Sunday, March 28, 2010

not bluchs any more

Our bluchy* weather has finally ended and the forecast is for warm days ahead. I spent the afternoon moving my fiber stuff into the sunroom in anticipation of lovely sunny days to enjoy there. Maybe I'll actually find some time to work with the raw fleeces again.

There is more and more grass and less and less snow in the backyard.

Here is the double trouble duo.

Of course the melting snow has created some lakes which are just too tempting.

Life is good for a young sheltie with a stick.

Bentley the mountain goat** is at it again. This time I turned around to see this...
He climbed the hot tub steps and had himself a little look-see. The little goof was planning to jump off the non-step side onto rocks when I grabbed him.

Speaking of Dachshunds, B has taught Cooper the joys of evisceration.
I have raised a fair number of sheltie puppies and not one of them ever considered destuffing their toys, until now. Cooper is doing it with great gusto and enthusiasm. I guess there's another case study for the nature/nurture debate.

*If I can use bluchs as a descriptor I feel fully justified in altering it to bluchy or any other derivative as I see fit.

**Looking at that post from 2007 made me sad for the losses of the past year. I still get teary when I think about Harrison and Pocus.

spinning kids part 2

On Wednesday evening Darcie and I went back to Katie's youth group for the second part of the spinning experience. I'm glad that I waited for the spindles to arrive before then because they were a big hit.
The girls caught onto spinning very quickly. I think the first activity of twisting the roving between them helped them understand the process very well.
They were so involved with the spindles that they didn't even show much interest in trying the spinning wheel that Darcie brought.
(By the way, the reason that I'm cutting the pictures off without showing you the girls' faces is because we didn't have prior permission from their parents to do so. You've got to be careful of such things these days.)

I can show you a picture of Katie's face however.
While the others were spinning, she found a comfy chair where she could pull out her knitting.

The group leaders have already asked if we would do this presentation with groups next year. Of course we will. How can we turn down a chance to teach spinning to kids?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In a comment left on Monday's post, Marguerite said, "My word verification is "bluchs", just how I feel on this Monday morning."

I think bluchs is a very descriptive word for today.
It's gray and windy and dang cold outside. It's one of those March days when everyone is sick of winter and summer feels far away.

There is still a mound of snow left on the deck from the January blizzard so we haven't fired up the barbecue yet.
And I have a throat infection. Bluchs all around.

Darcie and I will be doing part 2 of the spinning experience tonight for Katie's youth group. The spindles, etc. are ready to go.
More about that on the next post.

p.s. Cooper started losing his puppy teeth yesterday. The little front ones on top and bottom are gone. Sort of reminds me of a little vampire. Sort of feels that way when he bites too. Sorry, he won't co-operate for a picture.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

slowly.... spring

Spring hasn't exactly sprung here. It's happening slowly, in fits and starts. We get the odd warm day and then a few more where the temps hang around the freezing mark or slightly below, with some snow flurries thrown in for good measure. It means that there is a lot of mud and it's not drying quickly. I can't keep my floors clean. It's an effort in futility and I've pretty much given up worrying about it.

My incredibly clever puppy is growing up at an astonishing rate. He has started asking to go outside. He goes to the back door and stares intently at the jackets hanging there, barking if we slow people don't get it right away. The downside of this is that he has figured out that he really likes it out there now and doesn't want to come back in. Because of the "limit his activity" edict from the vet, I don't want to leave him out there to climb the deck steps when he finally decides to come in so I need to either bribe him or trick him to come to me. This gets more difficult every day because I think he may be smarter than I am. Thankfully his leg is healing very quickly and I will soon be able to let him climb and jump at will.

He is entering the sheltie youth stage of being all legs and nose.
That front leg is the one that was broken. You can see that it's filling out and looking almost like the other ones.

His puppy fluff is coming out in brushfuls and his new big-boy coat is coming in along his back and tail.

For some reason all the dogs were especially photogenic today. Maybe it was the partly sunny skies making the lighting just right for pictures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

catching up

I think I have finally got the new computer fully loaded and ready to go. I have spent so many hours doing so that my TMJ is acting up. The new computer was definitely needed as the old one was s-o-o s-l-o-w but it's crazy how much time it took to reinstall everything. I also learned that I couldn't edit the text or pictures in the blogger dashboard when Explorer was the browser but everything was fine when I switched it back to Firefox. Weird.

Anyway, I have a few odd and ends from the past week to catch up here.

First off, a few answers to comments left here.

Marguerite said, "When a vet talks about restricting a healthy dog's exercise I always suspect he/she goes in the back room and has a good laugh. "

Marguerite cracks me up! I interpreted the vet's instructions to just keep Cooper from jumping on and off things. He hasn't been too brave yet because his leg is still weak and sore. He is putting a bit of weight on it when he runs around but often still tucks it up out of the way. I'm keeping an eye on him and will watch to see that he gets more comfortable walking on it each day. It's tough to keep him completely calm all the time though.
I figure if he's not squeaking, the leg's not hurting.

Tina said, "The leg also looks shorter, but I think that’s just because of the way he is lying. Can you do some physiotherapie with him? I did when Josy had her cruciate ligament torn and I think it helped. I am sure he’ll recover soon.
I love Marguerites comment ;_)"

I will do a little physio on the stiff joint if I don't see steady improvement. Jo-Ann already showed me what to do in that case.

Jody said, "Good news! He is such a cute little guy!
Susan where are your Gotland or Polwarth fibre prep and yarn pics....please give us poor addicts some crack :)"

There is a reason I haven't shared any fibre prep crack pics - there aren't any. Since the advent of the puppy, I haven't touched my scoured Gotland or Polwarth. I promise to share as soon as I get back to it.

Next up, the chicken-like birds were back again behind the fence yesterday, scurrying from the shelter of one big tree to the next.
I cropped one the pics and made it considerably sharper so that I could see them in more detail.
I'm not sure how much you can see from this blog pic but, when I look at it in a big screen, I can see that their heads have some red markings and they have dark markings on their bodies. I'm reconsidering my decision that they are quail. When I googled partridges I found this pic. Although the markings aren't identical to "my" birds, the partridge looks more like them than the quail pics. I have decided that they are partridges. At least until someone who knows really what they are sets me straight.

And finally, I ordered a set of 16 learner spindles from theknitstore on eBay so that I would have them to take to Katie's youth group for part 2 of our spinning adventure.
They are very nice and spin well. The price was very reasonable too. I had Dan file a notch in each whorl (I'm very allergic to sawdust, even a little bit, as I discovered when I notched the first four). I tied a leader onto each one and they are ready to introduce new spinners to the world. I figure there will be other teaching opportunities along the way and this set of spindles will be well-used. Maybe I'll get ambitious at some point and paint the whorls with acrylic paint, just to jazz them up a bit, but they are perfectly usable as is for now.
Cooper's splint came off just in time. This is what the back yard looked like today.
We are getting spring weather this week. It would have been a nightmare to keep that splint dry on a puppy, what with the small muddy lakes here and there.

Cooper now knows what's underneath the snow.

I can hardly believe how fast he is growing. When I look back at the post that's linked above I can really see how leggy he's getting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

still here!

We have a new computer and I've been busy getting it up and running so I apologize for the lack of puppy pics for the last few days. I just finished installing the photo software so I can show you this one of Cooper without the splint! Yay! As you can see, the poor little right leg looks like a stick next to the healthy left leg. Not only have the muscles atrophied but the tendons have tightened up too so that he has very limited range of motion in the joint. But he is tentatively putting a bit of weight on it when he walks so it should get stronger now. We need to restrict his exercise for a couple of weeks and then he should be back to normal.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

time for this year's Yee-Haw!

Yesterday was the first warm day of spring when the sun heated up the sunroom sufficiently for us to be out there! The dogs and I enjoyed taking in the lovely light out there. I spent the afternoon spinning and the dogs found sunbeams to snooze in. Well, not quite all of the dogs were snoozing - Cooper used the opportunity to attack some fresh shoe delightfulness. You can see Dan's hot tub sandal there in the middle of the sunroom.

I was curious to see when our first yee-haw day was last year and found this post from March 4, 2009. It's interesting that this year is a couple of days later than last year because we've had a mild winter compared to last year's frigid one. Today we're back in the fog so no sun to warm up the sunroom. We've had a lot of fog the last couple of weeks; it's unusual for us to get so much of it.

In spite of my time being usurped by a certain furry baby I did manage to finish Dan's house socks. You may remember that I didn't like the colors that I dyed the yarn. Once knit up, they got overdyed and I'm much happier with them now.

I ordered some Gradience Sushi Sock yarn from The Unique Sheep in the Dusk On The Fjord colorway. It's so pretty!
I'm fascinated by gradient dyeing and carding techniques and will have to experiment with some fiber of my own. You know, when the furry baby isn't usurping most of my fiber time.

Speaking of the furry baby, here he is climbing Mount Zivec in the backyard.
If the sun comes back, Mount Zivec won't last much longer so he needs to get in lots of climbing practice while he can. He is so used to bopping around with his splint that he'll likely have a bit of a learning curve to run without it when it comes off.

And I'll leave you with this pretty pic of B.

Friday, March 05, 2010

sharing the fiber experience

My sister Darcie and I were guests at her daughter Katie's youth group meeting on Wednesday evening.

There were nine girls in the group. I told them that our clothes are made of fibers that come from animals or plants. We showed them how twisting fiber makes it stronger. We gave each girl some Romney roving and asked them to pull a piece apart. Of course, that was pretty easy to do. Then we told them to twirl the fiber like they might twirl a lock of their hair and then try to pull it apart. Not so easy. Katie showed the group her spindle and how it twists fiber when she spins it.

Once that concept was understood, we brought out some Corriedale pencil roving that Darcie had dyed in bright colors.

In pairs, the girls each held an end of the roving and twisted it clockwise.

When enough twist was built up, the roving was allowed to ply back on itself.

The two-ply yarn was then cut and tied to make friendship bracelets. The girls liked them so much that they came up with lots of ways to wear the pretty colored yarn. Katie shows us her bracelet, headband, and ring,
pony tie,

and anklet.

The kids seemed to enjoy the activity and we'll be doing another one with them in a few weeks, letting them try out some spindles and spinning wheels.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

still splinted

Today was the day that Cooper's leg was x-rayed to see if it has healed. The x-ray showed that it is healing but not quite all the way yet. He needs to wear the splint for another 10 days and get it x-rayed again then. I'm pretty confident that it should be healed by then. In the meantime, Cooper still has the splint. I'm hoping that the weather doesn't decide to bring an early thaw this spring because it's hard enough to keep the splint dry now in the snow. We have a lot of snow and there will be a lot of water and mud once it starts melting.

Monday, March 01, 2010

did I mention that I love speckled puppy tummies?

A couple of you asked if Cooper leaves the bandaging on the splint alone. For the most part, yes. He picks at the edges a bit and loves to pull out the cotton lining that peeks out the top of it. The vet told me that if he was attacking it with determination, it would likely indicate a problem and he would need to get it checked right away. The picky stuff is normal. I've taken him to the vet weekly to see if he has outgrown it so it has been replaced/repaired frequently. We're all hoping that it can come off this Thursday.