Turkey Tracks: Giovanna Winding Yarn Into Balls

Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

Giovanna Winding Yarn Into Balls

Giovanna McCarthy is a master knitter.

She has knitting equipment I don’t have.

Giovanna, very sweetly, offered to wind my Romney Ridge yarn for me at her house.

Here’s Giovanna setting up a skein of yarn to be wound.

Here she is winding away–which was not as easy as she’s making it look as often, the yarn got tangled up and has to be sorted out.  It happens sometimes, she says.  See that red shawl back of her on the chair.  Boy is it spectacular!  She just finished making it.  I’ll do a separate entry for it.

Note the table back of Giovanna–what you can’t see clearly is the blocking pad she has where she can block a whole sweater.  There is a gorgeous Irish knit sweater drying over there.

Here’s my yarn, all wound into balls and ready to go.  The greyish (it’s really more brown) yarn on the bottom left is the natural color of one of Kelly’s sheep.

Here’s Giovanna’s yarn all wound into balls–she chose more variegated versions than I did, but we both got a skein of the natural sheep yarn.

Next step:  Going to Aloisia Pollack’s house down in Jefferson, on Damariscotta Lake, for our lesson how to carry two colors.

Turkey Tracks: The Aurifil is Finally Gone

Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

The Aurifil is Finally Gone

Here it is:  the –finally–empty Aurifil spool:

I must be the only quilter in the world who does not like Aurifil.

And, I don’t like it.

Yes, it lasts FOREVER.  It’s like the Energizer Bunny of quilting threads.  And, it doesn’t produce much lint.

I feel like I’m sewing with spider silk, though.  And, it isn’t very strong.  And, it does not “stick” to the cotton fabric in the way the Mettler I mostly use does.  It has a tendency to unravel at the edges of seams as a result–which is a HUGE pain when piecing blocks as they start to come undone at the edges as you handle them.

I bought this light grey Aurifil years ago when everyone raved about it.  So, in this moment of using up and reorganizing in the quilt room, I used up the Aurifil.

Thank heavens it’s gone!

Turkey Tracks: Raw Dog Food and Sojos

Turkey Tracks:  February 18, 2012

Raw Dog Food and Sojos

When I was a child visiting in Reynolds, Georgia, the home of my grandparents, no one gave the many fine bird dogs dried dog food.

They didn’t because commercial dried dog food had not yet been developed.

The dogs ate table scraps.

And they lived long and healthy lives.

I fed our first dogs dried dog food.  That’s what everyone did by the time I was 30.  Our beautiful pair of Springer Spaniels had chronic ear problems, chronic itching skin problems, and when they got old, massive flea problems.  By the time they died, the poor things were skin and bones and miserable.

After the springers, I started reading about feeding dogs raw foods.  And, remembering back to what my family used to feed dogs before dried dog food made feeding dogs “easy.”

Our rat terriers have never had dried dog food since they crossed the threshold of our house.  At 9 and 10 this spring, they both still play like puppies, their coats glisten, and they don’t have any grey starting on their faces.  The only vet bills I have had are for rabies shots; the occasional teeth cleaning mostly for Miss Reynolds Georgia, since she isn’t as diligent about chewing bones as Penolope is; and the heartworm medicine I give them ONLY in the spring and summer.  And, I space that out to about 45 or 50 days.

The digestive tracks of dogs are most like that of humans.

Would you eat dried dog food if you had a choice?

How would it seem to you if you constantly smelled delicious food cooking, but you never got any?

And, like humans, too many grains, or any at all for dogs, put too much stress on dogs’ bodies.

And, dogs don’t fare any better on chemical brews than humans do.

Our dogs eat, mostly, raw meat.  I am so lucky because I can get whole chickens–skin, bones, organs, everything–ground up for $1.49 a pound.  But, for years, and sometimes now, the two dogs ate a half-pound each of raw hamburger a day.  They also like whole chicken necks, skin and all.  I supplement with table scraps, yogurt, and fresh eggs from time to time.  Miss Reynolds Georgia loves roast chicken better than I do.

Recently, friend Patricia Shea showed me Sojos, which is a bag of dehydrated veggies that one mixes into the meat  with a bit of added water to dehydrated the mixture.  It’s full of mostly good things:  veggies, fruit, garlic, and so forth.  And, it smells fresh and clean and very nice.  It isn’t organic though, so I only use it when I just don’t have any cooked veggies in the house to give the girlies.


Vets and people who raise dogs and sell them are horrified when one mentions table scraps.  My holistic vet, however, knows raw food is better and is a strong advocate for it.  Remember that mainstream vets are taught that real food is bad for dogs.   Bless their hearts, they don’t know any better.  And, most of them think what they “know” is right and that they are doing good things.

But, never forget that the power of industry to inculcate unscientific nonsense so it can sell more products is awesome.  And, cynically speaking, vets do benefit from treating chronically sick dogs and from giving them a bunch of shots and “protective” medicines dogs don’t need and which wreck their immune systems.

The same pattern is likely true for human docs too.

Those of us who “remember” are getting older now.  Soon, no one will know that there was another way to live and another way to feed people and dogs and chickens and cows and so forth so that they all had abundant health.

PS:  If you are thinking of switching a dog to raw food, proceed very VERY slowly, and with the help of a holistic vet if you have one in your area.  Dogs on dried dog food lose the enzymes that will process real food, so you need to help them redevelop those enzymes.  It’s easier to switch a puppy over than it is an older dog…  But, it can be done.