Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Had a Farm in Nooksack

Last night, we started watching "Out of Africa".  At the beginning, Meryl Streep says:
I had a farm in Africa.  She said it with such feeling, it embraced everything I felt and the tears began to fall.  She said it two more times, and I was a goner.
I had a farm in Nooksack.

Leaving here was the hardest thing I ever did.
When my husband inherited a half interest in this farm in 1996, it was a derelict former dairy farm.
We maintained it for two years, with occasional visits, but it sat vacant during that time.

 Then we discovered alpacas.  We bought our first alpacas in 1998 and proceeded to convert the dairy farm to an alpaca friendly environment.  I moved to the farm in 2001 with 21 alpacas while my husband continued to work in Seattle and visit on the weekends to do the remodeling and heavy work.  I was there mostly by myself for 7 years before he retired.
I converted the grounds to a showcase, and created a business and store.
 The farm became a destination for tourists, including busloads from Seattle, Bellingham, and Canada.
Then my husband died in 2010, right before Christmas and my life was changed.
Leaving the farm was hard enough, but leaving the community was the worst.  The life I had in Nooksack was idyllic in many ways.  I had so many friends, and my church was the best.
More than anything, though, I needed to be closer to my family.
I was gratified the other day in talking with my son about it all, and he told me how relieved he and his brother were that I moved.  They worried so much about me there, and it was so difficult for them to come for a visit.
There were many factors involved in my halving to leave.
But I have found new happiness in my life with my new husband and my new community.
And I am happy to be closer to my family.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An Incredibly, Gorgeous, Magnificent Day for a Walk

Yesterday, 15 senior women headed north to Fir Island for their weekly hike, hoping to see the Snow Geese that winter over in Skagit County.  We saw the geese from afar, but mostly we saw the Trumpeter Swans.

 Fir Island is separated from Puget Sound by an estuary that is affected by the tides.  These trees have all died from the salt water, but I find them beautiful.  The first part of our walk along here was almost surreal, with dead trees on the left, and live Evergreens on right.
Here are a few of the Trumpeter Swans, an endangered species.  They are dying off at an alarming rate in other areas of the state.  They used to winter on my farm, on the back 30 acres.  We had a person from Games and Wildlife who would come out and check on them regularly, charting their movement.  They even had names for the tagged swans. 
 Another picture of Mt. Baker in all her glory.  She is one of the volcanoes that we live under, here in Washington State.
And here, you can see the Olympic Mountains to the west on the Olympic Peninsula, with a tiny peek of Puget Sound.
It's days like this that make us so grateful for such a beautiful place to live.  People associate the Seattle area with rain.  Well, we do have our gray, dreary days, but when you trade them out with days like this?  What's to complain about?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

When Left Alone. . .

I had such a great day yesterday.  Terry was off fishing with a buddy, and I was at my own devices.  I spent most of the day in my studio, sewing.
Below you will see the first two coasters I made using old CDs and one inch wide strips of fabric.

Here's a picture of my studio.  It was almost neat and tidy at the point of this shot, but oh, Lordy, you should see it now!  I have so many projects in process.  I always have an Audio book to listen to as I work away.

We recently painted the bathroom, and I refinished the small set of drawers I keep in there.  I repainted it, and decoupaged pieces of fabric to the front of the drawers.  Then, I made my first Quilt As You Go projects.  I can't believe I did not know of this method before.  Well, I knew of it, but had never tried it.  It's so nice and easy for a quick project.  I made toppers for the toilet, the dresser, and yesterday I made one for the countertop that runs on top of both.  We have these hideous pinkish mauve countertops in both the bathroom and kitchen, but are not in a position to replace them just yet, so if I can cover them up, I feel better.

 In addition to thrift store shopping, I also love consignment stores.  I have been taking my clothes to one for quite some time and have lots of credit accumulated there.  They had a huge sale a few weeks ago and I bought these two Fossil bags.  I just couldn't choose!
 Oh, I forgot.  Yesterday I also moved a Red Twig Dogwood to a new location and planted the three Daylily bulbs that I bought at the Garden Show.  Now I have to figure out where to plant the Stargazer Lillies.  Yes, we have had some beautiful weather, but I don't want to dig up sod to make new beds just yet.  I have to move all of the blueberry bushes, but that will involve extending one of the beds a good two feet, which means two feet by 15 feet of sod.  NOT looking forward to that.  Maybe I will wait until after they produce and the sod is not so heavy with moisture.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thrift Store Finds and Succulents

Oh, do I love Thrift Stores.  I will search and search until I find something unusual to plant succulents in.  This pair of ducks has a signature on the bottom, but I can't really read it, and I'm not knowledgable about these things.  I think it is Huff.  Does anyone know anything about this?
I love this little piece.  It's obviously someone's first venture into pottery, and they finally threw it out.  I like the imperfection and whimsical style to this.

And speaking of succulents!!!
This was in the entrance to the Pacific Northwest Flower and Garden Show that I went to last week.  It was about 8 feet tall, and made entirely of succulents.  Wow.  I have trouble getting a simple 10" diameter wreath to grow.

And, talking about Thrift Stores!
We have a new one in our neighborhood that benefits the community.  I was in there the other day and learned about a project, the Tukwila Snack Pack Program.  Apparently 21% of the children who go to one of the elementary schools here are classified as homeless.  They get food at school, but on the weekends, many of them have nothing to eat.  This really hit me in my heart.  I have been looking for a way to Volunteer, and this was it.  On Thursdays, backpacks are loaded with healthy food, and on Friday they are distributed to the kids.  I worked at Thrift It, the shop I was telling you about, taking in donations last Friday.
During the course of the day, I met three wonderful women who all attend the local Presbyterian Church.  (I met more than those three, but for this story, it's three)  I have also been looking for a church.  It's very had to visit a church when you don't know anyone.  Well, Sunday morning, off I went, and I loved it.  I was welcomed warmly, enjoyed the service, the people, and the potluck afterwards.  It is very much like my church in Nooksack.  I'm hoping that this will be my new church home.  I need to attend a few more times to know for sure.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Tukwila Trailers

I have really been enjoying my time with the Tukwila Trailers.  This is a hiking group of senior women who go out every Monday, regardless of the weather. ( I still find it hard to admit I'm a "Senior")   We usually have a full van of 14, and we head off to a different destination.  In the winter, we stick to the lowlands, and to locations that have paved trails that are not too steep.  We don't need to get mired in mud or dealing with slippery hillsides.  We walk or hike for two hours, then we all go to lunch at a local restaurant.
The above photo was taken on our walk at Flaming Geyser State Park.

Some fishermen were enjoying a beautiful day for the last day of Steelhead fishing.

I am always intrigued with spider webs.
This is my friend, Lois.  She is 84 years old, and quite the go getter.
The following week we went to the Auburn Wild Game Park.  I don't know why it is called that.  I saw a couple of birds I'd never seen before, but no wild game.  Oh, well, it was lovely.  The trail ran along the White River which was running high and fast.
I'm also a nut for lichen.  I need to take my pruners with me on the next hike and see if I can find a nice branch.  The previous week, at Flaming Geyser, I found a big rock that I want to paint, and wound up carrying it quite a distance back to the van.  Dumb move.  I must remember not to do that again.
After our hike, we went to Hop Jacks Bar and Grill in Auburn.  I love that place.  We want to the one in Maple Valley a few weeks before, and I was able to find something I could eat on the menu.  With all the dietary restrictions I'm following, it is usually pretty hard.  So, this time I asked them if they had any gluten free options, and they brought me an entire menu!!!  Score!
This past Monday was Presidents Day, and the Community Center was closed, so we did not go hiking.  I really missed it.  Next Monday:  The Snoqualmie Trail.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Latest

I've been working on getting Networked Blogs to post my blog to Facebook.  For some reason, they stopped, and I can't figure out how to get them to start doing it again.  As I was doing this, I was reading many of my old posts, and got the bug to get this going once again.  I know I have said that several times.  Hmmmm.  I've just had some health issues, and it's hard to write when you don't have something fun to expound on.  Then, the next item was:  Should I remain as Fiberfabrications?  I'm no longer selling my creations or doing Farmers Markets.  But, texture sort of rules my life; in the way I dress, the things I make, decorating my home, and my garden.  So, I guess this is the one for me.  So here I go again.

I have not been idle.  Above are the first two potholders I have made of this style.  Wow!  They are much more complicated than I thought.  I have a friend, Kris, who makes hundreds of these, and each and every one is just perfect.  I have four of her's now, which I use as hot pads and trivets.  I like to hang them on the wall in my kitchen, also.  I definitely have some refining to do.

This is a table runner that I started WAY BACK when I was still on the farm.  So, that would be about three years ago.  I finally finished it up and it is on a hall table.  I love the disappearing nine patch.  It makes it look as if you have done such complicated work.  Hahaha.  I'm really not a very good quilter, so I appreciate that.

Another one I am working on for the bedroom.

Terry and I have done a lot of painting and organizing in the house.  We finally made it to the office, and my goal was to make room for this wonderful map to go on the wall.  This is a classroom map from 1953.  Remember?  It's really interesting to look at, since the countries have changed so much since then.

Above is a needlefelted piece I made back on the farm.  I think that is going to be a regular phrase for me.  Anyhow, this was on a picture I had done, but I decided it would make a nice lapel pin.  I will sew a pin on the back and start wearing it.

That's it for today.  Let's see what Networked Blogs does for me.  If anyone else has had this problem, I'd sure appreciate your advice.