Monday, January 23, 2017

The Best of Friends

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(Artwork: Brian Paterson)

Christmas and New Years is blessedly over, the Christmas tree has been put away, and Obama's true legacy is finally inside the White House. (I really enjoyed watching the Inaugural proceedings over the weekend. That was the first time I've ever really paid attention to one).

But what's been going on around here lately?
1). We had rain, rain, and more rain for several days.  photo singintherain.gif

Our property looked like that bog in that one creepy scene from Lord of the Rings, but thank goodness the rain has now passed and it's been absolutely gorgeous weather. It isn't cold - at all - but it's been blue skies.

2). On Saturday my parents best friends came over. (We used to live across the street from one another before we moved). It's always nice to see those two gals. They - and their kids - are like family to my Mom.

3). We're still deciding on paint colors for the house. (We're just so tired of it looking like a band aid).

We're also trying - unsuccessfully so far - to decide on a paint color for a couple rooms inside the house.

4). I don't know why, but the donkeys and cows around here have been very VOCAL lately. (Although the cattle I'm always taking pics of are still quiet. It's the other nearby livestock that are so noisy).

5). Yesterday we had such heavy winds. You would have thought a hurricane was blowing through town. It was really strange. The gusts ran up to over 50 mph, so some of our chairs were tossed across the yard and everything is covered in dirt.

Luckily, the electricity only flashed on and off a few times. (I just heard that the Junk Gypsy Headquarters in Round Top lost their power completely and they had to close their store).

The poor donkeys next door (Mom named them "Anna" and "Elsa") absolutely hated those strong winds. They hid inside their barn for most of the day.

6). I recently made one of my Christmas trees a Valentine tree (with whatever decor I had on hand), and tried my hand at needle felting.

I started off making a medium-sized mouse, but I ran out of the felt that I was using. Since I had hit a roadblock with the mouse, I decided to try my hand at felting a little dog. My first one was a little gray dog and the second a white dog. (The gray dog confided in me that he wanted a companion).

They're both pose-able, but since I've still a newbie I'm not going to take my chances at messing them up.

As you'll tell from the photos I took of them, it's been a learning experience for sure. Photobucket

I've definitely made some mistakes, but in trying to correct them I was only making things worse. (Especially on their faces. For example, I used too much felting material on the gray dog's mouth and nose). Because of that, I decided to just leave them be. (I also pretty much gave up on their paws. I could not for the life of me get the felt to wrap around the tips of their paws. I'd rather learn how to use clay for their feet and noses anyway).

I really wanted to make a long-haired pup, and one with wavy or curly fur, but I don't have any of the higher end felt just now. You work with what ya have. (I don't even have whiskers for them).

I know for a fact that I will never be able to make them look beautiful or realistic, like the ones I've seen all over Pinterest, but it was enjoyable.

Well, for the most part it was. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like tossing everything in the neighbor's pond a few times.

Note: After taking the photos I realize I need to "groom" the little guys. Those strands of felting weren't so noticeable until I uploaded the photos. In person they don't look so scraggly.

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I should have added little brown spots on the white dog's cheeks, but I felt that if I did it would only draw further attention to the fact that he doesn't have whiskers yet.

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See what I mean? His mouth and nose are driving me nuts, but in trying to correct it I was only making him more deformed.

I have to give myself a break though since he was my very first try at felting and a lot of it I just winged along the way. (Finding in depth tutorials was difficult, so I had to incorporate several tutorials as well as just making things up as I went along).

FYI, on the white dog's rump I decided to add hidden Mickey Mouse ears. Lol! (And I purposely didn't want them to be perfectly round, since on real animals the 'patterns' we see on some of them - as in hearts, etc - aren't ever perfectly symmetrical).

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Not the best photo by a long shot.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Gathered 'round the Fireplace

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(Artwork: Beatrix Potter)
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Our New Years Eve was pretty uneventful, and the weather warm. (Although a couple days before it was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g and so windy). Our new neighbors popped fireworks  photo fcr.gif all night, so that reminded me of how the holidays were - ANY holiday - back when we lived in Spring/The Woodlands. Our neighborhood would celebrate with fireworks for WEEKS whenever a holiday was near. (Which was kind of scary when you think of all the pine trees we had around there. Pine trees are highly flammable and in the summers we had to be really vigilant of pine needles collecting in the gutters, etc. The 4th of July was pretty scary in our neighborhood).

I didn't really watch any of the celebrations on tv this year since they usually bore me anyway. Instead I watched old "Once Upon A Time" episodes, but I did make sure to catch the countdown in New York. (Because I'm superstitious. I've always watched it). When it finally turned midnight here, the countdown on tv that I saw was in Tennessee.

It was the lamest countdown yet. It was worse than even last year's, and that's saying something.

First of all, I thought I had a few more minutes until midnight so apparently my clock was running slower than it should. Secondly, the people that I saw on tv celebrating the stroke of midnight must have been drunk off their asses  photo cheers.gif because they seemed to be in some other Netherworld or La-la Land.

It's like they didn't even know where they were or what day it was.

On New Years Day I had my annual spoonful of black-eyed peas. (Yet another superstition, although I know I'm not alone with this one. It's very common in the South that eating at least a spoonful of black-eyed peas brings good luck in the new year).

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The poor mules next door were NOT fans of the high wind gusts on that one day that it was so cold.

Thank Goodness they had the barn to escape those winds.

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“I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”

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(Artwork: Brian Paterson)

While Christmas was HOT and HUMID, and New Years Eve was warm, today it's f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g.  photo bundle.gif

And I do mean really, really cold. The cattle and donkeys and birds are eating up a storm, but the mules are hiding as far back into their little barn as they can.

Speaking of the mules, while we were unloading the treadmill the other day the white mule was yelling at us to feed her. Lol! It was so funny because she is LOUD and very persistent.

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Despite the cold, the only snowmen around here are hanging out on our Christmas Tree.

Yep, the tree is still up. Everything else is down though. (Well, the china cabinet still has the Christmas Vignettes inside, but I'll remove those when it's time to put up the Valentine Decor).

This year I was pretty quick about taking down the Christmas decorations.

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There is ICE on our new deck. It's exciting! (Not that there's ice on the trees or anything, although the bridges around here do. There have been a few accidents nearby).

FYI: Pardon the color of the deck. We still haven't stained the wood.

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It still hasn't reached 37. It's a little after 1 pm right now, and while it's 31 degrees it actually feels like 21.

Of course, I remember back in 2014 it got so cold one day that the index was 9 degrees. There was a lot of ice on everything then, too.

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We got to light the fireplace again. Hooray for the fireplace fulfilling it's destiny!

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We're thinking of making chocolate chip cookies to celebrate this change in weather. However... knowing we finally have a treadmill, it makes me second guess the baked goods.

Not that we really eat sweets around here in the first place, and you know what they say --- just think of all the women on the Titanic that turned away the dessert cart.

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Update: The cows, donkeys, and most especially the bull were HILARIOUS earlier. They were running so fast and doing these 'jigs.' I don't know if the neighbor was calling for them or what, but they were incredibly frisky.

I wish I got it on film!

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The cattle next door have really been eating up a storm! Thank Goodness our neighbor feeds them VERY well when cold temperatures are coming. Two of our neighbors are really good about taking care of their livestock. I don't know for certain about the cattle across the road from us. They're really skittish of humans. The cows - and longhorns - even further down the road are exactly the same way.

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The low tonight is supposed to be 21 degrees, so I feel awfully bad for the outdoor critters.

And speaking of critters, we were told yesterday that someone else also saw a flippin' mountain lion nearby. (My father saw one a while back). It was just a pebble's throw away from our house, so that's frightening.

They also said there are A LOT of coyotes, but those I'm used to. I hear them all the time, and the dogs next door love to fight with them all the time, but they seem to pretty much keep to the woods. (Knock on Wood).

And speaking of the neighbor's dogs, I'm a little annoyed with one of them. The new dog, "Walter," has scared all our deer away. (We've seen him chase them off, and I'm 98% sure he's what scared the mule next door so badly that she jumped the barbed wire fence recently. Those German Shepherds do escape their acreage sometimes). They're sweet dogs, but I do wish they would stay on their property. (For their own safety most especially. We get a lot of big rigs out here).

We used to get 6 or 8 deer at a time, so I'm mourning over their absence. Our game cameras capture nothing at all now.


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Man is it coooold out there, and it's only a little after 7pm.

One of our furkids, Maddie, is OBSESSED right now with wanting to just lie outside in all that cold. She's always loved it.

I remember a couple years ago we had a really rare ICY day and she insisted upon lying down on that icy grass and in the wind.

Not me!