Sheep therapy

I always feel so calm and happy after being on our friends farm and doing a little herding. 

Roscoe did fabulous today. He has a firmness with the sheep yet doesn’t insist on being constantly inside their bubble. I only ran him once. He is a clever boy and will stop working when he realizes it is practice not true work. 

Allie also worked nicely. She’s a real rocket dog and likes to zip around furiously. Her recall is non existent in the presence of stock so she trails a horse lead line. I need it as an aid to practice halts, and the inevitable “that’ll do”

E joined me today. She spotted a jar of hard candies on the picnic table. A few minutes of relentless whinging was finally put to a stop with a sharp rebuke and dire threat. After a brief period of pouting E recovered her good humor. She enjoyed the lambs and geese and ducks. She spent most of the time pulling strands of hay from the nearby round bales and ensuring each of the rabbits got a bit of a treat. 

It was wonderful to see friends. The weather was warm and we didn’t need our hats the entire time. I continue to be thankful to have access to sheep within a relatively short drive. I know in the lower 48 must drive several hours for stock. 

Tomorrow Bing will try for his third Q in Open Barnhunt. 

Love my cardigans. 

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5th birthday

I made an ice cream cake for Elizabeth’s party later today.Gluten free cake from a box mix (who knew such a thing was available?!?)

Baskin Robbins Strawberry ice cream

Baskin Robbins Chocolate ice cream

Chocolate icing (powdered sugar, Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, heavy cream)

Whipped cream frosting (heavy cream whipped, and aforementioned chocolate icing folded in) on the sides

Commercial cream cheese frosting for the piping. 

We tried to buy an ice cream cake but they all contained wheat. Drat. 

I think it came out well. 

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Meanie Allie

She always steals toys. Meanie. 

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Balance beam reboot

Today Uncle Walter guided me thru building the support piece for a balance beam I’d picked up from Calgary IKEA. 

Dragging up aunt’s walkway

The balance beam is cleverly constructed in classic IKEA fashion. All but one piece break down to flat easily transported pieces. In order to get it back to Alaska I abandoned the support beam after hacking off one end to be a guide. I did so knowing that Uncle Walter would almost certainly be willing to lend his expertise to fashioning its replacement. 

It transported home easily. 

This morning I met UW at the shop. We laid out the pieces. I showed him the instructions for assembly, and the bit I’d brought back to use as a template. 

Think. Plan. Do.

There was a nice piece of scrap lumber reminescent of mahogany that possessed the requisite qualities. UW ripped it to the correct width. Mark ran it thru a machine that squared everything up. Then several passes thru a sander. 

36″ sander

I marked where the holes were to be drilled. Then UW taught me how to use a great big drill press. I needed two hole sizes. I drilled ten holes deep into the board vertically. We drilled five vertical holes of a smaller size by hand. 

Holes. Many.

The beam is composed of five lozenges. Each lozenge has three penetrations. Two receive short dowels, the center penetration goes all the way through and is secured by a screw. So 15 holes across the top. 

Checking fit. Readying for center holes.

The four support legs are likewise secured by two dowels each and a long bolt all the way through. Very strong. 

Drilling holes for legs

Many holes later, plus rounding the edge with finish router, I’d made a thing. I enjoyed spending several hours with Uncle Walter, asking he and Mark questions. They are both dreadfully competent and that is a very fine thing indeed. It was kind of them to help. 


The support beam is drying in the garage. I had a bit of clear varathane from a different project. Slapped on a coat just before E and papa returned from their adventures. 

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Pink violin

I started E on piano quite awhile back. Mostly to expose her to rhythm and the idea of music. Once a week we troop over to The Music Man and make some joyful racket. 

She is fascinated by the different instruments naturally. We also write letters to nana regularly (E dictates and I write down her stream of consciousness). E shared with her nana that she wanted a pink violin. We had been telling her she needs to get a handle on the piano before we start adding instruments. 

Well. Nana is a classically trained violinist. I grew up attending concerts and quartet sand practice with her. I adored it. I never dreamt she would be on board with an unconventional violin. 

This is what I received in today’s email from nana:

HI – well it arrived yesterday and is it ever PINK! We probably don’t want to know what it’s made of, but it came in a good looking case plus as many accessories she will ever want – extra strings, shoulder rest, awesome music stand… even a gadget to help her tune same, although I can’t figure it out.

After more than an hour, I finally managed to get the bridge in place, tune it up and try it out. ( I kept trying to put under my chin to tune, just like I do w/mine – ha ha. Figured that out – holding it where expected, chin rest comes to my inside elbow. what fun. ) Had trouble playing on one string only at first, & thought uh oh, bridge might need adjusting. but today managed it…. getting used to a fiddle that small. The sound is surprisingly good, but the sound post is going to need adjusting – I don’t know to do it, but can see it’s not in quite the right place. (not urgent) If this rain ever stops, will take same to our violin guru in SR & have him look it over & make necessary adjustments. 

P is looking for Little Tree’s Suzuki book, but it’s been a long time. we’ll figure something out.


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Cardigans do Algebra

<laughing>If Anchorage receives x+2 feet of snow and dog owner y shovels 14z+12 cubic feet of snow away from the back fence, then how many d nonobaddogs hop over the previously 4′ fence to the neighbors yard. 
Solve for d. 
Yes, that is correct. 2 nonobaddogs hop over the fence and tear trails around the neighbors (fortunately also fenced) back yard. 
Allie and Roscoe are oh so very pleased with themselves and their adventure. 
They were caked with snow. They came cheerfully when I called. I lifted them back over the fence. I thought I’d shoveled away enough snow. These two are even more athletic than I thought. 
Any bets on who led the adventure?

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Deep snow

Lots of snow the last few days. Starting to look normal again. 

Cleared the greenhouse and played with the dogs for a bit. 

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One four year old

One driveway

Five bottles of tempera paint


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Lazy Sunday afternoon

I should be laying sod, running laundry, cleaning something. 

I’m indulging in’Wargames’ with Matthew Broderick. The corgis are kicked back, relaxed. I have a warm bowl of soup in my belly, a soft furry companion at my side. Scott and E are running errands. 




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Elizabeth is learning many things these days. Songs, ideas, singing her alphabet, writing her numbers and letters. 

At Pizza Man tonight she drew a particularly fabulous ‘2’ in orange crayon. 

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