Friday, May 13, 2011

The Gang of Seven


Ms. Fancy had seven beautiful puppies on Tuesday, May 10,2011.



Four girls, 2 are tricolors, 2 are red and white. Three boys, one tricolor and 2 red and white.



So far, things are going very well. Everyone healthy, strong and gaining weight.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Puppy Watch

Knitting



There won't be much knitting in this post. I finished a second doily. I think I'm well and done with doilies for awhile. Someday I'd like to knit a Niebling and the doilies have been good practice. Perhaps I'll start next winter. I'll need to find a period of time when I'm staying home and not off to dog events every non-working hour. I don't think knitting a Niebling is very compatible with agility trials or even obedience trials. Maybe an obedience trial...

The doily above is the Knit Flower Doily. It honestly looks better in person than in the picture. It's quite small. It was knit on 2.25 dpns using DMC Baroque crochet cotton thread.

Dogs

We're on puppy watch here. Fancy is expecting 6 puppies Wednesday, May 11th. It's a very impressive breeding on paper if you look at championship titles, performance titles and most importantly, the health clearances of the parents. These little puppies will have a lot to live up to. But at this point, all I'm hoping for is a safe delivery for the babies and for Fancy. It's so nerve wracking. I've been breeding for 30+ years but I haven't had a litter in 3+ years. I'm hoping I haven't forgotten how.



After using nothing but little kiddy pools for so many years, I decided to invest in a "real" whelping box this time. I set it up last weekend and Fancy hopped right in and started nesting. However, in the last few days she's gotten too big to get in and out by herself. Her temperature is still up and she's still eating all her meals and treats, so no puppies for at least the next 24 hours.



Meanwhile, I've started a shape-up program for Tinkerbelle, Rumor and myself. All three of us need to be in better shape for the summer agility trials. We're up to two miles, not much but better than nothing. We use the Sakatah Singing Hills trail. It was raining this morning but I'm proud to say I stuck with the program. Can you tell Rumor is related to Bunny? Who knew no-ears-up-for-the-camera was hereditary!



My view on the walks.



Yesterday, when it was so sunny and warm and the lake so beautiful, I forgot my camera. Today it was cloudy and gray but at least there was no ice and snow on the lake.



JJ gets a walk also. He's finally getting a little bit better. Still limps on occasion but can actually walk quite a ways before he starts to limp. JJ gets a separate walk as he isn't allowed yet to go at the speed Belle, Rumor and I move at. JJ is suppose to go at a 'smell the daisies' pace. It's not a pace JJ is too familiar with.



Despite getting a little better, I'm afraid this could be the end of JJ's performance career. Even if he walks perfectly after this, I can't imagine allowing him to do herding again, and certainly not agility. Maybe he can do a little obedience. I'm bummed, JJ is such a fun dog to work with, he loves working with me, never tires or gets grouchy. To think it all started with a little limp when he came in the house after his bedtime potty break.

Birds

Spring has finally come to Minnesota and all the summer birds are back. They seem extra colorful and noisy to me this year. I suspect this is related to the extra long, extreme winter we had. My only disappointment so far is no bluebirds in any of my houses. They are here, they are back perching on the weave poles looking for food. Maybe they have decided not to nest yet. Maybe they have found natural nesting spots in the trees which would be great. I hope they stick around for the summer, I'll miss them so much if not.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sassy

Gosh, I pubished my previous post and forgot to add pictures of Sassy! Sassy (aka The Springy Thingy) has conquered her chute and teeter fears to complete her Novice Agility Standard title.






These pictures are by Amy at Great Dane Photography

White Lawn, white knitting

There's snow in my yard still. It had finally all melted last weekend but then it snowed again Friday evening and it's still on the ground. Ugh. I know I'm not alone in asking, when will this winter ever end?

Knitting

I've been wanting to knit a few doilies. Don't ask me why, I certainly don't have the kind of house one would think of as needing doilies but they are quick and small projects, don't take up much space for storage and I enjoy lace knitting.



So here's my first doily. This Doily With Star. The pattern called for a plain cast off. I didn't like the look of that at all so I did a knitted cast off. It's not quite right for this pattern. The edges want to curl up. I've blocked it and starched the heck out it but the edges still want to curl. I should have done a crochet cast off as is shown in the pattern picture. This was knit on 2.50mm dpns and circular needles using size 10 crochet cotton.

The picture isn't very good. I took it early this morning and wasn't happy with the flash so figured I'd take new ones later in the day. However, my camera battery died and I can't find the charger. Although some people may think I have too many dogs, no one could accuse me of being a hoarder. I'm quite the opposite. I can't stand junk laying around and sometimes I get over ambitious with my cleaning. I remember straightening out the drawer the camera charger lived in and I must have accidentally tossed out the charger with other "junk". I found and ordered one from the internet today. I hope it arrives soon. I don't fancy myself any kind of photographer but I enjoy taking pictures of the daily occurrences here.

I also knit up two swatches this weekend (which I'd show you if I had a camera...). One swatch is for Jordan using Louet Euroflax and the other is for Delphine from French Girl Knits. I can't decide which one to start on. They are similar. Knitting with the Euroflax was like knitting with a rope. I plan to use Patons Grace for Delphine. I've used Patons Grace before and have plenty in my stash. I like Patons Grace, the poor man's Rowan Cotton Glace. I think I'm leaning toward knitting Delpine because it looks like it would be easier to modify to fit properly.

Dogs



JJ is still limping. He's been limping since January because of a tricep muscle strain in his left shoulder. JJ has finished up ultrasound treatments and is now doing rehabilitation work which includes the water treadmill, some walking and stretching exercises at Twin Cities Animal Rehabilitation Clinic. It's expensive. It's also discouraging as I'm not seeing a lot of progress. Meanwhile JJ is not allowed to do any of the fun things he enjoys, no herding lessons, little obedience training and certainly agility is off limits.



Fancy is expecting puppies May 11th. She has really popped in the last few days. An ultrasound showed 5 puppies but I'm starting to wonder if there may be more. I left her in the bedroom last weekend while I was at agility trials and came home to find her all curled up on my bed. I have no idea how she managed to get herself up there and sure glad I arrived home before she decided to jump down.



Percy had is yearly physical and shots one morning last week. He was zonked for the afternoon after his trip to the vet.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knitting Up A Dog

Knitting

I finally finished knitting my mom's birthday socks. I'm happy with them. I don't enjoy knitting socks much but my mom loves my knitted socks so once in a while I find an easy pattern and knit a pair of socks for my mom. My blog friend Guinifer is a super fast and very accomplished sock knitter. I'm in awe of her. It takes me forever to knit a pair of socks. Truth be told, my mom wears the socks I knit for her to bed so they are never to be seen in public. And that's perfectly fine with me, my mom has neuropathy in one of her feet so I'm happy they make her feel warm and comfortable and I don't have to worry if they are not quite perfect.




Here's the finished product. The pattern is Dublin Bay Socks  knit from Pagewood Farm yarn on 2.25 dpns.

Now that I've finished the socks, I'm starting on a knitted Pembroke Welsh Corgi.


I know, as if I need another dog!I've started knitting the Pembroke Welsh Corgi from Knit Your Own Dog. It's super easy knitting, yet, I've managed to complete only the two back legs.



Why? Because I can't motivate to complete the rest of the dog. It's all in bits and pieces. The sewing up of the dog is going to be oh so futsy, putsy. It makes it difficult to continue. I can knit up the pieces with no problem, just not sure I want to bother with sewing together all the teeny pieces. Here are the two back legs knit in Elann Pure Alpaca Fina on Size 2 needles. I'm thinking of ripping these up and starting over using the same yarn doubled and size 4 or 5 needles so the sewing up is a bit easier.

I've knit a few of the Fiber Trends sheep and dogs and they are not knit in tiny, little pieces. So I'm a bit concerned about the finishing work required on these Knit Your Own Dog patterns.

Also, I don't think the Pembroke is very realistic. Some of the other dogs, especially the Jack Russell, the Westie and the Scottie are very realistic. I have a friend with both a Scottie and a Westie and at first I thought I'd knit up both for her. Now that I know how much finishing work is required, and since my friend is a knitter herself, I think I'll just loan her my book and she can knit her own!

A very nice feature of the book is stating the number of stitches at the end of each row. There's a lot of shaping going on and it's especially nice to be able to check you work after a shaping row. The quality of the pictures and the paper the book is printed on are excellent. There's a number of errors in the descriptions of the dogs and their jobs, for example, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is stated to be a dog who "use their agility to nip at the heels of sheep and horses." Horses? Actually, Pems were used as cattle driving dogs and yes, they did nip at the heels of cattle. But horses? I can't imagine any horse owner I know allowing a dog to nip at the heels of their horses. I only hope the patterns themselves do not contain as many errors. Still, over all, a book I had to add to my collection and am happy to have done so.

Indoor Gardening




Don't these tomatoes in my hydrophonic garden look fantastic? I thought they were ready to eat but I picked one and not only was it difficult to pluck off the vine, a good sign in itself the tomato was not ripe, but it also tasted like a green tomato. I thought for sure I'd make a nice meal out of these this weekend but looks (or rather tastes) like next weekend instead.

My herbs and leaf lettuce are doing great. The romaine lettuce, not so good. About half my Romaine lettuce has wilted, the other half is looking and tasting great but I wish I knew why I lost the other half.

Dogs

2011 has started out great for the dogs. Tinkerbelle is racking up the QQs, Fancy finished her OA and is making good progress toward her OAJ, Rumor started agility with one weekend in February and one in March and has already completed her NA and NAJ. Also lots of obedience training happening here. I'll need to give up a few agility weekends for obedience trials later this year.




Percy spent all winter indoors, which was quite unusual for him. I guess he's getting old. I can't really blame him, it's been a long, hard winter here and still no spring in sight. Percy's now starting to insist on going outdoors several times a day which makes me very happy. I know, it's so politically incorrect of me, but Percy's always been an indoor/outdoor cat and is a working cat here. I cleaned and bleached the cat box today. I confess, I'm happy to know, barring any illness or injury, the cat box won't be used again until next winter.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pictures From Japan

A good friend and long time co-worker and teammate lives and works in Japan. He was in the Philippines at the time of the quake, about to board a plane to return home to Tokyo. His flight was cancelled on Friday and he finally made it home on Monday. He has sent us a few pictures and has given me permission to post them on my blog. It's such a horrible tragedy. These pictures do not show the terrible devastation, but they certainly make it more personal for me.



My friend's home suffered no damage. This is in a high-rise in Tokyo. I was happy to learn his family and his family's home are also fine.



Having been gone from home my friend went to the supermarket looking for vegetables and toilet paper and this is what he found. I was happy to learn this morning he was able to find another market today with plenty of vegetables and also - toilet paper!



Above is a picture of a line for gas. I'm pretty sure I would not have the patience for a line as long as this. Hopefully in a time of crisis I would surprise myself.


My friend's lovely chocolate poodle, Taro, was being boarded while his owner was in the Philippines. He's now safe at home though still feeling stress from the quake.

My friend in Tokyo told me the best place for me to donate is the Red Cross.

I'm sure all my dog friends have seen this picture circulating on the web of the tsunami just before it wipes out an agility field set up with jumps, A-frame, weaves. Makes you realize what a small world we live in. Sometimes for me it's difficult to wrap your mind around the scope of such a tragedy, this picture really hit home. Agility folks around the world are rallying to help.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sassy

Guinfier asked if Sassy, my Toy Manchester Terrier, is fragile. Despite a few health problems, I do not consider Sassy fragile. She's a toy dog in size but a terrier in her heart. She has a few sweaters and fleece jackets to wear outside in the winter, otherwise I don't make too many concessions for her. Here's a video of Sassy in a Novice Jumpers With Weaves class. She's quite the springy little thing.

video

Knitting and Sewing




I started a new sewing project today. It's going to be a spring themed picture. I'm at the point where I need to do the applique but I don't have any fusible and don't feel like going out to purchase any so I've set sewing aside in favor of knitting and am hoping to finish up my mom's socks instead. The little quilt pattern includes a bunny rabbit to applique on the yellow fabric. If you've followed my blog you know how I feel about rabbits. I'm thinking of finding a nice outline of a corgi to applique instead.

Dogs

Tinkerbelle and Rumor had a herding lesson with ducks this week. Oh my, were they ever excited about the ducks. I'm happy to say no ducks became lunch though there was a close call or two. JJ, who loves his sheep, wasn't the least bit interested in ducks. "Why bother?" he asked.



I tried so hard to get a picture of Bunny with her ears up. I failed.



Dot celebrated her tenth birthday. Happy Birthday Dottie.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Uncle!

Okay Winter of 2010-2011, you win! I've had enough. I'm crying UNCLE! We are once again in the middle of a huge snowstorm. Early this morning it was heavy snow, then it turned to heavy ice pellets, now it's back to snow. Enough already, I'm sick and tired of this!

Knitting and Sewing

There hasn't been much knitting progress here though I've very much been wanting to knit. My RA has flared this winter and despite new meds my fingers are swollen and so painful   I can only knit for a short while.



This is a pair of socks I was hoping to complete for my mother's birthday, February 1st. I obviously didn't make it. The pattern is Dublin Bay Socks. I first saw these socks knit up on my blogger friend Bridget's site. The pattern is easy to memorize and the perfect take-along project. The yarn is ... is ... I thought for sure I still had the ball band but now I can't find it. I do remember the colorway is Denim. I'm a little worried about running out of yarn but otherwise have enjoyed this project. If only my fingers would co-operate a little more often.



A friend asked me to make her a Kindle cover. I wasn't sure what colors she would like so I made up two. I'm worried about sending them to her because she is an excellent seamstress who is without a sewing machine at the moment and I don't want her to see my sloppy work. I'm teaching myself to sew and haven't gotten the details down yet, the finer points which make something beautifully handmade rather than sloppily homemade. At least I'm trying.

A New Hobby

I know, I know, I so don't need another hobby, but I have one. I've been stalking the AeroGarden website for over a year now wondering if I would like one and if so, should I order the biggest they make or the smallest. This past Thanksgiving weekend they offered a deal I couldn't refuse, buy the largest AeroGarden and get the smallest one free. Now I actually have 4 AeroGardens and I love them! I have two growing lettuce, one with herbs and the extra large size currently has about 2 dozen green tomatoes slowly ripening in my basement.

I'm waiting for the sheriff to come and inquire as to my high electricity usage.




I realize I'm not saving money growing a few of my vegetables and herbs this way. In addition to the extra electricity I also need to buy water for the plants because neither well water nor softened water is  recommended. Here I have softened well water! Still, it's loads of fun and there's nothing like picking your own salad greens for supper in the middle of a Minnesota winter. The tomatoes and mature lettuce are water hogs though. I always thought other people were silly to buy water...


Dogs

I've been keeping myself very busy with agility trials in January. I do this on purpose as I'm not at all a lover of winter and staying busy every weekend makes January pass much faster. It also exhausts me - not as young as I used to be or would still like to be.

We've had some nice runs. TinkerBelle and I are finally running as a good team. Feels great to be out there on the course with her. Fancy and I are struggling a bit in the Open classes. Fancy started her agility career on January 2nd and breezed through the novice classes so I'm not too surprised Open has been a bit troublesome. It's a huge jump in difficulty from Novice to Open and although I know Fancy is trained well through the Open classes, the stress of being at real trials as opposed to home practice and lessons is hard on a young dog. Fancy has 2 legs on her OA and one on her OAJ. I'm confident we'll be advancing soon. Rumor was also entered in trials but went into season so had to sit out the month of February. I hope to have some good progress to report on Rumor in March.

I've been keeping a secret....





And her she is. This is Sassy, my Toy Manchester Terrier. Sassy is two years old. She's been with me since puppyhood. It hasn't been all smooth sailing even though I'm totally smitten with her. Sassy came down with Leggs-Perth disease at 7 months and had major surgery to keep her pain free and much rehab work to make her as sound as possible. She also suffers from seasonal alopeica, thus her bare nakedness in the photo. Sassy started her agility career in February. She is excelling in the jumpers classes, not so much in the standard class where the chute (or closed tunnel) scares her and suddenly this week, the teeter has her scared also. Still, I'm not complaining. Sassy is a total blast to work with and I'm sure we'll get this all figured out soon enough.




Not to worry though - the Pembrokes - they're still my kind of dog.

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