Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

The Perils of Just In Time Inventory

The Perils of Just In Time Inventory

The apron project has stalled for the moment because I am out of navy blue bias binding, and what’s worse, I am only about 6” short. I picked up two packages at Joanns last week but that was all they had. I was pretty sure I would need three. Unfortunately, Joanns is the only place in town that carries the narrow binding. Wal-Mart and Michaels both carry binding, but only in black, white, and red in the narrow sizes. And Joanns will not reorder until eight or ten colors are out of stock, so it could be weeks or even months before they get more of that color. Either I drive to a Joanns in Missoula or Spokane (and cross my fingers) or I order it. 

I ordered one package of navy blue binding from Amazon. The binding should be here tomorrow and I can finish the apron. This kind of stuff is maddening. If I lived in Spokane and ran out of bias binding, I would have three Joann Fabrics, two Michaels, and four Wal-Marts to choose from. The husband doesn’t even bother looking in town anymore; he goes straight to Amazon. I know it’s part of choosing to live where we do, but it makes being a designer much more difficult. I always felt like I was six or eight months behind the curve with new yarns—and even further with clothing styles—when I was a knitting designer. 

I’ve moved my handwritten apron pattern notes over to the computer in anticipation of writing a formal pattern. I am going up another learning curve here. I know how to draw schematics for knitting patterns, but getting full-sized sewing pattern pieces into a format where they can be downloaded and printed is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Fortunately, I belong to a pattern writing group on Facebook. It’s geared toward bag designers, but their file archives contain a lot of valuable information. I found a short tutorial on how to scan in and format pattern pieces that are too large to fit on an 8-1/2” x 11” page. Of course, that assumes that my scanner will work with my new Mac, which it may not (my experience with scanners is a long sad tale of woe), but we’ll cross that bridge later.


I had to buy another keyboard because I gave my old one to the husband and didn’t have one for the PC. I am kind of picky about my keyboards (as I am about many things). I don’t like notebook keyboards and I detest Apple keyboards. I want to feel like I am typing. Some years ago, I purchased a specialty keyboard that was modeled off the old mechanical IBM keyboards. While I loved it—even though it was loud and annoyed one of my children—the plastic case broke easily and I went through two of them in short order. I’ve been using a plain vanilla Logitech keyboard since then, but I found this Logitech mechanical keyboard at Best Buy on Saturday:


I love it. It’s solid and heavy and doesn’t move around, and the keys have a very satisfying clicking feel to them. I am in keyboard heaven. 


We had a bit of bear excitement on Sunday morning. I let the dogs out around 7 a.m. and they went nuts, running along the fence line at the road and barking. They tend to do that only when there is something unusual out there. They gave up after a few minutes and came in. Around mid-morning, they started up again, this time in the backyard. Lila has something I call her “Danger, Will Robinson!” bark, which she saves for occasions when she thinks we’re under attack. (She also uses it on giant toads so it’s not exactly foolproof.) She was out there with her hackles up. I came downstairs to see the husband coming out of the garage, and he yelled at me to go grab the shotgun. 

I came back with the shotgun and the can of bear spray and he walked over to the rental house to see if he could find anything. (Our tenants were away for the weekend.) Just then, I got a text from our neighbor. He was at work, but the neighbor on the other side of him had called him to tell him there was a grizzly bear in his yard. (We have a very tight communication system amongst ourselves and all our neighbors.) I hopped in the car and drove down the road in both directions, but I didn’t see anything. 

The husband didn’t find anything and we assumed the bear had moved on. Not having seen it ourselves, we weren’t entirely sure if it was a black bear or a grizzly. Once you’ve seen half a dozen or so of each, they’re easy to tell apart, but not everyone can. On Sunday night, though, I checked in to Facebook and saw a status update from a neighbor about half a mile down the road. She had just seen a car following what she thought, at first, was a large brown dog, but then she saw the hump and realized it was a grizzly (and I trust her to know the difference). So there was a bear out there. 

I am surprised at the amount of bear activity we have had around here this season. We don’t usually have problems until the fall when the bears are raiding orchards and trying to fatten up for the winter. And while grizzlies are not unheard of, we tend to see them less often than the black bears. I would have expected the bears to be following this year’s exceptional huckleberry crop as it ripens at higher elevations. 

I’m back to carrying the big-ass can of bear spray around with me when I go out. 

Prime. Or Not.

Prime. Or Not.

Why  30 Degrees?

Why 30 Degrees?