altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
Today is the Day of the Rock, an archaic term for the first day of ordinary time after the Christmas holiday of 12 days' length. "Rock" in this case being an old word used to refer to a spindle, the primitive tool used for spinning wool or linen into thread that can be woven or knitted into garments. Some of you may recall a puzzling song lyric: "I sold my rock, I sold my reel, I sold my only spinning wheel..." which in fact uses the word in that context.

In more generic terms, today is the first day on which ordinary household tasks, such as spinning, weaving, sewing, and laundry, are resumed after the Christmas break.

So. Did I do any spinning today? Alas, no, my spinning wheels (3 of them) and my spindles (many) remained idle. However, I did do some knitting and may get some more done before going to bed. We cooked and washed dishes and cared for our animals too, but those things never stop for any holiday. Well, neither does knitting.

We did celebrate the Day of the Rock by going to two stores that were having yarn sales, though. We bought nothing at Michael's, but did get some yarn and tools at Joann Fabrics. I have at least three knitting projects going at the moment and I'm buying more yarn? It was a "bargain." But I'll be honest, it's also a kind of addiction. At least it's not harmful to one's health. I have other addictions too: reading, buying books, a lifelong attraction and attachment to animals of all sorts, playing keyboard instruments (sometimes badly) and so forth. Love me, love my flaws I guess. Fortunately my husband shares many of these to some degree, so we have few problems with it.

As I type this, one of those animals is snuggled up with me on the sofa. Yes, even though I yelled at him yesterday for eating my mittens. I shouldn't have left them within his reach, of course, even though he has rarely done anything like that in the nine or so months he has been with us. He sheds fur, drools water on the floor, and barks too much; but Laddie is a first class cuddler and that gets him a pass on most of his flaws.

Happy Day of the Rock to one and all.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
The house has been empty and quiet since Red left us last November. I keep forgetting he's gone, and saving treats for him and expecting him when I come in from outside. I've been watching the pet adoption sites for weeks. Finally, "Laddie" showed up. He's been featured in the county newspaper every day for at least a week, with no takers. Picked up as a stray, no ID, in Ohio. Rescued from a kill shelter there and brought to Helping Paws here. Today we went to meet him, and I'm sorry he had to wait since New Years because I would have chosen him much sooner had I known. Five years old is his estimated age, and the shelter people think he's a rough collie mix but I think border collie and husky. He's shaggy and cheerful, but not barky. Energetic and really friendly. It was love at first sight and I felt bad about having to leave him in the kennel there overnight but that's the standard policy. They checked our references (mainly our vet) and called after closing time to say we're approved and he can come home with us tomorrow. Here are his photos from the adoption page.

Now to declutter the house, find a doggie bed for him, and pick some toys out of the toy box to welcome him home.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
It's all the name he had. He was part of our daily life for five years after we took him as a rescue when he was six. Red was a big guy, maybe not the brightest dog we ever had but certainly among the sweetest and quietest. He followed us faithfully from room to room as we did daily chores, learned commands readily though he sometimes had a mind of his own, and was always gentle and tolerant of our other dogs and even the cats (who sometimes slept snuggled with him or even on top of him.) He was a hundred pounds of appetite and affection, and we'll miss him for a long time. Eleven years is a long life for a big dog, and he accepted his growing infirmities placidly, struggling but never complaining. A growing failure of his spine gradually took away his mobility until at last he couldn't rise and walk without falling and hurting himself, yet he kept trying. Yesterday he gave up and we knew we had to carry him into the vet's office. There was nothing more we could do but hold him close, say a tearful good-bye as he left us, and hope to see him again, eventually, whole and young once more.

Thanks to all of you who have sent sympathetic comments. I'm overwhelmed now and can't answer every single one, but we really appreciate it. Eventually there will be another dog, but he or she won't be Red. Nor any of the other ghosts who haunt us: Sasha, Tee, Simon, Sarah, Sunny, Max, Amanda, Mikey. All of them loved, all of them sorely missed.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Way too many things and stuff, actually. Both in terms of disruptive events and physical items to be sorted and, in at least some cases, eliminated. The house and garage are packed full, in part due to the passing of Gary's mom and sister-in-law at the end of last year. The calendar is full too, mostly with things I didn't choose to put there but alas, most of them require action on my part.

Long post under cut )

And that's where I've been. Still ticking, just way too busy.


Mar. 3rd, 2013 08:42 am
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
I'm not sure I can account for all of the time since the last post.

A good bit of it was consumed by just dealing with winter and work, daily routine for me without many breaks or distractions. I don't particularly enjoy that, but it's a horse thing, ya know?

Small things have happened along the way. Max (our latest rescue dog, eleven year old bearded collie) has finally figured out the dog door. He learned to go out on his own a while ago, but never would come back in unless invited or someone held the door open for him. Now he comes back in on his own most of the time. He's good about not doing anything in the house, and we worried about leaving him here for too long unable to get out. Then we worried that he'd freeze outside when he was able to go out but wouldn't come back in unaided. At least that concern is pretty much resolved.

Red, the big lab/golden mix that we rescued a couple of years ago, has developed an autoimmune problem that makes his nose blister and peel. It seems most likely to be pemphigus, which is a nuisance thing for most dogs that have it, but not life threatening. However, it could be lupus which is much more serious. Now awaiting lab results on a biopsy that is supposed to determine which it is and what treatment might be likely to help. During the biopsy they found a large tumor on his tongue and removed that too. Now he's on "soft diet" for two weeks, though his appetite is good and he doesn't appear to be in much discomfort. (Could be the pain meds he's getting, though.)

Weather has been bizarre here. Winter didn't really set in until January, which is very late for us. Fortunate in a way, since we had the two family funerals and attending excursions in November and December. And after last summer's drought, not so good, since we need rain or snow badly. The snow finally came in February, with a vengeance. about 18 inches (official at O'Hare but more like 23 inches by our measurement here) in three big snowfalls. Not done yet, either, as they are predicting another storm for Tuesday-Wednesday of this week with possibly 7 to 8 inches of accumulation. No snow days from work for me, alas. Gary's university did shut down in the last snow, but only as he was leaving for the day anyway.

Gary and his brothers put their mom's house on the market in January thinking that it would probably not attract bidders until spring. Wrong. They had three cash offers in the first week, and the third was for the full asking price. This is a tiny two bedroom brick house on a very narrow lot in Chicago, and not in a particularly trendy neighborhood either so we were surprised. Of course it means they have a big high pressured hurry to clean the house and garage out before the closing which is now only a week away. Since the whole family are "savers," the place was stuffed to the gills and going through all of it is traumatic. I know he'd like to bring a lot more back here, but even he realizes that we have space limitations. Two sewing machines, furniture for two households, and memorabilia reaching back three generations. Plus he's attending two graduate courses with the requisite work to do. I'm trying not to intervene in the triage and decision making. His brothers are picking up their share of the load, fortunately, and I feel it should be their family decision.

He keeps bringing back items that I made and gave to his mom as gifts, which is heart-breaking but sweet as well, and we'll find new homes for them if we can't use them here. Some of these things go back almost 30 years to when I first met him and his family, and I hadn't thought about them for a long time. I have two or three small boxes of similar things from my own mother and older brother, and I've never looked through them from the time the executor of my brother's estate handed them to me. Consequently, I can't complain about his stress and indecision on all this stuff. I was lucky that I didn't have such a huge bulk to sort through. The executor and my younger brother took care of that (it was in Texas.)

I still have a stack of holiday cards and notes that really deserve a reply, since we sent out nothing this year at all. I keep promising myself I'll get to them soon.

So here we are, waiting for a hint of spring. This morning's temperature of 4°F didn't help. I've been neglecting my writing and weaving for months, just doing the chores and trying to stay warm. I've done more reading, and am pushing myself to bake more bread and practice my music more. Additional posts with some of that news soon.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Starting the vacation countdown of using a vacation day every Monday for the rest of the year:

Saturday we prepared to receive a visit from Bearded Collie Rescue with Max, whom we proposed to adopt if he got along with our big retriever Red. Sunday afternoon, in the middle of a thunderstorm advisory, Mary arrived with Max and one of her own beardies, Sally. We had a nice visit, decided that Max and Red would get along fine, and signed the adoption agreement. Max stayed with us, and here he is exhausted and asleep on the kitchen floor.

Exhausted Max

Our new little boy (he is small for a beardie at just 56 pounds) will be eleven years old next month. He went through rescue and adoption once before, nearly ten years ago, and the same foster mom took care of him that time. Apparently his master has had to go into assisted living and couldn't keep him, and the woman (sister? wife? don't really know) who inherited responsibility for him really didn't want him. He is timid and afraid of noises and sudden moves, afraid to go outdoors by himself, and fearful about eating. We think he was sometimes locked out of the house in a yard, and that other dogs have bullied him and tried to steal his food. This is going to take some work, but he's worth it and deserves attention. A very sweet, gentle dog, but when he gets excited he "lights up" and bounces so we can see what he really should be like.

He's sleeping on the sofa next to me as I write this. He and Red are going to be competing for that spot, I can tell already.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
No, nothing to do with sausages.

Freezing fog, the kind that coats your windshield and the wipers can't remove it. Ugh.

Temperature is only just below freezing I think. Anyway, long Wednesday survived and made it home intact, had leftovers for supper, about ready for bed. Thank goodness tomorrow is only a half day.

Dog's asleep on the sofa next to me, which just barely leaves room for me to sit here. Red is only 110 pounds but he has feet and legs like Marmaduke. Gary is practicing the hurdy gurdy, which used to make poor Simon howl when he could still hear it. The last couple of years, his hearing was gone so he didn't notice any more. And of course, he's not with us any more, but things like this still make me think wistfully of him. He and his predecessor Mikey were my dogs. They stuck to me like my own shadow and always wanted my attention if they could get it. Red is a very nice guy, but not so demonstrative.

Dunno whether the local ground hog will see his shadow in the morning or not. If the fog is still built up and sitting, probably not. But I don't think we expect any heavy clouds.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Too much weaving in one day and I'm going to regret it I fear, but... I got almost two whole squares woven. And I figured out some changes to my technique that seem to be speeding it up a bit without sacrificing accuracy. The hard part about weaving overshot is keeping everything square that's supposed to be square. The motifs tend to want to elongate so I was doing a lot of double checking and retreadling. Turns out I'm getting the same results by changing the shed I beat on up to the next one. That saves several moves.

Now a dog story. Squeamish stomachs can stop reading here...

A couple of mornings back, big Red woke us up by barfing his entire supper onto the bedroom floor. We thought it looked oddly fibrous but wakened at 3:30 am, neither of us was willing to do any close examination of the mess. We cleaned it up and went back to sleep. Next day he was fine, still had his usual appetite and all that. We figured he'd eaten a bunch of grass or maybe licked himself and swallowed too much fur. Everything was normal until This morning at 4:30 when he repeated the same routine. This time we picked the smelly mass apart.

He had swallowed one of my socks. Whole. Unchewed. Now I admit my feet get sweaty and smelly when I have to wear shoes all day, as on work days. I much prefer sandals, even in winter. Previous dog (Sarah) used to chew on my dirty socks if they were left where she could get them, so I was cured of leaving them around anywhere. They go right into a closed hamper the minute I take them off. The chance of him getting dirty socks from me is non-existent. The only explanation we can come up with is that he got clean ones from the pile when laundry was removed from the dryer. Gary often tosses those on the bed for me to sort. Sometimes even when I'm not home, in which case they may sit there for several hours. Since I have many pairs of identical socks in about four different styles and colors, I don't always count. If one gets a hole or something, I toss it and keep the other as it still matches additional pairs. Consequently, Red may have taken socks (twice?) from the clean laundry.

Or just possibly, one slipped off the bed and was hidden under the edge of a quilt where it hangs to the floor, and he got it there. I suspect that even though the newly washed socks smell clean to me, Red can detect plenty of scent on them.

I can do without those two socks, but I'll be taking extra care to make sure he doesn't swallow any more. Mostly because no one likes being awakened by a sick dog at 3:30 am and then having to clean up the mess.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
...were the weekend.

Saturday was pleasant. Sunday started to get too steamy for comfort, so in the end we closed the windows and turned on the air. That will make it easier to sleep tonight. Tomorrow is supposed to be downright nasty, probably with an excessive heat alert and maybe an air quality warning too.

Tess was out in the pasture for the longest she has been this year, about four hours. Even though I had sprayed and anointed her with fly stuff, the flies were after her by then and she was eager to come in. We've been over two weeks without any rain now, so the grass is getting tough and dry. Not as tasty and nice I suppose, but a lot safer for her since it now starts to resemble hay. She's still eating it with apparent relish, but I'm not worried about grass founder now until we get enough rain to start some new growth.

Gary's starting to talk about a second dog, as I predicted. He's looking at older golden retrievers, which should be fine. I told him it was up to him, since he will be primary caregiver anyway, but probably we don't want a puppy with teething and chewing issues. Just about any dog over two years old should be fine, and dogs over about six often go begging for new homes, so I'm encouraging him to look in that direction.

As for me, I'm still looking for Simon in all the places he isn't any more. Not seeing ghosts, just not seeing him. This morning in the spot where I would have to be careful to step over him I found instead a dead meadow vole brought in by one of the cats. It was not a suitable substitute, though I did in fact step over it.

DECnet workarounds seem to be stable now, but I still have to fix the last few steps so that they happen automatically at boot time rather than requiring manual intervention on my part. I know how to do that, and Ubuntu's "upstart" system be damned. Since they can't be bothered to adequately map it out and explain it, I can't be bothered to use it. Ubuntu gets dumped next time I upgrade. They had promise, but they're heading off a cliff as far as I'm concerned rather than building a usable future.


Jul. 3rd, 2011 05:45 pm
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Supposed to be weaving or else editing a newsletter, but I'm avoiding those tasks. Doing laundry (and you know I'm avoiding other things when I get around to that!) Fixing home made potato salad and baked beans to go with our dinner. Digging through boxes of old pet supplies to find (eureka!) the doggy tooth brushes and tooth paste that I knew were there. (Red needs tooth brushing. He doesn't chew on his chew toys, and will develop tooth and gum problems in a few years unless we do this. Simon had serious gum problems last winter, and we had to use an antibiotic to clear it up, so now I'm feeling guilty of course.)

I've wasted a lot of time over the last couple of days on a computer problem of my own making. I knew the cause had to be something simple, but it was elusive.

DECnet was working well on my desktop at home and on the machine at work. Since part of the network involves communication between the host Linux and a virtual guest operating system (emulated VAXserver running OpenVMS) there is an issue with them hearing each other that requires some sort of virtual bridging. I've been using brctl and taptap to create a working bridge. This does work, but is sometimes a bit on the slow side. This is especially true here at home where the hardware is also slower, while at work I have faster machines and a faster LAN so it seems quite peppy. I thought perhaps a different approach to bridging would help, and I installed the UML (User Model Linux) utilities to try them out. DECnet communications were working fine on the old system, but I couldn't get them to run on the new one. I thought I just didn't understand the configuration, as the documentation is very thin. Went back to my previous setup, and it didn't work either. Rebooted. Still didn't work.

The next day I fired up the real hardware Alpha with its OpenVMS system. Oddly enough, both the Linux host and the guest VAX could communicate with the Alpha and vice versa, but they still couldn't see/hear each other. It was as if there were no bridge, though all the status reports showed that it was active and configured just as it had always been.

This morning I finally realized that the UML utilities run a switching process in the background. This daemon has been launched every time I booted the machine from the time UML was installed. I stopped the daemon. Lo, DECnet worked again. Apparently the UML switcher process was interfering with the tunnel created by taptap.c, and keeping it from operating in the host to guest direction, though it still worked in the guest to host direction. I disabled the thing entirely, rebooted, and all is well.

This is a perpetually peeving thing to me: so much code is written now by youngsters who have no depth of experience or vision. They've never seen a DECnet packet, or Novell IPX, or AppleTalk, or any of the other protocols that can operate over an Ethernet (simultaneously, even) and assume that everything is just IP. So it seems that the UML bridging tools do not support any protocols other than the IP subset. Because no experienced analyst was involved in the design, the potential of other systems using the bridge was completely ignored.

DECnet Phase IV has "logical addresses" all right, but doesn't use them the way IP uses the analogous IP address. Instead it alters the MAC address of the hardware interface to reflect the logical address. Connections are established by sending a request packet "blind" using the predicted MAC address of the other machine unless the logical address indicates a different "area" than the local net. Only then is a router sought to forward the data. It appears that UML somehow blocked that initial packet where it had to make the leap from the bridge to the tunnel device.

I realize we live in a world where more and more of the population has never seen, let alone used, a rotary dial telephone. Many kids in their 20s or younger can't tell time on an analog clock, and, as I've recently discovered, can't read or write cursive script. But does that mean we can design roads that can't be navigated by older vehicles? Or networks that can't be used by older software? Most of the time, I think the answer to that is "no." And if such roads or networks are created, then they should be labeled for what they are.
altivo: (rocking horse)
And then a three day weekend, hooray.

Dentist tomorrow so not going in to work. Only Friday to survive.

Today is Gary's and my anniversary. We've spent 29 years together. Top that, Newt Gingrich. I piss on all your talk about "the sanctity of marriage" and the importance of the stupid DOMA legislation. None of your marriages have lasted as long as my "unsanctified" one.

We exchanged cards this morning, and will go out somewhere for dinner in the next few days probably. I came home to a little surprise though. He was on the phone when I came in, and there was a little paper sack on the dining room table from the vet clinic, the kind they usually put prescriptions in. It had Simon's name on it. Apparently it's a new "service" and he agreed to it when he was filling out paperwork on Monday. He had to sign for Simon because he's owner of record on their files even though my name is on the AKC papers. Anyway, it was Simon's pawprint in plaster, with his name next to it.

If he had asked me on Monday I would have said "no" to the idea. But now I feel differently about it. I'm really glad he did that. I kept Simon's collar and tags, too. Now we can put them in a little shadowbox with his picture. It makes me tear up again, but I'm going to be glad to have that.


Jun. 28th, 2011 10:36 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Miktar's Altivo)
Well, after our discussion here about Wargames and Matthew Broderick, I had to see Ladyhawke again. I think Broderick did much better in this film, actually showing us a character with some development. The horse was still the scene stealer in my opinion, though I'd forgotten the great black wolf.

Since Philippe was bitten or scratched by the werewolf while rescuing him from the ice, shouldn't there have been a sequel about Philippe the werewolf?

Beautiful weather today and yesterday afternoon. Such a contrast from yesterday morning when I stood outside the vet's trying to shelter Simon from the rain as we waited for the stretcher crew. You see, I can almost talk about it now. But it hasn't stopped hurting really, and I guess it never will.

Red seems a bit puzzled by the empty places in the house, but they never had much of a rapport. Simon was too old and slow for him even when he arrived last fall.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Farewell, Simon. Gods, I hope you aren't hurting any more and can run and play again whether there are sheep to chase or only balls.

Farm dogs in 2000

Shown here in 2000, when he was still young and bouncy, Simon is in the center. On the left is Sunny, who was already about 15 years old, and on the right, Simon's best buddy Tee who died of cancer at age nine, damn it.

Very well done, boy. That'll do.

Simon, sweetie, I already miss you so much I can't stand it.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Weather was better than I expected, in fact, better than I remember it ever being for this event. Not too hot, not too cold, no rain, light breeze (my straw had stayed on my head most of the time, which is very unusual but spares me having to chase it.) Even the insects were minimal, and I used no repellent at all, though I did come prepared.

I was the only member of the spinning guild to show up. This is no surprise, since this year the invent was superimposed on several other fiber related gatherings, plus a couple of death in the family situations that clearly took precedence. Curiously, the chief organizer of the Petersen Farm event was not expected to be present today due to her husband's passing on Friday. He had been very ill for quite a while, and it was expected, but I was surprised to see her in historic costume on site. They had the funeral on Saturday, and he would have wanted her to go on with it, she said.

The crowd seemed a bit lighter than previous years, and with a few exceptions, those to whom I spoke seemed even less aware of the connections between live sheep, sheared fleece, woolen yarn, and woolen clothing than they have been in the past. That's pretty dismal. There were, indeed, a few shining exceptions, but overall the kids were distracted and uninterested while the parents tried to entice them to watch, or else the kids were curious and the parents were in a hurry to drag them away. "Let's go look at the tractors, Johnny. (Don't talk to these weird people, I don't want you getting ideas.)"

It is amusing to watch pre-teen kids queuing up for a chance to wash a dish towel by hand in a tub with soap and a washboard, then rinse it and put it through a wringer before hanging it on a line using clothes pins. They get very enthusiastic about it, though. Don't try this at home, parents, it won't work.

Also on site today: a very clever blacksmith who was making quite an array of unusual items, a Civil War recreator in uniform and mounted on a handsome black horse, the weavers of course, a group of woodworkers, and a batch of ladies using treadle sewing machines to assemble quilts and garments. Highlight for me: a fox fursuiter. Partial, ordinary street clothing but with nice head and paws. Very popular with the teenage county queen and her court who all insisted on being photographed with him. He probably should have been in Pittsburgh for AC instead, but he was here, with a couple of typical con badges hanging around his neck to make it clear to those of us who would recognize him just what sort of beast he might be.

Irritation of the day: A nicely preserved (or restored) Model T truck (I think it was a T) with not one, but two horns. A loud electric horn and the classic rubber bulb brass curlicue. Every kid in the place had to climb into that thing and blow the horns repeatedly. It was right across the lane from us and I got very tired of listening to it, especially when the wandering barbershop quartet was singing (they were good.)

I spun a couple hundred yards of very fine alpaca singles on my portable wheel and another fifty or so of ordinary gray wool while demonstrating the hand spindle. (Of course I should have been at home weaving, but that's a separate issue.)

Poor Simon, alas, is no better and probably deteriorating. He's nearly comatose, moving enough to roll over once in a while, but with no apparent awareness of his surroundings or our presence. He hasn't eaten since Friday evening, and has taken no water today. If he is still breathing by morning, we'll have to take him for his last visit to the vet, though I rather hope he'll just let go tonight so we can bury him near some of his sheep. Either way, it makes us both sad. He has been with us all his life since he was 12 weeks old, and outlived three other dogs. I realize it is probably better that he really doesn't feel anything now, but I worry that he doesn't know I am here with him. There seems to be no recognition at all.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
I wasn't going this year. The venue is very hard on my ears, the whole atmosphere doesn't much suit me. There seemed to be enough volunteers to cover it, and on Sunday it conflicts with the Petersen Farm historic recreation which I've done every year since it began.

However, Gary and Rob were invited to perform at Midwest on Saturday afternoon, and I abandoned my intention to stay home and work to go with them and help lug their stuff. (No, not giant stacks of speakers, just acoustic instruments and music.) Within 20 minutes of my arrival, I was also roped into demonstrating and minding the spinners' booth after all, because there was only one person there and she was signed up for a class. Consequently, I spent the afternoon at Midwest anyway. Much the same reaction as last year. The vendors didn't excite me except for one woman who did paintings, or rather painted cartoons, of sheep in ridiculous situations and usually with names built on puns. I like puns. These were funny. Fortunately for me, even the prints were well outside my budget, but she seemed to be selling them when many other booths were growing cobwebs. Lots of people looking, not many buying. It's the economy, I think, regardless of the lies coming out of Washington and the NY economists' mouths.

The building is a huge pole barn, and though it is air conditioned and acoustically padded, it has a constant pressure of white noise that makes my ears unhappy. When we left I felt much the way I used to feel after getting off an airplane. That is, ears depressurized and just on the point of pain, accompanied by a great relief at the sudden open air and reduction in background noise count. I absolutely hate airplanes. And now I absolutely hate that exhibit hall at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

And tomorrow is Petersen Farm from 10 am to 4 pm. Historic dress, check (linen pants, handwoven shirt, straw hat;) spinning tools and wool for demonstration, check; enthusiasm low. It starts to look as if I'll be the only one there for the spinners. Fortunately we are always next to the weavers who have a better turnout, and I'm a member of the weavers too. Weather looked unpromising as of this morning, I haven't checked again. My tools are probably still in the basket from Colonel Palmer or Potter or whoever it was back the first weekend of the month, but I need to check the spinning wheel and make sure I pack wool or cotton to spin on it.

My dog Simon is not doing well at all. He's 15 and a half years old, and we've known he has an untreatable cancer for two years now. Mostly he's been getting along all right, moving slower but still eager for attention and food. But he has been sleeping more and more hours of the day, and often so deeply that he is difficult to awaken. Then he is confused and disoriented. Today he is refusing food, which is never a good sign. I suspect that the mental confusion and heavy sleep are signs of kidney failure. The lack of appetite may well indicate intestinal obstruction or internal bleeding. If he remains unimproved by Monday, I'm afraid this is it. :(

Still shaky

Jun. 2nd, 2011 09:24 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
But improving I think. Left the house for the first time in nearly 3 days to get the mail. That's only 50 yards or so up a little hill, but I felt dizzy and winded when I came back in. When Gary got home this afternoon I declined to "band" the little lamb because my hands are too shaky. However, the fever is gone, the headache seems to be gone (thank goodness) and the cough that usually comes with final recovery from a respiratory virus is here. Unfortunately, my chest is still sore and coughing is no fun. I expect to feel quite a bit better by morning, though.

You've probably heard me complaining about our neighbors who let their dogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, and other livestock run loose so it all comes over to our place. Their dogs have been a particular nuisance, marking territory in and around our barns and acting aggressive and territorial toward us and our horses. This afternoon one of their dogs (elderly Skye terrier) was near the bridge at our pasture gate when Gary was exercising Red (on a leash) and acted aggressive toward our dog. He ran up and bit Red's leg, coming away with a mouthful of fur. Gary says Red just looked astonished, no surprise since he weighs at least 10 times what the aggressor does. Gary called the neighbors to complain but as usual got only an answering machine. I don't expect to hear from them. On at least one occasion I know Gary has caught that terrier in a live trap he had set for possums.

I suspect that none of their dogs are licensed or vaccinated. While I don't want to file an official complaint and have them know that we complained (too many opportunities for reprisals) I'm tempted to set that live trap in our arena again, baited with dog treats. I expect we'd catch the terrier again, and I'd just take him over to the county animal shelter and turn him in. About half the time when we see him, he has no collar on and no tags.
altivo: (rocking horse)
On W-day? Yes, because Friday is a holiday and tomorrow I work only four hours. I'd forgotten this until late last night so it's a pleasant surprise.

Weather continues obnoxiously unseasonable, though at least we aren't having floods or tornados so far. Gray and overcast most of today, cold as a well-digger's ankle, but no rain.

Gary got back from his funeral mission in time to take Red to dog class, where this week they started on "free style dancing" which is something new to us. The dog learns cues for moves like spin left, spin right, go between your legs, and so on. I guess this is done competitively now but watching confused dogs and owners try to learn it must be pretty amusing.

No black woodpeckers today, but there were lots of mourning doves. And I think I may have heard a kinglet, though I didn't see it. They are very tiny birds, almost as small as hummingbirds, so not really easy to spot. They don't come to feeders either, which doesn't help.
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Well, maybe a little too soon to say. Simon went on the rimadyl today. One dose in his breakfast this morning, and this afternoon he was more lively and eager to move about than he has been in months. I wonder if it's possible to overcorrect his problem. We'll see. Normally he can walk the perimeter of the dog yard once with me, and is exhausted by the end. He did it twice around this afternoon, and without any special urging. He just clearly wasn't ready to go in after the first lap and wanted more, so we went round again. When doggie supper time rolled around, instead of lying on the floor waiting to be called he was up and dancing with anticipation. One day is too short, of course, but what we've seen so far looks very good.

Vet was supposed to visit the horses after 3pm this afternoon, so we got all ready for that and she called to reschedule for the morning. That's OK, though. Gary doesn't have school tomorrow and is flexible in the morning as long as she gets there before noon. The boys gave me dirty looks about having to wear their halters all day for nothing, though. Wait till they have to put them on again tomorrow before going out. ;p

Not that Archie or Asher resists being haltered. They are quite cooperative. In fact, you can hold the halter out to them and they will put their own nose into it for you. But they do know it's something unusual when the halters come out first thing in the morning. Generally that means either the vet or the farrier is coming to visit.

Tess wears hers every day, so it's no tip off to her. That's good because she really isn't fond of the vet. We're working on fixing that, though. Last fall when the doctor came, she fed Tess an apple, a bite at a time, in between vaccinations and such. It did seem to help. The boys mostly like everyone, but Tess is more standoffish, and especially so with people who may be carrying a syringe behind their back.

Looks like we're about to get summer all at once here. From now until Monday, the forecast has chance of thunderstorms every day. Temperatures are rising daily too, and expected to hit a high of 80F/27C on Sunday. This will promote atmospheric convection, and we are told to expect hard and heavy thunderstorms, possibly even tornado warnings that day.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
It didn't amount to more than splatters. And tonight at sunset the sky looked fit to dump a foot of snow on us. If the temperature were ten degrees lower, I'd be expecting it. It's hovering right around freezing though which is really too warm for any accumulation.

Full day back at work, full desk waiting for me. Got most of it cleared but I'm really tired now. I should take some of those extra vacation days ASAP. April means it's really time to start planting lettuce and peas, too.

Gary set up some agility/obedience jumps in the arena to work with Red. He was surprised (and so am I) to find that Tess took interest in the proceedings and seemed quite excited or else offended by it. She started stomping around and rearing up until he decided to quit working with the dog for now. We'll have to try it when I'm there to watch and possibly distract her. Tess is fairly well trained as a riding horse, but I've never been one for jumping. I wonder now if someone jumped with her in the past and this reminded her of it. We know she's not particularly bothered by the larger dogs. She doesn't like little noisy ones, though.

Gary also made sweet and sour cabbage soup for supper, which is always good. This time he used our home grown tomatoes from the freezer, and fresh lemon juice, so it was nice and tasty. Lots left over too, which is always a plus. We have room in the freezer for it.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to sleep the night through for the first time in almost a week. Certainly feels like it right now.
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
After a whole day of dull skies, we're having a spectacular light show with sound effects, but still not much actual rain. I'm afraid, though, that the power is likely to fail at any moment.

We enjoyed a 1950 episode of The Cisco Kid this evening that featured a dog actor. He/she looked like a mix of sheepdog and collie perhaps, and was pretty clever. A handsome shaggy guy too, which always pleases me. They called him Kino, which may or may not have been the name of the actual dog, but I intend to check. I'm more and more amused by the recycling of the same actors and actresses, and even the same plot ideas over a very short period. Of course, as a seven year old I wasn't aware of such details and mostly watched the show for all the galloping about on pretty horses who never got sweaty.

Two new bird sightings for this year: this morning I saw a brown creeper going up the oak trees in the front of the house. These funny little guys land on the trunk near the ground and walk right up the side of the tree, looking for bugs in the bark I guess. Once they get to ten or twelve feet above the ground, they fly back down and start up again on the same or an adjacent tree.

The other was a pair of wood ducks. Friday while we were having breakfast, I noticed a couple of large birds flapping around high in the oaks out back. At first I thought they were crows, as we have quite a few of those. But they had a distinctly different profile. Though I didn't hear the distinctive "oooooo-ICK!" calls through the closed windows, I immediately suspected wood ducks as I've seen them here before in the spring. A quick look through binoculars confirmed it. There's nothing odder looking than a duck sitting in a tree, thirty feet above the ground. They are looking for nesting cavities, though I'm sure we have nothing large enough for them. The wood duck lays her eggs in a tree hollow 25 to 35 feet above the ground. One day after hatching, the ducklings bail out of the nest and crash to earth, even before they have feathers. Then they march off in search of water to swim in. Obviously this had some kind of survival advantage, but on the whole it probably produces a pretty high mortality rate I think.

Ok, thunder getting closer, so I'll stop for tonight.

August 2017



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