Apollo Archive

Yarn!

Posted March 26, 2015 By Ruth

So, for the last couple years I’ve been saving Apollo’s shed fur with an eye towards having it spun into yarn.  

At this point in the conversation most people who’ve never had interactions with a Tibetan Mastiff cringe at the thought of making smelly dog fur into yarn.  But TMs aren’t smelly dogs.  Right now Apollo hasn’t had a bath since the Nov show and I can only smell an odor on him if I get my nose right down into his fur.  And even then its not a “doggy odor”.  

Two years of collecting fur, trying to avoid the short stuff from his legs and shoulders (and missing out on the fluff that floated free while he was outside), got me a bit over two pounds of fluff to be spun.  Folks, if you ever run into someone who tells you their (non-giant breed short coated) dog loses pounds and pounds of fur every year feel free to laugh at them.

Over the weekend the lady who’s spinning for me (and yes, I’m paying her) let me know that she had five skeins done, and that she’d done not quite half of what I’d given her.

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Wow.  I wasn’t expecting to get that much yarn TOTAL out of that bag of fluff, never mind over two times that.  Admittedly its not a particularly bulky yarn, but it is two ply, so still…..

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A closeup in better light.  It turned out very pretty.

I might have to learn how to spin, if thats how much yarn I can get out of a single year’s shed.  Not sure my hands are up to it, but I think I’m going to have to try.

Since I’m going to have alot more yarn than I expected I decided to knit the first scarf on my double knit Knitting Board.

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Working on a loom of any kind is much easier on my hands than trying to knit using needles, even big chunky ones, so its going fairly quickly.  Can’t wait to see the finished product!

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Snow!

Posted February 24, 2015 By Ruth

This is the first time since I moved to NY that my parents in MA have more snow on the ground than we do.  But that doesn’t mean we’re slacking here.  We’re just over average snowfall, and since we’ve not had a single (normal) thaw since the snowfall started its almost all still on the ground too.

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Looks so pretty and peaceful doesn’t it…..Well, here’s a photo, taken of the same spot, back on 2-2-15:

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Those orange things are the tops of 5gallon Home Depot buckets that mark out my garden patch there (so we can keep the dogs off it in the winter).  Now go back and look at the first picture again.

Yah.

There’s a reason all that snow is unbroken and smooth.  Its pushing 3ft deep.  Might even be over the 3ft mark at this point actually.  Its hard to be sure since the wind scours the surface constantly.  The drifts are insane.

And COLD.  Did I mention COLD??  Syracuse, the closest major city to me, has broken several cold temp records this winter.  Last Saturday morning the temperature between midnight and 1am dropped to -16(F) before windchill.  And oh yes, there was windchill.  Most days the windchill is dropping the “feels like” temperature at least 20 degrees, and we’ve had drops of up to 40 thanks to the “breeze”.  Its so bad that EVERYONE has ice dams and icicles on their houses this winter.  No matter how well its constructed or what its made of.  Even the steepest of metal roofs can’t shed their loads properly when its this cold.  The local stores can’t keep roof rakes and the Roof Melt tablets in stock, and folks are out on ladders with hammers and chisels trying to keep the ice on their roofs down.

Even Apollo thinks thats cold.  He still wants to go out in it mind, but instead of wanting to stay out he doesn’t argue when we tell him its time to come in either.

Which doesn’t stop him from lounging in the snow when we let him:

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Poor Arty disappears completely when he tries to hop into the snow, and I’m pretty sure he frostbit one of his feet last weekend (we’re keeping an eye on it).  I have booties for him, but they don’t fit well and he really doesn’t care for them, kicks them off almost as soon as he’s out the door.

The wildlife is suffering for it too.  Mind, I’m not complaining, to much, since it means that the insect and rodent populations shouldn’t be as bad come spring.  But the local birds are clearing my feeders (2 of which hold about 5lbs of seed apiece) in less than 2 days at this point.  We had an American Tree Sparrow strike a window and not pick up and recover like normal (considering it was barely above zero I’m surprised ANY of them pick up and recover honestly), so I took it down to the local wildlife rehabber, who said that she’s got lots like him that she’s waiting for a warm spell to release.  This winter has been hard on us all.

In slightly more cheerful news my tomatoes and jalapenos have all sprouted though!

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Apollo says winter is awesome

Posted January 17, 2015 By Ruth

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I think my fingers froze off taking these pictures though…..

Attention New York Dog Owners

Posted January 6, 2015 By Ruth

Big Brother is considering dictating (Bill# S00473) how you train your dogs.

S 113-A. OBEDIENCE TRAINING; REQUIRED. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL BY RULE OR REGULATION ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS WHICH MUST BE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH REQUIREMENTS SHALL INCLUDE INSTRUCTION FOR THE OWNER ON THE PRINCIPLES OF DOG TRAINING, AND INSTRUCTION ON AND PRACTICE OF OBEDIENCE TRAINING BY BOTH THE DOG AND ITS OWNER. FURTHERMORE, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF SUCH BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR DOG OBEDIENCE SCHOOLS WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE THE BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS AS REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION. 3. THE OWNER OF ANY DOG REACHING THE AGE OF ONE YEAR SHALL, ON OR BEFORE THE DATE SUCH DOG REACHES ONE YEAR OF AGE OR WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF RECEIVING OWNERSHIP OF SUCH DOG, WHICHEVER SHALL BE LATER, SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE, WITH HIS OR HER DOG, A BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSE.

(text modified only to remove line numbers and make the paragraph work in the blog formatting)

So they want to dictate what and how our dogs are taught basic obedience. And require it of all dog owners.  Which on the surface of things I can see the theory.  But reality doesn’t work that way.  

First off, its yet ANOTHER state dictated expense for dog owning.  Unless they’re going to force trainers to offer the class for free, yah, that’d go over well.  Or maybe they’ll decide to subsidise it.  Like they are the minimum wage.  Yah, lets do that *headdesk*

And lets look at the practical issues:

Working farm dogs, especially Livestock Guardian Dogs, almost never leave the home property, are frequently not house pets, and are unlikely to pass basic obedience (or have an owner who wants them too).  

Hunting hounds are often not house pets, only leave the home property for hunting trips, and their owners are very unlikely to be interested in basic obedience classes.

A dog with dog aggression problems certainly needs training, but squashing one into a crowded “one size fits all” class will do them more harm than good.

Conformation show dogs are frequently taught modified obedience, including “down” or “stand” in place of “sit” because they don’t want the dogs sitting in the show ring.  If the mandated training dictates the use of the command “sit” show dogs are screwed too.

Never mind that not all dogs learn the same way.  What works for your average Lab might not work for your average hunting hound, never mind your average primitive breed.  Oh yes, the primitives.  Like the ones I own.  Both of whom are perfectly safe in public.  And both of whom would be very unlikely to pass your average “basic obedience” class, ESPECIALLY if it was done by the wrong trainer…..

HERE you can find your local Assemblymember and let them know what you think!

Click read more to see the letter I wrote.

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Apollo turned 4

Posted December 21, 2014 By Ruth

Well, he actually turned 4 on the 18th and I’m a little behind, but its so hard to believe that its been almost 4 years since we brought him home, looking like this:

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And now:

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And at the show in Mid Nov he even took Best Of Breed over his nephew!

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Halloween

Posted November 1, 2014 By Ruth

Borepatch reminded me that I’d found an article by a guy who’s studied “Halloween Sadism” and then never posted it, so there it is.  I’d assumed that most of the freak out over poisoned candy was the media’s fault, but I hadn’t realized how much of it was….

A casual friend was upset when she discovered we didn’t hand out candy.  But then she’s never met Apollo in guard mode either.  Not that it matters if we wanted to hand out candy, we’re rural enough that we don’t even see Trick or Treaters passing us by.  Most of the kids in the neighborhood know that knocking on Apollo’s door is a good way to get your socks scared off anyway….

Photo dump

Posted October 27, 2014 By Ruth

Been a while since the last time I posted photos (and even that was mostly garden stuff)….

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Missed a photo

Posted August 23, 2014 By Ruth

Cause I was once again without my camera, even though I know better.  Though to be fair, I don’t think I’d have gotten a picture anyway….

Yesterday evening, about 7:40pm-ish, we were outside with the dogs in the new run.  We don’t normally spend alot of time outside at dusk, the mosquitoes alone are enough to usually keep us inside.  But yesterday the wind was high enough, and the air cool enough that it was quite nice outside.  The dogs were enjoying it….

…..till Apollo suddenly roared and bolted for the back fence….I grabbed a double handfull of ruff, just in case he decided to try to go over the fence, and tried to get a look at what he was upset about.  Biiiig coyote, trotting across our back line, and our neighbor’s back line.  He stopped and froze when Apollo went off, but quickly realized that the dog wasn’t actually coming for him and just went on his way.  Not sure if it was the same fellow we saw last year or not.  I had a roaring pissed off Tibetan Mastiff demanding that the coyote keep moving and so I didn’t get the best of looks…….

Updates

Posted July 21, 2014 By Ruth

Turns out I’m one of those rare people who have a delayed reaction to yellow jacket stings.  It still wasn’t a severe reaction, but it was highly disconcerting when suddenly, a full SEVEN days after the original sting, my arm swelled up and started itching like mad……

I’ve now lost two cucumber plants.  I’m blaming the cucumber beetles, as the deterioration looks like bacterial wilt, something that they’re known to spread.  Neem oil/insecticidal soap/hand picking is just NOT CUTTING IT for controlling them and they’re all over the garden.  I’m considering putting down beneficial nematodes in the entire garden to control the larva, and considering an actual pesticide for the adults.  I don’t want to, but they are literally everywhere, and if this IS bacterial wilt I want to stop it NOW.  I’ll probly be putting down the nematodes regardless.

We’ve got a steady dribble of tomatoes, and for all that neither of us is a big fan of raw tomatoes we’re both eating these, they’re good.  Which is good, cause at this rate I’m not going to get enough at one time to actually make sauce with.

Cross your fingers, we’ve got at least two Sugar Baby watermelons ripening, and at least a couple more growing.  At least two white Watermelons (Cream of Saskatuwans) growing.  Three cantaloupes.  The fancy cantaloupe finally has female flowers on it.

Onions and carrots look good. 

Zucchini finally has babies growing. 

I’m actually getting sweet peppers this year!  I can’t wait for them to ripen! 

The jalapeno’s look awesome, going to be a bumper crop there.  Looks like most of the mystery peppers are Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, and they’re all producing madly.  Two look like they may be habanero’s, now to see if they’re whites or chocolates. 

I don’t think we’re going to get any pumpkins this year.  The plants are still less than a foot long.  I think the cold spring just did them in.  I’m on the hunt for a variety thats more cold tolerant.

Potato plants look good, I’ve not tried digging through the straw to check for actual potatoes though. 

One variety of lettuce has sprouted and is growing well, neither of the others appears to have even germinated.

Corn…..well, I’ll be happy if we even get a couple ears, that was a massive failure this year.

Blueberry plants didn’t produce any fruit this year, I didn’t even see a single blossom.  I’m blaming the extreme winter and cold spring.

Golden raspberry plant is producing well.  Boysenberry has produced a few berries, we’re waiting for them to ripen.  There are a couple berries on one of the blackberries.

Fruit trees….well, the one apple that didn’t produce last year (at all) has a good crop of fruit on it.  The rest of the apple trees have one or two apples, or nothing.  And there’s no pears at all.  Again, blaming the winter/spring for that one.  They all bloomed, and I didn’t think we got cold enough after budding to cause problems, but maybe we did.

My cell phone has developed a problem.  Its a Motorola Droid 2, so its not exactly new, but suddenly its developed a mind of its own and is randomly hitting options on the screen without any input from me.  This DID start after I dropped it (again) so I suspect a physical problem rather than a virus, especially since I’d not installed any new apps in the previous couple months.  It’ll be fine for a week or more, and then suddenly do things on its own.  Lotsa fun.

We took Arty to his first Barn Hunt practice last night.  I knew his prey drive was high, and he’s finally figured out how to use his nose, so I was hoping this would turn out to be something that I could take him too, and expose him to more things, that he’d enjoy.  And yup, he did very well.  There’s another practice in a few weeks, we’ll be taking both dogs to that one.  Though I don’t expect Apollo do well at it.  He’ll pass the instinct portion no problem, but for the actual runs the dog needs to go through a small tunnel, and I don’t expect to be able to convince Apollo that its worth his time to crawl through a tunnel.

Time to call animal control again….

Posted July 4, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve ranted about my across the street neighbors a couple times….1, 2, ok, 3 times.  Which doesn’t do that particular problem justice, but I figure you all don’t want to listen to me rant about them constantly…..

Yesterday afternoon, I looked up from my book to see a good sized tan and black hound-ish dog trotting across their yard towards their northern side neighbor who has huskies (including an intact bitch) and my first thought was that another neighborhood dog had gotten loose and was headed to sniff out their bitch (its happened a couple times, they catch the dogs and turn them into animal control).

Then I saw one of the kids from across the street hurrying along behind the dog…..please don’t tell me……yup, kid grabs collar and drags the dog back to their house.  Sigh.  They have a new dog.  Wonder how long this one will last…..

Then, about 9pm yesterday, Apollo abruptly goes ballistic at the front windows.  Hound was loose again, trotting across our yard, with two of the kids in hot pursuit again.  They finally caught him and dragged him home.

This morning, about 9:15, I glance out the window about an instant before Apollo does and spot a tan and black dog trotting across my front yard with two kids trailing…..

After watching them chase him in circles for about 10 minutes (the dog was having an absolute blast), I grabbed a dog bowl, and dumped some kibble in it, stepped out the front door, and called “hey big guy, want some food?” as I shook the metal dog bowl with kibble…..dog pricked up his ears and came trotting over to grab a mouthful.  I scratched his ears for a minute, told him he was a good boy, and walked him back to the kids who looked rather dumbfounded.

One of the kids kept saying “he listens so well inside the house!”……..