrill,

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or try your hand at winning a — whatever that was,

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and eat pink stuff until you are ill,

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and you can save your soul.

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Or you can sleep it all off with your friends.

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And then you go to the crafts hall to appreciate the prize-winning handwork which sometimes shows a fine sense of humor!

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And some of it is lovely and detailed.

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And you look to see whether you won anything with your own entry. And you did! You won a blue ribbon on the brown wool sweater in the front of the case!

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So you take your tired feet back across the parking lot, and you drive home remembering that you didn’t actually ride the thrill ride, and you didn’t eat any cotton candy or a sausage, but you did have a piece of pie.

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And since it came from the Methodists, you will probably not be punished for it later.

 

 

Published in: on August 17, 2016 at 1:31 pm  Comments (20)  

It’s Here! (Spring, I Mean)

Nothing speaks of spring like this:

Meet Penny Rose, the first lamb of the year. Isn’t she the perkiest thing you ever saw?

This is busy time for ewes, what with bearing and feeding and keeping track of youngsters. It’s suddenly a big responsibility for an animal accustomed to spending her time eating, lounging, and growing wool.

Here is Ida with her new twins, who immediately demand  feeding. Childbirth converts a lazy sheep into an attentive, conscientious mother who knows, from the first moment, what her new job is. Her voice changes. Her manner changes. She has this important thing to do now, and that’s all she is about.

Someone noted to me that this ewe mother has a lot of fleece on. Yes. While some shepherds shear just before lambing, I have always felt it puts unneeded stress onto a heavily pregnant ewe to set her on her butt and shear her. I do go in and give them a little haircut around the relevant areas, called “crutching,” to make sure the path is clear and the teats are available. I will shear later, when everyone has gotten over the excitement of lambing and new duties.

Meanwhile,

the daffodils are emerging from their winter’s sleep. Other than the sound of a lamb bleating, what can so strongly fill you with Spring as the scent of a Narcissus on the breeze? This is the Double Campernelle daffodil, a quite old variety, known in gardens from 1601.

And the Hellebores still nod, heavy and sensual,

nearly indecent with their fulsomeness. What floozies.

And what else?

We have had the Spring Fiber Sale, the first of the year’s gatherings of spinners, knitters, weavers and shepherds, the market days where we greet and exchange goods and envy. It’s been a long winter and we show off our work to one another.

See what can become of that woolly sheep when her fleece is cleaned and spun into fine yarn, worked by skilled hands into a pattern of lace?

This lovely shawl, seen at the Spring Fiber Sale, is done in the classic Shetland pattern known as “Old Shale” or, if you were a speaker of Shetland English some time ago, more probably “Old Shell” in meaning.

Here’s some winter’s work of my own,

done from handspun wool and knitted into a simple, thickly warm wrap.

And, speaking of spring, Sock Madness is underway! Sock Madness is the annual, March, sock knitting eliminations game, run online, on Ravelry – a knit and crochet community.

Here, for your enjoyment, are my completed Round 1 socks:

And my Round 2 socks:

I’m still in it. I await the Round 3 challenge…

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Comments (4)  

An Autumn Congeries

Ah, the foul weather has come, and we are shuddering and building fires in the stove. We had our first snow last week, gone now and turned to mud in the yards.

But there are fine things going on anyway. The young ram is courting his ladies. And courting. And courting. Being he’s just a youngster, he seems assiduous enough in his amours. He’s fairly polite about it all. When the mood for love strikes, he sniffs the air for confirmation, and trots toward the lady of his desires. He bumps her gently on the hips. She steps away demurely. He’s sure by now, so he turns toward the action end of things. At first she may walk away from him. He follows. He reminds her he is there with an additional few nudges. By the time he decides to consummate things, they are in agreement over the matter, and she pauses, presents herself to him, and… it’s done. It takes longer to work out the deal than to perform the act.

Our woods are damp and chill. Across the road and along the path up the Butte, Fall is as good as its name, with foliage littering the way. The scent of autumn in the woods is earthy, moldy, tannic and fungal. It’s a good scent.

All our complaints through the long wet summer have given way to joy: the yield of mushrooms in the woods has been good this year. Here is the beautiful Chanterelle in its native home.

And here it is in my home:

In several collecting days we bagged around 15 pounds live weight. Done in the skillet, in their own nectar, packaged and frozen into serving-size portions, they will come out for later use as fresh as fresh.

The scattering of fungi all through the woods is a wonder to the eye. Here are puffballs, spent of their puffs and looking like chimney pots.

And here, you see, the fairies are back in the woods. This is where they have been a-dancing overnight in the woodlot.

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In the barn we have two litters of rabbits all warm in their nests. The doe pulls hair from her coat to make the softest nursery you can imagine. There are seven little ones in here, snuggled next to each another. Mom hops in and out with what seems like careless disregard for the babes in her way, but none seem to get smashed.

Here’s proof: that’s a tiny black rabbit in there.

They’re not into petting at this age. The little buggers are so wiggly and reluctant, it’s impossible to get a good photo of them.

Here are some 3 week-olds. Eyes open, they’ve come to the cute stage. Really, really cute. They fall over one another as if no one had bones or nerves.

They’ve trampled that beautiful nest into nothing, but by this age they snuggle for shared warmth, and that’s enough. Those rabbit skin coats they wear are remarkably warm. In summer, when they don’t want the insulation, their big ears serve as radiators.

These little ears require some growing before then.

And as I speak of warmth and weather, what better time is there to sit by the fire and work wool into garments? Here’s a beautiful batt of blended wool and silk, carded into color layers, ready to spin.

By selecting gobs (that’s a technical term of art) from different parts of the batt, spinning the varied colors, and then making a 2-ply yarn, the hues come and go through the yarn in partly intentional, partly unpredictable changes.

The passages of color are long enough to create broad bands in the knitted garment. Five balls like those above, make this:

Warm as a bunny’s butt.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Rites of Autumn

Aside from the retrieval of flannel sheets from the storage chest, we are seeing clear signs of the change of seasons. Some things that come along every year are pleasing just because they are such certain indications.

We separate the young ewes from their elders in preparation for breeding. Here is Ava on her way to her winter digs. She’ll join some half-sisters there.

Ava on her way to new digs

Some shepherds breed ewes their first year. We think of them as youngsters at that age, and still call them lambs. Just because a teenager can breed, it doesn’t mean she might not be better off growing up.

The pace of knitting for winter picks up in autumn.

A little winter cap

This little cap went home with one of the solar contractors working on the house.

The woods and fields are full of fungi. Among the pleasures of fall are these, Coprinus comatus, the Shaggy Mane mushroom. There are a scant 3, more or less, wild mushrooms I am comfortable to pick and eat. The Shaggy Mane is one of them.

Coprinus comatus

It will never be a commercial commodity; it famously turns to black ink within hours of emerging.

This is a clever mechanism for dispersal of the spores. As it “rots” its way to old age, the edges of the egg-shaped young mushroom flare out, leaving the spores exposed to the elements. Shaggy Manes are a mess at this stage. The black liquid gives this type of mushroom another common name, Inky Cap, and the ink migrates everywhere once you touch it. But the liquid must be an effective means of carrying spore, because Coprinus can dot entire fields with its ghost-white caps. This year we’ve been lucky and have found them young and firm.  When you are lucky, they make a fine seasonal treat sauteed and served on toast.

We were thinking about the possibility of propagating Coprinus in our own pastures. They like disturbed ground, grassy areas under tree litter, and manure-y areas. We have some of that. So this year we sacrificed a mushroom to an experiment. We let it age to a fine state of liquefaction, tossed in some stem cuttings that seemed likely to have mycelia attached, mushed it all together in the food processor, and poured it into a jar with water to fill.

Nice, isn’t it? The farmhouse laboratory at work.

Ink of Coprinus

I took it down to the orchard and sprinkled the black liquor along the fence line. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, most of the mushrooms and other fungi in the woods are strangers to me. Right now they are erupting in the hundreds, and some of them are beautiful beyond any expectation.

A woodland fungus...

The last of the apples wait to be collected.

The Liberty Apple

These are Liberty, which is a fine disease-resistant fall apple, good eaten fresh when it’s young, good cooked when it’s mature.

Another ritual of the season is the planting of shrubs, trees and bulbs in the garden. Our garden is still the workplace of too many heavy-footed men to permit much gardening. The plants chosen to fill the beds around the new house will be far too valuable and vulnerable to risk next to the continued battering of cast-offs and short-cuts. But one place seems completed enough to permit a hopeful gesture. I really could not stand it one more minute, and I drove off to town one raining Saturday and bought a load of red-leaved shrubs for the northwest corner of the house.

Truck of shrubberies

It was a dim, grim day, with rain in sheets blowing across the roads. The cab of the pickup was a steam-bath inside; its old heater groaning against the window fog was barely up to the job. But I was glad of heart as I drove home with an assortment of blueberries, a maple tree, and 4 Euonymous in brilliant red. I would plant something.

By coincidence, my order of heritage garden bulbs arrived the same week, and I was forced to buy some stoneware pots to house them.

Pots o' bulbs

These bulbs came from Old House Gardens where they sell bulbs collected from generations of gardens, tenderly cultured and closely held by gardeners who value the lineages old varieties. These are the bulbs of our grandmothers, and older still. Go there to meet the blue Hyacinth orientalis, the Roman hyacinth known in gardens since 1562, or the English bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta, whose honey-scented blooms were known to Shakespeare, but were ancient in gardens even then. Who can set such a bulb in the earth without knowing some sense of the long time from then to now?

I chose pots I thought would keep them well,  these old bulbs grown new.

Meanwhile, back to the season coming on… We had our first frost this morning.

First frosting

It makes me think again of those flannel sheets and of the down-filled comforter. It’s a fine season, this one, given to color and scent and temperature.

I like fall best.

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Workshop Weekend

We are having sizzling temperatures here. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s 106°F was a record-buster, and today promises to beat that. Ugh.

Mercury

I made a weekend escape to cooler climes over the weekend, heading away to join friends at a 2-day ‘color in wool’ workshop.We drove downriver along the Columbia, and turned north at Westport, Oregon, to take a small ferry across to Puget Island. It was a glorious sunny afternoon by the time we lined up at the ferry landing. For $3 we made the short crossing along with a half dozen other cars. We ate cherries from a roadside stand while we waited at the landing.

The ferry landing

Here’s the friendly ferryman who probably poses regularly for tourist photos:

The cap'n of the ferry

And here is me, catching a knitting break during the transit:

Me, knitting

The crossing is about 15 minutes. I barely had time to find my bag and get out my needles.

Puget Island is a small community in the Columbia River. As you approach, it has that unmistakable scent and feel of a waterine settlement. Often the Columbia is raucous in its windy progress toward the ocean. On this day, with a pleasant breeze, the river lapped gently at the beach.

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Approach to Puget Island

You drive briefly over the island, cross to the town of Cathlamet by bridge, and turn onto the highway headed downriver, to Skamokawa. (I had to put these in here: Cath-LAM-et, and (try it your own way first, then say…) Ska-MOK-a-way.)

We arrived enthusiastic, ate and slept well, and were ready to throw ourselves into class the next morning.  I was about to make yarns I would never have undertaken on my own, using the drum carder to blend colors into wool batts that were later drawn out into gaily colored rovings and spun into final yarns.

For readers who have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a quick course in the preparation of wool into yarn.

As it comes from the sheep, a fleece is messy, dirty, and clumpy. To be spun into yarn it must first be sorted and then cleaned (I mean washed, washed in hot water, with detergent), and then made into a fluffy form that can be attenuated into strands. Skipping over  the first business of sorting and washing (called scouring among the conoscenti), let’s move on, to the handling of the cleaned wool.

In this case, we were using small portions of wool already dyed into colors our instructor intended us to begin with.

Raw materials

We had a bag of brightly colored wool, a bag of medium-dark wool, a bag of darker dark wool, and a sack of natural whites, grays, and blacks. In addition, we were each given a paper bag of ‘goodies.’ The goodies were bits of flashy fiber, silk, mohair, wool, and, I must say it though it’s hard for me, holographic plastic.

Bits of color

All these bits and pieces are in a sort of rough jumble. To make them orderly, we first run the plain (dyed) wool though a carding machine like this one:

A drum carder

Below is a close-up view of the drums. The wires sticking from the cloth grab the wool as it passes between the two drums and pulls it open. Here you can see some bits of colored silk added to the wool batt.

Flecks and bits added to the carder

The drum carder is a larger, faster version of the hand carders our grandmothers used to prepare wool for spinning.

'La Cardeuse,' Jean-François Millet

You can imagine this woman never thought of getting together to card wool for fun.

The process separates the strands of wool, fluffs them up, gives them order and body. Actually, it may give them chaos, but it’s open and uniform chaos. The wool as it comes out of the carder is called a batt, and the texture of the batt is lofty. Here are four of them, well-carded:

Carded batts arranged in layers

You can see little pieces of colored material scattered through the batts. This is the goody stuff, which has been carded into the original wool.

Now, these delightful batts were about to be sundered.

We rolled them up like fat jelly rolls. Then, putting our arms and shoulders into it, we began pulling from the middles of the rolls, outward to the ends. This is our instructor, Janis Thompson, demonstrating how to pull the batts into a roving.

Pulling out a roving

A roving, which looks here like a giant woolly worm, is an attenuated rope of carded wool, ready for spinning into yarn. Here’s one of mine, wound up after being pulled thin.

A roving, wound up

The next day we all assembled again to finish up our yarns. We spun the pretty rovings into strands that were gaily textured, thin in some places, thick in others, happily colored and unpredictable. We had, as we’d been instructed, flexed our ‘color muscles.’  We’d come up with some irreproducible results.

Yarn

Two days of intensive, hands-on education can be a zonking experience. On Saturday morning we were fairly skipping into class. By Sunday afternoon, we were weary from learning. Dazzled by our results, but worn right out.

Class wasn’t all that captured our attention. That inner bell that heralds a nearby yarn store had been clanging in my breast. All day on Saturday, I knew something must be done about it. But there we were, tied to our carding machines, class running until 5 pm. I could hear the door of that yarn shop closing at 5, even at a yet unmeasured distance. What to do?

Over dinner that evening we discussed the problem. Oh, said our friend Rose, that’s no problem. They open at 7:30 because of the cafe serving breakfast.

What?

The yarn shop, you see, shares space with a cafe and the proprietors, being no fools, open the store about when morning coffee is served.

So we leapt from our own breakfast table on Sunday morning, and made a hasty sortie into the fragrant realms of the local yarn store.

Armful

It gave us a boost for the second day’s work over the carders.

All in all, it was a delightful weekend in which we enjoyed cooler temperatures, ate good food, found good company, and made yarn. A womanly pursuit all around, from which we came home again in good condition. I recommend such an outing every now and then.

Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Comments (2)  

In Which We Catch Up

It seems we have let things lapse here. We see patient readers have been checking in, perhaps only to sigh and move on as there is nothing new to look at. We’ll try to do better.

Summer has come roaring in, full of busy days. The annual rite of bringing in the hay commenced, in mercifully mild wCherries!eather. Most usual haying temperatures reach the F90s or higher. This year we had extended spring rains to delay the process. For weeks, two days of brilliant sun would be bracketed by 3 of rain; and rain, for hay, is early death. As the stems rose in the fields waiting for a forecast of weather fair enough for cutting and drying, barn lofts grew emptier and emptier. Growers worried their grass might lodge over in the rain and refuse to stand upright again. Baling machines stood idle. Shepherds  watched the days pass on the calendar, through June, July coming up.

Haying requires a dry day to cut, a couple of dry days for the fallen grass to give up its dampness in the field, to be raked over and give up some more, and a day to bale and collect the bales out of the field. When it happens, the County roads are busy with trucks and trailers moving hay from one farm to another. Grass is life for livestock. If you are like us, with little field acreage, you buy your hay from someone who has lots of field and few animals. It is a time in which you push back plans because you cannot plan for the schedule of the field.  We assemble some strong arms and backs to help. They come with patient men who know they’ve committed to an uncertain date. Yes, they’ll help with haying. Just call. We borrow trailers and pickup trucks to go with the strong arms and backs. We hope they will all be available when the date finally comes. We wait on the weather.

In the meantime, I knit.

Knitting again.

At last, almost a month later than last year, the call came.

The Venerable Hayhook

A hayhook is a simple tool, so essential to the managing of bales most folks have several. This one is of wrought iron, cut from plain stock long ago and shaped to fit the job. Its handle is polished from long use. It's satisfying to pick up a tool that has served many hands.

We buy our hay straight from the open ground. Our friend, Lloyd, calls when the baler is making his rounds of the field. By evening of that day the hay will be dotting his acres in neat bundles waiting to be collected. They don’t stay there long. If you do not collect your hay promptly, someone else will get it before you. It is an exercise in urgency, this getting in the hay.

It’s far cheaper to buy hay this way, with our own labor in loading and unloading, than to get it from a grower who has stored it (his labor in lifting, lifting again, and stowing), or to have it delivered. We pay the strong arms and backs, certainly, but they are working for us, and it’s not nearly as dear as if we were paying a middle-man.

We ran into difficulties with the labor pool. We don’t need many hands, but we need more than just mine. This year R. has been laid up with a painfully infected leg wound, and found himself disabled in the days running up to, and through, and after, haying. That has been a long and frightening story of the vigor of small organisms. You are spared the details here. It seems all will come well at the end, but we were seriously concerned for quite a few days.

In any case, as haying goes, his was a pair of hands not on the job. I thought I had lined up two likely fellows from the construction crew, but when the call to the field came, they were reminded by their distaff side that it was apartment-moving weekend, and I could nearly hear the scolding they received clear from town. “You agreed to do what?” In the end, our friends Elton and Dan came over the horizon to help. They arrived at the field early on a Sunday morning, pickups and trailers at the ready. The three of us put away about 5 tons of hay in good time. Then Dan drove off to another field and another barn to fill. I think Elton went to find  a steam bath. A city man, he’s unaccustomed to these bursts of labor that come on a farm, and it was a gesture of fine character that he came out to help.

So: hay is in.

Since last I wrote, we found time to till and plant some garden.

Planting garden

Richard calls this my clown suit. They are hand-me-down overalls too small for other likely recipients, a little large on me, but too good to throw away. That anyone thought I might wear them does not speak well for my fashion image.

The garden is slight by our usual standard. The plot lay fallow the last two seasons, awaiting the installation of the new septic system (Two seasons because of… delays. When it was first supposed to come in, it didn’t. When it did, it fully missed the vegetable plot, and we could have planted anyway. Details elsewhere, and probably not worth looking up.), which meant breaking ground all anew this year.

This is the quality of soil we enjoy here. It’s officially called Jory Clay Loam, though the loam proportion is difficult to find. When I say “breaking ground,” I do not speak metaphorically.

Our Soil

But we have some garden, and next year’s will be better.

While the garden grew, I knitted some more.

More knitting.

The tomatoes are setting on.

First tomato fruits

The Runner Beans are blooming.

Bean Bloom

Baby squashes are appearing on the bush.

Tiny Squashes

Since last I wrote, the cherries have come ripe.

Cherries waiting to be picked.

Odd as it seems, the birds have let us have most of them this year. We have a riotous population of crows in residence, and the usual assortment of small brown birds. All of these happy to beat us to a good portion of the crop, and I can’t figure out what they are thinking, to have left all those beautiful, sweet gems hang there until I came for them. Most of the fruit has gone into the freezer, about 20 quarts. It’s a small tree still, and this seems a handsome harvest.

The wild strawberries are appearing in the woods.

Wild strawberry

And, oh, I knitted.

A knitting break in the day's tasks.

That’s our still unfinished house at my back. By the time we’re allowed to live in it, who knows, I may be tired, but I’ll probably still be knitting.

eldressfannyeastbrook

Published in: on July 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm  Comments (5)  

Tending Toward Fall

You can’t always rely on the calendar to tell you when the season is changing, but when you live in farm country, the signs of summer’s passing are all around. The days are shorter and suddenly morning feeding comes at dawn when the night’s work by full-bellied spiders is strung between every two branches along the path to the paddocks. A face full of web in the morning is a clear indication of the season. The air has a scent of maturity — berries over-ripe in the thickets, apples preparing to drop into the grass, tomato vines shedding that incomparable perfume onto my wrists as I feel in the foliage for fruits. Down the way, the field of pumpkins has been harvested:

These are ready to be shipped out to markets where they'll wait for the artist in a child to recognize the perfect one for her Hallowe'en carving.

And, of course, we see the gathering of shepherds for fall fiber festivals. Last weekend was the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby. It’s our biggest northern valley event, chock full of sheep, llamas, goats, and sometimes the odd dromedary or yak. You will see folks of all sizes and ages, vendors, hopeful breeders with their finest animals on display, shepherds visiting over the matter of foot rot or fly strike or worming schedules (no shepherd can resist a discussion of disasters), and the results of 3 days of classes instructing in wool, silk or cotton handwork, weaving, knitting, crochet, fiber blending, spinning, carding, dyework… You name it, if hands can do it and it involves strings, it will be there.

Here is itinerant sheep judge and writer Ian Stewart having a look at an array of Shetland sheep.

Did you ever see a finer row of sheep butts?

Did you ever see a finer row of sheep butts?

As I sat in my vendor’s booth, visiting, selling, and watching the shoppers make their way among the skeins and books and spinning wheels, I had to appreciate the display of fine handwork that passed through the building. Here are handbags,

hats,

wraps,

and sweaters.

Ahem… sweaters:

(Click any of these thumbnails for larger views.)

The fact that the temperatures those three days reached the high F 80’s didn’t seem to discourage any of the display of woolen works. One might have thought fall had settled in and folks were dressed for the season. And in fact, now, the weather has turned toward the autumnal, and we lit a first fire in the woodstove at home. It was a pleasure to come home to the whiff of woodsmoke in the house.

It’s a pleasure, overall, to see the year moving on from summer.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment