Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The crane project doesn't want to be done yet. I did these sketches. Important to get a feel for how cranes look.

This week has been foggy mornings and blustery cool. The batik season is winding down. I have one more wax and dye on the last saddle pad. It doesn't look like I'm going to do any other batik projects this year. never know for sure until it rains.

This morning there is sun, so I hope to get that last one done today! I am still boiling, lots of that to do. It's tedious but simple.

I haven't decided yet if I will get another batch of sweatshirts. I think I will. If I don't get them all done this winter, I can do them later. I made one for Lauren last year that just said "Hay." I think I'll do more like that.

Janow and I did some driving game yesterday. He seemed to like it. It was a bit different and he got confused a couple of times, but figured it out. He likes to guess things right.

Roger got the info I sent on Todd's road cart. So far, so good. He requested some measurements of Janow. I will do that today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

bun story

I said to Dave "Silver was so cute this morning!"
He laughed. "Cara, it's the same rabbit."

But she was. So be prepared.

Last week, she was working in the towel pile under the chair and I was lying on the floor watching. My nose itched and I rubbed it, then ran my fingers through my hair. I have never done this rabbit grooming gesture for Silver. She froze in insta-perk. He ears flew up so fast! She came over and sniffed my face, ears still in perk. Then her ears went down and she requested grooming. I complied.

Today I was on the floor by the towel pile, head on the floor, petting Silver while she meatloafed under the chair. My arm got tired so I stopped. She looked at me for an instant, then she came over and chewed my hair a bit.

Dave thinks that's disgusting. I don't, and rabbit people will agree with me.

The Weekend Happened and Now it's Over

This was Poison Oak Boy's Saturday activity.

After that, the parents went in the spa.

Dave got a lawn tractor from Craig's List. Getting it up the mountain on Sunday was the big deal of the week. For guys.

Then they worked on the deck. You can see the edge of the roof of the mobile home in the lower left corner of the last picture. They picked a pretty remote spot for the deck. It's kind of a climb. It's under two huge madrone trees. I think they are madrone. Might be manzanita. I need to learn the difference.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Bunday

This bun is even bossier than Silver. Don't soil your armor.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Court of Honer, BSA Troop 92

On Monday, Boy Scouts of America, Troop 92 had a Court of Honor in which there were 72 merit badges, 9 Order of the Arrow awards, and 17 rank advancements. Eighty percent of the troop was present, so they all gathered for a group picture.
There is an arrow pointing to Joseph in the group picture. There, on the left side.

Why, you might be asking, am I posting something on Friday that happened on Monday? Well......... We had the mystery rash that started on Joseph's ankles in the middle of the previous week. Nothing I did even slowed it down, so we went the the Dr., who prescribed an ointment, that caused a bright fiery red scaley secondary rash on top of the bumpy itchy rash he already had. So we went back to the Dr. and got prednisone syrup which tasted so vile he could not swallow it. So I called the Dr. and got pills instead. Joseph takes pills with ice cream. OK fine, but the rash did not improve so we went back to the Dr., a different one, who listened to the whole story again and said poison oak and gave us burn cream Zyrtec and instructed baking soda baths in addition to the prednisone and Clariten.
During this time the rash has spread from his ankles all the way up to just inches from the groin. It could be worse.

I woke up Monday morning of last week with a sore throat and knew I was getting a cold, but never did. After days of sore throat, I developed a stuffy nose and a sinus infection. The infection went to my lungs and I could barely breath. I was so busy taking Joseph to the Dr. and going to the pharmacy for the next thing that I could not go to the Dr. myself until Wednesday. Then I went to the pharmacy for me.

Is it Friday yet?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Great Crane Visits Milpitas

Diana was working on a block print design with cranes as the subject. Inspiration was slow. I messaged to her that it was a process and sometimes takes some time. I decided to do a crane project too.

Diana's process was actually pretty fast. Mine is much slower. She went to Art School and learned to use her process. I went to Agriculture School and learned to process feedstuffs.

Part of the problem with spontaneous projects is space. How much I can do do is limited by my drying space. Sometimes in minutes I have every inch of space covered with something drying and I have to stop. In the past, I have allowed spontaneous projects to severely impact the ones I really want to do.

So, my crane had to be small. With little investment in materials for a small project, it is easy to justify skipping all the preliminary "process". I measured out 2.5 x 3.5 inches of cotton broadcloth, dipped my tjaunting in hot wax and began.

I made a line. It was not what I envisioned. It would take too long to start again. I am not going to abandon the project, I told Diana I was making a crane. So how can I use this line to make a crane? Like this!

This is "Great Crane Visits Milpitas." It's mounted on 40lb watercolor paper and photographed on red fabric.

I made a couple other 3.5"x2.5" art cards while I was at it.
"Old West," "Squirrel Oversight," and "Flee the Chicken"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hernia Repair

Today, Whiskers is at the vet hospital having her hernia repaired.

I drove Joseph to the Dr to get ointment for the rash on his ankles. I am worried about Silver and continually decide/undecide to take her to the bun vet because I am getting an infection in my poor damaged lungs and don't want to get sicker, so I also decide/undecide to go to the Dr. myself.

Haven't been to the stable yet and we are totally out of horse pellets, rabbit pellets and nearly out of chicken pellets so I have to get to the feedstore today too. At least we are good for cat food because Dave bought a 40 lb bag of Hairball Light last time(we only have 16 lbs of cat), and we are also good for cat litter. Last night I told Dave I was going to build a cat bidet.
"A what?"
"A cat bidet. It sprays cat sand up in the air over the litter box."
"I thought we already had one of those."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ed Levin Walks

Indian Hill got a hay delivery! Half of this is alfalfa, half is orchard grass mix. Two semis hauling doubles seems like a lot of hay, but with over 200 horses here, it goes fast!
Lucky me I don't have to buy it or supervise it's unloading or feed it

This time of year is so dry and pale brown and flammable.

Janow and Cherokee waiting for their dinners. These two have been neigh-bors off and on for nearly 10 years.

I have been taking Janow for walks in the nearby Santa Clara County Region Park. To get to Ed Levin park, it's a short walk down Calaveras Road. Janow hasn't been off the ranch much in a while, but I decided he needed some excitement, and I need the hill walking. Yesterday I noticed something very interesting.

BACKGROUND Because I want to teach Janow to drive, he has to be very good at voice commands for "stand" "whoa" and "back up" so we have been practicing these on our walks. It's one thing to get good in the comfort of the home ranch, but another thing to do it away from home when you are stressed. Typically, Janow is in a constant state of acceleration. He likes to get ahead of me, but I don't want to get dragged around the park. When he gets ahead of me, I stop. He is very prompt at stopping when I do. That makes it easier. Then I say "Back up" until he is in the correct position in relation to me. Then we "walk" on and I praise him. When I praise him, he does licking and chewing to show relaxation. I do this as often as needed, sometimes every five or six strides. It's working and I have to do it less each time.

INTERESTING PART When there is something making him worried, he gets ahead deliberately so that I will stop and back and walk and then praise him. He gets ahead when he needs praise and comforting because I provide that every time he gets ahead.

By being gentle and persistent, am I teaching him to be bad when he gets nervous, or am I teaching him to respond to my requests even if he is nervous? I'm pretty happy with how this is going.

Rabbits also do this licking and chewing for the same reason as horses. It's harder to see the licking part because they have mouths on the floor side, very close to the floor. Rabbit people call this "teeth purring" because you can hear the faint grinding of the teeth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Bunday

This Monday brings a tale of my own bun, Silver. It's a "My rabbit is so smart" story. Be warned.

As you may recall, Silver came from Oakland Animal Shelter. She is averse to being held(see photo) but cannot get enough pets. This rabbit will pass up (most) food for pets. I bought a baby sling to put her in hoping that maybe she would be held in the sling. It was a success.

Initially, she did not like the sling, digging at the fabric to get out. Then she changed her mind and sits happily inside the sling until she has had enough, then digging at the fabric to signal that she is done.

Recently, our evening routine of swapping out the old litter/hay basket and feeding pellets, then returning later for some sling has been changed when Silver decided the the sling sit should come first. On the day of this tale, I was doing the sling earlier than usual and decided to sit on the sofa with her instead of the floor.

After quite a while in the sling, Silver eased out and began to walk around on me, then onto the sofa to sniff and explore. She can get on and off the sofa easily but on most days chooses to stay on the floor, so it's pretty unfamiliar.

After looking over the edge and around the room, she did not jump off but came back to me. She uncharacteristically got onto my lap where she began digging at my stomach. She has never done this digging before, except when she is in the sling and done. The message was clear. She was done and ready to go back.

My point here is this: She used a communitcation signal that is not rabbit-language in a different context from the one where it developed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where in the World is Milpitas, CA?

Carl says: "If you don't know where you're going, you don't deserve to get there."

Diana of The Qi Papers has been working on a block print of cranes. I told her that if people in her town could do cranes, people in Milpitas could do cranes, and began working on my own crane art. She replied that maybe people in Milpitas should stick to mechanical cranes. That smart remark is why I am not showing her my crane in progress. Plplpl!

Todd of American Carriage Builder went on a walking tour of his home town Columbus, WI and wrote a great blog entry about some of the beautiful historic buildings. Check out his September 9 th entry.

My town of Milpitas was incorporated in 1954 and does not have a long history in it's architecture, at least not like Columbus. With a population of 70,000, it has grown pretty fast. Most of it's buildings are newer.

So, inspired by Todd's blog, and tempered by Diana's mechanical cranes remark, here are "The Supermarkets of Milpitas."

Nob Hill, where I shop. The checkers take all the groceries out of your cart for you, and the baggers walk it out to your car and load it up. Checker Betsy always asks after Silver Rabbit's wellness.

Lucky. This is far from my home.

This used to be a Lucky, closer to my home. When the new Safeway was being constructed across the street, the name changed to Alpha Beta to try and be more upscale. It didn't work, so the name was changed back to Lucky to attract the bargain conscious. Nearby Save Mart already has the bargain shopper demographic, so it shut down.
Now it's going ethnic.

This is the new Safeway that was the downfall of Lucky-Alpha Beta-Lucky. It's huge. I never shop there. You practically need a Sherpa guide to find your way around, and you gotta unload your cart and load your car.

I remember when this was a Safeway.

This is the Save Mart with the budget minded customer base. It is an old building. The parking lot pre-dates Arbor Day

This is Lion. It embodies the philosophy common to SF Bay Area freeways and streets; "If you don't already know where you are going, you don't deserve to get there."

Ranch 88 is on the other side of I880. The sign is nearly the only one in English, other stores have the signs in Chinese. But the shoppers here are not all Chinese, everyone shops here, and Chinese shoppers are like all other shoppers, they shop everywhere. It's just what you'd expect. Shopping in a market where you can't read the labels can be pretty straightforward. The packages have pictures of the food. Packages with pictures of crackers generally contain crackers. Likewise cookies. Except when crackers and cookies look alike. Chicken flavored crackers have a picture of a chicken. Sometimes they taste like shrimp. I used to think chicken of the sea was tuna. But really, most of the packages are also labeled in English.

I like living in Milpitas, even though it is not a picturesque as Columbus, WI. Why, do you ask? It's a good question. Why don't you ask again in January when Todd is up to his back pockets in snow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bug Pucky

I have wasted a lot of time lately on this:
Phantom Mansion 2

It has been a long time since I played games, but some of my Facebook Friends have been playing Bejeweled and some Farm game which got me thinking about Myst Exile which I have but have not played because it is such a good way to waste time.....

Phantom Mansion 2 is a simple Mario style game. I know this because Joseph walked by and said with his sarcastic teen persona: "Haven't you ever played a Mario game before?"

I remember Donkey Kong (the original) when it first came to the arcade. I was at the arcade on a date. Perry had the world high score for Centipedes for a few days. Then someone lasted longer.

I remember running the first Leisure Suit Larry in two colors on a 286. I remember taking Larry to work, on a floppy, and giving it to someone else. Larry got copied and passed around, secretly, because you couldn't do it on company time, until EVERYONE knew who Larry was. That was about 1990.

Heck, I remember playing Solitaire with real cards back in the '70s.

Text only games are special. I have had great times, early in the morning when I could not sleep, with the games at Rinkworks. Those doesn't even earn eye rolls. It you have a teen at home, you know eye rolls are a dime a dozen.

There was a time when Joseph and I enjoyed computer games together. Stickman Murder Mysteries were fun to figure out together way back in 1st grade.

The real truth is that, while I have wasted a bit of time in my life on video games, I play them pretty much like a 48 year old lady. That bugs the pucky out of my teenage son. That's OK with me. It's my turn to do the bugging.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bunday Monday

Sky Rabbit Night
block print by Diana Moll

Today's bun is by Diana of The Qi Papers. Diana is a local artist and fellow bun-swabe who was helped me to understand Silver, the Bun in Residence. She has been working on bonding a third rabbit to a bonded pair. She has taken the time to watch the process and is sort of the Jane Goodall of rabbits.

I've used her Bunday picture without permission, but added a link to the place where you can buy it. The price is very reasonable, which you can often get on art when you skip professional framers, galleries and their fees and commissions.

She can rip my head off for posting it without asking, but she would have to drive over the Santa Cruz Mountains to do it, and at the price of gas..........

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Status Quo

It's been a long time since my last post. Not because nothing has happened, because nothing interesting has happened. I have been running around like a nut, getting things done. Boring things.

Here is Joseph's traditional back to school picture in the new uniform, and in last years uniform that is now too small. We took the too small picture on a different day just because we didn't get to it.

And, of course, one of the indoor members of the Cat Patrol inspecting a batik that is ready to become part of a saddle pad. She is inspecting the bottom. This is one good reason to have cats instead of dogs. When dogs do a bottom inspection, it's kind of a different thing.

Here is the status on the batiks. I have three more cut from denim and planned. Ten yards of 60 inch denim scouring in the washer and dryer is hard work. It had to come out and get detangled every ten minutes of drying. Whew!

The first two are still in process. The others are ready to be made into saddle pads.