Friday, August 14, 2020

Yum! Sandwiches!

Well, you won't find these taste very yummy, but I think the colors are yummy!

I learned about an online free motion quilting class by Lori Kennedy. The class follows her new book, 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting: Hands-On Learning to Improve Your  Skills. Lori is expanding on the book by offering 25 weeks to better quilting on posts on her Web site. 

The first thing Lori suggested is that we make a number of quilt "sandwiches", putting batting between two layers of cotton, one of which should be a plain color to better see our quilting work. I hastened to the store and selected a number of yummy colors that would match or complement a quilt I made for our bed. That way, I could practice quilting and then make something practical out of the sandwiches: pillows!


This is my first sandwich. The color is much prettier in person.
Trust me!


Lori also encourages us to doodle on paper. So, I made oodles of doodles, and I began to feel twinges of my old nemesis, tennis elbow. So, not to be outdone, I began doodling with my left hand!

Lori incorporates writing in many of her quilts, and says she always signs her quilts. I love it!

Here are my first two pillows.

...and my pillows are multiplying. 

I have a few more sandwiches that I have quilted, or have yet to quilt, that will become the last 2 or 3 pillows on the bed.

So, then what?
a table runner or two
placements
wall hangings
who knows? Maybe the dogs will get their very own quilted dog bed!

Gypsy wants one like this!


Thursday, August 6, 2020

You are not welcome here!!

We have run across two unwelcome amphibious critters who have made their way to Florida.  Geesh! Everyone is coming to Florida!

The first is the cane toad. These toads secrete a toxin through their skin that can kill dogs. Luckily, neither Gypsy, nor Tucker, find any fascination in investigating any toads or frogs they happen upon. Many times, after rain storms, we come upon a variety of toads and frogs on the road. They are totally ignored by my dogs. Unlike this snail, who gets a thorough going-over by the guys!


The other invader is the Cuban tree frog. We recently became aware of their existence from an article in the newspaper. This guy is a bad dude! He eats indigenous tree frogs and lizards. 

We have lived with tree frogs for years. First, in SC (34 years) and now here. I kinda like the guys, except when they jump on me. Their icky-sticky feet, and the cold, clammy feel, are kinda creepy! I have discovered one who lives in the doggie poop bag dispenser down the road from us. Twice,  I stood in front of the dispenser to get a bag, only to have him/her jump on me! Yikes! Yeech! I now stand to one side, wiggle the bag a bit to give him a chance to move to the side, before extracting a bag san frog!! 

We moved a free-standing umbrella from our lot at the RV resort to the "cage" around our pool. When we opened the umbrella, three tree frogs jumped out. I caught two, and threw them outside where they would have more luck catching bugs. Number three eluded capture. We didn't see him/her for quite some time. Then, one day, I noticed the frog hunkered down in a channel in the frame of our sliding door. Ah hah! Now the smudges on our sliding door made sense! Those were his footprints where he foraged on bugs attracted to the lights inside our home! He became my pal. I began to watch for him, and enjoyed it when he stopped by every few days. 

However, after reading a newspaper article about the invasive Cuban tree frogs we became suspicious. Our pal seemed to fit the description they provided. In part because he was the largest tree frog we had ever seen; he was easily 2 1/2" in length, and because of his coloration; he was almost white! Of course, after reading the article he disappeared from his hiding spot in the channel of the sliding door frame. He heard us talking about his fate. But, I had become used to his comings and goings, and was confident he would return. 


This is a picture of the Cuban tree frog from the University of Florida. Yup. This was our pal. They are large; usually over 2" in length. Check. They have small bumps on their back. Check. They have large toe pads. Check. 

The University requests that Cuban tree frogs be humanely euthanized and disposed of. I really don't care to see animals die, especially a healthy animal. However, the information made it clear that these cute little guys, if left to their own devices, will destroy the native species and expand their territory. Our little guy was dispatched. He was sprayed with benzocaine spray and within moments he succumbed. His information, size, sex (undetermined), picture and location of capture will be sent to the citizen frog project at the University.  




 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Animal Experimentation

                    Disclaimer: 
No animals were maimed, damaged, cut, burned or tormented (well maybe a little) in this experiment. 
No animals were denied affection or food in this experiment. 

A friend posted a video on FaceBook showing a cat and several dogs negotiating a pathway among a marker and pen landmine. The cat negotiated the obstacle, with little or no hesitation, much like a pinball, taking different paths, but knocking down nary a pen. Each of the three dogs balked at the obstacle and eventually came through, knocking down one or more of the pens. It was entertaining to watch the dogs and how they reacted. 

I was curious about how my own dogs would handle this test, so set up a carefully planned scientific experiment!

Title: Tiptoe Through the Tulips; How Two Dogs Negotiate a Path With Objects Standing on End



Hypothesis: Tucker, the bold Australian Shepherd, will not hesitate. He will negotiate the barrier, knocking down many of the pens. Gypsy, the Border Collie, will hesitate to study the situation, but will then pick her way through the barrier, knocking down no pens.

Materials:     30-40 thin, cylindrical objects such as markers, pens or pieces of tubing.
                     A passageway 3 - 4 feet across

Procedure: Remove the test subjects from the area. Place each cylinder on end, about six inches from each other, covering an area in a hallway that extends about 4 feet in length. 

Data:
  • Test 1 (Tucker) Tucker approached the barrier, turned in a circle. Stood at the edge. He would not cross.
  • Test 2 (Tucker) Tucker approached the barrier, turned, left the area (He may have been influenced by Gypsy barking in another room)
  • Test 3 (Gypsy) Gypsy approached the barrier, walked through it. She knocked down several pens, but I think they were hit by her tail, not her feet.
  • Test 4 (Tucker) In this experimental run, Gypsy was on the other side of the barrier. Tucker approached, hesitated, and would not cross. 
    
Results:  Tucker would not cross the barrier. Gypsy crossed the barrier with no hesitation.

Conclusion: My hypothesis was incorrect. The "bold" Aussie was a chicken and never attempted to cross the barrier despite having me, and his pal, Gypsy, welcoming him. Gypsy did not hesitate, and although pens were knocked down, were it not for her fluffy tail, that might not have been the case. 

Gypsy

 
Tucker




WIP (Works in Progress)

I began this post a few weeks ago, um well... to be honest - I began this post in October! Yikes!  When I came back to the post, this is wha...