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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's Hot... Too Dang Hot.

At least for this thick blood. So yesterday since I got done with work early, I loaded the boys up and we headed west to the shore line in the late morning as it started to bake around here.

There at least there was a breeze and water to cool off in. It was still 84 degrees, but more manageable with water and a breeze.

Here at the house, it's just stifling. Muggy, hot, and still as can be. Hot to the point that we decided to water trees the other night as I watered the garden because the forecast is for more of the same, and our chance for showers and thunderstorms has dried up as well.

And as usual at the lake Sullivan had to try to tease his older brother by proving that he can stand on the bottom further out and keep the toy away from him.

Though he still gives it up when Emmitt pushes the point. You know brothers, they just have to be asses. It happens.

And speaking of, there's this crazy who won't swing but will eagerly await on the shore like he's herding their actions out there and try to steal the toy when they bring it in. All the attention, must be on THE TUCKER!!!

They keep us young. Though I'm sure Emmitt's aging bones will be talking got him tonight after hot sun, romps, and cool water.

Last night while I was watering the garden, I realized I was being watched by more than the mosquitos. See the big green hopper there peaking around the leaf? Overtime I moved he scuttled around to peak out the other side to keep an eye on me. It was kind of funny.

Midge had her second round of shots, and she's up to almost 4 pounds! Seems like she should be more than that since she's grown so much. Remember this photo?

Well, I swear she's bigger now.

Just ask Tucker. He thinks she looks like a tasty croissant in the bakery window here.

She's decided that the mat the water sits on is a good place to sharpen claws. I'm letting her have this thought as it suits my preference that the little dog hair trapping nubs fall off sooner. Now if only she would quit playing in the water. And see that new range? The old one was white, I promise you, that ones new.

I used it to make these yesterday morning. Oh Boy! I love blueberries. Had to use those fresh eggs somehow. We're now had 4. Scarlett is truly a Scarlett it seems. She's the only one we've caught brooding so far. To be honest at this point all three are hens for sure, but there was some doubt there for a bit.

Have a good week everyone!

Speaking of being hot, this is kind of how I feel, but she says it better.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Watch It Birds!

The girl is on the watch!

Luckily she's stuck inside. For now. She been out a few times, but this girls prey drive is so high I'm sure she won't be allowed to possibly hunt song birds at the feeders. That's just cruel. You should have seen her chase down the fire fly that got in last night. See that pillow? I originally stuck it in the window to keep her off the screen. I don't know when she made it into a settee for herself, but hey, she wasn't on the screen so I didn't get to excited.

I didn't even realize I had this on the phone until I was cleaning up some of my sued space on it the other day. I love how Emmitt just raises is head off the bed in the back as she hits the floor. This was in her first week with us and she had just discovered she could walk across the table between are two chairs. Then she missed...

And speaking of Emmitt and the cat...  She was just learning about these dogs and only wanted to mess with Emmitt as he's the oldest and calmest, and the smallest of the dogs in the house. This was one of the first times we saw them at it. Since then, she has learned to play with them all. I killed the audio and threw on a song for a sound track from the tune library as I was sick when I took this video and when I watched it today, I could only hear my sniffly sick breathing and that was it. It was a little ridiculous.

So, Sarah... Yes, yes I have talked about the chickens before. Starting here, and here, oh, and here too. Are you just skimming my posts? Trying to say something? To wordy? Just kidding. But yes, we have chickens. We used to have four, but some dogs can't be trusted it seems. Or couldn't then. He's decided he likes being in our good graces more than killing birds. I think he was just trying to get her to poop some more so he could eat it. Yes, think about that before adding chickens to the canine of the house. The Guy was out of town not that long ago and here The Girls were on his lounger letting me know they were missing him. I thought Spike here was just too cute not to snap a picture.

We were worried about them being a bit chilly when they first went outside this spring, but we found them keeping each other warm in the nesting boxes.

What is it guys?

This week unfortunately, the guy found we had a wasp nest forming in the upper part of the coop. Poor guy. Then I discovered while starting to pressure wash the exterior of the house in preparation to paint, that we have some wasps under the fake shutters. Little bastards.

Speaking of bugs, I found these neat golden grasshoppers munching on the sunflowers that have blossomed in the garden beneath the bird feeders. He moved from the good spot before I could get a good picture in the sun. But you get the idea. I know, I like critters. What can I say?

The park we often walk the dogs lost quite a few trees in the thunderstorm that spawned are little tornado. And yes, Michigan can get them. They're fairly rare here. Before last summer Grand Rapids hand't had one in 50+ years. This year, we've had 4 in the area. Lovely. Hopefully we're good for awhile now. Luckily, they've all been fairly weak, except the one that hit Portland. It was fairly small and weak, but it did deliver a good wallop to the town.

As I was wondering through the park I had a moment of, "Wha?" wen I saw this tree here. There wasn't a tree here before.

But there it was.

A tall and fully leafed oak.

Then it dawned on me, It's not a tree, but a part of a tree.

See way up there on the trunk? There's a little jagged piece almost halfway between the two bottom forks. There used to be a branch there. A lovely long branch that's leafy ends were woven in to the rest of the canopy. During the storm, it's base connection to the tree trunk broke and while the leafy ends were caught up and delayed in the fall, the big heavy base tilted downward then fell so hard and heavy straight down that it drove it into the ground. Far enough that I couldn't lift it out. I'm guessing that's why a week later it's leaves are still green. There is no broken end that's exposed to the air letting all the moisture out. Kind of neat, if a bit intimidating. Would have hated to be in the woods during that blow.

Well, summer is definitely here. So Hot. And even the katydids and Cicadas are singing. I will try to get a recording of them again this week. Last weeks was very poor sound quality so I trashed it. I'll try.

Have a good weekend guys. I will try to keep up smaller posts, seems to be working.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

We Have Eggs!

Well... err... we have an egg, but it's a beginning.

Being not sure how exactly old this egg was, I was a bit trepidatious about cracking it, but I did and it seemed fine so I fried it up to be used in one of our breakfasts tomorrow morning. A fried egg sandwich is always a great way to start the day.  We're not sure how old it is because we've not been on the look out for eggs yet. We were thinking it would be a few more months still.

I knew it was at least less than a week as I put the coop to rights after last Monday nights little tornado. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that in the last post. We had a tornado. It really was a little one, I promise. An EF-0 to be precise on how small. But a tornado none the less and I'm wondering if that's why I'm not sleeping so hot. Besides it's freaking hot for this thick blooded Alaskan. Nerves, though I know logic says we're safe for a few years now. They're kind of like lightening. And for heavens sake, for a state that rarely has them, we've had four now I think, all nearby.

We're safe, fur and feather kids are safe, what little mess we had is cleaned up and put back together so it's all fine, but still... I would take an earthquake any day, let me tell you. Saturday we had a thunderstorm coming through and one of the peels of thunder was so loud and long it caused things to shake, and I was almost as bead as Tucker, wanting to run for the basement. But as soon s it faded and I realized it was just thunder, I was fine. As it was I was probably lucky to wake up at all with our little earthquake. What got my attention out of sleep was the doozy of a thunderstorm. The lightening here is really impressive. When the hail started clacking on the A/C unit in the bedroom window it woke me up. Then I laid there for a bit watching the lightening and as I started to drift back off, the rain and hail just stopped. And I head the wind coming. Thankfully, i had the sense to jump out of bed, grab some clothes on the way past the drawers and shout for the dogs to follow me downstairs. Just as I was snagging a phone and my wallet on the way we heard things start banging around on the porch. We camped down there for a bit. I checked the phone to see the warning had passed and we went back to bed. Okay, I slept what little I could on the futon. Just because. I'm like that.

Despite everything going on, I have done a minute amount of spinning for this years Tour de'Fleece. Not much, but I got this lovely Falkland gradient done. I love it.

And just because I'm a boy and I like bugs, I have to have this picture. Who doesn't like cook looking beetles on the thistles. Makes me feel like i'm in Ireland.

Anyway, that's the first of my hopefully more frequent shorter posts. I'm going to try to build a habit here guys. Now off to do what this little one is doing. Have a great night everybody.

PS: Sarah, Thank you thank you thank you. As I was trying to sound calm and logical I didn't think I could say it how you did, but it's what I really wanted to say. But then I like the V word...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Say Hello To

The newest member of the posse here at Casa de Mongrel.

This, is Midge. She came to us with that name from a friend of a friend (Thank You Cathy!). We were told she was being called Midge which was short for midget as she was the runt of the litter. Well, no more let me tell you. And due to that big old M on her forehead, which is a hallmark of tabby heritage or so I've been told.

She is sweet in her way, but crazy in the way of all kittens. She's a bit upset with me right now because I made her go on a car trip to get a harness and leash so she can start going outside more. We have our work cut out for us if we hope to have her leave birds and chickens alone. I think she'll really only be able to go out when we're with her.

But as you can see here, she is very interested in "out there". In fact, thank you Sweet Baby Jesus for double hung windows because lower sashes must now be kept close, or else someone is climbing window screens.

As you can see, she's already pegged the softy. That is not my lap...

And she's already getting used to the ways of this household, such as monthly baths.

And that those big cat wannabe's are all noise and splutter.

She has decided that Emmitt shall be her buddy. To bad Emmitt, could really care less. But he'll put up with her to the point of sharing his favorite spot with her.

Perhaps dine with her too, for if he shares, maybe she will?

And maybe goof off, just a bit.

And she's decided that this fool is okay to play run and chase to a certain degree. Although I have only seen her play her game of tag with Emmitt or the humans in the house.

She would much rather prefer if Tucker would just lay down and wag that wonderful cat toy of a tail of his. Please excuse to the silly voice to make him wag. You can see, Sullivan wants so bad to get in on this kitty action. He misses his cats so, and she just hasn't decided yet. I'm waiting until she discovers that sleeping with him is like having a giant fuzzy hot water bottle, and she'll fall for him.

But until then, someone is left out. Poor Guy.

Speaking of the boys though, since' it's been awhile since an update, they're doing just fine. It's a bit hot here for them as it's fully summer now, but they're still having a good old time.

In fact, have you ever seen those nature documentaries that show the elephant seals on the rookery beaches and the big males fighting for their harems? Well, they remind me of them when they act like this.

Being full summer, the leaves and reptiles are all out.

Our garage snake is still around.

We found this in the garden a few days after we had our first spring sightings.

And then there was an unfortunate garden tractor incident, but as far as I could see, there were no actual injuries, and she slithered away after I checked her out to make sure she was okay. I've only seen her once since, I think she's steering clear of us for a bit after that.

A few weeks ago too, I was cooking and happened to look out front and saw something making it's way across our driveway, so I had to quick grab a camera and run outside.

If I had to guess, it's a box turtle, but I'm not certain. After we snapped some shots and left it alone, it decided to browse through our tall grass, as you can see here. I found the "turtle trail" kind of amusing. I was impressed with how fast it moved once it got into the grass as well. Definitely not a sprinter but faster that you expect. One morning not that long ago, we also had a large snapping turtle crossing the road less than a half mile from the house. It's nice to know they turtles and snakes are about, even if you don't see them often enough for my taste.

And there's always bugs. I wish I had even my phone today as I had a little praying mantis that just wouldn't stay off me while I was down in Hastings .

For you squeamish ones, there's no more bugs or reptiles, but I also found these MASSIVE carp in a pond down the road. I was driving by and saw something thrashing in the water so I went to take a look and found these four. If I had to guess, the largest (2nd from the top) is a female and all the thrashing was the males trying to be her one and only.

I know, it's been a while since I've posted anything. We've had things going on, and then after awhile, it just seemed to become this big obstacle I couldn't seem to overcome.

I would think, "I need to post to the blog", and yet I always found reasons not to. One of the biggest of these reasons was that I didn't feel like had much to share. I'll try to get past that.

The other blockade was that we were busy. Blogging takes time and I always seem to want to do something else with my time. Maybe I should take a page from Sarah's book and do more smaller posts.

But part of my issue is that it seems like I go to my actual computer less and less. And the iPad blogger app, well, let's just keep it polite and say it's less than nice to work with.

So perhaps I need to put some concerted effort into fixing this problem, especially since I've been on the blog quite a bit removing spam comments. It seems as though there's been quite the increase in "bots" getting through to leave ads or just people thinking leaving an advertisement for themselves in the comments is okay. But a few times a week I clean things up.

Today however, I had a comment left by someone that just really irked me. And I figured that if I was going to go to the computer to respond, I should wrap up the pictures and videos and leave a new post as well.

I don't like to just delete comments from actual people, I figure even if they might be a little negative or just disagree with me, they might make people stop and think. But this one steamed me. It was left on my post that had a couple patterns on it that you can find here if interested. And I felt like I needed to respond at this time, though if anything else is left I probably won't.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel that I was inspired by someones scarf to make something similar. Now, this scarf wasn't something that the person could just tell me, "oh, I used this pattern" and I could run home and search for it. No, it was an off the shelf mass produced item that caught my eye. And then it stuck with me. Heaven forbid, I would say it inspired my knitters eye, and decided to see what I could do with the shape of it. I did not say, go to wherever she thought she bought it, buy one, take it home and reverse engineer it. No, I thought about it's construction, wondered about how to make it work better for me, and went about creating said thing. I'm fairly sure, many and possibly most designers are inspired by shapes and lays of fabrics they see out in the general world and do this kind of process.

Yes, I did originally try to find a pattern. None of them did exactly what I wanted, or were the shape I was looking for. The closest I could find that I was tempted to settle for was what I feel is an exorbitant amount for a downloadable; therefore, low overhead in production, end price. It was not part of a collection, it was a single pattern for a scarf, that they wanted $12.00 for. I was not going to settle for an item, and pay that price to use my own paper and ink to get it. Nope, instead I picked up my needles, and I played, and I tore out. Then I played some more, and I tore out some more. All the while I wrote down, scratched out. Then I wrote down the next attempt, and the next and the next, until I had exactly what I wanted, and the written direction to get it again. That, is not what I would consider plagiarizing someone else's pattern. That was taking a shape concept and figuring out how to make it meet what I imagined for it.

All that being said, I do not consider myself a designer. One, I don't have the education, two, I don't have the desire, and three, I don't think what I do is all special. Any knitter with enough patience can do it. Therefore, feeling as I am not a designer, I don't charge for patterns that I make. So what do you feel I gain from this "knocking off" you accuse me of? If I had the name of the designer, or even the make of said piece, I would have stated where my inspiration came from Sweety. Instead, I gave the little bit of information I had on a piece that caught my eye, and made my own pattern, with my own work, and I'm going to call you on your behavior "Jen".

You see, you tried to make it look like I did something wrong. That I stole something from someone and tried to gain something with that stolen information/item. I suggest you re-read the original post. And then I suggest asking yourself that if you were in a knit shop when this item was pulled out and it's existence explained, would you have spouted off in this way to my face? If you would have, good on ya. But I highly doubt it. What I can tell you, is that should you have said this in person I would have replied in this way to your face. I very much dislike people who use anonymous internet interactions to behave in a piss poor fashion, and that is exactly what I think of your accusation today. It was piss poor and you did it in a way that you felt here would be no personal fall out. So, since I have no way to contact you to explain this; though I wish I were a hacker and could trace you to your computer, you get this very personal response. Thank you for the outlet you gave me, and giving me an excuse to make a blog post.

But all that aside, If I have any faithful readers left after this very very long hiatus, I hope you all have a good weekend! Midge says "Bye".