Friday, June 27, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Replacement Hat, part 4

I recovered the few rounds that needed to be tinked from last week.

I'm about half-way finished with the flat top and ready to move to dpns.

There's something about decreasing toward the end... almost like I can see the finish line, so I push just a little harder to get there.  So perhaps this will be finished next week... ??

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: The Replacement, part 3

Since last time I've finished the sides and have made the turn to start working the flat top of The Replacement Hat.

But I just realized that I mis-counted the decreases, so need to do some tinking.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Things That Work: Surgical Soap and Dryer Sheets

The dogs found a den of Skunk Kits on the property.

While I'm proud of them for finding and resolving this threat, I was of course dismayed by the aroma.

The good news is that Momma Skunk was not around so they did not get the full effect.  But the kits were quite skunky as well as four of the dogs to varying degrees.

The few that were less skunky were rubbed with dryer sheets which managed to remove the majority of the scent... very surprising to me.

But the one who was especially skunky needed special treatment.

We found this surgical soap at the vet supply store when Mr. Skunky had found a rotten egg that some unknown varmint had stolen from one of our neighbors and left in our pasture.  So I figured it had a reasonable chance of working on skunk stink too.

I'm extremely happy.  One full-strength, Surgical Soap bath and he is back to normal.

This is a nice soap because it is non-irritating so I was less worried about washing his face... which had the brunt of the aroma.

Surgical Soap definitely works.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: He's Lucky I Love Him

The Giant Fluffy Puppy has been on House Arrest with a sprained wrist for nearly two weeks.  We had a couple of chilly/damp mornings.  I was neglectful in where I left my mitts one day.  :-/

He says he's sorry.

Happy(?) Fiber Arts Friday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dog Show: FlatIrons, 2014

The last weekend in May was the FlatIrons Kennel Club Dog Show.

We go thru a process before each show... I don't know if you can really see how muddy Gunnar is in the picture below.  We had a lot of rain over the previous couple of weeks and he had taken full advantage of it. ;-)

He had just started shedding prior to the last show and his groomer had done a good job of pulling out his loose undercoat then.  I've been collecting some of it since and she pulled more out after his bath on Wednesday before this show.

But those puppy-fur saddle bags were hanging tight on his hips.

I spent way more time than he would have liked on those saddle-bags the next evening, but I vanquished them.  Then I gave him a pre-show groom so Saturday would require less time.

Even though our ring time was a very-easy-to-get-to early afternoon, I wasn't exactly sure where I was going, so I went down the night before to set up.  I feel like I've done this enough times now that I'm pretty-well prepared.... but there always seems to be something to learn.  ;-)

Unlike the last show where we had a snow storm and I was trying to keep the Giant Fluffy Puppy clean and dry, FlatIrons was hot, humid, outside without shade, and I was trying to keep him cool.  What a difference 6 weeks can make.  ;-)

Listening to advice from one of our conformation class coaches, I brought a cooler with ice water and a rag to keep Gunnar's nether region cool.  Fortunately, the grooming area was inside and air-conditioned.  I also added an umbrella to my show equipment so we could make our own shade ring-side.

There were 2 other Tibetan Mastiffs entered.  Gunnar won Winner's Dog on Saturday, but had a limp on Sunday as we were going into the ring and was dismissed for being lame.

I don't know for sure when the injury happened, but he got excited to see a few people on Sunday morning.  So most likely he did it during some merry-making that morning.

The diagnosis is a minor sprain to his wrist and he is on House Arrest for another week or so.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Incandescent vs. LED: June 2014

We replace light bulbs at an astonishing rate in this house.

I don't know why, but it seems to be much more often than our previous house.  So I decided it was time for another experiment.

A couple of years ago, I bought a package of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL).  The packaging was a hard plastic blister pack that was nearly impossible to get into.  Then after I cut myself getting into it's fortress, the light they emitted was unsatisfying.

We have one in Hubba's closet.  He says it doesn't bother him, but it makes me nauseous.

That CFL has been in place for at least a year, maybe longer.  I did not write down when I replaced that bulb.  But I have refused to buy any more.

So yesterday and today, I replaced two sets of bulbs.  One each with a traditional Incandescent and one each with a LED version.

Both sets are on a common switch so they will be used for the same number of hours and turned off and on the same number of times.

I added a beautiful sticky note to each to keep track of when the bulb was replaced and which ones are my test bulbs.

The bathroom has 40W Globe Lights.

The Living Room has 60W Traditional Incandescent... although, the LED version is only 43W.

As of right now, Day 1 and 2, there is not a difference in the feeling emitted from each light bulb.

The LED packaged bulbs were significantly easier to get into than the CFL but not as easy to open as the Incandescent.

The bathroom LED package said the bulb should last more than 7 years and the Living Room Bulb more than 22 years.

At about $10 for 3 Incandescent vs. about the same for each LED, we shall see if it's worth it.  ;-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slow Living: May 2014

How is it June already?

I'm about half-way thru my shearing season... I've enjoyed the first fresh asparagus of the season and we had a mid-May snow.  Not as cold or as much as our May 1st storm last year, but still confusion to a body that had moved passed winter.  ;-)

I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but since it's already June 3rd, I should make my May installment (updated link) for the Slow Living Project.  :-)

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

Hubba has continued to make wonderful creations in the kitchen... Bulgogi and variations of such have been a favorite.

I roasted a turkey and made a turkey-quinoa salad with a new lentil recipe for our shearing day and enjoyed those leftovers for a few days.

I think we only have one turkey left in our freezer... gonna have to make that baby last until November.

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

Mostly I have been making preparations in the Day Job arena.  The project I've been working on will be coming to an end soon, so I am looking for another project/position.  Preferably a local manufacturing/test engineer, business process/analyst or project management position.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

We had some fence work done at the beginning of the month.  While we had to buy mostly new supplies we did reuse several components, including both gates from materials that our former neighbor and previous owner of our place had left behind.

The new fence allowed us to give the alpacas access to more of the property which means our hay stores have been extended a few weeks.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

Someone mentioned last month about how they're not likely to make homemade cleansers and body products.  I have to agree.  However, I am interested in making deodorant.  I am sensitive to coconut and every recipe I've found calls for coconut oil.  I wonder if anyone has experience with a recipe that does not use coconut oil?  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

I was tipped with a couple of cotton seedlings by a shearing client early in the month.  I lost one, but planted the other in an old whiskey barrel.  It looks a little sad here, but it has plenty of room to grow.

Given the crazy weather this month with heavy rain, snow, hail and near-freezing temperatures, I'm pretty excited to see these baby apples... and feeling optimistic about making applesauce in October. :-)

Aside from the cotton and apples, I have chives, cherries and a few plums growing.  Having only spent a few hours in the garden this month., so I'm feeling pretty happy with what is growing.  :-)

Hopefully, I'll have more time next month.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

Aside from Shearing on most of my free days, I have been working on all the things.

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

I sent a letter about our life in Colorado to my cousin's First Grade class in the northeast US. It was part of a year-long project to make geography more relevant for the kids. 

There was a lot of Lawn Mower research too... I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but there are entire websites... almost like a magazine, that are dedicated to Lawn Mowers... This one was especially useful.

I was also surprised to learn that anyone tried to grow cotton around here.  Our location means it is an annual, so I did a little research to make sure I didn't put my seedlings out too soon and still need to make sure I know when/how to collect the seeds from my plant this year.  It sure would be fun to have my own little cotton patch.

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

We were on the receiving end of this one... several friends and neighbors came out to help us on our Shearing Day.

Also one of my favorite clients is a Montessori School with an organic farm that includes a couple of alpacas, chickens, goats and pigs.  Another farm brings some alpacas in and I shear everyone outside, on the basketball court.  A few adults are there to help, but for the most part my crew was staffed with Middle Schoolers.

There is story telling, dying, spinning and weaving going on while we're shearing and some of the younger classes come out to watch.

This yarn was spun less than 10 minutes after it was fiber on the animal.  Quite a learning experience for the kids.  I love being part of it each year.

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

Of all the things, I am most happy and grateful about is to be able to live and pursue my dream.... even if it is only part-time right now.  :-)

We had snow, rain, hail and sun this month... so I did farm chores on more than a few cool misty mornings, which I love.

And Hubba and I took a trip over Trail Ridge Road to see the walls of snow at 12,000 ft.

Happy Spring for those in the Northern Hemisphere.  :-)