A busy summer so far

We’ve been doing a lot of gardening between the two houses. It has been very hard to bring back the yard at 203. Pruning, digging, planting, digging, mowing, digging. You get the picture. I’ll post pics when I have a bit more done. We had some really windy days, and my rose trellis snapped. argh. I’ve sort of fixed it, but it needs totally redone, which won’t happen until the fall when I trim back the rose bush.

There’s been a lot of work as well. Dan has been doing a wiring job for the school district. I’ve been doing sewing. I’ve also repaired two chairs. Check it out!

Life has been busy with SCA meetings, SCA beledi dance and bobbin lace classes, School board stuff and the Huerfano RE-1 Schools Foundation. We are working on a mill levy overide to provide more money for our school district. In order to make it a bit more sustainable, we are setting up a foundation that can raise money any time for the schools. If you’d like to contribute, you can send a check to the Huerfano RE-1 Schools Foundation care of the Huerfano RE-1 School District, 201 E. 5th, Walsenburg, CO. 81089.

Life has been…

Crazy? Stressful? Awkward? Daft? Over and under booked? Yeah. All of those.

Meetings. Hello, my name is Jaye, and I have a serious case of S.T.P. Syndrome. (Same Ten/Twenty/Thirty People at a meeting.) It comes of living in a small rural community, where there just aren’t enough people around to fill out all the various positions at a meeting. I’ve had board meetings, committee meetings, Maker group meetings, SCA meetings, festival meetings, etc. I’m still the school board president, and Celtic Music Festival chair. I’ve tried to resign as secretary from the district accountability group. (DAAC) I’ve cheered when some of them have been canceled. And… I’ve had to set up a few. sigh… I think I need Meetings Anonymous… (oh wait… that’s another meeting!)

Cars. A couple of weeks ago, my parent’s Subaru started acting up. A mysterious oil leak. Turned out that the engine had a fault, that all Subaru’s of that era and engine type develop. We took it to our favourite mechanic who suggested we take it to a place in Pueblo. After an hour, that place got back to us. Their recommendation… Junk it. The cost of the repair was prohibitive, and no guarantee that it would stay fixed. The result is that we have a new to us Subaru. It’s a 2000 Forester. Runs well, and Dan has been making the minor repairs it needed.

new car

Work has been crazy. Line up a job, have it canceled. Think we have a free day, job pops up. The inconsistent income is driving me crazy. However, it has had an upside. We were able to move 99% of our stuff out of storage and into the garage. Granted, that doesn’t mean I’m any more organized. We tried to find some of the stuff we needed like clothing, some dishes, etc. Found about 45% of what we were looking for. Oh well… At least I got my desk! I have missed it!


Meanwhile, the last of the garden was harvested. Onions and leeks. ๐Ÿ™‚ We still have kale outside, but at the moment it lives under a plastic box. I’m using them up as fast as I can. There isn’t any more room in the freezers for a shred more of food.

Leeks and onions

I also turned 56 on November 9th. It was an alright birthday. I had lots of stuff to do, so I didn’t get to indulge myself in snuggling in a chair with a good book and being waited on hand and foot by Dan. sigh… There is always next year. I did get some nice prezzies though. A tool box, and a coloring book. ๐Ÿ™‚

While I don’t expect things to calm down or mellow out any time soon, at least I have things to occupy my time!

Last but not least, it snowed!

Switching Centuries

Last week was a small bit of hell. There is an event in late winter which we had planned to attend. This is Corazon de Leon III. It’s held in La Veta and put on by our own shire. Shire Villaleon. I wanted to make some new clothes for the event, as it is a Winter event. A nice balance to Battlemoor, held at the end of August.

I bought the fabric in November, and figured that I’d have PLENTY of time to make two hats, a tunic and a new overdress. Silly me. Life in it’s own way got busy. So, on February 1st, I put my foot down. I was going to SEW! Keep in mind that my sewing studio isย unheated. If you go back through my posts, you’ll notice something… Every one of them from November on has the word SNOW in the title. Can you see my problem? It was too cold most days to sit on the front porch and sew.

I also forgot to mention something. On February 19th, when we were up in Denver for the CASB Legislative conference, I slipped and broke my nose. Yes, big goose egg on my head, slight concussion and of course, the obligatory Black Eyes from hell. I managed one day at the conference before the bruises bloomed, but that was it.

It also put my behind schedule, because I just didn’t feel good enough to use a little tiny needle…

March 1st. Of course, there was snow. I managed though to plan out Dan’s hat.

March 2nd. Sewed, ripped, sewed, ripped the hat. Finally realized I needed fur. Rabbit fur. We had to order it. Fast.

March 6th. Cut out my dress and Dan’s tunic. Did a little sewing.

March 8th. It snowed, but I actually got some stuff done. Worked on the viking coat a little and did the last minute drafts for the tunic pattern. Keep in mind, that unlike most modern sewing patterns, medieval patterns are sketched and measured onto the fabric.

March 10th. Meetings. Awgh! Sewing like a crazy person. I used the machine on the major straight seams. All the flat feld seams and hems done by hand.ย 

March 13th. Dan’s hat is done, as is his tunic and the main portion of my apron dress.

March 14th. While with my parents in Colorado Springs, I’m sewing like crazy. Dad is suppose to be in hospital for bladder surgery, but instead we ended up in ER. They thought he had a stroke. Craziness ensues. Dad ends up spending the night in hospital, and we go home. Only good thing… I finished my hat.

March 15th. Corazon. Well, we managed to be there for about 3 hours. sigh… At least we got to see some friends and wear our new clothes for a few hours. Later that day we went up and got my Dad. No stroke, but not sure what happened. A very rough weekend.

Here are the pictures of the clothes and some of Corazon. This coming week, I’ll be doing some adjustments to the apron dress.

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Wind Whistling

… through my ears, the walls and every crack it can find. We’ve had a lot of wind this year. The last really nasty gusts, 83mph, ripped our weather station off the roof. It still isn’t fixed, so now I check our local weather station. (63F and 20mph gusts right now) Our dog, Brandy, hates the wind. You’d think a coyote/Shepard mix wouldn’t mind. Wrong! So, we woke this morning to her whining and wanting IN!


Life is still hectic. While the last two weeks was busy with meetings and oddball schedules, the next two are travel heavy.

First off, I’m going to Denver tomorrow with my friend Jolene. We are going to IKEA to get stuff for her Pre-School class. Wednesday, after lunch with friends, Dan and I are off to Denver for a CASB Legislative Conference. It’s at the Brown Palace Hotel. Very swanky. ๐Ÿ™‚ A pull out the high heels and leave the cowboy boots at home kind of thing. The last day of the conference is spent at the Capitol, meeting legislators.

When we get home, if the weather will allow, we will be doing more work on the Wendy House. Closets and maybe book shelves. That will open up the area and get our clothes out of the ‘dust zone’. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve also been slowly whittling down our electric bill by using LED lights. Our next step may be solar and DC powered lights. We figured out how to replace the AC bulbs with DC LED lights, and not have to totally rewire. (thank you Scott!)

I’ve also got just under three weeks to get ready for Corazon. I bought a new book last night,ย Great Book of Celtic Patterns, by Lora S, Irish.ย Lots of very nice patterns to use with my Viking persona, Unna Farulfsdottir.

Dratted Cold Continues

We did have a few warm weeks. However, Ground Hog’s day saw us plunge back into arctic weather. Snow and COLD. It was -22 Wednesday night. it would have been alright except for the wind rattling the trees and plunging us into wind chill cold.ย Speaking of wind, we had one tremendous wind storm just over a week ago. Just before it ripped the weather station off of the house, it registered 83mph.

It’s been busy since I posted last. Lots of school board meetings, stacking firewood, trips to Pueblo for all sorts of things, stacking more firewood, trips to Denver, moving more firewood, working on organizing the crafts area, taking care of my parents and their house, working on knitting and nalbinding needles, and trying to stay warm!

I have to admit that I am so glad that we have our little woodstove. It is our sanity saver even if it seems like all I do some times is move, stack, restack and move more firewood. ๐Ÿ™‚

We are getting ready to build the closet in the Wendy House. Two weeks ago while it was still warm, we built a small cover for the plumbing and I bricked in part of the patio area next to the Wendy House. The cover worked pretty well, until two nights ago. It was too cold for any plumbing. At least we use Pex, and that is pretty sturdy.

I’m hoping to get the craft area fixed up this week if it is warm enough. I want to finish up a few projects and get going on some that have been burning my brain. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have Corazonย in about a month, and I want some things done so that we have warm gear! ๐Ÿ™‚ I did get my socks done. I only did the first one in August, and didn’t do anything else for nearly 6 months.

Well, off to finish dinner. Italian onion soup. ๐Ÿ™‚



The last five days have been fantastic, fun, elating, overwhelming and exhausting. What am I talking about? Oh yeah… The Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival.ย  Every year, we help with the festival. We do Lights and Sound, and a thousand other little bits and pieces. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus we get to hear some of the best Celtic musicians in the world. This year’s theme was Celtic and All That Jazz!

I realized yesterday at the last concert that I didn’t take a single picture. We were just crazy busy. So, Instead of pictures, I will do my best to paint with words. Keep in mind too, that there were other concerts going on that we didn’t work as well as workshops and classes in all sorts of instruments.

Wednesday. The Festival did outreach to the schools. Dancing, music and storytelling. That evening, there was a pot luck in La Veta with many of the festival musicians and workers. It was a blast.

Thursday. First real day of the festival. I didn’t get to help with any of this as I had a school board meeting in the afternoon/evening. Dan and Doug were up in Cuchara, and La Veta most of the day. That evening there was the “Taste of things to come” Ceilidh in Gardner. Dan said it was fantastic.

Friday. My first full day. Wow. We were all over the place providing sound. Best part was at UpTop. We have a free concert up there where all sorts of musicians play. It was cold and it rained/snowed on us, but the music was wonderful.

After that, we drove down to Walsenburg for the 6th Street Hooley. Once again, a free concert outside. Only real issue was the wind! 50mph gusts at times made things difficult. People still had a good time though.

After that, the main concert… The Tannahill Weavers. It was great. Wonderful. Funny and just pure magic. Ah….

Saturday. Busy once more getting sound to various venues. We got to listen to Duncan Wickel, a jazz violinist. Then we were off to get ready for a Celtic Mix of Mairtin De Cogain and the Macdonald sisters, Cassie and Maggie. Following that was a Scottish Dance workshop.

Then we drove up to the Timbers in Cuchara and set up for Leslie Anne Harrison and Frederic Pouille, Folk Ragout. It was a very nice little concert. When we were done, it was a quick trip to Walsenburg and the evening concert at the Fox.

This concert wasย Irish to the Core. John Doyle, Duncan Wickel, Robbie O’Connell, Adam Agee, Jon Sousa, Sean McComiskey and Ashley Davis. Oh My what a concert. Doyle and Wickel amazed us. Ashley sang sweetly. Robbie charmed us and when they all played, our breath went away. The building shook with the applause. The encore was just as amazing. All I could think of when it was all done was a line out of Much Ado About Nothing where Benedict says… ย “Is is not strange that sheeps’ guts should hale souls out of men’s bodies?”

Sunday. Up EARLY. We were in La Veta at the 4H barn by 7:30am. Why? Well, it was an oatcake and tea breakfast with the Tannahill Weavers. I made and served tea. Jack Yule made oatcakes. Yummm! So, for 90 minutes, we ate, drank and listened. They talked about how the Tannahill Weavers evolved and played a bit.

Then we had Cassie and Maggie giving a demo on step dancing. After that we headed off to the La Veta Inn to do sound for Robbie O’Connell. He is a nephew of the Clancy Brothers. He gave a talk about them and his involvement in the music that really started the modern revival of Irish Music. It was wonderful.

Last, but not least… The final concert…ย  Celtic and All That Jazz. First up were Maire Ni Chathasaigh and Chris Newman. Next was Park Stickney and friends. This year I got to know Park just a little. He is a fantastic musician and a very impish and funny man. I love his warped sense of humor. He also managed something that no other harper has done. I really like his music. To be honest, before harps have always been sort of “Oh, that’s nice.” Park’s playing was so wonderful that I bought a CD. ๐Ÿ™‚

The concert was finished off with the Tannies playingย Just One More (last) Chorus with everyone singing. It was a good end to a fantastic week.

When we were done, we fed my mom’s cat. (who we’ve been babysitting all week as well) Then we had dinner and crawled into bed by 8:30pm. I think it will take a week to recover. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rain, Glorious Rain!!!

Yesterday was hot. The breezes were light and it was just miserable. We saw a few smoke plumes on the East peak, but they were up so high, that we figured that the firefighters would just let them burn to treeline. One of those areas you just can’t see a human trying to walk or climb to to put out a fire.ย 

So, I ran some errands and settled down to work on gear for Battlemoor. ๐Ÿ™‚ Dan and I discussed a design for a gambeson for him. He has finally decided that he will get back into fighting trim, with a goal being to become a marshal. (the referee for combat) It did help that a cracked rib that had bothered him for nearly 4 years finally stopped hurting last September. I’m working on embroidering my clothes. I also have a caftan coat to rework.ย 

But back to last night… After a Mach 30 hangout where we are planning an October event, I went out to the Wendy House to write. For about 45 minutes, I watched the dry lightning dance across the sky and hoped that it wouldn’t start another fire. And then the miracle… a sniff of moisture. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

The lightning storm got bad enough that I shut down my computer. Then the rain started. Heavy soaking rain! ๐Ÿ™‚ We watched the lightning storm for over 3 hours and enjoyed the rain even though my dog was going nuts. Brandy doesn’t like thunder or lightning.ย 

This morning, we were treated to lovely soaked soil. ๐Ÿ™‚ So much better than the sand box it had been yesterday. I’m hoping that the rain soaked the fire as well. It was a glorious rain.

Hot and Windy

Right now, it’s about 93 with wind gusts up to about 15mph. The fire is down to about 5 major hot spots that we can see when we drive up to the football field. Oh, and it has eaten 13,491 acres as of this morning, and is considered 50% contained.

Today we are officially off pre-evacuation status. Phew! What it has shown Dan and I is that we need to re-evaluate how things are stored. I’m returning items to more concentrated and/or collected spots. I also plan to scan all of the umpteen million family pictures when the weather cools. This way, if they burn, oh well. I have digital copies.

Another thing I’ve been looking at are family treasures. Some I’m going to pull out and use! Others, I will do my best to figure out which of the 6 kids would want some of them. Other items, I may simply give to my sister and hope she has something to do with them in the next 30 years. ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile, amidst the fires, and hectic weekend, we got a bit more plumbing work done on the Wendy House. And…. We’ve Filled In The Ditch! Okay, 95% of the ditch. ๐Ÿ™‚ What this means is that I now have more of a back yard and can move on to other projects. A compost bin and a keyhole garden are next up on the agenda for outside work. Oh, and finishing the last 5% of the plumbing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now to go work on some embroidery. Battlemoor is only two months away!


Wednesday night around 6:30pm, a fire started on the East Spanish Peak. Life went from this:

huajatolla-3.jpgto this:EastpeakfireAnd by the evening it looked like this:Fire from Lathrop State park

The fire started on the Boy Scout Ranch were there were about 178 boy scouts from Kansas and Texas staying. They were evacuated with short notice and were taken to John Mall High School where the Red Cross had set up a shelter.

We saw the fire when we sat down for supper on Wednesday night. Friday morning, I went to the high school and checked how things were going. I ran the rest of my errands after making sure that the scouts had what the district could provide for them.

Dan set up the weather station on the roof so that the local incident control group could use it’s stats. We’ve watched the fire ebb and race with the wind. Yesterday, we thought it was going to die down, only to have the wind pick up and energize the fire. The smoke was really bad, as the East Peak Fire smoke joined with that of the West Fork Complex fire smoke. Not only was the sun orange, but so was the moon last night. Last time I saw the sun look like that was in the 1970’s when we climbed Mt. Whitney and California was burning.

Whitney sunrise

It is now Sunday and the fire has burned 12,442 acres and is about 10% contained. Fire investigators have found the source of the fire, a tree struck by lightning. People have been evacuated from just east of La Veta all the way to I-25 and from south of Walsenburg and HWY 160 to the county line. Walsenburg, La Veta, Aguilar and Trinidad are all on what is called Pre-Evacuation notice. In other words, pack your belongings that you wouldn’t want to lose and be ready to leave.

So, my life is in boxes yet again.

We have National Guard, the Army, A bunch of wildfire fighting teams and lots and lots of locals working the fire. We hear planes flying overhead to drop slurry and helicopters dropping water. We have watched the small planes check out the fire and guide the bigger planes in to do drops. Check out the Huerfano World Journal’s Facebook page for further information and lots of photographs.

And for a bit of dark humor… Everyone around here knows that the Spanish Peaks are also called the Wahatoyas… Breasts of the Mother Earth. Well, in a moment to try and relieve tension, I had one thought. Mother Nature picked one hell of a time to Burn her Bra.