Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Midnight Marauder

As we suspected, moving the feeder up wasn't high enough to keep out the raccoons.  We found this guy on Friday night when coming home from dancing.  Rob had spotted  him lumbering across the lawn.  A few minutes later, I flicked on the back light and sure enough, there he was.  The fathead didn't even budge when I opened the door to get a clear photo.

Meanwhile, Turkey is a regular visitor.  He drops by at least twice a day, usually in the morning, sometimes with a friend, but usually solo.  If he comes too early in the morning, there's nothing in the feeder if the raccoon has cleared it out.  Turkey will walk back and forth on the railing, like if he checks back a few seconds later, maybe it will magically refill.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NEFFA 2015

NEFFA is a weekend-long folk festival I go to each year.  I've written about it before; this post is a bit scattered, as I'm hitting what tickled my fancy this year.

I earned my tickets nearly a year ago, for altering the Curtains of Doom.  Look!  I got to see them in action.  I admit, I checked the hems on several of them to find my handiwork.  The six I worked on were just a few of the many acoustical drapes in the dance halls.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Moving Tunnel

Bertie was an opinionated guinea pig: she belonged in the hay rack, she shouldn't be brought indoors while she was still having fun in the yard, and the tunnel belonged on the first floor, never the second level.  She eventually won her position on the hay rack (everyone took her side!), I didn't have much choice when they had to come back indoors, but the tunnel was a constant disagreement.  I thought the second level was a great place for the tunnel, since the pigs could go through it to access the third level.  Pinniped never had issues with that setup.  Neither has Cannoli.  So the tunnel remained on the second level since Bertie passed away.

Until Boadicea.

It's like old times.  I put the tunnel on the second level, come back some time later, and voila! it's on the first floor.  Recently it was pulled all the way under the fleece forest.  Sunday I found it right under the hammock.  Boadicea must be the culprit, but I have yet to catch her in the act.  Does she use it as slide like Bertie used to?  Or does she grab hold and pull it over the edge?  I'm dying to catch her in the act.  Boadicea is not nearly as insistent as Bertie was; the tunnel can stay where I put it for days before it moves.  One of these days I'll discover Boadi's technique.  Perhaps not?  Maybe it's the ghost of Bertie, back to show me the error of my ways!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lunch is Served

We recently raised the back bird feeder to keep the raccoons from emptying it out.  The feeder has a door that closes if something heavy sits on the perch.  This is great for keeping out the squirrels.  But the feeder was close enough to the deck railing that raccoons would just sit on the rail and scoop out the seeds.  One night there were two of them, sitting side by side, stuffing their faces.  The buggers could clear out a couple of pounds of seed overnight.

Imagine my surprise when I glanced up Sunday morning to find a big ol' turkey standing on the deck rail peering in the window.  He nonchalantly strutted to the feeder and started chowing seed.  Evidently the bird feeder's new height was just right for him.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oatmeal Date Bars

I have a sliced date cookie recipe that everyone loves, but they are very time consuming.  I don't make them often.  Then I discovered these date bars.  It's a family recipe from on of my friends from the Tea.  Oh!  These are much easier to whip up.  Plus it has oats!  Yum.

Do I ever get a recipe I don't tinker with?  I halved the original amount of sugar.  The dates are already naturally sweet and I like the nuttiness of the oats to stand out.  Next time I may have to swap out some of the flour with whole wheat.  These are soft, chewy and satisfying.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The kitchen, for whatever reason, is a terrifying place.  One would think the Source of All Goodies would be Cannoli and Boadicea's favorite place.  But Cannoli thought the kitchen is a very scary place.  Not too surprising.  In contrast, Boadicea is so bold on the floor; the wood floor hardly slows her down.  But when plopped onto far side of the kitchen floor, she also became as timid as Noli!

Even after a few trips to the kitchen, Boadicea figured the safest way to leave was to dash to the cabinets, slink under the ledge and the refrigerator door, then scramble towards the familiar side of the room.  It's the only time I've seen her act so timid.  What's so scary about the kitchen floor?  (Other than this video shows how badly it needs to be swept!)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Finished Placemats

I normally do not create picture-heavy blog posts.  If I have a lot of photos, I combine them in a collage.  But this project needs lots of pictures - there's lots of placemats!

I'm glad my sister requested this color scheme.  I love how they look.  It was fun to make the placemats all different, yet they are clearly a matched set.  They will go nicely with the table runner.

Work stopped when I ran out of green thread to finish the last placemat.  I finished them early last week.  I backed the last two placemats with musical mice.  My family will recognize the fabric - it covered some shelves in my nephew's room years ago.  I thought it would be a fun addition to the placemats and went nicely with the green and blue borders.  I quilted a loopy flowery pattern on one.  The last one I quilted starry night.  I need to practice that pattern some more.  The crescents look more like fishing hooks!  Regardless, I'm really pleased with how it came out.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Need a Toothpick?

I filled the egg-cersizer with pieces of carrot during floor time.  Somehow Bodicea managed to get a piece of carrot jammed in her teeth.  I can't believe how much her ears flap as she tried to clear it.  She looked pretty goofy.  I started filming but became alarmed when she was still working at it several seconds later. 

I grabbed a swab to try helping her out.  In the end, Boadi managed to clear the carrot by herself.  I think picking her up to get a better look at her teeth must have worked it loose.

It's rare for a guinea pig to get food stuck like this.  Eclair once jammed a sunflower seed in her teeth (before I knew that I shouldn't feed seeds to guinea pigs).  I also saw this kind of behavior when Bertie developed malocclusion; food can get trapped when the molars are overgrown.  I knew Bertie needed to go to the vet when she started making faces like this and dropping bits of food when she ate.  It may look silly and cute, but if you see your guinea pig making faces like this regularly, it's time to have their teeth checked out by the vet.  Boadicea's incisors are nice and straight, and I haven't seen her do this again.  I bet she inhaled too large of a chunk too quickly and it got caught in her cheek.  Cheeky pig!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Little Labels

I never put labels on my smaller projects.  My quilt labels are big, take some work and have several lines of information on them.  I've seen little labels in a bunch of quilting blogs.  They fit in the corners of a quilt or along the binding.  They're unobtrusive yet identify the artist.

I put enough work into my placemats that I wanted to "sign" them.  So I printed off a bunch of one-line labels to sew into the binding.  I forgot that I wanted to do this until I had bound most of the placemats.  (I was so excited to finish them.)  I had to rip out just enough of the seam to tuck in the label and re-stitch.  I like them!  I will certainly do this again for other small projects.

I stitched up the last placemat last night!  Now I just need some good daylight to take my final pictures before sending them off to my sister.  

Linking up with Freemotion by the River.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Candy 2015

Every time we make Easter candy, we learn something new.  You'd think after all these years we'd have it down pat!  I keep notes from year to year - one of these times I'll perfect the process.  Ha!

There were fewer confectioners in the kitchen this year, so I had more hands-on than I have in a while.  Trying to keep tabs on the various recipes and mixing ingredients at the same time was a challenge!  Our prime decorator and one of our dippers were unable to attend; a couple of us tried out new tasks. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Boxed In

I've written lately that Boadicea is becoming bossier.  She often ousts Cannoli from sleeping spots.  I've even seen Boadicea snap her teeth at Cannoli when they're eating.  I saw a similar escalation with Pinniped and Willow.  Pinni stole Willow's food and guarded Willow any time she tried to sleep.  Basically, Willow could only rest in the spot that Pinniped deemed appropriate.  If Willow tried to move from that spot, Pinni would attack her.  It's why I had to split them up (it was my very first blog post!).

Boadicea doesn't win every time she and Noli come nose-to-nose.  Cannoli may be non-combative, but  she will stand up to Boadicea from time to time.  So although I'm wary of these developments, as long as Noli doesn't mind, I can't get too worried.

Last week Boadi let Noli have the third level cozy.  Then she decided to nap between Noli and the ramp, effectively cornering Noli upstairs.  My first thought was - oh, no, Boadi is guarding Noli.  But look at that body language - that is a pair of chillin' guinea pigs.  There's no conflict here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Introvert and Extrovert

Cannoli is not a people-pig
Guinea pigs can have such different personalities.  I categorize my sows into two groups:  people-pigs and pig-pigs.  People-pigs are guinea pigs that actually like humans.  They like to talk to people, be touched by people and are just as likely to charm strangers as they are their regular caretakers.  They may or may not get along with other guinea pigs.  In my experience, my people-pig sows tend to be divas, are great manipulators and tend to be the queen pig of the herd.

Pig-pigs, on the other hand, range from tolerating people to being downright afraid of them.  These guinea pigs may love you for the food you give them, but would much prefer the company of other guinea pigs than that of the big scary humans.