Saturday, June 25, 2016

Things That Work: Petal & Twig Organics

Flies are a fact of summer.  We had issues with them in Albuquerque and we have issues with them here in Colorado.

The flies really like Porkchop's ears and Gunnar's nose.

We initially used Neosporin on Porkchop's ears with little benefit.  Then when Gunnar's nose was being affected we started using Swat for both which helped a lot.

However, Gunnar does not like having ointment on his nose.  No matter how much we rub it in, he wipes it off .... with his foot, the ground, the side of the loafing shed, the fence or even the side of his food bowl... basically anything he can use to get ointment off his nose he does.  Which ultimately causes a gash that the flies like even more than his sweet, soft, velvety nose.

So last weekend I asked one of the Farmer's Market vendors if she had anything that might help.  She suggested that we try her bug spray and said that she uses it on her Great Dane.  I have bought other products from her over the years, so I decided to give the bug spray a try.

Well, just a week into it so far, I am happy to say that it appears to be working.
  • First, and foremost: Gunnar doesn't hate it!  It might help that I spray it on myself before I put it on him.  As I mentioned, he's not crazy about me rubbing stuff on his nose, but he does not run from me like he did with the Neosporin and Swat.
  • Secondly: It smells good. It's made with all kinds of lovely essential oils.  It has a pleasant, subtle smell which I like, a lot.
  • Finally, as a wonderful side-effect of using the dogs' bug spray, I also have fewer bug bites.  ;-)
Gunnar's nose looking much better than last week

I plan to get another bottle to take to the day job, so I can apply it before our lunch time walks near the marsh.  I also think we'll be using it on all of the dogs and alpacas.

Porkchop's ears looking great

Petal & Twig Organic Bug Spray is definitely worth a try.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fiber Arts Friday: A Little

The last several weeks in my fiber world have been focused on collection, not creation.

Everyone's shedding has been delayed and the wet spring has caused half of my shearing days to be rescheduled, including ours. I'm not shearing as much as in previous years, so it's not as challenging as it could be, but for a busy person with a lot of responsibilities, it takes work to make everything happen. 

All that being said, we have crossed the half-way mark for "dogs done shedding."  I am hopeful that we'll get to the the two-thirds mark this weekend. ;-)

The new day job is going well. I like it, the team and the work. The learning curve has my brain tired but it feels good to be accomplishing, growing and adding value in this capacity again. 

As a result, the arts part of Fiber Arts Friday has been on the back burner. Which is why this brain has been quiet for a while. ;-)

I did finally sit at my wheel on Tuesday for about 30 minutes.  I started thinking about this year's Tour de Fleece and I'm shocked to realize is starting soon. Apparently, it's almost July!

spinning Suri Alpaca

I have a new work friend who I really enjoy.

Well, to tell the truth I really enjoy all of my new work friends, but this particular work friend has dogs... Border Collies... and thinks making yarn from them is cool. :-)

I had shown her some of my Tibetan Mastiff Yarn a few weeks ago.  She decided to bring in some sheddings this week. So I made yarn for her.  :-)

Behold: the tiniest skein! 96 inches of Border Collie Boy Britches. :-)

I also started some yarn, from her girl.  I have a small amount left to spin.

I find it interesting.  Just as Suri and Huacaya are both alpacas, but have very different fiber characteristics, these two samples are both Border Collies with very different characteristics.

The black, has much more crimp like Huacaya and therefore a loftier yarn.  Where the white is longer and silkier, more like Suri with a denser, more twiny yarn.  Of course, you never know the full character of a yarn until it's been washed and worked into something.  ;-)

It was really fun watching her while I was making the first yarn.  She was almost in awe... Is it's fair to say that someone was in awe of something you were doing?  That seems grandiose.  It is fair to say she was quiet and watching with wide eyes and wonder.  It made me very happy. :-)

All of this only adds up to less than two hours worth of spinning... but that's a lot more than I've spun in a while.

Please take a look at my new work friend's blog.  Outside of her day job, she's an author, great story teller, and about as obsessed with her dogs as I am with mine.  ;-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fiber Arts Friday: Harvest Season

The dogs are blowing their coats, so I've been spending a lot of time collecting.

Alpaca shearing is next weekend.  The barn is just about ready to go.

Thoughts about what this year's harvest might become have been flowing through my head.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fiber Arts Friday: Cold and Wet Weekend

Last weekend was cold and wet.

Our yard, pasture and garden are looking great from all of the water.

With the day job finally replaced, I felt free to spend the time with yarn and tea.  I started a pair of socks, moved a hat into a more challenging phase and planned my next weaving project.  It was delightfully relaxing.

I also worked on my Alpaca Cape which is still very simple, but has gotten quite large.  The socks are small, easily portable and to the point of being a good Knit Night project.  The hat is borderline for conversational knitting, so I think it will stay home for a while.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fiber Arts Friday: Weaving Again

My Loom, she is warped!

I set up a simple plain weave structure using commercial yarns that have been in my stash for a while.

This project is about working through the process.  I have no real attachment to the outcome, other than improved technique as I go.

Obviously I prefer to do good work, but it's been a long time since I sat at a loom.  So I know this one will not be worthy of my ultimate standards.  It's a bit freeing starting out knowing that this one is going to be ugly.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Dog Show: Terry-All, 2016

Gunnar and I entered the Terry-All Kennel Club Dog Show last weekend.  It's been a while since I've been in the ring and even longer for Gunnar.

He and I went to class a couple of times to make sure we both remembered how to behave in the ring and I spent a good amount of time cleaning him up... it has been mud season and he started shedding, so that was no small feat.  ;-)

Saturday was hot and he was not in the mood.  He was reluctant to move and refused to stack.  He just wanted to take a nap in front of the fan in his kennel.  So while he did stand politely for the inspection from the judge, he was naughty and came in dead last.  It was a frustrating day.

However, being the only Owner-Handled TM entered, we were promoted to the Owner-Handled Working Group later in the day.  It was cooler, he had his nap and another competitor offered her portable fan for him to use while we were waiting ringside.  So he was happier and performed much better.

Sunday was cooler, quieter and less crowded.  He moved well and held his stacks.  The judge moved us up the line twice as he was making his assessments, then awarded Gunnar Best of Breed.  I wasn't certain I understood at first.  Gunnar's breeder had a big grin and another handler congratulated me and it started to sink in.  :-)

The judge was then very gracious with his time and knowledge while we waited for the show photographer.

This was Gunnar's first BoB as an AKC Champion.  One of the other dogs entered is the current #1 TM... a Grand Champion with an excellent professional handler, both of whom I like very much.  They are experienced and polished.  Gunnar is a working livestock guardian and I am not a professional handler.  All of these together with our performance on Saturday make Sunday's win and recognition extremely special.

I say it often, the conformation ring is about judging breeding stock against the appropriate standard.  Judges make their choices from what is presented on that day.

Professional Handlers and dogs that are on the road are practiced and polished.  They know the standards and perform well in the ring.  That's what experience provides.

If a dog isn't behaving well or the dog/handler team are not in sync, the judge can not make an definitive assessment.  It is incumbent upon us as owner-handlers to know our standard and learn how to present our dogs effectively.  I am looking forward to working on the things we learned last weekend and seeing how we do in our next show.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fiber Arts Friday: Setting Up My Loom

I decided that finishing the basement was no longer a pre-requisite.

I pulled all of the pieces out and laid them in the correct configuration then enlisted Hubba's help in putting her together.

I am the third owner of this 12 Harness LeClerc Loom and I am so happy to have her together again.

I've been studying my warping instructions and have measured out the warp for a very simple project.  I'm so excited to weave again.  :-)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!