Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Gifts given and taken

This is going to be two posts in one. I started Part Two before heading into last weekend, when it became clear that Jackson was becoming 'bedridden,' a fate no animal understands or deserves. The first half is acknowledgement of how much your collective sadness and empathy over my* loss means to me, that life does go on with meaning and joy (as well as other challenges**), and that peace is coming more quickly than I expected. Oh, if I chose to dwell on bittersweet memories or the current aching void, I could quickly tailspin into swamping sorrow, but I choose to redirect my thoughts instead, over and over again. And when you make the better choice, you can see what God sends to encourage you, like rainbows while working my horses on that most difficult of days,

a cat who craves cuddling,

the dynamic beauty of nature and weather (photos posted in chronological order from yesterday morning through this morning),

the unexpected blessing of a bridle to fit my new beauty for under $20 –
I introduced the bridle to Stella in parts; this isn't all of it.
and the SIX eggs the hens gave me yesterday – in January!

Part Two

Someone new to Boulderneigh left a comment on my January 7 post. (Welcome, M.K.!) She said, in part, "I love yarn and knitting and spinning, so hopefully I'll see some of your woolish activities here too!" Well, M.K., the reason(s) I do any "woolish activities" at all are my Shetland sheep.
Before getting them it had been ~35 years since I'd dabbled in knitting and crocheting, and spinning wasn't even on my radar. But after getting Shetlands to provide some 'farm income' for property tax purposes, the "Call of the Wool" drew me in. First I taught myself how to knit again, thanks to a Lion Brand tutorial, then I learned how to make yarn – first with a spinning wheel, then with spindles, followed by an e-spinner. Since then I'm rarely without a spindle and some fiber or a knitting project; having something enjoyable and productive to do with my hands has transformed the way I view "down time"! My current project, some mystery roving I'm spinning on my Lilac Jenkins Turkish "Aegean" spindle, has kept me busy while waiting for and during grand jury orientation, riding in the car, and watching Brian's school's boys' and girls' basketball games.

Yep, more than a month after their season started, Brian is back in the game after taking care of some grade issues. Let's hope he can finish out the season!

Back to "woolish activities." Most of you will remember the two hats I knit for my farrier and his wife from yarns they had millspun from their flock of Texels and Border Leicesters. When my farrier came again last week to do the horses' trims, he brought me a thank-you gift from his wife, who doesn't knit but who does felt:
I wore that beautiful scarf to church last weekend. 😊

Someone I have long admired for her art and humor (even more so during the current administration!) posted this oh-so-appropriate sketch on Instagram:
Because in the midst of Jackson's crisis, **we realized that our roof was leaking and a hose failed in my car's coolant system – all while Rick's workload petered out to nothing. I am trying not to think about the money I spent on a new horse and the money we spent on more hay, and am praying that the veterinary business picks back up SOON.

As for giving our hearts to another dog to tear (I love that poem, Jean!), who knows. Reaching a family consensus on what and what not to get will be difficult at best (even though Brian will be leaving for college this year, he still has Very Strong Opinions). I would get another herding dog in a heartbeat but Rick doesn't like them (*no, he wasn't even that fond of my dear Jackson). I've been intrigued by Decker rat terriers and have been following a breeder on Facebook for two litters now (yesterday out of the blue, a friend told me they have reserved one of the pups in the current litter!), but neither of my guys seem interested. Getting all of us together to go look at shelter dogs, much less agree on one, is also improbable. Sigh; at least I have other distractions, but the house is awfully empty and quiet....

That's it for now from . . .


Retired Knitter said...

Your spindle spinning is the most perfect spinning of that type I have ever seen. I had a spinning wheel and I gave it away. I have kept my spindles, however, and when I finally learn to say "no" to other stuff in my life, I will take that back up!

I am glad you will get another dog. You have the perfect home for one - land, love and in house Vet services. There are so many cats and dogs without homes. When a perfect home exists and it has an "opening" it is almost a sin to not fill that spot.

Michelle said...

Elaine, I am really at an odd spot emotionally. I can't imagine living without a dog, but am strangely reluctant to pursue getting another (although Rick and I did talk some about it last night). I think the reluctance is mostly coming from having to deal with family politics; if it were just me, I'd start looking at shelter dogs right away to find one that speaks to me. But then again if it were just me, I probably couldn't afford a dog!

I do hope you can get back to spinning again. They are so easy to pick up to do a little spinning here and there; I have a feeling once you start you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner!

Kim said...

Your Shetlands are by far the softest and cleanest I have used, especially Bittersweet. As for a dog, I can’t imagine life without one. So when it’s time for the old man puppy to cross the Rainbow Bridge I will grieve a bit but then I will positively get another.

Michelle said...

Kim, your comment on the wool from my flock means so much! While I am functioning just fine, I think I am still grieving, hence the present reluctant to find another dog.

C-ingspots said...

*sigh* All those opinions...I will be keeping you in my prayers that the right dog finds you. As you know, Charlotte wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a dog. Turns out, she was the perfect dog for me, and definitely was exactly who I was looking for. Just in a different package than what my mind was seeing. :)

Donna said...

I am so sorry about Jackson. Having recently lost Rocky, I can appreciate your sorrow. I do think it was good that we got Steve from the shelter before Rocky died. Ir helped with the transition.

Michelle said...

Lorie, you know it! I would really like to get a shelter dog....

It was really hard to lose BOTH our dogs within three months, Donna, but I knew it would be too hard on Jackson to bring in a new dog in his frail, failing final days. Now we have none, and that's really hard.

Leigh said...

What a great post. Stella is so pretty! What a joy to watch her run.

A :-) said...

I know you miss Jackson. When you are ready, your next dog will appear. You don't have to worry about how or where or when. It will happen. And I'm sorry you got a spammer comment. I just listened to a version of the Beatle's All You Need is Love.

There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy
All you need is love . . .

And you have plenty of love :-)

M.K. said...

Oh my! Those are some gorgeous woolish things!! Your blue yarn is amazing. I've done just enough spinning (alpaca) to recognize that that consistent yarn takes so much practice to spin.And what a color! And the scarf you were given -- wow! I can only aspire to do that someday ... in my dreams!

It's hard to go pick out a good dog at the shelter. It's easy to go pick out any old dog, but not easy to find a really good one :( Probably better to wait and patiently decide what you all want.