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Archive for July, 2007

Boys and their Toys

 

I’ve never understood it, to be honest.  This fascination with cars and other such things that go zoom.  I much prefer the laid back, easy going lifestyle that utilizes real horsepower…the type with a pony exterior as opposed to interior.

 

 

And how anyone came to the conclusion that a kitchen sink would make a terrific car, I’ll never know…I think that DeLorean fellow must have been smoking something really good that day.

 

 

 

That said, I suppose you may be able to twist my arm enough to talk me into this…but only if it meant keeping it would be painful for you.  I’d hate to see you hurting…but would you mind if I took it in red instead?

 

 

Yeah, baby…come to Mamma!  That is…only if you’re sure it’s causing you pain to keep it….

 

But in reality…the only car at this particular little show that would really suit anyone here in the northwet would be this one.  And yes, for those of you who’ve never heard of such a thing, those are little boat propellers down under this car.  I do believe it even came with a set of oars.  Michael, row your car ashore, hallelujah..

 

 

 

 Nope.  I just don’t understand boys and their toys.

 

Now, off with y’all; it’s time for you to vote!  Hope y’all have a blessed Tuesday!

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My neighbors, Dick and Jenny Bosch, have been hard at work transforming a former coal mine into a lovely garden.  Their home sits on what used to be a portion of Glen Echo coal mine.   Eventually the mine was closed and became a shingle mill.  The shingle mill then closed it’s doors, and the property became part of a lumber company.  The stumps left behind can still be seen in the garden.

Gigantic Stump Garden features large tree stumps left behind after the logging company moved on.

Darling and I had noticed that Dick seemed to be spending an awful lot of time putting a parking lot in Jenny’s former sheep pasture. Then we noticed the sign:  Glen Echo Gardens.  Dick had run a landscaping business for years, but it appeared now that his attention was focused at home, and we just had to pull in and see what was going on.

Even the walk down the winding path leaves you with breathtaking views.

 

WOW…were we in for a pleasant surprise!  It’s like our own neighborhood Butchart Gardens!  The Bosch’s property drops down a steep ravine and crosses over Anderson Creek.  This is where Dick had been spending most of his time.  Darling and I walked down his gravel path, across the wooden bridge, and into a wooded wonderland full of roses, begonias, butterflies and…well…stumps.

Naturally, camera in hand, I snapped up several photos so that you, my friends, could enjoy our visit as well.


Bridge crossing Anderson Creek into the gardens. 

Please don’t ask me what kind it is…it’s red and it’s beautiful; what more do you need to know?

View across the Begonia Garden 

Gravel pathways meander through the trees.

Benches can be found for sitting and taking in the natural beauty of the gardens.

Rose Garden 

Needless to say, Darling and I were impressed.  The garden is only in it’s baby stage right now; I can’t wait to see how it grows and fills out.  The Bosch’s have opened their garden to the public and have had several visitors from out of state over the past few weeks.  If you’re up in the northwest and want to stop in and see  Glen Echo, give the Bosch’s a call!  Admission is $6 adult, $5 senior and student.  They’ve got group rates available.  (360) 592-380

If you’re like me, you’re wondering about Jenny’s sheep.  Well, they’ll be back just as soon as Dick gets the fence back up.  Then you’ll not only be able to see his lovely garden, but in the spring you’ll be able to visit with the lambs!  What could be better?

Y’all have a terrific Monday.  And Paul, I’m tied for 14th place in my race to the top…but only one vote ahead of the woman in 16th.  So, folks…don’t forget to vote!

 

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Today is the Grammar Nazi’s birthday.  Today he turns 21.

The Grammar Nazi made his appearance into the world following what must surely have been the world’s longest contraction.  Not the longest labor, mind you, but contraction.  It lasted seven hours.  Seven long hours through which I pleaded for City Boy to take it back, telling him it was his turn to carry his %$#@ child.

The Grammar Nazi had a head the size of a third world country, I’m certain of it.  It’s not the weight of the baby that counts here, for those of you who didn’t know.  GN was 9lb 10 oz, while Darling was 10 lb 3 oz.  Darling was a piece of cake compared to her brother, though, as his head was gigantic.  At first I thought I’d given birth to a bobble head.

 

Of course, we didn’t know that his head was full of grammar at the time, and eventually his body caught up.  I called him my Scooter Pie.  He hung out at me with the barn, cleaning stalls with his little plastic wheel barrow and shovel.  He played soccer, and if you ask him about it today he’ll recount that first ever game during which he scored four goals.  He went to Hovander Homestead with me to feed the animals and convinced Miss Meggy Moo to climb onto a pig with him and go for a ride.

These days he attends college where they fill his head with more facts and figures than I understand.  But it seems to make him happy.  He did turn into a handsome little tyke,  don’t you think?

Happy Birthday, Scooter Pie!
(You’ll always be my  Scooter Pie…)

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Processing Wool

Not long ago I posted about Gretchen’s Wool Mill.  I left a fleece with her to be washed while down there learning to make cheese a few weeks back, and this week Darling and I drove down to pick it up.  I didn’t have Gretchen process it, but she did wash it and then let it air dry so that it’s nice and clean and ready for me to card.

 

Bits of wool dyed using liquid soap colorants. 

 

Depending on my mood, sometimes I color the wool first, or sometimes I’ll card it, then color it. Still other times I’ll card it, spin it, then color it once it’s yarn.  All three methods work and you get different results and looks with each.  No two batches are ever the same…at least not when I do it.  I tend not to be overly scientific with the whole process, preferring to wait and see how each batch turns out.

No matter the stage I choose to dye my wool, I always dye using the same method.  I fill a roaster or crock pot half full with luke warm water and add either vinegar or citric acid.  These work as a mordant and help hold the color in the wool so that it won’t bleed out later.  Vinegar tends to leave your house smelling like you’ve just dyed Easter Eggs, so I prefer putting a couple tablespoons of citric acid in the water instead.

Once my citric is dissolved, I add my wool, pushing it down into the water until it’s completely submerged.  I then turn the heat up to approx 150-200 degrees.  The reason I start with luke warm and not hot right away is because the slow rise will prevent the wool from felting.  I also add my color at this point.  When I color wool, it’s usually with a liquid soap colorant which gives me bright, vibrant colors.  You can also use  natural plant dyes or even koolaide!  No mordant is required with the koolaide as it has citric acid already in the package.

Leave the wool in the dye water until it’s soaked up all the color…or if you’re like me and tend to put too much color in,  an hour is more than enough time.  Remove your wool and allow it to air dry.

The wool pictured here is from Brigget’s ewe, Hulda.  It’s not been dyed and is called ‘naturally colored’. 

Locks of wool are fed into my drum carder.  The drum carder is actually two drums; the smaller one has big, nasty teeth that pulls the fiber (in this case, wool) in towards the larger drum.  The large drum has finer teeth and moves much quicker than the small drum.  As the fiber transfers onto the larger drum, it does so in thin layers which then make it easier to begin the spinning process.  When the large drum is full of wool, I pull it off and have a wool batt.

Wool batt like the one Darling wore as a wig at the market last month.

Spinning wheel bobbin 

Once in batting, the wool can be used for quilting, felting or spinning.  To spin, I pull narrow strips off, called roving, and feed it into my spinning wheel where it’s spun not into gold, but yarn.  I wish I could spin it into gold…

Lime green skein of yarn

 Needle felted hand bag

The wool I picked up from Gretchen was black, so no coloring.  However, that lovely silver of Hulda’s colors nicely and was used in the  handbag pictured above.

You don’t need to have your own sheep to enjoy coloring and working with wool.  Wool is available direct from farms or on ebay.  Or you can find your local yarn shop, many of which also carry spinning and other wool craft supplies.  My favorite yarn shop is Northwest Handspun Yarns, where you’ll find everything you’ll ever need to keep your habit happy!

Yarns from Northwest Handspun 

Hope you enjoyed processing wool with me today.  If you’d like to learn more about Gretchen’s services, visit her website at  http://www.gretchenswoolmill.com/

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Swinging

I know you’re accustomed to creepy things coming from Brigget’s place, but today I wanted to share something that makes me just plain sick to my stomach. Being the readers you are, I knew you’d want to share in my queasiness, so here it is…brace yourselves!

It’s a swing. A big, red, rubber ball of a swing which is hanging from a tree.

What? That doesn’t make you sick to your stomach? I swear I cannot swing without wanting to puke all over my shoes. Trust me, you do not want to have me tagging along on carnival rides with you, or I may just puke on your shoes, too. I’ve been known to do it!

Years ago, City Boy and I were at a carnival and there was one of those big dragon swings. “Come on, Desperate,” he says to me, “Let’s ride the dragon!” Desperate I most certainly was…desperate not to get into that dragon swing. But who can turn down City Boy? So into the swing I went. Regrettably. That swing got to going and my stomach got to twisting, turning and moaning. The three year old in the seat ahead of us kept turning around, laughing at how sick I was getting. I swear, if she hadn’t been so danged cute I’d have projectiled all over her little pigtails. It was all I could do to keep the greasy carnival food in my stomach throughout the duration of that ride.

Which is more than I can say for the Tilt A Whirl ride a couple years earlier. Little Hitler and I, along with a friend, ditched school an hour early and snuck on down to the carnival when it came to town one spring. Spinning, spinning, spinning…puking, puking, puking… I think we all regretted that choice. That was the first, last, and only time I ever skipped school. It also put an end to my Tilt A Whirl days.

But for some odd reason, swinging doesn’t seem to bother these girls. They spotted that big, red, rubber ball hanging from a rope on the tree and were drawn like flies to manure. Naturally, camera in hand, I felt the urge to snap a few shots as they swung back and forth past me…swing, swing, swing… Next thing you know, I’m wishing I’d brought along a second pair of shoes…

 

 

And before parting…well, actually I did part, but came back to add…if you’ve never visited with Diesel over at the Mattress Police, you really ought to.  Dies was up for a Booger Award here a few months back.  He lost.  Big time.  But you should go visit him anyway, because he’s hysterically funny.  Plus, he’s got a new book coming out!  Go go, bloggie friends, go to visit Diesel!

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…you walk into a store and hear someone yell your name, and when you turn to look you don’t know the person calling you?  But you have to make polite conversation with a smile on your face as though you recognize them and have a clue what they’re talking about?

 And don’t you hate it when you find yourself wandering aimlessly through the parking lot in search of your truck, because you were so rattled by the person calling your name that you rather forgot where you parked it?

And don’t your really hate it when, after carrying a seven layer chocolate cake that weighs a ton through the parking lot in search of your truck, that same cake falls to the ground as you’re fishing for the keys in your pocket?

Me too.   Which is why I’m glad it didn’t happen.   🙂

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Okay, I’ve got to come up with something special to do by this weekend.  The Grammar Nazi (aka Geek Boy) will be turning 21 on Sunday.  (Yes, I was ten when I gave birth,  just in case you were wondering.)   I’m not sure what to do for him.  We’re not party people, especially when it comes to alcohol, so no drinking suggestions, please.  But if you can think of anything else (I offered to take him to the zoo…), well, don’t be shy!  I’m thinking I ought to make it a special day…

Actually, I’m thinking someone ought to make it a special day for me.  After all, I’m the one who had the seven hour long contraction that resulted in the birth of a 9 lb 10 oz child with the head the size of a South America.   But does anyone think of that?  Nooooo….

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Look!  I did it!  Of course, I’m thinking I need to enroll City Boy in some photo classes.  The angle is off on poor Jet, but worse yet is he added at least 50 lbs to my body.  Yes, yes!  You believe me, don’t you? No way that’s what I could possibly look like.  I’m sure I still look just like I did before the birth of my children and all those happy meals…

Well, photography and happy meals aside, Jet was a good girl.  I need to get those stirrups dropped down a bit; Darling had been in the saddle last and I didn’t lengthen them quite enough for my long legs.  And yes, horsey folks, she does indeed need a trim!  She’s just begun to feel comfortable enough to let me pick up those front feet, and the back will follow easily enough. Hopefully next week we can get them done.

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Now…was there anything else?  Oh, yeah…our caption contest!  Congratulations to Stephanie for her suggestion of Windrider!  I had to have Darling help me because this was most definitely the best selection that’s come in yet!  Stephanie, drop me an email at DesperateHorsewife at gmail.com.  And yes…I know a few of you are still waiting on me!  I’m slow…slow…slow… but they’re coming!

Y’all have a blessed day!

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The View From Above

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I’ve not kept y’all up to date around here as to how the horse training has gone, have I?  But if you ever slip on over to the Mustang Diaries, you’ll know that Sunny appears to be making some progress.  In fact, she’s had the saddle sitting on her back, and yesterday I even cinched it up!  That’s a big deal for Sunny, as she’s what I would have termed a ‘cinchy’ horse; she’s very sensitive behind her elbows and doesn’t like a lot of contact there.  But she was a real champ when it came to the saddle yesterday.

Words just cannot express how happy I am with her progress.  It’s been a long road for this girl, and she’s got a long way to go, but step by tiny step she’s getting there.

Naturally, when things go right with Sunny I get all pumped up and confident.  So who came out of the pasture next?  Jet.

I’d set the saddle on top of Jet one day last week so I could see how she’d react.  No problem, so I didn’t anticipate one last night, either.  Then again, I was going to tighten things up, and she’s a pretty tall horse; if she spooked or jumped at the feel of the girth closing in, no doubt I’d end up black and blue and muddy all over, so I took my time.   And you know what?  She was as good as gold!  Never put her ears back, never got nervous…just followed me around like she was some ten cent kiddie ride horse.

Pumped just a little more, I couldn’t resist taking it a step farther…

And then…a little farther…

You know…Jet’s a really, really good girl, don’t you think?  So calm, so relaxed.  And I just had to take it another step…

I really like this horse.  And to think that less than two months ago she was wild.  Okay, so she was in the horse corrals two months ago, not running free in the desert.  That was nearly a year ago.  But still, not a lick of human interaction until coming home with us in June.

So…did I climb all the way on?  Well…no.  I didn’t have my helmet on and I wasn’t going to risk coming off and smacking my head up against a post or something.  I never used to wear helmets, but I don’t want Darling climbing onto young horses without one, so I’ve decided to set a good example.  I called City Boy at work and told him I’d have him take a pic of me on top of her this morning, but he just pulled into the driveway and I’m sitting here talking to you, so I guess it’ll have to wait, eh?

Time to run out and do the chores.  Y’all have a great day!

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