Flying Ear

Relaxing Puppers
I forgot that I’d taken this photo – it’s back when Max had gotten his jowly General Burnside haircut, before we trimmed it up.  So his face looks a little weird, but I thought it was hilarious that he decided to rest like that with his ear flapped up and his leg cocked – he’s not on his back or his side, but halfway in between.  But I guess it was comfy!

Haircut Sadness

Not me, thankfully, but Maxwell.  He went to the groomer again this morning and came back looking even weirder than last time.  Whereas before they gave him a super-round head and strange, high bangs, this time they didn’t trim his cheek and chin hair at all.  His face is square and droopy – his eyes are resentful.  He could be General Burnside for Halloween.

I didn’t actually get a good shot of his new haircut; upon returning from the groomer’s, he flopped down on his side and refused to budge.

Flopped Pups

 

I can’t tell if that’s depression about his new haircut, or just unhappiness about having gone to the groomer at all.

Please help, I can't go out in public like this.

 

Or it could just be laziness.

As a separate animal update: I have official news that our friendly neighborhood cat has been adopted.  She still visits, although less frequently, and now has a collar and tags.  Her new name is Black Bat.  Hooray!

Black Bat

 

(I assume it’s a she, given the pink and purple tags and collar….)

On that note – happy Labor Day, everyone.  Posting will resume (perhaps with a new look) on Tuesday!

Feline Friend

After years of longing and disappointed hopes, in the form of my parents’ cats, neighborhood cats, and friends’ cats, Maxwell has finally made a feline friend!  A cat has been hanging out near our home for a little while now, and after making some friendly advances – in the form of sitting perfectly still, staring, and maniacal tail-wagging – Maxwell’s hopes have been rewarded in the form of a tiny, fluffy, super-friendly, super-talkative black cat.  The cat came trotting up to him a couple of times on our walks over the last few weeks, and then last weekend, ventured onto our front porch.

Max at first was quite puzzled.

Maxwell is curious and anxious to meet the cat

Cat Friend was not at all interested in doing the usual meet-and-greet sniffing ritual.

Attempting a sniff

Instead, it seemed to want to nuzzle, which Max could meet only with wide-eyed confusion.

After the opening introductions of sniffing and rubbing, both cat and pups became relaxed and happy.  I was quite surprised at the cat’s bravery; most seem to be frightened of Max (even though he only wants to sniff & explore), but it didn’t even stop at cuddling and walking around near him.

After making friends with Max, the cat turned its attention to me, trotting over, talking to me, staring at me, and after a moment or two, jumping right onto my lap, at which move Maxwell was once again thrown into confusion.

 

As CF sat on my lap and purred, Max contemplated this extremely weird turn of events…

… but decided after a while that he could share my affection with his new friend.  For a while, Max and Cat Friend were quite happy together, and whenever we’d hear CF meowing out front, Max would run to the door, and they sat happily looking out together.

happily sharing the porch

 

If the mean humans wouldn’t let Max out, they would have to resort to crude, distant through-the-window communication, which was pretty cute (at least until CF jumped up and tried to climb the screen).

Unfortunately, Cat Friend is not in a good position.  It must be a stray, since we’ve discovered it was being fed by our neighbor two doors down – and very sadly, none of us have seen it since yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  Most of our neighbors have been friendly toward it (the one has been feeding it, and another talked about possibly adopting it) but one has made clear that she loathes its dirty, horrible strayness, its outdoor living (and presumable bird-murdering) and the overnight meowing it does outside her bedroom window.  I’m afraid that the third has prevailed, since an animal control van was patrolling the next street over on Tuesday.  I hope that this is not the sad ending to Max’s budding friendship, but …..

On a separate note: what do you think of his hilarious new haircut?  He had his first official professional groom last week, and even though I said we like him to have some hair left on top, this was the result.  It’s taken a while to get used to; for a couple of days, every time I saw him I had to stifle a giggle at his extra-round looking head and cropped bangs.

Ecola State Park

 

So, continuing our little state park excursion: here is the coast, looking south from the park.   In the distance you can see Haystack Rock, and beyond that even – the farthest point sticking out – is about where Arch Cape (and our hotel) is.

Southern CoastWe explored the paths a little …

Heading down a path

and the boys perked up immediately when they spotted some climbing opportunities.

John and Maxwell spotting climbing opportunities

As soon as we arrived at that tree, Maxwell immediately leapt onto the table, and John onto the tree.  Sadly, the table only afforded a small climb for the Furrs, and the tree didn’t have enough texture for John to make it onto the branch, so the climbing adventure was short lived.

 

Eventually we were (I was) rested enough to make the return journey, which had a little bit of climbing; not much, but given how tired my legs were, I was worried about doing any at all.  But we packed up, took one last look over the ocean…

John, Max, and Bromptons overlooking the ocean… settled into our proper places…

Maxwell in the Brompton Basket

… and headed back to town.  I am happy to report that I made it back, and without having to walk my bike at all.  Hooray!

And as one final note, to wrap up the Brompton excitement, before returning them on Tuesday I took a photo of them in our (somewhat cluttered) car.  FYI:

Bromptons in messy Fit

 

Weekend at the Coast (with Bromptons)

John and I headed to the coast for the long weekend, where we had a great time reading, relaxing, eating tasty food, and – most fun of all – riding around on two rented Brompton bikes.

Getting out the Brompton for the first time.

These unusual bikes fold into tiny little packages with just a few twists and pulls, which is why we rented them; we can put both of them (plus a decent amount of luggage) into the back of our car (a Honda fit), without having to fold down the back seat.  I didn’t take a photo of that car/bike configuration, but here – as we wait for the Cannon Beach parade – you can see them in their folded states.

Waiting for the Parade; Folded Bromptons

Also very useful: the front luggage block that allows for luggage, very easily added and removed.  We brought a basket, for Maxwell (which he thoroughly enjoyed) and a “touring bag” which held a ridiculously large amount of stuff.  At one point I was carrying our two folding chairs (flat), two helmets, sun hats, sweatshirts, a small throw/blanket, towels, water for all three of us, a book, snacks, and my knitting bag – and I’m pretty sure I still had room to spare.

We had several fun biking adventures, and a great 4th of July celebration – more on all of that, and about the Bromptons, to come.  I realize I haven’t even gotten to my Garden photos from our trip to Chicago yet – but they’re coming also.  Slowly but surely, I hope.

John and Maxwell with Haystack Rock in the background

Maxwell’s Bees

Here’s my translation of an only half-vocalized conversation that I had with Maxwell on Friday as we were walking past a rather boring looking hedge.

the humming hedge

“Hey, look at that hedge!  It is humming!  Check it out!”

“Maxwell, let’s go.  Keep walking.”

“Hey, stop it!  The Hedge!  It’s Humming!  Look look look!”

“Let’s go.  C’mon.”

“No!  Let’s look at the shrub!!!”

“Maxwell!  Let’s go!”

“SHRUB!  SHRUB!  SHRUB!”

After such an insistent preoccupation from him, I finally opened my eyes (and ears) and noticed what he was so interested in.  It turns out that that hedge, on closer inspection, was in full flower and positively covered with bees.

Perhaps needless to say, I spent several minutes trying to photograph these buzzing bee buddies; here are my two favorite photos.  One bee with its wings still fluttering …

Bee on Landingand another with a secretive, hiding bee within lurking inside the shrub next to it.

Bee with Second Secretive Hiding BeeI love those big round eyes peering out at me.

I have …well, quite a large number of bee photos now – but I thought it would be better not to inundate the poor blog with too many at once.  Perhaps I will post more later.

 

Allerton Fun

… and fun with collages as well.

It was quite a warm day, so the boys enjoyed a nice Resting Pyramid and Maxwell panted in hopes of staying cool while Mom and Dad (and I) examined the peonies more closely.

Mom and Ryan also both graciously helped by taking some photos of my shawl.  There were passing clouds, so the exposure is a little strange here and there, but I think they both got some the captured the shawl well.  (Well – the last one of me reaching for the camera doesn’t really show off the shawl, but I think it’s a pretty cool shot of Ryan’s, so it’s there anyway.)

Big yawn

I’ve realized lately that Maxwell has been relatively absent from this blog – but it turns out he’s sort of over all of that.  When I asked his opinion on the subject, this was his reply….

But it’s not surprising that his mind is on higher matters these days; after all, he (rather anachronistically) met Bernoulli on our walk last Wednesday, and although their brief discussion centered more on biology (and their respective bodily functions) than the expected physics and mathematics, I bet it’s gotten his little mental gears cranking.  When there are Important Theories to be Developed, who has time for silly blog modeling?

Carding

My fleece is finally dry!

Dry Fleece

… and today I got to try my hand at carding, although not literally, thank goodness.  Working an entire fleece by hand with carding paddles does not look very pleasant at all.  Instead, I borrowed a tabletop sized electric drum carder at my local yarn shop.

Drum Carder

 

It really is a tiny version of the industrial sized cards I posted about last week.  You feed the fleece in from the left, under a small roller (hidden by the brush above) with coarse bristles, from which it’s transferred onto the larger, more finely bristled drum on the right.

Feeding the Fleece

A surprising large amount of fleece fits onto that large drum; here’s how much I got off on the first pass (probably about 5% of my total fleece).

Carded fleece

 

That lid is about 18″ by 30″, for reference….

 

I realized after beginning that the whole process works better if you pull apart the little hanks of hair (or french fries, as I’m still calling them internally) before feeding them in.  So curly and pretty!

Pulling apart a hank

 

It dawned on me today that Maxwell hasn’t made a blog appearance in a surprisingly long time, so – here’s him looking cutely annoyed at the noise of the machine.

 

Maxwell

 

(And also the very large volume of fleece I still had left to card….)

Before continuing with the carding, though, I was so excited to have a little bit of real roving of my own that I borrowed a drop spindle, read a quick tutorial online, and spun up a little bit of sample yarn.  It’s pretty terrible – not even at all and maybe over twisted or under twisted or who knows what, but it’s mine, from my very own fleece!

Yarn

Perhaps I will celebrate by knitting a coaster or a tiny scarf for Bruno.