Sunday, August 05, 2007

Harry Potter and the Air-Conditioned Chamber

Not a lot has been going on in the household of late. It's been insanely sticky out, and we've been taking refuge in one or the other of our two air-conditioned rooms. Every evening, we've been ordering take-out subs from the general store, and then holing up in front of the AC with my trusty old boom box and the CD audio edition of the seventh Harry Potter book. The dogs curl up around us, gnawing on bones or snoozing. Charlie, as alpha dog, claims the spot right in front of the fan.

It's been a good time for sock production, anyway. I finished Greg's gray Jawoll socks and one of Joyce's Tofutsies socks. It's hard to get excited about a nice pair of woolen socks during the hottest week of the year, but Greg tried his best. He tried them on, proclaimed them a perfect fit, and pulled them off as soon as he could. Come wintertime, he'll be tickled to bits to have those puppies -- and he knows it. I can live with delayed appreciation.

I snapped my very first knitting needle on Greg's socks Friday night. I was using short size #1 Brittany birch dpns, which are the approximate size and thickness of the toothpick I received in Friday night's sandwich (only without the little cellophane frou-frou on one end). I'm not an especially tight or tense knitter, but I struggled a little with one of those infernal k2tbls and snapped my needle. Grrrrrr. There's another reason why nickel-plated steel circulars rule for knitting socks. I haven't snapped an Addi yet.

The proverbial jury-of-one is still proverbially out on the Tofutsies yarn. I love the colors and the softness of the knitted product, but the yarn isn't as tightly twisted as the propaganda would have you believe -- which means that I have to knit more slowly because the stitches will split if you're not staring right at them. I'm using size 1s, and the results are lovely, but still loose enough that I'm wondering what the socks would look like if knitted on size zeroes. Heaven help me. Zeroes!

Rambo With a Spray Can

I've never been a big fan of stinging insects (although I make an exception for honeybees, which have a purpose in life -- and bumblebees because they're cute and non-aggressive). Wasps, hornets, yellowjackets... these have no reason whatsoever to live, and certainly not within my property lines. I ran afoul of these little horrors fairly often as a tree-climbing kid, and now that I'm much bigger, I try to give back a little of what I received. I'm still afraid of the little suckers, but I'm much braver when brandishing a shoe or a spray can.

A couple of days ago, I saw Dinah curiously sniffing the back of a wooden bench on our deck. I went out to see what she was up to, and she was sniffing an enormous, Boeing-757 hornet in the process of building a nest on the back of the bench, not 6 inches from the back door. I shooed the dogs away, sprinted for my industrial-sized spray can of Raid, and let 'em have it with both barrels -- actually, with just the one can. I feel a little dirty every time I spray insecticide, but covering a hornet's proto-nest with white foam gives me just a teeny bit more satisfaction than I probably deserve.

Dog Stuff

Well, I've gone and done it. I've entered The Lovely One in her very first herding events over Labor Day weekend. Wish us luck! We haven't had much chance to practice, but if the sheep are sufficiently tame, I just might be able to get us through the HT without too much problem. We've had such wild and unresponsive sheep the last times we've tried to go herding -- and if they won't come to the handler, the sheep certainly won't be much help to an inexperienced dog. We shall see. At worst, I've just paid for three very expensive lessons and a chance to look really silly in front of three judges I deeply respect.

Rally class has started up again, so Seamus and I will be resuming our Sunday morning "rally-roo" times at Judy's house. We would have gone today, but I overslept. Dinah has a play date with Angus later this morning, so I decided to stay home and get ready for that, rather than speed down to class, stay a short while, then speed back and try to get up the street with Dinah by 11:30. Sundays are not supposed to be stressful. They're supposed to involve coffee, breakfast, and newspapers.

The town's water department installed a fire hydrant on our front yard this week. I let Charlie out to have a look. He sniffed the hydrant curiously, then walked over to the closest tree and peed on that instead. Once a country boy, always a country boy.


Pedro Morgado said...

Please, save Harry Potter. :)

Pirate said...

Actually, wasps are good "pests". They pollinate lots of plants, thus ensuring green things growing around us, and they eat smaller insects that may be pesky too. If you approach them with the right attitude (what I mean is if you encounter one or need to be near a swarm) they actually won't hurt you at all. I once loaded up about 500 lbs of used patio cement, concrete and bricks into the back of my truck within a few feet of a wasp's nest, and didn't get stung, even though at times they were agitated enough to be bouncing off my forehead.

I don't know how you guys handle that humidity in the east. When it's hot here, it's rarely humid. I couldn't do it.