Thursday, April 29, 2010

Small Farmer's Journal Check In.

We left for Madras after lunch on April 14th, Tuesday. Mostly we were thinking we'd be there early, but that would let us camp closer to the edge of the campground and we could watch everything else coming in.
Which we did, there was new equipment from dealers, people with all sorts of stuff in trailers and this load. Some one had cleaned out their barn. There was a grain binder in restorable condition and some other pieces that should've gone to the junk man. But that just shows that I'm not much for old farm equipment as yard art. 

Cats and compression starts

One of the alfalfa fields Fay hays on was due to be dug up and replanted. It's too steep to use horses or wheeled tractors to plow. Which is where the D2Cat comes in. Vance provided the it and being an antique, the pull start gas engine that starts the diesel engine is not running. I'd never heard of a compression start. Turns out, I just didn't know it by that name. Not that calling it a pop start is exactly accurate. The Cat is pulled by the truck, fed a snort of 'smelling salts(starter fluid)', the clutch let in--and VROOM. A started Cat, a plowed field, for that field, Amos and Russ, Fay's son's ran the Cat and Russ' big tractor to do the plowing.

Afterwards, when another field needed to be plowed. Fay ran the Cat.

Then life exploded.

Then the afternoon of February 20th, life exploded. The back story is that I'd been taking my grandmother to the ER rather regularly for dehydration and severe gastric pain. Our local hospital isn't much for ordering tests to find out what's wrong, because after all, she's 97 and who cares? By mid February though, her doctor and others have figured out that her gall bladder has given out, swollen, possibly infected, stones in it. So the arrangement is that on February 22rd, Monday, Granny will have surgery. This is the day of the week when  gall bladders are removed, after all, this isn't an emergency. I keep wondering by whose standards? She hurt so much!

Well, by the afternoon (2/20), Fay's chest pain won't go away and he consents to go up to the ER. So he spends the week end in the hospital having excess fluid wrung out of him with diuretics. By Monday, he's chipper and feisty and ready to go home. He's seen a different doctor every 12 hours, three of whom agree it's congestive heart failure and one who thinks it's his throat. I'm not much impressed with the hospitalist model for patient care.

It was a most amazing weekend. Without my youngest coming to help and my oldest calling me, telling me jokes I'm not sure I'd've survived January and February. 

By the beginning of March, Fay is all right, medication and diet tweaks have taken care of his chest pains. Granny's another story. We're (my children and I) are still trying to figure out what else is wrong since the the gall bladder removal didn't completely fix the gastric distress. It took to the end of March to get a functional regimen in place. Turns out Granny is having short term memory problems and hasn't been taking her medication anyway. She was madder than a porcupine when the doctor ordered her assisted living staff to dispense her pills. But, now that she's getting them, she's doing far better. 

In the mean time it's planting season and that's another post.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

February 20th before life exploded on us.

Saturday morning, Kai wanted to go for a ride, the sun was shining. So we brushed and harness, hitched to our forecart and went for a ride out Chenowith Road. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How picture taking and fact collecting should be done.

Once again we were out in the field on Seven Mile and a photographer came along. He stopped, took our pictures, crawled through the half fallen barbed wire fence to get close enough to talk to us and had me write our names down on a clipboard. 

Exactly how it ought to be done and they're wonderful pics of all four of us. I especially like the one taken head on as the horses were walking toward him. It shows Feather and Best as the good working team they are. 

Thank you, Scott McMullen.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Koolaid and the crock pot

Koolaid and the crockpot, sort of sounds like a dark and stormy night? Naw, I don't think so either. But last Thursday night Amanda and I combined the two plus four ounces of pencil roving to get the multicolored mass you see in the pic.

We'd been the to local yarn store: The Whole Ball of Yarn, an excellent source for natural and local sourced fiber. Among the yarn and tools was a four ounce ball of cream colored pencil roving from Wasco County sheep (Imperial Sheep Ranch out of Shaniko).

When we got home I had some Koolaid in the cupboard~~ it just took off from there. We unwound the roving into a loose doughnut, stuffed into my crockpot, fill the pot to the top with lukewarm water and 3/4c of white vinegar. We turned it on high and dribbled Cherry, Black Cherry and Grape koolaid in splotches all over the wool and water filled crock pot.

Two hours later, the pot was steaming and the water was clear. All the dye had migrated into the fiber. One of the best party tricks I've ever seen. To keep from shocking the wool with a temperature change, we turned the crockpot off, which let it sit and cool all night.

In the morning we drained the water off, sopped the wool in towels and hung it up on a dowel by the gas heater stove. After lunch it was dry and Amanda tried out her new drop spindle. Voila!! Some hours later, the ombre single strand of yarn was plied into two ply bulky yarn of the most eye catching color complexity.