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Sunday, May 27, 2012

baa baa black sheep......

Yesterday, Paulette and I and two friends from work went to the fiber show in Wooster, Ohio. Our first stop was to the barns to visit the goats and sheep. The man who was bringing the angora goats to the show was a professor from the University of Delaware where he was in charge of the botanical garden. He raises the goats solely because his wife likes the fiber for spinning! What a trooper. Encouraged to pet a few of them, we noticed that the horns were very warm. We learned that horns soak up and then dissipate the heat and that keeps the goats cooler. I remarked that I could use something like that. Oh dear. 

When we got the the sheep barn, there were some interesting sights to behold. We guessed that the coats were used to keep the sheep clean before judging as was the extra trimming going on all around us. The fellow with the shears was from Montana. He mentioned that he brought 10 rams and a few females to show and hopefully sell @ $1,000 each. He left 1,200 sheep at home! Those are raised for their fiber-sold to a commercial site in Texas for wool for carpets, not for any spinners.

He was really patient as I asked more questions about the value of getting a first place in the ring. Turns out that the first place winner is the first to be auctioned the next day, which is an advantage.

We sat in the stands to watch some rams being judged. If you are raising sheep, you only need one or two rams to service, ahem, about 100 females (I can't remember what a female sheep is called) and so you need to be really picky about the ram you buy.

We also saw some cute puppys in the pens right along with the sheep.

Before we hit the vendor booths, we stopped to admire to other fiber animals: angora rabbits and some alpacas.
Ron sent me on a birthday/anniversary mission to select a carder as his present to me next month (June 4/June 13) The one I chose was the Strauch Mad Batt'r. I had a LONG email from my Wise Woman, Bonnie, with detailed instructions on what to look for and what not to get, so I simply handed it to the vendor from Ashland and we went over every detail to be sure I was getting what Bonnie thought would be best! Of course, I really need to have Bonnie show me how to make creative yarn bats, but, I did buy a book, The Ashford Book of Carding: A Handspinners Guide to Fibre Preparation by Jo Reeve.

I also stopped by the vendor where I bought my fleece last year, Promised Land and Livestock Co. of Fresno, OH. Moose, a large female sheep, is doing well and had a ram of her own in March. I showed them the cabled purse I was making from her fleece of last year.

We noted that she is much lighter in color than last year. Anyway, they invited us to their  farm open house "load and go" sale on July 21. Starter flock packages available. They have both Blue Faced Leicester and Lincoln breeding stock. I plan to say hi to Moose and thank her personally for her fleece.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dance recitals

I know, what could I possible say about dance recitals. Well, yesterday I finally attended one. It was the 31st annual dance recital of the Moving Company. Held at the State Theater, it took place on Saturday and Sunday from 2-5. As Ron and I were driving by around 1pm, we noticed the cutest ever children, dressed in the most amazingly sweet costumes, having their photos taken in the park. Upon asking, we learned about the recital. I just couldn't resist. Warned that it would be crowded with hundreds of parents, grandparents, etc, I got in line for tickets. I just happen to know that the State Theater seats 1,500 and I will tell you that it was PACKED!

There were dozens of 3 minute dance routines, ranging from ages 3 up to 18. Costumes were elaborate and as the same children were in several dances, I had to wonder what the cost to the family added up to, including a year's worth of lessons. Probably a pretty penny, but, gee, it had to be worth it to see this finale.

For some of the older children, there were ballets and for the youngest there were tumbling routines. Almost everyone in the audience had a bouquet of flowers on hand to present to their child, so, I was a bit of a standout to be sitting front and center without anything but my camera.

I left during intermission, reluctant to get back to gardening and other Sunday afternoon activities, but, I am really glad I spent an hour in the world of dance!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Early morning walk with Kate

Paulette claims that early summer mornings are the best ever. Kate seems to agree. Kate, she who cannot be denied, insisted that we get up at 6:15a.m. And DO SOMETHING right NOW. So, I thot we would take a walk and see if Paulie was right.

Well, it seems the squirrels and birds agree and that make for a challenging effort to keep Kate in tow to not trip me as she flings herself every which way on her leash. Let's just say it wasn't a relaxing saunter out there and I was relieved we got back before disaster struck one of us. Oh, did I mention that Jack came with us???? Now there is a squirrel lover if ever there was one. And 70 pounds of insistence is a lot of power at the end of a leash. To be fair to Paulie, our less than stellar walk really had nothing to do with the early hour,and at least there were fewer souls around to witness the debacle. And, I am back safely relaxing on the back porch, admiring our roses and no one has started up a mower, weed wacker or leaf blower as of yet.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Serious backyard gardening

Today, Ron and I drove over to Stan Hywet Gardens in Akron. We thought we could pick up some ideas for our backyard/patio area. Well, of course, the scale of the house and yard is a little bit different from ours, but,we expected to be able to translate to our place easily.
 We  actually discussed how nice this statue would look in our yard. What do you think? Wonder where we could get one just like this....Home Depot? Maybe not.
We liked a few of the English garden ideas, even though they had over 100 varieties, I actually said, hey, this would fit just perfectly.Of course, we loved the sweeping lawn and thought it would be great for the poodles and Kate to romp around every afternoon just to stretch their legs a bit.

Actually, we did decide to plant  Japanese Iris for next spring. This seemed to be the best idea for our garden and the hostas and ferns would be possible as well.

Garden art always has a place, and I liked this stonework. It reminded me of my Chaucer classes and the Old English I loved to decipher.When we got home, it was a bit of a shock that our yard was so small! It had seemed so much larger before we left this morning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cleveland Rocks!

Ron and I stopped in to shop at the West Side Market on Saturday afternoon. As one who has been choosing a vegan diet for the past 4 months, and for about 6 months last year, I didn't see too much for me, but, plenty of choices for Ron. In the other side, tho, I had plenty to select from with fruit and veggies from everywhere but Ohio.
I'm not sure how long this has been in operation, but, it was very similar to the Philly market we explored a few months ago. Smaller, but just as interesting.Very colorful and fun to hear the vendors bargaining with each customer.
Our other stop was at the Cleveland Botanical Garden on the East Side near University Circle. It was a beautiful day and the spring flowers looked wonderful. Ron offered that if he were retired, our yard could look like this. Hmm. I think that is a bit overstated. In the Japanese Garden, there was a wedding in progress and I had to admire the courage of the couple selecting an outdoor wedding in mid May in Ohio!
 We actually took some photos in the optimistic hope that we could emulate a few of the areas. The clematis was exceptional.

          We also loved the vines on the shed and thot that would look great on our garage.

       Of course, we are ignoring the reality that neither one of us likes to garden. We just like to look at them.

              With a glass of wine in hand, or taking a nap on the hammock is the best way to enjoy the yard. We know many who love to garden and refuse to call it yard work, but, believe me, we are not even close to that concept. We are also blocking out the fact that 3 dogs can tear up a yard faster than it can recover.   We did plant a small herb garden in a box and three tomato plants, so, if we remember to water them, we just might have a crop this year to go with our grapes.

     I do think we could do these pots.....if we could lift them, that is!  Anyway, it was a lovely day in Cleveland and we felt like we had been on vacation in the City.  We drove through Little Italy and decided we need to return to stroll down those streets this summer. Our drive down Coventry Street was also tempting us to stop for awhile. As we passed the stadium, we saw signs announcing the dates for the Indians vs. the Yankees and that might have to be another visit! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kate's new interest

While I was away, Kate discovered that she can pull books off of the bottom shelves of our bookcases for some fun chewing. This is not viewed fondly by a librarian! I think chewing stops mostly by age 2, but 12 months of book chewing is not good. We have 3 bookcases that are covered by glass doors but we have 5 cases that are wide open to Kate's new hobby.

Of course, it is really pretty impossible to get mad at such a cute puppy! Both Jack and Louie ate plastic things like remote controls, car key clickers, and shoes and they pretty much stopped at age 2, so, I know I can just wait this out.  Wait, at this very moment, Louie is over by the bookcase sniffing at the books! Don't you just wonder what that was all about? Did Kate get him interested or what?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Heading home

Yesterday I went with nephew kacey to the golf range. Very relaxing. That's because I wasn't playing!

Next was a trip to the mall with
Kelsey. She made a build a bear for her mom for mothers day and gave me a sheep.

We stopped to see my great aunt,who is 101 and as sharp as can be.
My mom and I went shopping at the Nordstrom rack and other interesting stores in the area. This is all in the same day. Dinner with David and karrie rounded out the evening. Time to pack up and head home!!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Not just any school day

My niece, Kelsey, is in the 4th grade.  This morning, during the assembly,  she received an award from her class for Loyalty. It was fun to be in town when she got this! She and her best friend, Amy, were cutting it pretty close, but arrive just as the bell rang for the program to start!

The program is part pep rally, part honor recognition, and lots of fun. I was really impressed with the lively display of enthusiasm by the kids and teachers. I remember when my Aunt Marj was visiting me and how fun it was to bring her to my school.  Now I get to be the special aunt!

Surf's up!

When I visit my  family in Southern California, we usually spend a few days  in Laguna Beach where they lived before moving to Temecula.  This time, however, I  suggested we head down to La Jolla, just north of San Diego. It was a beautiful day to explore the area.

This fella was on, appropriately named, Seal Rock. He was pretty interested in what I was up to and didn't seem to mind my curiosity about him either.

His whiskers reminded me of Kate's. I was expecting to hear barking, but except for the sound of the ocean, it was really quiet.

The water was an amazing ultramarine color today and I had to urge to try my hand at watercolor painting again, just to see if I could capture the color.

It was in the low '60s today with a cool ocean breeze. Absolutely perfect. With only two days left, I wonder if we'll explore the wine area of Temecula, or the art district of L.A. tomorrow and Saturday.