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February 2009
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Without Chew, There's Something Very Special About Chew!!!

This post is brought to you by the Cordless Mouse and The Remote Control who co-operated and donated some of their batteries to the Camera. That would be because we have had our first Puppy Chew Casualty: the battery recharger. She has grown bigger and when she stood in the clothes basket, which she is wont to do whether I like it or not, she was able to reach the top of the sideboard and she dragged the cord down and chewed it. Luckily I am pretty careful about unplugging and I have 'live' cords of any description carefully put MORE out of reach now than they were before. Of course no other recharger cord fits. I should have taken it out of her pocket money, but Fate is on Gilly's side and two unexpected cheques arrived in the letterbox and so we have a windfall of $52, which should expunge her debt!!

Chew chew I just want chew

It is well nigh on impossible to wrangle three Labradors into the same place, at the same time, all relatively still and within the frame of the camera's lens. This is the best I have managed thus far!!! Peri's eyes are watering because someone keeps biting her on the top of her nose.

Pretty Maids all in a row

Two quick book reviews:

  • Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. I waited impatiently for this book to arrive from the Library, but though I enjoyed reading it, there weren't really any projects that jumped out and said 'Make Me'. It was very user friendly, but perhaps suited more to a beginner sewer, though the projects ranged from easy to quite challenging. I liked reading it, the way I like to read cook books. I was reading Nigella's How To Eat in bed last night.
  • Brenda James'  Henry Neville and the Shakespeare Code. I am interested in conspiracy theories and Shakespeare so this book promised to fill both my desires. OMGCB!! Lies, damned lies and statistics: I could not believe her code breaking and subsequent reveals of hidden messages. Truly, it was all Monkeys+Typewriters= Hamlet to me. In the end my interest petered out and I didn't even finish the book.

There has been knitting and maths. I have completed the rib (and now three more inches) for the right front of the Chappa'ai Cardigan and calculated the short rows as well. Is is lucky I checked because I was pretty sure I needed to knit two sleeves. That would have been an interesting cardigan: a back and four sleeves!!

Chappa'ai right front

I bought some wool made from rock from Ecoyarns: Therapi in Eucalyptus, composed of 30% Jadeite, 50% wool and 20% silk. I am thinking a little neck warmer is called for. Ecoyarns have excellent service, and emailed me when they didn't have what I wanted and I was able to change my order!!! Notice the colour is almost the same as my cardigan!! Oh and The Bendigo Woollen Mill is bringing out 10 new colours in Aran 10ply and I have it on good Ravelry Authority that there is a Leaf Green!! Be still my beating heart!!!


On Wednesday I went to Wee Jock's Mum's house for dinner and I made some Chocolate Semi-freddo. It sounds quite daunting and complicated, but it is decidedly easy and according to MrsReno and MrsDrWho who were there as well, it is delicious. I will make another batch and take some pictures. I'm also planning to make some Tomato Relish from a recipe TinkingBell sent me. Of course yesterday that didn't happen because we all slept till almost 11 o'clock and today we have been for a walk and pottered about. Tomorrow might be the day!!!

There is quite a lot of thinking going on at our house. Quite a lot about Harki: I find myself watching her as if I am trying to burn her image into my mind before it is too late. Which is silly, because she is already there. It is all a waiting game now, and I am not impatient for the game to be over. I'm also thinking about the film Easy Virtue which has opened everywhere but here. What I would like to do is ring up the cinema and have the phone answered by a particularly Noel Coward employee, who would answer when I asked, "When does Easy Virtue start?".... "After a few too many drinks!!" I don't think that's going to happen.

Silence Is Golden (Labradors)

Ahh, the Sounds of Silence. After lots of rough and rowdy rebel play Peri and Gilly are fast asleep, and Harki is asleep on the couch, snoring on her sheepskin rug. Gilly and Peri run non-stop for hours on end. Now I worry that Peri has been bored up till now, but I console myself with the thought that Gilly is a novelty. Lorelai Gilmore runs to fetch the ball and bring it back!! Gilly loves a Squeaky Toy. You can see the paving is all clean and tidy and the paddle pool is at the back left in the shade.

Gilly Playing Squeaky Ball Bring Back 

Miss Grubby Nose 

Gilly buries her bone just like a real dog, and her nose is all grubby. Of course she wants to put her nose all over me.

Harki and Peri must hear something in the distance, because they were both too interested to look at the camera!!!

Harki goes west   

Peri goes west 

I wanted to start my Chappa'ai (Stargate ) Cardigan, I only have the fronts to knit, but I had no idea where the pattern was. I am making the pattern up as I go along and luckily I had written most of it in my Knitting Journal from last year,and the needle sizes on The Ravelry. I counted the rows just to make sure the back matched my notes, and it did!!! I am thinking of doing some short rows in the fronts: scares the willies out of me, but I have nothing to lose.

66 percent of a Chappa'ai 

But now I have frittered the day away: sleeping after the hot night, walking The Labradors, playing with The Baby, finishing off some sewing bits and bobs and finally drawing a picture of my new Steeking Paws Cardigan:

Possible Steeking Paws 

I am a poor artist, but basically this is a jumper with a yoke and waist shaping, that will be steeked to make a cardigan**. The main colour is Mineral Green with Grass Green for the paws and another paler green the name of which I am too lazy to get up and check. I am not quite sure how it will all go, maybe it will be top down??? That would be better for the trying on and shaping part and I have made a jumper like that before. I am also not sure how large the paw prints should be: not too big, or too low(!!!!) Any comments? The Steeking Paws Prototype: Discuss. 

I was just talking earlier to MrsDrWho on the phone and we realised it is only two weeks or so till Easter. I am going to help make felt Bunny Heads so we needed to find 90 minutes in her timetable. It's all set to go now. Tomorrow I have to post my Cloth and Soap Swap and then I must think about Easter.

But first, I am going to break out the 3.75mm and cast on for the fronts. I might knit them simultaneously. And it's raining. Huzzah!!!!

**NB I am NOT this shape, this is an non-artist's impression only!!!

Steek Now, Or Forever Hold Your Peace.

Here in The Apple Isle we have The Broadband. But it's more of the Narrowband as far as everyone else is concerned. When I go, internetally, to The BBC or to Auntie's iView, their sites quickly assess my Broadband and say: Sorry, you only have Dial Up, well 1/10th of the speed required anyway. I mention this only because it takes a bazillion hours to upload a 25 second video to The YouTube. Just saying. This afternoon the Large Body-of-Water company were in the big underground 'rooms' in the footpath playing with the phone and internet lines. Maybe we will have speedier access??

So, Donni, your wish is my command!! Here is Gilly displaying three of her new skills: Coming when I call her, sitting, and then asking with her little paw. And Peri is ready for her close up too. Gilly has her current toy favourites: a jug and a container. Sadly, I didn't have my camera ready when she ran about with her head in a paper bag last night. I am using my special Baby Labrador Talking To Voice, sorry about that.


Two years and eleven months ago I gave MrsDrWho some 'wool' and promised to knit her a cardigan. How time flies. I actually started knitting earlier this week. There has been a bit of an accident with a puppy.

When Knitting meets Gilly

Amandaj and I had such an excellent discussion yesterday. There is a jumper with a yoke of Owls, the owl from the dishcloth I knitted. The designer has a new jumper with paper dolls knitted in a contrasting colour around the yoke. Amandaj believes in me, she believes a woman can steek. Yes, after The Pop Tartigan is completed and I have finished the Stargate Cardigan I am going to make The Steeking Paws. This style of jumper does nothing for me, so Amandaj and I have decided I will knit a cardigan inspired by Paper Dolls: it will have a green body, with a green yoke, and green paw prints on the yoke. There will be no purls, except maybe at the centre front, and when it is finished I will Steek the jumper, thus making a cardigan, it will have long sleeves too. Tomorrow I might get out my watercolour pencils and draw a picture.

Today Uncle and Auntie Dutch came amd worked hard all day in the garden. My feet are too tired to go up the steps again now, so I will take some pictures tomorrow. It is wonderful to have all my paving revealed!!

Now I am off to soak my feet, put them up, and have a cup of tea before we all have an early night.

But first a quick picture of my lunch yesterday: chicken burger made with sour cream, diced onion, Dijon mustard, lemon zest and real ketchup, served wth red onion and lemon salsa, baby spinach, avocado and a slice of blue Brie melted on top, all on a piece of sourdough baguette. Absolutely Delicious and from the magazine of the same name!! I mixed a little extra sour cream, mustard and ketchup to spread on the bread!!!

Lunch yesterday 

I have republished this four times now because my brain is so tired!!

166: The Number of The Zip

Today I went to Support Group. It was not on. It is on Thursday this week, but my baby addled brain decided not to remember. I hadn't even opened my diary until Monday at about 11am , whereupon I realised I had an appointment to have my port flushed a bit later on. I must get my act together. Anyway, whilst having a chat with Lovely Nurse and Wonderful Volunteer, they remembered that one of the other people had dropped off a present for me: a bag of zips. And here they are in all their wondrous, zippy glory. All 166 of them!!!

Zipetty doo da 

On Sunday Gilly and I went to brunch at Auntie and Uncle Dutch's house. She had a lovely time playing with Tommy and Poppy and she met Auntie and Uncle Electric too.  We had pancakes with bananas and home made caramel sauce. I took some berry and blueberry sauce as well. And there were about five pots of French Earl Grey!!!

Non Appearing Photo


Right here there should be a wonderful picture. I have been trying to upload it for hours. It is a collage like the one of Caramello that follows. If you click on the words Non Appearing Photo, it might open in a new window and you might see it. Honestly, The Typepad is boogelly at the moment. People can't comment, I can't even comment on my own blog. And do you know, whenever I open a ticket for Help, they always say it must be me. But if one collage will appear in my post, why won't the other??? I even created the collage three times in case I had done something strange to the first one. Thank goodness I have just taken my blood pressure tablets, otherwise who knows what might happen!!! (Head explode?? Steam from ears???)

This morning whichever lucky cat was caught went to the vet. The 'winner' was Caramello. She wasn't too happy in the Waiting Room, turning her back on me and sulking, but once we were in the Surgery she was so well behaved and such a good girl. The vet said she was very healthy and gave her two vaccinations, and lauded MrsDrWho's care. See how this photo appears???????

Caramello at the vet 

Before that, Harki and Peri went for a walk. Now let's see if that photo will appear shall we.....

Nosy Labradors 

Look at that: a picture.  Gilly loves Peri, they had a big romping play outside in the dark. I have left The Labradors home alone quite a few times and all seems well.

I have finished my face cloth for The Ravelry Cloth and Soap Swap and started again on a project that has been languishing in a basket for a very long time.

Now I'm trying for a random picture from any old folder....

The other side of my gingerbread house 

Oh look, that one works too.  That's my Gingerbread House from a few years ago now.

Then we all had a very big nap. The puppy exhausts us all, and though we do sometimes escape to the bed without her, this afternoon we let her up and everyone slept happily. Later MrsDrWho and I went to The BlackSpot of Doomlight's sale for an hour. I bought some fabric and some Lock. Lock is the non-slippy confection that you put under rugs to stop them slipping. Mine is green and it is going in the back of the car for The Labradors.

OK, I must go to bed now because in the morning it's Cleo's turn to be caught and taken to the vet.

Wee Are The Champions, My Friends.....

My word it is hot, it's after 10pm and it's still 30*C. The poor Labradors are all too hot, even though we have played in the paddle pool, with the hose and had some lemonade icy-poles. There is apparently not going to be an Autumn this year. Yet.

On the Wee front here has been a breakthrough. Only four wees inside in the last two days. When we go outside Gilly has her dark little eyes fixed on my hands. Just in case I have a treat for her if she is good. Harki is ever patient and gentle, she looks at me with such a long suffering expression. Yesterday Harki and Gilly dug a hole together.

Lovely Patient Harki

Poor Peri is the recipient of some nipping and biting, but she seems to enjoy it. Though if Gilly nips too hard Peri chases her and Gilly runs to me to look after her. Gilly comes when you call her name, and she can just about sit now if she's not too hungry for her food. Previous Gilly toys featured are from  DarksideKnitterand her family, thank you!! And endless of treats supplied by MrsDrWho (The Labradors' auntie) 

Gilly knows how the toy box works. Peri Waits

Auntie Katie, Penny and Lucy have sent Gilly a new toy and some treats. She likes her toy a lot and is curious as to why I keep pointing the camera at her!!!

Gilly has a new toy

There has been yet another face cloth completed: a Dalek one this time and it is grey, Dalek grey. I've also started a face cloth for someone else, and I have found bits and pieces of my Stargate Cardigan. That's my next project.


2 of 7

The new Knitty is out and I have seen at least Eight Things I would like to make. I'm starting , when I get to it, with The Decimal Cardigan. It's green!!! We are hoping for cooler weather and maybe some much needed rain tomorrow. Maybe I can finish my face cloth.

I decided to make some soup, it's an Autumnal thing to do and I liked the look of the Spinach and Lentil soup from Better Homes & Gardens last week. It Is Delicious!!!! I left out the pancetta sprinkled on top and it is still delicious.

Here's a quick precis of the recipe.

Spinach and Lentil Soup BH&G April (serves 4)

  • 440g tin of brown lentils (or 150g uncooked, there were none to be had here)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch celery, chopped, I used leaves and all
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 big pinches of thyme
  • 3 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 litre of chicken/vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • bunch of parsley, chopped
  • sourdough bread, sliced and toasted
  • ricotta cheese
  • squeeze of lemon, black pepper

If you have uncooked lentils, soak and cook them as per the packet, but I had a tin so I skipped that step. Heat 2 tbspn oil in a big pan and fry the onion, carrot and celery till tender. Add the stock, bay leaf, lentils, black pepper and thyme and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan to another container, taking out the bay leaf, and then add the other 1 tbspn oil and fry the garlic for a minute then add the spinach and the parsley. Fry till wilted. Add to the soup and then whizz in your favourite way. Spoon a little ricotta onto the toast, with some pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and float it on top of the soup. It is so delicious.

Soup de jour

We're The Department Of Youth, Ahh Ahh, Wee Got The Power!!

Yes, that's right, there are tiny wees all over the carpet. Gilly's wees will be my bete noir, I can tell. Wee go outside a while after she has a drink and wee stand and I say 'Do a wee.' -  Wee wait. I am patient. She says: No thanks. Then wee go inside and before you can say Jack Robinson, she's weeing. There are little piles of bicarb sprouting up everywhere!! Still she looks as if she will be up for some housework later on!!

Gilly is helpful

Harki and Peri had a lovely walk this morning. It was cool, though today it ended up being close, muggy and hot. Harki smelled lots of smells and even went 'off road' to chase a smell. Peri ran far and wide. There is going to have to be a lot of far-ing and wide-ing as she hasn't had her normal half hour walk since the beginning of January. It's all detente here now, there are fewer growls every day. I make a conscious effort to pay attention to The Big Dogs and wee have special patting and playing time.

These Labs are made for walkin'

There has been knitting. I've finished another TARDIS facecloth (needs blocking) and I've finished the Secret Thing apart from the buttons. Buttons are the most difficult thing to choose. To get them just right is tricky. I've started a Dalek facecloth. It's grey and it's too late to take a photo now.

TARDIS cloth 2

Secret Knitting 

So that's it really, my life is small at the moment. Wee all have an afternoon nap. I have to have a nap or I can't function. I have been reading a little: I've started John Flanagan's Apprentice Ranger Series. I have new rechargeable batteries in both my walking around phones thanks to MrsDrWho so I can chat and knit at the same time- or puppy wrangle. MrsDrWho and I are planning a miltary-style lightning strike on the cinema next week. Possibly at 21 hundred hours, possibly for 97 minutes, to see Easy Virtue (Colin Firth in a remake of Noel Coward's play). Wee are still waiting for Autumn, which has not yet appeared: 'Until they think warm days will never cease', says Keats in his Ode To Autumn. Cease, I say, cease and desist!!!

A Bit Later On.

I have been reading Samsara's Scribblings for ages but for some reason I could never comment on her blog. Just now I clicked on the clicky Comemnt word and LO!! The Comments opened up and I could say something. So thank you for the lovely Tree of Happiness award. I am glad that The Labradors make you happy, they certainly make me happy every day. There is some very cool craft work and lots of interesting things being Scribbled about!!

The Dear Hunter

Gilly's close up

We have survived into Day Three. When she thinks I'm not looking, Harki stops growling at Gilly, and quietly sneaks up to her and gently sniffs her. What a good girl she is. She's still not altogether happy, but is becoming resigned. Peri has, thankfully, stopped wanting to stand on the coffee table. To everyone's relief. Gilly has a little ridge down her face where the two 'grains' of her fur meet. She is an actual relly of the Labradors in the Kleenex and Sorbent ads: 47 degrees of separation I think.

Gilly Loves Harki 

Peri and Gilly's legs

There are still, proportionally, more wees outside than in, so that's good. Lorelai Gilmore is constantly being taken outside and plonked on the grass and told to wee. She must think I am mad!!! 

As you can see below, she likes to play with her toys and has comandeered a plastic bowl and a cardboard tube. Sticks are good fun, but they don't distract entirely from Collar Wearing time. She likes the camera and if you are not careful tries to eat it and you. There are some eating issues too: I've tried her little green dish, this container and a plate but what she really wants is to eat from the Big Dogs' bowls. All the puppies ate from the same dish.

Gilly Day2

I have managed to wrangle them altogether for a photo once or twice and we are all generally getting along.

Three's Not a Crowd

MrsDrWho came to visit yesterday and kindly brought presents for The Labradors and a noodle box for my lunch. Gilly slept for most of the visit but Harki and Peri warred happily over who would get the most pats!! They wore themselves out.

I have managed to do some knitting. At last. It is secret but I have managed 12 short rows. I hope to go and knit some more anon as everyone is napping. I have the Secret Knitting and two face cloths to make before Tuesday. I have set myself a goal. I am pretty much trapped at home, though Gilly stays safely in the hall with a treat for half an hour while The Big Dogs go for a walk. Being Home (Not) Alone has also meant lots of time for washing, I've made some Chicken Korma and caught up on some reading. Tonight I am really looking forward to Lost in Austen: splendid!!

Well, expect to be bombarded regularly with Labrador pictures and be assured the novelty for me will never wear off. It's Twenty Labrador years and counting this year.

Good Grief It's Princess Number Three

So I love Two, Two is great,

Two is the number I do not...Wait

Important news comes from the Queen,

A new baby and I have seen

That she is well as well can be..

Good Grief, it's Princess Number Three!!!


With thanks to Sesame Street's King of Eight.

So today Uncle and Auntie Dutch drove me to pick up Lorelai Gilmore. On the way home in the car Gilly cleaned the window and attempted to chew the seat, the seat-belt and me!!

Poor Harki and Peri were not amused. Harki is a bit growly, but wagging her tail, and Peri seems a bit afraid. Brace yourselves now: she stood on the coffee table. Briefly.

Three Little Maids

It was all go with dogs going everywhere and I am home alone with them all. Gilly has learned where the water is, where the food is and how to get in and out the dog door. She knows about toys and has about a bazillion out of the box and runs up and down the house with them. At the moment she is chewing The Sun. Thank goodness I did large amounts of puppy proofing as she is into everything and has already run off with my bag!!! Now she is dragging her lovely green pawprint blanket about.

Gilly Playing With Her Star Toy

She has been outside to do wees by herself and with The Big Dogs. Huge celebrations ensue when she does. They have all had Puppy food and a treat. Then happiness reigns supreme for a while.

Happy Little Maids

Now Harki and Peri have gone to bed because they are 'safe' from the baby. Gilly is either asleep at my feet where she can touch me, or running up and down the house.  As a challenge to  herself she likes to hold a toy in her mouth and then climb up on the couch. This takes about five minutes by which time she is tired of that toy. Then she hops down and chooses another toy and starts all over again. I can tell we are all going to be exhausted for the next week or so.

Gilly Sleepy

I also expect to get some knitting done as I will be home. A Lot. Thank you for all the kind Puppy comments, Gilly appreciates them and so do The Big Dogs and I!!!

More tomorrow I expect.