I decided to end 2012 learning something I've wanted to do for a while. Well, the basics of it anyway. I learned how to use a loom. No, not one of those big it needs it's own room looms that you see in a museum, but a small one. It's a wooden triangular frame with nails hammered into it, along with a big long crochet hook to help pull the yarn through. Before you think I actually made it, I must confess I did not. My friend, Cassie, let me borrow it to give it a go. Her husband, Dana, made it. He's a very crafty guy. So, now that that's cleared up...I don't want you to think I have the patience to hammer in all those little nails evenly spaced like that. It took enough patience to keep winding the yarn on them, as it was.
Anyhow, this morning I got some of the Icelandic yarn I had first spun over a year ago for my project. I figured it was time to put it to good use. The stand for my loom consisted of a chair I take with me to the Farmer's Market when I spin. Then I went totally high tech and tied a plastic grocery bag to the back of it to set my yarn ball in and keep it from rolling all over the place. Afterwards I read some instructions Cassie gave me about using the loom and away I went. I was thinking I'd do the whole thing in the brown color...What? You don't see brown? It's gray or grayish-black? Well, it's supposed to be brown. You'll have to use your imagination that it's brown. So, as I was saying, I was going to do the whole thing in brown, and then when I got about 11 nails into it I started getting bored, so I added the white for a bit, then went back to the brown. Overall, I think it has a nice effect.
Every once in a while one of the kids would ask me what I was doing and I told them I was weaving. Gosh, I feel so professional saying that. During the project, Young'un asked me what I do to take it off. Hmmmmm, that was what I was wondering, too. I didn't have any instruction on that part. I told him I was going to assume I just pulled it off the nails and it would stay together. At least I had hoped that was the case. I tell you, ever since he asked me that I couldn't keep my mind off the end result. I told him at one point I was terrified to take it off after all the work. What would happen if I took it off the nails and it unwound? Well, I know what I would have done if that happened, which would include diving into a big box of chocolate to help calm down after my freak out, but overall I just hoped it would turn out.
Then it came, the last pulling of yarn through the loom. It was time to take it off. I had thought tying some fringe along the edges would look nice, but then I thought about allllll those nails, which would mean allllll that fringe. I reminded myself I've never done fringe before, so there was no need to start today.
Voila! There you have it, folks. My first weaving project. I don't know what I'll end up doing with it, but I'm happy that I did it. One of the kids said something about it looking like a scarecrow's bandanna, and it may just end up being that, but no matter what I do with it, I'm not above saying I'm proud of what I accomplished. A good way to end a fabulous year! Smiling & Waving, Sharon
Hi folks. My name is Thor and I'm a 15 month old brindle English Mastiff. I'm that unexpected guest Sharon told you about on Monday. I'm a lucky fellow. You see, I got myself lost. I decided being as it's the holidays and all I would go out and do some extra exploring and find a gift for my caretakers. Next thing I knew I was a good six miles from my home, lost and hungry. I found myself a dead rabbit on the side of the road and figured that'd make a good meal so I started in on it. Next thing I knew, there was this van pulling up beside me and a man got out to see if I had a collar on. Problem was, I had the collar, but I didn't have any identification on me for where I lived. Seeing as the people don't speak canine, I couldn't even tell them my name. The man called Hon opened up their van door and I gladly got in. I figured since it was cold and I was still hungry, not to mention I like to go for rides, I'd go with them. They took me to some homes to see if I belonged there, but they didn't find my family. They mumbled something about people just wanting to know what kind of dog I am, instead of whether they actually lost me, so they decided to take me home and find my family from there.
Let me tell you something, those folks did a lot to find my home. I heard them calling someplace important for lost pets. I saw them typing stuff out on the computer to people. They even hung up some signs around town. They knew I was special. Shoot, they think all animals are special to tell the truth of it. They let me borrow another collar so they could walk me better outside when I saw their farm animals for the first time, they bought me good dog food I need for my special size, and they gave me love. Oh man oh man, did they love on me! Let me tell you, if you're a lost dog, you gotta get to their house!! No joke. They're like flies on poop when it comes to getting a lost pet back with it's family.
I really had a great time at the Steinhoff's. I met three new boys named Young'un, Kid, and Eldest. I met four new dogs named Toby, Roxie, Mille, and Tabby - although Roxie didn't like me much - but I bet I'd eventually grow on her. That Toby is the same as me, only a different color and shorter, and I thought that was pretty cool. I met an old three legged cat they called SamCat, and I must admit, for the downfall of him being a cat and all, he's a nice fellow. I met horses and I met sheep. That ram, Little Man, was a very cool dude and he thought the same of me, too. In my days here I learned that chasing turkeys is a no-no, and an angry goose is, well, an angry goose. Better to leave those alone, for sure.
My favorite new animal friends were the birds. Totally for sure! That parakeet, Joe, can really rock. Well, not rock, but you know what I mean. He's got a twittery voice that just made me happy. Then there was Bishop, the little parrot. He's a weird one, always telling me to, "Come 'ere," and then telling me he's a pretty bird, like I didn't already know it. He didn't have a nice twittery voice like Joe, though. He would do this yelling squawking thing that kind of hurt my ears. Even so, I'd go back and forth visiting between their cages. I've found I really like birds.
Yesterday was Christmas and I never thought I'd be spending it somewhere other than my real home, but I did. I suppose next year I'll find my family a present out in the yard instead of looking so far from home for one. The Steinhoff's gave me a present and I sat around the Christmas tree with them, enjoying all the hoopla over stuff. Even so, I kept thinking about my family. I'm glad the Steinhoff's took me to their home because who knows what would have happened to me if they didn't. Christmas might not have been so nice for me.
This morning Sharon got a phone call and was so excited about it! Then she sat down on the floor with me and I leaned into her the way only big English Mastff's can do, and she said, "Hello Thor." I perked up my ears and licked her face. She knew my name. She told me she talked to my Grandma Vicky and soon my dad and mom would be here to pick me up and take me back home. She gave me a big hug and kiss, and we just sat there together for a while. Before we knew it, it was time to go outside and reunite with my family. Sharon and I played in the snow a bit while we waited and then I heard it...a familiar sound. Next thing I knew, I saw it...my family's car! Oh my goodness we were so happy to see each other! My two people brothers were in the back seat, and my mom and dad started talking to Sharon about I don't really care...because I was going home! I couldn't wait to get back and see my brother, Otis, who is also an English Mastiff, and sniff out every nook and cranny, not to mention re-pee on every bush and tree that hasn't gotten my attention in days. Sharon mentioned to my folks how important it is for me to have an identification tag with at least their name and telephone number on it because if I was wearing one I could have been back home on Saturday. I saw their dogs wearing them and I thought it was some awesome doggie bling that made sense, too. I sure hope my family gets me and my brother one, too. She gave my dad the food they had been feeding me, I got in the back seat with my boys, and off we went. I've never been so happy to see my family again!
So, there you have it folks. My adventure. I'm sure glad I had a happy ending. I kind of get the feeling a lot of dogs don't get the happy ending I had, that they never find their way back home. I'm a lucky dog to have not only a family that loves me, but new friends that kept me safe while they found my family. Smiling & Waving, Thor
A picture of our guest's nose
Here we are, Christmas Eve, the day when our kids are out of their minds with excitement for what's to come tomorrow morning. What better way to celebrate than by bring chaos into the mix...the unexpected guest. I know this is a long one, but do yourself a favor and please read. It's sort of like a friendly public service announcement with a splash of Sharon thrown in.
Picture this...Hon and I are bringing back a load of hay on Saturday. As we're driving back, talking about whatnot and such, we both turn our heads towards the same road and there's a dog standing in the middle of it...eating something dead, of course. Neither of us thought anything of it at first, and then at the same time we looked at each other and said, "We need to turn around!" So, since Hon is deftly amazing at backing up our trailer full of hay, he pulls off and gets us turned around. We figured by the time we got back to that road the dog would have been on his way to who knows where, but there it was, still munching on that dead what looked to be rabbit.
Now, having had the honor of bringing dogs into our home through various rescue organizations over the years, not to mention having numerous dogs good and bad walk up into the yard from parts unknown, we've met quite a lot of them. Some that welcomed a trip to the Humane Society, others that had identification and so we contacted owners, and still others that turned tail and ran as fast as they could. The latter was not the case with this dog. Hon saw it had a collar so first thing he did was look for identification. Sadly, there was none. Next thing we did was discuss what to do with it. The dog had no problem jumping into the van and planting its behind in a seat, obviously comfortable with transportation that didn't include walking, so we decided it was saying, "I'll go to your home for a while." Ignoring the dead rabbit dog breath it was sporting, we decided to do some door knocking to see if anyone had lost it.
Here's what really bothers me about doing that - when Hon asked if the person had lost a dog, they didn't reply with a yes or a no. They didn't even give an answer. First thing they said was, "What kind is it?" or "What's it look like?" Now I don't know about you, but I'm for doing what I can to find the dog's actual home, not finding it another one - especially if there's someone out there upset over the loss of their dog. I had called a friend that lives right up the road from where the dog was at before we started the door knocking, and upon giving her a description, she said she's never seen it before in the area. Trust me, this woman is the most friendly knows everyone and their children's children retired school teacher. I figured if she didn't know, she might hear of someone that does. Anyhow, the door knocking after speaking with her resulted in disappointment and annoyance, so we took the dog home to surprise the kids with our unexpected house guest.
The dog is now here with us and has been here since Saturday. Being as it's so close to Christmas, the owners might not be around and had someone watching over it. I can't imagine seeing as it's now Monday they haven't noticed it missing. First thing I did Saturday was call the Humane Society to have the dog listed in the "found" book with our contact information. Then I posted that we had a lost dog on our Facebook page and also on a county lost pet page. I also posted on Craigslist that we have it. Oh, and there's a paper I hung up yesterday at both the local IGA grocery and the Valero gas station, too. Basically I've covered all bases I can possibly cover.
The one thing I did not do is post a picture of the dog. I've gotten flack from some folks about it, but the Humane Society understands why I have not done that. Too many people look at a picture and go claim dogs that don't belong to them around here. Posting a picture is not a requirement of finding a lost pet. I have, however, said that he is a large dog, listed where he was found, and asked folks to contact us with a description of the dog they've lost. We've had a few folks contact us, but sadly this isn't their dog. We'd gladly hand him over if he was. We are hopeful the owner will get a hold of us soon. We are happily living in chaos and confusion with five dogs, but I just know our house guest would like to be at it's real home for Christmas.
With all of this being said, let me give you a bit of information on what to do if you find a lost pet. First off, if you decide to keep the pet in your home, call the local animal shelter to let them know you have it. Here, it's the Ross County Humane Society. If you don't want to keep it in your home, call the local dog warden or take it to the animal shelter. They do what they do to help you. Now, here's the thing, if you decide to keep the animal in your home...you must keep in mind that the pet you are housing is not yours. It more than likely has a family looking for it, no matter how flea ridden and dirty it may look. If you want to keep the pet, you are still required by the State of Ohio (consult your other local state laws) to advertise in print that you have found the pet and are looking for it's owner. This must be done for at least seven days. After that period of time, you are the official owner. That means if you are keeping a dog you must get your behind down to the county office and buy it a dog license. The price of a dog license is far less than the price of the ticket you may receive when the Dog Warden drives by and checks your dog for tags.
For those of you who have lost a pet, first thing you should do is also contact your local animal shelter to give a description. If your pet is taken there, you have three days (in Ohio) to contact them before it is adoptable to a new family. Then get yourself out and post on area bulletin boards that you're looking for it. Social media is also a great way to get the word out that you're looking - like Craigslist, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few. If you are looking for a pet, by all means post a picture if you have one. In my world there's a difference between looking for a lost pet and trying to find it's home when there are folks who will take what's not theirs.
So, there you have it folks. We have an unexpected house guest. I called the Humane Society again this morning in hopes of hearing news of his family, but so far no one has contacted them. As I type, SamCat is enjoying taunting our guest, who sometimes takes the bait. The dogs have another playmate. Then there are the birds. The dog is totally fascinated with the parakeet twittering and tweeting, and with the parrot, who keeps telling the dog to, "Come'ere." One extra mouth to feed over the holiday season isn't a big deal, and if it means caring for someone's pet until they find each other again, that's what we'll do. Have a great Christmas eve and if you find a lost pet, please do your part to make sure it gets back home again. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
Meet our new side door neighbors, the Gordon's - Branch, Julie, and Little G. Aren't they just the sweetest family! Now don't be shy. Give a wave and say hello! Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
We had the pleasure of meeting the Gordon's yesterday when we delivered three Icelandic sheep to them - Badge and three ewe lambs. They're over near Indianapolis, Indiana, by the way. Now you're wondering how in the world that makes them a neighbor, but as far as I'm concerned, distance means nothing. We're all neighbors, and since they're to the west of us, that makes them a side door neighbor.
Branch contacted us a few weeks ago with an interest in Icelandic sheep, we happened to have a handful left looking for a home, so things worked out for the both of us. Now Branch and Julie are sort of where we were about five years ago...a growing family, a new to them farm, and a want to put things on it. They also have a goal of going off the grid, and I think that's just awesome! We are happy to have been able to provide them with their first sheep.
When we began our sheep journey we did it knowing, just like chicken, it comes from the grocery. I also knew that if we raised a wool producing breed I had the opportunity to learn the skill of spinning fiber into yarn. Icelandics fit the bill for us with their awesome qualities. We also started not knowing an inkling of what to do, so we bought a book. Then we met other sheep folks and over the years have enjoyed learning all that we have. I don't feel anyone truly becomes an expert in things, seeing as there is always so much to learn.
Hon gave Branch a little lesson in hoof trimming since we were there and Badge needed his done before he was turned out to the pasture with his girls. I think Branch was a bit intimidated by the experience, but I don't blame him a bit. Badge is a big boy - a big excited boy being as he had just met his new family, took a gander at his new home, and knew he had two little ewes to care for. He also had a new dog to figure out, and I will tell you they got along real well. We left Branch and Julie with as much information as we could think of to share, but not as much to make their eyes glass over and drool start dribbling down their chins. Hopefully enough to get them going in the right direction. We're always here for them and we're also part of a wonderful Icelandic community.
I am a big supporter of my friends and neighbors, so I have to tell you something about Branch Gordon. He has an incredible voice. Sure, his talking voice is a nice manly one, but what I really mean is his singing voice. It is smoooooth! Oh, and he can even do an instrument a heavenly amount of justice! Holy smokes, my animals would be a lot happier if he were the one singing to them out there instead of my caterwalling and pretending I'm a singer. There's no pretending about it with him, he is a fantastic musician. He's got this website, http://www.branchgordon.com Why don't you head on over there to check it out after you're finished here? Click on the red "b" up there on his web address and you'll transport yourself right over. You can hear for yourself. I'm listening right now as I'm typing out this story. I'm going to ask Hon to get me one of those iPods so I can download his songs onto it, because Eldest is a teenager and won't let me use his. I already asked and he just gave me "the look." Far be it for me to get between Eldest and his iPod, especially when I get "the look" along with it.
So, there you have it, folks. Badge and his ewe girls are at their new home with the Gordon's. Branch, Julie, and Little G are a super fantastic family and we are happy to have had the opportunity to meet them. We are so fortunate to have neighbors everywhere! Now head on over to Branch's website to check out an incredible talent that is sure to go far, and if you're in their area, go take a live listen! You'll be glad you did. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
This is the time of year when family traditions really come into play around here. Oh sure, we have traditions throughout the year, but from Thanksgiving through New Years Day is when we have the most. Over the past handful of years we've thrown another one into the mix. It's the Westerville Christmas Spectacular. Thing is, if it weren't for our niece and nephew dancing in it, we wouldn't have even known about it, but they've made it a yearly tradition for us to take a ride up to Westerville and watch them help dance the holiday spirit into everyone there.
Meet our niece and nephew up there in the picture. Ignore the little boy in the background, please. I have no idea who that is. He's a cutie, too, but I'm focusing on the two in the foreground. Come on now, give them at least a little wave. They had just finished their first performance of the day. They and the rest of the dancers danced in three performances of the Westerville Christmas Spectacular this past Saturday, something that makes me tired just thinking about it. It seems like just last year they were the little bitty bitties in the show, doing some cute little moves here and there, acting all shy. This year they were doing a whole lot more dancing, and niece was even a ballerina. Ahhhhh, I just love those ballerina outfits. Makes me dream of buying a couple pair of those tummy taming Spankx to help rein in the middle aged years so I can get into a ballerina outfit. A girl can dream! As they're growing up, niece and nephew are able to participate in more songs and dances, and I was amazed at how many they were in this year! We watched them shimmy, boogie, dance, and even sing. I still can't get that Elf Lean dance out of my head, although I'm sure the animals would appreciate it if I did.
You know how many folks think this is the time of year to rush around, get all wigged out over having too much to do, and going generally crazy? We just don't do that around here. Christmas is going to come no matter what, so why go into a panic? Instead, enjoy the lights, the decorations, and the special activities. Go to that dreaded cookie exchange and enjoy yourself. Next year, attend the Westerville Christmas Spectacular, or another holiday program near you. In fact, why wait until next year? Check out some of the fabulous holiday programs going on right now in your area!
Here's the thing about the Westerville Christmas Spectacular that I like, besides seeing our niece, nephew, and the rest of the dancers bringing us boat load of holiday cheer - they help others in the process. This year they chose to help a local charity called Westerville Caring and Sharing. Each year they help an organization or family in need. That's like a twofer - giving people not only the gift of song and dance, but an opportunity to help others. That's what Christmas is about, folks. We're here to help each other. It's nice to get gifts, and it's nice to give gifts to people we know, but what about that complete stranger you've never met, but sure could use some help. Whether it's a monetary donation, a gift donation, or helping someone bake cookies or hang up lights, it's all good. Helping doesn't have to cost a thing. From your local food pantry in need of food, to prison inmates needing yarn donations to make hats and mittens for kids, there's something for everyone to help with, if you just take a look.
So there you have it folks. This time of year just wouldn't be the same for us if we didn't spend time at the Westerville Christmas Spectacular. I'd like to thank Angie Haver and Cindy Straub for having the insight to put together a show like this years ago, and to keep it going. Thank you to the Generations Performing Arts Center and everyone else who has helped out to make this holiday tradition of ours such a joy. We appreciate the hard work and dedication! Happy holidays everyone! Smiling & Waving, Sharon