July 26, 2011

While Joe and I were sailing in the Caribbean in 2006, he taught me some basics of bead weaving. Since then, I've done quite a bit of beading, usually in the evenings while watching movies. In an effort to continue to pursue my hobby without drowning us in beaded items (although it is fun having such an expansive collection of beaded jewelry on hand), I opened an Etsy shop and last year I had a booth at Steppin' Out in Blacksburg - a large, annual craft and art street festival. Neither venture has warranted quitting my day job yet, but I did have fun at Steppin' Out last year, and covered my expenses, so I've decided to give it another run.

Steppin' Out 2011 is happening on August 5th and 6th, very soon! I've been using this as the perfect excuse to spend the hottest part of the afternoon inside beading of late. Here are some photos of the resulting creations. And, if the festival doesn't go as well as I hope, at least I've got birthday and Christmas presents made...for the next decade!

July 25, 2011

Although you should not leave your pet IN your car on these beastly hot days, my pets have found a creative way of utilizing the automobile to stay cool.  

Thanks goodness for the StarPod! It has made these hot humid nights bearable, even delightful. For days on the radio, they've been announcing "excessive heat warnings". It sounds like much of the nation is in the same predicament, so at least we're not alone. I can't imagine what dealing with a heat wave like this would be like in a city. I may not have air-conditioning, but at least I have deep shaded woods, a creek, and the StarPod. What would one do in a concrete jungle without AC?

As I write this, almost noon on a Sunday, I am listening to the creaks and pops of my metal roof heating up in the sun. I'm biding my time, waiting for the grass to dry so I can mow it. This particular task defies my normal strategy for surviving hot summer days without completely sacrificing productivity, which is doing as much outdoor work as possible before the sun tops the trees to the east of us. I've usually spent an hour watering the garden, sometimes still in PJs, before I stop for breakfast. But, we were blessed with a thunderstorm that brought us an inch of rain yesterday, so I'm off garden watering duty for the next few days (yay!!). I was going to clean the chicken house out this morning, but that conflicted with egg laying time, and my hens are pretty fussy about wanting peace and privacy to do their business. I couldn't seem to find much motivation for weeding the strawberries, so instead I'm sitting inside using the computer.

Whereas the heat makes me a cranky, limp noodle incapable of accomplishing much, Joe is mostly unfazed. He has been on a super industrious streak as of late. Our place has gotten a complete makeover and reorganization. Instead of weedy, overgrown piles of random lumber scraps and odd materials, we now have neatly stacked piles whose contents can be accessed as needed. The back of the outdoor kitchen has now been enclosed, giving us space for a tool and misc storage room and a meditation room for Joe.
Joe's neatly stacked and organized lumber piles with the remnants of last night's bonfire that ate up the brush piles that had been growing around here.

Later that same day...
I was laying on the porch with Wilson in a post lunch and lawn mowing stupor when Joe's cousin and his girlfriend came jogging past on their way down to the creek. In passing they nonchalantly remarked - "You might want to lock your dog up. There's a rabid raccoon right over there. Lookin' pretty freaky!" And then they were gone. This is not a statement that you make without allowing for follow-up questions! Where exactly does "right over there" mean? And by what means did you determine it was rabid? I put Wilson inside, and went to look around "over there".  I got spooked by a stump and decided to lock myself up as well, seeing as how I'm not up to date on my rabies shots. ;)

I never did see any rabid raccoons, but I  did find this little guy while weedeating.

July 20, 2011

What's in a name?

I love naming things. There used to be a time in my life where I had
more names picked out than I had things to name. I had pre-named future pets for years to come. However, this was before I had chickens and had nine creatures to name all at once. As I mentioned earlier, Joe named two of our chickens Bebop and Rocksteady. Rocksteady, pictured at left, is definitely turning out to be a rooster. I've seen him and my young Salmon Favorelle (as yet unnamed) rooster sparring, or rather having very close range staring contests.

Below is a picture of the original Bebop and Rocksteady, namesakes for my two little chickens. Tough characters, these two!

I've decided to collectively name the three barred rock hens The Spice Girls, as they all look alike and make me think of salt and pepper. The two salmon favorelle hens will most likely get stuck with the moniker The Peepers 2.0 as our current favorelle hen was the original Peeper, which has now morphed into Ms. Peeps. 

I think it is funny how names and nicknames find their origins. For instance, Joe named Bebop and Rocksteady because to him the two polish chickens were the bobble heads, so the black and white polish became black bobble head, which got shortened to b bob, which immediately jumped to Bebop, which brought back childhood ninja turtle memories, and there you have it!

This still leaves me with the favorelle rooster and the speckled sussex hen to name..and I'm drawing a blank. I'm thinking the rooster should be given some time to grow up and prove his personality, earn his name, so to speak. As for the sussex, I decided to Google chicken names and see what I came up with. The top names on one list I looked at were Fingerlicken and Sunday Roast. Hmmm, we'll keep looking. On another website I noticed the names Britney, Paris and Nicole were quite popular amongst the chicken world. Since I actually want my chickens to like me and lay eggs for me one day...I'll keep looking. So, anyone got any good chickens names?

July 13, 2011

Animal Updates

Just under two weeks after Wilson's shoulder-dislocating automobile incident, we took the cast off. By this point, the cast/bandage was filthy and tattered, leaving trails of stuffing everywhere he went. Now that the cast is off and he's had a good bath, he looks like our old beagle again! So far so good on the shoulder staying in place, but he is limping on it just a little. We're still going to be keeping him on very limited activity for a while until we're sure that shoulder is gonna stay put!

Wilson has been on the phenobarbital for 13 days now. He's had 3 or 4 seizures during that time, but they have been very short (5 mins as opposed to his usual 45 mins). I was hoping we'd be able to decrease his dosage sometime soon as I'm worried about the side effects of this drug, but the vet says we need to up the dosage since he's still having seizures. It's kind of a trial and error thing at this point, with hopefully not too much error.

In other animal updates, one by one, all of the baby guineas disappeared. We even lost one of the adult guineas recently. The upside of this is that Ranger is no longer alone. Apparently it was Silver's boyfriend that got snatched, and Ranger has happily stepped in to fill his role. So, we're down to four guineas - two happily mated pairs. I would love it if it would stay at that level. I'm not too keen on any more babies, despite how cute they are, because it is just too much of a bummer watching them all disappear.  

Our chicken population has more than doubled because I brought home our teenage chickens from my boss' farm. In addition to my barred rocks, speckled sussex and salmon favorelle chicks, I also ended up with two polish chickens, one buff and one black with a white crest. Polish chickens, if you haven't seen one, have goofy puffball crests of feathers on their heads. Joe has named the two of them Bebop and Rock Steady, apparently after some characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since my childhood TV diet consisted almost entirely of Mr. Rogers, I wasn't familiar with these names, but they definitely seem appropriate for these chickens.

In the last week or so, we have FINALLY gotten some rain. I think we've gotten just over 2.5 inches in several rain events. Things are starting to turn green again. I leave you with this picture of a stealthy visitor to my day lily patch. 

July 08, 2011

July 06, 2011

Yurt photos, round 2

There is some chronological overlap between these and the previous ones I posted, but these were pretty fun. All photos in this batch taken by our friend, and yurt helper, Robert.
Many hands make light work.

Do what?

Herman and Joe Logan, most likely Carroll and Patrick counties' only official yurt contractor.

It's all about the grunt, Mariah.

It all came together with a little help from my mom..

and Joe's mom!


July 03, 2011

Yurt photos, round 1

Interior floor is finished. Starting to spread the lattice walls.

The walls and doors are up!

First four rafters and center ring are in place.

It's a complete yurt skeleton!

July 02, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

It's my birthday!! So, this will be short. I've already spent too much of my birthday on the computer.

First, the bad news. On Wednesday I ran over Wilson with our car. He was having a seizure under the car, and I didn't see him. Every dog I had ever owned has been hit by a car, half of them have died. Wilson is now on that list (no exceptions, apparently), but miraculously he on the survived half of the list. I was horrified when I realized what had happened, and oh so relieved when it appeared that he did not have any life threatening injuries. An immediate trip to the vet (we were the first ones in their parking lot when they opened) turned up the diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder and nothing else apparent. Whew!! The vet was very worried about the seizure business. When we talked to a vet about it 5 years ago when we first got Wilson, we were told that it was more a quality of life issue than a health risk and that if the seizures were happening every two weeks or less he wouldn't recommend medicating. So, that's what we've been going on. This new vet was horrified at that notion and said we should absolutely be medicating him, so now Wilson is on phenabarbitol (or however it is spelled) and hopefully won't be having as many seizures. I still have the concern I had 5 years ago of keeping him constantly medicated, especially with something that is a sedative when he is such a mellow dog to begin with. The current vet said that the long term side effects of all these seizures was worse than the side effects of the drug. So, we're gonna give it a try. Wilson also tested positive for Lyme's (no huge surprise there) and is on 30 days of antibiotics for it. The vet also called me yesterday saying that he found potential thyroid problems in Wilson's bloodwork and wants to run another test. I'm a little bit nervous that we're getting sucked into the black hole of constant medications and mysterious ailments when just a few days ago I had a happy healthy beagle who happened to have seizures. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, Wilson is all wrapped up like a mummy and on lockdown (sort of) until his re-located shoulder heals. 

Now the good news. The yurt is up!!! In an amazing span of two days we went from having an unfinished deck to having a fully erected yurt. My dad and little brother came Thursday and Friday and worked two very long days to make it happen. On Friday we had help from my mom, Joe's mom, my brother's fiancee and a good friend as well. I will have more pictures to come soon, but here's one for now.