Monday, August 23, 2010

Clackamas County Fair!

Yesterday, Sunday August 22nd, we visited one of my favorite places in the whole wide world... the Clackamas County Fair! Every August for the past 30 years, give or take a year or two, I've attended the Clackamas County Fair. Every year my grandparents would take me to the fair and indulge me with animals, sugar and rides. This year was no different, except that I only rode one ride and couldn't find the deep fried Snickers guy.

As always, visiting with the sheep, goats and Brahma cows was the highlight of my trip. I think the kids really enjoyed the Brahma's as well. This year there was a new addition to, in my knowledge, the fairgrounds. They had an exotic animal display. It was heartbreaking for me to walk along the isle and pass cage after cage of endangered animals.

There was a bobcat, a seval, a Bengal tiger, a caracal, an ocelot, a large tortoise, a Barbary lion, two tiger cubs and a leopard cub. To see them in their small enclosures, these amazingly powerful animals reduced to, at largest, a 10 x 10 cage, scrounging for ice cubes, I was overwhelmed with sadness for their plight. I understand that the most "impressive" of these animals are not only endangered but as with the Barbary lion, cease to exist in the wild; I have to believe that there's a better conservation tactic for them then to traverse the County Fair circuit.

Then off to the goats and sheep we went! Jason made great friends with nearly every goat we met along the way. There were some beauties! I kept trying to talk Nik into letting me bring this one or that one home; though luckily he didn't listen to me. I can't handle any more! There always seems to be a piggy mama and her brood and this year I was not disappointed. They were so adorable! Even the mama seemed to be smiling to me. Nik and I talked about the possibility of purchasing one next fair time, contingent of course upon the building of the barn.

Speaking of barns, we'll be rebuilding the fence and creating new areas for the flock and the herd to reside if anyone would like to throw in their hammer or shovel to assist. One years' supply of eggs your effort!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tidings from around the homestead!

It's been such a busy month! The wildflowers have given way to the sunflowers and the chicks are getting so much bigger. We've also got some new additions to our duck flock.
I'm in the process of planning the Habitat barn and fenced areas. I'm so lost! I found a wonderful book called How To Build Animal Housing and I'm trying to decide which barn to build, how to build it, what materials I can salvage and how I'd like to see the Habitat divided. Ahhhh! I'd really appreciate any assistance anyone out there could offer with regard to my barn issue.

The Three Sisters Garden is growing wonderfully! Because we had such a funky start to our summer, the corn isn't as far along as I'd like, though I'm encouraged by the growth we've witnessed this last month.
And the Spiral Garden is growing wonders! The ducks have fresh grown lettuce in their ponds every day and we have never ending dinner salads. Unfortunately, the peas were a no-show (thanks, in part, to a certain gourmet chicken) and the artichoke has only yielded two tasty buds. All in all, I find myself really proud of our hard won garden.
We've also picked up 4 White Breasted turkeys. Although I realize they're primarily used for meat production, I'd like to see if we can extend their lifetimes and offer our dinner table a healthier alternative to traditionally raised turkeys. So far, these little guys are voracious, so we've taken to adding garden greens and fruit and vegetable table scraps to their meal regiment.
In addition to the new turkeys, we've also picked up 5 new duckies. Two Khaki Campbell's, two Runners and one Peking. They're maturing beautifully in a brooder in Nana's yard, right alongside Calvin, Cooper, Mrs. Quackers and Gretchen. At the time this photo was taken, Wanda had decided to raid the chickens meal and had abandoned her duck and goose buddies for a short time.
Wanda and Daily were the two little duckies that were found at a local school and have grown into beautiful female mallards. Like her brethren, Daily took flight and joined a flock of passing wild ducks and we've not seen her since. Wanda, on the other hand, has decided to remain as part of our family. But oh, how we miss our Daily!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Scrap Candles

So I save everything. Even the ends of my candles. You know... the stubs at the bottom that never seem to burn up all the way. I save all the little wax ends in a little tin, up on one of my shelves. Sometimes I also pick up half burned candles that I find in free boxes while journey-ing around. Those too go up on the "reuse" shelf. Well, this morning before the kids got up, I reached up to put an emptied out milk container up on the "reuse" shelf and guess what happened? If you guessed that I knocked the wax tin right down on my head, you'd have guessed correct. Damn, that smarted!!! So in addition to changing out the lavender in my lavender oil jar that's sitting, stewing, on my kitchen window sill (the one and only facing south) I decided to throw in some candle making. And cleaning. Oh Lordy! The cleaning! The kids and I started by harvesting any wax we could find and then melted! Melted! Melted! We took some of the spent lavender from the stewing lavender oil jar and added them to a couple of the candles. Despite the fact that they've been cookin' for 7 days in the direct son, they still retain some of their awesome scent. By the time we were done, there was wax everywhere! Just look at these photos, the counter and stove were spotless when we started. Ohhhh, we're such piggies!

New Tattoo

Yesterday, Stella and I biked up to Pussycat Tattoo and I got myself some new art. I had the opportunity to get this done for a good price by a good tattoo artist and I decided to take it! The last tattoo I got was just about 6 years ago and I'd been wanting to get this design done for awhile now. Maybe 4 years or so. Don't let anyone tell you that I'm impetuous! I wanted something to signify breath, and this design does. I often draw these type of spirals, rolling into each other and out of another, enough to fill a page if my mind is busy building empires elsewhere. Anyhow, I'm happy with the finished result. Stella had a blast in the tattoo parlor as well and she biked up to the shop with me like a champ! Yay Stella!