Raggedy Ann, the Orphan Doll

I’ve been spending a few days with my kids in New Jersey.  I made this Raggedy Ann doll for my three-year-old granddaughter, Leda.  I don’t think she was impressed, at all.  She’s hooked on Superheroes.  I guess I should have made it a cape.

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Hair of the Dog Sweater

This is the prequal to yesterday’s post about dog sweaters.  I decided it might go nicely today.

My son John lives to torment my mother. Buzzy, our American Eskimo Dog sheds incessantly, making us vacuum every day to stay ahead of him. One day my husband Bud noticed a big paper bag on the mantle stuffed full of Buzzy’s combings, hair pulled from his brush, and hair swept from the floor. Amazed, Bud asked, “What in the world is this bag of dog hair doing up here?”

Mother chimed in, “Oh, that’s Buzzy’s hair I saved up for your sweater.” This was the first Bud had heard of his dog hair sweater. He thought maybe Mother had finally come unhinged. “What dog hair sweater?”

“The one you’re going to get the woman at work to make for you out of Buzzy’s hair.” Mother thought Bud was losing it. “John told me to be careful to gather up all the hair I could find every time I came over so that woman you work with can spin it and make it into a sweater for you. How long do you think it will take to get enough?”

Poor Bud had to break her heart. “John’s been pulling your leg, again. There ain’t gonna be no dog hair sweater.”

 

 

My son, John

John as Jason

 

Dog Sweater

Above you can see my American Eskimo Dog, Buzzy.  He is a pure delight, except for shedding.  I brush him several times a week.  Pictured below is the pile of hair I brushed out this morning.  The fibers are long, silky, and soft as rabbit fur.  I have long thought it would make a beautiful sweater.  I believe I could collect enough in a few weeks, but am not industrious enough to learn spinning.  I need to get to work.  I am wasting a valuable renewable resource.
I found the pictures below on a Russian sale site of garments made of various kinds of dog hair, including Spitz, Akita, Samoyed, and Eskies.  The health, warmth, and durability are highly touted.  Check out this site.  https://www.livemaster.com/masterpr        Shop at Livedogsnitka(MasterPr).

A Hog a Day Part 4

With Billy asleep under the porch, I was bored.  I noticed the toilet sitting down  the trail from the house.  “I need to use the bathroom.”  This needed investigation.  I knew what a toilet was, but had never gotten to investigate one to my satisfaction.  Mother had always rushed me through the process on the few occasions I gotten to use one.

”You’re going to have to wait.  I can’t go with you right now.  I’m in the middle of putting this permanent in,” Mother replied.  That fit in nicely with my plans.

”I can go by myself.  I’m a big girl.  I’ll be careful and not fall in.” I asserted.

”If you do, we’re just going to leave you,” laughed Miss Bessie.  “You’ll be too nasty to save.  She ought to be okay.  My younguns went by themselves all the time.”  I admired her good opinion of me as I sauntered off, though I had to wonder if that was where the lost little girl had gotten off to.

“Okay, but don’t fall in and come right back.” Mother looked a little worried as I left them to their project.

I considered myself a bit of an authority on toilets since we had an abandoned toilet in our chicken yard put there by the previous owners.  Mother had always threatened us away from it, but I had bragged to a couple of Mother’s coffee-drinking friends once, much to her horror.  As long as I could remember, she’d been after Daddy to pull it down, but he never found the time.  Not only that, I’d been lucky enough to visit a couple of toilets when we visited some of Daddy’s backwoodsy friends.

I was completely surprised at the daintiness of Miss Bessie’s toilet.  In contrast to her rustic house, it was a showplace.  The walls were beautifully with remnants of ornate wallpaper.  Though the numerous patterns varied widely, they were all right side up, unlike the magazine pictures and newspapers tacked to the walls of her house.  My favorite print was off little fat men in rainboots and top hats holding umbrellas on the ceiling.  Clearly, Miss Bessie had had control of this operation and was a high-class lady.  Bright floral linoleum graced the floor.  Wonders of wonders, a toilet seat covered the open hole I’d expected to see.  A toilet paper holder held a full roll, instead of the Sears and Roebuck catalog I’d been forward to perusing.  I never felt brave enough to look at women’s underwear unless I was assured of privacy, a rare situation in our busy house.  This expertly decorated toilet far surpassed our poor bathroom at home, a very utilitarian one with the usual drab features.

Naturally, once I’d completed my business, I raised the toilet seat to inspect the quagmire beneath, interested to know whether Miss Bessie had managed any improvements on the usual situation.  She hadn’t. The stench was overwhelming. Fat maggots squirmed in the disgusting mess, just like every other toilet I’d ever seen.  If the little lost girl was in there, the maggots could have her.

“You took long enough,” Mother said when I got back.

“That toilet smells even worse than Miss Bessie’s hair,” I informed the two on the porch.  “I sure am glad I ain’t a maggot!”

 

 

 

 

 

One Man’s Trash

Inspired by the story of the woman who sold a piece of cheese toast on eBay for a monumental amount, I realized I might be able to score big time with this starter kit for hoarders.  The most desirable piece might be the brown wooden toilet seat cover.  It matched my bathroom redo and looked great in the store.  It turns out, brown is not the ideal color for a toilet seat.  Turns out, brown Is not a color that I really felt comfortable with, once in place.  Not only that, in an effort to ensure hygiene, I wasn’t satisfied with cleaning instructions and ramped it up with an improved cleaning regimen.  Sadly, it sprouted splinters, resulting in considerable complaints.  It had to be replaced.

The collection includes several cracked flower pots which would still be useful if you put them in place before filling with flowers.  The ugly gourd blue bird nest has hosted a family of wasps.  and will probably be  non-toxic to birds in a few years.  I blasted it pretty hard with wasp spray.  The kneeling pads are cracked, but probabaly wouldn’t pinch if the gardener covered them with a towel before use.  The square plastic container is leakproof.  It has held chicken-poop tea for my ferns for a couple of years. The miasma of poop is still quite pungent.  Maybe other men wouldn’t object to it the way Bud does.

The ragged soccer ball is an adored dog toy, barely past its prime.  I am sure a crafty person could find a good use for the ragged bathroom rug and broken brick.  Be sure to get your bids in as soon as possible, or I’ll have to stuff it all in the two mulch bags and dump it.

Burn Baby, Burn

Sometimes Bud can be difficult.  One lovely day, we both headed outdoors.  I had my work.  He had his.  I busied myself, digging, shoveling sand, putting out flagstones. Meanwhile, he pottered about at some uninteresting task of his own, never even asking if I needed help. After putting the last touches  on my patio, I went for the water hose.  I felt smug at finding it stretched across the backyard, since he’s always after me about winding it back up, barely letting me finish what I’m doing. Nevertheless, I pulled it back around to my new flower bed.  Bud had even left the water on, just shut off by the adapter.  That wasn’t like him at all.  I’d have to mention it when I got through.

It wasn’t long before Bud tore around the corner yanking the hose, clearly in a panic. Rudely, he grabbed the hose and took off, not even asking whether I was finished. I followed and found him spraying a pile burning yard refuse that had almost gotten away from him. It turns out, he’d had the water hose nearby just in case and hadn’t noticed when me taking it when he’d turned away to pile on more brush. Fortunately, he got the blaze under control. Unfortunately, not before it consumed the nice sweeper he’d disconnected from his tractor and left near the pile. He’s much more careful with the new one he bought to replace it and thoughtfully tells me when he’s about to burn, now.

My project certainly turned out better than his.

 

Time Well-Spent

I have been inactive on WordPress of late due to time well-spent with my grandchildren. My daughter and I constructed this tent for my granddaughter. She spends a lot of time in it, either on the deck or in the house. More often than not, the massive rear of her constant dog companion extends through the curtains. It’s interesting to see a mastiff with a princess complex. He is a docile giant who makes her every step.

 

The tent construction was simple and completed in less than two hours.  Materials included a hula hoop, a round table cloth, eight curtain panels with grommets(from dollar store), fabric for ties( we cut up an old scarf) some cotton cord and a snap hook for suspension. You could easily use an old sheet instead of curtains, but the grommets made attachment so simple.

Simply disconnect hula hoop and slide grommeted panels on before reconnecting with hoop with Super Glue.  Make two small holes in center of table cloth and slide cotton cord through for loop. Give it a couple of wraps above and below connection site for support so fabric won’t tear and pull through.  My granddaughter and the dog show no mercy, so it had to be tough.  Use short fabric strips to attach tablecloth top to hula hoop and thread through each grommet to suspend panels evenly.  It worked well to thread through two buttonhole slots at each connection.  Last of all, attach hook through loop for suspension.  It suspends well from a hook in doorways.  Our little one has enjoyed hours of play in this structure.  It also provides excellent shade but allows in breezes.  Total cost was well below thirty dollars.

 

 

 

Homemade Dutch Oven Table and Bean Pot Tripod

My husband constructed this Dutch Oven Cooking Stand out of an old aluminum  truck toolbox using an old bed frame to attach legs purchased from Home Depot for less than $30.  All other materials were from his shop.  It is light, folds up well for travel and storage and shows no signs of heat damage or wear despite several years of use.  The wind screen latches in place with small holes at corner.  I put my coals directly on table and use it for hours.  You can see it is very heavily loaded.  I bake bread and desserts in Dutch oven as well, using a cast iron trivet to avoid burning the bottoms.

He also built this fine tripod from scrap using the hollow legs of a rack from a truck.  The actual tripod connector is made of 5/8″ cold roll heated in his forge and bent into shape.  I love this thing!

I have a nice collection of cast iron, though not nearly enough, of course.  I bought a few pieces new and picked up a lot at flea markets.  I don’t shy away from a piece without a lid.  You can get a good deal on them and pick up a lid some other time.  When I am looking for a lid, I measure the inside diameter of inside rim and keep a tape measure in my pocket. I picked up my !4″ Lodge Dutch Oven for $37 without a lid and ordered lid from Amazon (No shipping) for around $20.  Bought new, the Dutch Oven would have been over $100.

A flat bottom Dutch Oven works beautifully placed on top of pot lifter.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is

image                                      Uncle Russ’s camper wasn’t this nice!

Bud’s Uncle Russ was ahead of his time, since he came up with the first camper/Tiny House anyone had seen in our part of the country.  Back in the late1950’s and 1960’s, the family occasionally awoke to find his old Ford truck with its homemade camper parked in their yard.  Enclosed within its two by four frame and galvanized sheet metal covering were a bunk and a bit of storage for his camp stove, personal belongings, and other gear, though his hygiene products didn’t take up a lot of room.

Uncle Russ was not encumbered with a regular job.  He travelled till he ran out of money, then stopped off and found a little job like mowing, helping with a harvest, or pumping gas to get enough ahead to make be on down the road a bit.  He never went naked or hungry, and always had a roof over his head.

When the Bethea boys, Dell and Louis were growing up on a farm in Warren, Arkansas, their Uncle Russell would show up from time to time.  He’d hang around and work with his brother Joseph till they got crosswise and he’d get mad and leave or Joseph would run him off.  Apparently, his grooming was lacking even then, since the boys, “I don’t know how you boys can stand to wash your face and comb your hair before every meal.  I don’t comb my hair but about every six months and it nearly kills me then.”

Early one Saturday morning, Miss Mary noticed his truck in the drive and called out to let Dell, Bud’s Dad know his uncle had come to call.  Uncle Russ knocked when he saw them up and about.  Miss Mary let him in and went to put the kettle on for coffee. Without a doubt, Uncle Russ had just acquired some instant coffee he was curious about, since he asked Miss Mary if she minded if he made his own.  “Not at all.  The water will be hot in just a minute.”

He stirred in four or five heaping teaspoons of granules.  Knowing he had concocted a powerful potion, she and Dell watched with interest as he tried to choke it down.  He made two or three attempts before remarking, “I made that a little stout.  I’m gonna had to pour it and have a little of yours.”

When Bud was about seventeen.  Uncle Russ made a trip down, asking Bud to sign a signature card to be put on a joint checking account, though Bud assured him he wouldn’t have anything to deposit.  “That’s okay.  You just sign this here card and feel free to write a check anytime you need to.”

Bud signed the card and never gave it another thought, knowing how odd Uncle Russ was.  Several months later, he got a letter from Uncle Russ, telling him how disappointed in him he was.  In fact, he was going to take him out of his will. Bud never saw Uncle Russ again.   Uncle Russ retired, an interesting move for a man who never worked more than a day or two at a time.  He sold his old truck and its fixtures, somehow acquired an old mobile home, and moved it to the family farm.  He died a few months later.  Bud never heard who beat him out of his inheritance.