With the last storm done, I wanted to hike back up our property to see if there were more wildflowers than last time.
There were lots of shooting stars, which I had seen a few of last hike.
And the manzanita has bloomed.
Only a few more flowers had celebrated the rain.
I came around a tree and was startled by this lounge lizard. He was neither disturbed nor impressed by my presence, just wanted to revel in the sun.
The best surprise was found beside rotting logs...
I believe they are Cortinarius cinnamomeus, commonly called the Orange-gilled Cort, which I learned from a great mushroom dye website: mycopigments.com. They are simmering in the crock pot, waiting for my next skein of yarn...
I get that we will likely not come close to normal for water this year in California, that we are officially in a drought. Can't we have a glass-half-full attitude, though? The media is all gloom and doom--"too little too late"--yet we have had a delightful series of storms lately, and it must have helped some.
Winter finally arrived in spring!
The rams didn't really appreciate the weather,
but the ewes are sure enjoying the fresh, green grass the rains brought!
So is Freya.
The sheep are happy for the grazing that the storm brought; they get tired of hay. Happy sheep grow beautiful fleeces. Doesn't Lindyhop's fleece look gorgeous?
And the views are magnificent. I say, "A little just in time."
Sunday was one of those days I needed to be in Nature. I went for a hike in our backwoods. Not having had rain for quite awhile, I wanted to see if any wildflowers had bloomed yet.
Natural sculpture. Wonderful, inspirational shapes.
At first, I had to look hard among the leaves and pine needles for hints of green. Gradually, I began to see buds and then bloomed flowers. Spring is emerging!
Further up the trail, I hiked a little cross-county, and came upon a different find.
Decided not to stay too long here...
Even the decaying plants are beautiful.
And the lichen.
On the way back down, I visited the "gnome tree." Imagination creates all kinds of stories about this tree.
Nature always puts life in perspective for me. How fortunate I am to be able to hike like this in my own backyard! I came back with renewed energy and smiling spirit. The special smell of spring is in the air. And rain is coming, which means mushrooms for dyeing, and more wildflowers. I'll be back up soon...
While perhaps not an obsession, weaving has certainly taken hold of my life and time. I partially blame Craigslist, though I suppose I could resist checking it online every weekend...
It so happens that my son, Josh, lives in a treasure-trove-of-fiber- tools region, and was willing to pick up yet another loom for me.
We went hiking in our back woods to celebrate.
Had to make it up to the manzanita grove, sit and listen to the wind and birds.
As for weaving, I had to just admire the new loom for awhile, let it settle into it's place in my studio, and also finish a scarf on my table loom. Two weeks later and I've finally got the new (to me) Schacht Baby Wolf loom dressed for making a scarf. I'll be able to do much larger projects, but I wanted to start with something simple.
So much fun! And I really do think I'm done buying fiber tools for awhile... Josh will be grateful.
This is Zeke, a ram we've been trying to find a home for, exhibiting his ego. Aren't his horns marvelous? That is, until yesterday...
I had thought that bad ram behavior was done for the year, but I guess I'm learning that testosterone never quits. I didn't see the head butt, but I imagine it was with Sherpa, as he had a bit of blood on his horns, too. Most people think the horns are either solid or hollow, but they are keratin covering live bone, which is fed by blood.
Zeke is recovering quite well; the wound is healing fine, but he'll never have that beautiful, symmetrical, bighorn sheep look again :(
This is a wildlife critter we hadn't yet seen here. Look closely, through my dirty window.
Amazing how all cats look and behave alike. This bobcat is watching squirrels intently. I'd love to have her be a permanent resident near my dye garden!
Moved quietly outside and tried to get a picture of her, but she decided I wasn't worthy, and moved on to better hunting grounds.
I just love weaving terminology: sleying, warp, castle, raddle, apron rod...
I'm getting better at "dressing the loom."
With my loom-for-a-song ($20) I'm trying not to invest in expensive extras. The lease sticks are made from a yardstick that I sanded down, and my raddle (which helps me warp the loom by myself) is from a scrap piece of wood that I pounded some finishing nails into, and have tied on with shoelaces from the thrift store.
I rather enjoy the slow process of threading the yarn through the heddles and then sleying through the reed. Even the process of figuring out ends per inch (epi) and measuring and keeping track of where everything goes is an adventure for me.
Here's my third scarf from this loom, not yet washed or the fringe twisted. It's warped with an alpaca/silk sock yarn and the weft is from my flock; the dark is Noah, and the other parts are various ewes, including Tehya and Ariel. I played with left twill and right twill.
And this is my new comfy spot. Made by a local woodworker who uses local woods, this stool is perfect for both spinning and weaving. Which shall I do today...?
Celebrate serendipity! While perusing Craigslist, Medford last summer, I found a Schacht 15" table loom for $20! My son, Josh, who lives in Ashland, was able to pick it up for me, but it stayed with him through the fall. At Christmastime, I finally got to meet my loom.
After the delightful clamor of the holidays died down, I spent a day watching youtube videos of warping a loom, as it had been awhile since I'd done that.
I've been sitting at my new loom for 10-20 minutes at a time for 3 days now and am ready to take off my first scarf.
I had been trying to keep it simple, just spinning and knitting. Then I added felting, which opened up whole new avenues for creativity. Now my imagination is on overdrive with weaving ideas. I had already planned to weave some small tapestries this year on my tapestry loom, and with the addition of this table loom, I'll probably be weaving scarves as well.
I also had to reorganize my studio space to make room for the loom, to be able to weave without clutter all around. My beautiful baskets from Ghana were taking up a lot of floor space. Hmmm... how to make more space? Hang them from the ceiling! I got some scrap 1x2s, some cup hooks, and voila!
Now I have plenty of space, and a room/loom with a view!
Heron returned after many months of absence. I have always felt heron to be my spirit guide, so I am particularly thoughtful of his return on this particular day.
I haven't written in quite awhile. This being the last day of the year, I find I am reflecting on the seeming uneven balance of 2013--so many losses, in particular-- and encouraging myself to celebrate the wonder of living in mountain beauty and being surrounded by extraordinary people and creatures.
Some images to share as I feel my gratitude...
Each day different, each day extraordinary.
The joy of hiking on our own property, with Alyssa and Dave.
Harvesting our first, lone apricot from our tree.
Gene and Tyler planting the "legendary" meteor cherry tree. (Must hear the story in person...)
Where Gene and I spotted the otters on our birthday bike ride in November.
Josh with new lambs at Standing Stone farm in Ashland, where he works. Our lives entwine!
and Freya, our special gift of 2013, a delightful surprise. Though not yet fully tamed, we touch noses when I go out to check on sheep and she has been introducing herself to the sheep recently. We look forward to many wonderful years with Nella and Freya.
May 2014 bring joy for everyone!