Monday, August 31, 2015

Outdoors

Between the heat and my worry about ticks, Cannoli and Boadicea hadn't made it outside much this summer.  In fact, the last time they had gone out was just before the Spring Pignic.  Friday was a beautiful day, so I brought out the pen and let them loose.  The grass had filled in and was wonderfully green.  Both of them spent the afternoon wandering from one side of the pen to the other, eating as much as they could.  I know they've had a good time when they won't willingly get into the cozies when I come to collect them.

I had hoped the weather would stay cool this week for more outings, but it looks like we'll be back in the 90s again.  They'll have to dream of cooler days and green grass.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

S’mores Rice Krispies Pinwheels

This was the week to try out new recipes.  When I found the Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal Bars recipe, I spied a recipe for S’mores Rice Krispies Treats Pinwheels.

It's been a long time since I've made Rice Krispies treats.  These are souped up, with added graham cracker crumbs, Fluff and Hershey's chocolate bars.  Mine aren't nearly as pretty as the ones on Mom on Timeout.  Regardless, they're addictive.  It's hard to eat just one.  It's also hard to stay clean after eating one.  So if I'm going to get my fingers all sticky, I might as well make it worthwhile!

I think throwing chocolate chips into Rice Krispies bars is a lot easier and less messy than these pinwheels.  But if you want a delicious, wow presentation, I'd certainly give these a try.  You can find this recipe and other decadent treats at Mom On Timeout.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jabbed

Cannoli shows off her bandaged left arm
Because Cannoli's tests from two weeks ago came back negative, we returned to the vet last week.  Noli's weight seems to have stabilized again, in the 860-880g range.  She's just too darned skinny.  At this point I'm grateful any time she stops losing weight for a few days.

This time we went for the dreaded blood tests.  Based on feedback and my own observations, I asked the vet to test for thyroid and lymphoma.  

First the vet palpated both Cannoli and Boadicea's thyroids, to see if Cannoli's had lumps or was enlarged.  (Boadicea was the control group.)  No difference could be detected; blood test was next.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's Back!

Well, I feel a little foolish.  The sewing machine stickiness was because of the bushing, not the feed gears.  When I opened the bottom to clean out the feed gears, I must have loosened the needle.  That, in turn, hit the bobbin hook.  The notch in one of the gears wasn't contributing to anything.  User error created the similar symptoms as shredded gears.  Ugh.

Bad news?  I lost a week while my non-broken machine sat at the repair shop - and I looked pretty silly when I came to pick it up.  Good news?  A "cheap" repair and for whatever reason, it's running even better than before I brought it in.  Go figure?  The people who take in the machines were all doom-and-gloom; the repair guy tells me this is a great sewing machine that still has plenty of use left in it.  I hope so - we'll see how it does.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal Bars

Mmm... peanut butter and chocolate.  Such a lovely combination.

I stumbled across this recipe a while ago and bookmarked it for another day.  I don't keep peanut butter cups on hand.  However, on a recent trip to Trader Joe's a container of mini peanut butter cups called my name (it really did:  Oh, Sally, come buy us) and I remembered this recipe.

Of course I didn't follow it exactly.  I cut the original amount of sugar.  I may cut it again.  The peanut butter cups are quite sweet all by themselves.  I'm happy with the addition of the whole wheat flour.  I replaced the peanut butter chips with chocolate chips - it's what I had on hand, and how can you go wrong with more chocolate?

They're lighter than I thought they'd be, have a nice texture and are very yummy.  I will definitely be making them again (once I make another Trader Joe's run).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Forget Me Nots

A friend of mine wanted a name tag - blues and greens with sandpipers or forget-me-not flowers.  I'm always amazed how I have something in mind, but as I start working on it, it takes on a life of it's own.  This happens with my quilts all the time.  It happened with this name tag as well.

I decided sandpipers were out of my range, so I made the background sand colored, instead.  Then I focused on the forget-me-nots.  They were a bit trickier than I thought, but I eventually got a close approximation.  I even managed to work in the sandpipers (or rather, their tracks on the sand).

Not too bad.  She loves it.  I used a new type of pin in the back, and reinforced it (my last name tag snapped in half).  I hope it wears well!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Zucchini

As I've said before, zucchini is not my favorite veggie straight up.  It needs to be baked into goodies, or breaded/fried/marinated to make it edible.  All of my guinea pigs over the year have held the same opinion of raw zucchini.  If I left ends in their cage, they would remain untouched until I threw them out.  And who could blame them?  From what I've read, lots of guinea pigs have the same attitude (often to the despair of owners faced with a bumper crop of zucchini).

Then there's Cannoli and Boadicea.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Hole, Iguanas and Rodents

Weird title?  Yeah, I'm all over the place.

I finished the blue quilting on the summer quilt.  Yay!  On Saturday I sat down to start the green... and the sewing machine jammed.  I pulled it apart to see if the gears were stripped, because it felt just like it did the last two times it got sticky.  My machine appears not to like the humid weather at the end of summer.  Everything looked fine.  I cleaned out some debris in the gears not only did it stick, the needle hit the bobbin plate.  So off to the repair shop.

I'm sad every time I walk by and see a hole where my sewing machine should be.  This has become an unsatisfactory annual routine.  I have started to do research on a new sewing machine. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Into the Sack

I often feed my guinea pigs treat while they have floor time.  I tap on the floor to indicate when I have food.  The pigs have to come to me to get goodies.  Most of my sows figured it out pretty quickly and even the shy ones would slink over to grab a bite.

When Cannoli was a solo pig, she wouldn't come over to me, no mater what bribes I had.  Noli became bolder once Boadicea showed up.  Meanwhile, Boadi interpreted the tapping means to "come here" -  she'd seek me out regardless if I had treats.  In fact, she seemed disappointed if I wasn't tapping to pick her up to return to the cage.  If I tap with a cozy in hand, she'll jump right in.  Just like that!  Then I plop the cozy in the cage and out she runs.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Slow Stitching

Squiggly seaweed on the points, pebbles in the center square
Usually slow stitching refers to hand stitching.  In my case, it just means I'm taking forever to quilt this by machine.

I finished piecing the top two weeks ago.  It took several days to decide on how to quilt it.  I had picked flowers and leaves before I was told NO FLOWERS.

Okay.

Do waves, I was told.  So I picked an overall wave pattern.  Nope.  Don't do waves across the whole quilt, just parts of it.  So I changed gears again.  I was intrigued by the water theme, so I stuck with that.  I spent so much time browsing the web for quilting designs.  I liked leaves and seaweed-like plants.  Finally, I sat down to quilt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cannoli Got Gooped

Unhappy Boadicea on top of unhappier Cannoli
Cannoli has continued to lose weight.  She stabilized after our trip to the vet in June.  In the last week or two she dropped under 900g.  It's so puzzling.  She acts fine:  she's cheerful, eats with gusto, runs around, wheeks loudly and grouses at Boadicea.  I have seen her relax and lounge a bit more than usual, but it's not the "I'm exhausted" flop I've seen with sick pigs.  No matter how fine she looks, something is wrong.  Obviously she's not eating enough and no guinea pig I know willingly goes on a diet.  We packed the pigs and headed to the vet last week.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is not my favorite vegetable.  However, it does make nice zucchini bread.  Chocolate zucchini bread is even better!

This recipe was originally from a coworker.  I have modified it so much over the years, I'm not sure she'd recognize it.  The protein powder is a recent addition; a half cup of wheat germ works just as well.  I also tend to add a few more chocolate chips because... well... chocolate!  Can't go wrong with that.

It's not too sweet, very chocolaty and not too dense.  There's no oil or butter, and with the whole wheat and walnuts, one could argue its halfway healthy.  At least that's what I tell myself when I have a slice with my mid-morning cup of tea.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Poop Shoes

Cannoli displaying poo foot on two of her feet
Yup - you read that title right:  poop shoes.  If you're easily grossed out, stop reading now.

If you've had or known guinea pigs for any length of time, you know that poo happens.  It's just there.  A lot.  Pig poo tends to be hard, odorless and once you get used to the copious amounts of it, is easily swept away or vacuumed up.  However, if one guinea pig has an upset tummy, all the pigs caged together can find their toes encased in poop shoes.  I am not making this up - you can google it.  In this household we like to call it poo-foot.

On nail-clipping day we couldn't see half of Cannoli's nails because they were shod.  Ew!  Once it dries, the stuff is like concrete.  It required soaking her feet and brushing them with a soft brush or carefully popping off hardened poo from each toe.  Don't want to hurt those little toes!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Quilt Top

It's getting close!  I put it all together on Friday, and figured out how to do the four Y-seams on Saturday.  Never did Y-seams before - I had to rip out my first three attempts, before I got the hang of it.

This is the first photo that captured the colors properly.  It's all pinned ready go to... just as soon as I figure out how I want to quilt it!  I have completely changed my mind at least three times in the last two days.  It's crazy.  I hope to pick something soon.  I really want it done.

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

PMC 2015

The annual Pan Mass Challenge is this weekend.  The Rehoboth-Dighton High School water stop is just a few miles from where I live.  I headed there yesterday morning, hoping to run into Team Kinetic Karma and to cheer on the riders.

Tropical cheering squad; entertaining signs; LOTS of riders

The well-wishers were an extremely festive group.  It was easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm.  I planted myself not too far from a tropical looking bunch; they cheered loudly as waves of riders coasted by (you can hear them in the video).  I was standing by two girls with signs that got lots of comments and laughter from the passing riders.  One sign stated to "Ride it like you Stole it!" and the other promised "Beer in 40 miles."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Summer Doldrums

It's been a humdrum summer for the guinea pigs.  The weather has been hot and I've picked up so many ticks in the neighborhood, I haven't let them outdoors as usual.  Boadicea doesn't know better, but I bet Cannoli misses spending the afternoon eating fresh grass.

These two certainly know how to lounge in the warm weather.  Noli loves perching on top of her ice pack.  She is also fond of the ceramic tile I occasional put in the cage.  For being such a chicken, Noli is not afraid to use these to stay cool (unlike all of the other pigs I've had before).  Boadicea likes to stay cool by sticking those feet out (and sometimes snuggling up to an ice pack).

Noli continues to act fine but is still losing weight.  I think we will be back to the vet next week.  Boadicea, on the other hand is gaining weight - she's become a little porker.  I think I still have the same total amount of pigs, the weight has just been redistributed.  Boadi will be making a return trip to the vet as well.  Sheesh.
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