Adios, here we come

We leave tomorrow morning for Minnesota. Anna is getting married to a delightful young man and I am thrilled for her. Is a wonderful thing.

We have a pretty tight schedule traveling to Minnesota, but we are ambling a bit on the way back. Going to do some camping and sightseeing and, most importantly, visiting with friends and family. And we’re swinging south to Philadelphia to meet up with Pantsters. I love the Pantsters!

So, it’s all packing and cleaning and the dogs are freaking out because suitcases mean someone is leaving and I can’t tell them that they are also leaving with us. There is much anxious cuddling.

We’re staying with my mom up on Mille Lacs and will be driving in and out of the city a few times. We’re doing pancakes at the OPH, send me a message for details. Pancakes are delicious.

His and hers


White crab spiders in the UK

White crab spiders by my house!!
Crab spider on a daisy

Crab spider on a daisy

It was like my greatest David Attenborough squealy fan girl moment. It’s true. Also, there were yellowy-green crab spiders on the black-eyed susans (they matched the stem more than the blossom), weird grasshopper death (I’ll get more pictures, it was like cordyceps but in Vermont and without the crazy spore antennae), Chester got stink-bugged right in the mouth, tiny baby orb weavers on top of the tallest grasses (about my height) shooting out a thread of silk hoping to catch some wind and fly away, the cicadas only buzz once or twice in a day and no more, it’s a bit unsettling.

The mosquitoes and biting flies are completely out of control. Everywhere, they are monstrous. Fun fact: even though I get bit by the mosquitoes and flies, my skin does not react to it. When they bite, it hurts like normal, but I never get a spot or bump or itchy place. Same is true with flea bites (oh my god! Vermont has FLEAS ALL OVER) and a bee sting I got a couple years ago.

Speaking of bug bites, Chester tested positive for lyme disease. The new (awesome) vet said most dogs are asymptomatic their entire lives. He’s a super healthy little toughie, he’ll be fine.

We’re all going to be alright.

It’s my post-apocalyptic skill set

Spinning yarn is always more fun than washing, skeining, counting, blocking the yarn. I’d managed to create quite a backlog of spun-but-not-processed yarns coming off the spinning wheel. 4 different yarns, 9 skeins, 1500 yards.

This is how it goes…

This is the wool after I dyed and washed it. It’s superwash merino wool, which means it won’t felt up on you if you absentmindedly toss your lovely handmade sweater into the wash machine. I use basic acid dyes in a pot with the wool and toss it in the oven for a couple hours on low.

This is the wool after pre-drafting. You draft the wool, pulling the fibers out and apart a bit so it can be spun evenly and quickly. The header you see at the top of this page comes from this first picture.


Then you sit at your spinning wheel and spin it up

Action shot with Chester
Action shot with Chester

A comparison, wool, pre-drafted roving and singles on the bobbin

Spin up all your wool and then ply it together and do the boring stuff, skeining, counting washing and soaking, squeezing, snapping, and turning it into real yarn


I spun up 750 yards and I named it Polychaete.

And in a slightly different process…

I had 16 ounces of natural black shetland wool that my mom gave me as a gift (thanks mom!!). Since it was black there was no real need to dye it (though I do want to mess around with dyeing over black wool sometime). Instead I ran it through a carder which allows you to blend different fibers together. To the black wool I blended in some sparkly, multi-colored bamboo.

The batt begging to be spun
The Mayor's Wife

The Mayor's Wife

On the bobbin
The Mayor's Wife

Singles ready to be plyed
The Mayor's Wife, singles to be plyed.

The Mayor's Wife, plyed

Washed and skeined
The Mayor's Wife

The Mayor's Wife

This yielded me 500 yards and I called it ‘The Mayor’s Wife’

Should the final revelation occur and we find ourselves wanting, you’ll be able to find me, I’ll the the chica in the swanky sweater.

A quick Maddie update

We got Maddie to a new vet. Maddie started taking the wrong meds in December and the biggest issue is that she put on 7 pounds. Seven pounds is a lot of weight for a 35 pound dog. Her belly was pooching because of the loss of muscle tone and oh my god! She ate all the time. Sometimes she would try to eat so much she would inhale and choke herself. For the first time ever with my dogs I had to regulate their feeding. I’ve never had to do that, I just leave the food bowl out and they eat what they want and don’t over eat.

The vet and the vet tech thought Maddie was the sweetest dog (she is! She is the sweetest dog ever), she was the sweetest shar pei they had ever seen and the vet told me that Maddie was also the oldest shar pei she’d ever met. I sometimes forget that 13 years is pretty old for some dogs. She is active and engaged, generally pain free, no arthritis or anything and no gray fur at all. She pretty much doesn’t look much older than the 4 years old she was when I got her.

So, we sat with the vet and went over Maddie’s history, the issues she has and what it took for us to make her healthy and happy. It doesn’t make sense that 10mg a day of prednisone will keep her this healthy with no (and I mean absolutely NO) side effects. It’s weird, it doesn’t make sense but it works. The previous butt vet gave her prednisolone, it’s the active metabolite of prednisone. Mostly should be the same thing, but it isn’t. Because it’s already metabolized when she gets it, the prednisolone essentially makes MORE prednisone available to her system, she’s not losing any in the act of metabolizing the medicine. Slowly, since December, she’s had these weird symptoms coming up and I couldn’t figure them out. It made sense once we discovered the vet changed meds on us.

Maddie’s treatment does not make sense, it shouldn’t do this. But it works.

They ran a blood work check and again, the new vet was surprised at how crazy healthy Maddie is for being 12 years old. Her cholesterol is slightly elevated but not problematically so and we’re going to watch her gall bladder numbers.

She’s back on her regular meds and we’re starting her on a more senior dog food diet and I am hoping that the side effects from the prednisolone are temporary and will clear up.
I did not know Maddie could look so... doofus-y

and one more time: Rockingham Vet Clinic in Chester Vt… screw you