Thursday, July 20, 2017

Difficult Diagnosis

No, I did NOT get a new puppy.  I was looking for a specific photo of my son last week and I came upon  a treasure trove of photos of Rowdy as a puppy.  I have been carrying this one with me.  He came to live with us in early July of 2005 and I think this was taken after he had been with us a few weeks.  

Rowdy has been dealing with arthritis for several years and it has gotten pretty severe, so he has really slowed down, but I had noticed other signs lately that he was not well.  So we had blood work done and it indicated that he might have Cushings disease.  Two weeks ago I took him to Columbus to have an ultrasound of his abdomen to look at his liver and kidneys and adrenal glands and the diagnosis was confirmed.  He has pituitary based Cushings, which means he has a tumor on the pituitary gland which is at the base of the brain.  The tumor is telling the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol, which is a stress hormone.  Treatment is difficult and somewhat risky.  So right now I am looking at changing his diet and using some holistic herbs to try to mitigate his symptoms.  Sadly, I have had to greatly reduce his pain medication for the arthritis and he is also losing his lovely coat.  He is not moving much and drinking copious amounts of water.  But I look in his eyes and see the dog I have loved so long is still in there.  This is very hard on me.

Well, now I have to shake that off and try to be more upbeat.  Grover and I attended an agility trial in the Cleveland area last weekend.  We had 7 runs and we qualified in 3 of them, no double Q's sadly.  But we had fun.  If you were to ask Grover, I am sure his favorite part of the entire weekend was his trip to the beach on Saturday after the trial.  He discovered that waves are a blast.  Grover at the Beach
He also got to go to a dog friendly microbrewery.  I wish there were more places that were so welcoming to dogs.

Back at home I have been busy with the garden and other projects.  I spent some time this week staining bat strips for my studio.  These cover the gaps between the vertical boards we used as paneling.  I still need to stain a lot more, but it has been SO hot.  Maybe I will move someplace I can plug in a fan and get out of the sun while I finish.

Inside the studio I had Sam put up a peg board to hang things on and my cube shelving is starting to fill up


Now if only I had air conditioning out there I could actually use it!

On Monday I harvested and canned about half the beets in the garden and I will do the other half sometime in the next few days.  
 We like picked beets best and its nice to have about a dozen pints to get us through the year.  I got 6 pints from the first batch and should be able to get at least that many more.

We had so much rain again the last couple of weeks, though now it has slowed down and gotten very hot and humid.  My tomato plants are doing great, some are taller than I am, which really isn't saying much.  

The sunflowers are getting ready to bloom and one wee little short one has bloomed already . You can see the the tomato plants are taller than it is.  I think this one got broken off after I transplanted it but it managed to survive, which is why it is so short.


We have many varieties of tomatoes growing.  Lots of Romas and Amish paste tomatoes for canning and sauce and some beefsteak, rainbow heirlooms and several others. If it stays hot like this, we'll have tomatoes soon.

The herbs are doing well and I may make some pesto this weekend.  I'm not sure if I have enough pine nuts, though.

I got a message yesterday from son Sam, who lives in Groveland CA just outside Yosemite, that he may have to evacuate due to a wildfire that started in Mariposa.  In 2013, he was evacuated from the Rim Fire that raged around Yosemite for several weeks:
Rim Fire 2013
I hope it doesn't become necessary for him to evacuate, but hopefully he will keep me posted on his whereabouts if he does.

Just yesterday I removed a project from my big loom.  It is 4 panels, each 18" or so wide and approximately 36" long.  They are an overshot weave with a rayon pattern on a cotton background and will become throw pillows once it is cool enough to work in my studio (early in the morning maybe).  I am very pleased with how they came out.  The fabric would make really nice upholstery, I think.

 There are 2 in the darker color and 2 in the lighter color.  At first I was worried that the lighter color might be too light, but I actually really like the shiny contrast of the rayon against the cotton and the photo doesn't do it justice.  The pillows should end up being 16" square.  If the fabric doesn't shrink up too much when I wash it. 

I got 17 pounds of alpaca/cormo blend fingering weight yarn back from the processor a couple weeks ago.  I attempted my very first gradient dye, and despite careful  calculations of percentages and measuring, it didn't come out quite right.  My colors are too close and the difference between the yellow and the first color with the orange in it is not close enough.  Over-dyeing will happen.  Maybe I will have an update next time I post.

I knitted a bear for the Mother Bear Project, which is a charity that sends hand made bears to Africa to distribute to children whose lives have been impacted in some way by AIDS.  I knit a couple of these last summer and plan to do another.  Like last year, I'd like to send off a boy and a girl bear.  They are quick to knit and can be done with small amounts of yarns leftover form other projects.

My other finished item in July  is a linen/cotton blend summer top.  I've never knit with a linen blend before and it seemed the prefect size before I washed it and then I washed it and it seemed to shrink.  But as I wore it, it stretched out and fit just right.  And Grover had to make an appearance as well.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

And Just Like That It's July

Hangin' out on the studio deck

The year is half over.  I have to admit it has been kind of a tumultuous year around here so far and I don't know that the second half of the year will be much of an improvement.  But we'll hang on for the ride and see where it goes.  That's about all I'll say about that right now.

Relaxation time at the pond.
Since my last post the weather has varied from quite cool overnight (we were in the upper 40's a couple of mornings last week) to typical hot humid sticky weather.  I've been watering the gardens, though not every day, and everything is looking good.  My second crop of lettuce is coming up and ready to be thinned.  We have been harvesting cucumbers and Sam makes pickles and eats them almost as fast as more can grow.  The beets will be ready to pickle and can soon and there are oodles of little green tomatoes.  The pepper plants are also producing and the basil is finally growing.  I made a really good wild raspberry pie last week.  One of the best I've ever made.  And the day before yesterday, I made blackberry cobbler with the first of the wild blackberries.  So yummy.
The beehive is thriving.  I gave them another box to grow into last week and in thanks they stung me 3 times on the left hand.  It was itchy for several days.  I don't think I've had 3 stings so close together before.  I can do without that.  I'd been feeding the bees, but right now they are doing really well on clover and orange butterfly weed.  Need to take a new photo of that.

And now sad news.  The township trustee where the beaver pond is got permission to go in and tear out the beavers' dam. When I saw what had been done to the dam I contacted the local game warden and he said we would have to talk to the National Forestry service because the pond is in the National Forest.  So Sam called and spoke with them.  There is a road slip up above the pond and for some reason this trustee thinks he needs to drain the pond to repair it, so he was given permission to breach the dam.  But from what we can see, the road needs repaired from the road, not from down below.  In any case, the dam has now been breached twice and  no road work is commencing.  The beavers are still there.  Unfortunately, if they decide to relocate, their option will likely be private property and if they flood someone's pasture or hayfield, I am sure they will be erradicated.  My hope is that they will be able to stay where they are.  They had created such a nice wetland habitat where before there was nothing but an overgrown weedy hayfield that was no longer maintained.  And I have enjoyed watching their progress.

I have totally finished the first project I started in my new studio, some towels and dish cloths for my own kitchen.  I have also spent some time carding fiber to spin.  The drum carder is under the window.  I think I will use it more now that it has a place of its own.

And here you can see where Rowdy likes to be when I am in the studio, though often he is over to the right where the alpaca rug currently is.  He enjoys being out there with me and his presence means the world to me.

And here is what Grover likes to do while I am busy in studio.

He will lie either inside the door looking out or lie on the deck keeping an eye on his territory.  Or maybe he is hoping a cat will emerge from the barn across the creek so he can chase it.  That's probably it.

I also finished some cotton napkins.  They really came out nicely.  They will either be a gift for someone or maybe I will have them for sale this fall.  

I also finished the Mystery Knit Along I was participating in.  So now I have a nice big warm wrap to take along to agility trials to use in the air conditioning. 

Speaking of trials, Grover and I will be traveling to North Olmsted, Ohio next Thursday for a 3 day trial starting on Friday the14th.  This is the venue we went to in May where we took the dogs to the beach on Lake Erie.  I will be going with fellow club member Missy and her 2 border collies this time.   Is it too much to hope for as much success as we had at our last trial?  

Upcoming:  At the end of the month Mom and I are flying out to Oregon for a few days to visit son Ian and his wife, Michelle.  We have not seen them since the wedding over a year ago.  They now live in Corvallis, which is an hour and a half or so from Portland.  I am looking forward to spending some time with them.