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


 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?