Category Archives: pets

Everything I Need To Know, I Learned From My Dogs

I was reflecting today upon the many important life lessons I’ve learned from my dogs. Here is their advice to you:


“You’re never too old to have a second childhood. Take time to enjoy the finer things in life, like a polo match and a glass of Pimm’s! Keep up with the whippersnappers and they’ll keep you young. Maintain a merry disposition. Share your blessings with others. Don’t let disabilities or aging get you down.” ~ Valentine, age, “Decrepit! But don’t order my urn yet!”; Springer Spaniel.


“Play hard. Get as much exercise as possible. Have a good appetite. Drink lots of water. Enjoy fresh air. Take a walk. Get enough sleep. Healthy living can help overcome illness. Give hugs often. Never pass up the opportunity to take a road trip.” ~ Boris, age two or three; Husky/Cattledog/other mix.


“Be grateful for what you’ve received. Be friendly to everyone you meet. Be curious about life. Be sweet. Don’t be shy. Go with the flow and adversity will pass you by.” ~ Otter, age about two; Labrador Retriever/other mix.


“Remain mindful and focused at all times. Don’t become ensnared by the power struggles of others. Have a sense of humor. Be present and poised for action. Deflect conflict with the strength of your Chi. Don’t abuse your power. Meditate: Om Mani Dobie Hum. Fiber is good for the digestion.” ~ Emma, The Doggie Lama, age three (plus several hundred reincarnated lifetimes); enlightened Doberman Pinscher.


“Take a bite out of life! Be tenacious for what you want. Fake it ‘til you make it. Make a lot of noise if you believe you’re right. A little mischief will often be forgiven if you’re cute. Have enough spunk, and you can stand up to anyone. Be kind to the weak and small. It’s good to have a schedule and stick to it, especially where meals are concerned. Give kisses freely.” ~ Molly, age two; Tasmanian Devil/Wolverine/Karelian Bear Dog/Heinzer

And from all of them…

“A little dust and dirt never hurt anyone. Life is short, so get out there and live it! The things that matter most are right in front of you… take time to pay attention.”

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Filed under animal of the day, animals, gratitude, pets, positivity

Holiday Weekend

It was a beautiful holiday weekend here in Wisconsin. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks were moved out to their netted pasture. They are about a month old now. They’re loving the fresh air, sunlight, grass, and insects. Our broody Wyandotte hen hatched out nine adopted babies, so that little family was also put in the electric netting for “safekeeping”.

In addition to moving the chickens around, Jeff and our Farmhand Extraordinaire, Dakota, got us caught up on goat vaccinations and hoof trimming, fencing, yardwork, hay moving, and a billion other tasks. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!


We had a great time at the Altoona fireworks with our friends, Dakota’s family. Dakota’s brother, Tanner, gave us a private fireworks show in his backyard afterwards. This is his stash. It was quite an impressive display!

We watched Tanner’s fireworks from the comfort of our friends’ new screen porch, which is the ultimate in summer comfort. What a great area to relax with friends! These guys are great hosts and it’s always great to spend time with them.

That’s Dakota there in the center of the photograph. We are going to miss him when he goes off to college this fall. Jeff says that Tanner will have a job here on the farm as soon as he is old enough. Two finer young men can’t be found!


Knowing of our love for fishing, our friends generously invited us to access the Eau Claire River from their property. Chef Jeff and I had a lovely afternoon there yesterday. Though we didn’t catch anything, we enjoyed being out in the woods and seeing the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, the Chef prepared the catfish he’d caught last week according to a recipe from this beautiful book, which also included recipes for homemade refried black beans and great guacamole. It was an outstanding meal, though we somehow got our hands on a jalapeño that must have been grown near a nuclear reactor because that thing was HOT – and this judgment from people who use habañero sauce on a regular basis!


We are so glad that Otter is acclimating to her new home. The other dogs love her… well, Molly tolerates Otter, but Molly’s coming along (that’s just her way – growl first, make friends later.)

Otter has Lyme disease so she’s on antibiotics for a little while. She doesn’t seem to have had toys or chews before; she’s finally understanding that baked cow ears are a good thing:

When Otter was found she was suffering from heat exhaustion. We are so grateful to our wonderful vet for taking her in for us for treatment and boarding, despite her history being unknown. We intend to go to a town meeting to see how we may be able to change the policies and procedures of our township in order that stray animals may receive temporary housing and care in a more efficient manner; we are not served by the County shelter due to the lack of a financial agreement between them and our township. There has to be a better way, and we shudder to think what could happen if one of our own beloved dogs went missing.

So yes, now we are a five-dog family. I would think we were certifiably nuts, except that the entire vet staff said they hoped we’d keep Otter because they knew we’d be good parents. And Valentine is getting up there in years and has Cushing’s, so, after all, we may be back to a four-dog family in the not-too-distant future anyway.

But if I had my wish, there would be a loving home for every dog… until there is, we will take in whomever the Creator sends us, sharing our blessings.


In crafting news, I am this close to finishing up my Drops blue alpaca lace shawl… just on the final rows. I started a Koigu “mindless” sock for traveling-to-fishing-holes knitting, and I hope to do some sewing this week before Saturday’s MaryJane’s Farmgirls meeting, where everyone will ask me if I’ve made any progress on my current stitching project (not yet, and it’s already been three weeks since our last meeting!)

I’ve seen a cute sewing pattern made up on this blog, and I purchased a copy here. The construction looks super easy, and I think it will be a neat use for some of my Tanya Whelan/Free Spirit or 3 Sisters/Moda girly-girl, flower fabrics.

Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm chickens, farm chores, farm fence, farm knit, farm recipes, fiberarts, fishing, flowers, food, gratitude, holiday, knit, nature, pets, summer, weather

She’s A Witch!

No, not Ysoldashe is perfectly charming! Although we got to YDK too late to join in the weekly Knit Night, we were able to tag along as Dixie and her gang took Ysolda to The Livery for snacks and drinks afterward. We ordered up a plate of smelt for Ysolda to try, because you can’t come to Wisconsin and not eat smelt, right? She gamely tried them and even took a couple more on her own.

No, I refer instead to our poor dear Delilah, who is recovering well from her surgery yesterday.

You can click the pic below if you have an interest in seeing the actual surgical amputation site (clean, but not for the meek).

Dr. Bender in Whitehall did an excellent job. We are truly grateful that we can always rely on him. Delilah was feeling so much better after the operation that she attempted to gallop out to pasture with her herdmates! No more “dead weight” (ugh) holding her down and making her wobbly.

“Whoa, there, Nellie, you’re supposed to be in recovery in the box stall for three days!” We finally caught our girl (a little loopy on the pain medications she’ll be on for a while) and convinced her that there were fresh dandelions aplenty – along with hay, mineral, kelp, and a cool bucket of water – waiting for her in her private chamber. She’s enjoying her pampering and the hand-picked weeds being delivered to her door. Her appetite is very good, which is a great sign.

Thank goodness Dr. Bourdon had come out as soon as we noticed Delilah limping. He got her on penicillin therapy right away, so that we were able to halt the progression of the disease through the tissue as quickly as possible, saving Delilah’s life! Again, we are so blessed to have yet another good on-farm goat doctor – they are really few and far-between.


Delilah Just After Birth


Baby Samson and Delilah


Delilah and Samson, One Day Old


Mama Tulip, Baby Delilah, Jeff

After consulting three vets and doing research on our own, Jeff and I were still stumped about what caused Delilah’s leg to go bad. There was no sign of injury in a fence or by another animal; the illness didn’t present correctly for “blackleg” (a tetanus-type infection); and everyone was scratching their heads as to what caused the blood clot that destroyed her leg with no warning… until Dr. Bender mentioned something to Jeff.

“I’ve never seen it in practice, but I remember studying it in vet school – ergot.”

“You mean like rye and witches?” asked Jeff.

That’s exactly what he meant (and if you are Dianne RJ, you get bonus points for knowing what I was talking about when I ran into you today!) But for everyone else, I will “‘splain, Lucy”…


Samson and Delilah at Two Months, with Mama Tulip


Baby Samson and Delilah, nibbling on my scarf.

Remember the Salem Witch Trials? And how young girls were murdered for “being witches” – having tremors, being possessed, seeing visions, going spastic? One theory which explains their behavior is that they had ergot poisoning. Though I see on Wiki that that’s disputed, what isn’t is the effects of ergot poisoning on animals.


Delilah at Three Months

We won’t ever know the source (pasture, hay, grain, oat straw used for bedding), but thanks to Dr. Bender’s recollection we were able to look it up in our copy of The Merck Veterinary Manual (thanks forever for that, Pamela! We use it ALL the time!), confirm Delilah’s symptoms and progression, and solve our little mystery.


Samson, Delilah, Mama Tulip

I guess if something completely odd and out of the ordinary will happen, it’s going to happen at Tuppinz Farm.


In other farm news, due to the ground being litterally covered with fledgling birds, barn cat Barley is being held prisoner in the house (confined due to his penchant for beating the crap out of the other cats). He’ll remain indoors until the birdlings can actually fly on their own. The chickens are quite amused by all the little ones and seem to think they are baby chicks that they are supposed to guard.


Baby Blackbird with Sumatran Rooster

Animals are just so… odd.

Have a great day! I get to sit and knit with Ysolda at Michelle’s tonight!!

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Filed under animal of the day, animals, farm, farm animals, farm chickens, farm ethics, farm goats, farm mistakes, gratitude, health, nature, pets, positivity

Happy Birthday, Bemma-Boo!

Miss Emma turned three yesterday!

Chef Jeff always wanted to take Miss Fiona to Panera for soup in a bread bowl when she was with us, but he never got the chance. Thinking that life is too short to miss an opportunity, he was determined to treat Emma this year, so we took a little time off from chores and away we went.


Note Chef Jeff’s shirt…


Emma eyeing her soup and bread bowl (Chef Jeff ate most of it.)


Drooling isn’t very ladylike, Emma!

Afterwards, we took Emma to the pet store, where she carefully sniffed everything, finally picked out her own treat, and proudly carried it up to the checkout on her own. Everyone who saw her in the store got a good chuckle.


“Yum!”


“This is the BEST birthday EVER!”

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Filed under animal of the day, animals, food, gratitude, pets, positivity

A Good Week Of Surprises

It was a week of surprising weather (warm days followed by snow showers and high winds), and surprises in my mailbox.

Beautiful handmade potholders arrived from Professor Nannette, and Miss Kary sent an original painting of an owl (a favorite animal of mine) by Brenda Webster-Drouin. Thanks, guys!

I’d placed an order with The Loopy Ewe, a favorite shop for sock knitting needs. This is what I’d ordered:

And THIS is what I received!

Turns out I am now an official Loopy Groupie. The gifts they sent were more than what I’d ordered to begin with; what you don’t see is the chocolate which I promptly ate. Thank you, Sheri!

I became a convert after I received my first order with TLY and I realized what all the high praise was about. They have excellent customer service, and usually include a handwritten thank-you and little treats with my orders… which are becoming more frequent, I have to admit; I love the “instant gratification” of their fast shipping!

I also received the new “Whimsical Little Knits” book by Ysolda in Scotland, as well as two skeins of Fearless Fibers yarn. One of these is destined to become these (Ravelry link). I have been waiting on pins and needles for that KnitSpot pattern to be published and am jazzed to cast on for these beautiful socks.

All in all, a very good week indeed.


Around The Farm

Frieda The Just gave us 1.4 ounces of beautiful cashmere at the end of March. Not bad for a mostly-Boer goat with a strong resemblance to George Washington.

I planted peas and broccoli rabe outside; started Tigerella and Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes, and serrano and jalapeno peppers, inside.

Other than that, it’s business as usual here on the farm. Lots of playful activity inside when the puppy playpen is too muddy from changeable spring weather:

It looks like Champ, our new riding donkey, will not be arriving this weekend as planned. Hopefully he’ll be home in the next couple of weeks.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Filed under animals, art, farm, farm animals, farm donkeys, farm garden, farm goats, farm knit, fiberarts, gratitude, knit, pets, weather, winter

Lots Of Fiber

I was in the fiber doldrums for some time. Just couldn’t get motivated. There were a couple of our raw Icelandic fleeces (from Asta and Birta) sitting in the entryway, which taunted me daily. I finally decided that, after two years, it was time to unpack the picker and carder that had been sitting in boxes while several house nightmares were endured.

Not having a decent fiber washing area has proven to be problematic, but I made do with many buckets in the kitchen over a period of days (Jeff was not allowed to make fragrant Indian food during my scouring!) The laundry room here doesn’t have a heat source, and though there is a tub on the first floor, it was never installed properly and doesn’t drain, so Jeff kindly carried all the dirty water outside for me.

I was really fearful to try the picker and carder but I needn’t have been – they both worked wonderfully and I was soon blessed with my first home-grown, home-scoured, home-picked and home-carded Icelandic lamb roving!

Because I wanted to spin a fine but soft yarn, it was time to re-acquaint myself with an old friend who has the necessary double drive talents:

We hadn’t been on speaking terms for several years due to a previous failure to communicate.

It turned out that this wasn’t due to my unfamiliarity with my friend, but rather an inherent problem in my friend’s physical makeup.

Once this was corrected (requiring minor surgery on my part and a trip to Montana and back for an amputated piece of my friend), my buddy wanted to “make nice” – but I wasn’t having any of it, due to the insults my friend had given me the last time we got together.

I am now willing to forgive and forget, and so is my friend, and we have been getting on famously in this new relationship.

As any fiberartist can tell you, once the floodgates have opened, creativity comes on like a tidal wave. Not only have I been spinning the Icelandic lamb, but also this lovely fiber (click for big to see the sparkly stuff!):

… as well as some home-grown Jacob wool (from Gruyere):

I even made significant progress on my “Dixie shawl“:

Like all lace, it looks like a damp mop and will until it is blocked. But believe me, it’s really pretty:

My good relationship with the Dundas wheel gave me the confidence to have a chat with the Ashford Table Loom as well, and it has been released from its undignified penance in the long barn.


Disclaimer: Seriously ugly wallpaper courtesy of previous homeowners.

I am not a big fan of anything other than rigid heddle (i.e., simple! Easy!) weaving, but it seems a shame not to give this gal a warm (comparatively-speaking), indoor home. We will try to get along better now, and hopefully she will not confuse me with mathematical equations this time around. I guess it’s not really her fault… she has always been a peach to use.

It’s freezing in here (perhaps not to looms but to us humans), and some woven wool blankets would come in handy, so I had better be polite to her.

Max is just meditating, and staying clear of all the fiber activity.


Other Happenings

Two photos from our farm are in the current issue of Hobby Farms magazine – yay!

There was a quote in this issue that I loved: “Hobby farming is like hobby coal mining.” Truer words have never been spoken… it’s still work! (But definitely worth it to have delicious organic eggs!!!)

And to reward myself for a consistent yoga practice, I asked this Etsy artisan to embroider some clips to keep my hair out of my face during downward dog – she put pink lotuses on them to match my Prana yoga outfit:

In upcoming excitement… what do you think of this handsome fellow, hmmm?

Hope your day is full of health and creativity!

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Filed under animals, farm animals, farm chores, farm donkeys, farm knit, farm sheep, fiberarts, knit, pets, yoga

Spay Day 2009!

Hey! Help the Tuppinz pups support Spay and Neuter Day 2009!

Kary entered her boy, Diesel, and I’ve entered Emma & Molly, and we’re having a friendly fundraising contest.

But I also supported Bella, and we think she deserves a ton of votes… won’t you donate in her name? That little girl really deserves some donations to be made in her name!

Please spay and neuter your pets, and please support your local shelter – they need your help now more than ever.

Yay for “recycled” pets!

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Filed under animals, charity, pets, positivity