Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sleeping spots...

gri·mal·kin (gr-m├┤lkn, -ml-)n. 1. A cat, especially an old female cat

Saw this word on a "Word a day" calendar many years ago - funny how some words stick with you. Sinda is definately a grimalkin. She has gotten a little ecentric in her later years (she was born in April 1990 at the home of a co-worker - the result of a tryst between their little lady cat and the good looking Siamese lad next door). Although she and Neelix didn't really see eye to eye - I think she misses having another feline around, and has been crying a lot lately. She doesn't want for food, or water, (sometimes for clean kittybox - oops) - but really likes to have constant company. I have to be careful, because she picks the most unusual places to sleep - recently it has been a spot on a counter in the dining room right in front of the telephone answering machine.

Last month she decided that she liked a spot in the very corner of our bedroom. I didn't always look there before I left and one day, I locked her in the bedroom for the WHOLE day while we were at work.

She showed her displeasure by doing something she has never done before - She peed on our bed - MY side of the bed, to be exact, and because it didn't look messed up, I didn't realize it until I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. - by that time The Shepherd had been asleep for three hours - Luckily she didn't pee gallons - just enough to dampen the sheets a little - so I ended up putting a thick bath towel over it - I'm not one much for sleeping on the couch - next morning all the bedding got stripped right down to the mattress and transported to the back of my car. Strangely enough, I had an "appointment" at about 3:00 that afternoon - and left work to go to the laundromat & wash all the sheets, blankets and matress pads off our KING size bed. Nonetheless to say, I check in that corner now before I leave the room in the morning.

She really liked this spot on top of some boxes in the dining room for a while - she could lie here and look out the window. She seems to have abandoned that spot, although I noticed her jump up there this afternoon. I'd much rather have her in this spot than on the dining room counter - but what can you do when that's where they want to sleep, and they are (just a little) spoiled.

She also seems to be a little bit of a seismograph - Wednesday night she talked and talked and talked and talked (remember she is part Meezer) and tried to get into closets - very strange behavior - but turns out that Thursday a.m. there was a 6.1 earthquake northwest of here off the north end of Vancouver Island. And by Thursday night, she was all calm, like nothing was wrong. Gonna have to keep a closer eye on her - maybe she'll let us know when "the big one" is on its way...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

First it was the Olympics (loved the platform diving and the synchronized swimming!) then it was the Democratic National Convention (fell in love with Michelle Obama and was greatly inspired by the grace of Hillary Clinton) I am excited and proud to have our candidates transcend gender and race. It will be an interesting fall.

Got my church newsletter done tonight - to the printer tomorrow - and I'll finish my timecards for payroll in the morning before work. Whew -

But this is what I did for relaxation - I turned this (it's Regina) -

into this - (this is a real close up picture - I need to remember to put a coin in the picture like Leigh does.)

Not as good as my blue ribbon yarn - I didn't prep the fiber good enough on the first bobbin - Learned my lesson - hope it's one I'll remember because it makes life (and spinning) a whole lot easier!) Prep, prep, prep! (although there is something to be said by spinning from a bump of pin-drafted roving vs. spinning from a bat... even if it's been pulled into roving...hmm)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And, then maybe...

Yesterday, I showed you how well H.B. does on a halter and a leash.

When The Shepherd switched the boy's pastures out last week, he decided to try Taylor out on halter and leash.

Taylor wasn't exactly what we would call "thrilled" by the whole experience - this is what we call his "dead sheep" imitation.

Does a pretty good one, doesn't he?

Needless to say, The Shepherd wasn't too thrilled either - so, back to moving sheep the old fashioned way.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No more halter "training" -

Let's go get the paper, dad.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Three "Bleautiful" Things......

This was the sky last weekend during the heat wave - it was the most beautiful color of blue.

And here is my beautiful blue yarn - (that won a blue ribbon)

And here is the BIG blue ribbon that I won for my crocheted "hobo" bag. I used all the yarn that I spun "learning" to spin - including some Pitt Island Merino and some Gottland from New Zealand from Kathy, and lots of different samples from my teacher Yvonne (check out her "chicken house adventure"!) including alpaca (- a dream to spin), some Correydale and and a whole bunch of colored Angora locks that I hand carded and plied with the Correydale and some other pretty white wool which escapes me now. (the reason it escapes me is because I DIDN"T WRITE IT DOWN, ok, there I said it!) Anyhow, I still got a beautiful Blue ribbon even if I (oh, how embarassing) forgot to tie up a few loose ends...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We interrupt this blog to bring you an IMPORTANT message!

This handsome young lad is Marietta's Louie, and he is FOR SALE!

Louie comes from a line of prize winning fleece sheeps and, he took fifth place in individual Shetland Ram Lambs at the recent Skagit County Fair and he and his brother Danny took the BLUE ribbon for best pair of ram lambs.

He has a fantastic horn set. Probably the best of any ram lamb that we've ever had here.

He was, as you can see, born brown, and now has a very pretty, lusterous fleece. The Shepherd says it is musket, but I think he will be more of a fawn myself. It is very much like Luna's fleece that won first place at this year's Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene Oregon.

His mother is an unusual copper colored moorit, and his brother Danny is quite dark - darker than the brown tips on Louie.

He has a very nice tail and is actually quite "square" (although this picture doesn't show it very well).

He is good natured and is halter trained.

He needs a new home, SOON!

We need to find him a new home, because:

#1 - We don't need three rams - The Shepherd will be putting one girl in with HB and three in with Danny, who like his mother is moorit all the way thru.
#2 - We don't need another fawn colored sheep - sometimes you just have to make those decisions and somebody, no matter how sweet they are, doesn't make the cut.

I hope you will consider adding Louie to your flock. He is one sweet boy. Leave me a comment if you are interested and I'll have The Shepherd get right back to you!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whew, it's hot

It's only 78 degrees here today - cool by comparison to other places in the state - where three 100 degree days have practically cooked the blueberries right on the stem at my sister Wisten's farm south of here in Lewis County, or 102 degrees in Yakima where Merrill and her family lives. (that would cook me on the stem, to be sure) Nance, in Tacoma has a bearable 82 degrees today - not much warmer than we are.

So to offer up a little cooling breeze, here is a picture of our front yard from last winter. Breath in the cool air? Ha, nice try - I don't think it's working.......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In Memory of Violette Noelle -

Please take a moment in your day to send healing thoughts to the family of Tracey & her kitty Monty Q who lost their sweet child Violette Noelle in an accident last week. Her funeral was this morning in their home in Maryland.

I have colored my words violet in her honor.

I'd also like to thank
The Cat Blogosphere for their lovely tributes to Neelix. It was very much appreciated.

We went to the Animal Fair ~ ~ ~

The fun of our trip to the Skagit County Fair was somewhat pre-empted by Neelix's passing - but here is my report (finally, you say?)

Here is our little "corner" of the world - between two big pens of Suffolk sheeps - or pens of BIG Suffolk sheeps, I should say - the little gals on our left had market lambs who were also being shown in open class - cut short by the processor's arrival on Saturday morning. Many tears as they said good bye to their sheep friends - (and that would be why I could never raise market animals - you work so long getting them tame so they will show well, then, it's like the Queen says in Alice in Wonderland - "off with their heads!"

Here are "the inmates". They were surprisingly well behaved for the whole time that we were there. Of course there were lost of treats involved with the whole process too...

The Shepherd had worked tirelessly on halter training - so to test out the situation before the show, they went on a little jaunt around the fair -

They boys were perfect gentlemen out on their walkabout - and good Shetland ambassadors!!

No fair would be complete without a visit to the chickens, would it now?

John shares a few last minute hints with our friend Margot, who helped show Danny.

Our friend Nancy G. showed Louie for us. Thank you Ladies - we couldn't have done it without you!

Our Judge was Amy Wolfe, who judged last year as well. She makes a point of giving the breed history and telling what the breed is used for before she judges each class. Very nice young woman. (She is also a shearer and a spinner - so she definately knows what she is looking for)

In the Ram Lamb category, Danny placed third and Louie placed 5th. Louie, who is the fellow with the WIDE horn set in the second picture is for sale. Anyone want to add some Flett to their flock?

Our boys also got the BLUE ribbon for the best pair of ram lambs. They were so evenly matched, she said there was no other option.

Luna's fleece (blue ribbon from Black Sheep Gathering) took second place in the Shetland lamb fleeces - although he would have been happier with the Blue, the fact that she came in second indicates that it is a truly superior fleece.

Here is a picture of our motley crew - NW Shetland Breeders and Washington Wool dot Net Board Members.

Starting back row going clockwise -
Me, Nancy G., The Shepherd, Tom S, Dave & Franna (in the red), Sally T., Donna S. & Joyce T.

Joyce & Nancy joined me with their spinning wheels - we were quite the little "educational" display for people.

It was, all in all, fun. And we met many nice people, made new friends and got to see old friends - that's what the fairs are all about, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A brighter note - BLUE ribbons for ME!

From my spinning class last spring I got lots of wonderful fibers to play with - I spun up this and then decided it would be really pretty if I plied it with


I spun up this hand carded fiber from some angora locks that I bought a couple of years ago at Black Sheep Gathering.

And plied it with the grey to make THIS - which, along with a whole bunch of other samples, I crocheted into a "hobo style" bag. (which, of course I don't have a picture of ...but you'll see it soon!)

Long story short - I entered the bag in our local NW Washington Fair and got an email from a friend who was nice enough to check on my entries for me and I got a BLUE RIBBON!

I also go a blue ribbon on a skein of handspun from some of the fiber that I brought back from BSG this year. I am very excited! WooHoo!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer is back

Well, we are back to summer - the mosquitoes are so big they cast shadows on the wall and although it is no where near the heat that some have been having, it's too hot for me. It was, at least, blissfully cool this past weekend for the fair. And as I watched the raindrops fall onto the pond on Saturday morning after we buried Neelix, I could only think that Mother Nature was as sad as we were -

I will be posting some pictures and stories about our fair adventures in a couple of days. It doesn't seem appropriate just right now. And, I need to take a little break - It is still so hard - coming home from work, there was no fluffy buddy to meet me at the gate - when I went thru the cat food aisle at the grocery store tonight I got this wave of sadness - I had to do some deep breathing in order not to make a spectacle of myself!

We've had over 250 visitors in the last couple of days. The kind words from everyone who left comments are so appreciated and comforting. There is much sadness in The Cat Blogosphere right now as several kitties have crossed over the bridge recently and Monty Q's "bean sprout" Violette died as a result of a fall. As sad as we are over losing Neelix, I cannot help but think that the pain of losing such a sweet child would be incapacatingly immense...

Take care, all. T.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Neelix peacefully passed over the bridge early this morning in his sleep and now rests in a quiet spot in the Shepherd's Garden where he can snoopervise the comings and goings as he always did.

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and left messages, as well as emails that I have received. We are tired beyond words from not getting much sleep last night and from being at the fair with the boys since 7:00 a.m. today, but I wanted to check in with your comments as I knew they would be loving and help me sleep on this very sad night. I will be by in the next week or two to say thank you to all of you who left your kind words.

We received the following picture and poem from our friends Karla and Miss Peach - No one could have said it any better. Close your eyes now, my longtime friend,
and let this time of suffering
come to a peaceful end.
We'll walk together soon, I'm sure,
as winter turns to spring,
when snow gives way to budding leaves
and birds begin to sing.
The gentle breeze shall call your name
along the water's edge.
For what we shared and what you meant
shall never be forgot.
Your friendship spans the years behind,
your memory ahead.
You'll always be there next to me,
companion and good friend.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I have sad news

My heart is breaking and my eyes are past leaking. We came home from the fair tonight and Neelix is not able to stand or walk. I tried to give him water with a syringe and he was not able to swallow. He is losing his fight.
We have an emergency vet here in town who said they would put him to sleep for us, but John doesn't want to stress him further by taking him on a car ride. We will see what happens overnight - if he is still here at 5:00 a.m. whe he gets up to do chores, we will take him in then.

I don't want him to die here alone tomorrow. He has such a strong heart and is so full of love, I'm sure that is what has kept him going this past week or two when any ordinary cat would have gone to the bridge. I know that those who came before, Frank, Delores and Jaxom are waiting for him so they can show him all the special places to sit and watch the angels.

I'll post some special pictures of him in the next day or two - I think I'll go sit with him a while before I go to bed. We have a long day tomorrow, and whatever the outcome of the fair, it will be tinged with sadness at the loss of our sweet boy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Neelix update

Several people and kitty friends have asked for a Neelix update. What is the old saying, "De Nile is not just a river in Egypt". I guess I just haven't wanted to talk much about it.

We went to the V.E.T. today - Neelix has continued to lose weight - and with the heat yesterday, he could barely move from one place to the other. So I called and left a message for Todd (our V.E.T.) to call me back - we talked about options, (*NOT "that one" ) about why he is continuing to lose weight - there are no lumps or bumps (other than mats of fur that he won't let me cut off - maybe when they grow out). We also decided that since they never did a urinalysis, that I should bring him in this a.m. & he'd see if he could get a little bit to test - to see if there were a lot of proteins in it or what. (since he's been eating pretty steady, its just that the "food" isn't metabolizing or something.) The blood tests were negative for kidney problems, but apparently urine tests show other things -

Being in a "coulda-shoulda-woulda" mode, I agreed that I should bring him in - he REALLY didn't want to get into the PTU (that's prisoner transport unit, or, in other words, the cat carrier, for those of you who are uninitiated to cat language). He also was a lot more spunky than he's been in a few days. Adrenalin maybe? Anyhow, the V.E.T.'s office was packed. including someone bringing in a BIG dog on a stretcher, and they still were able to get me in within an hour. He'd had a big drink of water before we left home, so there was something in his bladder. They were supposed to call me this afternoon, but didn't - so I'll check with them in the morning and post a quick update before I leave for the fair.

What fair you ask? Well, The Shepherd has entered H.B., Louie and Danny in the open class sheep at the Skagit county fair in Mt. Vernon. He has been working very hard halter training them so they will behave in the show ring.

It is a little fair - I didn't walk around much last year - since I'll be there tomorrow afternoon and all day Saturday, I'll explore a little and report in. He's also taking Luna's Blue Ribbon Fleece - we'll see how she does.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of my baby boy - I took this a couple of years ago, and even had a mouse pad made from it. Doesn't he just look sassy? Please get better, my little friend.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pardon my rant......

Ok, there are a few things that have been driving me crazy - some for a while - some are new objects of craziness -

  • People who wear their Bluetooth headsets ALL THE TIME - in meetings, or while they are talking to me, or, just in general... Do they think it makes them look cool? No, I think it makes them look RUDE. Like I am just not quite as important as a phone call they MIGHT get on their cell phone. (What did we do before we had cell phones anyhow? My sister saw an article the other day that more and more students are starting to use the food banks - Why? Because with the high price of gasoline, by the time they pay their rent and their cell phone bills, they have no money left over. Do you suppose any of them ever thought of cutting back on the texting?)
  • What is the big deal with dissing Crocs? Now, some guy in Newsweek has a big article out about how much he hates Crocs. So, don't wear them, for cryin' out loud. Crocs are the only shoes that a lot of people can wear, myself included. Who died and made him the fashion police?
  • People who leave rude comments on the "online articles" in our local newspaper. Last week there was an article about a young man who was killed on the freeway. Come to find out he was under the influence of drugs. Sad but true, a fellow whose family loved him despite his shortcomings, who had tried and failed to get clean and sober. What good are saying things like "Good riddance to bad rubbish" when a guy has died a pretty horrible death and a family is grieving? Will their Karma go bad? I hope so.

Ok, I'm done now.

Geeze, who put a nickle in her?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

How can you not have a good day when...

You have a bouquet of these beautiful lilies on your desk and it makes the whole office smell romantic and fragrant.

Every day when it is sunny you get to see the very top of Mt. Baker playing peek-a-boo thru the foothills.

Coming home to this beautiful garden at the start of our driveway, that The Shepherd works on night and day.