Sunday, November 30, 2008

Murphy's Home

Murphy was just reunited with his family. Two little girls were very happy to see him.

He had run away from home exactly a week ago. Turns out the person the vet gave me the number for was the previous owner. Murphy had lived with his new family in the country about 5 miles away since the spring.

I'm going to miss the bugger. I even offered to dogsit if they needed it. They are dairy farmers though, so I don't expect they'll ever take me up on it.

My heart is lighter today.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quick update

Murphy is still here. The owner hasn't called back. I left another message last night. I called the vet clinic again to see if they have an alternate telephone number, but they don't. He is not in the phone book. The clinic can't release the owner's address, of course. They confirmed that it is an address in their town, not my town. I'm not sure what that means.

I called the nearest neighbor with dogs in case maybe he was dog sitting, but nope. He seems to think he saw Murphy at their place last weekend though.

Murphy can shake hands, but won't down on command. He is content to sleep on the rug I put down for him in the kitchen. He has an upset stomach, and won't eat the dog food I offered. I cooked up some rice with vegetables in beef broth, and he seemed interested in it, but won't eat.

I've been working on getting some burrs out, at least on his body. I'm not messing with his feet or tail.

I really can't keep another dog.

Edited to add: Nope, he can't stay here. He just tried to kill Mr. Rooster, aka Big Daddy. I tried to get into the coop without letting any of the chickens out, but the big rooster and the baby rooster escaped out of the coop. Luckily, he released as soon as I screamed at him, I think all he got was a mouthful of feathers. I was able to catch Big Daddy, and he doesn't appear to have any wounds. I don't know where baby rooster went, I hope he'll come back to the coop once he settles down.

I also learned that Murphy knocks on the door when he wants in.

Friday, November 28, 2008


This is Murphy. He showed up here this morning; he must have shimmied under the gate. Luckily, he was wearing a collar with a rabies tag from a vet clinic about 20 miles away. I called them, and they were able to give me his name, and his owner's name and number. I don't recognize the owner's name. There was no answer, so I left a message that I have his dog.

Murphy is a very sweet dog. Sits on command, takes treats very politely from your hand, and is being driven crazy by burrs all over. He has longish, curly hair, so they are well stuck. I'm hesitant to do much about the burrs. Although he seems very sweet, I don't want to take the chance of him not liking his tail or his feet touched.

I have him in the kitchen, separated from my two. My two do well together, but throw a third in and the balance of power gets all wonky. They seem to do fine outside, but I'm not chancing it in the house where things are more confined.

I don't know how long Murphy's been gone, if he escaped from someone who was dogsitting him for the holiday, or if he lives down the road. I do hope the owner calls me back though.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkeys in the Mist

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We don't need no stinkin' title.

I've been working on this sock. 36 stitches on #3 needles. 1 by 1 rib the full length. I just finished turning the heel. The non-knitters reading this are looking at the picture saying, that's a sock? Wtf? Trust me, it's a sock. See those stitches on the bottom needle? Those will be on the bottom of the foot. I'll pick up stitches from either side of that long flap, which will form the gusset and continue knitting down the sock to the toe. Gusset? The gusset fills in that large gap you currently see.

I can see readers dropping from boredom. I'll give up on explaining how a sock is knit. I'm surprised anybody reads this blog anyway, given there is no real focus. I'm thankful for you all for sticking it out this long!

Ok, before I get too sappy, distract them with something sparkly.

The frost on the car window this morning was pretty. I sense a colorway coming on again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Everchanging Sky

This hole in the clouds,

allowed the sun to shine on a distant strip,

which made for a dramatic sky. I saw this happening, ran outside with the camera, just stopping long enough to grab my coat, forgetting my gloves. It was a tad chilly out there. As you can see, there isn't much there to stop the wind.

Do you all of a sudden hear a church organ? Or a choir of angels holding a sustained note?

Monday, November 24, 2008

New toys

On my day off I ventured into a big box toy store. Loud plastic stuff R Us. The first time I've ever been in one. It was quickly overwhelming, so I got what I wanted and got the hell out as fast as I could.

Does anything about this box look familiar? Or would look familiar to Mom? Take a close look at that top. Remind you of anything?

Mom decided it reminded her of the carrying holes in the bench. Remember the holes she poured her drinks into? Yeah, those holes. You know how you can see something is about to happen, and everything sort of slows down except for the thing that is about to happen. I saw her look, but she was too fast for me, I couldn't prevent her from pouring her chocolate milk down the holes. Luckily, there was only about 1/4 inch left in the bottom of the cup, but I still had to dump everything out and wash them down. All 100 pieces of them.

My nephew gave up his beads on the wire thingy since he has long ago outgrown it. Mom likes to twirl the beads around. I seem to have lost my counterspace, but it was nice when I was cooking supper last night. I could redirect Mom's attention from the stove over to the counter to play with the blocks. It helped immensely.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's

This may look familiar, but she found something else to fit in the center.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day off

I find myself with an unexpected day off tomorrow. There will be time spent in a hair salon and a book store. Which means I'll be in a mall! Amongst people! Eeek! At least its before Thanksgiving.

Then I have a hot date. Ok, I do not. I plan on doing some raking of maple leaves, although we have a 20% chance of snow tomorrow. Maybe shovel some paca poo. Maybe do a little dyeing.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just Ducky

Mom loves that duck.

She talks to it.

She clears the little fuzzies from its eyes so it can see, just like she pushes my hair back.

While one hand is making it quack, the other hand is holding the bill shut so it can't quack.

She tells it her secrets.

And just generally has a good time with it.

Yep. she loves that duck.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Musical Ducks

In keeping with the toy theme started yesterday, here are a couple of Mom's favorites.

My friend P recently sent the one on the left. Mom tucks it into her left arm and carries it around like she does Judy. Press the left foot, and it plays the "Chicken Dance". Mom loves polka, so this always gets her dancing. Who can resist? Every time, I'm doing the chicken dance too. The duck moves as the song is playing. You might be thinking, why a duck, not a chicken? Well, in Germany the song is known as the "Ententanz", Ente meaning duck, so it makes perfect sense.

The duck on the right is a hand puppet. You put your hand up its, uh, you know, and move the bill together. As you do, it quacks three songs, "Old McDonald" , "Brother John", and "London Bridges". It quacks the melody, you just need to make it quack to the right tempo. The thing is, Mom can do it! And she sings along, ee i ee i oh. Mom loves that duck. I'll show you a bunch of pictures tomorrow evidencing this.

I wanted to thank everyone for the suggestions yesterday. I have found a lot of great toys I'm very excited about, including some simple musical instruments. I'll let you know how it turns out when I get them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ever heard of these?

I don't really have anything to say, but wanted to ask if anybody has heard of or used these?

They look like something Mom might enjoy. They are big enough she can't put them in her mouth, yet can make stuff with them.

I have had to take away many things that she used to enjoy messing around with, because they are small and she puts them in her mouth. She likes to carry around pretty stones, but I had to hide those away. If they are big enough to discourage putting in the mouth, they are also too heavy for her to carry around easily. Imagine Mom's pants falling down because of the stones in her pockets.

I've had to put away the set of colored dominoes too. She liked to match the colors to each other.

Do they make giant Lego type things? Something she can build with, but not fit in her mouth? I'm going to have browse a toy store. This close to the holidays? As anti-social as I've become? The mind reels. Ok, online. Anybody have favorite on-line (bargain) toy purveyors? Or a toy suggestion?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Storm yarn

Ursa liked the roving too, I guess. I left the roving ball on the couch. I'd like to know how she managed to drape herself around it without moving it an inch. Is it the same skill that allows the cats to leave perfect pyramids of mouse intestines on the porch right outside the door?

It is very gray out, so this looks even more muted than it actually is. It is mostly muted sage green, olive, gray, blue gray, with occasional lighter streaks of almost baby blue. It's a bit overspun, I had planned on plying, then changed my mind. Plying would mess with the colorplay, and I like it the way it is. It is also a bit thick and thin. I'm not used to spinning 100% wool like this. Excuses, excuses.

250 yards or thereabouts. It might need to become a hat. Or a really short scarf. Maybe a neckwarmer? Little fulled bag?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Those Crazy Librarians!

I totally stole this from my friend MJ. It's nice having extremely generous friends that work at high end adventure/outdoor gear outfitters that starts with a P headquarters. She sent me a bomber jacket that I can do some, as she put it, "serious backcountry (tundra, not alpine) sh** " in. Like walking to the mailbox in January!

Nov 8 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MADISON, Wis. - Librarians shook out their buns and dusted off their dancing shoes to compete in the Wisconsin Book Cart Drill Team competition. The Baraboo Bookers took first prize Friday at the Wisconsin Library Association's annual conference. Teams of librarians created short choreographed dances and rocked out with their book carts. The Baraboo Public Library team danced to the rock 'n' roll classic "Born to be Wild" with four carts and a dolly. They competed against the Mad City truckers, graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who used an Indiana Jones-themed routine. The Baraboo team advances to the national competition in Chicago next summer and also gets a $250 gift certificate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

East and West

Last night's view to the east.

Last night's view to the west.

Look's like we're having a bit of an ice storm. I'm glad I don't have to drive anywhere today. Crap, as I was typing that, I remembered that I only have one more disposable underwear for Mom. Crap! Maybe it will warm up a little and the roads will improve later today. Crap!

Monday, November 10, 2008

One of those days

Ever have one of those days where you think the universe is trying to tell you to just go back to bed? I'm having one of those days.

I went out to feed the animals this morning. I was starting a new row of hay, so had to pull a bale out. It was wedged in very tightly, so was pulling with all of my strength.

Then the string broke. I went flying backwards, slamming into the steel tube gate I use to separate the llamas from the hay, before slumping to the ground. I think I'll have three lines of bruises across my back from when I hit the gate. The ground had a nice layer of hay, so at least my landing was soft. I didn't have my cell phone with me, so I'm glad it wasn't serious.

Then I was giving a llama some shots. I managed to stick myself with the needle first, enough to draw blood. I was just thankful it wasn't the penicillin one, since I'm allergic.

That was all before breakfast.

I'm going to take a few ibuprofin now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Mom and I went to the farm store yesterday to get some supplies.

On the way there, I saw a deer in the ditch. Not an uncommon sight, unfortunately. Oh, the deer was dead. I also often see live deer in the ditch, but not this one. No, this one was decapitated.

I've said it before. I hate trophy hunting. Taking the head (presumably with antlers), and leaving the rest on the side of the road makes my blood boil. All that meat going to waste. In today's economy? What a shame. What an injustice to the spirit of that animal.

Rant over.

As I said, we went to the farm store to get supplies. It is a huge place, a store with a little bit of everything. What did Mom want? To walk. We've had nasty cold, windy, rainy/snowy weather the past couple of days so Mom hasn't been able to get out and walk for a while. Once I had everything I needed, I parked the cart in an out of the way spot, and we walked the store. She didn't stop to look at anything, just kept on walking. We had a little time to kill before my scheduled pick-up time for the groceries, so it worked out well.

Mom seemed extra confused yesterday. Within herself, almost unresponsive. I gave her a chocolate chip cookie, and she just sort of looked at it. Usually when she catches sight of a cookie, there's a big smile, an "Ooooh", and a thank you. I'll watch her closely, she might be coming down with something. At least, I hope that's all it is.

Hope you all had/are having a good weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A light dusting of accumulation

That's what the forecast was for this morning.

I'd say there is at least an inch already, and it is still snowing off and on. Oh well.

It looks nice, anyway.

I finished up another pair of socks last night. Except for weaving in the ends, that is.

It was nice having some color after knitting with gray for a good long while. Some of you may recognize them, I started them long long ago. Knitting on them again, it brought back the scent of Jasmine (at least I think that is what it was, a little white spiky flower) and the sound of doves and laughter of friends old and new. The last time I knit on them was in Rick's family's back yard.

The yarn was spun on the shores of a lake surrounded by friends, on a weekend when I really needed them. With all the memories spun and knit into these socks, they are mine. All mine.

Try that with a pair of socks from Whatever Mart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Socks and stoles

I was knitting the toe on the second sock of this pair when Obama was declared the winner last night. The person these are going to will appreciate that fact.

I also took this yarn

off the bobbin yesterday. I think Mom has absconded with one of the legs of my niddy noddy, I can't find it, anyway, so I up-ended a kitchen chair and wrapped it around the four legs. The skein should be a bit over 500 yards of I don't know what weight. Would this be considered cobweb, lace or fingering? I haven't measured the wpi (wraps per inch) to figure that out. It is alpaca/merino/silk/angora, from this roving I got back from the mill in July.

I want to create a lacy stole for a friend with this. I have more spinning to do, I realize. I've been searching for an easy pattern. Maybe Wisp? When I say easy, I mean the lace part needs to be fairly mindless. I often have to stop in the middle of a row to see what Mom is doing, so something with a lot of counting or requiring concentration is out.

I've also been looking through the Harmony Guides 1 and 2 for a stitch pattern, thinking I could just design my own stole. Something with a small row repeat, even better if the return row is knit. Does anybody have any suggestions? I am a lace novice, did I mention that?

I also thought about cheating and just using a large needle and doing garter stitch. That seems like a cop out though, and I don't want to do that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tieck in the sun

The sunset the other day was nice.

Then Tieck had to get involved.

Insisted on being the center of attention, too.

Then another llama wandered up. Tieck didn't like that so much. Note the slightly elevated nose, and the half-cocked ears. That was just a warning, and the other llama wandered off again. If the nose was way up, and the ears straight back, that would have been a threat. A sign for me to get out of the way too, she might spit (at the other llama, but there is often collateral damage.)

I moved position anyway and took another photo.

I'll end with a quick Mom story. I was in the living room knitting on a sock, and Mom was puttering around in the kitchen. It sounded like she was dragging something heavy across the floor, so I called out, "Mom, what are you doing?" Now usually when someone is doing something they shouldn't be, and has to answer the question, you usually hear "Nothing" with a rising inflection at the end. Mom, in her most innocent voice, says, "Something." She cracks me up.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Aren't they beautiful? I'm talking about the cabinets, although the bee hives are looking mighty nice too.

My friends came back yesterday and hung these cabinets for me. I was going to say helped me hang them, but really I kept Mom out of harms way while they did all the work.

These oak! cabinets were sitting in my garage for several years. I got them from Freecycle, but hadn't been able to put them up. Now they are off the floor and can be put to good use. I am trying to get the garage cleaned out to make room for a pallet of pellets for the stove. The store will deliver them right into the garage for me.

We also got the bee hives (not in use) stacked under them all tidily. I had wanted to use them, but for right now I think I don't need to add more beings to care for. I know a few of you keep bees, I may come to you for advice in the future.

The garage is starting to look like an organized person lives here. Amazing!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Storm roving

I managed to sneak in a dyepot this morning. The result:

You may remember the inspiration photo from a while back.

My brain and soul are happy today.

Some friends came over yesterday and helped do some raking and other getting ready for winter chores. All of the wood patio furniture, benches, and flower pots are in the shed, the gutters clean, the hose drained and hanging in the shed, several bags of leaves providing insulation for my septic lines so they don't freeze.

Even with Mom's help, there are a ton of leaves still left to be raked, and the stupid green tree is now only slightly yellow and still full of leaves. Despite that, I still feel almost ready for winter. That helps my brain too.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mom at work

In an attempt to tire Mom out, I made her rake the whole yard.

Here she is, slacking off, taking the time to wave at me. Back to work, lady!

So actually the rake was sitting out, she found it and started carrying it around. I grabbed the camera just to take pictures of her carrying the rake. Then she actually started raking! I wasn't about to stop her, she was doing a great job!

You can see a little clean area and pile behind her here.

I think this was about the time she realized that she was the only one raking. Ooops, busted! But then she got distracted.

Wait, what is this here?

Another pesky label that MUST BE REMOVED!

Whew, crisis averted.

She then proceeded to rake one-handed (one-armed?), since the other hand was busy holding the label. Sometimes dinner is a surprise, since she got into the canned goods and started removing labels.

Yesterday was perfect, very little wind, 60's, sunny. I knocked off work early and we spent a couple of hours outside. She went to bed at 1:00 last night. All that work must have tired her out.