Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hickory Bark Basket

So Saturday night I decided it was time to make a basket.  Those hickory bark strips I got from Daniel have been sitting in my closet for .... well ... a long time.

I put three rolls in a five gallon bucket and covered them with warm water and left it overnight.  After church, I started in on it.

So hairy!

It's coming along ...!  You can see the bottom woven with measure, um eyeballed, strips.

For the sides, I am using a continuous strip.

That's about as deep as it can be with the size of strips I cut.

Most of the ends are tucked into a lower part of the weave.

All done!  The handles were an after thought and as I was using part of the strips that were too long, they are off center.
I think they'll be fairly sturdy though.

Blocking it with ammo, rocks, string, and clamps.  I have two flat rocks underneath to push up the bottom slightly
so it will be stable.

Leftovers of the three rolls.

That's the color of the soaking water!  A very strong tea, that.
Now I am waiting, not so patiently for it to dry.  Finished product pictures later on!

Song for the day: Seven Wonders - Nickel Creek
My uncle introduced me to this band, and I'm liking it so far!

A grateful thanksgiving day to you all!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Of Prayer and a Few Days Meandering

It has been a dreary, rainy couple of days filled with some equally dreary contemplation and balanced with life-giving creative pursuits.  In the struggle to keep going forward, to keep processing and thinking, learning and growing, I often suppress the fear, pain, or joy that starts creeping up in response to a new thought, sermon, or comment made by another.  I suppose it's called coping.  But now and then, I know I must pull back some skin, muscle, and gristle to look at my heart and see how it's coming.

I didn't get to eat the soup right away so it sat in the crock pot for two days.  I added some garlic and seasonings.
Some of the best money I ever spent!  The first really fresh garlic I've
had, thanks to Dave Beiler.

A little fresh rosemary makes the world go 'round.
Then on to some bread baking ....

Then, Saturday I got to trim for a enthusiastic lady who was sure the angels would sing when I finally got back to trim her horses.  :)  You gotta love loyal clients.

Yep, trimming out of the minivan!
I was listening to this sermon and the speaker was talking about how we often get caught up in asking God for this and that.  A job when we're out of work, a car when the other one is broken, fixing for a relationship that is suffering.  These are all good desires, good things to pray and hope for.  The pitfall in this is if we let those things eclipse the greatest gift.  The gift He has already given us for all time.  The greatest gift we can give to another is ourselves.  That's what Jesus came for.  To give Himself for us.  To make a way to the Father.

I got to thinking about that and started second guessing my prayers, feeling guilty for what I was asking for.  How would it be if the ones I loved called usually with a problem or a request, but never just to be with me?  And that is only examining it on a human level.  But we're talking about the God of the universe, the embodiment of all good, perfection!  He is worthy of our praise, adoration, and undivided devotion!

As I was thinking these thoughts, a quiet little warning floated across the outskirts of my mind .... but God cares about the sparrow too.  If I start believing that it isn't okay for me to speak to the Lord about the "little" things on my heart ... that is dangerous as well.  It doesn't say cast some of your cares on the Lord, particularly the big ones.

Another sermon was talking about praying through the Psalms and using them as models for our prayers.  I was surprised to realize the pride of place given to emotions.  But it is there!  Throughout the Psalms, David is pouring out his heart to God.  Raw, unprocessed, unfettered emotion.  Take Psalm 3.  David tells God about all the many people seeking his demise.  And then about what people are saying about him.  Then he remembers who he's talking to.  Truth and courage seep into his prayer!  He ends praising the Lord.  What a beautiful, saving progression!

I often share (or vent) my emotions with a friend, do some processing, and then go to God with my heart feeling pretty sane and reasonable.  I offer a logical prayer.  But I've missed it!  I've missed the opportunity to let my Jesus be the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  I missed letting him calm my aching heart.  I've missed the truth he speaks in these moments.  I'm not saying that the Lord hasn't given us a community of friends to be His hands and feet in this, but they shouldn't be a replacement for that realness with the Lord.  For your sake and the for the sake of your friends.  I hope that I am a good enough friend to listen to an emotional response and offer grace and guidance, but the Lord can do so much better!  "Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your souls!"

In thinking of who God is and what He is worthy of, I've also been wondering what exactly it means to bless the Lord.  How can I bless His heart?  Not grieving Him is one thing, but to respond to Him with adoration and thanksgiving that will be a joy to Him.

So as evidenced by this, it hasn't all been dreary contemplation.  :)  Though it has been hard won.  I hope that as I write and commit to memory, my musings may be of some benefit to you all.  Also, please be obligated to call me out if it strays from the straight and narrow.

Song for the day:

I felt so blessed to be around while these folks practiced this piece together for the first time.  So soul stirring!  Here's the original - The Holly and the Ivy.  You can add it to your amazing playlist of Christmas music you've been collecting.  :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hot Soup and Fuzzy Horses

So Katie says I need to take especially good care of myself right now.  It's easy when you're stressed to think that there are other things more important that eating well and in a timely manner, so her admonition was the reminder I needed.

I ate garlic and drank apple cider vinegar and made soup.  :)  While I'm not sure that freezer burned chicken and almost over-the-hill potatoes count as eating well, it was an improvement over what I was doing and took care of some of the rest of life as well.

Some good bone broth ... I hope. 

Da poor potatoes.  

Jeremiah cut the cottonwood of the electric fence and I got it all put back together.  And then when your horse nickers at you when he sees the halter ...  I was too busy relishing in lessons well remembered to take pictures.  He has his side pass toward me from the left down pretty well.  He'll back up when you pull on his tail.  He learned how to side pass towards me from the right side.  We also got to where he could comfortably walk across the skidder tire that I used behind the draft ponies.  It's a big step up.  He knew exactly what I was asking for as soon as I showed it to him.  And he wasn't so thrilled with it, but he tried and made progress each time until he made it!  He was so light and responsive.  That horse has loads of try.  So then, I mean, I don't remember the last time I rode him, and he was kinda rambunctious, but yeah.  I rode him.  Bareback with the halter and he was a dream!  He moved so enthusiastically off my leg cues.  When he backed up, he broke at the poll so nicely.  Then we herded Moody out of the barnyard and it made me miss the cow sorting practices.

I'm so happy to have my plants back!

Day 55

We got packed again, snacked at the hotel breakfast, and played with the dogs in the yard.  Then to Uncle Randy and Aunt Barb’s about 8:45am!  Ryan and Jenny were there was well and it was so good to see them.  They had all taken off work, at least for the morning, so they could spend time with us.  I really enjoyed hearing what everyone was up to and in to.  Ryan says the little black mite-like bugs that attacked us at Moose Creek were likely Springtails and explained how the packets nailed to all the pine trees deterred the beetles by using confusing pheromones.  That’s how it is when your cousin marries an entomologist!  :)

We left before noon and stopped at the co-op for lunch and to find a gift for Aunt Barb.  Mom bought fried nann pizzas, but the microwave wasn’t working.  So they staff at the deli offered to bake them for us!  Super tasty!

We got into Springfield, MO around 6pm and tracked down Katie and Dan who were nice enough to interrupt their dinner to come out and say hi.  We transferred the tumbleweeds and I hoped Dan liked me enough (even if just for Katie’s sake) to forgive me for putting those messy things in his pretty clean car!  :)  We stopped in at Mamma Jeans for milk and fruit for home.

We got home around 8pm.  We only unloaded bit of the van.  Jeremiah started the fire in the furnace.  I spent a long time looking for Kitty and had given up when she finally came walking out of the woods.  She was happy to see all of us, especially the dogs.  The dogs were pretty wound up about being back at the house.

Emily slept on my bed for the first time in forever and Kitty curled up in the crook of my knees.  I wasn’t exactly happy about this arrangement, but too tired to object enough to make it happen otherwise.  I was hoping Emily would be out of the habit of expecting that.  She hadn’t even asked to be up on the cot or hotel bed all trip.  Goes to show how much environment has to do with animals’ training, habits, and expectations.

Well guys, it’s been fun!  I really appreciate all of you who have left comments!  That, my friends, is the official end of the adventure.  Though it is true that cleaning out that minivan will be a whole ‘nother adventure as well!  :)

Day 54

I worked on trip notes first thing in the morning.  When Mom wanted to go to breakfast, I took our laundry and started 2 loads.  The laundry soap was frozen and it took some doing to convince it to leave the bottle.  Breakfast was quite nice.

The laundry took a while to dry.  Mom’s insulated pants never did dry.  There were still droplets in the nylon cuffs.  We tried to refill water bottles, but everything was frozen, except the mylar bladder Jeremiah and stashed in the cold bag.  We had some frozen eggs, apples, and oranges.  Some of the water in the rice bags in the cooler had refrozen as well.

I do.  And it crushes me.
We got on the road about 11am.  About half an hour later, I reached into my bag and realized my purse wasn’t there.  I hadn’t checked the room.  I took Emily out the the bathroom and when I returned Mom and Jeremiah and check the room and were ready to check out.  I didn’t want to be untrusting and hold things up by doing it again.  I called the hotel and sure enough they found it under one of the blankets.   I remembered carefully laying it out on the bed with my other bags, and I’m not sure how it got covered up.  I felt pretty irresponsible and also uncomfortable with arriving in Lawrence an hour later as we were already not exactly early.  The moral of the story is you should always check the room if you feel like it and always look in the places where you didn’t put anything.  However, I was very grateful I had realized my purse was gone before we were too far away to practically go back.  I had reached in my bag for something completely different.

And windmills.

We retrieved my purse and got back on the road to cover the same ground again.  The trip to Lawrence was fairly uneventful.  We finished listening to The Hobbit.  We stopped for a bathroom break and to dig out PBJ fix in’s.  Building four PBJ’s on the road takes some skill if you only have one spoon and peanut butter in the jelly jar really annoys you.  :)  We also stopped to chase down some tumbleweeds.  Katie wanted one and I thought it would be fun, but didn’t see how me could possibly fit anything else on or in the van.  The boys insisted we could make it work.  :)
And it did!  Crazy.  The wind pushed it up into the canoe and it only took up half of the windshield.

We went to Qudoba in Junction City, KS for dinner.  It was 9:45 when we pulled into the Comfort Inn Uncle Randy had picked out for us.  He met us there and we made plans to join them for breakfast. 

It was a nice large room and we were all feeling kinda cold and crazy from being cooped up in the car for the last two days.  Especially the dogs.  We had a bit of trouble keeping them quiet.  Emily had her first ride in an elevator which was a little comical.  She was only slightly concerned, but kept look at me, waiting for instructions on what she was supposed to do about it. 

Gypsy life.

Day 53

The temperatures dropped and the wind picked up early in the morning.  I burrowed deeper cinching my bag over the top of my head … thinking about the fact that it would take me at least 3 minutes to extract myself from my cocoon if the need arose.  I hopped it wouldn’t arise.  My alarm wen toff at 6:45am.  

Very pretty Airstream.

I got up and prepared for the day.  We got the car packed and poured granola for the road.

We drove down to Ridgway again ...

and then headed up over the pass (I thinks we saw Mt. Sneffels according to the direction Back Country Navigator said it was.  Or we were looking at a very pretty mountain in front of it)

Mt. Sneffles?  Maybe?
past Box Canyon, down to Ouray.  

There appears to have been quite a bit of mining in this area.  Iron, I think.

More mining.

That's what makes me think iron.  The river though this mountains as red as well.

We drove toward Durango, checking the road conditions as we went.  The roads were snowed all around Colorado Springs.  We had a plan to avoid La Veta Pass by going out of our way up 285 to 50.  We would stop in Durango to run our plan by a local who knew the roads.

He's sleeping, sitting up!  Really!

No kidding!
The ladies at the visitor center weren’t aware that there was snow anywhere.  After they pulled up the CDOT map, they disagreed on whether to stay on the highway believing the snow would melt off the passes and the main roads would be better tended to, or take the smaller roads around the pass.  We filled water bottles and checked the sale rack at the gear store on the corner and hit the road. 

Chimney rock and Courthouse Mountain.  I only know that because Jake told me.  :)

Wolf Creek Pass was our first hurdle.  Jake and the visitor center lady had warned me about it.  CDOT said it was “icy”.  There were only a few spots we had to find dry pavement.  We stuck to the highway and all went smoothly until Pueblo.  There the snow began and thickened as well has the traffic.  It was slow going into Colorado Springs.

We finally arrived at the Residence Inn.  It was 3 degrees with an inch or two of snow.  I could feel the inside of my nose freezing with each breath.  We had had hard conversations in the van about my blindnesses because of the way I grew up, most relating to recent events.  I had little strength remaining in my heart and when the receptionist informed me that the pet fee was $75, which was about what we were paying for the room, I was crushed.  I asked about canceling our reservation, but it was too late.  I checked several boarding kennels, but most closed at 6pm and it was 6:30pm.  We talked of cost and how many times we would have to come out to turn on the van to keep it reasonably warm for the dogs. 

Mom got her dander up and asked to speak to the manager.  We waited for a long while before he appeared.  Mom explained we were expecting a pet fee at least in the range of the Residence Inn we had almost stayed at in Grand Junction.  She communicated our plight of not wanting to leave the dogs out on a 3 degree night.  I was afraid she was going to fight with him about the fee.  Instead she only asked that he make the exception of allowing us to cancel our reservation so we have explore other options.  He readily agreed and offered to try to find another Marriott in the area that had a cheaper pet fee, assuring us that $75 was the going rate.   However, the Fiarfield had a $25 fee which they assured us had no weight limit (many hotels have a 30lb limit) even though their website said otherwise.  We thanked him for his efforts and went to the car.

Mom wanted to explore other options especially wished to be closer to Lawrence, KS to help our drive tomorrow.  We check many forecasts and hotel rates.  I found a promising one on and called to check the pet regulations.  They wouldn’t accept pets, but the guy offered to try to find something else that fit our criteria.  The chemical sensitivities issue was confusing and bothersome.  A Days Inn seems to fit all the requirements and had great reviews  We chose to ask to see a room prior to reserving though  After hanging up, I found many bad review, downright scary, on Yelp.  Jeremiah was tired and encouraged a decision, now and close.  He was willing to pay any difference.

We drove to the Fairfield, doubled checked all fees, asked to see a room (the Andes chocolates on the pillows had me sold), reserved online, and paid.  The guy at the desk was quite compassionate and slightly amused by our situation.  The manager at the Residence had talked to him twice on our behalf and I had called to check the weight limit, so he was acquainted with the whole store and was quite good natured about it.  He admired the dogs, I think mostly for our benefit.  Murphy’s Law manifested in Emily putting her paws up on the lower desk when eh greater her.  I had assured him that they were pretty well behaved.  :P

I was feeling much better without another all night drive looming as a possibility, or camping, or messing with boarding the dogs, or staying in a crummy hotel that everyone would be on edge about with complaints and ultimatums.  The evening was a well needed rest. 

Mom called Aunt Bark to confirm we would be on our way through to moor as a follow up to a text alerting them to the possibility this afternoon.

I felt like there was much less to scrub off for this shower compared to the last one, but I had been almost as long without on this time.  Maybe the post shower lotion last time helped.