Sunday, December 29, 2013

A... Deer?

So you're just coming up the driveway, and do a double-take. Is that a deer? :gasp: And it's a stag! 

And you come to a stop. Wait. Is it moving or no? Why haven't I scared it off yet? You roll down the window. Is that even real? 

(In a very disappointed voice) No. It's not. 

But this little guy has fooled many folks! You're not the only one that he's duped. Our neighbor put this up a while ago, we all had our moment of trying to figure out if it's real or not. We all had a good laugh, and the deer remained. From the kitchen and the dining room table, we have an excellent view of the comings and goings of everyone, so we got to see the show of people slowing, stopping, getting out of their cars, taking pictures, and laughing as they go on. 

Then, on Christmas Eve, someone Santa-bombed the deer. How do we know when this happened? We saw our neighbor's reaction(s) to the holiday-decked deer from our dining room table (I guess it's the perfect place to spy on everyone). 
He looks like he partied too much. 
Photo courtesy of our neighbors

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Sewing: Colossal Squid

Sorry for the radio silence lately, I told myself that I would try to resume a more regular blogging schedule after Christmas. Between Christmas trees, Christmas sewing, Christmas scheming, Christmas shopping, well, I guess I could just sum all that up as Christmas... Ahem, with all the Christmas-ing going on, I needed to limit my computer time to maximize productivity time and direct mental energy towards things that jumped higher up on the priority list. 

I much prefer a home-made Christmas. Something about turning your back on commercialism and consumerism and making things yourself just makes me feel freer. I'm weird that way. I'll step into a craft or fabric store any day, but when it comes to actual 'shopping,' I'll run the other way. 

Now to fill you in on what I've been working on - 
Between paper-piecing and pj sewing, I made a giant squid. Not joking. This sucker's probably over 7 ft tall! 
The inspiration and directions came from something I saw on Pinterest. Big surprise there. You can check out the tutorial for yourself here. I drew out the pattern pieces, cut everything out, and, with the help of Emi, sewed the silly squid together. We put the last stitched in on Christmas Eve.  

The thought of trying to wrap something of that size was daunting. So I skipped that step. After the mini-man went to bed and fell asleep, I crept into his room with the squid in tow, and gently put it right next to his head so he'd wake up with a colossal squid looking at him. The next morning, all I heard was, 'Wha...? WHOA!' And then he ran around the house showing everyone his monster plushie. 

Even when I was working on it, it was obvious that it wasn't a 'normal' project for me. Where would you hide such monstrosity? If I told you where I stashed it, I couldn't hide things there anymore. :P 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Make Trade

I have something you need; you have something that I need (or want... it just depends on what we're talking about here). You put a value of what you think your product is worth, and I'll do the same. It's as simple as that. No federal governments putting a supposed value on it, and no extra costs in printing the money. Just you and me making a trade.

With all the chickens that we grew out this year, we've come realize how much barter power we have with them. Those birds are pasture raised on corn free, soy free feed. They run around in the open air and foraging to their little chicken hearts' content. And apparently it's hard for folks to find a good source for their chicken dinner with a 'pedigree' like that. Years ago, after sitting down and running some numbers, we found it was cheaper to grow our own instead of buying it through a food co-op or farmers' market - that was the only reason we started raising our own meat. We had the space, and we already owned layer hens. How much harder can adding in meat chickens be? (That was a hypothetical question, therefore I won't answer that right now :P). It's only been in the past year that we've started exploring this option of 'bartering.'

A friend of ours has a really good source for vanilla beans. Wanna trade for chicken?
Some friends of mine are vegetable farmers but don't have a good source for chickens. We'd love to trade for some of your extra squash and onions and tomatoes and beets and and and and!
Elk meat for chicken? Bring it!
The booth that we go to at the farmers market in town? They ENCOURAGE trading. BOOM BABY!
Why didn't we get into this sooner? It's so much fun! We're going to have to include a barter batch of chickens for next year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

You know you're getting used to the temperature staying below freezing if you think that 34 is a tropical heat wave. For the past week, we've been living and working in a Popsicle of a weather pattern. Something about extreme cold just wears you out, and when the wind gusts and swirls around, not much can protect you from its bite.

The best you can do is hunker down and minimize your time spent exposed to the elements. Unless of course you're out doing Christmas trees. ;) I just finished an entire laundry load of thermals and wool socks that we had used over the weekend. When Mom was out running errands, she found some really nice knit wool gloves with a fleece lining. Those were finger-savers. Those and my Bofur hat. Everyone's ears were freezing, but mine were toasty warm. :P
Ice from a bucket that was left outside. Before it was broken, it could have served as a bowl.
At least we can escape the cold by coming in the house and warming by the fire, the animals are out there with not much else besides what God gave them. Before the really cold weather sank in, we did our gosh-darn-bestest attempt to set the farm menagerie up for the weather. Our attempts were not in vain; they seem to have fared well (for the most past, mini chickens seem to have been the exception). We made sure that there was deep bedding, lots of hot water to prevent the buckets from freezing, and heat lamps (very well secured heat lamps, I might add). 
The geese's bucket and the frozen splashes against the back wall
One can't be too cautious when using heat lamps though... You need to be freakishly OCD when it comes to heat lamp safety. Our neighbors just down the road lost their entire barn last week because a heat lamp fell into the bedding. You could see that giant black smoke cloud rising for miles around. Driving past that old barn, all that's left is charred metal sheets left from the siding.


Now, I know that everyone from the NE corner and Midwest is probably rolling their eyes at me right now. Cold this deep is normal for them. It's something that you acclimate to and learn to live with (or you just do as the birds do and fly South). In our lovely, temperate, mild Pacific Northwest, we don't know what to do with ourselves when it gets cold. Give us drippy sogginess any day, and we'll handle it without an umbrella, but throw us into Canada's weather systems, and you just might give us enough reason to hibernate for the rest of the winter.
I think that the garden is done until spring
Stay warm and stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lost Inspiration

He was the smallest, proudest, most photogenic rooster one could ask for. And he's gone. Somewhere between is advanced age (for a chicken) ,the extreme cold, and his tiny size, he didn't make it. 

I've been working on a children's story with Mr. Collins as the star. Granted, the writing has been off and on as the words came to me, but now, that physical manifestation of that inspiration is no more. 
Farewell, Mr. Collins, you have no idea how much joy you gave people when you strutted up, puffed out your chest, and let out the biggest crow you could muster. You will be missed. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

"My Little Doe" - A Sonnet

My sisters are taking a British literature class, and the recent assignment was to pen a sonnet in the Shakespearean form. With it's strict rhyming scheme and meter, this is no easy task. My sister, Emily, surprised us all with this adorable sonnet written about the little doe that was born back in October. Since she was bottle fed for the first several weeks, Estella thinks that she is one of us. She is our little shadow. Our joy. If we could, we all would spend the entire day out in the barn and pasture with her and then bring her into the house to snuggle with us. She has won the hearts of everyone that she meets with her sweet demeanor and affectionate personality. 

So, it is with great honor that I give you:

My Little Doe

A Shakespearean sonnet by Emily G

Once upon a merry time lived a wee goat;
Her fur was of charcoal with specks of white.
Her diet consisted of grain, hay, and oat,
but raisins and carrots were her true delight.

Her physique was miniature and delicate;
Her temperament was darling and sweet.
Of the goats, this one was the most affectionate.
When her lady left her awhile, then she would bleat. 

She enjoyed bounding on and off her box,
She frolicked with her companions in the field,
With them, she played among the boulders and rocks.
Her joy in life was never concealed.

This tale of mine took place not too long ago,
Estella is she and to me she belongs, my little doe.

Estella and her mom, Genevieve 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Masquerade Ball

I don't know what's more fun: getting ready for a ball, partying at the ball, or going through pictures of the ball the next day. 

Jake was giving Jessica and me a by-the-minute-count-down til it was time to leave and commenting on how bad hair spray stinks. It's not fair that it takes him a grand total of 10 minutes to get ready when Jess can I had been preening ourselves for over an hour (only an hour?). ;) When we got there, Jake acted as the doorman, the musicians were setting up, tables were being set up for the seemingly endless supply of treats and goodies, and Jess and I got to work lighting many, many candles. It was such a gorgeous venue! and so many amazing masks and costumes! ^_^




'If Yoda went to Azgard [sic] wearing a light suit from Tron... This is what would result.' -DS

Robert, Laura and their daughter, Arianna. Our hosts for the evening.


Live music for the dances courtesy of The Whispering Roses



Take a guess at what we made Jessica's mask out of. 

Recognize the dress? Kinda sorta? I altered my rococo ball gown. I'll do a separate post about that.




Mandatory sibling picture for Mom. ;)
Then the personality shot. You give me bunny ears; I give you a feather beard. 
Pictures courtesy of yours truly, ECD Oregon and Daniel Sauble.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Grass-Fed Butter

When you're reading through healthy recipes and cookbooks, you can usually find the little phrase 'grass fed butter' on many of the ingredient lists. I always chuckle when I see it because my imagination likes to take it a step farther. Hence this quick sketch. 
Baby Butter: Will I become a trans-fat when I grow up?
Mommy Butter: Of course not, Sweetie! You're saturated through and through. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Farm Girl Got Geek: Bofur's Hat

I confess! I confess! 
I'm a fangirl. 
When it comes to anything Marvel or Tolkien, I will 'SQUEE!' very loudly.
You've been warned. 

And now I think I've taken my Hobbit fangirl-ing to a new level - I've created something from the movie. Bofur's hat is just too awesome. 
So I started shopping around. Unfortunately, the only ones on the market were either expensive or cheesy. I figured I could make one, I mean, really, how hard could it be to make a hat? Granted, I never recreated something from a movie before or made a hat before. This is going to be an adventure! 

With all the farming craziness of summer all finished, I now have more time to dedicate to geeky sewing experiments. ^_^

Looking at the hat, it looks like a bomber hat (I hope you didn't read that as Bombur...) with some serious dramatic dwarf flair to it.  But there's one problem: there aren't any bomber hat patterns. Anywhere. I did find a video tutorial on youtube, but still no pattern to work with. Drats. Being my stereotypical, crazy, crafting self, I jumped right in with making my own. Maybe one of these days, I'll get around to making a tutorial and printable pattern to share with y'all to fill that empty place in the cosplay universe.

 After making up the first draft for the pattern and then making the pre-mock-up mock-up out of some thread-bare, old sheets that I had stashed away for the sole purpose of being a mock-up, I felt comfortable moving on to the mock-up. (Wow, that was a run on sentence with a sad lack of vocabulary diversity. Ahem, anyway.) So I made the daring move to start working with the curly brown faux fur that I had  found at the fabric store. The final product certain had a Siberian hobo feel to it because of the fabrics I used. ;)
"Perfect chore hat," says I, "It'll be wonderfully warm for doing those winter tasks."
 And that's why they call it a mock-up. It's comfy and that's all that matters.

 It was finally time to move on to making Bofur's hat. I sewed up the leather exterior (it looked like a vintage football helmet), embroidered the crown seams, jimmy-rigged a frame/system to use to hold up the ear flaps. But I couldn't find the right kind of fur for the lining. Anywhere. Seeing a trend with this project? I checked the fabric stores in the area. Nada. Etsy? Zilch. Unless you wanted to pay an arm and a leg. Amazon? Same story there. :sigh: Then my brother played the Weird Al song, "eBay." Inspiration can come from anywhere I guess. So I checked the online auction house. Lo-and-behold, FUR! And I had choices too! And it was a 'purchase now' listing. Oh happiness! Guess where my perfect fur came from. South Korea. It was funny seeing my mom's face when she handed me the gray plastic package, 'Uh, what are you getting from South Korea?' 'Oh chill, Mom, it's North Korea that has nukes. It's my fur!' It takes a while to ship things across the great wide Pacific and to my front door step. I finished the rest of the hat that afternoon. 


Good luck trying to convince me to take it off. I LOVE it!
My dad was asking about my recent 'obsession' this bomber hats. I shrugged. Maybe I could turn it into a business of some sort. Hmm...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bouncin' Baby Goat

What are we up to lately? Oh, just spending goodness knows how much time playing and cuddling with the baby goat. She's a little love. ;) It also helps that she has now qualified for the 'bottle fed baby' category. Her mama's milk didn't really come in until a couple days ago. We all sighed a HUGE sigh of relief when we didn't have to feed baby round the clock. Although, snuggling with a 2-lb baby goat isn't all that demanding. 

video
Sorry for the grainy quality... We don't have a video camera (well, we do, it's just from the age when home videos were on those tiny VHS tapes ;) ). So I just used the video on my camera. It looks like I'll need to figure out how to work that setting. 
Out enjoying the sunshine

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Estrella

Back on Thursday afternoon, I left you hanging with a goat in labor. That wasn't very nice of me since she had the baby on Thursday evening. ;) 

So, I'd like to introduce you to Estrella. 
She's an only child. 
Black with a white poll and a white moon spot on her left side. 
Oliver (her daddy) seems to throw black kids. So far, they've all been black with moon spots. 
 And she has blue eyes. ^_^

Preceding the birth, her mom,  Genevieve, wasn't bagging up at all (for you non-dairy folks out there, that means that she hadn't started producing milk yet). That was a bit of a concern for us since we had issues trying to keep her kids from last year from nursing - they wouldn't wean. She could be dubbed the star milker of our herd. Trying to get her to dry up was a problem as well... she wouldn't stop producing until just a few short weeks before she was supposed to kid. Then she wasn't bagging up when 'she was supposed to.' :face palm:

And she hadn't gotten her milk production up and running after Estrella was born. So... no milk for baby. We had never heard of that before. Having a baby = milk and colostrum. I can do that math. But the it wasn't adding up this time.  We had a hungry baby on our hands, and her mom didn't have any milk for her. So we raided our precious stash of milk in the fridge. The stash that wasn't meeting our consumption rate. We warmed it up and syringed it to the little girl. We also looked up on Fiasco Farm of some other things we could do in the meantime since our star milker wasn't producing. That statement seems loaded with irony. Apparently, some goats won't start producing milk until two days after they birth. That blows my mind - how is the baby supposed to survive without milk?! :/  

So we've been bottle-feeding her 'round the clock. She's probably going to be the sweetest thing since we are. Speaking of which, I think I need to get scootin'. She's probably getting hungry. Goats eat like Hobbits. ;) Thankfully, her mom's milk is finally starting to come in. Hopefully we won't have to do this for much longer, although, it's a really tough gig feeding an adorable 2lb baby goat. It's time to get my goat snuggling time in. ^_^
They're so tiny!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Waiting Game

Genevieve's 'official' due date was last Saturday. Today, she's finally starting to show signs of going into labor soon. Now, it just a waiting game until we begin fall's kidding season. Anyone want to take a guess at how many kids there will be? How many boys/girls?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Seasonal Red Neck Water Feature

Whenever we dig in and work on a project on the to-do list, we seem to create more jobs for that list. Especially if the job involves a tractor of any kind. This time 'round, we hit the gutter while using an excavator to dig out the area for the front walk way. The force was so great that it shook the house, cut all the way through the gutter, and popped the gutter out of the brackets that were holding it up on the roof. Of course, the main break is smack dab in the middle of the entry way. ;) And we got goodness knows how many inches of rain this last weekend, and the duct tape patch job didn't hold up to the weather. The entire front of the house became a waterfall. It was quite entertaining to try to use that entrance during the storm since you were running through a wall of water. This is the when you call in the professionals. We've no experience in roofing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Tempest and the Final Chicken Round-Up

It a dark and stormy night. Isn't that how campfire stories start off as? 'Cept we weren't camping. And it isn't a scary story. It was just really dark and really stormy. The rain was driving down in sheets, and the gusting wind was blowing the precipitation sideways. The storm hadn't even come in full force yet. But we had a job to finish - the last batch of meat chickens needed to be loaded up in the truck for their one-way trip to meet their butcher.

The chicken tractor in the truck bed, and the cab filled with coolers ready to go. We just had to pack up the chickens. Usually, we wait until the morning of to get the chickens in the truck, but this time, we had been scheduled for an earlier slot, and no one wanted to have the great chicken round-up at 5 in the morning. We waited until the birds had all settled down for the night to make the job easier. By then, the storm had arrived.

With Jake on one side of the fence to put the birds into the truck as we brought them up to him, it was up to Dad and me to catch the slumbering poultry products. In the dark. In slippery 'mud.' With the wind blowing and the rain pouring. I'll stop playing my moaning fiddle now.

When we got to the other end of the pasture (which is where the birds bedded down), the tarp tents that we had made were barely holding on to the posts. Actually, some of the corners lost their grommets and had become shredded in the wind. We sliced the baling twine used to tie the tarps, and we set the red-neck structure-staples to the side with some weights on them to prevent them from blowing away. It was chicken catching time.

We each would catch two and slowly make our way back to the road where Jake and the truck were waiting. We passed the chickens over the fence to him, tried to keep count of how many birds we had loaded up, failed utterly at that, gave up on counting, and kept on the trudging gingerly through the wet grass and slippery 'mud' trying not to find the trip wires, er, I mean, the grape trellising anchor wires. And repeat. When all was said and done, we were soaked to the bone. Even our leather gloves had become saturated. Dad was smart - he wore the rubber duck yellow rain coat. If I had just added some soap to my sweatshirt and jeans, they would've been the cleanest things in my closet.

Take a step back. Breathe. We're done. No more meat birds. No more trips to the butcher. Until next year. But by then, we have had a winter to recuperate, and we're ready to start again.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Farm Girl Got Geek: Lembas Bread

If you're a regular human being, September 22nd is the first day of fall. If you're a Lord of the Rings junkie, it's Bilbo's and Frodo's birthday, and it's Hobbit day to the fandom. Since it was a gully gusher of a day, I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with a Lord of the Rings role playing game and eating tons of food a-la-hobbit style. 

But, as good as regular food is, something about making your regular food go with the theme of the day. So I set out to make Elven lembas bread, the traveling food of the Elves of Middle Earth. Batch of cookies? Check. Mallorn leaves? Uh... That's something that needs doing. You can't have lembas without the mallorn. I found a leaf pattern, but they used foam to make the leaves. I didn't have foam handy, and I didn't feel that the foam would work very well for a method of aesthetic food delivery. I did have felt. A lot of felt. And in green too. How convenient! ;) Cut out the pattern and sew all the veins of the leaf. Voila'! Mallorn leaves. 

Just had to pass it by the critics - the brothers. One thought that it was the coolest thing ever. The other thought that all that all the extra leaf and string action was just hindering his cookie consumption.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Choking Goat?

Yes, apparently goats can choke. I had no idea. You learn something new every day. A goat can choke on something if it's the right size, right shape, etc, etc, etc. It's gotta be just so to block that airway.

We were just doing morning chores. Nothing new there. (Why does everything unpleasant happen either during the middle of the night or during morning chores?) We gave the goats their regular morning grain mix with some sliced carrots when one of them started making the nastiest sound "BAA---!" Who needs coffee to wake you up when you hear that? That was certainly more than enough to instantly grab your attention; did we really hear what we just heard? "BAA---!" Em and I rushed over to see what was going on. Poor girl was pacing around, rubbing against anything, foaming at the mouth and struggling to even get a gasp. How she managed a baa of that decibel level is beyond me. Emi and I looked at each other wondering what on earth we're supposed to do (if you're to do anything at all). She laid down only to get right back up again and continue her frantic behaviors. She laid down again, this time she didn't have as much gumption to get back up; her eyes started getting glazed over. We consulted Dr. Google, nothing, so onto more professional assistance - the dreaded vet call. Whenever you call the vet, it always ends up being a gargantuan bill when all is said and done. They wanted us to bring her in?! But what if she doesn't make it down the hill? What if we pull into the parking lot with a dead goat? What if...? Just crate her up and head down the hill. It's all we knew we could do.

Well, she wasn't dead when we got there. She was actually doing really well. Perfectly normal in fact. Darn goat. Well, they checked on her anyway to make sure that the airway was fully cleared. Since we were there, they did a check up to make sure nothing else was lurking. All clean. No mites/lice, good coat shine, good eye color, etc, etc, etc. We had a healthy goat on our hands. Going to the vet was certainly not on the docket for the day's grand plan.

Lesson learned? Shred the carrots. No more just sliced carrots for these caprines.
And goat Heimlich. We learned the goat Heimlich. I'll have to get some pictures sometime to show you how awkward it really is. ;)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Small Farm School 2013

The sun was just peaking over the horizon on Saturday morning when my mom came in to wake me up. I rolled out of bed and put on my 'cleaner' jeans and my new 'You might be a farm girl' shirt. I didn't even dare look in the mirror - it was too early. ;) Then Mom headed out to milk the goats, and I was off to do what chicken chores I could do by myself since the rest of the posse was still wrapped up in their toasty warm beds. After a quick bite of breakfast and pulling ourselves together, we (Dad, Mom, Caity and I) loaded up into the car 15 minutes later than we had hoped and hit the road to go the this year's small farm school put on by Oregon State University (Why do the schedule this sort of thing so early in the morning when the target audience has a farm and animals? I'm still trying to figure that one out). We arrived in time to get our registration packets and get settled in our respective classes. To maximize all that was offered this year, my parents and I used the 'divide and conquer' technique. Caity learned all about tractors (safety, driving, attaching implements, etc.) Dad took the berry path; Mom focused mainly on dirt, what's in it, and what can make it better. Me? Being my ADD sort of self, I bounced all over the place.

First session was all about raising small flocks of chickens. According to the instructor, a 'small flock' is anything  less than 3,000 laying hens. 3,000! I can't even begin to imagine that many birds on our property.
The next class was taught by a master gardener. Can you guess what it was about? ;) Transplanting veggie starts. And since the day was all about small farms, he took it the larger scale garden route.
By this point, my stomach was demonstrating a vast array of whale calls; it was time to eat. I scarfed my lunch down as fast as I could for two reasons - 1) I was competing with yellow jackets for my roast beef and 2) I heard some 'baas' and 'neighs.' Caity and I scurried the direction of the animal sounds and we found a draft horse, some alpacas and a couple of sheep.

Of course, animal time was cut short due to the next session starting.

I was then immersed in the world of honey bees. Their biology, what makes them tick, some basic bee keeping, and the lo-down on colony collapse disorder. It's called a disorder for a reason since it's not a disease - it's a certain set of symptoms with numerous contributing factors ranging from pesticide usage to suppressed immune systems to miteicide (am I spelling that right?) to a lack of genetic diversity. Say wha? Yeah, apparently the 1920 Bee Act prevented any more bringing in of bees from international sources. Hmm.

It's usually by this time of the day that I check out. My brain decides that it's nap time. So instead of going to a chemistry-laden dirt class like my mom did, I decided to enroll in the writing farmers session. With the smaller class size, it was much more personal. We went around the room saying our names, a little bit of our writing background, etc. It was intriguing to hear all varying reasons and uses for writing in the farming world. Some put together newsletters or worked with CSAs. Others, like me, just write for the heck of it.

The end of the day and I went kaput. Emergency ice cream was much needed. So ice cream I procured. With my head full of new ideas and tons of notes and my stomach full of ice cream, I sat down at my desk that evening and tried to get this post written. It didn't quite happen on the schedule that I was hoping for. The ice cream was good though. ;)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'City Slicker' Driveway

Contrary to popular belief, Oregon does have seasons. They just aren't the regular seasons that you're used to elsewhere. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are four seasons - rainy season, cold rainy season, warmer rainy season, and construction season. You gotta make hay while the sun shines and you gotta get all that road work done before the rain inevitably returns. That was a random, rabbit-trailing sort of introduction for the point I'm making here - we don't have a gravel driveway anymore; it's chip-sealed. 

For twelve years, we've lived and survived with our dusty gravel road. You don't even bother with washing the car since it'll just get dirty again on your way home. By the end of summer, you could probably grow a garden on the bumper of your car, so much dirt had accumulated. It's pretty funny when you get the occasional summer rain shower turning all that dust into mud. You just clean the windows so you can at least see and go about your merry way (meanwhile looking like the country bumpkin that you are). When delivery trucks drive up, you see a huge cloud of dust from them flooring it up the road. For the most part, we were all tolerant of our driveway, but the conversation would come up every now and again about getting the road paved when we needed to order more gravel for the road. No one ever got around to doing anything about it. Until now. 

Yep, we've lost a signature part of living in the country - the gravel road. 
After all the 'chips' get ground in, it will look like a back county road, just without the stripes and reflector things in the middle of the road. Now we just need some 'Fresh Oil' and 'Loose Gravel' construction orange signs at the bottom of the road so people know to take it easy. No pealing out, no gunning it and making a dust cloud to annoy the neighbors, no turning the wheel while stationary, etc, etc, etc... Just takes all the fun out of having what little gravel is left. ;) 

The road guys came a day early, and they had equipment issues all week. (During the lulls of waiting for a rental piece to come, they took naps - yes, naps - in the shade. Can I get paid to sleep?) They've been working fast and furious all summer to keep up with all the jobs that they need to do. This was the only company that would do a private road; every one else was already booked with government jobs.

With all the banging and scraping going on, the toms would get all excited. They gobbled all day all week. I wonder if the construction dudes realized what they were doing to the big birds. 

The oil is 150 degrees when it's put down. 150!!! o_O 

Dusty, dusty, dusty.

Aw, it's a little roller. 

Eli wanted a closer look at them working. He loved having all the big boy toys coming and going all week.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Picnic at Pemberly - a Pride and Prejudice Ball

The day finally arrived. Time slows to a crawl once you've finished your dress for the ball (but speeds up exponentially if you procrastinate until the day of). We met up at a friend's house to get ready (ribbons, curls, and bobby pins oh my!) and headed off to the ball. 

I interrupt this story to suggest that you turn on the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack by Dario Marianelli. Finding the whole playlist would be even better. Okay, you can keep reading now.  

But wait! We need to stop at the store to pick up the lemonade!
We get to go shopping in our Regency dresses! xD We ended up going to two stores and buying them  out of lemonade.  
Responses to our get-ups? 
Besides the second glances, stare-downs, compliments, questions about our unusual garb, and a gal helping us carry lemonade to the car, we also caught snippets of funny conversations about us
Little girl: Mommy, why do those people have so much lemonade?
Mommy: Honey, I think they just really like lemonade.
And...
Dude to his friend: Don't worry, you're in Portland now. You're going to see some pretty weird stuff.
And...
Some dude sitting in his car whistled at us. 
It's not every day that you see a gaggle of giggly girls dressed up in 'unusual' clothing pushing a cart full of lemonade

So. After our little shopping trip adventure, we were :really: on our way to the ball! It was for real this time. ;) My guesstimates puts the guest total to 200 (just in case you were wondering while looking at the pictures).
















The littlest dancers

I loved the location






Someone ditched their shoes. The poor lost soles...
Mari's Wedding with a double circle
One of my favorite moments of the evening? 
Gentleman #1 asks me to a dance. Okay, nothing weird there. Part of the dance involved doing an 'orbit' around the set. Still nothing new there either. It's when Gent #1 was 'traded' with Gent #2 (who was nonchalantly walking by) during the orbit. Come in for a two-hand turn, and it's not the person I was dancing with before. Haha! Okay, got me! They then proceeded to trade off during each of the 'orbits' for the rest of the dance. We all had a good laugh afterwards. What I don't know is if it was pre-planned or not. Hmm...
Update: They had plotted the whole thing. They had looked at the dance list to see if it would work with any of the dances, and then they looked for someone who would be able to take the joke. 

Venue - Summerfield Farms in Salem, OR
Pictures are from ECD Oregon, Noah Holte, and yours truly