Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thing A Day Challenge: Day Whatever

Well, at the risk of not looking committed, I wasn't to commited to the challenge. Why? Well, I practially DO make something everyday regardless for challenges! Yesterday I painted the kitchen and put it back together as the remodel was finally done.The evening I was beat, so didn't hit the bench. Today I'm heading out, but first what I did during the daylight hours.

Muleskinning. No, that does't mean removing the flesh from a mule, it means driving a team. I personally did not get much muleskinning done (I made a few furrows), but watched the other drivers as they worked the competition.

Now I shadowed the mulers. They love their animals and can extol the virtues of mules all day, but there where plenty of horses, too. Smaller draft breeds, mustangs, belgians, clydesdales....all of them have their virtues and drawbacks. The big drafts are very calm and even tempered and have no problem pulling weight, but they are so big they will overheat and take lots of feed. Mules and smaller horses/ponies dont pull as much weight as the big drafts, but dont take as much to feed and dont get over heated as fast. Horses will overwork themselves and die, or get over heated and drink themselves sick. Mules will stop when they get overworked and wont drink until their temp comes down and its safe to drink. When a horse is done for the day, you may still be able to get it to work...but with a mule if it decides it doesnt want to work anymore---you're just going to have to try again tommorrow!

A team a mules.

I dont remeber the breed of these drafts-clydesdales? This fellow won an award in the novice division.

A young lady driving keiger mustangs

Mules reaching the end of the line.

The driver has to throw the plow on the side as he turns the team.

Circling around with a team of horses.

A pair of beauties.

This team had only plowed four times before the competition, but the driver has done a good job teaching these two how to pull.

Heres an interesting thing about mules: apperently in the civil war mules had bells cut on their tails to symbolize where they should go on a driving team. Supposedly the mules that where even tempered and made good leaders had three bells, two for the middle, ect. a mule with no hair on the tail was likely ta kick ya! Not only could soldiers figure it out easily, if they had to hook up the mules in the dark, they could just feel the tail and know where they belonged! Today they symbolize packing, pulling, and riding. Karola on the right has been ridden once, so she has yet to earn her third bell. Breezy (who is a grand old 26 and still pulling!) can do it all.

It really is amazing how easy plowing with a team is-at leas in land without rocks and tree roots to cut through! I brought a friend and he was startled by the ease. As you can see, though, people of all ages, shapes and sizes where able to compete. If you want to see it in action there are farming festivals in the spring and summer. In Oregon, the next chance to see it in action is at Founders Day Draft Horse Plowing Competition at Champoeg State Park May 7th and 8th.  I'll be there! Hope you are too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thing a day: Day 5

I started this ring a few days ago. I tried following the instructions for this ring, but my bar of silver was a bit short sos i had to change it up a little. I also textured the shank. I finally sat down and finished it. Sadly, the stone is not st very well (first or second time i've done a stone like this), so I believe I will someday redo the setting completely. However, for now it looks good and counts!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thing a Day: Day 4

I got my gas! When I moved my tank the regulator was wobbly. Not sure why, but I'm sure that caused a tiny leak when i had the gas on. Dangerous...morak for all of use: check your tanks regularly for leaks. How? Brush on soapy water around all the joints and if you see bubbles, you have a leak.

So I recently bought stones from etsy's dmargocr (whom, btw, said once before they will give a discount to first time buyers who mention this blog_they are very nice, check their stuff out!). This particular pair of tigers eye sat in my etsy favorites for a couple weeks, each time i checked to make sure no one bought them. glad no one did (suprised, too!), because they became my day four finished piece:
Everything is prettier in person. The citrine at the bottom are very bright. Corners on bezels are very hard, but these came out nice. Very happy, took me up til midnight to complete, but there you go: done. now for some sleep!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thing A Day Challenge

I'm in a group on etsy and every mont h we have a challege. This month is to make a piece every day for a month. I am going to give it a shot. My goal is everyday for two weeks, hopeing by then to see if i can continue to a month.  I am including stones as finished objects, too. I just got a new job, so things are changing for me. Less evening time to work, but more money for better stuff. better stuff=more time. We will se what happens. So three days in aaaand:

Day 1:
This challenge wil be a great chance for me to *finish* a bunch of pieces on indefinate hold. This ring was one of such pieces. Turned out pretty nice.

 Day 2:
Between getting ready for the kitchen remodel, childcare, and a new job I didn't even get to look at my bench!

Day 3 :
Alright! I got to look at my bench! However, I was very interupted by workmen in my studio/garage. I started on a ring, following instructions from the internets (a special diamond solitare). Then my gas tank ran out..oh and i think something else happend. I dont remeber-but I won't give up!!! No gas? Fine, I'll just go with stones. The other day I bought a pile of tools from someone and he gave me this (I think i showed him a few too many of my crummy stones i polished up on my dremmel. "stop ruining nice stones!"):
Its a *very* old lapidairy polisher. each little wheel goes up in grit. It needed a little tweaking, but i got it running. I've been working on the first opal for a while, kept taking it to Handleys, and Mr.Handley keeps saying, "nope, more curve to the edges!" arrrrg. taking so much material off! Then I showed hima few other pieces i did...*sigh* told me to take of biiig chunks of stone. What I ended up with is much smaller than what I had this morning. Two of the three opals:

The second opal has a groovy stripe of potch. it was twice as big before, but it has a nasty little crack that kept growing so i had to cut it down.
The third opal I took pictures of, but deleted. Anyway, day three I got stones done. Tommorrow I get gas, and finish what I started!