Bit all over the place

I think I’m going to be calling my newest art installation: Invisible Cat

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Our cat’s collar somehow got wrapped around one of the metal supports on their feeding dishes.  She went on a panicked rampage through the house, dragging the stand and destroying everything.  My room was hit the hardest; it’s her safe space.  She also picked the most stereotypical cat thing in the room to open and dump everywhere.  I’m almost proud of her.

Some of our friends just had a new addition arrive at their house in the form of a giant, bouncing baby boy.  Giant because he was almost 11 pounds!  I made them a lot of stuff for their little girl a few years ago, as we’d find out what they needed, but now they live forever away so I just made a small robot lovey (his dad is an EE that works with automation) for the little guy.  Hopefully it’ll get some use; I loved visiting them and bringing the girl a homemade toy every time and watching her play with it.  It’s nice to know somebody appreciates your work!  😛

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Sometimes, there’s a lot of satisfaction in proving somebody wrong…especially when that person is generally hateful towards you and never has anything nice to say.  Maybe I’ve just grown tired of being told to listen to “authority” or to “know my place”.  I’m not being mean or malicious about it but I just want everybody to know that he was wrong.

I can grow a tropical hibiscus in a zone 5.  Not only that, but I have two and they’re both flourishing.  They’re actually doing better than a lot of my cold climate plants this year — the rains and heat has been a bit unusual.

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I’ll move them inside this winter before it freezes and hope to keep them happy as larks for years to come.

Speaking of garden, we’ve been having mysterious holes appearing all over our yard this summer.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for chipmunks and voles but haven’t seen any of our usual suspects.  Plus, the holes weren’t right.  I still wouldn’t have been able to solve the mystery but I caught the culprit on film a few days ago.

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This Northern Flicker (yellow shafted — you can see a bit of it peeking through the wings) was happily pecking at our yard for almost two hours…s/he left a nice, perfectly shaped hole in that spot.  As I said, we’ve had a lot of rain and some ant nests have popped up in weird places.  I’m really glad we don’t typically spray pests around the house.  I’d hate to hurt our residents.  The flickers had another nest this spring in our owl box — it was great fun to sit out there in the evening and listen to the babies chirp.  🙂

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Bad neighbors and some craft time

I finally found my way back into my craft room!

It feels like it has been forever, especially in regards to quilting.  I haven’t quilted since last year.

I don’t have much to show for my efforts — most of my crafts take a long time and I spent the first few days resetting and reorganizing things.

I’ve had a good supervisor.

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Usually she’s biting at threads or trying to catch needles, so hiding with the stuffed animals seems to be an upgrade.

I finished the slippers from a few posts ago.  They’re fish and went together fast — don’t judge.

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I left the black pupils off because it made them look insane.  They’re already pretty nutty, they don’t need any more help.

I also actually quilted a flimsy I designed and sewed a while back.

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I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it yet.  I’m thinking of giving it to my Grandmother since it’s about lap quilt size.  It may come in handy in her living room or she can use it for a couch cover like she does some other blankets.  We’ll see.

In other news, we ventured over to Massachusetts for a concert this past weekend.  I think it’s the third time we’ve seen this particular band?  I don’t have any photos of the inside so this will have to do:

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The town it was in was SUPER cute.  We wore some Renaissance garb since we were sitting in the second row on the aisle — the band encourages people to dress up and dance.  …probably a bit too much as an old guy almost flipped over the railing into the orchestra pit.  He *bent* the railing and his feet were in the air for a good ten second and even the band was all SOMEBODY HELP HIM during his geriatric gymnastics.  Old people and beer don’t mix well; their shenanigans have always been my favorite part of those concerts.

On the way home, we made a quick detour to Springfield to stop in at our favorite late night place: Crepes Tea House.  It’s hard to beat a plate full of pancakes (especially the sirniki) and a cup of tea after rocking out at a concert.

…and once we got home, we had to resume our near silent feud with the new neighbors.

They’re horrible people.  I’ve hardly met them but they’re horrible.  You can’t see their house from ours but you can -hear- them.  Everything they say.  They don’t have an inside voice, even when outside.

The guy rode his bike up to our house, with our dogs outside, and didn’t even introduce himself.  He just screamed “Do you guys work at night?  You’re never here…  I have a mini schnauzer too but he’s bigger than yours.” at me.  I was in my pajamas, braless, and home alone, desperately trying to corral the dogs back inside because he royally ticked both of them off by approaching like that.  I’m pretty sure both dogs also know when I’m freaked out…and I was pretty freaked out by him and his hotpants and weird assumed knowledge of our routine.

Uhhh….who the fuck are you?   …and why are you in my driveway antagonizing a biting dog.  Because, you know, he’s bitten somebody now.  Also, I’m always home.  We only have one car, which we park in the garage to hide from the world, and we generally don’t answer the doorbell unless it’s somebody in a package delivery uniform or we already know them.  We’ve been invited to too many Jehovah’s Witness conventions (we talk to them, they’re sweet…then they keep coming back because we’re the only ones that doesn’t slam the door in their faces) to keep opening that door.  You’re on a bike, we’re not going to risk that you’re Mormon.  Stereotypes, man, they’re all we have when making snap decisions while in a panicked mode.  <– I didn’t actually say any of that but I said it in my head.  I didn’t answer any of his questions but just stared at him blankly and was tempted to let the dog go; his hackles were up and he was straining against his collar.  A few weeks ago the dog was getting belly rubs and licking people that he’s only met twice.  The dog knows.

Back to the crappy neighbor rant!  When they moved in, they cut all of the trees on their property and put in a huge, ugly fence.  We have an HOA but it doesn’t determine stuff like that, but the community is pretty chatty and it seems that quite a few people were miffed about it.  I was annoyed because they were chopping trees down all day and it was loud.   They fenced it and immediately kicked their three dogs out of the house and into the yard.  The dogs didn’t seem aware that a fence was put up.  Every day, several times a day, they’re at our house infuriating our dogs as they pee on everything.  The dogs don’t seem to know their names (we’ve learned them from hearing the neighbors holler at them to come home), so I don’t have much confidence in them.

But back to the trees thing; have you SEEN my backyard?

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Most of the community here is wooded and jointly owned among residents.  There are hiking and cross-country skiing trails throughout.  A good bit of the community is also dedicated as a bird sanctuary and left as wild habitat.  It’s pretty hippy-dippy, so clear cutting an acre of it is cringe-worthy.  Why would you move here if that was your plan?

Add that they’re the ones responsible for the rabbit capers last month.  I can’t remember if I blogged about that insanity or not but they had two domesticated rabbits and they disappeared one day.  When asked, they told our other neighbor that the rabbits had died.  This is a big animal loving community, people notice missing pets.

It’s probably gonna get a bit convoluted so here’s a really crap-tastic map:

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I live in the heart house and own to the road on the right and almost to their driveway on the left.  The bad neighbors, the X, so imagine the acre behind their house now cleared away.  The star is obviously right across the road from me: that house is being gutted and remodeled so is unoccupied until he finishes.  The house to the right of ours never gets involved in anything — he’s nice but keeps to himself, he calls this the community’s antisocial corner because we have more space at the top of the hill and don’t get involved with as many of the other people that are crammed in close to each other.  The guy in the check-mark house is the one that’s super animal friendly and always very concerned about the well-being of all the neighborhood critters.  The one circled in blue lives across from the annoying new neighbors.  We’re all players in this.

We noticed some new rabbits at the unoccupied star house across from us.  They were easy to spot since those two rabbits weren’t exactly the same breed as our wild locals.   …and we may have named the baby bunnies living in our forsythia.  It happens.  😀

The check-mark neighbor that inquired about the rabbits, myself, and the blue circle neighbor spent more than a week outside catching the two domesticated (but definitely not tame) bunnies.  Check-mark even set up crates and blankets and left out a ton of carrots.  I would just go over and hand-feed them blueberries — they would approach to eat them but were sooo skittish.  Blue circle got a bunch of screens out and tried corralling them in, check-mark got a pool skimmer, we had a bunch of towels.  It was mayhem but the rabbits WERE captured!

So where do the red X people come in?  As we were outside one day the woman screeches by in her car then stops in the road to scream at us “OMG THOSE LOOK LIKE MY RABBITS” then sped off.  No. Shit.  They’re the ones she said had died not a few days before, I’m not blind.  Check-mark neighbor was a little confounded — he tends to believe the best in people so thought somebody had dropped off the bunnies, not that one of our neighbors lied to his face and said their rabbits were dead.  The next day, the man (thankfully clothed this time) came by to WATCH us try to catch them.  He didn’t offer to help or try at all.  He just stood in the road and watched the five of us crawling through bushes.  We had to go pick up dinner before it came to a conclusion but apparently the jerkface said he didn’t want the rabbits and didn’t care what happened to them.  I heard screaming ensued; I’m sad to have missed that.  The bunnies ended up being taken in by a local animal rescue — check-mark has a house full of dogs and cats, we have three cats and two dogs, and circle has around three dogs and some other critters of their own.  None of us felt we could reasonably take on two new, not tame, additions.

So what happened after that?

The jerks got chickens.  Not one or two chickens…a flock of chickens…including a rooster that doesn’t know when it’s supposed to crow.  It crows every 5 to 10 minutes all day, every day, even through the night.  We do not live in a right to farm or agricultural district.  The rooster is so annoying that our guests even complained about them and they’re all animal friendly people.  I grew up in a rural area, the weird building on our family’s property…yah, that was a poultry house.  One of my favorite things to do as a toddler was collect eggs from under hens.  I love chickens, I would love to have chickens, I’ve told my dogs they can eat these chickens if they catch them.  I will defend their right to eat those chickens until I’m blue in the face — it’s already been well established through the bite incident (still so sorry that the big guy bit that nice mailman) that if anything happens involving my dogs on my property, they’re not at fault.

My little dog, in addition to knowing her name, seems to know my intentions.  My hubs gets frustrated with it sometimes because he said I never had to train her, she just does everything I want, including some really bizarre things that most people would never think to ask of a dog (like taking out his ponytail)…but she does them, without question.  She’s awesome. ❤

For example:

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That’s my side yard right by the tree line.  Their chickens didn’t stay in the pointless fence, either.  The little blur to the right is my little schnauzer.  She was happily prancing about in the driveway until she was asked to get the chickens.  Yakety Sax (aka the Benny Hill theme) may have well been playing after that because she chased chickens until she had them corralled all the way back onto the neighbors property — she knows her name AND where the property border is…amazing, huh?  She chased them in circles.  She chased them under trees and through blackberry bushes (she got scratched, poor thing).  She chased until she could chase chickens no more and collapsed in my lap.  She really, really wanted to catch a chicken and I really, really wish she had.

That evening, I taught my husband how to wring a chicken’s neck.  You know, just in case.  My childhood knowledge has to come in useful at some point, right?  Roosters make really good chicken and dumplings.