Friday, December 30, 2011

My Life as a Pirate

Did you know that the eye patches you buy at the drugstore are pointed,  and won't fit under your glasses?  Or, I could wear a stick on one.  But while I'm here at Terry's, I wear his patch.
Until I can have my surgery, I am able to rest my strained brain by covering one of my eyes.  They work so hard, trying to create one image for me, that I get to feeling physically sick and unbalanced.
I have not been very good about wearing my patch this week, and yesterday I started to pay the price.  So, it's time to rest my eyes more fully, with a nap!!  Gotta rest up for the show we are going to tonight.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Vegan Christmas

As our families grow, the traditions of our Christmas celebrations change radically.  We have our big celebration today at my brother's, but Christmas day looked empty.  My son and his friend had no plans, so I decided to have them over for dinner.  They are vegan, a lifestyle that is looking very agreeable to me.

My menu was as follows:
Curried Christmas Timbales with Green Pepper Relish
Apple Accent Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Symphony in Squash
Cranberry Relish
Mushroom Pastry Puff

This is the squash dish, which had three types of squash from my garden:  Delicata, Acorn, and Patty Pan.  It also had garbanzo beans, currents, raisins and hazelnuts.  YUM.

Terry chops the parsley for me.

The sauce for the mushroom puff.  I gotta tell you, this is FANTASTIC!!

I'm working on the mushroom sauce and the squash.
Unfortunately, the timbales were eaten up before I thought to get a picture of them.

And here is the cranberry relish.  The recipe made a huge amount, and it will be great on salads, sandwiches and as a side.  Very tart and delicious.

The meal was a total success, and proof that I can prepare a totally vegan meal.  Today, I'm a bit worn out and will let the others do the cooking for me.

Christmas Eve, a great day for a bike ride.

I hope you all had wonderful times with family and friends the last few days.  I have been so busy celebrating, I haven't had time to post.
Christmas Eve was such a lovely day, sunny and unusually warm.  We decided to take a bike ride.
BTW, I am staying in Seattle with Terry for the holidays.  He lives just a few blocks from the Green River Trail.

The trail is for walkers and cyclists, and runs for miles along the Green River.  I was so surprised to see these apples, still on the tree.

Here's a view of the river, with the apples in the foreground.

The scenery along the trail is so beautiful.  On Christmas Eve, we only encountered one other cyclist, and no walkers.  On a regular business day, you will see many, many employees from Boeing and other businesses in the area, taking walks during their coffee and lunch breaks.

This little green bridge leads to Terry's neighborhood.  I have gotten so lost, on so many occasions here, that the site of this bridge is such a relief and welcome.
I was shopping at the mall the other day and got lost three times:
1st:  The stores are so big, I had to ask directions to get back out to the mall.
2nd:  I lost my car in the parking lot and walked around for 20 minutes before finding it.
3rd:  I was lost for about 45 minutes in the area, looking for my main drag.  Like I said, this bridge is such a welcoming site.
Talk about your Country Mouse in the Big City.  I am hopeless, and I grew up here!!! 
I had a compass in my old pick up truck and could always find my way using that.  I know, GPS??
No, don't got it.
And also, at home I have Sumas Mountain for my point of reference.
I resolve to take Terry's compass with me next time, along with a map of the area.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Tribute to Alan

It's a year since Alan passed away, and I long for his smile.  We had just begun a new life on the farm, which we had worked toward for so many years.

Alan attempted growing barley and wheat the first year he was here, but the processing of it got to be too difficult.  It makes good compost.

Here he displays one of his 12 pound cabbages.  He made 42 quarts of sauerkraut in 2010.

Here he is with the same type John Deere his Dad had on the farm.  Something I always noticed about Alan when he was driving a tractor:  He always had a smile on his face when he wasn't biting his tongue in an effort to accomplish a difficult manuever.  A man and his tractor is a special thing.

It's been a very difficult year for me with many changes, but I go on and I am happy.  The arrival of a grandson this coming  March is a reminder of the cirlce of life, and things will only get better for all of us.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My New Fiber Source

Meet Yoshi!
I know, you all knew I couldn't bear being without an alpaca.  Well, he will reside with the rest of my herd.  The owners have agreed to care for him for me.  I just knew if I wanted to continue spinning and selling my yarns, I needed a good source of fiber.

Isn't he handsome?  He will provide about 8 pounds of super fine fiber a year so I continue making yarn like this:

I just finished these last night.  With my eyes under such strain, I can almost spin blindfolded, and it is also very meditative.
So I saw the surgeon yesterday, and I will be having surgery in January.  I am so relieved!  Someone who listened to me and knew what was wrong!

THIS MESS is my office.  Sometime today I need to clean it up because my son will be visiting for a couple of days, and needs to sleep in that bed!  Hey, Santa's workshop has never been tidy.
I'm also going to make Buckeyes today.
Saturday is the last day of the Bellingham Farmer's Market.  Since I've been feeling so poorly, a friend has been running my booth for me.  This week, though, I will be going and celebrating the end of the season.  I need to wear an eye patch when I'm not driving, so I'm thinking of decorating it for the event.  I hope I have a good, money making day!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Week at Lost River

It's a very cold morning and I'm having some real difficulty in getting my booty in gear.  I should take a walk, but a hot shower calls to me.  The walk can come later.

Last Saturday I participated in the Holiday Bazaar at the Senior Center.  Above is one of my loyal customers, displaying the BIG skein (208 yards) that she purchased from me.

I'm feeling spunky and festive.  The problem with these little shows is that you end up spending all the money you make, or you do trades.  I found those valuable reindeer antlers, some Christmas earrings, and all sorts of odds and ends.  What fun.

The next day  my son, his wife, and half baked baby boy Bylsma came to celebrate my birthday and to pick up some baby treasures that were my sons when he was born.  One of them is a handmade rocking horse.  They brought me these lovely roses!!

I also received this awsome tote bag and this book for knitting little monsters.  Funny thing, I know the author!!  I was part of a craft coop that Rebecca ran a few years ago, and she was just then creating her little monster friends and writing the patterns.  She has since moved to Birch Bay where I often run into her at the Local Yarn Shop.
So, I'm taking the hint.  Monsters, it is.

Tomorrow I see an eye surgeon,  and hopefully will find an answer to what ails me.  It's been a rough 5 months, and besides feeling awful, my independence is limited, since I can't drive much.  I sure hope this is the last and final stop.  Surgery or not, there should be an answer by tomorrow afternoon.
My condition is called 4th nerve palsey, so if anyone out there suffers from that, I'd love your input.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farewell, Josh, I Loved you Like my Own

A very special young man died yesterday, and today I am heartbroken.  Josh was like my third son, and he always greeted me as "Mom", accompanied by a huge bear hug.
The picture above shows my three sons at the wedding of my eldest, Michael, who is in the middle.  On the left is my youngest son, Chad, and on the right is Josh.
I have so many memories of Josh.  When our family moved to Lynnwood, Wa., I put my boys in a home daycare where there were already 3 boys and a girl, all about the same ages.  Michael and Josh became fast friends.  They were in Third Grade.
When Josh graduated from High School, he had no where to live.  Michael's room was empty, since he was attending Washington State University, so Alan and I invited Josh to move in with us.  I don't remember how long he stayed, but that is when I became "Mom", and he developed a close relationship with Alan.
At Alan's memorial service in February, Josh spoke movingly about his relationship with Alan, and how much Alan had loved me and our two boys.
Josh, my wish for you is that you find Alan again in heaven, and you can somehow find the peace you are looking for.

This is how I am dealing with this.  I bought this living tree today, to be placed somewhere in my yard.  This will be my style "Joshua Tree".  When Michael and Adrienne come this weekend, we can decorate the tree with Christmas ornaments.
It just feels right.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To Visit the Alpacas

Yesterday was my Birthday, and I decided a trip to visit my former alpacas was in order.

This is Poppy, a four month old Jersey heifer.  She thinks she is an alpaca, and fits in just fine with the rest of the girls.

Terry found just the right spot to scratch, which she thought was mighty fine.  As she gets older, she is going to be a bit to deal with, as friendly as she is.  But she knows her place and minds when you use the right commands.

Here I get a reluctant hug from my Chico.  He is the one I bottle fed from the age of 5 weeks when his mom died.  We've always had a bond, but he doesn't like to appear to be a Mama's boy when the other boys are around.

Here are a few of the new girls that were just purchased on Saturday.  They will make a very nice addition to the breeding program.

And here is Phabian, the only baby born at my place this year.  He is shaping up nicely and should be a herdsire.
I did really well with my visit, and came away feeling very good, with no remorse.  Oh, you are going to love this.  A friend is going to give me a nice white male with excellent fiber so I will continue to have a fiber source.  Melissa and gang have agreed to take care of him for me.

Now, a total change of subject:  I had to show you these two gallon jars of peppers.  Terry has been soaking them in vinegar for three years, and they are now ready to be used in the hot sauce he makes.

And, off to another topic, here is my Christmas tree for this year.  I decided since I would be traveling back and forth between here and Seattle, I needed an artificial tree.  I'm very happy with this little thing.  You need small ornaments for small trees.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I have been Productive

I have been busy on several projects, and thought I would share them with you.  Above is the wall hanging I have been working on for Terry.  I'm at a bit of a standstill, because I don't have any "doodahs" that are characteristically him.  You have to put some personality into these things, and so far it is about me.  I will be on the hunt.

Here is the first bootie for my little grandson to be.  Yes, there is a second one, I just haven't sewn it together yet.

Today I made a batch of this moisturizing body scrub.  I found the idea in FIRST magazine.  It is made with olive oil, kosher salt, ginger and grapefruit zest.  You put it on your dry areas while showering, and then rinse it off, of course.  Leaves your skin marvelously refreshed and glowing.

I'm also working on some new knit hats, made with my handspun.  I met a lady on the beach last Friday who inspired me.  I'll share when I get some done.  For now, I think I will do some spinning.

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend

I was so fortunate to get to spend my thanksgiving in Brookings, Oregon.  It was a 10 hour drive in miserable rainy weather, but once there, well worth it.  Above is a piece of driftwood on the beach of our hotel.

This is the view from our room.  The sound of the breakers hitting the beach was so lovely, and such a nice sound to fall asleep to.

This is the view from the back door or our room.

Here is the gang, during a walk on the beach.  It was the second walk for Terry and I, and a little bit of foul weather was on it's way in.

And look what I found!!!  I've been missing this glove for months!!

The beach at Brookings again, in the Sunshine.  We even drove the extra 4 miles to California.  How the geography changes as soon as you cross the border.  Amazing!

Here's Terry at one of the many stops we made along the coast on our way north.  The Oregon coast has so many surprises, it can take days to travel it.  We made it as far as Lincoln City on Friday, and spent the night at Siletz Bay.

Our morning walk on the beach at Siletz Bay with many people fishing for crab.  Across the inlet are hundreds of seals, basking in the sun.

Back at Terry's in Seattle, we are decorating for Christmas.  I had to make this arrangement from cuttings of a bush in his yard.  The fresh Rosemary infuses the house with a wonderful, warm aroma.

We were sent home with LOADS of leftovers, so I made Turkey Manicotti.  I cut the turkey up really small and mixed it with spinach, mushrooms, ricotta and parmesan cheese and basil.  It's topped with my homemade Kick Ass Spaghetti Sauce.  Yummmmmmmmy.  Tonight I will make the ham into a bean soup.  That will be the end of leftovers.

I am spending a few weeks in Seattle.  Before Thanksgiving, I became overwhelmed at the loss of my alpacas.  The purpose for my being on the farm was suddenly gone, and I felt lost and alone.  I sealed the place up, arranged for sitters and surveilance, and headed south.  I will be back and forth for the month of December, until I can feel my roots take place once again.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My First Baby Project

I've made my first project for my Grandson to be.  Yes, it will be a boy!  I sure know how to act around boys, that's for sure.  This is a tag bankie.  There are three different kinds of ribbons sewn in tags around the edges for baby to suck on and feel.  It's only 36 inches square, my size of project.  I think I'm going to like making baby things.  Small and fast.  I've also started knitting booties.  I will wait until after the holidays to get going on more sewing.  I can't sit in front of the TV when doing that.

I found these in the garden today, so I MUST pickle them, right?

I walked out to the barn this afternoon and found all of the doors and gates standing open, and I started crying.  I cried my eyes out while putting everything to rights.  I know I have some hard times coming, with the holidays and the anniversary of Alan's passing.  My entire life has changed, and I'm really struggling.
Thank God I have this incredible man to help me through it all.