Monday, August 13, 2018

It's County Fair Time

It's county fair time again - always easy to tell when it's fair season - it's hot and smoky. Luckily we demonstrate in an air conditioned building but we still have to walk from the parking lot to the building - yuck. The fair runs Wednesday thru Saturday and my spinning group will have a big group of spinners there each day to spin and talk to the public. It's always lots of fun.
Here's our display this year. Spinners sit in a circle in front of it. There haven't been many fleece entries in recent years but we do have 7 fleeces that one of our group will judge on Wednesday.

Friend and spinner Shirley is also a bobbin lace maker and brought her display of different types of bobbin lace and bobbins to share - I'm not sure where in the building they'll be, they are incredible.

I'm unpacking cones of yarn now, making headway at emptying boxes and bins but still have a ways to go. I worked on it today after making a couple batches of blackberry jam from blackberries we picked right over the back fence. While we were picking the other night the cows were on the other side munching on how come they weren't complaining about being stuck by thorns on their noses and lips.......we were sure complaining on our side of the fence as they stuck our hands and arms.

The Taylor Creek Fire and Klondike Fire, which are one now have grown to over 100,000 acres. The part that had been the Taylor Creek Fire is in pretty good shape with containment lines on the east side between it and homes. The Klondike Fire part is a real challenge, there are homes in danger as I type. This two fire complex is a long term fire fight so we've got to get used to smoke although we did have two clear days this past week when the wind shifted. Unfortunately thunderstorms are in the forecast this week and here they are generally dry which leads to lightning strikes which leads to fires like the 170 that were started on July 15th like these two near us.

I will admit that I was concerned when the US Forest Service took command of this fire because their fire fighting history in our region is not good - they tended to let fires go until they became monsters. Well, I guess being sued by the county to the west of us and county to the east of us has been instrumental in changes in how they fight fires.......and for the better. And they're doing a tremendous job of keeping the public informed of what's happened between several online videos each day and many community fire meetings. We are the guinea pigs, first in the nation, for this new pilot program with the online video briefings - and they are getting great response from the community. There is incredible technology being used in finding spot fires using big drones when it's too smoky for aircraft to fly, the drones can also drop little 'ping pong balls' filled with accelerant to start fires that will be used as containment lines. Fire fighting has changed.......for the better. Unfortunately it's still a very dangerous job for the fire fighters.......there's no getting around that. I send good thoughts their way each and every day to stay safe..........

Monday, August 6, 2018

A bit of progress.........

 Remember way back last December 25th when I opened the first package of the 12 Days of Christmas spin-a-long from Inglenook Fibers?  Well, it didn't take me too long to spin it all, but it took a while before I found a pattern I wanted to use for the resulting knit shawl. I finally finished it up a few weeks ago but going outside to block it in this smoky hazardous air quality wasn't happening. Yesterday I decided to just set up a table inside to do the blocking. Here it is finished. The pattern is called Be Simple Variations - it's an asymmetrical shawlette.

 I decided to paint the loom room and sewing/craft room before unpacking boxes. I knew once it was all unpacked they would never be painted, I mean never. I painted a bright white which is great since so much of the walls will be covered up and there's only one window in each room. Unfortunately my loom room is a bit smaller than my last one so two pieces of furniture won't fit in and it's a bit tight but I'll make it work. Here's one view of the room.

Here's a view from the other corner. I still need to buy shelving for the closet to store all the books and magazines and whatever else. Above the closet is a 3 ft deep shelf - I'm going to put things I don't use as often up there like my table loom (workshops only), inkle loom, marudai, drum carder, etc. It will take a ladder to take them down but that's ok, they'll be out of the way when I'm not using them.  There is going to be a tv mounted up high so I can see it from my chair at the table and also from each loom. What you can't see is the view out the window is the side yard with roses all along the fence. 

 Here's the sewing/craft room - I've got two tables in there so I have space to work on 3 machines, my Bernina QE440, my Bernina 1350 Serger and my cheapie Brother embroidery machine.....which does a great job. I have another cheapie Brother but it's in a carrier to take to workshops.

Here's looking in the other direction. I didn't get a picture of the closet but it's the same as the loom room with the storage shelf above. Maybe it will be a good place to store roving.......not sure yet.

I plan on starting to unpack all the boxes into these two rooms this week. I'm anxious to be able to find things and get on with weaving. I've got several special orders to weave. I've got some sewing projects I want to get to with making cafĂ© curtains for the bathrooms and then a special order of embroidered towels.

We have the worst air quality in the nation - the fires just keep burning and it's not just the fires close to us but it's the entire northwest. It doesn't matter which way the wind shifts, there's always smoke. They are making headway on our Taylor Creek Fire - it's now 38% contained. The Klondike Fire, only 5% contained, is getting close to meeting up with the SE corner of  our Taylor Creek Fire. For safety reasons (for fire crews) both fires will now be under one command. It's going to be a long fire season - what's really scary is that we haven't even entered the worst part of fire season yet. We've always had fires but nothing like they've been the last 10+ years - now it seems to be the norm to live with smoke the majority of the summer.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Blueberries and jam making

 A weaver back east shared this Blueberry Buckle recipe (from Cooks Illustrated) - it's incredibly yummy, I mean like deliciously yummy, to die for yummy. It's the best of all worlds - it's like a cobbler, like a crisp, like a coffee cake. I'm going to try it with other berries, maybe even peaches or apples.
The same day I made more jam. Two batches of strawberry/blueberry and two batches of figs. The fig trees at the other house (one we're trying to sell with a fire close by) have a bumper crop of figs this year.  I'm not sure how many I've eaten straight from the trees, they're like eating candy........for that matter I'm not sure how many handfuls of blueberries I've eaten this past week either.

The fire keeps on growing, more to the north and west at the moment. Good news is that some evacuation areas have gone from level 3 to level 2, and from level 2 to level 1. Our road is still on level 1, no change there.....hoping it won't be too far off. We'd really like that house to sell but no one is going to go look at it with the fire going full guns. But there is progress being made on the fire so that's a great thing and all the hard work from fire personnel has kept all houses safe to date.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Taylor Creek Fire keeps on keeping on.........

First off - I apologize for the sideways photos - I don't understand it but when I take pictures with my phone they turn up sideways on the blog. They weren't sideways when I downloaded them onto the computer and edited them but they show up sideways here. I'm at a loss.  So, just be patient and turn your head for the first four of them.......
The fire rages on coming closer and closer to our old house, which we still own, which we would love for someone to buy but no one will go look at it with a fire close by and this sign on our road.  The sign message changes to also say only property owners with proper ID will be let through and that's only into certain areas depending on what the fire is doing.

This is an official 'Fire' sign to direct the fire fighters in the right direction - this was posted on our road too. The fire camp, a mini city, used to be set up close to us but now it's moved a mile or so to the east - guess that's a sign when they move further away from a growing fire.

These types of signs are all over the roadways thanking the fire fighters, wishing them a safe day. What a horrible job it is - they're working with very heavy packs, heavy clothing, in 100 degree weather, long hours, many dangers and poison oak on top of it. We are so grateful they are here from all over the country to help us. This morning's fire report didn't mention if any homes have been lost but as of last night there had been no losses due to all the structural protection crews out there laying hose and protecting those homes as the fire has burned around some of them. I'm taking it as a good sign that there was no mention of any losses. The good news this morning is that there is 30% containment - not on the lines being built close to our old home but on the lines protecting many homes to the south. Updated estimated containment date is October 19th - that's a long ways off. My guess is it's the west side that will be the issue for the long term (at least I hope) and the fact that there are plans to let it join with another fire 7 miles to the southwest.

Yesterday evening we went out to our old house to set up sprinklers on the 60 ft long deck. Flying embers are a huge concern and things like pine needles on roof and gutters and wood decks are just ripe for lighting off. The good news at the old house is that the fig trees are producing a bumper crop of figs this year - maybe I'll be making fig jam later today, will definitely be dehydrating some.

We took a long weekend away on the coast to get out of the heat and smoke. Blueberry farms have opened up so we picked 24 pounds of blueberries. The berries are just starting to get ripe, depending on what happens with the fire we'd love to get over at some point to pick more while they're still available.

Here are 3 batches of jam. I've got more blueberries in the fridge for more jam making, freezing and a blueberry buckle recipe someone just sent me.....definitely need to pick up some vanilla ice cream to go with it when I run into town for more pectin.

I'm getting closer to setting up my weaving and sewing rooms at the new house. Yesterday we painted the ceiling and walls of the sewing room. I still need to paint a shelf in the closet and the door trim and Sam needs to install the new baseboard. Then we move on to the weaving room. I am so ready to unpack what looks to be almost an entire bay in the garage of boxes that goes in these two rooms......hmm, hope it all fits......