Monday, August 31, 2009


My brother Douglas (Doug, to the rest of the world) is visiting. He lives in London. He brought his flat-mate (not sure if that's supposed to be hyphenated or not) Robin with him. Robin's British, so I'm highly entertained by having someone with an accent around. I was afraid Mom was going to need subtitles to understand him, but so far so good. :-)

We celebrated D's birthday about a month after the fact, and yes I very deliberately made this ice cream cake pretty silly looking!:

That's a big tomato. I fed it to Shylah, and I laughed so hard it hurt. That horse LOVES tomatoes.

Mmmm, yummy!

Last Friday we had two birch trees taken out of the back yard. I guess I should have taken a "before" photo. For one thing the huge mulberry was completely growing into them and it looked bad. For another thing they were dead. Did not handle the switch to "drought-tolerant" drip irrigation of course (why do people plant birches here anyway?) Well apparently these birches were supporting part of the weight of the mulberry, because I went out Sunday morning to feed and found a branch had broken overnight:

That's not good:

The tree guys came over again today and removed the downed branch.

It's a bug butt!:

Yeah you:

(Sorry, little camera doesn't take good pics at maximum digital zoom).

Guess what! I went shopping today with my friend A.C. and I found something to wear! Woo hoo! Dress Barn to the rescue. FYI to former-roomie K, the pants I got are from INC at Macy's. As was the pregnant eggplant shirt, which I returned. There was another shirt I liked a whole lot today too. If it would have had cute little cap sleeves instead of dumb ruffles with giant armpit holes.... Sigh. I may still hit the dreaded mall one more time just to keep all options open. Heck, the pressure's off now, it might be a bit more enjoyable.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I hate shopping, part 2


My fashion-conscious sis-in-law unfortunately had to cancel out on our plans to hit the mall today, which means the hick from the sticks had to go alone. Oh sigh. I debated just waiting til later but I'd already kinda set aside the time for it today, so I dragged my sorry butt to the mall this morning, hoping to somehow magically find something that would flatter me.

I think I jinx myself by having a crappy attitude about shopping.

I tried on about 2374597982378789745 things, and hated all of it. You name it. Too long, too short, too low-cut, not low-cut enough (!), sleeves too tight (hey, my arms are buff), crappy fabric, ugly colors, lovely but all size small, too old-ladyish, too teenagerish, too maternityish, etc.

I did return the top I bought last time (the one that made me feel like a pregnant eggplant). I still have the gray pants, but if I don't find a top I'll have to return those too. I either have to find a top to go with them, or start from scratch and locate a whole new outfit, or find a top for one of the various skirts I have that don't match any of the tops I have. It's a quandary.

Anyway, I was determined to buy something, so I did get a couple cute long-sleeve t-shirts and totally fell for a corduroy blazer thingy. It made me feel like I ought to be riding horses in a New England forest or something. I'm sure I'll find some place else to wear it though, since riding horses in New England is not something that I do with any regularity... Actually I got two, because I couldn't decide which color I liked best. Maybe I'll return one. Maybe I won't. I needed something nicer than sweatshirts anyway.

So, I'm disgruntled with this "business attire" quest, and thank goodness I don't have to wear this stuff daily (though I suppose I'd get used to it). Next up I'll hit some local stores, and then if I strike out there it'll be back to the mall with my sis-in-law in a couple weeks, and I simply won't go home until I find something, even if it is olive green and pumpkin orange. With ruffles and pleats.

Oh yeah, and get this. I just realized I have nothing to wear to a wedding late next month. Crap! I'm sure I can scrounge up *something* for that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

bison scrimshaw pendant

Yay, I can finally post this on line! :-) I finished it about a month ago, but since it was a gift I had to wait until the recipient received it. That happened last night. So here it is!

bison scrimshaw pendant
scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory
approximately 3/4 by 1-3/8 inches
sold (commission/gift)
collection of J.Taylor, Virginia, USA

I'm update my actual website at some point. :-)

hors d'oeuvres are yummy

I like it when company comes over, it's an excuse to make stuff.

Like these, mmmm yummy wonderfulness (cherry tomato + basil + mozzarella cheese):

I also baked a blackberry cheesecake (a classic New York cheesecake with blackberry sauce, made from the berries that grow out back along the creek). If there is an afterlife, I hope cheesecake factors into it in a large way. Cheesecake. I even love the word.

I greatly enjoyed a visit from relatives (MT and JT) who I had not seen for two years (three years? when was that reunion anyway?!) I always get confused as to what constitutes a second cousin versus a cousin some number of times removed, so I pretty much just say we're relatives and leave it at that. The guest room has been a busy place lately. My Aunt M was here a couple weeks ago. Brother D will be here from across the pond this weekend. His birthday was back in July, so we'll have to do a belated birthday celebration... that calls for ice cream cake! Bwahahaha!

Monday, August 24, 2009

haunted by hot wire

Okay, this hot wire is supposed to bring me some peace, so I don't have to yell at the horses for doing full-body-contact scratching on the poor old pasture fence (totally futile, by the way, yelling at horses from a distance).

So far I've dislocated my thumb (3 weeks ago and it's clearly going to take a LONG time to recover) and sent 8800 volts of electricity running through my body, I could feel it all day and it made my arm smell funny. That was exciting. Several smaller zaps too.

Last night at 4:23 I awoke to the sound of the fence charger clicking fast and LOUD. What the heck? This new one is pretty quiet. The first one was too strong, and soooo loud. This one's not bad. In the daytime you'd have to stand near it to hear it, and it's a pleasant little "bink! bink! bink!" sound with a blinking green light. I can hear it at night if I listen for it, gently ticking in the shed, but it's not so loud that it fills every nook and cranny of silence in my bedroom at night like the other one did. So for it to wake me up, that's unusual. Groan. Did I really want to get dressed and go walk the fence line? No. I put a pillow over my head. I could still hear it. I put two pillows over my head. I could still hear it. I shut the window. I couldn't hear it, but I was now obsessed with it. Was something shorting it out? What could it be? Eventually I fell asleep.

So this morning the first thing I did was checked the charger box, which was softly binking away like always, didn't seem any faster or louder than usual. Weird. Did I dream the whole thing?

I never did find a short, but I did find this. What the heck?!?!:

Hmm, that's a problem. That's a significant problem:

Okay, let's make a list of everything that had access to that particular fence post last night:

-the cats
-the ducks
-the wild turkeys, and other assorted wild birds
-one broody bantam hen

Now, not to point the finger of blame or anything, but I think it doesn't take too much thinking to know who did this, not to name names or anything, ahem:

(not sure why there's a red glow in this pic either).

This section of fence tests at 3400 volts. All I can say is I HOPE THAT HURT!!!

Ah, fence update, since I'm done for the morning:

2856 feet to be hot wired
1112 feet currently hot
insulators installed on remaining 1744 feet (yay done pounding insulators!!!! Just need to run wire now!)

Edit 4:12pm, Huh, interesting. Apparently the loud clicking last night was NOT the fence charger, it was water dripping from the leaky gutter on the barn (water? from where?) onto a metal gate that I propped there yesterday morning. Mom heard it too, and went out to look last night. I wondered why the gate had was on the ground this morning! Come to think of it I did hear a loud noise last night, I just dismissed in my half-asleep state as a horse kicking the fence or something. Ironic that something really was wrong with the hot wire this morning. Go figure.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

last chance!

You have less than 24 hours to try to win FREE CHICKEN ART! Really, only 13 people want to win????

Oh my gosh there is so much to do. I want to get the fence done this week. In preparation for an onslaught of various relatives in the next week or so (coincidentally) there is much house-cleaning to do (oh joy, she says!). Tomorrow I will bake a cheesecake. Oh yeah and I'm SO incredibly far behind on scrimshaw, you know, like my job and stuff. Cripes, this is insane.

I'm finally able to hold stuff comfortably and stably enough to be back at the scrimshaw like a madwoman. Some days need a splint, but more and more I'm okay without it. Why am I not showing you what I'm working on? I can't. Gift items, can't risk the recipients seeing it (unlikely but possible). I will be able to show some of the upcoming projects in progress though.

I hadn't been riding for a while, a month or so I think. It was crappy hot all the time, but after the thumb incident it's just been too difficult to deal with saddles and whatnot. Buckling things still presents some challenges so I rode bareback tonight (lovely weather today!). Hoo boy I'm going to feel that tomorrow. Lots of cantering tonight (yes, bareback cantering is all sorts of interesting on a choppy horse!). Ahh, but the Shylah Shuffle is smooth as silk. :-) I think I'll ride bareback more often. Now if only I had the grace to leap onto a horse like those people in the movies do. I used to try that with Thunder when I was a teenager, it never worked. It still doesn't.

I want to go see Cats, the musical. It's in town til next weekend. But tickets aren't cheap, and I'm the only one I know who's nuts about Cats.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I hate shopping, part 1

What kind of woman hates shopping?!


I always have, and I think I get more opposed to it as I get older. Let's face it, in 99% of my life nobody gives a hoot if I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt (or jeans and a sweatshirt). Heck I could run around here in my birthday suit and most of the time nobody would see me (but I'd hate to scare the cats, so I don't). Wearing something nice means a shirt with buttons on it. And jeans without holes in them. Really nice means something with buttons on it, and a skirt (usually denim). Business/professional attire? I'm thrown for a loop.

I went shopping today with my incredibly wonderful and patient sis-in-law. She has fashion sense. I don't.

Overall, the colors of the season seem to be inspired by eggplants, pumpkins, and olives. I can deal with eggplants, but I won't wear the other two. I tried very hard to be cooperative, and tried on a LOT of things, and some were beyond hideous (though maybe would have been lovely on someone with... say, no butt).

I have a butt, a rather large one. Curse you genetics, curse you!!! Oh to be a size four. Pretty sure even my skeleton would never wear something that tiny. Sigh.

In the end, I came home with gray pants (kinda cute, go figure, I was determined to only get a skirt, I have a long-standing hatred of slacks) and a floofy purple top. I had some serious misgivings about the top. After trying it all on again when I got home, I was reminded why. Anyone who is bigger than a flat-chested-stringbean is going to look potentially pregnant in those long flowy tops with the deep v-neck and the high waist and the poofy floofy pleats over the belly. That's not exactly the impression I want to give!!!

So... I'll have to go shopping again. *cries*

I totally dig those hippie style skirts and tops, but they just don't seem too "business/professional." Then again, maybe they'd expect it from a California girl. ;-)

What to wear to a late evening reception, in Kansas, in the early fall, in the company of mostly men, mostly several decades older than me.... My head hurts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

it's a major award!

That's "A Christmas Story" reference in the title, I'm not being sarcastic. (Why do I feel the overwhelming need to explain that?)

It was so hard to get up this morning. I was up super late last night working really hard blogging. Eventually, I went to bed. I sleep with my window wide open, and a mountain of blankets on my bed so I get all bundled up if it's cold (I kinda like my room a little chilly). My window (it's about 18 inches above my head if I'm in bed) looks out on the garden/orchard. It got pretty windy last night, enough that it made my door (on the other side of the room) start to rattle. Ugh, I can't stand that. But I was in that glorious almost-asleep state of being mushy and soft, when thoughts are starting to get weird and spiral off into dreams. I dragged a pillow on my head at a snail's pace but it didn't drown out the rattling door. I reached up and slid the window closed. Instantly I missed the breeze. Sigh, I would just have to get up. I pulled a dirty sock out of the laundry hamper and wadded it under the door so the door would stop moving, crawled back into bed and was instantly asleep. I have been having the weirdest dreams lately, I think maybe someone spiked my toothpaste or something. I don't generally remember them lately, but wake up several times in the middle of the night thinking "that was very weird."

Anyway, I pried myself out of bed this morning and spent some time working on the fence. Here's the official update:

2856 total feet to be hot wired
1112 feet currently hot wired
608 feet worth of insulators installed today (not yet wired)

I stopped because my stomach told me it was time for lunch. It was right.

Then it was off to Sacramento to pick up some frames at the shop. One is for Draft Horse Classic, one will be going to a scrimshaw show on the east coast next week.

I had a little time to work on scrim this afternoon, but it was interrupted by not being able to keep my eyeballs open, so I took a 45 minute nap on the couch. Fed the critters, had a small early dinner, and headed off to Sacramento again...

Tonight was the award reception for the State Fair Fine Art Show. Jan went with me.

My award is bigger than my art!:

But yes, it's really my art:

Of course, we had to drop by Fur & Feathers too:

Hey who's that little cutie on that poster that was designed by an awesome scrimshaw artist a few years ago?:


Now, I have spent an entire year craving an ice cream sundae at Leatherby's. This was always a tradition after the Avian Bowl competition. Avian Bowl moved to southern CA though, so I was facing a State Fair without Leatherby's, and this just could not happen, I'm pretty sure the universe would come crashing down or something. So I determined that Leatherby's must be part of the evening plans, and thankfully J was game for this.

Ahh, what I look forward to all year, a Rachel's large sundae, peppermint ice cream, hot fudge sauce, whip cream and nuts! Oooooh yeah baby, bring it on!

And here's one of my favorite ways to spend some time in the evening, me + couch + Olin, yay!:

I hope your day was equally exciting! I think I'll call it a night, and I hope to dream of hunky cowboys.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

expanding my horizons

Hey, I think it might cool off tomorrow! Actually, today was pretty nice. Of course, this means that the fence break will be over... Oh well, gotta get the darn thing done.

I made myself a new thumb splint the other day. This one goes on the back of my thumb, which leaves the underside sorta useful for gripping stuff. Stuff as in ivory for scrimshaw. I still wear a splint when working (art work or ranch work) so that I don't get my thumb into "Ouch Position." Actually I think there are a few Ouch Positions. They are easily achieved by 1) trying to open a ziploc bag, and 2) buttoning my pants. Probably would happen if I buttoned someone else's pants too, though that opportunity has not presented itself lately. Anyway, I won't go off on that tangent, so let's just say the nifty new splint keeps my thumb from bending the wrong way but allows me to hold things. YAY! Hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go! My microscope has missed me.

I was in town yesterday and dropped by my friend A.C.'s house, and she invited me to go out for "Pho" for dinner with some friends. I have this awful habit of a default answer of "no" to new places and groups of people I don't know, but I had a little mental dueling with myself and decided to go. I'd never had Pho before. Apparently that's pronounced "fuh"? Who knew! It was a good, a ginormous bowl of soup with noodles and beef. I was mortified to find that the other 8 people at the table were skillfully using chopsticks. (Chopsticks to eat soup?! My mind boggled). Cripes, my uncultured redneck roots were starting to show. I can't handle chopsticks. I only hoped that nobody paid too much attention to me eating with a FORK... and one of this big white clunky looking spoons. Oh well, it got the job done. Mmm, yummy.

And then we went to one of those new fanged frozen yogurt places. Oh my, talk about overwhelming selection. Toppings like candy, fruit, cereal, coconut, gravel, and wood shavings lined one wall. Okay maybe not all those selections. When in doubt, go with the basics. Peanut butter and chocolate frozen yogurts with hot fudge topping proved a winner. Maybe I'll be more brave next time.

I face a daunting task this weekend: shopping. For clothes that aren't jeans. And maybe shoes too. [Insert horror movie music here.] I am not a fan of shopping, but my trip to Kansas next month requires "business/professional attire" for one evening, and I just don't think jeans and a t-shirt is going to cut it. I have enlisted the help of my sis in law, and am going to give it my best effort to be cooperative and not run screaming from the first store I set foot in (I'll wait til the third). It's not that I mind getting gussied up, it's actually kind of fun, I just don't like the shopping process and having to try on all the things that accentuate all the wrong parts.

Oh my, it's late.

Monday, August 17, 2009

git yer hands on this give-away!

Okay, I get it. Most people aren't buying paintings these days. How bout if I just give you one?

Here's your chance to get some chicken art at absolutely no cost!

See, there was one framed piece from the gallery show. They framed it. The rest are all on Etsy now but it's sort of a "one of these things is not like the other" situation. I wanted ALL of them to be the same price, and this one would be more (because I paid to have it framed, sigh). So what the heck, I'm just going to give it to someone.

Could be you.

Or you.

I will not ship it outside the US, my generosity does have a budget, and foreign shipping exceeds the budget. My apologies to my non-US readers (all two of you?)

How to enter:
You have to leave me a comment, on this post on this blog. You have to identify who you are (initials are fine). You have to be willing to provide your address if you win. I want a good comment, actually say something! Such as:
- How we met.
- If we don't know each other, then how you found my blog.
- Tell me a "chicken story" (everyone has one, "my grandma used to have this rooster when I was a kid...")
- Just introduce yourself, if you haven't already, you bunch of lurkers, I know you're out there. Some bloggers get all the hype, I just ramble off into cyberspace, sigh.
- Give me a recipe. Nothing with sauerkraut, marzipan, mushrooms, or olives.
- Tell everyone why you want to win (but remember it's all random!)

Yeah, there you go, it's that simple. I will use (thank you Heather P for the idea!) to pick a winner some time after 10pm on Monday August 24th. Even if you comment more than once, you only get one "entry."

Oh hey, you want to know what you're trying to win don't you?! It's #49 from the 50-50 Show, it's a Blue Andalusian rooster. Acrylic paint on masonite, framed. The painting is 6x6 inches, the whole frame is 12x12, and framed with glass (I think it's glass rather than plexi).

ps- you don't have to cover ALL those subjects in your comment (unless you really want to). :-)

[EDIT] Okay, new rule, whoever wins needs to contact me within ten days of winning. Winners will only be notified by me posting it here, so if you don't check back, well, you forfeit!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I don't know how else to put it. Things are bland lately. I wasn't going to blog but I hate to leave y'all hanging. I have taken a few days off from working on the fence. Ahh, how nice! I picked the last of the peaches, nectarines, and plums last night, and made (froze) a few pie fillings today. So sad to see the last of it! I did some sewing last week (that being primarily right-handed work) and made the cutest darn thing on the planet, which I can't talk about or show you til after Christmas (OMG how will I wait that long!). Needless to say I now want to make one for myself, not that I need it, but it's so cute! Maybe every few weeks I should drop by the fabric store and pick up a yard of whatever fabric I like best that day, and start accumulating materials. :-) (NO, I'm not going to buy hunky-half-naked-cowboy fabric).

I have this therapy ball I've been working with for my thumb. It's pretty pathetic. I can mash the thing with my right hand but can barely dent it in my left because my grip strength with my thumb is just gone. Why oh why did I have to hit myself with that @#$% hammer?! This has set me back a lot. I have to try to get in as many hours as I can though, I have to find a way to hold this stuff so I can get back to scrimshaw. Frequent breaks I guess, maybe wearing the splint while I work. Ugh.

I moved a bunch of chickens around today, and got the oldest of the youngsters out into the big aviary pen. They're too young to determine their quality yet. Cute little buggers though. The youngest of them moved out into the barn today, so that means it's time for me to clean the brooders out of the storage room.

Well, here's hoping I can break out of this funk and get next week to be more productive than last week. I'm not diggin' this.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come

Well, I've officially decided that I am going to Kansas. I will not be exhibiting at Draft Horse Classic this year. I will have work in the show, but I will not have a booth and I will not be there. In a way this breaks my heart, I love that show and the people there, and I spend an entire year looking forward to the Saturday night hoe-down, but I think in the long run it's going to be a lot more beneficial for me to spend time with fellow engravers, and besides, they have a hoe-down too! :-)

I'm going to miss my DHC peeps though.

I don't know if this Kansas thing is something I'll do more than once. I just hope the dates don't always conflict so that I don't have to make that difficult decision.

In other news, I am all finished making jam and canning peaches for the summer. Whew! The peaches and nectarines will soon be gone. Some friends came this morning and took a few bags of them home for canning and baking. I had to make sure they left me a few! But really, it's all ripe and needs to be used right away.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

shop shop shop!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

peace in the valley

I finished hot-wiring the front pasture yesterday morning. I think I came in the house around 11am, it was already 95 degrees. Ewww. But a whole pasture is done! Yay! Two more to go though, sigh. I think I will take a break though.

1112 feet hot wired
1744 feet to go (whimper)

So, I'd originally gotten a pretty high powered charger, which was recommended by various people, and it ended up being overkill. Word on the street is that the recommended voltage for horses should be somewhere in the 2000-3000 range. When I only had the corral section up, this one was running at 8800 (which darn near knocked me over when it zapped me). Finishing the front pasture only dropped it down to 7400 at the very end of the line, and along the way accidentally electrified a water trough where the wire passed a few inches from the rubber hose. Um, can you say overkill? (I did fix that, I spliced in some insulated wire).

Anyway, I took it back today and got a less powerful one. With 1112 feet done, it's between 3100 and 3400 depending where I test it. That'll do!

AND, here's the big bonus... I've been having to fall asleep with a pillow over my head to drown out the incessant CLICK CLICK CLICK of the charger out in the shed. Man that thing was loud. This new one, ahhhh, peace at last! A barely audible tick, and a pleasant little green light that pulses to let me know it's working. Ahhhh.

I was out in the hammock tonight watching the sky. It's way too early to see a really good meteor shower though. I told myself I had to see five of them before I could come back in the house. I thought that fifth one would never happen, and Olin kept jumping up on me and biting my toes through the sheet I was hiding under (mosquito protection). There were so many more stars visible when I was little. I can barely see the Milky Way anymore. Sacramento is the ugly orange glow not just on the northern horizon, but the whole northern part of the sky. It's really sad. I remember being out in the middle of the night last year at a friend's ranch in remote northern CA, and being astounded at the stars, like I'd almost forgotten that's how it used to look here. I miss the stars.

If I wake up in the middle of the night I'll get up and look at the meteors, but here's hoping I sleep well tonight. Not only has the clicking been driving me crazy, but the last few nights I've been sleeping without the splint on my thumb, and I wake up every time I move because I'm obsessed about hurting it again! I just get tired of wearing that thing though. It's coming along well. There are times I accidentally move it the wrong way, or accidentally bump it on the wrong spot, and it's fairly mortifying, but as a whole I'm not very aware of it when I've got it taped up. The numbness is annoying, and it's soooo weak. I have very tentatively being doing scrim again, and the problem now isn't so much pain associated with holding things, it's just lack of grasping strength. All in due time, I know, I'm already trying to exercise it to the extent that I can, and I'm sorta half amazed I've done all this fence hooha since then. It's the fine detail work that's harder.

Tomorrow I will finish making jam. And freeze a few more pie fillings. These peaches and nectarines are soooooooo good, it's so sad when they are gone, but when they are all ripe at the same time it's a lot of work!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

and what did you do this weekend?

Mine was busy.

I spent yesterday morning working on the fence, of course, because it's just SO much fun (no, that's not sarcastic or anything). To the person who said I could do the whole property in a day or two, wrong! Maybe in decent weather. We did have some low 80s last week, it was fabulous. Today it was 100, so there's a limited window of time during the day when it's reasonable to be outdoors.

Anyway, after wrestling with the fence for a few hours, Mom and I canned 12 quarts of peaches. Oh my gosh that's a lot of boiling, it took hours. And there is still soooo much fruit out there. I might do one more batch of jam, I'll freeze some pie fillings, I'm eating tons of them, and giving them away to anyone who will take some.

I spent the evening at an anniversary party for some family friends, and had a really nice time chatting with some of the old 4-H crowd who I had not talked to for a very long time.

And then, despite my intentions (ha ha) to go to bed early, I was up until the wee hours looking at plane tickets, rental cars, etc, and trying to determine if going to Kansas is really feasible next month. I'm leaning that way, but this is not an easy choice and I think I'll feel a little sad no matter what I decide.

I had a hard time prying myself out of bed this morning, but the prospect of visiting a very cute baby was pretty hard to resist, so off I went with my friend A.C. to spend some time with my brother and sis in law and adorable niece. Unfortunately I'm not really good at holding her right now due to the thumb issue, so she didn't find me too entertaining but A.C. was more than willing to compensate for my present lack of baby-picking-up skills. :-)

Had a delicious lunch at Baskin Robbins (no, I don't do this often!) and then headed home. Now, I guess it's a good thing I didn't really have anything specific planned for this afternoon, because I accidentally took a nap. Yeah, pure accident, whoopsie daisy. Sat down on the couch to pet the cat and woke up about two hours later. I felt much better, I must say.

And then of course this evening, more fence time. Bleh. I know you want the official update, so here it is:

2856 total feet will be hot wired
936 feet currently hot wired (but not all turned on yet)
insulators up on an additional 160 feet (not yet wired)

I suspect I will be getting a lowered powered charger. When I finish the front pasture (the 160 feet of insulators) I'll attach everything and put the fence tester on it again, and hopefully not zap myself into the next county. We'll see. I'm not sure who's more scared of it now, me or the horses!

Well, that's all I got. I'm going to try resuming scrimshaw work this week, wish my thumb luck...

Friday, August 07, 2009

today's news

Official word is I did not break my thumb. That's good. I guess this all had to happen so that I could satisfy my morbid curiosity as to how it healed up last time. (Rolls eyes).

I put up all the insulators in the front pasture, going to run wire this weekend. Right now, it's WAY too strong. Like, holy mackerel I got zapped through the fence tester and it was um, wow. I am hoping when the front pasture gets hooked up it'll behave itself, but if not I'm going to return the charger for a less enthusiastic version. I'm so tired of fencing, I just want it to be done so that I can get back to the very delicate work I need to be doing.

I made peach jam today.

I am going to can about 3834957987457 peaches tomorrow. If anyone wants to come over and pick some peaches or nectarines, please tell me.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, we have hot wire. ;-)

A little bit, anyway. I wired the corral section of the fence today after a friend pounded in a couple t-posts for me (not something I normally have a problem with, just can't grasp the post pounder right now, at least not without significant pain) and started on the pasture insulators but have a looooong way to go. But the corral is done and the horses are both contained in there, which buys me a little time on the pastures (which is good, I'm pretty slow with one thumb). And I turned the corral section on.

The horses met the hot wire.

Shylah, the insatiably curious little dork that she is, walked straight up to it and stuck her nose on it. Galloping, bucking, and farting resulted. She tried it again on another section of fence, and this time made an audible grunt, followed by more galloping, bucking, and farting. My thumb laughed gleefully. I almost felt a tiny bit bad for a second, until I remembered my toils in the sun to fix all the top rails and sagging fence wire.

Gwen eventually wandered over, got about six inches from it, and backed up real fast. She obviously has some experience with this stuff!

So, the official update:
2856 total feet will be hot wired
144 feet currently hot
insulators up on additional 512 feet (not yet hot wired)

With such a short stretch of fence hot, and such a strong charger, I think it's packing a mighty punch right now. Oh and that charger box is loud!!! CLICK. CLICK. CLICK. Ugh. That is going to drive me nuts hearing it at night, I'll have to build some sort of box around it so try to muffle it some.

Thumb is doing better. Still swollen and bruised and it's going to be a while til I have full range of motion and no pain, but I keep it splinted most of the time and it's coming along.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

psst, hey buddy, wanna see my x-rays?

Sure you do! I'm posting them whether you want to or not though! These are pics of them, the originals are much nicer looking, my camera kinda washed out some areas. My doctor can't tell if the slight weirdness in the last thumb joint is recent or is leftover damage from when I was 11 years old (my thumb already did stick out funny on the left side of that last joint). Soo.... I have to go see an orthopedic doctor, and I don't yet know if it's broken or not. Dang it! I really hate all this medical stuff.

I spent way too much time sitting around feeling sorry for myself today. But, there are things I could still do, so I need to do them:

-preliminary sketches for pendants
-could probably scrim a small flat piece (can't hold onto the pistol grips yet, it hurts, but I need to do something. No work = no pay = uh oh!)
-make jam! (anyone want peach or nectarine? Let me know!)
-paint that chicken/dragon thing I dreamed about

Okay, that should all keep me busy. I need to let a few clients know that there's a hitch in my giddyup though for a little while. Sigh.

Wahhh, I want to go riding! :-(

Oh, Shylah was colicky tonight. Great. I walked her for quite some time til she seemed to feel better. She's now confined to the stall + teeny part of the corral so I can more easily keep an eye on her, but not in a place where she can do something dumb like eat insulators. I started her on Sand Clear (just in case), gotta go get more tomorrow.

If it ain't one thing it's another.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Okay, I'll probably go get an x-ray tomorrow. Grumble grumble. Much improved today, more range of motion, but still a very very small range of motion and it's way swollen, and sorta numb. Sigh.

And of course the weather was great, and I wish I could have been out there working all day. I did get a little fence work in anyway (yes I know I probably shouldn't do that). I'm so stinking slow now with only one functional thumb! I need to find someone to pound in a couple t-posts for me and then I can at least get the corral section wired. I finished all the electrical stuff in the shed, I'm ready to run wire down the fence. Darn it I am just so annoyed that I did this to myself. Arg!

It is impossible for me to put my hair in a ponytail now, that's a crisis. I also can't really hold anything, so scrimshaw has come to a halt for a little while (crap!)

Oh, the horses were seen by Dr. Z today. Gwen needed her teeth done, and has a loose tooth (not loose enough to pull yet). Oh goody. Maybe next year.

Sigh. I'm not a happy camper right now.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

a painful setback, and a big dilemma

The setback and the dilemma are totally unrelated, fyi.

First off, fence update:
Today I attached the charger and put up hooks and ran the extension cord over from the other side of the shed. Drilled a hole to run the wires out. Finished the grounding rods to the extent that my brute strength (or lack thereof) will allow, and finished wiring the grounding stuff. Got most of the way done with running the insulated hot wire along the corral fence, but ran out of insulated wire because I'd made a measuring error. Oops, need to go get another roll. I was going to do the first "up and over" for the gate, but realized the caps I'd bought for the pipes were too large (did my brain fall out?) Will need to return those and get another size. Sigh. So I started putting up the insulators on the wood posts in the corral. Got about half of those up, and I had a moment of stupidity, or something, and...

I whacked my left thumb with the hammer. Not the end of my thumb, but the the side of the last joint (the one I broke in 5th grade). I was so stunned I couldn't even think of any bad words to say, so I finished hammering in the nail, took my glove off, and when I saw it I kind of dropped everything and sat down. Um, it looked gross. Instead of being straight, like a normal thumb, it took a funny turn at the joint. Oh my. My immediate reaction was to try bending it, so I did, and it made a lovely crunching sound but at least when I finished with that it was straight again. Aaaaaaack! That's when I started crying, I admit. OMG that hurt. Obviously dislocated.

I iced it, it's wrapped up on a splint now. I've been deeply concerned that I broke it, but at this point I don't think I did. I think I just really did a bad thing to it. If it's worse tomorrow I'll get an x-ray, but I'm really REALLY not wanting to seek medical attention (hey, the vet's coming over tomorrow for the horses, lol!)

This is going to make fence work difficult, and I don't really feel that I can stop. Wires hanging out all over, insulators up but not hot. Sigh. This is not good.

This is also not good because it makes it very hard to hold anything, and that's is my left hand's job for scrimshaw. I can't risk stuff slipping. This is not good!!!! CRAP!!!!! STUPID ME!!!! ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So that's that.

In other news, I have a big decision ahead of me. I've been specially invited to take part in an engraving weekend, a meet and greet with some serious high and mighty people. It's not a show, no money to be made, but connections with the best in the world. It's the same weekend as Draft Horse Classic. I LOVE Draft Horse Classic, this would be my 8th year I think. Love that show. But... art sales are not good, it would cost me several hundred to do the show, and there's a fair chance of not making much of that back. Were it not for one big sale last year, that's what would have happened last year, and I think sales are likely to be worse now.

Of course, getting to Kansas would not be free. Air fare, rental car, hotel, meals, etc. But it might be more valuable in the long run. Then again, I'm saving up to do Blade Show next summer.

So I need to decide if I'm going to show at DHC (I still have not heard from them, but was assured of notification soon, and I think it's safe to assume I'd get in) and maybe turn a small profit, or spend a weekend in Kansas and meet some of the most amazing people in the world.


I think I'll go eat a chocolate cupcake, maybe that will help.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

can't really think of a title today

I guess technically what I said about how the last batch of chicks hatched two weekends ago wasn't true. Five more hatched yesterday. They're not mine though, and they'll be going home to their owner in a few days. Cute little buggers though. Hatching is hard work!

Speaking of hard work (yup, you know I'm going to talk about it):

Fence update:
Top rails: done! Gloriously done. Due to fence posts that lean and top boards that are warped, I'm not going to say the fences all make entirely straight lines, but... it's an improvement. I went through a lot of wire, pulled out a lot of screws and nails that were falling out anyway, got a really fabulous farmer's tan (oh goody, she says), and every square inch of me is extremely sore.

Hot wire: got all the stuff today. Also got lots of silly comments from TSC employees ("gee, think you've got enough insulators in there?" "Save some for other people too!") I got two ground rods pounded in 4.5 feet each (they are 6 foot poles). The other was more stubborn, still have another foot to go. Ouch. I am soooo not looking forward to this, but can't wait to be done, and need to be done asap before the horses pop all the new staples out of the fence.

I had a strange moment today. I saw someone at the store who I used to know until he dropped off the planet (Mr. "I'll call you on Friday" who never did). I would have been perfectly happy to say hello, or just wave, but I don't think I've ever seen someone so obviously determined not to make eye contact. Weird. Sometimes I just don't understand people. Something to keep in mind: don't end things awkwardly with someone you're likely to run into again. I KNEW that was going to happen.

I do understand sleep though, so I think I'll go do that.