Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lazy day, NOT

I seem to end up working at something nonstop whenever I am home alone now, instead of being able to take some time to just laze around and enjoy being alone. I know why; its because I get so far behind with Bill home so much. I don't know why he can't schedule his days to visit his girlfriend on days I am home instead of going there on the same days I work at the auction. It is irritating, although I suppose I should be touched that he wants to spend the time with me. The problem is that he feels my time is his to dispose of but his time is also his. So I never get to do anything I want to do, and especially on the computer or sewing machine. He thinks it is his duty to keep me from spending too much time in the studio, and he thinks more than an hour per day is too much time. So, I have many other things to do today and I'd better go do them.
Robin is doing pretty well. THe vet says she does have a nice deep groove on her patella, so the trick is to put it back whenever it does out, and give her RImadyl to control inflammation. It does seem to work, and hopefully she will outgrow the slipping patella. Anyway, its not near bad enough to require surgery, yet.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

CIC Christmas vests

And here are the 3 vests. SO, correction, total is 17 pairs of socks and 3 vests instead of 18 socks and 2 vests. Pretty good, huh?
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more Christmas CIC socks

Here are another 8 pairs.
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Christmas CIC socks

I didn't knit all 11 pair of these in December, but I did most of them. I also knitted 9 other pair and 2 vests and sent the whole she-bang to Children in Common in the names of my loved ones. Some, like my MIL, do no charity work at all, and others, like my DM, do other charity things but cannot knit, and others like my sis and nieces are just so busy that they end up giving money instead of time. THat's what I used to do, but my circumstances have changed, and now I have more time than money. And I really love knitting socks for kids that really need them.

AJ in AZ
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Etsy sales

Today I sold 3 bags to the same person from my Etsy store, so I am mailing them Priority in the morning.  That really helps me; the deposit will help me pay my credit card payments. I was worried, as my work has begun to figure the way they pay for auction day differently, and I am making about $100 less per week than I was making before.  I may have to add another day to my workweek unless I get an end of year substantial raise.
We went to the Lakeside Farmers Market at Estrella Mountain Ranch yesterday, but there was really only a couple of farmers selling produce there.  Most of the booths were crafters and artisans.  DH and I actually discussed selling my quilts and felted bags there, but once I started talking to the people who run the place, pretty much decided it would be too much trouble.  You have to have an Az state tax license and a million-dollar liability insurance policy in place before they will even discuss letting you rent a space.
It would begin to be too much like a real business then, as I would have to sell  a lot, and spend most of my time making more salable stuff to justify the expense, never mind how cheap the actual booth rent is.  For now I will just stick with Etsy.  Its not steady at all, but should build as more and more people get disgusted with ebay's expense and plethora of sub-standard goods.  Etsy only lets you sell handmade stuff and has a reporting function if you think someone is trying to turn it into a little ebay and resell cheap goods from elsewhere.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ranting, again

I have thought of a long blog entry every day this week, but unfortunately they always turn into rants about DH, no matter what subject I started with. There are a lot of things I need to get off my chest, though, so I will have to just start writing. I can't really call up somebody and tell them all these things; who would be interested anyway? And I can't afford marriage counselling, and he refuses to go there with me anyway. He won't even agree to go visit a friend who is a psychologist because he doesn't want to hear that anything he chooses to do might be wrong. Like having his girlfriend (who he doesn't even have the sensitivity to keep a secret, but instead goes with openly and TELLS me where they go and what they do(no sex, thank goodness)), and like complaining that I don't talk to him anymore, but jumps all over me for absolutely any comment I make, or like telling me I can't give HIS dog any training because he doesn't want me ruining him, then deciding that I need to put MY dog to sleep because of her health issues. See, it all gets out of hand very quickly.
Don't forget, I am only allowed to use the computer when he isn't here, and actually I can't spend more than a half hour in my studio sewing either, when he's here, and I have to give him more than half of my paycheck to run this place, but somehow I have to come up with the money for extra groceries, and vet bills, and etc, etc, but heaven forbid I should work on anything that can make me some money when he's here. He went ballistic last week because I drove down to the mailbox to mail out a package containing a felted bag that I sold on Etsy. I drive too much according to him, while he drives to North Phoenix to visit his girlfriend 3 or 4 days a week.
I have to take RObin to the vet to have her hips x-rayed now, and I'll have to pay with my secret credit card, because I am forbidden to use his cards, and I have to give him the money from my paycheck that I could pay it with, and I have orders from him to take her to be x-rayed NOW. I doubt that he cares if she is in pain; he just wants a vet quote to surgery on her to use for ammunition when he rants about putting her down. There I go bawling again; I'd better close. I will write how the vet visit goes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dogs and exercise

I was thinking this morning while taking the 1st of the daily several long walks with Robin and Sammy that its no wonder so many Aussies end up in shelters and pounds.  Novices may THINK they know what it means to have a high-energy herding breed, but reality is always a surprise.  We knew what we were getting into with these 2, as we had regular Aussies back in the 1980's, before the show breeders made them so huge.  THe miniatures now are just a little smaller than the original Australian Shepherds I remember from the early 1960's in eastern Colorado.  THe toys are sheer indulgence.  THeoretically a toy should require less exercise, so a city dweller could manage one successfully.  I think that anybody contemplating getting ANY Aussie should realize though that they will NEVER get too much exercise, no matter the size, and will rarely think they have enough.  ANd that will only last a few hours.
We have 20 acres that is all up and down, so can just go for walks several times a day.  ANd it is still a pain sometimes, but worth it.  THey are still wonderful dogs and add so much to my/our quality of life.

ATVs in the desert

With the wonderful damp ground out there from Fridays all day rain, the ATVers were out in force yesterday, and they are again today.  I guess the opportunity to tear up the desert oven worse than usual has them all excited.  THey can make new marks everywhere they go, and then SEE where they have been.
I hate them.  There are marks on our land that look as if made yesterday that I know for a fact are at least 100 years old, since we are only the third owner since the original homesteader.  They didn't know any better then, but any fool ought to be able to understand that there won't be any NEW ground once all the old ground has its original covering destroyed.  Here in the desert, things never grow back; not in human lifetimes anyway.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rain, finally

It rained nearly all day yesterday and late into the night.  We lost our power from around 4-6 and then again from 7-9, so lit the oil lamps and candles while we listened to it rain.  I love rain.
Miss RObin the Princess is nearly a year old, and has never really been rained on before, so she was determined not to go out until it stopped.  Even when I carried her out and halfway up the hill, she just hunched up and held up a paw and refused to move.  It got fairly irritating after a while, and she did finally pee, but managed to keep from number 2 until this morning after the rain stopped.  Sam has never been rained on before either, but like everything else, he took it as an opportunity for enjoyment and had a great time splashing around.  They are SO different.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More about Mystery Quilt

I believe that I will applique little chicken shapes on the light-colored center of the quilt top, just as soon as I find the book with chicken appliques in it. Then I will save the whole thing until I find the right person for it. It barely made a dent on my chicken fabrics, so there are plenty more where that came from.

One day Mystery QUilt

I made this quilt top last Sunday as a one day mystery with Planet Patchwork and about 3000 other quilters around the world. It was meant to be 5-fabric quilt but I only had enough of one fabric, the lime print, so just scrapped the others, using a fabric until it ran out and then adding another of a similar value. It was great fun, but I was unable to use the chat at the same time as the directions on my dial-up.

I set up my Qwest Broadband this morning and already am totally in love with it. Imagine not having to sit forever, over and over, waiting for pages to load. And now I can even download .pdf files instantly. THere were lots of web pages I couldn't get to load at all with dial-up, so I am drunk with surfing the internet. ANd the phone rang and I answered it while I am online. I love it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Valley Fever

It was officially confirmed on October 26 that Sammy has Valley Fever.  Its a relief in some ways, as he was getting sicker on the antibiotics that the vet started him on, thinking he had a bad bacterial pneumonia.  FIrst he kept vomitting teribly with the generic Keflex, and then he just got worse with the Baytril and Centrine.  Bill drove to Youngtown to get the itraconazole last Saturday rather than wait for it to be sent out, and I have been giving it twice a day since.  He doesn't have much appetite, but is always happy to accept a treat from your hand, and that makes it soooo much easier.  Robin, on the other hand, has to have an antihistamine pill every day, and you just cannot fool her into taking it in a treat.  She spits everything out and thoroughly inspects it before eating it tiny piece by tiny piece, so I just have to put them down her throat and then follow with a treat for allowing me to do it without struggling.  Sammy struggles at anything of the sort , so we are doubly glad he takes the pills.
The disease seems to go something like tuberculosis, or lots of other chronic diseases, as he feels better and worse depending on many things.  Sometimes he acts almost normal, and other times the coughing just tears your heart out.  At least he isn't vomiting anymore.
The poor dog is only 7 months old, and before he got sick, was just a bundle of lovable joy with tons of energy.  He used to run Robin ragged, to where she would start trying to discipline him for real, to make him leave her alone.  Now she is just bouncing off the walls and wants him to play with HER so bad.  I end up taking many extra trips up the hill and around the property with her to burn off energy, and leave him in the house.  He does want to walk with us morning and night, but doesn't range very far out.
The vet and the websites say 6-9-12 months of meds to be cured, if that can be done.  Sometimes it can't be done, but we have high hopes for him, since we caught it so quickly.  THe medicine isn't near as expensive as I was led to think by other people who had dogs with Valley Fever, only $28.80 for a month's supply at this dosage.  We'll have to see if it is helping at his next appointment for blood work in a month.

Nobody can see me.

You have been sent 2 pictures.PB010001.JPGPB040009.JPGThese pictures were sent with Picasa, from Google.Try it out here:
AJ Wischmeyer, Quiltmaker

Sunday, October 21, 2007

a picture for you

You have been sent 1 picture.PA210010.JPGThese pictures were sent with Picasa, from Google.Try it out here:
AJ Wischmeyer, Quiltmaker

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thank you

We both thank you so much for the birthday coffee and tea.  We are happily drinking away, morning and evening.  I apologize for the delay in sending this thank you; I was supposed to get wireless service this week and have been holding off on lots of things for that reason.  It wasn't meant to be yet, though.
Larry the wireless guy came a day late, yesterday, and could only get an intermittent signal from one tower, west of Buckeye, and even though the one at Broadway and Jackrabbit got a strong steady signal, it was even slower than dial-up.  And I am NOT going to pay $41 a month for slower-than-dial up service.  I only pay $10 a month now for Earthlink.
Avantek will followup and let me know when they get the other tower going fast and Larry can come back and hook it up then.  Bill still talks mean about it, but I think he is resigned to the fact that this is YET ANOTHER thing I am going to do whether he likes it or not.
Love, AJ
AJ Wischmeyer, Quiltmaker

October Socks

These socks are from Knitting Vintage Socks, and are the Yarrow Rib pattern. I used 60 stitches and size 1 US , 2 circular needles and knitted them both at the same time. The yarn is a merino and tencel combination which I cannot remember where I bought (the tag is long gone), and is lusciously soft and yummy. I can't wait to wear them. I knitted them at work, all except the toes, and riding in the van or waiting to leave again. So several people from there want to see me wear them too. There has been quite a bit of curiosity about just "why" anybody would want to knit or wear handmade socks, but a lot of agreement that they sure are pretty.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bill's birthday

The package of cookies came last Wednesday, and I picked them up at the post office in Buckeye on Thursday.  Yum, we are still eating them  and loving every bite.  Bill's favorite is always chocolate chip, but I really love the lemon ones.  I get all of those, as he doesn't like lemon.  Too bad, haha.  THanks so much on his behalf.  His own mother sends a card but doesn't even write anything, and she is the only family member he ever hears from. 
I am sure your surgery will go well and happy that you will feel so much better.  I know how much harder it is to try and take care of everything through pain, and so discouraging when you think there will be no end to it.  I am so happy that the doctor can help you that way.  Is Dad any good at all for doing anything? 
I am riding in a van every Monday without panic attacks, and even rode to Tempe in the front passenger seat once last week, so eventually I will be able to come visit.  Next summer for sure.
My auctioneer from Calhan will be my regular one, at his request.  He said after my second time last Tuesday that "You'll be the best there ever was in another week!", so I am doing very well.  Its not hard, just important to do it right the first time every time, and do it quickly, and never stop until there are no more cars.  We run around 150 through our lane each Tuesday, and will continue to grow.  THis auction has only been open since January, so there are no historical numbers yet.
Bill got fired on THursday, after 9.5 years at the Greater Auto Auction.  It was a put-up job, as there have been severe management changes since the general manager died, and the manager over Bill's department is getting rid of everybody that ever has an original thought, and you know that Bill doesn't hide his feelings well.  Anyway, they said that he refused to let a fat guy ride in his van and actually said that the guy was too fat. This is bullshit, as Bill is not stupid.  He says that the fat guy(who he didn't know) approached him to go on a run, but Bill already had a full van for the run, and he told the guy that he should wait for a big van (Bill drives a small one).  Nobody else was close enough to hear anything, but the fat guy went to the manager and wrote it up.  Bill was asked to write it up, then they fired him, as it was his word against the other guy, and the management chose to believe the fat guy.
I am still in total shock and worry, but I shouldn't be.  Bill is really quite relieved, as he hasn't been happy there since the management changes and was only staying for the health insurance for me.  If he had quit, we would now be uninsured, but since he was fired, we can COBRA the health insurance for a minimum of 18 months.  That will give us time to decide what to do, and now he can get his social security starting in January.  He has already made too much this year to get it right away, and if he continued to make what he was making at Greater, he wouldn't have been able to get any SS checks before April.    SO he is happy and relaxed and ready to stay home and chop wood for a while. 
I AM NOT looking forward to having him home all the time.  He won't ever leave me alone long enough for me to really get any creative work done, and bitches about anything that comes in the mail, or me being on the computer, or me quilting all the time, etc, etc. 
I have an appointment for the Avantek wireless guy to install high-speed internet on Wednesday, and I am still going to do it., in spite of Bill's opposition.  He won't be able to bitch about the line being busy because I'm on the computer anymore, and I will be so glad to get rid of the dial-up.  More and more web pages are so resource-heavy I can't even open them at present, no matter how long I wait.
Better close and go.  He went to help a friend paint a house, and will be upset if he calls and I'm on the line..  And he refuses to call my cell phone.  THe reason I got it in the first place was so he could still get hold of me when I was on the computer, but NOOOOOO!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Etsy shop!

I have been getting increasingly dissatisfied with ebay's charges and the fact that you have to pay them over again every week if the item doesn't sell right away. And they nickel-and-dime you to death with charges for this and that. So as things expire on ebay, I will be moving them over to my etsy shop, I am so excited; I just ordered a custom banner and avatar from a designer. I must say, this is the first time I have ever heard of an avatar. She will have to give me very good loading instructions; I can't wait.

From the Seventh Generation blog

In Vision

This interesting chart floated my way the other day from an equally intriguing website called Permatopia.

Here’s what its creators have to say about it:

Permatopia Patterns is a new way of thinking about permaculture. Historically, most permaculture guides and analyses have been focused on individual properties, often rural homesteads. Zones and sectors are key concepts in permaculture analysis, examining how to locate components of a permaculture system based on distance from the house and ecological factors. These are incredibly powerful tools for the personal level, but are far too limited in their scale for a society wide transformation to cope with Peak Oil and climate change.

This page shows how the concept of zones can be extended to the goal of "permaculture for nine billion people." Learning skills at the more local levels can help with efforts to extend to bigger levels, since effective solutions at the biggest levels depend on understanding how the solutions work at smaller levels.

The sectors concept reflects how there are many paths needed to move away from overshoot and collapse. Different people have different skills and interest, no individual or group could possibly address all of the various facets that are needed. The concept of interdependence between these issues (and levels) is one not normally promoted in our hyper-individualized society, but it is the type of path most likely to accomplish common goals.

Whether you are expanding a local community garden, installing utility scale wind power, teaching environmental education to second graders, starting up a community currency barter system, operating a bicycle shop, creating manufacturing cooperatives, campaigning for accountable elections, or any of thousands of other positive things is irrelevant - the key point is that you are doing something that is a piece of the puzzle.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bag Style book not here yet

I ordered my book thru Amazon, and it is supposed to ship on Oct 1. Saturday, sure it is. Anyway, I ordered it and Lace Style together to get free shipping and now my thrift means it will take even longer to get here. In the meantime I will just have to drool on the pix of everybody's projects.

AJ's September Socks

I started out with Deby Lake's Aran Twist pattern, but quickly changed the cables to more twists, since I was working on them in fits and starts while riding in a van at work. I couldn't be looking at the pattern for every row. I also didn't carry the twisting down onto the foot, just left the knits and purls since the tops of my feet are sensitive and I didn't want them rubbing in my shoes.
The yarn I used was a bamboo mix from Regia, and I am unable to find the label. Sorry. I used 60 sts and size 1 needles, 2 on 2 circs.

AJ in AZ

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Guarding the kitchen

Mr. Affable, aka Sammy is 5 months old now, and bigger than Robin, although that's not saying much. He was 14 pounds at his vet visit, for his last Parvo shot. I think Robin must be done growing, as she hasn't gained weight or height since before I took her to be spayed. She is definitely a TOY Aussie, but I am sure Sammy will be well within the Mini range.
Sammy just lives to love you, or me, or anybody around, and will attach himself to any visit as a fresh source of petting. He wants to be a lap dog, and is just incorrigible about pushing Robin out of the way. He acts like a typical adolescent, and is lazy about say, going up to the clothesline or the chicken house unless he thinks food or a walk will follow. He doesn't even want to go outside in the heat until he has to potty so bad that a delay could be disastrous. He loves the crate in the house, and will sleep in there voluntarily even when I'm home. He's a very silent dog. He never makes a sound except for a minute or so of howling when one of us takes him out to the ex-pen on the front porch at night and puts him to bed. Until he stops damaging stuff on the porch when he is left out there, he is definitely not going to sleep inside.
On the other hand, Robin takes her responsibilities as the senior dog and self-appointed guard dog very seriously. She will go up the hill with me even in the heat, just going from shade to shade, because after all, she might need to protect me. She's at my heels whenever I move. She barks more than I would strictly like, and I have yet to figure out how you stop it with a positive based training method. After all, if you are supposed to ignore behaviour you don't want, how do you ever get her to shut up? And when Sammy is really bugging her, barking and growling and attacking him is the only thing that works for her. But she is not a lover like Sammy. She does love us, but doesn't really like lap sitting except on rare occasions, and will stay just out of reach under stress. I have to make her stay and then go to her if I need to get my hands on her. Its probably from having to take meds and have her eyes washed so much in her life, as she was much more of a lap sitter as a baby.

I really love them both, even though sometimes I wonder what I did wrong, to have to wade through 2 dogs and a cat to get anywhere in the house.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

More snakes

I haven't written anything about killing snakes for a while because the last 3 were so small it hardly seemed worth the trouble.  Bill killed 2 of them and I one, all right around the chicken yards.  I wish I was brave enough to let them live, because maybe they could make a dent on the darn ground squirrels.  Every day we have to refill and tamp several places under the fence or wall to EACH chicken pen.  THe chickens won't run them off, and I think the ground squirrels actually eat more chicken feed than the chickens do.  ANd then at night, the mice come out and finish off what the ground squirrels and/or chickens have left.
Back to the snakes.  We just can't leave them alive around this populated area because they might bite us, or the dogs(more likely)  I did get Robin vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, but it only lasts 6 months, and she got huge knots on her side at the injection site.  So we didn't have it done to Sammy.  And I have not yet taken them to a place in Cave Creek that snake-proofs, as Sammy is too young, and besides, I spend all my extra money on Robin's allergies.
So the 3 little ones we killed were no big deal.  They were so little they didn't even know how to coil up and rattle. 
HOWEVER,  last night we were feeding and replenishing waterers, etc. and there was a BIG rattler curled around the wading waterer in the Cornish pen.  Bill was lucky to see it when he reached over to up-end it to clean it out.  Big fat thing.  He dispatched it with a shovel, and we put the head in the barrel but left the body there to see if the chickens would eat it.  I still don't know; it was gone this AM when I let them out.
We also had a dust storm, a power outage, and a brief heavy rain last night.  We managed to drop and break the chimneys from 2 different oil lamps and need to do some serious clean and repair to the burner on one of them.  We had enough chimneys though, as we have wall sconces we don't use in the summer (the candles melt) and the chimneys are all interchangeable.  I like oil lamp light for knitting, even if it does put out quite a bit of heat.  THe power came back on in a couple of hours for a change, and we finished out the evening without further excitement.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RE: Job

Yesterday I worked the second day, in training as a block clerk for the
sale. There are 6 auctioneers, one per lane, and each has one or two block
clerks. If there are 2, one just gets signatures on the bills of sale and
hands out receipts, the other does all the computer work and reminds the
auctioneer of things he should say about particular cars, etc. It is very
fast paced and some auctioneers are much nicer than others, of course. We
happened to have one who was not so nice, but was OK as long as you did
everything right and didn't get behind. All I did was observe the whole 4
hours, but I don't think it will be any problem. The amount of information
you have to change or add to the computer as you go along is limited, and
it looks pretty easy. And it is certainly no more stressful than the ER.
I just found out yesterday that they actually hired me to train as an
inside/outside float who can fill in for anybody in the place on sale day.
But I had already found out that it is pretty rare for them to hire
somebody directly like they did me. Usually they hire from the temp
agencies, for people that have already worked there several times and
showed their stuff and have experience.
The first day was fine; you just have to ride along in the van to the
various dealerships over and over again, get a vehicle, check the oil and
water, put on your dealer plate, check for gas, and start it. Hopefully by
that time the van driver has written it up and you can go. I had to put
water in my very first vehicle, I had to get gas once, and one wouldn't
start until the lot guy came and disabled the alarm. I drove away, and at
the first corner the shifter knob came off in my hand. So it was a little
tricky to drive but I did it. They gave me that one in the first place,
evidently, because most people either can't or won't drive a standard
transmission. I guess I'll get them all the time then. In all, I moved 7
vehicles in 10 hours, which Bill says is quite efficient. He's been the
van driver at another auction 10 years, after all.
It was fun, although the pay is just a pittance compared to what I have
been making at the museum. I will just have to wait until I have filled in
at several different skilled jobs and then talk to them about a raise. I
do believe I get a bonus for the block clerk above my hourly, but I don't
know yet how much it is.
Good part-time jobs are hard to find, and I think this one will be fine.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

New job tomorrow

Theoretically I started last week, at Metro Auto Auction in Phoenix.  After all, I worked Tuesday, the day of the sale in the Briefcase Check-In, and I went for a couple of hours Thursday and Friday for orientation, but those don't count.  The day every week that is liable to be hard, is Monday. 
It will compare to Bill's Wednesdays, when you go in early and don't stop until the work is all done.  That means you have picked up every single car from every dealer that wants his car to go thru the sale the next day, even if it takes until after midnight.  And you start at 8 AM.
I doubt if Metro will expect an 18 hour day like Greater (Bill's work) does.  I doubt if I will be willing or even able to work 18 hours, no matter what they expect.  We'll see.
But the orientation and just the whole general feel of the place makes me think that perhaps Metro is a kinder, gentler place to work and I'm willing to try it.  After all, nobody else has been trying to hire me.  The Town of Buckeye just never bothered to answer my application, period.  From what I have been able to glean, they decided not to have a part-time museum aide after all, but a full-timer.  And I put on my application that I was available part time.  Heaven forbid anybody should send an email or give me a call to see if I wanted to try it full-time.
The auto auction business doesn't pay much, but it is just Monday and TUesday every week and then I'm free until the next week.  And Tuesdays I think my regular job will be on one of the blocks doing computer work and invoicing for the auctioneer.  I should be able to handle that all right.  Might even enjoy it.
I do still have an open application with the City of Tolleson for a parttime Library AIde, and I think I would take that job above all others if I had a chance, but I don't think I'll get it.  They already posted the position once and turned me down, then recently posted it again.  I emailed to ask to be considered again, but no answer.
I just wish I would win the lottery (but I never play) and then I could thumb my nose at them all.  Bill says I don't have to work if I don't want to, but he doesn't want to give me money for the things I want to spend it on. 
Organic dog food, sewing machines and fabric, quilt camp, high quality yarn, classes.  Whatever could be wrong with him?
Love, AJ
AJ Wischmeyer, Quiltmaker

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sammy is growing

ANd the little devil was just as hard to handle at the vet yesterday as he was the last 2 times. He is so smart and so much fun otherwise, but once he gets on the table he turns into a bundle of writhing muscles trying to get away. It took 3 of us holding him to get a temperature reading and then when Bruce gave him the parvo shot I nearly lost him. He doesn't try to bite and doesn't yike; just puts all his considerable energy into trying to get away. Of course getting shots hurts, because there isn't a relaxed place on his body to put the needle into.
Then of course as soon as he is on the floor again he is all smiles and pet me, pet me. And no, he's not afraid of heights. He pays no attention to stuff like that at all. At home he climbs up to the backs of chairs and jumps off when playing.
Gotta go. Doctor appt in an hours

New browser

I switched to the Opera browser because Firefox has just gotten so slow and full of detail that I can't stand it. I'm sure it is mainly to do with my incredibly slow and unreliable dial-up but STILL! Anyway, I was sure that Opera would be light and fast and I would really love it.

All true. BUT! Opera won't let me log in to Blogger, period. The lines where you enter your ID just won't come up. I have turned off the popup blocker and let it set cookies, etc. Nothing. I have even emailed Opera support but received no answer. Grrrrrr!
ANd it won't let me print a Paypal shipping label either. I have to open up FIrefox or IE to do that or this, and it pisses me off. It is a free browser after all, and you get what you pay for, but I was looking for something small enough that I could avoid viruses, etc. Firefox used to be great, but I have read that it has gotten so popular that hackers write viruses just for it now.
Firefox is also very annoying with its add-ons it wants you to download and update all the time. THere doesn't seem to be any way to get rid of them once you (in a weak moment) download the first time, and I never use any of them because they always want me to do a 30 minute or more update first.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

AJ's August Socks

These anklets are my first pair for the limited edition Tofutsies Sock Club, Wild Kats. I didn't think the lace pattern would show up with this yarn, so used the cool ribbing all the way down. I started with sz000 HiyaHiya circs, 2 on 2, and switched to sz0 when I started the heel flap. This yarn is quite thin, and the fabric feels just fine with the tiny needles. But oh, it takes so long to knit anything with them. I have since ordered some sz00 HiyaHiya needles from the Knitting Zone, since that is the only place I have ever been able to find the size. That is the only place I have seen the sz000 also.

AJ in AZ

I'm baaaack.

I can't believe it has been so long since I posted. I seem to post the most when nothing is happening and least when it is. Duh, wonder why that is.
Anyway, since I was last here I have had a major birthday, signed up to take BOTH dogs to obedience classes in Phoenix on Monday nights starting September 17, listed most of my yarn stash for sale on ebay, and come to to the realization that I am going to be unemployed at the end of this month.
Oh so very rude and uncaring Town of Buckeye has not acknowledged in any way, shape, or form that I was a longtime and valued member of the Buckeye Museum team and that I did as they asked and filled out an application to become the same when the Town took over the Museum. This is in spite of lobbying by both the curator and museum board members to have me hired. Oh well, if it wasn't for my credit card payments I could get by on teaching classes at Cotton Fields Quilt & Knit.
Good part-time jobs are hard to come by. This is going to take some thought. I suspect I will just have to set my jaw and go get a part-time job that I would never consider before having this great museum job for so long. It doesn't help that my fibromyalgia won't really allow being on my feet for 8 hours, so that leaves out any kind of retail sales.
I'll try to stay in touch.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Robin is spayed.

And a poor sad little thing she is too.  TO hear her tell it, she was tortured for hours and hours and barely survived it.  ANyway, she is taking full advantage of the whole sympathy thing and lording it over Sammy something awful.  Pretty quick I will stop preventing him from trying to play with her and she'll have to either play or discipline him herself.
She did have all her parts, unlike her litter sister.  She weighs 12 pounds  at 8 months and Sammy weighs 11.1 pounds at 4 monhs.  He also go his rabies shot and another parvo yesterday when I dropped her off.
Poor Sammy gets carsick every time he goes in the car, so he now has to ride in the crate.  I would much rather wash out the crate than have to launder the car quilt every time I take him anywhere.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sammy the incorrigible

Dear Kathy,
I'm sorry I haven't updated you for so long.  Thanks so much for Sammy.  Bill is in love with him.  As much as he likes Robin, she IS a little lady and Sammy is much more rough and tough.  He is fearless, too, never cautious as Robin is about new situations.  They are night and day, and both so much fun I can't imagine how I lived without dogs for so long.
We haven't had any company yet to take pix of the 4 of us, so I may have to have Bill take ones of me with both dogs and I'll take them of him with both.
Sammy is growing so fast too.  He'll be 16 weeks next Wed, and will be getting his rabies shot and another parvo.  He's almost as tall as Robin, although that isn't saying much.  She is still only 13 inches, and weighed 12.2 lbs at the last vet visit.  SHe had been up to 13 lbs, but eats even less in the heat and runs it off in the morning and evening.
Robin is going to be spayed on August 1, but I don't think I'll have the new x-rays done.  SHe is completely sound now, and her eyes are all well too.  So hopefully the spay will be HER last vet bill for awhile.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

July socks

Here are my socks for July. I have a Tofutsies pair on the needles, but it doesn't look like they will be finished in time. The socks here are all Cascade 220, and are for Children in Common. I try to keep a pair of these going all the time, and I work on them when watching a DVD and my other projects are at a point to require paying better attention.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Robin's vet bills

Dear Mom,
In answer to your question about Robin's vet bills: Not long after we got her, she started acting real lame, although she didn't favor any one corner and didn't yike.  SHe just limped. I talked to the vet about it everytime I took her for puppy shots, and we finally had to xray both shoulders and do blood work to rule out Valley Fever and West Nile Virus.  That cost a lot, and showed that her shoulder blades were roughened but not yet dysplastic.  Recommendation to limit activites and recheck when getting her spayed.  I turned down medication because I didn't want her to overdo and injure herself from not having it hurt. So we didn't go for any more walks, and I usually left her in the yard when I ran up and down to the chicken compound or the trash barrels or the recycle bins.  She didn't like that, but I told her not to jump the fence, so she didn't.  It was a small problem because she early on decided not to pee or poop in the yard unless urgency demanded it.
Then her eyes swelled up and developed pimples on both upper and lower eyelids that would finally pop and weep, then start over.  It didn't seem to itch or hurt, but she could hardly see for the swelling sometimes.  So off we had to go to a dog ophthalmologist, and boy is THAT pricey.  It is called meibomitis, and is a staph infection triggered by an allergy to something.  Her actual vision and eyeballs are perfect.  THis is actually a skin problem.  SO I've been giving her prednisone and antibiotic eyedrops for a  couple of months, along with 2 followup visits.  Yesterday she got a clean bill of eye health, but now I have to ease her off the prednisone for the next couple of months. That I KNOW how to do.
And we are trying to eliminate all the allergens we CAN control, like corn, wheat, soy, beef (most common dog allergens).  Airborne ones we are already fighting because Bill has allergies.  I wash all the scatter rugs once a week and mop constantly, and use only natural products.
Oh, and don't forget the seizures.  She's had 4 in her life, 2 when she was real little, and I pretty much decided she had gotten a whiff of ant killer and switched to dish soap and vinegar in water per the organic gardening book.  SHe also had 2 more when her eyes first swelling up, and we were at a total loss as to what caused them.  THe first one I thought she had been poisoned and put salt down the poor thing and made her vomit and vomit.  They didn't last long and she never lost consciousness.  We never did figure out what caused it for sure, but the 4th one I have since decided were caused by the wet Swiffer Sweeper cloths I was using on the floor.  I have since read about other small dogs having convulsions from smelling those.
Here's the best thing though.  SHe is no longer lame at all and hasn't been for months.  She runs and runs just like any other Aussie with no problems.  She doesn't really jump, and that is fine with me.  That way I can leave her in the yard or wherever, and be sure she'll be there when I come back, so far anyway.  I'm having her spayed the 1st of August.  I was going to wait until her growth plates closed, but the breeder called and said that Robin's only littermate had gone in for a spay and she turned out to have ON uterus or ovaries and only one kidney, although quite healthy otherwise.  Also the eye vet says that the meibomitis often never returns once the dog is spayed, although it doesn't work 100 % of the time. Keeping our fingers crossed. 
Sammy is a typical little boy, destructive and rowdy and loud, but a real lover.  He never gets tired of loving on you and will keep licking and snuggling until you send him away.  Bill really loves him, and wayy tolerant of his behaviour(obviously he doesn't have to witness most of it).  We have always thought that Robin's behaviour is just too perfect to be real, and Sammy makes you realize just HOW perfect Robin is.  He'll be fine; he's intelligent, healthy, and way more athletic than Robin, but SHE is my dog and will remain so.  I'll have to obedience train Sammy, but I have to wait until I generate some income.  Right now about all I can afford to do is stay home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wonderful dogs

And as long as I'm at it; here's Robin at 7 months and Sammy at 13 weeks.

Closeups of Quilt for sale

I promised to post pix of various blocks for an eBay possible-bidder, so here goes.

Monday, July 09, 2007

a 2-dog family

This is rather a surprise to me, as we, or anyway, I wasn't planning to get another dog until Robin was at least 2 years old.  I even said no in the first place, and DH had to talk me into it.  He did that by taking much more ownership responsibility for Sammy than he ever has for Robin.
Here's the story.
Robin's breeder called and left a call back message early last week, but I didn't get back to her until Thursday because my new cheaper cell phone doesn't work until I get closer to town, and I never left home until Thursday when I taught a class at Cotton Fields. whew!  Well, when we finally connected, she asked me if I wanted another puppy, since Robin has had so many vet bills and there is no end in sight.  I was very leery, because I thought that meant she wanted to take Robin back, and I'm NOT EVER giving her up.
That wasn't it. Kathy(breeder) had 2 3 month old black tri male pups for pet homes, with great temperaments and good conformation, although not conformation quality, but highly athletic and suitable for any kind of performance dog.  She told me all about them and offered me my pick of them, but I needed to come get the pup ASAP.
I waited until DH got home and told him about it, but said I didn't really think so.  I wasn't willing to take on another whirling dervish when the first one is only 7 months old and still a handful most of the time.
Like I said, he talked me into it.  I drove to Winkelman and picked out Sammy last Friday.  Lance was there, who takes care of the dogs when she is away, as Kathy was gone to Texas.  Actually, I've seen Lance more times than I have seen Kathy, as he was the only one there when Pat and I picked up her puppy.
Sammy was already named, and he comes to it, so we let him keep it.  He's a cutie, and VERY active, and not shy in the slightest.  Submissive to us, but stands right up to Robin.  That's good, because she is feeling great lately, and would harass him constantly if he didn't make it clear that "I AM TAKING A NAP NOW!" He's athletic too; goes right up on the chairs, although not quite up to the beds yet.  He has great fun going back and forth from one of us to the other and giving kisses and getting pets, then back to the other, etc. 
Just what I needed, another one peeing on the floor whenever you turn your back, but oh well.  Brick mops easily, and it does force me to keep on mopping.

the bees, the bees

There are bees everywhere here, covering all the lily pads and edges of the pond, the bird bath, all the chicken waterers, the wildlife water tank, buckets we keep for chicken waterer replenishment, and the 2 large waterers dedicated especially to the bees. In this heat, they are totally focused on taking water back to the hive to fan the queen and brood cells to keep them alive. We people and dogs walk thru clouds of bees anywhere near the waterers but are never stung. Actually, I've never BEEN stung by our bees except by accident, as when I pick up the hose with a bee on it, or put my hand down on one when I am grooming the pond plants. They really only sting when they are protecting the hive, and we don't even know where that is.
We originally got the small box-starter-hive (I can't remember what it is called) and put it down on the second bank of the wash under a tree. When their numbers were too many for it, some left and colonized elsewhere. I wanted to buy the hives and all and harvest honey, but DH didn't. He just wanted them for natural pollination. So, by this time there have been several generations of them, and they are, I guess you could say, feral bees.
I sure don't see any evidence of a big die-off, but their hives are obviously not full of chemicals put there by the beekeeper to control mites, and they are not forced to drink irrigation tailwater full of agricultural(boy is that a misnomer) chemicals. And I HAVE heard that the die-off is confined to commercial beekeepers that DO use chemicals, and beekeepers who manage their bees as organically as possible have had no problems. Wonder why the media doesn't report more of that!
AJ in AZ

Thursday, June 28, 2007

On killing chickens

If anything, its gotten harder to kill the chickens we are going to eat. It was always hard, but after 18 months of doing it, its even harder.
Maybe its because we are currently killing a couple of young Buff Catalana roos a week, and they are SUCH sweet chickens. They act wild, and they are subject to quick panics, but if you catch one, they settle right down in your arms. THey don't scream or try to peck you or anything that the others will do, even fairly tame ones. Its weird, because the Buffs didn't get much handling as babies, either. For the first time, we kept the brooder box up in the coop instead of on the front porch, so they didn't get picked up and petted a dozen times a day. They just seem to be nice, nice chickens.
Its almost easier to kill the ones that flap and scream and carry on, because you want to get it over with.
Either way, I don't think you should eat meat unless you are willing to kill it yourself. DH and I do it together. I hold and pet them and he quickly snips off their head with pruning shears. Quick and clean.

And yet another

Well, ONE of them was knitted this month. I started this pair from Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock knitting book; its the Fancy Silk Sock, and I knitted the first sock months ago in my vintage sock KAL. Then finally this month I felt confident enough about lace knitting socks to knit the second one. Notice the second one is noticeably bigger than the first. I used sz 0 US bamboo dpns for both, and I tried and tried to knit tighter as I saw the sock getting larger than the other. Didn't work, though, and I didn't have any smaller needles.
Now, I do. I bought 2 sets of sz 000 circs, one from Addi and one(for a third of the money) Hiya hiya from the Knitting Zone. There doesn't seem to be any such thing as a 00 US needle.
And the size difference in these two socks also reinforces my policy of knitting 2 socks on 2 circs since I learned how to do it. The socks turn out exactly alike. I just juse both ends of the same ball of yarn until it is gone, as that makes it so much easier to periodically let hang and turn to untangle.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Catching up

We had no power yesterday from about 8 AM until around 7 PM.  Evidently a lot of Goodyear and most of Buckeye didn't have it either, and it was caused, according to the radio, by vandals cutting the guy wires to a major transmission pole and toppling it.  Too bad it didn't land on them.  It got awfully bloody hot in THIS house; I can just imagine how hot it must have been in trailers and stick-built houses.  The night before had been somewhat cool, so I closed up the house as soon as the power went off and closed all the curtains and settled down to move as little as could be.  I could read or knit by the light of the skylights, but couldn't sew.  I need a back-up treadle machine, I guess.
The only real bad thing was that as soon as the water in the well pressure tank was used up, there was no running water.  Sure, I had rain water in the containers out back, and I had drinking water in the dispenser, but I had to carry buckets up the hill to replenish the chickens' waterers, and I couldn't run the mister or sprayer like I usually do when it gets really hot in mid-afternoon.  Luckily though, we didn't lose any chickens to the heat.   I wish I could convince dear hubby to either put a hand pump or a windmill and stock tank on our second well down the hill.  It would help SO much when the power's off, and would really help the wildlife (the windmill) the rest of the time.  But he's so cheap, and things that I want to do are not nearly as important as the things he wants to do, even when he doesn't want to do anything.
Bill killed 2 rattlesnakes in 2 days over the weekend.  He came home after dark on Friday night ( I was out) and walked right over one curled up in front of the back gate.  The yard lights weren't on, because he usually gets home quite early on Fridays so I hadn't turned it on before I left.  He hung it in a tree to show me, but it was gone by 5 AM when the dog woke me to go out (and I didn't get home til 12:30)
Then the next day, we were rearranging chickens(some in this pen, some over here, remove rooster here, put another one in there), and found one under the dog crate shelter in the open coop.  We thought at first that he had bitten one of the roos on the foot, because it swelled up and the roo could barely walk within 2 minutes of killing the snake, and they had all been piled up in the corner where the snake was when it started rattling. I didn't want to kill the chicken if he could recover, as he is one of the best looking of the yound Catalana roosters so I put him in a cage by himself for a couple of days.  He wasn't happy, but recovered well and I let him go back to the rooster pen last night.  It was a short enough time that they recognized him and he doesn't have to prove himself all over.  He is actually one of the top-ranking roos with the chickens as well as with me.

June socks

These are from More Sensational Knitted Socks, and I knitted them on a jeep trip last weekend.

FW: [Conversations with whomever] New comment on Robin's eyeupdate.

I accidentally erased all the comments, so wanted to make sure this posted.  Thanks Chelsea, for the suggestions.  My electricity was off all day yesterday, so I didn't see any of it until just now.
----- Original Message -----
From: Chelsea
Sent: 6/19/2007 5:56:10 AM
Subject: [Conversations with whomever] New comment on Robin's eyeupdate.

Chelsea has left a new comment on your post "Robin's eye update":

Hi - I don't know if your sweet canine still has a meibomian gland infection, but I do have another trick if she still has it or if she gets it again. It sounds very simple, but it does work very well for humans. The trick is to get her to sit still (if she's a treats performer, this is good) and to hold a warm compress (a warm, damp wash cloth) for about ten minutes at a time (it can be a couple of minutes, re-warm the washcloth with new water, re-apply, etc. - you'll find a routine that works for you two). Anyway, make sure that the water is pretty clean. If you don't have decent tap water, then boil some on the stove, let it cool to be comfortable on your own skin, then use. I have worked as an ophthalmic assistant for twelve years (am now a student to change professions) and have almost as much training as an optometrist - disclaimer in case you are skeptical. ;) Anyway - I'm hoping that it's all gone for now. But just in case...

Have a great day! Oh! And I found you over at the SAMKAL3 (I also participate). Bye again! :)

Publish this comment.

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Posted by Chelsea to Conversations with whomever at 5:56 AM

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Robin's eyes update

Just wanted to let everyone know that, after only a week of treatment, it is impossible to tell that Robin's eyes have ever been swollen.  She still tears more than I would like, but she has done that all her life.  And she feels much better now too. She's back to her old bouncy self with an ATTITUDE!  Its time to go find another obedience class for her.  She wants to go so bad that she will lie down by the car and refuse to go back to the house if she thinks I am going to leave without her.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pat's puppy update, again

Tuesday is living at our house while we look for a good home for her. She is turning out to be just too much Heeler for Pat, and she is too much Heeler for us too. She bullies Robin something awful, so I make her stay on the porch most of the day while RObin stays inside with me. Its better anyway, because Tuesday has NO manners.
She will pee and poop outside when you take her out, but then pee all over the place inside too, no matter how often you take her out. She doesn't even seem to know she is peeing, or at least just doesn't care. She's not scared, either. Half Heeler, remember? She'll start peeing just walking along. I try to be understanding, but start making her stay outside about the third time I have to mop the floor in the morning.
SHe also blunders all over, barks at the cat, jumps up on the counters and furniture and steals all RObin's stuff and guards it, chomping Robin if she tries to pick up her own toy. Robin is a wuss, OK, but she's my wuss and I resent the other dog bullying her.
DH thinks he may have found a good home, with a woman he works with. She already has 3 dogs, and likes the hard Heeler personality. Bill will deliver her on Saturday, and then find out on Monday at the vet (parvo booster) if we have to take her back again.
We're going on a jeep trip Sunday so at least we have that time free.

Robin's eye update

Yesterday I took Robin to a canine opthalmologist. My god, that is expensive! But anyway, I found out that she doesn't have the inward eyelashes, but a skin inflammation called "Meibomitis". Her eyeballs and vision are perfect, but the pores in her eyelids are clogged and that's why they are swollen. The pressure builds up, then comes to head just like a pimple, bursts, and repeats. It is a staph infection and has some kind of trigger that causes it to recur and become chronic if the trigger can't be eliminated.
So, we have eye wash, antibiotic eye ointment, prednisone, and antibiotic pills. ANd another appointment in 2 weeks. I will work on eliminating even more possible allergens from her diet and environment, but I doubt if that will work. I mean, we already try not to buy anything with artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives on general principle. The vet said I may have to take her to a canine dermatologist for skin testing, as this is a dermatological problem.
She (the vet) also says that she has known many dogs with recurring meibomitis to never have another attack after being spayed. So, if we don't find the trigger within 6 months, hopefully spaying RObin will take care of it. I want to let her growth plates close before I spay her so she will be proportional, but if we can't get a handle on this eye problem, we'll do it sooner.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last of May socks

I am attempting to post this last pair of CIC socks to the SAM 3 KAL but so far having no luck. I knitted them as Magic 32s, 2 socks on 2 circulars, sz5US, and Cascade 220. This is my very favorite wool worsted and I confess to having enough of it in single skeins to keep me busy for quite a long time.
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Health problems for Robin

Poor little Robin has swollen eyelids to the point that the eyelid pimples up at different points and pops, then drains.  The blue eye is much the worst, but it is happening to both of them.  SOme folks on the MiniAussie list have suggested that she might have eyelashes growing inward.  This seems different to me, because of the pimpling, but I will cover it with the vet this week.
Now here's the worst.  Remember those 2 seizures she had as a little pup?  At the time we decided they must have been caused by getting whiffs of ant killer before it had dried, and I now only kill bugs with dish soap and vinegar.  And I stopped worrying.
She is now 24 weeks old, and has had a seizure on each of the last 2 evenings.  The first one happened up by the chicken compound, and we thought she had been poisoned somehow because it came on so fast.  One minute she was playing, then all of a sudden her foreleg drew up tight against her body and she fell over.  I grabbed her up and ran down to the house and put salt down her to induce vomiting.  Poor little thing barfed for an hour but then seemed to be fine.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have induced vomiting, because last night she had one while sitting in DH's chair.  FIrst her eyes get wide and scared, then her foreleg draws up (the other one this time) and she fell over in the chair.  I stroked and talked to her while it lasted, 60 seconds or so.  Within 5 minutes she was acting perfectly normal.
THe books say that if a dog has epilepsy, seizures can be triggered by most anything, but that the seizures follow the same pattern and duration.  All of these have done that.  She is also in heat.  I haven't had her spayed yet because I have been reading that it is better to wait until her growth plates close, especially if there is a suspicion of hip or elbow problems.  So I was planning to have it done at 14 monhs, but may do it before that, say at 8-9 months, depending on other things.
One good thing.  She is completely recovered from the lameness she had been exhibiting a couple of months ago.  She is still reluctant to jump down from things, but doesn't exhibit any pain when she does.
Help, I have never owned a dog with so many problems.  Is it because she is so small, or what?  I have also read that small dogs that don't eat well are subject to hypoglycemic attacks which look similar to epileptic seizures, and at first I thought that might have been the trouble night before last, because she hadn't eaten all day, but yesterday she ate off and on all day. so that couldn't have been it.
THis is so scary.  Have you ever run into anything like it?
AJ Wischmeyer, Quiltmaker

more May socks

Here are 2 more pair of Magic 28s for CIC and for the SAM3 KAL.
I am working on a pair of Magic 32s that I hope to finish by the
end of the month.

Sz5 US, 2 socks on 2 circs, Cascade 220
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pat's puppy update

Well, yesterday's note has turned out to be wrong.  Pat just couldn't go through with it; she feels that life with Tuesday, no matter how much trouble she is having is preferable to life without Tuesday, even for a few days per week.  I have to sympathize.  I would hate to not have Robin around all the time; she has wrapped herself around my heart.
DH is going to spend more time trying to teach Pat how to teach her dog.  Its hard because she can't make sense of what she reads.  She was of below-average IQ even before developing bipolar disorder and ADHD.  So she has promised to watch the VHS about Puppy Training that arrived with Tuesday, and I will look for others to get for her.
There's no doubt how much she loves the dog.  DH is just afraid that it may be too much dog for her.  THe half Queensland seems to be dominating right now and the nice quiet gentle mini aussie would have been better.  Oh well, maybe that side will surface as she matures.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pat's puppy Tuesday

I have hesitated to give progress reports on Tuesday because there wasn't any progress (by my lights) to report. 
Tuesday is a very nice little dog, and DH says that she will do anything for HIM when he visits, but that Pat just isn't able to train her, or even take care of a puppy full-time.  I know it doesn't seem like much to take care of and train a puppy, especially when you don't have anything else to do, but she isn't coping with it.  All Pat has done, for all she says she's trying, is teach Tuesday that you never have to be any place you don't want to be right then, you'll get attention if you make enough noise, and you might as well pee anywhere you happen to be because nobody can tell when you are getting ready to go.
So Tuesday is going to come live with us part of the week and just spend Saturdaythru Monday with Pat.  Evidently Pat never gets to sleep because Tuesday either barks nonstop or won't leave her alone if loose.  I think we can take care of that  pretty quick.  Crate and exercise pen are ready.
Also, she isn't getting near enough exercise and that will be solved immediately too.
Robin's nose shouldn't be too out of joint as she will still go to work with me and Tuesday will have to stay home alone. (4 hours 2 days a week, big deal)

Monday, May 21, 2007

CIC-Magic 28-SAM3 KAL

Here's a pair of CIC socks I just finished, using the Magic 28 pattern, sz5US 2 socks on 2 circs,
Yarn Treehouse Wool Print, 100 % wool. It is actually a heavy worsted or chunky gauge, so I
think I will go up a needle size if I make the whole sock out of it again. It has so many good
colors in the variegation that I am planning to save the rest of it for trims and stretching other
This is my first pair for the SAM3 KAL, and I hope to have another pair by the end of the month.
I have also made a pair of Horcrux socks for the SixSox KAL in April and a pair of Little Child"s
Socks for the Vintage Sock KAL this month, but I don't suppose the SAM3 will accept them, as
I finished them last week before I knitted these.
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Friday, May 18, 2007

Little Child's Sock

Well, here are my May Vintage SOck KAL socks, the Little Child's SOck from the book.
I used Regia Cotton in (obviously) red, sz0US needles, 2 on 2 circs, and still had to cut the
stitch count from 72 to 64. I also didn't make them near as tall as the pattern called for.
I seem to be prefering my sock tops shorter and shorter, probably because of the increasing
heat. I better get to work and just knit some footies.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Predator loss

I know this is retribution for being smug about no predator losses, but we lost a mother hen, a Dark Cornish, to the neighbor(1/2 mile away)'s dog yesterday morning between 6:30 when my DH lets them out of the coop into the yard, and 7:30 when I went up to feed them.
There were feathers everywhere, and at first I couldn't figure out where she had gone, as the fencing had fallen back down over the hole.  I went out of the yard and walked the perimeter and found the tracks, then identified the hole.  I was just sick.  The 6 baby chicks are all right; they and the mama were the only ones in that coop and yard.  The youngest ones are 3 weeks old, and this IS central Arizona, so they are feathered enough to be OK. 
I have been seeing poop from a strange dog near the coops, and somebody got into our trash the last time we butchered, so should have been prepared for this to happen.
I phoned the neighbor and left a message asking if his dogs had been out at that time, since they had tried to get into a coop about a year ago and failed. He showed up at the house almost immediately, very apologetic.  His dog had actually taken the carcass home with her to chew on at her leisure, I guess.
He offered to pay for the chicken, but I refused.  If this happens again, and I have to shoot the dog, I don't want him thinking we had a deal to trade dead chickens for money. He assured me it will never happen again, but did tell me that she had killed all his daughter's chickens at their other place; they have only lived here about 4 years. She's an Aussie, and I love the breed, but a wrong Aussie can be very, very wrong and too smart to be thwarted in something they really love.
When my DH got home last night late, I told him and he was all for going over to the neighbor's house and thrashing him, but I was able to deflect him, thank goodness.  I really hate being enemies with the neighbors, and if it never happens again, I want to avoid that route. 
DH really prizes his Dark Cornish, and she was one of 3 out of 4 Dark Cornish to go broody AND do a good job of it.
Forgive me for this rant, but I needed to get it off my chest.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Buff Catalanas

I ordered 25 Buff Catalana chicks from Ideal back in March, and lost 4
the first few days. So, of the remaining 21, I seem to have 13 girls
and 8 boys, one of which is definitely NOT a Buff Catalana. We will
eat him first, as he is of no recognizable breed. I plan to keep 2
cocks, so I have left those 2 with the pullets and separated the other
6 to a grower pen.
Of the 8, 2 have bright blue earlobes, and 2 or 3 of the pullets do
too. Has anyone else seen this in Catalanas?
Like Jesse's Buckeyes, there is a lot of size and feather variation,
but I will keep choosing and choosing to try and improve the next
generation. One cock was/is always the first to try anything and the
biggest from the very beginning. Regrettably, he is also the lightest
colored, with the shortest tail of all the boys. I am hoping his tail
will catch up.
I'll probably switch my keepers a dozen times before it is time to eat
the others, but it is fun.
I phased out my Fayoumis, as the eggs were just too tiny, and the hens
too aggressive. Wali, my roo, is now living the good life with a
mixed flock of heavy layers with my DH's boss. I have only a
BR/Fayoumi pullet, pure black, and an Ameraucana/Fayoumi pullet, dark
grey, who saved her own life by starting to lay green eggs.
My DH is in love with Dark and White-Laced Red Cornish, and of his Dk
hens, 3 have set, 2 successfully, with 4 and 2 chicks respectively and
of 2 WLR, one set, with one chick hatched. All the chicks are WLR. The
Dark cock turned out to be infertile (we also tested him on other
breed hens) and made excellent chicken and dumplings. That is surely
the reason for the poor hatch rate too. THey all started with 7 or 8
eggs, and one poor DK didn't hatch a single one. She has gone broody
again, and I will get her a few feed store chicks then end of this
week. Poor thing, wants to be a mama so bad.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pat's puppy

Yesterday I drove Pat to Winkelman to pick up her 9-week-old 1/2 Miniature Aussie, 1/2 Queensland Heeler puppy. I had asked Kathy (at Boldheart) to donate a puppy from the accidental litter to Pat and she had nicely agreed. She picked out the smallest and sweetest little blue merle girl for Pat and is selling the rest of the litter from her daughter's house in Tucson.
The puppy, which Pat promptly named Tuesday, is healthy and well-socialized, and her shots are up to date, tail docked and dewclaws removed. Just a few of the reasons its better to get even an accidental puppy from a breeder rather than somebody trying to make a few bucks from their backyard dogs.
It was the first time I have spent any amount of time with Pat and without Bill, and it went OK. But she did talk nonstop and I had to come straight home and spend some quiet time when we got back to Avondale and I dropped her and Tuesday off.
Robin went along, of course, and she was very good, also of course. However, she refused to go to the bathroom anywhere, no matter what, and held even her pee until we got home. The poor thing was so full of pee that she dripped a little when everybody was making over her at Cotton Fields, but still wouldn't settle down and go. I should have taken her to the dog park and stayed there with her until she HAD to go, but I didn't. I didn't want to see or talk to anybody for any reason for a while, and drove straight home. Poor little doggie; she must have peeed 3 times in the first 5 minutes after we got home. 4 1/2 months old. I sure do love her.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


A few minutes ago, I killed my SECOND rattlesnake of the new season, although it was the first one actually on our property. THe first one I killed was on the road about 1/2 mile from the house on Monday. Coincidentally I was on my way to the vet with Robin, and it scared me enough to have Dr Bolen give her the first rattlesnake vaccine, with a second to follow in 4 weeks. Then, he says, in this climate, she should have them every six months because we can encounter rattlers just about year round in this climate. So I was feeling better about snakes, because after all, she IS growing.
She was 9 lbs, 9 ozs. on that day's weigh in.
The snake this morning was coiled up under a dog crate that we had left to air near a tree. I picked it up and walked away with it, and it was just luck I saw the snake. He didn't make a sound, or move. I ran to get the shovel, and then I couldn't find him when I came back. I looked and looked, and I was afraid he had crawled under the straw strewn around the tree. I practically had hysterics calling Robin away from the tree, but she figured out there was something wrong with me, and came right away. 4 mos old.
I finally found the snake, right where he had been, and chopped him up in little pieces right there, all the while yelling NO! at Robin as she jumped around wanting to attack the shovel.
I do tend to , some say, overreact to rattlers, but the memory of spending the night crying with Etta Mae after she was bitten has never left me. And she was 5 mos old and probably 25 lbs.
Now I am doubly determined to have her snakeproofed as well as get the booster vaccination. I found a place in Cave Creek that seems good, but they won't do it until the dog is 5 months old. If I had waited for that, she could have been bitten and died.
My main problem is my active imagination. I can always imagine so many more bad outcomes than good ones.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Well, not really by clinical standards, but I did ask the MD to increase my Zoloft dosage, and he did. My cholesterol is 248 and I do have to start taking drugs for that, I have had absolutely no results from trying to lose weight, and DH had a horrible fit on Sunday. Its amazing how many things I always do wrong according to him, and did you know that it is controlling to suggest which egg he should eat for breakfast. I didn't either. As near as I can figure, I should never ever say anything on any subject AND when he asks me a question, I better know in advance what answer he wants or there will be another tirade about stupid people and nobody understands English, etc.
It wouldn't be so bad if he ever apologized or at least said he didn't mean some of the awful things he says, but that has happened maybe twice in 27 years, and NOT recently.
On the bright side, we have 3 hens setting, the new baby Buff Catalanas are growing, and Robin is a constant joy. She keeps me going.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

DH and dog

Anyone who knew us in a previous life would NOT believe this picture. Dog on couch!
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Edgar(1 year) and Robin(3 mos.)

I have finally gotten around to taking some pictures of Robin and the chickens by leaving the camera in my fanny pack and wearing it whenever I go outside with Robin. A necessary step, since she is no dummy and knows perfectly well where the clicker and treats are. The little devil goes her merry way if I don't have the bribes and behaves like a Companion Dog Excellent if I DO have them.
I originally hated the idea of abandoning all the dog training ideas I've had for the past 40 years and using treats and clickers to train, EVEN though my reading and talking to others have convinced me that its a better method. It just didn't seem right to me to bribe the dog. The book that finally convinced me is called Katz on Dogs, by Jon Katz. His explanations of how dogs minds work made more sense to me than anything has before. And I must admit that I haven't kept up at all with the dog fancy when we were dogless. So many new ideas have come and gone, but this one really works. It took 2 tries and Robin knows Sit. 2, not 10 or 15. Come is still iffy, depending on what else she is doing, but she will improve. She's just a kid, after all.
We had Robin help put the chickens away yesterday for the first time since both of us were home to prevent any damage to chickens or dog. She DEFINITELY has herding instinct, and went right out around them to try and bring them to us. Sloppy, but it was evident what she was doing. To me, anyway. So DH stood beside the door we wanted the chickens to go through and I danced around to keep Edgar from jumping on Robin. She didn't really try to catch a chicken; she just wanted them to MOVE. It was fun, and took just a few seconds to get them into the coop, and boy, was she proud of herself. Not something to try when DH isn't home, as Edgar needs somebody to guard him until the dog gets bigger and more sure of herself. Fun!
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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Miss Robin behaved herself very well at our first puppy class at Petsmart this morning. It is a class of 5, with 3 BIG puppies, Robin, and one little MinPin.
Robin is well-socialized to people and eagerly greets everybody of any age to get petted. But she is very unsure of herself around other dogs. SHe doesn't squat and pee or anything like that, but she doesn't want anything to do with them, even the MinPin.
The instructor assures me she will be 100 % better next week, just with another week maturity. I hope so. Her temperament is just so perfect in all other ways that I can live with it if she doesn't do well with other dogs, but I would prefer her to be good with them. So she can play with Pat's puppy if no other.
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