Saturday, August 30, 2014

Time Off

The last time I had a vacation, it was 2008.

It was the first time Hubba had ever seen me truly relaxed.

I tried to take a vacation over New Year's Eve at the end of last year.  It was not a vacation!  I was sick and had to work every day.

I don't mind working hard.  I've had a full-time day job since I graduated college.  I often had more than one part-time job while I was in school and I have been paying income taxes since I was about 11 years old.  Then, of course, we moved to our farm in 2009.

So while I didn't long for the type of vacation I had in 2008.... a week of relaxing on a Bahamian beach... I desperately wanted an extended period of un-scheduled time.

I'm happy to say that I've had that for much of the last two months.

It didn't exactly happen the way I wanted it to, but the reality is that it was wonderful.  I'm relaxed and very excited about my new employment relationship.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dog Show: Greeley Kennel Club, 2014

My how things have changed in a year.

The Greeley Kennel Club Show was my very first dog show in 2013.  Gunnar was just barely 6 months old and likely the youngest dog entered in the entire event.  I was a nervous wreck.  He won his first major on the first day and I could not believe it.

Me and Gunnar in 2013

This year at 18 months, he won his 3rd Major and only needs one point to finish his Championship!

Gunnar today

We also brought Mochi, who was trying to start a new fashion trend with her puppy-coat mane, shoulder pads and wooly britches. ;-)

Her sister was sporting a similar hair do, so I had to confess that she was right to keep her accessories.  ;-)

A good friend of mine helped me handle the dogs in the ring and I could not be more grateful for her help.

The dogs handled well.  Although Mochi (and two of the other girls) deposited commentary in the ring on the first day.

Gunnar and Mochi

Mochi loves being groomed, but did not enjoy the grooming area at the show.

Gunnar's favorite part continues to be meeting people and especially seeing his breeder.  I need to get their meeting on video one day.  :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tibetan Mastiff Photo Contest

I, along with a few of my Tibetan Mastiff friends, and many other Tibetan Mastiff People I don't know have entered a Tibetan Mastiff Photo Contest.

Gunnar and Miles

The photos have been submitted for spots in the 2015 Tibetan Mastiff Info Calendar.

Miles and Mochi

The calendar is a fund raiser to support which is a tremendous resource for those interested in or fully engulfed in the love of Tibetan Mastiffs.

Miles and Noodle

The entries are primarily candids taken by the dog's people, so you can really get a sense of how these dogs are on a daily basis.  Take a look, vote for your favorites, and if you're so inclined order a calendar or two.


Voting ends August 31st.

Wonton, Gunnar and Miles

Thank you. :-)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Palindrome Scarf, part 5

My Palindrome Scarf has continued to be a good project for distracted and tired situations.  ;-)

It was at 33 inches last time and now, with about 75% of the first burgundy ball consumed, It's at 42.5 inches.  That's 11 weeks and 9.5 inches, so my pace has slowed down a bit.

I have about 17.5 inches to go in order to reach the 60 inch target length.  So I should now finish closer to New Year's.

Be certain to check in with everyone else over at Fiber Arts Friday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Putting Up Peaches, 2014

We picked up our peaches on Friday afternoon.

My Momma came over to help.

We made jam, pickles and froze some.

36 pounds pounds of peaches put up for the winter.  :-)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Bandit's Yarn

The yarn I made from our Medium-Silver-Grey Herdsire, Smokey's Bandit, did not win any ribbons at our county fair.  :-(  However the judge did leave some nice comments. :-)

I have to admit that the other yarns were better than mine.  So there are a couple of things to keep in mind over the next year.  ;-)

I've started spinning a second skein and am planning to make this gorgeous hat for myself.

I have definitely gotten more selfish with my knitting over the years.  When I first re-learned how to knit, I only wanted to make gifts for people.  Since then, my threshold for knit-worthy has gone up... a lot.

Over the last year or so, most of the things I start are intended for me.  Some still become gifts for those deemed to be knit-worthy, but I am keeping my projects much more often.  :-)

Be sure to check in with the other Fiberistas over at Wisdom Begins in Wonder for Fiber Arts Friday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dog Show: Greater Denver Dalmatian Club - Puppy Match, 2014

The Greater Denver Dalmatian Club Puppy Match was at the end of July.

It was a relaxed event for puppies only.  The intention is to expose puppies to the whole show scene but without the stress of it being a fully-sanctioned event.

I brought both Miles (6.5 mos) and Mochi (8 mos).

We were the only Tibetan Mastiffs and they both did better than I expected.

Miss Mochi with her Lion's Mane and Wooly Chaps (because she is still shedding) won Best of Breed over Mr. Miles who was so excited and distracted by everything that he could not walk a straight line.  lol.

All photos are courtesy of Taboo Tibetan Mastiffs, Mochi's breeder.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Slow Living: July, 2014

I have really enjoyed this last month off from having a Day Job.  I feel as if I've gotten back in touch with who I am.  Feeling peaceful and relaxed; I have not felt this way in a very long time.  Almost as if I'm actually Slow Living.  It's nice that we have some savings and that the job outlook is good.  Both have certainly helped me managed to not be too stressed about this transition.  ;-)

So here's my July installment for the Slow Living Project, now being hosted by Greenhaven.

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

I've made it to the Farmer's Market several times last month and the beets have started coming in.  So aside from the the usual early season fruits and lettuces we are now enjoying delicious roasted beets a few times each week... one of my very favorite vegetables.  ;-)

I've been cooking... I mentioned last month that I'd be starving if it weren't for Hubba taking such good care of me... but now, without the Day Job, I feel clear in my mind and able to spend some time working in the kitchen.  I roasted our last turkey and have prepared many egg and lentil dishes coupled with the lovely veggies from the farmer's market.

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

We've spent a lot of time this month on the clearing out side of preparations... there is still a fair amount left in our freezer so we'll continue working thru this.

I canned two batches of cherries.  I was attempting to make preserves and conserve, but I made delicious sauce instead.  lol.

Some chicken and turkey bones we've been saving are now stock.

I have also been washing fleeces and preparing roving.  The spinning bug has a hold of me in a big way, so I want to make sure I have plenty of prepared roving to feed it.  ;-)

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

I've washed a few fleeces this month which helped me use up nearly all of the old liquid soaps we had around.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

Deodorant experiments? I did try a coconut-based deodorant that I found at our farmer's market.  I put a sample on the back of my hand... it tingled and turned red.  So it certainly would be an issue in more sensitive areas.... At least I have confirmed that no homemade products can include coconut oil.  :-/

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

I was hoping for more time this month to spend in the garden.  I had it, but spent it in other ways.  So I'm happy that my cotton seedling is doing well and my apples are growing.  I'm looking forward to processing both of them in October. :-)

The birds devoured my cherries.  I've pretty much resigned to the fact that I will never have any home-grown cherries.  :-/  The birds eat them all a few days before they turn ripe.  But I do really like the  tree, so perhaps I'll just plant a few more, and the birds will be happy.  ;-)

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

July has been primarily about spinning.

Although, I did finish a hat and started another project.

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

I have been admiring so many peoples' adventures in making their own sourdough bread over the last year or so.  Sourdough is by far my favorite and dinner with a friend helped me realize that the starter doesn't need constant care and feeding.  She gave me a small amount of starter and a link to a good source for instructions.

Wish me luck!

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

As I mentioned last month, I like this category a lot.... it's so great to stop and think about how we've helped or have been helped by others.

We were gifted a bunch of fresh sour cherries and a sourdough starter.  Several friends and colleagues have been working to help me find a good day job.

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

This last month has really been wonderful being able to pretend to be a full-time farmer and fiberista.  :-)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Tour de Fleece 2014, part 4

It's the last Tour de Fleece post for this year.  I'm a little sad. :-(  I've had a whole lot of fun for the past several weeks and have had my most productive Tour ever.

Friday, July 25th

I received a surprise 1/4 ounce of raw cashmere in the mail a few days ago from an awesome shearing client.  I washed, picked, de-haired and carded it yesterday and spindled a bit today.  OMG, I love this stuff.  :-)

Also spun some of the silk from last week.

Saturday, July 26th

Only 5 minutes for spinning today.

Sunday, July 27th

One more eighth of silk.

I have 7/8 ounces to go.


I'm disappointed that I did not finish the green cotton.  But in reality, it will take 3 weeks of an hour each day to finish the singles. Then I have more cotton after this is finished that will be put together for an eventual weaving project.

I'm also a little disappointed that I did not finish the silk, but this was not on my To Do List at the start of this year's Tour.

I spun everything I put in the queue for this year's Tour de Fleece and some more.... I've never had such a productive year.  It's amazing how much one can do without having a Day Job to go to. ;-)

In the last few weeks, I've spun five total skeins and part of three others.

Romney Lamb + Alpaca (80/20):  3 7/8 ounces, 426 yards, staple ~3.5 inches
Charcoal Llama:  1 1/8 ounces, 99 yards, staple ~2.5 inches
Brown Llama:  1 1/8 ounces, 93 yards, staple ~3.5 inches
Llama + Bamboo:  2 ounces, 140 yards, staple ~3.75 inches
Homegrown Medium Silver-Grey Alpaca: 3 1/4 ounces, 172 yards, staple ~4 inches
Cinnamon Silk:  7/8 ounces, staple ~3 inches
Green Cotton:  1/2 ounce, staple ~0.5 inch
Cashmere:  1/4 ounces, staple ~1.5 inches

Which means I spun a total of 13 ounces and more than 930 yards... or just over a half-mile during the last few weeks.

top to bottom:
cotton, romney+alpaca, llama, llama, llama+bamboo,
alpaca, cotton, silk, cashmere

Because I think it's fun to see the different staples all together.... lined up in the order that I spun them.

As I mentioned above, the cotton is planned for an eventual weaving project.  The llama- and alpaca-based yarns are planned for a different eventual weaving project.

I have entered the 2-ply, home-grown, home-processed alpaca in the County Fair this week.  It will go into a knit hat once I spin another skein.

I've spun nearly every day since the Tour ended on Sunday, so hopefully I will be able to continue this momentum thru to next summer.

Happy Spinning and Happy Fiber Arts Friday.