Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Piggy Present

Unstoppable Bertie vs an immovable tunnel
A fellow guinea pig slave and member of the pignic Pig Patrol came to my Tea last week.  She arrived with her version of Bad Pig Stew (cavy-free, of course) in one hand and a piggy present in the other.  I may need to invite her over to my house more often....

Pinni and Bertie had just survived a loud and exciting evening with the Girls Next Door.  (The twins were thrilled I waited to clean the cage until they were available and the pigs were being silly, so loud outbursts ensued, much to the Newbie's dismay.)  I imagine Pinni and Bertie were not pleased that the house was invaded by more people only 16 hours later.  The two of them were shier than usual.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Night Jewels Fabric

I figured out the shapes and yardage I'd need to make the Night Jewels quilt.  It's been a while since I've made a quilt this size.  I was floored by the amount of black fabric I'd need and triple checked the yardage I'd need. One hundred and forty blocks in this thing.  Oof-da.

All my fabric, with updated reds
Part of what I love about the Night Jewels quilt is the colors.  I usually pick out quilt material by what inspiration tells me.  I tried to keep an open mind when looking at fabric, but I kept returning to the example's color scheme.  But I got discouraged when I started looking for fabric.  Finding three somewhat-matching shades for each color seemed impossible.  I wanted something more textured than all solid colors but even looking through the bolts of quilter's solids I couldn't find the shades I wanted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Persistent Pig

The score:  Bertie - 4, Me - 3
I may have to surrender.  Look at what I found just before I went to bed last night.

It took Bertie less than a month to get by the latest hay barrier and gain entry to her beloved hayloft.  Granted, I may have inadvertently helped her out by leaving the barrier slightly ajar.  I wanted to make sure they could access the hay from the top of the rack.  That's what I get for being nice.  It's hard to see in the photo, but the right side of the wire fence is pulled way out from the side of the hayloft.  She must have snuck under the edge via the hammock.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hosting a Tea

Grammie's teacups
Tea time!  It's an opportunity to get a little dressed up, eat a variety of wonderful home-cooked food and catch up with what's going on in our lives.  There are four of us who host and this was my turn.  I invited a few friends and family on top of the small core of regulars.  It made for a festive and noisy event. 

And the food!  I made chicken salad and Welsh cookies.  There were savories: Tongue of the Judge, Bad Pig Stew (which was really a good chili) and dates wrapped in bacon.  There were corn chips, Waldorf salad and fresh baked bread (which I only got a single slice before it all disappeared).  And of course the sweets!  There were meringue cookies, brownies, lemon squares and apple pie.  We even had crumpets.

I pulled out almost my entire collection of Grammie's tea cups, plus two I recently acquired from a friend of mine.  Sadly, two of my teacups have been retired due to cracks.  But I know my grandmother would have been thrilled to see them used. Several of them have stories of where they came or why they were purchased.

Conversation and tea flowed.  The afternoon just flew by, and before I knew it, the Tea was over.  Everyone went home happy and with plenty of goodies.  Yum!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pinniped's Turn

I was really  hoping to avoid the vet's office.  Is it too much to ask for a hiatus of a year or two?  It's too soon after losing Willow and I really didn't want to face the vet.  I feared feeling like a bad pig mama after the delay in diagnosing Willow's stone and subsequent loss.

However, Pinni has lost her love handles.  That, in itself, is not a bad thing.  I have worried that Pinni's excess pudginess could cause health problems down the road.  I had chalked up Pinniped's latest loss with the fact she's no longer competing with Willow to eat all the hay.  Or maybe she had caught the virus Bertie had.  Then again, perhaps she got tired of being squeezed.  But as Bertie has slowly gained in the last month or two, Pinni has been stubbornly under 1200g.  This is down from her 1280-ish average and well below her hefty (and very squeezable) 1400g maximum.

When I cleaned the cage last weekend, I noted more brown/red pee stains than usual.  I have attributed the random stains to too much red Swiss chard.  Other than that and the weight loss, no indication of illness.  No crying when peeing.  Absolutely no signs of pain.  What's with these pigs with the really subtle symptoms?!?  I know guinea pigs are good at hiding an illness, but this is getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irons in the Fire

I'm starting on a new set of projects.  And, goodness, I'm starting two of them at once (and have a third on the drawing board).  What am I getting myself into?

My last cross stitch was in 2001.  I haven't been motivated to start another epic project, but I stumbled across a kit that was up for grabs at our last Tea.  It was cute, looked fairly simple and no one else took it, so I brought it home.

I'm looking forward to working on it.  It will make sitting in front of the TV at least a little productive.

It was a rough start, though.  I had to fight to get it in the frame!  The fabric was too wide to fit my normal dowels and the longer dowels were every so slightly fatter than my other set.  I struggled to get them into the frames without splitting the wood.  Twenty minutes and two splinters later I finally got it set up to go.  Whew!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bar-Chewing Badness

Bertie applies herself while Pinni acts innocent
As the loss of Willow starts to fade, Bertie has been stepping up to the plate to be the bad, bar-chewing rodent.  Pinniped has no interest in chewing on the bars (just stuffing her nose through them).  But when the sounds of the cutting board and veggies emanate from the kitchen, it's often accompanied by the rasping of teeth against bars.  <chomp> <chomp> <ping!>

Pinni will wheek to get my attention, but Bertie takes out her impatience on the bars of the cage.  Hey, Mama!  Veggies!  Now!  What's the hold up?

I am not happy with the development.  The grids already look shabby; Willow, Pippin and Vicky chipped a significant amount of paint from the front of the cage during their tenure.  However, I am amused to think that Willow passed on her love of the bars to the next generation before she went.

Yup.  Somewhere in the guinea pig Elysian Fields, Willow is giving Bertie the thumbs-up.  Thanks, Willow.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blast from the Past

My dad has been reviewing his old slides to digitize the good ones.  He stumbled across a couple of slides of Rick and AJ, the pair of guinea pigs I had in high school.  They're not the greatest photos; they are small and grainy.  Rick nearly impossible to see, because like Pinniped, she was all black.  Nonetheless, I was happy that Dad uploaded and sent them to me.

Rick and AJ loved being outdoors.  Certainly the grass and the fresh air were appealing.  I'm guessing this photo was while we were still in Minnesota, since the pen is small and not very sturdy.  I made a larger, fully framed pen with a lid after we moved to MA.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Bertie, drinking water.  I just love how the sunlight caught her whiskers and her dorsal fin.  What a goofy little rodent.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hay Rack Mods

Bertie's nose, wondering why the hay rack is inaccessible
There was joy in the house when we came back home and I reinstalled the hay rack.  However, joy was soon replaced with confusion.  What is this in the hay rack? How can one truly appreciate hay if one can't wallow in it?

Within an hour the new addition to the rack had been partially pulled out, but not enough for Bertie to gain access. I've already made modifications to prevent further tampering.  We'll see how long it takes Bertie to find some way of bypassing it.  For the moment, I get to enjoy a tied score with Bertie:  3-3.