To Amuse and Delight

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fox stole and Barbie shirt

Well, I finally finished my daughter's Fox Stole. I haven't been in the mood to knit if you can believe that. 

With the garden and other outdoor activities to keep me busy it was a struggle to finish it up. We really do like how it came out, so there will be more foxes in the future. We're already playing with the colors and sizes.

I made this shirt a couple of days ago. I asked my daughter what she thought about it. "It looks like a Barbie shirt", she answered. 

I have a collection of Barbie and Dawn Dolls and their clothes. I especially go for the mod era.  Maybe she connects it with the first Barbie's black and white striped bathing suit. Her comment made me wonder if this shirt really did come from all the doll clothes embedded deep in my psyche.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

baby guinea pig: welcome!

After the loss of two pigs this month our two remaining pigs have been uncharacteristically quiet. They barely pick at their food. This happened before when another pig in our pig pack passed away. The only thing that revived them was adding new life. What else can you do when faced with death? More life! A feisty ball of energy is needed to shake things up. 

Yesterday we brought her home. She is tiny, just three weeks old. My daughter named her Jenny, but that won't last. Upon their arrival they are always given girlie names like Penny, May, Molly, and Nellie. As their personalities emerge they end up being called things like Planet, Tuck, Baby Bug, Miss Nose, Pumperdinkle, and The Groke. Our new baby is a distant cousin (same breeder) to May, who we've had for two years.

 May took to baby Jenny immediately. She has became an instant mom. The baby dove underneath May's body, like she did with her own mom. If we take her away from May for too long she shrieks and her ears wiggle. May nipped at my daughter twice when she tried to pick up the baby. She was sad and shocked, because May is never snippy like that. I explained to her that May is not being mean, but when you become a mother you instantly change. Everything from then on is about protecting and caring for that baby. 

I reminded her of something that happened when she was around four years old. A mean looking wasp got into our house and landed on her arm while she was sitting at the table eating breakfast. She screamed. Without thinking I grabbed the wasp, (with my bare hand---eek!) threw it to the floor and stepped on it. There was no forethought, the protective instinct just kicked in. 

Our pigs always lay around the house in baskets or on towels. This habit started with our first, Penny. She trained the new ones as we got them to do the same. May is already training little Jenny. If Jenny tries to walk off the towel she nips her and herds her back. They've all been trained this way, by whichever pig is the oldest.

A couple of years ago my daughter made this felted hamster for a friend's birthday.

I can't help seeing the similarities between our new pig and the felted critter. The obvious is their size. The guinea pig has white under the mouth and neck too, along with the black ears and eyes.

The Aztecs believed that guinea pigs had healing powers. I don't know about that, but I do know that they have the power to make us happy on the gloomiest of days.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sweet guinea pigs and a sad farewell

This is the guinea pig that started it all, our love of piggies. It was seven years ago, I had just read Pinky Pye to my girls and was inspired to get them a little black kitten for Easter. I found what I thought was the perfect cat online from a local shelter. When I went to meet the kitten, she was feral, she hissed, she bit. She was terrified of people. If it was just me alone I probably would have taken her anyway. But, my youngest was three and I knew this would be too hard. I saw countless cats and felt only sadness as they were so cramped up in cages. Cage on top of cage, it made me want to get out of there. On my way out I saw her. She looked so friendly, her orange coat was shining in the sun. I asked, "What is the orange thing in with the rabbits?".  A guinea pig.  "Can I hold it?". 

The next thing I know I am smitten with this critter. "Why is she here?", I asked. Her family got a puppy so they didn't want her any more. A perceived upgrade. So I went home to get my older daughter who was then seven. I told her of my kitten plans and about the orange guinea pig. I said the choice would be hers. We went back to the shelter to look at every cat, bunny and two pigs. She also fell in love with the sweet orange one who we named Penny.

 Each time we took Penny out of the cage a baby black and white Abyssinian would cry and scream as a big bossy rabbit kicked her mercilessly. Apparently Penny was protecting her, her surrogate mother. How could I not? We took them both. 

We called her The Woogie.  Penny passed away a couple of years ago and The Woogie also passed on just earlier this month. They both lived out their piggie life spans, each one lived a full seven years. When they died it was expected, it was not tragic because we knew they had happy full lives (as far as guinea pigs go).

This is Baby Bug. She was a gorgeous Silkie who we got a little over a year ago as a wee month old thing. My older daughter bonded with her and loved her tremendously. Baby Bug would crawl up onto her shoulder and hang out there licking her and nibbling on her hair. She had a bad habit of nibbling books, hair, anything she was curious about. When she grew out of babyhood we noticed that she was showing some signs/symptoms of having too much female hormone. After researching we found this was not something that they grow out of. It most likely could lead to ovarian cysts that grow and grow until they burst. In an effort to prevent this from happening we decided to get her spayed. We found a vet who was experienced with small animals and he confirmed that this was the best option. He said it was a routine operation for him but there is always a risk with such small animals because the anesthesia could be dangerous.

 He called us after the operation. The surgery went perfectly, Buggie was awake and eating and pooping. That meant we could take her home soon. He called back an hour later to say that she had passed away. It was such a shock. My girls were devastated, especially my older. I felt responsible somehow for making the decision and picking that vet. Even though my girl was dealing with this sudden blow she was a comfort to me. She told me that God knew it was going to happen and no matter what doctor I picked she would have died because it was her time. Her goodness and maturity in the face of pain both surprised me and made me even sadder for her.

We still have Big Bug, Baby Bug's older sister and May, a red and white smooth coat. Big Bug and May were solemn and quiet for two days after Baby Bug died. They didn't even squeak for food, which is unheard of in guinea pigs. I guess they felt Little Bug's absence and were dealing with it in their own way. We will all miss her terribly.