Morning on the Farm

Four horned Jacob ewe in pasture with other sheep in the background.

View after putting sheep on fresh strip of pasture. This is Columbine.

Four horned Jacob ewe with grass in her mouth standing near a fence.

Eilwen with a mouthful of grass.

Mulberry tree with red and black berries.

This mulberry tree is growing at the edge of the pasture. Last year I used the berries for pie, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort. It seems a shame to not harvest these but they don’t have much flavor, especially compared to the mulberries that I had in Santa Barbara while staying with my friend last weekend.

Wild turkey with two babies walking through grass.

This turkey hen was in the pasture also, calling to her two babies to keep up with her in the tall grass.

Four horn ram lamb, lilac coloring.

This is a nice looking lilac ram lamb. He is out of one of my granddaughter’s ewes and I may keep this one to see how he looks as a yearling

Five Jacob lambs in a pen.

These lambs were weaned just a few days ago. They will be going to the Estes Park Wool Market next weekend where we’ll be showing sheep.

Two four horn Jacob ewes wearing halters with one lamb behind.

These sheep will also go to Estes Park. The Jacob Sheep Show has a class for a family group that is a ewe, her daughter, and her granddaughter. That’s Quora on the right, her daughter, Quince, and Quince’s lamb.

Hot air balloon over the pasture.

We’re used to seeing hot air balloons overhead, but they don’t usually land close by..

Hot air balloon landing just across the road.

This one landed just across the road–on the dirt road, not on the newly planted tomatoes.

Yellow, red, blue, and white hot air balloon just after landing with power lines in front.

I was surprised that they landed so close to power lines.

Hot air balloon after landing with balloon lying on ground before collapsing.

I guess they know what they are doing and the balloon collapsed in the right direction.

Weaving Classes in Camarillo

I spent the weekend staying with a friend in the hills above Santa Barbara and drove an hour south to Camarillo on Saturday and Sunday to teach weaving classes for the Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild.

After presenting a presentation (which is a blend of three that are listed here) for the monthly guild meeting I led a Clasped Warp workshop.

This was a half day workshop. The goal was to learn to wind this clasped warp, but there wouldn’t be time in class for weaving. Participants took their looms home to finish the project.

The following day I taught another class that explored using hand manipulated techniques to create design using a rigid heddle loom. These are techniques that can be used on any loom to weave designs that you can’t create any other way.

These are the samplers I brought to show the techniques and give participants an idea of how much space they could use for each structure.

Danish Medallions.

Danish Medallions using variegated yarn.

Loops, hemstitching design, Crow’s Feet, which is another version of the Danish Medallion technique.

When I got back to my friend’s house each evening I went for a walk in the hills above Santa Barbara.

This was a fun weekend spent visiting with a long time friend and meeting new weavers.

Planting Tomatoes

I didn’t plant tomatoes. They were planting across the road.

Here is the view this morning. It’s a big operation involving lots of people.

Each tomato planting machine is pulled by a tractor. There were four in this field today.

Tomato planting machine operated with a tractor.

There are six people sitting in the machine. Two other people were following. One of those moved the trays of seedlings, keeping up with the planters. The other seemed to be filling in spots where a tomato wasn’t planted. There is the tractor driver too. That is 9 people for each of these machines.

Close view of people sitting in tomato planting machine with trays of tomato seedlings.

Zoomed in view under the canopy.

I was amazed at how smoothly the beds were prepared a few days ago in preparation for this. Three beds are planted at a time, each with two rows of tomato plants.

Caterpillar tractor with a ditcher behind.

I took Ginny for a walk in the evening after everyone had left for the day. The job was not finished. I was surprised to see how much more there is to go. I continue to marvel at the amount of people and equipment involved here. I’m sure that this tractor will pull the ditcher around the field as soon as the planting is finished.

These are the crates that hold the tomato seedlings.

Empty trays that held tomato seedlings

These are stacks of the empty trays. I think I count 28 spaces in a row. These trays are square so that would be 784 seedlings in each tray.

Field of newly planted tomato seedlings.

This is a view of the field looking south to Mt. Diablo, just visible in the haze. Last year I took a photo from this same spot weekly and intended to have a post that followed the sunflower field from start to finish. I still have those photos but never had time to do that. I’ll try to continue with the tomatoes.

Table and benches with sunshade, on wheels for far workers to use.

There were two portable “comfort stations”. I just made that up–I don’t know what they are called. They have seating under a shade and toilets.

I’m not sure if these tanks supply water or fertilizer to the tractors pulling the planting machinery. About a week ago another machine was pulled through that I though injected something as they made the beds–maybe that was fertilizer. I think the seedlings are getting water now to keep them going until the whole job is finished and they can irrigate.

Here is what the planter looks like. There are six chairs facing back.

It’s really hard to describe how this works. I don’t understand it without having seen it in action close up. The seedling is put into that v-shaped thing in the middle. It is on a rotating disc and it gets put in the soil. Every pair of seats had one disc with three of the v-shaped slots and one with two. That means that the two rows of tomatoes in each bed are offset to give the plants more room.

View from where the people sit inside the tomato planting machine

This is the view from sitting in the seat next to this disc. I just found this video to show how one works. It’s not quite the same, but the same function.

Forklift with large crates that hold tomato seedlings.

More infrastructure. There was a forklift to move the crates around.

Front view of tomato planting machinery with water tanks on front of the tractor.

The front view of the tractor with the tanks that I assume hold water. This part of the field is already planted so I think they just took it off the dirt road to park or maybe they needed to go back over this part for some reason.

Field partially planted with tomato seedlings. Planting machinery is in the field.

This shows the beds behind the tractor planted and beds in the foreground not planted yet.

Disc and grader both attached to tractors on a dirt road.

Even more equipment. The disc had gone around the edge of the field followed by the grader to smooth it out. They are parked on the dirt road in this photo.

Rows of newly planted tomatoes.

View to the north.

Field with newly planted tomato seedlings.

Another view. That’s a lot of tomato plants. There are a lot more to plant. I don’t know if they will finish tomorrow. I’m sure they are under pressure to get those seedlings in the ground since those crates were delivered yesterday. At least it’s not very hot right now.

I hope I didn’t bore you with all these photos, but I’m fascinated by this.

Farm Club Retreat in SF

Since 2011 Farm Club members have spent a weekend in January or February at a fabulous house in San Francisco, designed by Julia Morgan and built in 1928 for the Native Daughters of the Golden West. We haven’t been there since 2019 because in 2020 I was still recovering from the 2019 accident and then there was the pandemic. We had scheduled a retreat for January 2023 but the unusual California weather was enough to keep some of us from wanting to leave the farm(s). We rescheduled for May and this was our tenth retreat.

The “Home” is not the corner building, but the one on the left. There is a street level entry with a pioneer library, a museum, and a large meeting room. The second floor is the parlor and the dining room and a big kitchen for guests’ use. The third and fourth floors have bedrooms with shared or private bathrooms. There is access to a small garden in the back and there is an underground walkway and basement rooms with storage, laundry, etc.

We were shocked and dismayed to find that the parlor was not useable. It has been under renovation for over a year. The story is that a fourth floor toilet broke and by the time it was discovered water had severely damaged rooms on the third floor, the second floor parlor and water was running into the street. We usually spend all our free time gathered in the comfy seating areas of the parlor with our spinning and knitting projects. We settled on the dining room and had taken over several of the tables by the time the weekend was over.

This is in the entry way on the first floor. Right now the large meeting room in the shadows is filled with the furniture and paintings that had to be moved from all the water damaged rooms. A “silver lining” of the damage is that there was a discovery of what had been painted over years ago. Look at the next photo to see what was originally under those arches and on the columns.

The original design.

Yet another shock to our plan was that the two eating establishments we counted on were not what they used to be. The “pie place” across the street was a different shop, selling doughnuts but no pies. The Mexican restaurant at the end of the next block was now a place with squid and squab on the menu. So we found a different restaurant more our style within walking distance.

Saturday morning I got up and went for a walk. I took photos of some houses that I admired or because I wanted to remember the paint color. Before my son and DIL moved out of what is now the Weaving House they had started painting. The trim is black but they didn’t have time to do the rest of the house before they moved. I noticed this black trim on this building.

I love the look of these houses and would sure like to see inside. I also think of just how much maintenance there must be to keep these old houses in decent shape.

Saturday morning breakfast. Our traditional breakfast was lemon pie from the corner bakery and then some of our members started bringing homemade pie. Fortunately I made an apple pie and a couple of other people brought pies as well…tradition intact!

We hadn’t decided on a Saturday activity. When we planned the weekend the ideas ranged from visiting the Presidio, the SF Library, or the Botanical Gardens to staying in PJs and hanging out in the parlor. The night before at about midnight the Levi’s Experience popped up in my email. So that’s where we went.

Levi’s is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 501 jeans. This is a 40,000 square foot venue.

From the internet:

The 501 jean is celebrating a major milestone in its hometown this week. From May 19-27, Levi’s is taking over San Francisco’s historic Skylight at the Armory to fete the 150th anniversary of the 501. The popup 501 Experience features an archive museum, factory, marketplace and opportunities for customization. The museum, called Chapters, brings to life the 501’s place in history and its cultural impact. The exhibit demonstrates how the 501 “went from workwear clothing of hardworking laborers and cowboys to a product that mirrored the course of socio-cultural history around the world and transformed fashion,” Levi’s stated.

I have included just a few of the many photos I took. To some of us the 1970’s doesn’t seem that long ago. I remember that my best friend through high school had embroidered the American flag on the back pocket of her cut-offs. I don’t know if they were Levi’s.

In case you can’t read the fine print: “To conserve raw materials during World War II, the back cinch and rivets on the small front watch pocket were removed from these 501s. The famous double stitching on the back pockets was printed to save thread, and eventually rubbed off. The watch pocket rivets and back pocket stitching returned after the war.”

Who besides me didn’t know that that little pocket inside the main front pocket was for a watch?

I have been to Huston Textiles located in a hangar at the old Mather AFB near Sacramento. Years ago I supplied some yarn so they could try out some of the fabric ideas that used our Northern California Fibershed based yarns. They are still using the old looms they started with but this fancy new loom with it’s associated technology is added to their line-up. The new looms will add some dependability to projects with serious time demands.

I don’t remember the details, but there are over 4000 threads in this warp, at 56 ends/inch, and the loom weaves a yard in two minutes. They were running this at 40% speed. I don’t remember if that yard in two minutes was at full speed or for this exhibit. There are separate selvedge threads on those spools above. The orange spools have two threads that are twisted at the edge of the blue yarn so that the selvedges can be cut off and the fabric will be intact.

We spent a lot of time talking with the mill owner and a supporter of the mill. They showed us some of the innovative work they are doing in the local textile production realm.

Huston Textile Company has high tech knitting machines as well to create zero waste garments.

The 501 line-up through the years.

The sign tells the story of these jeans being used to tow a broken-down car home. The jeans and attached rope were sent to the Levi company with a letter about the story.

This is the corner of the Home that we took over. One advantage of working in the dining room is that we could have food out at all times and there was plenty. (Food is not allowed in the parlor.)

This was a great weekend and I look forward to next year.

California Wildflowers and Returning to this Blog

I started writing this blog in 2008, but when I started my SquareSpace website ( in 2019 I switched to writing my blog there. It bothers me that if (when) I stop using the website for business someday and, therefore stop paying for it, I’ll lose all my blog posts. My blog is like my scrapbook and I like to look back at things every so often. Besides, I liked the way that I could find previous posts when I wanted to here. It’s never worked as well on the other site. I hope I can set this up the way I remember from the old days. Hmmm. 2019 was the “old days”, the “before” days. Before the major injury I had and before the pandemic. Things seem different now. Rusty’s blog is still here too although he didn’t write anything after mid- 2019.

Another thought is that the website blog should be business and this one is more the rest of life. However, in my life business and everything else are completely intertwined. Is it realistic to think I can keep up with two blogs? That’s doubtful. So this is a trial to see if I like this and how best to do it.

Green hills with yellow flowers at base.

About two weeks ago we drove to Ukiah to deliver wool to the mill. Knowing this was the best time for wildflowers we planned to find a place to hike on the way back.

Here we are overlapping business and pleasure already. The trip was to deliver wool and I decided to bring my Ashford e-spinner to make use of time while on the road. It works great this way, although it would have been handy to have it on a box instead of the floor.

Map of Lynch Canyon Trailhead

We stopped at a place where Dan remembered seeing a trailhead. Don’t confuse this Lynch Canyon with the one in Solano County. We were in Colusa County. There is nothing here except a place to park and this map, which has seen better days.

The trail is a dirt road and you can see that its going to be very hot once summer is here.

The first part of the hike is across the side of the hills where it looks as though maybe rock had been removed when making the highway. It looks as though the terrain was disturbed years ago. Along side the dirt road we were walking on were these boulders of serpentine.

I am fascinated by this rock and by the photo. Doesn’t it look as though that brown part in the center is something dropping in front of the boulder? Or is that just me seeing it that way? That is part of the rock.

I am disappointed that I don’t know all the plant ID the way I think I used to. However I don’t remember ever seeing this grass. It is quite different than the usual species we see.

I can identify an oak tree, however, even if I’m never sure of which oak it is.

About a mile or so away from the main road we found this building. There are old tables and chairs and evidence of electric lights. There is also a menu on the wall for “Roadkill Cafe” and it includes things like Chunk of Skunk and Awesome Possum. This is obviously a more modern addition and you can find downloads of various versions on-line. I looked because I was trying to find out some history of this building. The best I could find is the description of a hunters’ cabin at this location. It would have taken quite a bit of effort to get this building here and also power it (a generator for lights?). Or maybe it was brought here without the plan of ever having power to it again. So it remains a mystery to me.

I was intrigued by these flowers, thinking that I recognized them and that they don’t get any more showy than this. Later I found one that had finished it’s blooming but I don’t have a photo. When it pops open it looks like a white papery dandelion. I have photos of that in one of the next blog posts I’ll write here from when I went to Jepson Prairie. It is called Blow Wives.

After a stream crossing past the cabin we found several trails going in different directions. We chose this one.

This flower is Ithuriel’s Spear, a native perennial.

Purple wildflowers in green grass with oak trees behind.

In quantity, they were quite showy.

We didn’t reach the end of the trail. We kept going a little farther to see over the ridge, but there was never a ridge top to look over, just more hills and trees. Without a map we decided that we’d probably gone far enough.

As we turned around and came back down the trail we did have a great view of where we’d been. You can see the dirt road through the grassy area at the base of the ridge on the left.

Buttercups I think.

A view of the Road Kill Cafe from the other direction.

Just beyond that point it looks as though the creek used to be dammed. This is quite a sizeable dam. It’s obviously not being used now but it makes me wonder again about the history here.

View from the car on the way home.

So I hope that I can format this blog the way I remember it from before. Then I’ll have to decide where I want to live…at Squarespace or here at WordPress… or both?

We’ve Moved

I’ll put out more info later about how to follow the blog, but the new posts are on my new website. The previous posts are still here–all ten years!! But I’ll be adding them to the new site eventually. I’m leaving for Texas in the morning so no more now than this annoucement. Partly because Rusty wants to write a blog post before I quit tonight. His blog is still here for the moment.


Christmas, 2018

What a relief to have the lead-up to “the holidays” over. When you’re in a business that counts on sales during one month and those sales are dependent on 1. how many things you are able to make, and 2. how well you market your business, the pace becomes more and more frenetic. So Christmas Day for me was a relief. Work was over. The house was clean (as clean as it gets) and fixed up (after we’ve lived here for almost twenty years and finally replaced floors and some windows.) We had pretty Christmas lights outside. The weather was beautiful. The food was easy to prepare (don’t peel potatoes this year and see how it goes–it went fine). Best of all family was here (except missing the TX branch).

Here are snapshot photos of the day.IMG_1484Matt brought his drone.DJI_0025The sheep have been in the barn and corral area for the last month because the pasture is soggy and I’m waiting for the grass to get some growth, but I set up the fence to let them out onto part of it for the day.PANO0003-2The drone gives us a great view of the property. There is a video taken with the drone on my website.

DSC_5531We opened gifts. I bought Dan a series of used books that are by author Stan Lynde. Our last name is unusual and we had found a book by this author on our most recent road trip. Dan got about half way into it and found that pages 140-180 were repeated and 180 to 120 were missing. When I looked into replacing the book I found that the author was dead, his publishing company no longer existed, and that there were about 7 or 8 books in the series. So I hunted them all down and wrapped up the Stan Lynde books for Dan Lynde.IMG_1455Dan made DIL, Meryl, a marker for her parking spot to reflect her new job as an Orange Theory coach. IMG_1477My daughter sent us all aprons embellished by the grandkids. IMG_1456Time for getting dinner in the oven. Chris, mac and cheese lover that he is, has become a cream sauce expert.DJI_0051While dinner was cooking we went out for another drone session…DJI_0038…and a family photo. IMG_1497Dinner on the table.IMG_1501We may have started a new tradition with a game from Santa. It’s a card game based on the old computer game, The Oregon Trail, that my kids loved to play years ago. IMG_1503You can play with up to six players so we created teams so that all 11 of us could play. We may study the rules between now and the next time we play. Our wagon team eventually all died–there may be better strategy than we used. IMG_1511After pies (pumpkin and apple) we moved onto a game my niece has on her phone. IMG_1518Trying to get my brother to guess Valley Girl.IMG_1514A lively time was had by all.DSC_5516And to all a good night.


I was looking in Lightroom for a photo of ewe # 8056 and I typed in 856 by mistake. I saw a selection of photos that were fun to review. Here they are.

IMG_0856This is etched into the barn floor after one of our concrete pours. Papa-San was my father-in-law. Dave is my brother. IMG_3856 And speaking of writing on the floor, this was taken Across the Road, not as permanent as the concrete etching except in my photos.IMG_8562My oldest son side job is climbing trees to remove branches or, as in this case, to remove a tree that should no longer be where it is.DSC_3856Sunflowers.IMG_8569Wedge weave rug at Convergence in Reno last summer. DSC_0856Hiking in Arches National Park.DSC_0856-2Hiking on the PawPaw Trail in Maryland last spring.DSC_3856-2Taken from our road trip in September on our way back from Washington.18056 Quartz-headThe photo I was searching for when I mistakenly typed  856? This is ewe lamb 8056, Meridian Quartz, a 6-horn ewe lamb. People talk about Jacob sheep having six horns but I’ve never seen one that has room for six really distinct big horns.