Sunday, April 27, 2008

Geocaching Fun

So, have you heard of Geocaching? I haven't felt like sewing so I have been out trying to get a little exercise by chasing down hidden geocaches. Briefly, geocaching is a sport developed by techies as a way of using their handheld GPS units for something other than a paperweight. All over the world (literally) there are caches hidden and then recorded at A cache can be very small and only have room for a small pencil and a rolled up piece of paper for a log to ammo cans. I've even heard of some in 5 gallon buckets. All caches have a log book for the finder to sign and larger ones have little trinkets for cachers to exchange with. The general rule of thumb is if you take something, replace it with something. To add to the fun there are traveling items like Travel Bugs or GeoCoins. They have tracking numbers on them and after they are logged in the owner gets a message about where the Trackable is now. I have one Travel Bug in Australia (She's traveled 20,000 miles since 2002) and another in California (She's traveled 5,000 miles since 2006).

Yesterday we traveled to Chelan to eat lunch with my nephew and ex-sis-in-law. He recently turned 21 and this was a great chance to get to see him. It didn't take me long to narrow down some caches in the Chelan area and so after lunch we went to find a few of them. The ones in town weren't difficult and didn't show any great sites, but then we took the "scenic" route out of town to search for two more. I've never driven down the old dirt road that leads along the Chelan Gorge and it was a real treat. It had it all, impressive scenery, cleverly hidden caches, and beautiful sunshine. My grandson, who was along for the ride, made out since in both of these caches were matchbook cars as trading items. Nothing says COOL to a 2 year old better than Grandma handing over new cars to him. :)

We made one last stop for a micro cache along the way and there we got skunked. My husband even got into the act of looking for it and he couldn't find it. We both have different hunting skills. I tend to look at the big picture and hope something jumps out at me before painstakingly narrowing things down, while Hubby is great at focusing on small things and picking them out. He is always picking faces of people we know out of crowds in the most unexpected places. He's not an official geocacher (no handle or username), but occasionally helps me out when I drag him along.

Anyway, I found five out of six we attempted for the day, so that was good. Today I have a few more to go out and find. and it looks like a good day for it. Who knows, maybe the new cache I placed earlier in the weekend and that was just published early this morning will be plundered by someone else who is out looking for a little bit of exercise on a sunny Sunday morning. It's supposed to be rainy and cool during the work week so maybe I'll do some machine quilting then.

Have a wonderful day.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baby Chicks

My poor son is under the impression that because he raises acres and acres of beautiful fruit, he also know how to raise this case chickens. He told me earlier this spring (and I use that word loosely) that he's going to raise 80 baby chicks and plans to sell the eggs at his fruitstand.

That sounds like a good idea, right? is much harder to raise baby chicks than he imagined. We've had such a cold spring that the heat lamps over the brooding boxes of chicks have gotten a real workout. One morning when he checked on the chicks he found that half of the chicks were dead. Somehow the heat lamp had overheated the box the chicks were in and it was smouldering, effectively killing the chicks by smoke inhalation. A few days later the other heat lamp's bulb exploded killing more of the chicks.

Now let me insert here that I have successfully raised broods of baby chicks, but I give all the credit to my Dad for making sure I was doing it right. My husband knows about these things too, but my Dad was always my go-to guy for advice about anything to do with any aspect of farming. Before he passed away Dad taught my son everything he knew about raising fruit, but I don't think he touched on the animal husbandry skills that my son seems so lacking in.

Hopefully he won't decide to raise lambs, pigs, or calves anytime soon. I think he's probably better off concentrating on what he knows...raising incredible fruit!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Finally Spring!

Spring has been slow in arriving this year. I know, I know, I added a picture three weeks ago of my crocus in bloom welcoming spring, but there was a bump in the road on the way to warmer days. We've had snow, hail, and lots of gray days the past few weeks...but today and tomorrow hold the promise of actually being spring-like! Hurray!

So while the coldness persisted I did manage to get some extra quilting done. I now have two quilts sandwiched and ready to go. With warm weather though, it might be awhile before I get back to them.

I've also had the chance to visit some quilt shops around the state as part of my boycott of our local shop...The Quilting Bee in Spokane is always fun to visit and they have a nice selection of fabric. Unfortunately, their prices are the highest I've ever seen, with most fabrics running $10-$11 a yard. I picked out a few half yard pieces and snuck out of there for less than $40. I also visited The Buggy Barn. They have a strong following of quilters who favor the primitive/country style of quilting. It's not really my style, so I managed to get out of there with only a yard of a good background fabric. My final stop was a nice shop over in Seattle, specifically in the Ballard area of the city. It's called the Quilt Loft and I was pretty impressed...even more so when I discovered that the owner is only 30 years old. It was obvious this store is owned by a young woman since the fabrics were bright, cheerful, and full of the more modern prints that hark back to the 70's styles. There were great samples of not only quilts, but also bags and clothing. They carry quite a bit of the Amy Butler line. I spoke with the owner asking if she was getting young people into the shop to learn how to sew and she said it was growing all the time. That's great news...getting new blood into the hobby will only help it grow for all of us. This final stop on my quilt shop browsing snagged me a few yards of some beautiful fabrics as well as restocking my need for some Steam A Seam 2. I sure hope she does well since this shop is close my son's house I'll be a frequent visitor on my trips over the mountains. My next shop visit will be in Ephrata...we have a wedding to attend down there in May and I've informed my husband we'll be going early so I can stop by this shop. I've heard great things about the selection and the prices.

Have a great spring everyone!