Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dirty Horses and Christmas Stuff

video

I have no idea if the video thing will work. I thought I'd give it a try. It is the reason I think a horse with white on it hates being white. I think she rolls more than the other horses.

And we have my girl, Charlotte, all dressed up for helping Santa. She's okay with it for about 5 seconds unless you press the button that makes it play music and flash the lights. She's not okay with that!


I baked cookies. Lots of cookies. I swear everywhere I go the air smells and tastes like cookies. Since I can't eat much in the cookie department this is just unfair. Thank goodness my sweet tooth is small. On the other hand I never met a potato I didn't like.


And last but not least, here is the wreath I made for the front door.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Mother Nature,

I realize it's been a while since you have released a nice amount of rain on us. I also get that we need the water to survive. But here's what I'm thinkin'; maybe you could release the water a little more often in shorter spells. Say at night, during the week, two nights a week. That way nothing is flooded and even the adobe I live on will have time to really soak the water up. I'm telling you this is a win win situation. You could do your thing for the earth and we wouldn't flood, have fewer car accidents, we have plenty of water, and the kids could play outside. And while I'm making requests, I'd like to put in my order for sunny days from December 21st until the day after Christmas. This will make travel much easier for those going to visit their loved ones and give the kids a chance to burn off all that Christmas excitement by riding their new bikes, using their new skates and sports equipment outside. The Mom's of the world would appreciate it.

While we are on the subject of weather let's address the issue of fog. I don't mind the fog at all. In fact it's kinda quiet and cozy sometimes. But extended periods of fog have a depressing effect on us humans. I'm thinking it would be better if the fog forms around sunrise as usual but then burns off about 11 in the morning. That way you can have your fog and we can have our sunshine.

While we are having this chat I would like to know when, exactly, did you decide that I needed old lady skin? I looked out the truck window while riding with my Honey one day and saw the underside of my arm flapping and wrinkling in the wind. I know I'm getting older but I see no reason why you had to spring this on me so quickly. But I will admit that it goes well with the chicken skin on my neck.

I do want to thank you for my husband's diminishing eye sight though. He noticed the outside of me when we met and for the first 10 years or so. I can only attribute his undiminished passion for me to his aging eyes. I look better without his glasses. Love truly is blind.

I know I'm asking a lot for one measly human. I want you to know that I absolutely love your work. Your sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. The smell of blooming things in the spring is fabulous. And the colors! You have a way with colors, year round, that is extraordinary! No one can match your deep blue skies, or delicate pink almond blossoms. You make purple and green go with red and blue all in one fabulous vista. Your waterfalls and rock formations are inspiring. I admit to a soft place in my soul for your pine trees. Your oceans and seas can't be matched by anything man has made. And you tuck tiny beautiful surprises in rock crevasses and spots of shade. I'm sure you know by now I'm a big fan of your animal kingdom, although I don't understand the need for flies or mosquitoes. I know I'm just one small human but I appreciate all you do for us. I will try my best not to get in the way of your work.

Love,
Elayne




Monday, December 3, 2012

A Sunny Monday


A week or so D went to Turlock to run an errand or two. Now I always dread it when he goes shopping alone because he's a worse impulse shopper than I am. And that's saying something! Anyway, this time he came back from Bed Bath & Beyond with this little gadget. It's a tool for avocados. He noticed I eat them. Often. Anyway, I'm a paring knife kind of avocado eater and didn't put much stock in the tool. Then I used it. Ladies, if you see one of these gems around get one. The knife blade thingy cuts right through the skin and it's easy to hold. Those three blades bite right into the pit and made getting that thing out of there a snap. And the little slicer part takes the avocado out of the skin and slices it neatly in one swift move. I love this silly thing. And I can't even hurt myself with it.

 I have been trying to finish some stuff up before Christmas guests and that includes what was on my spinning wheel. Here is how the blue Merino wool came out. It's about 300 yards of a sport weight yarn. Pretty, I think.


This is not my horse. This is the landlord's horse and she lives here and we care for her. She was in pretty bad shape when we moved in. It seems no one really knew how to care for a horse. She's old and has some serious issues with her legs. The saying goes that if you have a horse with bad feet or legs you don't have a horse. At least not one you can ride. She is not rideable by any means. But when we moved in she could barely walk. Today I took her out of her stall and put her in her area and she took off at a canter. A nice normal canter. Last year she couldn't do that. I'm glad to see she's feeling so much better. She seems happier too.


This is the cinch I made for my horse and that's the matching breast collar I just finished for her. She'll be styling the next time she's tacked up. Now if I can find sport boots the right shade of blue. So far no luck.
We use them on our horses to support and protect their legs.

And the Christmas tree again. I posted it by mistake and I couldn't delete it without deleting all the pictures and starting over. I'm sure there is a way but I don't know what it is yet.

We spent the weekend watching movies and staying out of the rain. D got a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas. It turns out that with the HD model you can stream movies to your TV. We are Amazon Prime members and there are lots of free movies we can watch. His Fire came with a HDMI cable and we just plugged one end in the Fire and the other into the TV and we had free Hi Def movies all weekend. Cool. My Fire doesn't do that. No place for the cable to plug in. I wonder what next year's model will do?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm in a Fog


 I'm always talking about my big dog, Charlotte and the funny stuff she does. Well, as you can see in the photo above she knows how to keep me laughing while relaxing on the love seat in the living room. I'm still taking Christmas out of the boxes and I turn around and there she is. I think there's a lesson in her attitude.

I am so busy I don't know if I'm coming or going these days! And apparently I've been remiss in telling everyone I got a job at the new Walmart they are building in town. I haven't started yet because the store isn't finished. We were told that we would be starting in January. I got a call a couple days before Thanksgiving to come in the day before Thanksgiving for orientation. At orientation we were told they get the store keys mid January and that we would be putting up all the displays and stocking the shelves. We were also told this is the only overtime we would get but they understand we didn't have any notice and that we have Christmas plans already. So we have to just let them know when we aren't available. In my interview I was told if we said we couldn't come in we would have our hours cut. So I'm not sure what will happen but I need a couple days in December and that's that. Oh yes, I almost forgot to say I will be working in Fabrics and Crafts, and I'm not sure, but I think that includes Home Decor.



Here is my tiny little lemon tree. It has over a dozen lemons on it. I bought it because I thought the trees that D dug up when we moved would never make it. The lime tree didn't look too bad but the lemon tree looked dead. Of course D said it would be fine and it is flourishing better than when it was in the dirt. I hate it when D gets an "I told you so".


I woke up to the fog yesterday. We haven't had a good foggy stretch in many years. This is the view from my back porch. It cleared up nicely in an hour or so. But I had to drive to Turlock and it just got foggier and foggier as I headed east. Today the fog has lifted to be just barely foggy enough to be depressing. I'd rather have the heavy fog if I'm not driving. At least it makes you feel like you're wrapped in a blanket.


I know, I know, out of order again. One of my geraniums thinks it's spring. It's much prettier than this picture shows because it's a deeper, richer red. Quite stunning really. And I still have tomatoes on my tomato vine. I don't think they will get a chance to ripen. Rain is on the way and without sun it's not going to happen.


I will post pictures of the village under the tree this year in another post. We splurged and got a new fake tree this year. This one has "snow" on it. And for the first time it has all Wizard of Oz ornaments on it. There aren't enough of them but I love it anyway.

This year I'm not decorating as much as I usually do. But I still have a little bit of Christmas to get out of the boxes so I better get back to it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Blue Period

 Okay, I haven't blogged for a while. I've been trying the face book thing. But it's always on my phone and I don't type fast there. I feel people would get bored with a long post so I like this for one thing and that for another.

In any case I've been spinning, knitting, and crocheting my little heart out. Except when we went to Sturgis on vacation where I mostly just rode on the back of the bike. And crashed when we got back to camp.

I bought that blue fiber you see in the photo above, at a thing we went to in September. I haven't purchased any fiber or yarn in a very long time.  Maybe since February. I've been hitting the stash pretty hard. But who can resist those beautiful shades of blue? I call it Shannon blue since that's the color my daughter, Shannon, likes so much.
 I am attempting to keep the color run true by spinning identical pieces on two different bobbins. Now I realize this may not work. I can't seem to split the fiber evenly. But, what the heck, it make me feel like it might work in a couple spots at least. The end result remains to be seen.

 Darryl decided to learn to make cinches. The cinch is the thing that attaches to the saddle to hold the saddle on the horse. Mohair is the best and most comfortable for the horse. At least we think so. But we are fiber people so we might lean toward a more natural product if we can.  It is darn near impossible to find or buy a 38" or long mohair cinch. And if you happen to have a draft cross horse or draft horse you will need a long cinch. Anyway, after Darryl took a class and I saw what he made I got sucked in as well. 

The cinch in the photo above was being made by a young lady in my class. I got to take the class just for the cost of materials because my over achiever husband impressed the instructor so much when he took the class that he was asked to assist with this class. So I lucked out.

This is a picture of my second cinch. Darryl taught me to make the basic cinch out of scraps of stuff we had at home so I could make a vaquero style in the class. It's just a little fancier than the basic cinch. Everyone kinda shook their heads when they saw the colors I chose. But this is the color I want on my little pinto horse. And I chose the black and reddish brown because they are the colors on her. When I finished my cinch everyone loved it. One guy liked it so much he copied the pattern I put on the ends by the buckles. I made it up and the instructor was pretty impressed that I took it out a few times until I got the effect I wanted. It's a short cinch for my little horse so it doesn't have bars between the center diamond and the ends. Most cinches do.

This shows all three of my projects. The two cinches and the breast collar. The light colored cinch on the right was the practice one I did at home out of old cinch stuff and yarn scraps. Everyone seemed to like it because it's stained and looks old even though I just made it. I'm gonna hang it on the wall as a decoration. It's not strong enough to be used. Underneath the two cinches is two wings of a breast collar. If it was to be done all in mohair there would be a third piece hanging straight down from the center ring. I made this because my neighbor wanted to replace her husband's horse's breast collar. He is a leather worker and will make the third piece out of leather. He doesn't know that yet because it's a Christmas present for him. I embroidered their brand on the brown part where the breast collar attaches to the saddle. I can remove that if she doesn't like it. It's a little hard to see but their brand is the Horseshoe L ranch. He's a conservative guy so I put it in gray so it didn't jump out at you.

Now I am going to make a breast collar to match the cinch for my little horse. I think I'll make a collar for my dog. Darryl is working on a hat band. But he wants a matching breast collar for his horse. I will post a photo of the really cool cinch he made another time.

Just what I need. Another hobby.

Friday, July 27, 2012

See? I'm Trying.

 I happen to have these photos on my phone so I was able to upload quickly. I am still packing and rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off. I wonder if they really do that. Anyway, this is supposed to have good ventilation. As a matter of fact FABULOUS ventilation. Your helmet needs to be replaced every five years and my old helmet is four years old. So this trip is a good excuse to replace it. And D keeps nagging me about it.

As you can see it's white. Well, that simply won't do so I had to bling it up. So I added the reflective flames and bought a few jillion crystals and outlines a flame in crystals at the top front of the helmet. It  looks pretty cool. But really it's about being seen. The flames are reflective at night. I will try to add a photo but it will be out of order. They crystals are sparkly in the daytime. People notice the helmet. I figure if they do they might also notice there is a motorcycle under my butt and maybe not kill us. I'm going to wear white/pale blue leathers as well. If it's not killer hot. My mesh jacket is white too.

I got other birthday stuff too. I just haven't had time to take cool photos and show them off. My sister, Patricia, gave me a Clydesdale horse! Okay, okay, it's a Zoobie. That means it's a pillow stuffed with a blanket horse. It's cute as all get out. I have it on my bed.

But my daughters went all out this year. I have two quilt tops that are from my lovely ex mother-in-laws family. They went unfinished for years. Well, Shannon had them to do a little research for me and she finished one and then she and Kelly had it quilted for me. It's just about the most meaningful gift I could have received. I want to take it with me on vacation. I don't think I can fit it in.

Back to work. I still have stuff to finish up to get ready.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm Baaack!

No pictures today. I'm crazy busy. Like that's something new. You see, the thing is, we are getting ready to go on vacation and I feel like I'm running further behind than usual. I don't know if anyone will even try to read this blog any more but that's okay. It will be a good experience anyway.

So, I'm going to try to blog while we are on vacation. You know post pictures and stuff. We are headed to Sturgis, South Dakota for bike week. And we will be camping most of the way. I know that the campground we will be staying in has WiFi. But how much Internet access we will have going to and returning from will be a crap shoot.

We will be traveling on our bike pulling our tent trailer. We are traveling with some friends of ours that will be towing their bikes on a trailer behind their 40' RV. Kind of both ends of the spectrum. We are independent of them though. We will use our own gear and if there isn't camping available for us we will stay in a motel. They can park and stay in their rig.

The adventure begins Saturday morning. We are shooting for Lovelock, Nevada for our first night.

Let the adventure begin!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Still Knitting!!

 This is a pair of socks I'm knitting for a friend of mine who has offered to house sit so D and I can go to Washington for a memorial service for my mother's sister who recently passed away. It's a pretty big favor she is doing for us so the least I can do is give her a pair of hand knit socks. The fact that I have a bit of self striping yarn that is holding my attention helps. A lot. This is actually the first sock but I have finished it and have completed the leg, heel, and gusset. I'm currently working on the foot. Now that I look at the photo the current sock is just a stripe and a half further along than this photo. And the socks will match each other pretty darn close.
 This is the pair I made for myself. Look Shannon! They match each other. See I can make them match, I just choose not too. It's more fun if they don't. At least for me. But I have to admit that there is a certain amount of satisfaction in achieving a matching pair.
And here is our first tomato of the year. It's not big and I may have picked it one day too soon. But it's pretty. I shared it with D. It was okay. I'm sure the ones coming up will be tastier.

Weather Report
It's been windy here. All. Year. I am tired of being gritty all the time. No sense dusting because it looks like I never did. Even the kitchen counters are covered in dust/dirt by evening if I don't wipe them down during the day. They are warning people with breathing problems to stay inside. It's that bad.

Here is my problem. I like open windows. I like fresh air blowing through my house. It freshens it like no chemical spray can. I don't like dark, closed, stuffy rooms. So even though it's not all that hot out there I'm finding I have to keep most of the windows closed or I'm coughing and hacking all day. I hate it!

When I go outside to feed the horses the wind blows hay inside my shirt and bra every time. I don't know how. I can't keep the plants and grass watered. The wind blows so hard that my clothes tangle on the clothes line. And I get smacked in the face with wet laundry trying to hang them up. The good news is by the time the second load is done washing I can take the first load off the line. Assuming they haven't been blown off by the wind.

We aren't talking breezy like the weatherman says. We are talking 15mph and up constant wind. I don't bother with makeup because I'm so gritty all the time I'm constantly washing my face and hands. There isn't enough moisturizer in the world to help. I've used up one and a half Lo Lo Bars on myself. I'm even using it on my face because after it soaks in it protects my skin to a small degree.

And there is always noise. Not just the noise of the wind. There's always something banging, clanging, or swooshing against the house. Last night the wind died down to a breeze in the evening for a while. But by the time I got up at 5:30 this morning (don't ask) it was already screaming.

Don't get me wrong. I know we live in a windy area. But this is not our normal windy. This is over the top, all the time, 24/7 wind. My hair always looks like I just got out of bed. There is trash blowing all over the place every Thursday, garbage day.

So, Mother Nature, how about a nice cool breeze? Say 5-7mph? I wouldn't want you to go cold turkey. A few nice breezy 80-87 degree days would be perfect. Whadda ya say? Pleeeaaaase!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!!






So, two of my aunts passed away very recently. I was able to attend services for one just last week. I could not stay for the whole thing because I had promised to help a friend of mine with a small seminar she was putting on. Her 90 year old mother had a stroke just the week before and my friend was very worried and upset. I figured it was not a good time to bail on her.

I loved my aunt very much. She was especially important to me when I was very young. She was a good mother to me. She was the one who taught me my love of hand crafts. She taught me to sew and to embroider. Her kitchen always smelled of something good cooking. I don't remember her ever getting upset at a kid. And she smiled. A lot. I will miss her and regret that I didn't see her in recent years. Life has a way of distancing us from people we should never distance ourselves from.

My other aunt is not here in California. We will head up to Bellingham, Washington to share memories. We have another good friend who will stay at the house for us and take care of all our critters. It's very difficult for us to get away without farming everyone out and having someone come in to care for the horses, fish and bird. We are lucky to have such a good friend that she will leave her animals in her husband's care for a few days. I don't know how to thank her.

It's a busy month for the whole family. There are graduations all over the place, and a wedding. It's nice to have happy things happening along with the not so happy.

I have two more orchids blooming! I can't figure out why they are blooming for me but I have five orchids that I purchased in bloom. I've had these plants for at least a year and some far longer than that. And I've killed other plants but these orchids have decided to give me some beauty in my life and bloom.

On the knitting front; I cast on a pair of plain socks in self striping yarn for myself. I'm getting kinda low on the hand knitted socks in my drawer so I thought I'd better whip up a pair for myself. They are self striping yarn so that makes them go fast and keeps it interesting. I still have a beaded scarf to pick back up and knit. I may do that before I cast on for a t-shirt type shirt. Of course that won't keep me from dragging out patterns and trying to match them up to yarn in my stash. So far I don't believe I have purchased any yarn this year. I'm using what I have. Each visit to the stash reveals I have some very nice stuff in there and it's such a convenience shopping at home.

I haven't done any spinning. I need to do a little sewing. Vacation is sneaking up on us and I have some shorter pants that aren't short enough. I don't like the capri length on me. Pedal pusher length looks a little better. I have reached the age where shorts are not such a good thing in public. I wear them around home but not out. I have these two pairs of pants that are a little short for capri's but too long for pedal pushers. I like the way they fit so it's just a matter of hemming them up some. They have these funky buttons on the side and that slit there will allow me to hem the pants without worrying about the leg taper. And the funky buttons will be gone. It's a simple job. I just have to uncover my sewing machine. It's got a protective layer of knitting stuff on it but I am certain it's still under there. I could just hem them by hand but I have two pair of jeans that are just  a tiny bit too long. D says I should leave them and let the backs wear out. He thinks it's cool. I may leave one pair long and shorten the other pair. I need both of them for vacation.

I think three pairs of jeans is all I'm taking and two pairs of pedal pushers. I have to have jeans on the bike but it's nice to have something a little shorter for warm days in camp when we don't go anywhere. There's a laundromat right next to our campsite, so I'm not worried about it.

Three weeks! Three weeks on vacation! Three weeks on a motorcycle! I am so looking forward to this. And I've figured out how to blog with a tiny netbook and my cell phone  for  photos. There's wifi at the campground so I think I'm set. If you don't hear from me during the first part of August you will know why. But I think I have it covered. Can you tell I'm starting to get excited about the whole thing?

D is now riding our mustang, Stormy. He's done all the ground work and now he can walk, trot and canter on her. She kicked up a little yesterday but I think he has it figured out. So now we will have three broke horses. He swears next year it be Roxie's turn. Darryl is getting pretty good at this horse training stuff. I will try to get a photo of him on her. I'm never in the right place at the right time. When he first started riding her I'm telling her what to do and he is just sitting on her. But after a week under saddle she's getting the cue's down so he doesn't need my help as much. So maybe I can get a decent picture.

We will see.

Oh yes, I  agree with others that have posted about Blogger changes. They suck. I'm hoping with enough complaints they will change some of it back.  I can get the pictures up but placing the text correctly has been a pain. Keep your  fingers crossed this post goes okay.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Ahh, Activity!!

This is Rosie, if you look very closely you can see that 1/4 of one eye is blue. It's like someone took a slice out of the brown and inserted a slice of blue. She's very sweet and we are still getting to know each other.

Like a lot of other people I'm having trouble with Blogger so I won't be able to put the text with the pictures for some reason
Wait. I have a little success. We will see how it goes. Okay, that orange crescent up there is my shawl. I used up some sock yarn in the two shades of brighter orange but mostly what will be seen when it's worn is the more caramel colors. Tangerine is THE color this year so I'm stylin'!

This is a present for a young girl in my family. She has taken up sock knitting and I made this for her because a sock project will fit in it and it simply hang from her wrist if she so decides. I like it so much I'm going to make one for myself one of these days. Yes, I lined it so stuff like knitting needles don't fall out. I put my cell phone there so you can get an idea of size.

And this is a pair of socks for a birthday gift for someone I know. In order to get my gift knitting down to a dull roar I knit these so now I can everyone just one sock for a gift and it will go with what they already have. And if they wear one out they don't have to throw the pair away.

Now this is the same kind of sock for a gift for someone except that I knit each part of the sock in a different yarn. The cuff is one yarn, the leg another, heel flap yet another, even the small yellow part is separate in sock construction. That is the magic part, the heel turn. Then comes the gusset decreases, change colors again for the foot, and finally the toe. It was fun to do and make the sock go surprisingly fast.

So the only project I have left on the needles is a beaded scarf. I'm not sure when I'll pick that back up but it will be soon. And as for socks, I am going to tackle learning the magic loop. Two socks knit on one very long needle. I can knit socks with double pointed needles in sets of four or five. I can knit socks two at the same time, one inside the other. I can knit socks on two circular needles (Darryl's preferred method). So now I want to try the magic loop.

Wish me luck.

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's A Girl!

We adopted a new dog yesterday. We had no intention on adopting any more critters for a very long time. I went to the pet store to get some parrot food and passed by the animals for adoption. I do this all the time and don't bring any home. I like to play with the puppies knowing I don't have to house break them later. Anyway, there was a little dachshund there that looked like Vinnie so I went to get a few pets in. But I found this little girl was handicapped. (I see the light bulbs go on over your heads.) She had had a back injury of some kind (I see the bulb growing brighter). I talked to the guy who was fostering her. She had some kind of back injury and became totally unable to walk. The owners took her a vet and after an exam they were either unable or unwilling to deal with her injury so they signed her over the vet. That's where she has been for six months. She has undergone extensive physical therapy. She went from not being able to walk at all to being able to sort of walk. It's painful to watch. She sort of flops from side to side but is moving her legs. From there she went to her foster home to make sure she was socialized enough for a new home. I went back to my car and sat there and cried for a few minutes but went home without her.

I got home and told D the whole story and said that I know that we don't need any more dogs and was rather proud of myself that I didn't adopt her on the spot. He said, "Why didn't you?" I said, "What?" He realizes we are uniquely qualified for caring for this handicapped dog and seems to think there's always room for one more if they need us badly enough. I explained her adoption fee was $150 and I wasn't willing to pay that. He suggested I sent an email and see  what happens. So I did. I told all about Ringo and how he no longer needs his wheel chair and it would fit the new dog (Rosie). I told about Tess and how we figured out she was deaf. I told about Sarah and how we dealt with her cleft pallet. I told about Dusty who became deaf and blind. I had picture of Ringo in and out of his wheel chair. I had pictures of ramps we have in the house. I explained how our dogs don't jump on the furniture we lift them up. And I told them we would adopt Rosie and take special care of her if they waived the $150 adoption fee.

They did.

So now we have another 8 year old dog. We had to pay $20 for shots but she's neutered, micro chipped and up to date on all her shots. We brought her home and adjusted the wheel chair to fit her, put her in it, put her on the floor and she wouldn't move. I headed to the cabinet with the dog treats to bribe her and she took off like a rocket! We laughed so hard! I have no idea how she knew there were dog treats in there but she never doubted it! When I took her out of it in the evening and put her outside she wouldn't move again. She's figured out she can get around faster and quicker in the wheel chair.

She's sharing a crate with Ringo at night. And she's just now starting to get a little vocal. She is about the size of Ringo. She is a dapple like Vinnie. She has short hair and one quarter of one eye is blue. It's common for dapples to have blue eyes but this one looks like someone cut 1/4 of the brown eye out and stuck a blue one in. Her ears are a little small. She is heavily muscled in the front and has two muscles, one on either side of her body that are oddly well developed. So she's a little out of proportion. We think it's because she's been dragging the last part of her body around. I think this will change.

The wheel chair is set so she can use her legs. And she is using them. So we hope it will work as well for her as it did for Ringo. She can use the legs and develop muscle without inflaming the spine by that flopping from side to side. She is a speed demon in that thing!

I'm sorry I don't have any good pictures of her yet. You can be sure I'll be taking two or three soon. Watch for doggie updates.

I actually have some knitting photos to post but I'll save them for later in the week.






Wednesday, April 4, 2012

 This is a yarn bowl. You put your ball of yarn in it and it has a slot or some type of opening to control the emerging yarn. It keeps the yarn from rolling around while you are knitting. Originally my idea was to put the bowl on the floor. I have this big dog who is fairly careless about what she is running into when she is romping around the house. I really, really love this bowl and hope to keep it for a long time. This means I need to put it so that Charlotte doesn't stomp on it accidentally or sit on it. Yes, sit on it. Charlotte backs up to the sofa and plops her butt down. Her front feet are still on the floor. She is actually sitting on just her butt on the couch. She plops her behind down next to me then turns and looks at me as if to say, "So, how is your day going?" Seriously. In any case she takes up a lot of space when she does that so I put my yarn bowl next to me on whichever side has the least room. Yes, I tell Charlotte to get off the couch. But that happens after she sits on it. I don't want my bowl broken so I guard it carefully. So it might not be quite as useful as it might be but I just love it and use it all the time.

 This is a birthday present. I'm not a very good lace knitter but I thought I'd give it a shot. It's supposed to be a small reticule. There are some problems with the lace pattern on the bottom but I ripped it out so much I'm ruining the yarn and I have a limited amount so I left it. Hopefully it will remind the little girl that will get it eventually that no matter how long you knit there will be times you just don't get it. No one is a perfect knitter. I still have the handles to knit and then I will line it with some fun fabric I have. When it's done I think it will be just the right size for a sock project. The color is a bit more salmon than the picture shows. It's a lovely color and it's way late as is one of my sisters' birthday gifts. But I'll get it done soon. It's just about all I have been working on.

 I've been spinning this whole bunch of fiber I've had for a long time. I haven't hit the spinning wheel this week. It's been very busy. But so far I have 482 yards of pretty bulky yarn. I think I'm about 1/3 through this fiber so I have a ways to go. I've been thinking I should take a break and spin another fiber but then I might not finish this. And when I'm done spinning this I'll have a goodly amount of yarn to make something with. I think I should just start another fiber on my drop spindle for a change of pace. When I have my birthday knitting under control I'll get on that.

Rain, sun, wind. We have it all in the same week these days. I really can't remember a windier year except the first year we move here 22 years ago. I understand why my mother loved this valley so much. It really is beautiful. I'm pretty lucky to live here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Critters and Photoshop


Well, here I am fooling with blogger again. Who knows what I will get? For a long time I've had trouble with Photoshop so I couldn't crop my pictures like I wanted to. Now that is working. I don't know if D removed and reinstalled it or it just decided to work. I'm not going to question it. That is Sugar and she is not in any pain or having a spasm. She is just getting ready for a good roll in the dirt. Nothing she likes better. Okay, maybe peppermint. I give the horses small peppermint candies. They love 'em.
We turned the chickens loose for the winter and they loved it. We added a run to their coop so they have more space. Chickens don't lay eggs in the winter. I started finding eggs here and there so it was time to round up the chickens and put them in their new expanded coop. We are down to two chickens but that might just be enough for the two of us.
One chicken we found and caught right away. The one in the photo. But the other one had been eluding us for a week or so. Yesterday I was near the horse stalls and I thought I heard a small chicken noise. I put my finger to my lips, like there was someone there to shush or the horses would understand what I meant if they were making any noise, (they are quiet animals). I tiptoed in the direction of the noise and found a chicken in a roll of horse fence. I got a couple of large bricks and put one on either end of the roll (it was laying on it's side) to block the chicken's exit. When D got home we went about the business of getting the chicken out of there. I don't know if she was stuck or stubborn. No amount of pushing or pulling was going to get her out of there without some damage to the chicken. So while D went off to get something else to try to get her out of there I kept fooling with it and found if I used a metal rod and pounding on the top of the roll of wire fence she did not like that at all. She made like she was coming out. So when D got back we stood the roll of fencing up on end and he held a big net over the end while I tapped on it with some force. She came forward enough for D to grab her and we put her back in her new spacious coop. We also added a nest box for their comfort. Now if they will lay eggs in the coop as nicely as they did in the yard. I won't have to go on an egg hunt daily.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Experiment

 These are photos from around the Patterson area. I take them now and then while I'm driving around. Anyway, I took the photos on my cell phone. I have this little netbook computer that we plan on taking with us when we go to Sturgis this summer.
 The netbook doesn't have a card slot for uploading photos. So I was trying to figure out if I can take photos with my cell phone, then email them to myself, save them to the desktop, then upload them onto my blog.
 On previous trips I''ve tried different things with not a whole lot of luck. But I'm trying this and so far so good. I'm having trouble getting used to the keyboard but I just plugged in this little portable one that is a bit more comfortable than the one on the netbook. I know for sure I will drag along a mouse. I'm not fond of those little track pads. How much stuff am I willing to haul.



I have been busy doing stuff. I had no idea so much time had passed since my last post. I spend some time ready blogs today. I am behind on some stuff but I did catch up on other stuff. I don't know what the deal is with time but it seems to be spinning by me faster and faster. I can't seem to hold on to it. I was shocked to find out we are so late in the month already. I'm behind on my knitted gifts for birthdays and they are starting to pile up. This is so unlike me. And so yesterday I knitted a little bit and did a lot of spinning. Then today I started crocheting a cover for the netbook. So I'm still behind.

I will get it all done. It will be late. But it will be done. Sure. No problem. Is there a wrinkle in the space/time continuium?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ahhh! Pictures!

 When all of us sisters went to Washington to the cousin family reunion we were treated to the sight of two "sand tables" my cousin had in her house. Basically a tray with sand and stones and shells or whatever they chose to put in them. Since they live very close to the ocean this seemed appropriate. I loved them. So when I found someone in the neighborhood throwing away a small tray which had a stand for it, I asked if I could have it and they gave it to me. So I finally got around to getting a piece of glass to top the tray, for about $10. A trip to Dollar Tree netted me stones and shells, $4. And D got some sand from work for free. So my new table cost me less than $15, which makes me very happy. And I got to recycle an item that would have ultimately wound up in the land fill. But I don't live near the beach and thought an ocean theme didn't really fit me so I did a sort of river theme. The result, without glass and stand so I can get a better photo, is above. I think I will be tinkering with it for a while. It makes a lovely small table at the end of the sofa. And is just plain fun.
 I have three orchids that have decided to bloom for me. This bloom just popped open yesterday. And there's another plant who's buds aren't quite open yet. I've forgotten what colors and flower forms they are so each time one opens a flower it's a surprise to me. I'm just so happy they are blooming again.
 Just to cover my bases, in case none bloomed or blossoms fall off, I got this little beauty from Trader Joe's. Where else can you get flowers for $8 that will stay fresh for at least a month? Even if the plant eventually dies it's a good deal.
This one is blooming madly. This one and the one is the upper photo came from Costco last year. I always have good luck with Costco plants and cut flowers. Not all the orchids survive my TLC. I've lost two so far this year. Why one thrives and another doesn't I don't know. I'm just happy I got a few of them to bloom again.

Meanwhile back on the animal front...Charlotte has had another urine test and there are no more crystals in her urine. I am continuing to give her a B vitamin to prevent it. I don't even have to hide them in her food I just hand them to her and she eats them. And she has perfect control of her bladder so it must have been the infection. Big sigh of relief there.

Sarah's manure now looks normal. I told D that this seems to happen to her every winter and he thought about it and thinks it could be a seasonal thing. Who knows why it happens but she is just fine now also.

But not so for poor Ringo. As if that little guy hasn't been though enough with his back, rotten teeth, and blindness in one eye. He's such a quiet, gentle little guy. Well, Friday night I went to my Women's Circle meeting and D told me Ringo either fell off something he was up on or Charlotte pushed him or something. He isn't sure what happened. All he knows it that he heard yelping and went to check it out and blood was pouring out of Ringo's mouth and his lower right canine tooth is now missing. His upper right was already gone and now there's nothing to hold his tongue in his mouth. I wanted to take him to the vet Saturday morning but D said no he would be fine. Ringo has a great deal of bone loss in his jaws and I was worried his jaw was broken and he was in terrible pain and I can't watch that. I finally got D to call the vet on Sunday and we took him in in the morning. But we didn't leave until almost four in the afternoon. Life threatening emergencies kept pushing Ringo to the back of the bus. So a couple xrays, and a few hundred dollars later we were delighted to know that Ringo is in excellent health, and his jaw is not broken. He now has pain drugs, antibiotics, and more drugs for his eye. He's doing very well. His eating kibble days are over though. Right now it's chicken and rice in the blender for a sort of soup. He loves it. We might even be able to get that two extra pounds he's been carrying off of him.

I'm pretty sure D didn't want to take Ringo to the vet because he was worried we'd have to put him down. He's not going anywhere anytime soon. He's only 10 years old and seems older to us. We think it's due to poor care as a puppy. But he's Darryl's boy that's for sure. When D comes in to finally relax he is looking for Ringo and Ringo is looking for him. It makes me laugh because D always said little dogs are "kick me" dogs and his best dog buddy is a little dog and mine is a big dog. Don't worry Vinnie get plenty of lap time too. He's a lovely boy and we love him to pieces.

Mother Nature is teasing us with a couple nice days and then crappy days. I know, "we need the rain". Well, maybe that's true, but we need the snow more and it doesn't snow here often so how about snow in the high country and spring sun here. Winter had it's chance and blew it. I'm ready for spring.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catching Up

 I haven't posted for a while. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I got busy or didn't want to sit at my computer, or didn't make the time. I find that time is a slippery thing as I age. Most days fly by so fast and the next thing I know it's Friday.

But to my defense when Darryl's schedule changes so does mine. I don't seem to be as adaptable as I used to be. BART eliminated a position in Hayward and the guy that held that position bumped to Concord. That bumped Darryl to Hayward on day shift. Hayward isn't farther but the commute is far worse. There are no back roads to take. So he has to drive over Altamont Pass. One good thing is that he starts at six so he leaves very, very, early in the morning. Like 4am early. Which means he needs to be in bed at 9pm. That's a little early for me to sleep. But D doesn't sleep well until I go to bed. So I go to bed with him and I read or play games on my phone. Then I wake up about 5 or 5:30 in the morning. Crazy! They also changed his days off. Now he has Saturday and Sunday off again. Darryl doesn't take change easily so it has surprised me that he's doing so well on his new schedule. All because he gets home earlier. He's home by 3:30 in the afternoon. That makes him very happy because it's still light enough to work with the horses.

The fiber in the above photo is some lamb's wool that we bought a long time ago. There's quite a bit of it. It does not spin easily and I think I finally have enough skill to deal with it. I've been wanting a bulky yarn and so I'm doing a three ply. I didn't think to take a photo of the yarn after it was washed. It bloomed quite nicely. I'm going to spin it all up and see what yardage I wind up with and knit it up fairly quickly.

 I'm not in any sensible order in this post today but I will try to get it all in. I bought this lovely puzzle at a garage sale, put it on the table in the sewing room, separated out all the edge pieces I could find and now I just don't want to do the puzzle. I am back in fiber mode and want the table for other stuff. So I guess I will put the edge pieces in a separate bag and box it up again. I'm not sure what happened because I love puzzles but in light of the fluid time thing I don't want to waste time thinking I should work on the puzzle when it's something else I'd rather be doing.

I dug out the bison that D had been spinning. I set the twist and wound it into balls. I'm thinking I might cast on some socks for him and surprise him for his birthday. He's very jealous of this yarn but I know he has plenty more fiber for spinning and think he will love the socks and forgive me for using it. He'll just have to spin more.

Let's see what else...ah, yes! Darryl's favorite horse has loose stools and we've been trying to figure it out. The vet gave him a course of action to follow to see if it helps. It involves changing her diet, clearing her gut of any sand, adding probiotics, an intense worming protocol, and some bute for inflammation. It's a little time intensive because we have to separate her from the other horse for feeding but I think we are starting to see some results.

My beautiful cat, Patches, died quite suddenly. We have no idea why. It hit me very hard and I'm not yet ready to talk about it.

Charlotte started leaking urine. A vet visit, complete with a battery of tests, yielded nothing difinative. It could be an infection or she could just be incontinent. I finished the antibiotic and she seems to be doing better but still has the occasional accident in her crate at night. She goes back to the vet today for another urine test. There were crystals in her urine and he wants to see if they are still there. I had an English setter with this problem and was told to add vitamin B to his diet. I'm going to discuss this with Charlotte's vet today and see if he thinks that would work for her too. I need to know what dosage and which B vitamins to add. She's gained a little weight but she's not eating as much and some days very little. Still she's a very slender 112 pounds. Kelly thinks she's taller but I don't think so. I think Kelly is always surprised by how tall she is. She's not heavy boned, just tall. The last time I measured her she was 30" at the shoulder. Let's just say I can stroke her back without bending at all.

I have been watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer. His techniques have worked wonders with Charlotte and I'm starting on Vinnie. She's learning that I am the pack leader and I'm learning calm assertiveness. I want her calm when people walk into the house. She's fairly polite but I want her more polite. Humans always go through the doorways first. She must wait patiently. No pulling on a leash, ever. She follows me everywhere. She's starting never to be in front of me unless I give her permission. If she's walking down the hall next to me her front legs are never in front of mine. I ask that anyone visiting me ignore the dogs when they come in. That makes a huge difference. I'm learning they feed off excited energy. No yelling at them at all. It's pretty cool. I tried it on Shannon's dog, Daisy, the last two times I was there. I ignored her when I came in and I claimed the space. She calmed down pretty quickly.

Now I'm working on Vinnie. He piddles every time I put him outside or get him to put him in his crate. That is insecurity. It's the exact same technique and he's getting better. I'm not saying he loves to go outside now but it's getting better and less nervous piddling. I'm still learning and so are my dogs. If you get a chance to watch his show on the Natgeo channel, I highly recommend it.

D is tearing the bike down to do some work before we go to Sturgis this summer. He thought it needed a new clutch bearing and he was right. But there are some other issues and as he gets into it he keeps having to tear the bike down more. I hope to have some photos soon. After he finishes the engine work I want him to have the front forks done. We know a guy who has the same model and he's had some front fork problems. As long as we are into all these repairs, we may as well for the big bucks for the front fork to be done, (this job is best left to those with the special tooling), and the bike will be almost new when we leave. It has over 60,000 miles on it and since we take such long rides on it, I'd rather be as safe as we can. We can't do anything about other drivers or human error but D is an excellent mechanic and will make the bike as mechanically safe as possible.

Kelly was down for a quick visit. She came to join Shannon and I at Stitches West. We got a room in Santa Clara and had a lovely time. A friend of Shannon's gave up her entire yarn stash that had some lovely stuff in it. So we bought fiber, tools, and patterns. I'm hoping Shannon can post about the incredible stash enhancement we all experienced. Kelly had to borrow a suitcase to get it all home.

I think I've touched on most of the happenings here for now. Maybe I'll get another bike post in. Picture of it in pieces. It doesn't really look that bad but I'm impressed with Darryl's skill and care that he always uses when he works on the bike.

Back to the mundane things in life. Gotta get some groceries and do some laundry. It's never ending isn't it?