Category Archives: dogs

Rhinebeck 2019

Some of the woods in front of our house looking very autumnal

It’s been a week since I got back from our annual trip to the New York State Sheep and Wool show.  As always, I went with a group of friends and we stayed in our favorite AirBnB house north of Rhinebeck.  And, as always, we had a fantastic time! It’s always funny to be down in the NY area and then return to Maine, where autumn suddenly looks like it’s almost over.

It takes two vehicles to get our group down there, and we usually take along just about all the food we will need for dinners and breakfasts.  It’s so much fun cooking and hanging out with the ladies, and the festival is great too!  Sometimes it’s nice to get out of Dodge, and we had pretty good weather this year, not too cold, and not as hot as it has been some years (not great for vending wool products!).  One year it snowed, as well :*)

Swaledale combed top

This is the first year in a long time that I have not come home with one or more raw fleeces.  I did not even allow myself to walk amongst all those raw wool fumes, as I know that I would have been totally unable to resist.  I kept my purchases pretty light, and came home with 2 lbs of combed Swaledale wool and some dyed roving.   Swaledale are sheep that are from Great Britain, native to the Yorkshire area but found elsewhere as well.  It is a breed of sheep that I have never come across in the U.S., but have always wanted to have a crack at.  The sheep themselves are beautiful, and I expected the wool to be much coarser that it is.  I don’t know what I will use it for yet, maybe for something woven.  The wool is not pure white, but slightly off-white, and there are some very fine black hairs and fibers in the fleece, but you can’t really pick it out from the rest.

Swaledale ewe
Into the Whirled lovely goodness!

I also headed over to one of my favorite vendors, Into the Whirled, and bought some of their dyed roving in the “Rhinebeck” colorway.  Always a favorite of mine (dyed on Polwarth roving).  I also got two bags of their odds and ends rovings, small amounts of various colorways and fibers all in one bag.  Lots of fun to spin up together!

I only spent Saturday at the festival as my hip is not in good shape and I didn’t think I would be able to drive on Monday if I limped around all day on Sunday as well.  So I had a lovely day of knitting in front of the wood stove with one of the other ladies, and it was a very nice time.

Winnie sniffing the wool

I was a little worried about how Winnie would react to my being gone for 4 days, but she did quite well.  I think she took a few naps with John in the recliner when she was feeling a little lonely (really, this dog is never lonely and is with one or the other of us at all times!).  And now she knows that even if one of us leaves for more than a grocery run, we do actually come back!

Gremlin or muppet?

Winnie the Wonderdog comes home

Well, it’s two weeks today since we picked up our little Winnie the Wonderdog.  She is turning out to be the best little dog ever!  We have both fallen madly in love with her, and I know she loves us, too.

Winnie angling for another belly rub!
Newly anointed Couch Potato

The Small Dog Rescue of New England does a great job with placing all kinds of dogs from the south.  The only down side to their rescue operation is that you cannot meet the dogs before committing to them, you just have to go on the description of the animal and a photo.  Rescue groups do what they can to learn where the dogs are coming from, as well as what type of background, but our little Winnie was found wandering the streets of Lufkin, Texas, so we have no idea!  The only thing we do know is that she is quite well-behaved, is house trained, walks on a leash well, and loves to cuddle and play.  That’s why we named her Winnie: we feel like we have won the lottery :*)

Winnie in the car on the way home

It was all very exciting, going down to Connecticut and waiting for a big truck/transport with all the dogs.  The PetsLLC group that does the transport for SDRNE is based in Tennessee, and does a great job.  Our little Winnie got off the transport and was dancing around the parking lot with me, which was better than some of the poor pups that came off – a few looked positively bewildered, which would be my reaction!  Winnie must have been exhausted from the trip and all the barking inside the enclosed trailer, because when we got into the car she grabbed onto my arm, put her head on my shoulder, and stayed there for the 5 hour drive home.

Yard gazing from the comfort of bed

And so our new 4-legged creature is here, finally, and we are over the moon with her.  18 pounds of terrier joy!


Happy Thanksgiving 2016

My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along
My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along

A little late, I know, but I hope everyone out there had a wonderful day with family, friends, or just on their own.  (One of my most interesting Thanksgivings was when I was a junior in high school and my parents had gone to Portugal or Spain with my uncle Morty, supposedly for 4 days, the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I think it was to look at what eventually became known as ‘time shares’ and they were offered another free three days, which they took advantage of, but which also meant that they couldn’t make it back for the holiday.  My dog Jason, the sweet Bedlington terrier and I, had a vegetarian Thanksgiving all by ourselves. Well, he ate meat, I did not.  I think I had broccoli and stuffing.  It was a very instructive and insightful holiday!).

Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua
Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua, in front of the wood stove, of course!

Anyhow, not being a vegetarian any more, we had a lovely, if very low-key day yesterday with a 22 pound turkey.  Just the three of us and Tesser the Chihuahua.  Of course I make the same amount of food no matter who is coming, because it’s all about the leftovers for me!  The only thing I did not do was hors d’oeuvres, because without real company, it didn’t seem all that important.  We had a toast to our lovely neighbor who passed away this past August, as she (and previously her husband Jim) had been a fixture here every Thanksgiving since we moved in 13 years ago.  And then we took our time eating our lovely dinner, all of us in something other than holiday garb, and closer to the PJ side of things.  A most relaxing day.  (The goaties got to celebrate with some celery and romaine leaves).

Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!
Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!

And so it goes.  It’s a very grey and rawly damp November day here today.  I had a morning visit with a good friend, and then came home to sit by the woodstove and perhaps do a little knitting or spinning.  I slept in until a shocking 7 am this morning and have absolutely no reason to be tired, but a quick nap on a day like this could be just the ticket.  I love Thanksgiving :*)

Dog tired

Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood
Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood, in her cat bed

This past week has been a cluster of running from one thing to the next and feeling as though nothing is being accomplished. Unfortunately, much of the running has centered around Tesser, our twelve and a half year old chihuahua.

Chihuahuas are notoriously finicky, and dogs as small as ours can be fragile and have issues. And she is all of four pounds on a good day! But Tesser has not been eating well, and appears to be in a little pain some days. I would expect that she would have some arthritis at her age, but it’s so difficult to tell about things like that. Most of the time she is still a happy doggie when we are around, and we cuddle and have playtime.

On Monday we spent quite a few hours at the vet’s office getting blood work done, and having her pumped up with some fluids under the skin. Prescription food was provided and we went home trying to be hopeful about indications that her kidneys may not be functioning well. She has perked up a bit, and eaten more than she has in awhile, but yesterday afternoon we spent another few hours in the vet’s office so they could run her blood panel again. Not much has changed, even though she is well-hydrated and eating.

So we came home with more prescription food and a bag of Ringer’s Lactate with which to pump her up every night for a week. One more blood panel next week will either confirm that her kidneys are not working correctly, or show that she is just slowing down with old age. So I am crossing my fingers for a little more time with her, and hope that we can find foods that she will eat and that agree with her.

It looks as if another dreaded life transition has landed on our doorstep. You know they are going to arrive, but just hope they will stay away longer. She has added so much to our lives that I can’t regret any of the years with her. One more cycle in a very sweet life.

Find the Chihuahua

Tesser is a chameleon on bags of fleece

That’s the game we play frequently.  Tesser is the master of disguising herself, making it sometimes difficult to locate her.  When we have conveniently-placed sheets full of fiber on the warm floor, no matter where we place them, she finds them and makes a little indentation on top of one and snuggles in.  You can walk past her a hundred times, but if she wants to do her own thing, she is well hidden!

Tesser loves the green blankie!

Last Thursday we had a snowday from school, which was lucky as I woke up feeling miserable with a cold.  So Tesser and I did a little bit of snuggling together.  Whenever I took out the green fleece blanket and put it over my lap, she found me.  It’s her favorite :*)

Maybe that’s what we have to do when we can’t find her!

Summer birthday fun

Breaking a tradition this year, we did not go on the fireworks boat cruise for Old Bristol Days, which is always the second full weekend in August.  It was an awkward weekend to schedule a party, because of everything else going on around here, but we really wanted to celebrate John’s 60th birthday, which comes early in August, and we wanted to be able to have some of our relatives from NJ join us for the festivities.  So this weekend ended up by being the target date and it unfortunately meant that some of our friends could not join us.  But we did have a lovely party outdoors (until the mosquitoes chased us in) with lots of laughter and a good chance to visit.

Our friend Bruce came up for a long weekend with his black Lab mix Jelly.  And Sawyer was the entertainment of the night.  Dancing on sheets of bubble wrap made our fireworks for the evening!

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A dismal grey week

punctuated by a few brighter moments…  last night I went to our monthly Salt Bay Treadlers meeting and we had a great time.  We had a lot of wonderful food and a lot of laughs.  Pam of Hatchtown Farm brought along her bottle lamb (because she has a cast on her leg) so we had some alternative entertainment as well.  I needed a good laugh and we had a multitude of them.  I wish that I had remembered to have my camera along as we also had plenty of photo ops!

Tuesday evening John, JD and I spent hours on the floor in the kitchen with Bear the Lab, talking to her as she let go.  She was wagging and alert to the last.  Bear now has a place of honor in our Rugosa patch, right outside the dining room windows on the SW side of the house.  We miss her terribly, but 13 years is a good life and we enjoyed it all with her.  I can’t really put into words how much a dog like Bear can enrich life so well.  We will miss her something awful.

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Bear update

Bear in one of the more recent snows

Bear is doing a little better on her new meds and has perked up considerably since we had her to the vet last Saturday.  She seems to be more alert and taking more pleasure in things, so hopefully she is as comfortable as we can make her.  We took her to the vet this morning to have more bloodwork done, and we have ruled out anything like Lymes’ disease or heartworm (although I am diligent about the heartworm pills, so that one would have really shocked me).  She remains on her heart medication and some pain medication and is more actively eating her kibble.  For now, that’s about all we can ask!

Tesser’s teeth

Tesser after surgery, inside John's shirt

Poor Tesser the Chihuahua!  She had to have  her teeth worked on this past Wednesday and was in pretty rough shape when we got her home.  I have only seen her in this condition once, when she had a really bad reaction to a vaccine, but she’s older now and the poor thing suffered!  I don’t think chihuahuas are known for their sterling teeth, and Tesser’s were no exception.  She is the sweetest little dog ever, but come at her with a toothbrush or a nail clipper and you are going to lose your hand.  So we knew it was time to have her teeth scaled and cleaned professionally, but we didn’t realize how bad her mouth really was.

When we picked her up, the vet told us she had had to extract a “few” teeth, and they weren’t complicated extractions.  So she brought Tesser out, and in her hand she had a ziploc baggie, full of tiny Tesser teeth!  10 in all (that we paid for, anyway!).  Yikes!  It’s difficult to tell what’s still in her mouth, but she is definitely a happier doggie now that she is feeling better and the anesthesia has worn off.   We have her on a soaked-kibble diet (which John the softie is augmenting with a scrambled egg every morning).  She has started running with the big dogs in the house, and is even barking up a storm again when someone comes down the driveway, or at least when she thinks someone is coming down!  It’s nice to have the barking dog complement up to snuff again :*)

P.S.:  We love our vets!

Dog magnets

Mealtime is a busy time of day

Are the words “dog” and “magnet” written over our front door or on our foreheads???  Maybe.  Or just:  2 big animal suckers live here?  We have had a chihuahua and a lab for many years, but then few years ago we inherited a Jack Russell from friends, and now it appears that our son’s dog is staying with us for awhile.  Daisy the Bluetick/Walker hound mix, 8 months old.  She is a sweetheart, big and gormless :*)   I guess our 20 acres is perfect for a dog like a hound.  She and Bear the Lab have a great time wandering and checking out the sights and smells. They look like two best friends going out the back door and heading into the woods in the snow.  And then two funny faces wait for us at the back door. But… it also makes for a pretty busy household!   Everyone has their place and a different relationship with their people:  Tesser the Chihuahua makes sure to sleep with us at night; Josie the Jack Russell sleeps in the dog bed in the bathroom; Daisy sleeps in her crate, and Bear spends her evenings outside the bathroom door, and daytimes she spends it on her blanket in front of the south-facing french doors.  I guess maybe everyone likes that location pretty well, come to think of it!

Naptime for the big 3!