A Post in 3D: with Dirt, Dirt and Dirt

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Have you ever noticed how many strange meanings are attached to words in English? I do, but that's probably because I spend so much time explaining such things to deaf children (including DD). We'll start with the "dirt" on Sarabear (a.k.a. the latest, the skinny, yadda yadda). I think half the time (maybe more) I totally forget to report back on some of the stuff I talk about here.
Gee, I was going to add to that, but I forgot what I was going to say... Do y'all have that problem? (I think it's called AAADD or Age-Activated ADD). Ha. I am deliriously happy to report that SmartPak's SmartBreathe Pellets worked. Sarabear ate them easily (which was a big worry) and even better? Her cough has disappeared completely - hooray! I tried to take a picture that was close enough you could see what the pellets looked like; I'm not a big fan of powder, as it tends to slip through the feed no matter where you put it. SmartPak is apparently trying to convert a number of their supplements to pellet form, which is awesome (click here to visit their site). For those of you who are dog owners, they also offer a great selection of supplements for canines (click here). No cats though (my apologies to Banjo and Sparkle,
Took a trip to visit my bestest galpal, Sandy, which is part of the reason this post was seriously tardy. Can't tell you ahead of time, as it's not the brightest idea to post to the world you won't be home for a day or two. Is this not the cutest little bunny? I think Sandy said she found him when he was itty bitty, and hand fed him (and do I remember? Nope. *bangs head on desk*) So anyway, I had an absolute blast at her house (and don't I always?) I'll have some photos for you next time - although my camera battery died, so I didn't take as many as I wanted to. Forgot the charger at home. *snarl* Can you believe it? Of course you can; hardly a shocker. *sigh*
Speaking of such mental moments, I don't normally post videos from YouTube but I just couldn't resist this one in case I'm not the only who missed it (click here to watch it if you are an email friend):
It's like looking in a mirror, I'm telling ya.... Yeesh.
I've been spending my evenings hooking, and oh my doesn't that sound dirty. (Aha! There's another meaning). I joined Ravelry to confirm the fact that I am indeed a Duly Dedicated Dodobrain (another 3D reference for you ;o) After all, do I need anything else to do? Probably not. And do I need to expose myself (Ha. Another "dirty" sounding statement) to a site that contains thousands of free crochet patterns? Noooo, I most certainly do not, which made it absolutely irresistible. I'm under "EpicFarms" of course, and have no friends as yet (how sad). So if you're into crocheting or knitting, leave a comment here or look me up on Ravelry. I could use a friend or two.
The third and final meaning of the word dirt I'm going to talk about today is the one in the literal sense. We finally got some dirt for the pasture. Hooray!! Apparently, my concerns about The Girls' reaction to a monster dump truck invading their territory were groundless (hee). I was mostly sure that as long as I was out there with them, they wouldn't be too terrified (those things make an awful racket) but you never know; it only takes one horse to create a panic. I'm sayin' we all stayed pretty calm. You think?:
The Girls looked at me several times for confirmation that all was well, but other than that we just stood around, spectated, and snuffled at bits of dropped dirt (well, I didn't but they did ;o) Isn't that photo funny?
Bella was a bit mifffed by the humongous pile of dirt blocking her path to the hay pile. She actually turned around and looked at me, expecting me to move it out of her way. My "go around it, silly" response was distinctly unappreciated (but she did).
Lady had the same thought when she arrived at the pile we put by the hill leading down to the stalls and water trough:
Horses are what I would call OCD/COH (obsessively compulsive definitive creatures of habit) which was a contributing factor to all that erosion we had. Walking the same exact path every day created distinct trails, which were slightly lower than the rest of the ground. Since the pasture is on an incline, that's where the rainwater always went washing down (taking more and more dirt with it each time). The repeated combination of extreme droughts and "gully washers" over time made a heck of a mess with ruts everywhere. On top of that, we had a uber evil mole that tunneled all over the place and after a certain amount of topsoil was gone, they collapsed making an even bigger mess. We have a couple more loads coming this week (because the 3 loads we got didn't go as far as we'd hoped), and then we'll have to wait awhile for the rest. Stupid as it sounds, dirt is expensive :oP 
Sarabear did offer to help us spread it out though; wasn't that nice?

That's enough for now, I suppose. I've got to go work on the patio/visitor area - we're finally making some progress there too (and hot diggity dog! :-D Have a big horsey hug and a marvelous week everyone! (what's left of it anyway - Oy).

Fostering Fun with Friends

Sunday, June 10, 2012

As I mentioned to Dreaming in a comment last week, I am getting quite a lot done since school let out. Unfortunately, none of my recent productivity has been at my own house (and isn't that always the way?) Several months ago my friend Lori and I promised another friend, Caroline, (the teacher I talked about in this post) that when she was ready we'd help her fix up a spare bedroom for a foster child. Someone had given her some bedding and a few pieces of furniture, so it seemed the only thing left to do was pop over to her house and paint the walls. Er, not quite. Caroline admitted to being completely out of her element with this kind of thing, and said she definitely needed some serious help. Because I didn't realize a major overhaul was going to be in order, I didn't bring my camera for a before photo. Caroline sent me this lone photo she took with her camera phone before Lori and I got hold of the room (and her *grin*). Here 'tis:
Blah, right? And lest you think I am being obnoxious to Caroline here, she knows (I asked her up front exactly how honest she wanted me to be about it; I really didn't want to hurt her feelings *laugh*). Lori loved the little white hand-painted wardrobe in the corner - not pictured, sorry - to the degree I razzed her about coveting (and it was quite pretty, but I didn't care for it in there at all). She was also rather violently opposed to that dark chest of drawers, and wanted it relegated to the [spacious] closet instead. Right with ya on that one, sistafriend. I really wasn't too keen on the heavy floral patterned curtains, floral bedspread, living room like table with skirt, chest of drawers....well, you get the idea. One of those, "Oh wow, ummm...Hmmm." kind of things. So instead of a couple hours of painting, it turned into a two day budget special makeover. Lori had some beautiful sage green paint left over from rehabbing one of her rooms, and Lori and I [being the peas-in-a-pod that we are] both said, "Accent wall". So we had a mini-painting party (which was kind of fun - fellowshipping comes in many forms, right? ;o) but Lori had to leave us right after we finished painting. 
Since Caroline told me I could do "whatever I wanted" in there (which she probably regretted later, as I may have scared her), it was ON. I'm posting some photos of the [mostly] finished room. Lori will likely appreciate them as she wasn't there for Jen in 2D (demented decorator) mode. We pilfered a desk and bookcase (among other things) from other rooms, and picked up a few fairly inexpensive items: the bean bag, the over-sized dog, blinds, a topper, picture and poster frames, and - most importantly - some matching green spray paint (boo-yeah). Spray paint is my all-time favorite thing when decorating on a microscopic budget; it's awesome (more on that in a minute ;o) This is Heidi, by the way. Isn't she cute? Anyhoo, here we go:
Better, yes? She had those two beautiful watercolor prints already, but they were unframed. A couple of cheap-o poster frames and some paint and voila! Not to bad, eh? I liked 'em ;o) The bookcase we swiped from another room went where the chest of drawers was (that fit ever so nicely in the closet - go Lori!):

Since she already had the adorable stuffed mom and baby rhinos, and we were on a no-budget budget, I offered to kick in some of my art prints if she'd take care of the frames. Eat Your Veggies was a given (because hey, rhino) and she liked Sara N. Getti for the opposite wall. I wanted to add some color and help create a little reading/relaxing place tucked in the corner by the bookcase. I matted him in blue and Sara in a deeper shade of green. Have to say, I really liked the way the corner turned out (which may or may not be tacky, since the art part is mine). Caroline found the dog on sale. Initially she was waffling, thinking he was superfluous but I said oh we just gotta have him; he's perfect! What do you think?

A rockin' (ha, ha) pencil caddy, clock (complete with silly stuffed cat), a pretty lamb, and an empty coordinated frame went on top of the desk. Pilfered that from another room too;  kiddo has to have somewhere to do homework, right? She is going to call me as soon as she gets the word and then Caroline and her new charge will come for a farm visit right away; which should make for a fun outing to bond over. That's what the empty frame is for (because her friend Jen is a picture happy lunatic *laugh*). Plus it will help make the room feel more like their very own for as long as they are there.
One of the reasons I adore spray paint when fixing up a room is because it allows you to tailor make your own accents. Both of the poster frames in the first photo were black; I painted one with ivory textured paint and the other with the green. The .95c picture frame on the desk next to the lamb was also black; but "Rusty" and I took care of that in short order too. Caroline got into the spirit of things on Friday and voluntarily yanked the icky fru-fru skirt off the vanity table; brought a proud tear to my eye ;o) She had the cutest pair of lambs she found on sale, and I made and framed the little sage crocheted cross to put on it somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m. Friday morning (and yes, I'm aware that's insane).
The dog is sporting the cheesiest grin you ever saw, so of course he had to go over the mirror (he also covered up the hanger and nail quite nicely - love that multitasking-type stuff *grin*). You can see it a little better below, the top is scratched and worn and the front definitely needs some new paint, but that will have to be for another day:
Last and maybe least [dunno] is the door which absolutely, positively cannot be left blank (how else will they know it's their space?) When she calls me with the particulars, I'll make up a fun little sign with their name. In the meantime, I found a cute little DIY cork board frame in the clearance aisle at Wallyworld:
Of course you know I couldn't leave it like that...Some more spray paint (am I an official tagger yet?), a crochet flower, another (other) drawing, and TaDaaa! we're done :o)
My that was long; are you tired? I am. I'm so glad you stayed to the bitter end, 'cause it sure was a long way down here, wasn't it? Oh my. Have a blessed week everyone, and I'll have a Sarabear update for you next time. Hugs!

Independence Day: It ain't in July

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I know, I know. Most of you probably celebrate it then, but for the folks in my county school system Independence Day is actually June 5th. You see that's the last teacher work day for the year - and BOO-Yeah to that. Let freedom ring! (see teachers sing. Ha. ;o) I would like, however, for everyone to stand briefly and give a big round of applause to those stalwart [semi-sane] unsung heroes who bravely face untold chaos and bedlam twice daily for a [gotta be] paltry paycheck. Who are these amazing folks you might ask? None other than your friendly (okay, sometimes grouchy but can you blame them?) neighborhood bus driver. Here on the Redneck Riviera, this particular vehicle is often referred to as the...
Although I often question my sanity when it comes to my own job, there is no question whatsoever when it comes to theirs:  There isn't enough money on this planet to entice me to drive a bus. Never. Ever. Period.
DD is starting her last semester of college (can you believe it?) She made the President's List this time, and rolled her eyes at my silly happy dance before tossing me the letter and asking me what that one meant. I can't remember if I told you, but we had a similar conversation the semester before last when she received a "You made the Dean's List" letter. This is where all that peripheral information comes in handy (and for deaf kids if it doesn't come up directly, it's just not there). I was going to post the letter for my photo, but I put it somewhere safe so it wouldn't get lost, which I'm sure most of you know means I have absolutely no clue where I stashed it. *sigh*
Although this next photo is about a topic I wouldn't normally broach, it was just way too entertaining to keep to myself. All I can say is, for that price it better be some doggone serious AHHHH:
*Note: if you look carefully, you'll see that it's actually for nine of them which works out to around $20 each (sure looked funny on the shelf though ;o)
Have you ever heard of a Spider Wasp? I hadn't until I shot the following video clip and did a little research. I walked out on the patio to feed the horses the other day, and spotted a large (wolf?) spider. After I got all of the eeew out of my system, I grabbed a feed bag thinking to just flip him into the grass. Before I could, however, a red bug with bright blue wings whizzed by my ear and dive bombed the spider. Whoa, really?!? I stood there, stupified (all agog, mouth hanging open, looking pretty much like a serious idiot) as the wasp and spider started fighting. (Photo Credit to Wikipedia).
The brain kicked in a few seconds later and said, "CAMERA, DOPEY!!" I sprinted into the house, grabbed it and dashed back outside hoping I could capture some of the battle. Probably not my best video, but between the size of my subjects and the movement it was pretty tough to follow. And hey, let's not forget the USI factor (unidentified stinging insect). If you're an email friend, click here to go to our Vimeo page. For the rest of you, here it is:

Spider vs. Wasp from Jen on Vimeo.
Ready for what I learned? Head's up; it's pretty gross :oP The female spider wasp will attack and subsequently paralyze a spider using her venom. She does not kill it, but uses it as a sort of living incubator. She will lay an egg inside the spider, and when the larvae emerges, it will pretty much eat the spider from the inside out. The wasp larvae will continue to feed on the spider (who is completely aware, but immobile - and ick) as it develops, instinctively preserving the internal organs for last, thereby keeping the spider alive until it is ready to fly. Now that is one stone cold bug. Guess school wasn't quite finished after all, eh? *laugh*
Have a marvelously blessed week everyone, and thanks so much for reading this far!

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