Archive for category Pets & Problems

Tight Lipped Tuesday #7

 

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been given a glimpse into your future?

 

 

 

 

* photo taken from a story in La Stampa – an Italian newspaper – concerning a decision by city officials in Rome to clamp down on the unregulated feeding of the city’s 200,000 stray cats by the gattara, mostly elderly women, who lovingly feed and tend to them.  It looks to be an unpopular decision.

 

 

 

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Scrappy Doo January

This post has nothing to do with that annoying little nephew of Scooby Doo but I couldn’t resist the title as there are both scraps and a dog.

A friend of a friend bought an old textile factory in our local town which used to be a centre for the textile industry in days gone by.  In fact, the one remaining working factory still produces upholstery for the automotive industry near and far.

The friend of a friend is converting the old factory into offices and is clearing out all the remaining bits and pieces. The friend didn’t want to see the stuff going to the dump so asked people she knows who sew and craft generally if they wanted to take some of it.  I have a few rolls of quite fine, plain coloured, slightly stretchy stuff I’m not sure what I’m going to do with but I also got some of these sample cards.

I have a sort of ‘woollen quilt’ in mind which I could achieve by cutting the rectangles into squares – there’s even some teeny squares showing the different colours that were available in each pattern – any ideas what I could do with those?

I wondered if I could extend my range of dog collars and make a sort of ‘Country Walks’ selection by covering the webbing totally in the wool mix fabric.  I had to join two lengths together and, instead of sewing the resulting band to the top of the webbing only – as I do with the ribbons and tapes I generally use – I made a tube of the fabric and threaded the webbing through so it was completely enclosed.  All the fabric has a slight stretch to it – possibly as it was produced for car seats – so worked well for this but not sure what implications that would have for a quilt.  Although it would probably be more a blanket than a quilt.

Here’s what I came up with

and here’s Stan doing a grand job of modelling it.

He is my own personal product tester and not nearly as annoying as Scrappy Doo.

Joining in again this month with Kate & Gun’s monthly Scraphappy Day where you too can use your scraps of fabric, yarn, paper, wood, anything to make something useful or lovely or both and show it off to the world.  You don’t have to join in every month, only when you have something to show.  Details and a list of other participants’ scrappy endeavours over on Kate’s blog.

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A Bit of Light Relief

Protests against high fuel prices in the form of road blocks permitting, we are holding a fundraising Christmas Fair this weekend for Twilight,  the home for old and disabled dogs I support here in France (you can read about the amazing work Mike and Leanne do here)

I am ‘womanning’ the Twilight stall which will have calendars, Christmas cards, tea-towels, tote bags and aprons for sale along with a few of my hand made dog collars and some key fobs made from the leftover collar materials.

Remember my big crochet dog with the slightly sad face I made with super chunky wool?

Well, I thought I’d offer her up as a prize in a ‘guess the name of the dog’ game at the Christmas Fair.

I think she looks like a female dog so I racked my brains to come up with 30 girly dog names – which proved much harder to think of than male dog names for some reason.  People can choose a name for a euro and the winner can take her home.  With any luck, and just a little bit of friendly cajoling, I might be able to donate 30 euros to the cause which we wouldn’t get if I just put her up for sale.

I haven’t had the most wonderful month.  November has become the anniversary of some recent sad events in my family and I’ve had a couple of other stressful situations to deal with.  So, just for a bit of fun, and because it’s approaching the festive season, I thought I’d ask my readers if they’d like to guess her name and, if anybody gets it right, I’ll send them one of the aprons I’ve been making out of the fun tea-towels Twilight produce or I can leave it as a tea-towel if you prefer.

Here’s a close up of the possible choices

First come first served – once somebody has chosen a name, I’ll cross it off – if I can work out how to do that – otherwise you can just have a look at the previous guesses.

Just leave your guess in the comments and, because I think it’s only fair, the game is only open to those already following me.  So, if you are a follower but don’t usually comment, and you would like a free apron/tea towel – and who wouldn’t? – now’s the time.

The fair is on Saturday 24th so I’ll reveal the answer on Monday 26th.

Go on – have a guess!

 

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Three Became Two

We had to say goodbye to Taz on Friday.

Having survived a spleen removal operation this time last year and being almost totally blind and deaf – he was diagnosed with a tumour in his mouth in August and it became more and more difficult for him to eat which was, really, the only pleasure he had left.  Friday morning, the side of his face was swollen badly and I decided it was time.

He was with us for thirteen years since being dumped out of a car as a puppy, picked up by a boy who’d seen it happen and taken into the vet’s office where I just happened to be, a few hours later, with one of my cats.  Obviously, he came home with me.

We’ve had dogs for a long time now and, to be honest, Taz wasn’t one of the dogs for me.  You might know what I mean – there’s always one or maybe two that really get deep into your heart.  Like some sort of canine stalker, he spent most of his time outdoors ignoring us and being obsessed with the dog next door who he could see in the garden below ours and ran up and down for hours, watching him and barking at him, until he wore a path in that particular part of the garden that has never disappeared.

He had his moments though.

He liked a snuggle with the cats.

Even though he wasn’t a team player, he occasionally turned up for a game.

He suffered our traditional ‘dog hat photos’ at Christmas even though he gave us the stink eye.

He’s now gone to join Phoebe the German Shepherd (who was the dog for me) and Susie the gentle Golden Retriever over the Rainbow Bridge.

We’ll miss his silly face.

 

 

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Flora, Fauna and Fleas

Just to prove the weather’s gone crazy, I took this photo yesterday – from the car so it’s not brilliant, sorry – but these sunflowers are in full bloom and it’s the end of August.  Usually they’ve all finished around the end of July in these parts.  That’s what having rain almost every day in June will do I suppose.

This appeared in the storage box thingy next to the pool.  I want to move the box further up the garden away from scantily clad bodies but nobody has volunteered to help me.  Funny that.  Sorry for the blurry photo but I was in and out of there faster than you can say knife (or wasp) but they don’t actually seem to be interested in doing anything else but looking after their nest so might as well let them be.

My old dog Taz seems to be on his last legs – he’s thirteen next month and is now completely blind, almost deaf and seems to be confused about where he is most of the time.  He still enjoys his food though so when he suddenly slowed down his usual scarfing down of dog biscuits I was even more worried so I took him to the vets.  We have a new vet – she is amazing.  She laid down on the floor, on her back, as if she was examining the underside of a car and, without further ado, attacked his icky teeth with what looked like a cross between a pair of pliers and some nutcrackers to remove the tartar caring nothing for the close proximity of randomly snapping jaws.  He has an infection which she’s given him antibiotics for but, unfortunately, she also spotted a tumour in his mouth which she says can’t be operated on.  I wouldn’t put him through it anyway at his age.  She’s given him some tablets which may or may not inhibit the growth of the tumour but we’ll see.

Taz

Open wide

When I told her I think he has some sort of canine dementia, she said she would try oxygenating his brain.  I was filled with trepidation as to how he’d react when given a blow through with oxygen and wondered if she’d administer it through his ears or up his nose.  I was actually a bit disappointed when she just gave us more tablets.  She thought I was very funny for some reason.   I’ll give it a couple of weeks to see how he gets on but I’m in ‘preparation mode’.

With the heat this Summer we have, once again had a problem with fleas.  Despite costing me the price of a foreign holiday to treat three dogs, five cats and a large house with top of the range flea and tick treatment, those little buggers have returned.  Last year the cats were the most badly affected, this year it’s the dogs.  They usually have a topical treatment which is supposed to last a month but, three weeks in, I’ve had to give them tablets too.  I think I’m on top of the problem now but it’s not been without its moments.

I’ve become paranoid about every little black speck I see and, the other day, I tried to drown a tiny piece of black velcro that had fallen off the strap of my sandal onto my foot.  I only realised my mistake when I was studying it floating around in the glass and wondered why it didn’t have any legs.

Then, following advice on the internet, I added some cider vinegar to all the pets’ drinking water and made up a solution in a spray bottle to wet the dogs’ fur with and put some on a cloth to wipe down the cats.  I also sprayed rugs and furniture.  Only after the bottle was empty and I went to refill it did I realise I’d used red wine vinegar by mistake.  I’ve waited a couple of days to tell you this in case I had to report ill effects or drunken capers but, as there was no dancing on the tables or lewd behaviour to report I will assume no harm was done.  Although I can’t speak for what the fleas got up to.

 

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More Fowl Thoughts

Hello again, it’s the last Tialys chicken here with news for you about my search for a new family after my last companion died of old age and left me feeling lonely.

On Monday, Mme Tialys let me out of my hen house and, before I could even have a sip of water or a peck at some food, she tried to pick me up.  Well, I wasn’t having any of that sort of nonsense, so I led her a merry dance round and round my run, hiding in the bamboo and behind some nettles until she gave up and went off to put cream on her nettle stings, change her nice dress she’d put on that morning and leave for a meeting – she was late apparently, serves her right.

The next morning, the same thing happened, only this time she was ready for me.  All exits blocked, cage ready, I was nabbed.

This is me in the back of the car with all my leftover food – it was torture as I hadn’t had breakfast. I’m sitting on a newspaper with a photo of a half naked man on the front – apparently it’s Aidan Turner aka Poldark.  He’s alright I suppose but he’s got no feathers worth a mention so I peed on him.

Half an hour later I was in a new place.

Mme Tialys has some good friends who she says, if ever she comes back as an animal and needs a home with humans, they would be the ones she would want to adopt her.  When they saw my ad on Tinder, they said I could go and live with them and their chickens (and horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, etc.) so Mme. Tialys took me there to see if I approved.

Mme. Karen is holding me in the cage while Monsieur John distracts the others with some noodles.

Let me at those noodles, I’m starving.


I was gratified to see that I am the fattest biggest chicken there so I did start duffing a few of them up just to show I wasn’t going to take kindly to them ganging up on me or anything.  Monsieur John asked Mme Tialys if she had a muzzle for me.  Cheek!

O.K., you’ve showed me where the noodles are kept, you can clear off now Lightweight.

So, I won’t be lonely any more – there are 14 other chickens here including some funny looking Leghorns and it’s obvious that Monsieur John is a complete softie where his chickens are concerned so I’ll soon have him wrapped round my little chicken foot and doing my bidding.  I might even try to squeeze an egg out for him every now and again.

What do you think of my new place?

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Chicken Tinder

Plump, attractive, mature lady with all her own feathers looking for somebody to strut with and possibly share some snails and bugs.  Has own transport and can sometimes squeeze an egg out.  GSOH (good sense of hens) essential.  

I am all that is left of the Tialys flock.

In the old days there were a few of us and we had a handsome cockerel called Darth who looked after us.

I used to chat with him and we sometimes had a laugh together by pretending not to see that a kitten was stalking us.

These black hens were the oldest and had been Tialys chickens since 2006.

Darth died last year aged 11 and only me and Grandma Black Hen were left.  We flew up into a tree earlier last year when the weasels came and decapitated our last two sisters right in front of us.

Last weekend, Grandma Black Hen started to fade and then she died – she was 12 years old and my last friend.

I came rushing out of my coop this morning as usual –

then I remembered I am all alone now.

I heard Mr. & Mrs. Tialys say they don’t want to keep chickens any more so they won’t be getting me any new friends but they are worried I’ll be lonely.

I am too.

 

 

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May All Your Weeds Be Wildflowers

If only!

A post in which I, uncharacteristically, put loads of flower pictures up and don’t say much – although I was just going to call this ‘Tight Lipped Tuesday’ or some such thing and say nothing at all which, of course, I couldn’t quite manage.

Our garden is large and terraced – up at the back there are woods which is where we walk the dogs.  On Saturday, Flo decided to take herself off after a rabbit or something causing much consternation.

I re-traced our steps of the morning walk through the woods and, to keep my mind a little less stressed, took photos of the wildflowers in between shouts and whistles.

As Mr. T. has a full time job he has a bit of trouble keeping on top of the gardening, especially with all the rain we’ve had lately, and we tend to only keep the lower two or three terraces mown and cultivated.  He has a healthy attitude to gardening though as the stuff that hasn’t been attacked with the brushcutter (too steep for a mower higher up) he proclaims is very good for insects so bees, mantis, grasshoppers and all sorts of beasties have a whale of a time up there and it’s probably worth getting a few itchy bits on my legs when I walk through it all in the summer months.

With all the beautiful flowers growing in the wild for free and needing no care and attention an alien landing on Earth might wonder why we spend so much time, money and effort on forcing other things to grow where we want them to and not where they might choose.

If I know the name of any of these, you probably do too so I’ll let the images do the talking (for a change 😉 )

A lot have already ‘gone over’ but I think that’s enough weedy eye candy for one blog post and, by chance, Cathy went wild in Yorkshire today and she has actually named some of the wildflowers for you (or her readers have) so, although this is S.W. France, there are quite a few similarities.

It’s bloomin’ hot out there now so I’ve moved me and my jug of wildflowers into the shade.

Oh yes, and guess who came back after around three hours with something that could have been blood on her paw and neck which wasn’t hers.

We are now missing a cat though – Salem, the black one on top,  although I doubt he chased a rabbit.

I’ll keep you posted about him.

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Is It Woolly Going To Be A Dog?

Having honed my crochet skills on blankets – an ongoing process by the way – I’ve never tried amigurumi.  Difficult enough to say the word, I’d always intended to give this sort of crochet a go and even bought a couple of pattern books but, when the Dog one came out it was a ‘had to have’.

Not that I need more dogs in my life but I thought, if they were quick and easy enough, they might be a good thing to sell in aid of Twilight, the home for old and disabled dogs I support.

It will be a while before I get to the long haired varieties like this.

Photo from Book

So I thought I’d start with a beginner pattern – a little labrador

Photo from Book

Searching through my yarn stash, it became clear that I had no ‘neutral colours’  i.e. black, grey, white, cream in the required thickness.  However, I did have some oatmeal coloured yarn in ‘Chunky’ which meant, if I wanted to make a start straight away, I’d have to do the large sized dog – there are three sizes to choose from for each dog – it’s just the size of the crochet hook and the thickness of the yarn that changes.   So that’s what I’m doing – not a little labrador but a large labrador.

Any resemblance to a big butternut squash is purely coincidental.

For scale see the vintage wig stand behind which is, more or less, about the size of an actual human head.

I wouldn’t mind but the dog’s head is a slightly smaller butternut squash which I will attempt to balance atop the body once I’ve got the legs on for stability.  I’ll let you know how that goes :/

The Twilight Easter Fair fundraiser is next Saturday where we are raising money to make life more comfortable for the for old and disabled dogs who have been abandoned or who have been separated from their owners for one reason or another.    I don’t think I’ll be churning these out quickly enough to be able to put them up for sale by then – certainly not at this size – but I’ll have to buy in some neutral colours in double knitting  yarn in order to make some smaller ones which – looking into the future – might be ready for the Christmas Fair and, by that time, I might have progressed to the shaggier versions.

Meanwhile, I have another nine Twilight tea towels to turn into aprons before next Saturday so I’d better leave ears, legs and tail until after then.

The weather here continues to be complete pants and the real dogs are bored.

Flo couldn’t even be bothered to choose which woolly doggy she wants me to crochet for her to play with.

 

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Be More Squirrel (Edited to Contain Warning)

You may remember that last year my dogs ate the plums from our trees from the unripe to rotting stage and would do so all day long if allowed to.  The evenings were not pleasant.

Mr. T. decided that he would cut all twelve trees down as they are very old and the plums are not particularly nice anyway – well,  at least we didn’t think so.  The fig trees are also a doggy favourite but I couldn’t quite part with them so they are staying for the moment.

In future, all fruit trees will be planted on the other side of the fence that cordons off a part of the garden that the dogs haven’t got access to (apart from when they dig holes and get under the fence).

All three dogs have now discovered acorns so our walks are slowed down considerably by them snuffling around eating all the acorns they can find but, luckily, these do not seem to produce the gaseous emissions that plums do so I’m not overly worried about it although I must check they’re not toxic to dogs or anything.  (Update:  Yes, they are – please see note at the bottom of the post).  I truly believe my dogs will eat anything – the more disgusting the better.

I have also become a bit more squirrel this month and have reverted to my old habit of hoarding fabric.  I made a pair of trousers at long last and, flushed with success, placed an order for dressmaking fabric in the mistaken belief that I need more clothes or that Mlle. Tialys the Younger will be persuaded into dresses any time soon.  The trouble is, dresses are my favourite clothing item to make but I live in jeans and  so does Mlle. T.   What am I to do?  I think perhaps a solution might be to make more ‘tops’.  That way I can indulge myself with nice fabric and make pretty things but put jeans on underneath.  Of course, that might mean I’ll have to buy more patterns as most of mine are for dresses.

I have a clear cutting table at the moment while I await Mr. T’s return from the U.K. with my latest haul so I will make a second pair of trousers while I remember how to do it.

Meanwhile, I am making progress with the Eastern Jewels crochet blanket and have joined the first two rows together – only two more to go!  The more I do, the more I love it, the less I feel I will be able to part with it.

I took some time off from the crochet to knit up a couple of cotton dishcloths in my bid to cut down wasteful buying of kitchen towels, etc. but I’ve only managed two so far.  I’m going to try crochet ones next as they will probably be quicker.

Love the little ‘French tea-towel’ effect one.  You can find the patterns for both here and here.

  I’ve also been making waxed wraps in an attempt to cut down on single use plastic such as cling film but they are in use around cheese and the tops of bowls.  When I make some new ones – using beeswax this time instead of pure soy wax – I’ll show you some pics.

My fabric arrived from Laughing Hedgehog – don’t you just love the name – a company I hadn’t used before but they had the French General fabric I was looking for to back my Shabby Union Jack.

I was very lucky because I had ordered 1.5m which was being very optimistic but this was apparently the end of bolt so she kindly put all 1.8 m in for me which turned out to be just right.  I used the plain grey/brown for binding and, as you can see, decided to put a sleeve in just in case it ended up as a wall hanging rather than a throw.

Here it is as a throw

and here is the long, plain corridor – leading to the loo and Mlle. T. the Younger’s chamber of horrors  bedroom – where it might end up on the wall.

I think it needs a bit of something don’t you?

I’ll let you know where it ends up.

 

EDIT;

I did eventually Google the risks and found this amongst lots of other warnings –

Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter months. The toxic ingredient is thought to be tannic acid, which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, inappetance and lethargy. Ingested acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage.

So, best not let your dog be more squirrel after all.

 

 

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