Oh, Bear

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This was the last spinning I touched. It’s been a full week. You’re probably wondering, “OMG, Sarah! Are you feeling all right?!?!” The answer, quite simply is that it’s been quite a week.

About a week ago, Mr. Knitting Sarah went from being kind of sick with a cold to pretty darn sick with a cold. The worst of his cold seemed to hit Sunday night — there was a fever and a lot of restlessness which led to our Bear, tender heart that he is, spending most of the night whining. Unfortunately, Monday through Wednesday of this past week was Mr. KS’ annual work conference and it’s one where the kids and I ride along, board the dogs nearby, and spend a couple days at the indoor waterpark at the conference center where the meetings are held. It’s a wonderful treat… unless you arrive sleep deprived thanks to a puppy’s good-hearted concerns as well as pretty certain you’re going to leave sick. Then, it’s kind of exhausting.

I don’t know how, but Mr. KS went and handled his conference well (clearly he has superpowers) and the the rest of us managed to stave off the sickness until the last day and enjoy ourselves. I played some arcade games with the kiddos day one and day three, we went bowling, and ran ragged while we had the chance — sanitizing as we went, of course, to hopefully not infect the entire complex with any germs we might be carrying along. The kiddos spent one day in the waterpark while I knit.

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I started a sock for Mr. KS since it was small and easy to carry around and it felt like a nice thing to do while he was busy working. Plus, he needs some new socks.

Also, I finished up my Milliken vest on the way down, doing a 3-needle bind-off with a pen because I didn’t have the third needle.

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You would think with the load of stuff I packed that I’d have remembered a needle for this bind-off, but I did not. In any case, this beauty is washed and drying as I type, so there will be more on it soon!

By the time we hit the road home Wednesday afternoon, I was feeling the dreaded cold setting in. I was unwell enough that I didn’t touch my knitting at all on the drive (it was also a snowstorm because it seems we can only travel in snowstorms now). There was also this…

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Bear still hates the car and awkwardly sits next to or on top of Moose a lot. It’s as heartbreaking as it is hilarious. Moose, it’s clear to see, is a very patient gent. I should mention that while Bear is riding in the car he is almost always drooling profusely so Moose emerges soaked. If they sainted dogs, Moose should be first on that list.

Yesterday, among a bunch of chores, I started a new garment project…

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Lesley in this Quince & Co Osprey that’s been in my stash for a long while. I’m knitting the top-down seamless version and my goal was to get through separating the sleeves today. Let me tell you, I managed it, but it was against great odds. Thanks wholly to this guy…

 

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Oh Bear. Bear who decided that instead of letting me get some rest last night, he would whine almost through the entire night, waking me about every 30minutes to an hour. Normally, he sleeps from bedtime to 6am with no problem. I’d have gladly slept through it if I could have, but mom hearing being what it is, I woke up for every whimper. Since he did it when Mr. KS was at his sickest as well, I wonder if it was that? Some sort of intuition? Some sort of attempt to help. I have no idea. Let’s pretend that’s it because it’s at least endearing.

Suffice to say, I awoke exhausted and much worse for the wear today, but after a brief nap this morning, I did manage to get through separating the sleeves off of my Lesley.

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And Bear, well, he thinks it’s his job to find me where ever I am and whatever I’m doing, check in with me, and play with me. Or share his treats with me. And I’m going to tell myself it’s because he’s a baby and if he was sad or didn’t feel good, he’d want me to find him and play with him. Or share my treats with him. Oh, Bear.

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Now maybe tonight he can let me sleep so I have the energy to get back to spinning (and shovel the 5-8″ of snow we’re supposed to get tonight) tomorrow. Oh, Bear.

 

Only So Many Days

Happy New Year! 

It’s taken me a while to figure out how to start today. The truth is that between the normal hectic holidays stuff and the addition of Bear to our family, New Year’s kind of snuck up on us and I was even more thankful than I usually am to spend a quiet night at home.

Bear, in case you were wondering, is doing very well.

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He is a very happy pup who loves to be outside. In fact, when he figured out that he could ring the bell on the door or cry a little at it to go out and that we’d praise him for it, well, he was pretty sure he had hit the new home jackpot. It really didn’t matter that we put the bell there with a certain purpose in mind. He is definitely a pretty smart dog and has selective hearing/learning skills when he wants! We’ll leave out the parts where he routinely trips over his own feet and somersaults or accidentally face-plants instead of making it up that one small step and just stick with the idea that he is pretty smart. In any case, he has really settled in to rhythm of our family in the two weeks since we brought him home.

We’ve been doing our best to teach him manners, something for which Moose has been a huge help…

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I’ve never had two dogs at the same time before and it’s amazing to watch Moose teach Bear. If Bear gets caught chewing on something he shouldn’t and we redirect him, Moose will run over, toy in mouth, and drop it on Bear as if to say, “Here, chew on this instead. This thing is ok.” If Bear doesn’t take the hint, he picks it up and drops it on him again. And again. Until the pup gets it. He’s been teaching him to play chase nicely as well as where the perimeter of the yard is. I didn’t think I could love Moose more, but I do. I am totally humbled by his kind, thoughtful, patient soul.

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He is also getting lots of one-on-one love, of course, because no one deserves it more.

We’re also learning all the things that make Bear happy…

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Like chewing sticks on our balcony. He LOVES the cold and LOVES chewing sticks, but occasionally I need to do things like laundry or clip Moose’s nails (that was today’s challenge!), so he gets to go in his “puppy playpen.” He thinks it’s just the bee’s knees and doesn’t even realize that he’s letting us get actual things done.

As you can plainly see, most of my thoughts are on random dog training things or what the latest adorable thing the dogs are doing or — you know — how I’m dying because Bear is sleeping sooooo sweetly with his paws in the air, making little “sleep woofs.” Yeah… it’s kind of all dogs all the time right now. As it should be though. As Mr. Knitting Sarah says, there are only so many days in your life you get to spend with puppies and they are all special. Almost all other plans have flown the coop.

I’d hoped to have my bobbins empty and new yarns to share today. Instead, I have a bin of full bobbins…

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There are actually two more full bobbins than this which I set over by my wheel in a moment of wishful thinking where I thought I’d blow through 2 plying projects last night.

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I got through one… almost.

I also made a bit of progress on my Kickapoo Socks

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I am totally in love with this yarn. I wanted to get through the ribbing last night and I managed to do just that.

It’s the new year, though, and I do want to set some goals for myself. I’m a habitual goal-setter, before finishing one project I like to have the next set up, so I’m continually setting new goals, always. I do find the new year, with its clean calendar, is a fun time to set some new ones though, you know?

After years of setting fiber arts goals of all sorts and sizes, I’ve decided not to set any specific project goals for this year. I’m at a place in life where I need flexibility and my hobby needs to respond to whatever else is happening in life. I want my goals to reflect that, to be more general, more organizational, and more about setting priorities than checking boxes on particulars. Maybe it’ll prove too nebulous, or maybe it’ll be just the right fit… we will see!

So here, in no particular order are some of my 2019 fiber arts goals:

  1. Participate in the Three Waters Farm Skill Builder SAL this year
  2. Spin 15 a day with my friends in the Friends of Knitting Sarah Group
  3. Continue to improve how I evaluate and talk about my spinning so I can help others to become better spinners (this folds into #1)
  4. Do a better job of keeping  Ravelry project pages for my knitting & spinning projects
  5. Knit some of my stash’s sweater quantities, preferably into sweaters
  6. Find a way to revive my sock knitting
  7. Tag my handspun yarn as I finish it
  8. Make notes for future blog post ideas to make sitting down to write more efficient
  9. Figure out my loom warping situation and do some weaving
  10. Set-up a yarn winding station somewhere in the house that I can leave up

That all seems reasonable, right?

What are your fiber arts goals this year? 

(Oh, and one more gratuitous Bear photo, because you only get so many days with a puppy!)

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The Adventures of Moose & Bear

It’s been a flurry of activity, even more than normal around the Knitting Sarah homestead over the past week. We had a visit from some very special out-of-town friends over the weekend which was extraordinary and wonderful — I’ll get to that recap soon. Today though, I have a different, yet also very special story to share.

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While scrolling through social media, Mr. Knitting Sarah showed me a picture. One of his co-workers has a small family farm that primarily raises pigs. They had bred their farm dogs — who work their pastures, helping protect their animals from the area wildlife — and had puppies for sale.

We’ve been flirting with the idea of a second dog for a while now and have been watching rescue and shelter ads online for the right fit. Since we have a great family dynamic with Moose and the kids, the fit was our primary concern. We would happily remain a one dog house, but we felt that both Moose and kids were at the perfect age to welcome a new addition. So we waited and we watched. And months passed. We popped into local shelters from time to time. Nothing really felt right though.

We came to adopt Moose when one of Mr. KS’s co-workers had a sister who had a small farm and had bred her beloved lab to keep her line alive. Moose had been held for a family member who then decided against taking on another dog. We felt great supporting the small farm and I’ll never forget the day he waddled out to meet us, all paws and fat belly and ears. He was and is, truly, the perfect dog for us.

Monday night, though, the picture Mr. KS showed me of a little black pup with white mittens, well, it stopped both of us. Something about this pup’s calm eyes and focus on the camera said, “I’m chill. I’d fit right in with you.” The whole similar situation of a family farm, beloved pets, etc, echoed our good experience with Moose. Mr. KS messaged his co-worker asking all the relevant info and set up a time to go meet the little guy.

At work yesterday, Mr. KS got a little more info on the pup from the owner and we became pretty optimistic that he was going to be the right fit for us. We also learned that he was ready to go home right away, so my day quickly turned into getting ready for a 7 week old puppy. Getting his food, a collar, some flea treatment (since he’d been living in the barn), a couple bones to chew on, and a vet appointment set up for him while also getting through our school day and then setting the kids loose to clean the crate up (which we have from Moose, but haven’t used in years) and do some beginning puppy-proofing. My girl, who has been asking for a puppy for at least 2 years, vacillated all day between excited chatter and tears of joy. By the time Mr. KS got home from work, my introverted self was exhausted!

And so the time came to meet the pup. I was all nerves, of course, because that is me. First we met the pup’s mama, a Newfoundland/German Shepherd mix and just about the friendliest, sweetest dog you can imagine. She actually reminded me a fair bit of Moose’s mama. And from the pasture, the pup’s dad, a Great Pyrenees gave a couple hearty woofs. We went into the barn, mama leading the way to her pups. And they we came to stall FULL OF PUPPIES. This is about the time when my heart and head exploded.

We watched the whole litter and the one we’d picked was definitely one of the most mellow, relaxed, easy-going personalities. He liked saying hi to his mama, didn’t mind being picked up, and mostly just looked ready for a nap. Yep. This was definitely our dog.

We carried him out to the car and mama followed along. We gave them a minute to say good-bye and we thanked her and promised to take good care of him. The two times I’ve been a part of this transition, it always strikes me as a kind of a heart-breaking moment. Mama dog is so stoic & pup never quite knows what’s happening, but both times I’ve felt a connection and understanding with the Mama.

He rode on my lap for the 20minute ride home. He cried a little, but mostly he just drooled excessively so that my sleeve was soaked. And then he threw up. Seeing as though this guy is 7 weeks old, just left the only home he’s known without his mama, and was with strangers in a car (which is also probably a first!), I’m not going to blame the little guy. I’m exhausted and stressed out just thinking about it!

Nevertheless, we made it home and he met Moose in the driveway. Tails wagged and, having made the acquaintance, Bear laid down in the middle of the driveway, exhausted. We carried him inside — to go up stairs is still a bit of a puzzle — and Moose gave him another sniff test…

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He looked around a bit…

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And then he basically lost all energy and kind of just went flat.

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He did eventually make it close to the dog bed…

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It seemed a little too much for him to try to get his giant paws up onto the bed, but eventually he flopped over.

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Aside from a few minutes of crying when he went into his crate, he didn’t make a peep all night. I finally went in and retrieved him at 5:30 this morning.  I was not expecting that!

This morning — as will be most days for a good long while — was all about playing and eating and training and house training. It’s kind of exhausting.

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He had another car ride to the vet where he got a clean bill of health, his first vaccines…

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And another nap.

For all that he’s been through in the last 24 hours, he’s done great though. And, under the guidance of his big brother Moose, he’s definitely going to be an asset supervising Knitting Sarah headquarters.

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And there is no doubt he’ll be providing many more stories for y’all to read. Stay tuned, The Adventures of Moose & Bear will soon start rolling in!