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Still... here...

Don't give up on me yet, people - I've been dealing with teeth problems, and believe me, I don't want to listen to myself whine about the constant headaches, so you definitely don't want to hear about it.  I've spent the last couple of weeks fighting off constant headaches (my least favourite kind of pain) and trying not to clench my teeth so hard they break, and sleeping a lot.

In the mean time, my babies have fledged, and are hopping around after their mother, learning how to look for food. 

For those of you new to my journal, we have black vultures that regularly nest near our house (that we call "the farm", for reference - it used to be an old Virginia farmstead in the late 1700s), and this year, since they nested in the old chicken coop, I've been able to follow them from egg to teenager for the first time.  We've been down to the farm a lot, and I've checked on them each time.  Yes, they're not as mainstream cute as baby bunnies (had those, too), but they are adorable in their own special, stinky way.  Right now all that's left of their fluff is a little ring around the base of their necks, like a tiny feather boa, or a very fuzzy ruff.  They're super curious, and we had a lovely time watching them hopping all over the scrap pile that was our old house, checking out all the weird bits and pieces, while their mother sat nearby, keeping an eye on them.

One of the babies is more curious and bolder than the other.  Sometimes, when I get too close and the mother flies off, the other baby follows her, but this one stays back and checks me out for a bit.  So I talk to it.  Vultures have no natural predators, so they won't come to any harm being unafraid of us.  They're very intelligent, too - I can get closer to them than Bob, and they won't stay around for anyone else.  They really do recognize us.

We're going to make some repairs to the coop, in the hopes that they'll continue to use it as a nest (black vultures nest in sheltered areas on the ground, pulling debris around the eggs in a circle to protect them, rather than building a nest in the trees).  Having followed them for a complete season, and watching them for several seasons before now, I think I have a pretty good idea of what they like, and how to arrange things so that they'll use the coop and not be endangered by anything falling.  We're going to mend the doors, which are falling apart, and cut a viewing hole in the side of the coop, so that we can look at them without going in and disturbing them (even though the mother stayed, it was clear she didn't appreciate visitors one little bit) as much.

Some people got cats or dogs, I got vultures.  This fall, we'll be keeping them in pumpkins. Rotting pumpkins are teh yum for vultures.

In completely unrelated happenings, I am almost done with the fill on the fourth sleeve piece.  I've been getting bored with some of the fill stitches for the smaller leaves, so I've been looking up more designs to play with.  The nice thing about fill stitching is that no matter what you come up with, it's probably period for the 16th century.  I've been going over paintings and pictures of extant pieces with a magnifying glass, picking out the designs I found appealing and cataloguing them for future use.  It's fun. 

I've been planning for the Thistle Threads Jacket Embroidery Tour next month, and I am such a consumer whore - I've been buying all sorts of travel stuff specially for the trip, like an inflatable foot rest (not just for the plane, but the bus, too - I am a short-arse and my feet dangle from regular height seats), and a new nightie, and a special towel because I don't want to get hair dye run-off all over the hotel towels (they'll charge me, even though it washes out).  I even got the cutest shower cap with lace and cherries on it.  I still need a pair of slippers that will pack small (in case the hotel doesn't have an en-suite loo), and a wallet with security features (I bought a bag from Magellan's, but it was cheap as hell, and already falling apart - yuck!) (The other stuff I got was pretty good, though).  Minor stuff.  I like to feel luxurious when travelling, so I have a silk blanket and silk pillowcase...

...The last time I stayed in a hotel in the UK, the sheets were so rough I woke up exfoliated against my will.  So this time, I'm packing my own pillowcase, okay?

I'm also planning to make it through two weeks of holiday with minimal laundry needs, so some careful packing is required, especially since we're limited on luggage size (gotta fit into the bus!).  I'm not sure what the weather will be like (it's been too long since I've been there in September, but I'm guessing chilly), but bulky sweaters will take up too much space, so I'm thinking layers and maybe some silk under layers.

Oh dear, I'm rambling again.  Anyway, that's what's up in my life.  Aren't I exciting?  Yay.


( 13 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Aug. 29th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Weather in September could be glorious, or could be cold, wet and windy. Or could alternate between the two at five minute intervals. Right now, it's blowing a gale and threatening rain. Yesterday, I was up on the hills above my parents in shorts and a vest. There's no telling.
Aug. 29th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yay Vultures! Pictures soon, please.

I also went out and bought a new four wheeled suitcase (that just happens to be pink) just for the trip. Wendy said the new 4-wheeled suitcases were a saviour on their Spain/Germany/France trip in May, as less strain on your arms/hands than the trolley 2-wheeled style. I still need to come up with a travel neck-pillow solution since I can't take the full sized pillow. I've used a towel rolled up in the hotel pillow case in a pinch but a bit too firm. Might just have to pack a pillow case too. Thanks for the reminder. :)
Aug. 29th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
We can loan out our new ones if anyone needs them...
Aug. 30th, 2010 07:06 am (UTC)
Weather+UK+right now
Yup - it's cold and windy. No clouds this am around Sheffield way, but that will probably change.
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
You could try the space saver bags that you roll up to express the air (no vacuum required) and a full-on down (little to no feather) pillow that smushes satisfactorily.

I have found that a down pillow will support my neck enough (if bunched correctly), and the softest down pillows have the lower feather ratio - 80% down/20% feather kind of thing. And down pillows will pack flat flat flat. You just have to fluff them afterwards.

The space saver bag will not pack as flat as the ones you use the vacuum on, but it should work pretty well. I pack my linens in them for events, and while the linen bin ends up weighing a lot, I can get everything in one bin.

Just a suggestion. YMMV.
Aug. 29th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
I have to say, I love the vulture stories...

I don't know if you are familiar with the author Gene Stratton Porter, but she was an early 20th century naturalist. Most of her books are set in rural Indiana, and they alternately catalogue the endangered wildlife and the lives of people who interact with it. Her most famous novel, "Freckles," at several points features a nesting mated pair of Vultures.

I mention this because she was one of my favorite authors growing up, and this is a really cool connection...
Aug. 29th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Currently the SE of England is wet and windy with patches of sun. In a week's time? god only knows :-) But probably continuing damp and windy. About 20C ish during the day at present.

I have not yet stayed in a hotel that bad, but then I perhaps I have expensive taste in hotels? I'd hope it was nicer but bringing your own luxuries is a good way to guarantee that they exist.
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Where did you get the shower cap? It sounds like something I NEED ... must HAVE ...

Aug. 30th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
Marshalls, of all places. check in the socks/toiletries section.
Aug. 31st, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
I will go hunting ...

Aug. 30th, 2010 05:49 am (UTC)
Sympathies on the tooth pain causing headaches - had that a few weeks ago, definitely not something on my 'must do again' list!

Sounds like you are planning a fun trip! Enjoy!
Aug. 30th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
needz pictures of fuzzy boa neck vultures!! ZOMG!
Aug. 31st, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you're feeling badly. I LOVE you for mentioning the inflatable footrest. I never even thought of such a thing. I've been looking for a lightweight folding one, but this will be MUCH better. Thank you!
( 13 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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