Spring forward

I spent my birthday with friends and hanging around the house working on projects. I did a little garden clean up, and walking past Barclay’s grassy stickball area, where he spent much of his time chilling out and watching the neighbors, there was a single little purple flower coming up.

What a special find! I miss that boy every day.

Woodworking Project: Pin Looms

I do not know much about weaving, but my friends in 4H do, and when one of them said they needed some pin looms for the kids to use to learn weaving in the new Fiber Arts Workshop they were organizing, I thought that sounded like a job for my new workshop. And also an excuse to go buy a drill press.

Going with pictures online, and the plans on this website http://adventuresinpinloomweaving.com/2018/08/02/pin-loom-templates/

I set out to make 15 5.5 inch pin looms. I started out by taking 1 x 2s and ripping them in half on the table saw, then I cut them on the miter saw, using a stop block to make them all axactly the same, and cut the 60 sides I would need.

I glued them together using this neat frame clamp, but I had to bring them inside and do it on the dining room table, because it was too cold out in the garage for the glue to set. Then I drilled a hole in each corner and glued in an oak pin, to help hold them together if the kids dropped them, which is sure to happen. I sanded it all smooth so hopefully nobody gets any slivers. To sand them, I created another little jig on my bench that I could set them on to help hold them still while I sanded without risking having the sander whip them out of my hand, or sanding my fingers.

Then, using a guide clamped on my drill press table I used the template from the website, printed on heavy cardstock, to drill the holes in the correct positions, and the guide on the table ensured they were all in a neat line on each side. Then I just had to gently tap in about a million wire brads. The pre-drilled holes made them go in nice and straight without splitting the wood. The benchtop jig was again handy for keeping the frame still while I tapped away.

And in no time, it was done:

I was happy to be able to do this for the 4H club. I think its such a great program and helps the kids learn all kinds of life skills in addition to the animal care and craft skills, while having fun and making friends, of course. And I know the club would be hard pressed to have paid for these looms at a retail price, especially since they didn’t get to do their Christmas Tree Sale because of Covid this year. They cost me less than $20 and a bit of time, and I got to use ALL my woodshop tools, including the table saw for the first time(!) and I got practice using stop blocks and guides, I got practice creating a thing and then figuring out to make 14 more of them in the easiest way possible, and I got the satisfaction of a job well done.

Also, the last time I worked in my woodshop was when Barclay was sick, I finished staining and finishing the Garden Bench. He liked to come hang out with me in the garage and sleep on the floor because it was cool, even before he got sick. I didn’t really feel like getting back out there without my buddy. Then Christmas came and Dave was using the shop for his toy business, so there was no hurry. This was a nice little project to do to warm back up to it all.

I couldn’t have done this without the Weekend Woodworker course teaching me to think about jigs and stop blocks and things like that. I have owned my miter saw for about 20 years, building stuff on stage and around the farm, and not even once did I ever thinking of using a stop block! So the course has already made me a better woodworker, and I’ve only done three projects! I can’t wait to proceed to the next one!


I’ve put off writing this for a few weeks, because I’d like it not to be true. As mentioned in the last post, we cut our vacation short to rush home because Barclay was ill. He had pancreatitis. He spent three days in the hospital, and then got to come home with lots of medicine to take, and we were able to care and love on him for a couple days, but it got worse, and we had to rush him back to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. The next day they gave us bad news, it had gotten much worse, and we had to let him go.

Barclay was such a good boy. He was mellow and easy going, so clever, and sweet, and loving. He was also a real pest, a prankster, and had a sense of humor. He loved to do bad stuff to get attention, but it was never too bad, and he got lots of attention either way. He just loved to interact. He was confident, and carefree, and loved everybody he met. He gave big slurpy kisses. He slept in the tub, but he liked to sneak up on the bed before I came to bed and lay on my pillow, where he would get cuddles before retiring to the tub.

Barclay was our ‘back up eskimo’ to help soften the blow of losing our sweet Alki. They overlapped a couple years, and he did indeed soften the blow. He was really a special boy. We loved him lots. We met Sherry at a training class where I was so surprised to find someone else who had two eskimos! We became a big happy pack, doggie sitting for each other and going to the dog park, or just hanging out. I know Scott and Sherry loved him lots too. He was a lucky dog to have so many friends.

Our ‘backup eskimo’
With his buddy Chester
Sheepherding lessons!
Keeping me company at the toy store.
At the indoor puppy park
Growing up fast next to Alki
With his buddy, Jack
With Sherry, and Sake and Sitka
At a friend’s birthday party!
Roughhousing with his new sister, Navi
Airstream Camping
Helping work the wrinkles out of my first backdrop
Playing with baby Kiwi
Acrobatic Stickball!
Not usually a lap dog
Just chillin’ on my desk
The Pack
That time he ate my new Fluxx Deck
Snuggly on my pillow
Mr Smudgy Face
Stepped away for a second, came back to find him taking over the sewing machine
In Stevenson, on the river
Slurpy kisses
Walked in to find him sitting on the kitchen table, like that’s just a normal thing you do
Having a man to man talk
Recovering from his ‘summer of seizures’
Snow day!
Standing on the end table, totally not up to something…
Busted stealing a napkin
My sweet, happy boy

Barclay was super smart, and while I was training him, he was often training me! Usually he would have us well trained before I even realized it. He had stretched out his bedtime cookie (originally a reward for coming inside) into 3-4 cookies at bedtime!

For almost 13 years he was my Best Boy. The house seems so empty without him causing trouble and stealing things out of the recycling bin, or getting up in places he’s not supposed to be up on. Life with him was a constant surprise. He made us laugh all the time. Sweet Navi now has to get used to going for walks without him to give her confidence and take all the petting from the neighborhood kids.

They say every owner gets the dog they deserve. I’m sure I didn’t do anything to deserve such a wonderful boy. Rest in peace, sweet Mr Barclay.

Deception Pass Camping

In October we decided we needed a vacation from this miserable year of lockdowns and Covid, and scheduled a spot that was recommended to us at Deception Pass. It is an area we haven’t explored, and thought it would make a nice getaway. We arranged for Scott and Sherry to watch the dogs, and made our escape.

After all the wildfires, the trailer needed a good scrub.

We had reserved a spot that was supposed to have a great view, but t the last minute I realized that we might be hard pressed to last a whole week on one battery, even with LED lights! So I asked the ranger when we checked in if we could upgrade to a spot with electricity, and she found us one. It turned out to be a super tight back-in, on a corner and downhill, but Dave managed it perfectly as always.

Cell Service required some contortions…

Although you can’t tell through the trees, there was a bit of a view of the lake, though it was so foggy it didn’t really matter.

It was too foggy to even see the bridge everyone is always on about

It was a very ‘boaty’ place, which I was quite enjoying, because I have a thing for boats right now. It’s a phase I’m going through.

Saw this neat toy on the street in LaConner I think
Cleared up a bit by afternoon
Making faces 🙂

We were having a pretty good trip. I had actually packed well and we had food for breakfasts and dinners without having to go hunting around, so we could enjoy lunches out and about.

The next day we went to Port Townsend, which involved a Ferry ride.

Port Townsend was also Boaty
We had a nice lunch with a view of the water

We were waiting in line at the Ferry dock to go home, when we got a call from Sherry that Barclay was not feeling well. He had been throwing up, and looked shaky. We discussed it and decided to wait and see. But by the time we got back to the trailer we decided he should go to the emergency vet. So they tried to do that, while we packed up the trailer, thank goodness for having a simple setup, cut our vacay short, and headed home.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

2020-03-13 20.07.32

This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.





Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

2020-02-18 22.40.26

2020-02-09 21.03.15-1

surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

2020-02-29 14.02.07

I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

2020-03-15 16.40.44

It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (13)

Barclay has some ups and downs

One night after an uneventful day in July, Barclay was restless and whiny and couldn’t lay down and go to sleep like he normally would have after dinner. He would come bark at me like he wanted something. We even took him for an extra walk, but he still couldn’t settle down.

2019-07-31 20.18.28

I was really worried since it was out of character, so we took him to the vet around 10pm, and the vet decided he might have hurt his back, gave us some pain meds and sent him home. We got home and I took him outside for a potty break, and he flopped over on his side and had a seizure! We called the vet and they said we could bring him back in, or observe him and see if the pain med helped, so we decided to do that since it would be less stressful. But he continued to be whiny and restless, and just couldn’t go to sleep. By then it was 2am, and we were all very tired, and he just couldn’t stop, then he had another seizure and threw up, so we raced him back to the emergency vet.

This time the vet said she thought the whole thing was seizure related. The vet decided to keep him, and we were waiting in the exam room while they got a spot ready for him in the back, and I put him in my lap and he finally fell asleep for a couple minutes, he was so tired!

They gave him medicine to stop the seizures and kept him until the next day, but we were there until after 4am by that point. So i called in sick to work the next day and worried about him all day. Wednesday afternoon he came home, and they gave him an anti-seizure medicine, which sedated him a bit. The vet said it would get better in 2-3 weeks as he got used to the medicine. Navi was happy to have him back, and hung out right with him.

2019-07-17 18.31.42

But it’s was hard to get him to eat. We were fussing over him, trying to get him to eat anything, because he was never fat, and I’m worried about him not eating enough. I bought him different dog foods, people food, baby food, but nothing much interested him. Dave and I were handfeeding him all kinds of good food just to get something in him. He seemed like he would take a few bites to be polite, then turn his head away to say he was done.

2019-07-21 09.43.48

Also, he was waking us up multiple times a night barking for what seemed like no particular reason. Everyone was getting really tired. It was like having an infant in the house. He didn’t mean it though, he was tired too!

2019-07-18 17.59.18

After three weeks of this, he wet the bed overnight a couple times, so I talked to the vet and she decided the side effects were too much, and had me wean him off of the medicine. We quickly saw improvement, with him getting his appetite back, sleeping better, and not being so groggy.

2019-07-30 19.32.59

So far so good. He is 11, and has been very healthy, though he did have two or three seizure incidents over the past few years, which the vets could find no reason for. He hasn’t had a seizure since that night. Hopefully he will not have any more issues for a while.

2019-07-24 19.10.17

This year’s Garden – Spring

When we lived in the country, I had a lovely big garden that I worked very hard on. The last year I was able to do it I was really getting the hang of it, and grew lovely big tomatoes and squash and herbs and really enjoyed myself. But then I went back to work full time.

Eight years later, we no longer live in the country, but I still want my garden. One constant problem in our current backyard is the plum tree. It produces a bumper crop of plums every year, and the ones that fall on the ground get eaten by the dogs, who also chew up the pits, which are bad for them. So after surrounding the plum tree with a dog fence for a couple years, we finally put up a proper fence around it.

2019-03-11 18.16.19

And I thought, hey, this looks like a good place for a garden! So last year I did a little raised bed and put cauliflower and kale in it, and the aphids and slugs ate it up. I did a few tomatoes and basil in pots as well, and that was more successful. So this spring I decided to really go for it. I’ve always wanted tall raised beds so I wouldn’t be on my hands and knees weeding. But in order to have a nice garden in spring, you have to start well before that, by planting seeds in February.

I started out by spending early winter watching videos on YouTube, my favorite channel being The Rusted Garden . I find him very relaxing to listen to, and he makes it seem easy, gives simple instructions, and basically doesn’t add a bunch of drama to it. Just good, straightforward advice, and he’s even in the same planting zone, though on the other end of the country, so his advice on timing is pretty accurate for this area too.

I ordered seeds for a modest garden from Territorial Seeds, as I always did for my country garden. They are in Oregon, so I know they will sell stuff that works in the NW, and I’ve always had great success with their seeds (not so much with the usual garden center seed packets, those have generally been very hit or miss in germinating).


A month later, I was thinning them out and moving them into dollar-store pots.

2019-03-18 19.05.27

Next thing you know I was taking them out for visits to experience the wind and the sunshine, but bringing them back in if it got too breezy or chilly.

2019-03-24 16.16.03

So, this experiment was going well, time to get the garden in order. The garden area was covered in failing weed barrier. I want my raised bed plants to be able to reach down to the soil if they want to. So I pulled up the weed barrier where the beds are going. I also thought I would put a little shed in there, but once I spaced out the footings for an 8 ft shed, it was going to take up the whole garden 😦

2019-03-23 11.52.30

Chives went in pots, broccoli went in the existing bed, and we tore down the old arbor in the yard and temporarily piled it in the garden so the dogs wouldn’t get stuck on the nails in it. That sort of felt like we were going backwards for a bit.

2019-04-04 19.22.55


And those tomatoes and peppers just kept getting bigger! I planted six of each type I wanted to grow, and didn’t expect them ALL to do so well! I picked my favorites and potted them up, and offered free tomatoes to all my friends. This is mid April. Maybe next year I won’t start the seeds until March!

2019-04-21 12.46.17


2019-04-30 18.16.21

I built raised beds out of 2x4s and cedar fence boards. I know they won’t last forever, but if I like them, I figure I can make them sturdier later. I filled them lasagna style – straw, grass clippings, old leaves, more grass clippings, dirt from the other side of the house, and finally 6 cubic yards (4 bags) of raised bed soil.

I should mention I had lots of help throughout the process.


Our yard bloomed early with Deadnettle, Grape Hyacinth, and some bulb I call bluebell. The fruit trees were blooming and the yard was alive with birds and bees and friendly bugs. I wanted to encourage this, so I just left it alone and enjoyed it!


Navi was doing a bit of rototilling over by the apple tree to take care of our mole problem. She got two of them!

They also followed me into the garden one day and caught a baby rabbit that was hiding in the Rosemary bush. Barclay caught it and let Navi have it and she ate the whole thing (ugh!) They will never forget that, and are always hoping to find something else hiding in the garden, so they are not allowed in there anymore.

2019-05-25 10.28.19


2019-05-09 08.42.16

Finally we had a late last frost in early may, and a week later things looked safe to put my little friends in their new home! Two of the big heirloom tomatoes and one cherry variety here with two mini bell peppers, two more cherrys, a pepper, and a slicer in pots near the patio.

2019-04-30 18.16.26

Then I mowed the Deadnettle when it was done blooming, and the yard looks great! All the clippings went into the next raised bed, where I topped it off with raised bed soil, and planted greens. I know it was a little late for cool weather crops, because we started getting hot temps, but I wanted to try. Kale, Chard, Lettuce, Spinach, and Radishes.

2019-05-10 19.07.03


The pots by the patio were looking good, and I added pots full of parsley, cilantro and basil seeds.


About this time I realized the water by the house was a LONG way from the garden, so I looked online and found a used rainbarrel setup. This way I can fill the barrel every few weeks, and water out of the barrel.

2019-05-12 18.28.54

2019-05-25 10.24.27

I added a third big bed for beans and cucumbers, and I will build a trellis for those, so I thought they could share a bed and a trellis. Then three low beds for squash, since they will need room to spread out. Zucchini, Butternut, and Acorn. I also mulched all the beds and pots with pine shavings.

I added some flowers outside the garden gate for color. Those pots inside have a bunch of different herb seeds planted, but they are slow to come up.

2019-05-30 20.41.33

2019-05-30 20.41.39

The tomatoes are doing great, but I read that Marigolds and Basil are good companions, so I added some marigolds, and a couple different varieties of Basil in the bed.

2019-05-30 20.38.40

And that’s about it for spring. We are definitely heading into summer now (despite the monsoon rains we got the past week, with temps significantly cooler than the previous week which was in the 90s). The tomatoes are covered in flowers this week, and a few little tomatoes have started forming. It’s really amazing to see food growing from plants I started from seeds! It’s like a little miracle every time.

Nothing to do now, but kick back and enjoy our patio.

2019-06-06 20.03.59-1

Winter Artwork

Wow, it has been a long, cold, boring winter. I don’t remember a winter that has been this cold, or snowed so many times. We usually barely get any snow, and usually get none at all. But this winter…well, at least the dogs enjoyed it!



Not sports car weather!



I do love it when the trees look like this, especially against a bright blue sky.



And I love the dramatic shadows cast by the low winter sun.


Tree Shadow

So I cleaned it up in photoshop and made a piece of art of it. That is actually a pretty nice way to pass the time when trapped inside by winter cold.


Mount Navi

Winter Navi.

We also went to a Winter Woolies horse show and took some photos. I love doing horse photos.

English Horse2

English Horse 4


And then for something completely different:

boats in the bay

This piece was made from a screenshot from Red Dead Redemption 2. I added the textures to make the sky-glow and painted it. I was really happy with how it turned out.

So that’s how I’ve been fighting the winter doldrums! Luckily it is almost over, and spring is on its way.

A ‘Me’ Party!

The Photo Club assignment for this month was to make a composite photograph, so I composited the heck out of that challenge! I set the camera up on a tripod and raced around changing clothes and setting myself in different scenes around the room, then merged them all together with a little photoshop magic, to produce a party of ‘Me’s hanging around the house with the dogs.