Summer fun

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:52 am
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
[personal profile] metawidget

July has been an adventure! We started with a wedding in Cambridge (my cousin Mike got married to his girlfriend Caitlyn — now they will go back to wandering the world teaching). It was a grownups-only wedding (a first for us since having kids). My aunt Anne did a ton of groundwork, recruiting a babysitter and giving us a place to stay, and it was fun for us all! Then we staryed in the GTA as Elizabeth started some Waldorf teacher training — we stayed the first week and I touristed with the kids while she did her daytime studying, and we had family time in the evenings. We were staying with a family in Richmond Hill; their grandfather was unexpectedly there and enjoyed the kids, and various people were coming and going. They have had a nomadic life over the years and it was fun to see how they live. They have tried to give a bland rental house as much character as possible with what looks like barn wood dividers and musical instruments and art everywhere. It was Richmond Hill, so I spend a lot of time driving (but mostly to TTC stations: the kids find the transit almost as much fun as the parks and museums, it seems).

Originally I was steeling myself for a trip from Toronto to Ottawa alone in the car with three kids, but my cousin Mary had a plane to catch in Ottawa (to get to an icebreaker, so she could scoop up Arctic water for Science) so I had adult company on the ride home. I’m getting to know the route and good places to stop! Amazing Coffee in Madoc and The Hungry 7 in Perth are quickly becoming traditions. She crashed with us overnight, which meant she got to meet Heather, and then caught the plane up North (and the weather was merciful, so it only took one try for the airline to get her up there). We came home to a questionable fridge, so the evening was full of coolers and thawing and delivery pizza.

Elizabeth's training was three weeks, so for the last two Heather stayed over. She had to work during the day, so I did home-making and running the kids around: Oscar had day camp with the UQO kinesiology students and I found parks and people and errands to fill the rest of the days. Evenings were good — the kids accepted that bedtimes without Mama could happen for days on end, Ada started sleeping the night, and with a bit of videoconferencing and some cranky moments, we made it through missing her during the week. Sharing the routine and spending time with Heather was really nice. Elizabeth came in for a semi-flying trip on the weekend in between, with a pagan potluck and traditional Sunday pancakes.

Now we’ve got a week and a bit of homebody time before Kaleidoscope Gathering. Elizabeth has found some time to keep working on the back stairs with Oscar's help, and we've been having pretty unstructured days. Oscar has had a cold and ear infection this week, but he seems in better shape today. Elizabeth and I got to go out for supper and a walk last night while Heather fed and did bedtime with tired kids. It was a nice time to catch up on being a couple.

I saved the pictures for the end — here are some of the nicest ones from June and July. We generally unplug in the woods, so you'll have to imagine all the fabulous dress, campfires and various degrees of extravagant camping rather than getting photos…

Ada is such a kid.

Two-year-old Ada with bubbles.

On the grounds at the Slit Barn in Cambridge, for my cousin's wedding.

Elizabeth, Eric and a rusty giant eagle sculpture.

Oscar being adventurous at Edwards Gardens in Toronto.

Oscar balancing on some rocks in a stream.

Viv enjoying being in nature at Edwards Garden.

Viv looking up in front of some trees. six more… )

Accidental pumpkins

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:01 pm
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[personal profile] flick
We decided to try growing butternut squash for the first time this year, and I thought I'd improve our chances by buying some grafted plants.

It turns out that the root stock is pumpkin:



(We've chopped off the bits with pumpkin leaves, now!)

[sci] Q re journal article IP

Jul. 26th, 2017 12:48 am
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[personal profile] siderea
I'm reading this really great journal article in the field of medical anthropology, and it got me thinking, "I wanna quote this whole thing. I bet my readers would really dig this." And then I thought, I wonder if I asked nicely if the author would let me republish it as a guest post in my journal? And then I thought, I wonder if the author even has the authority to do that, once their paper has been published in a journal?

What rights does the author of journal article have in their article once published in a journal? I appreciate this might vary by specific journal (or organization that owns or edits the journal), but are there general trends? Do journals typically require submitting authors forfeit the right to publish the work for free on the internet? Forever? What if an author wants to contribute the paper as a chapter in an anthology (book)? Or write their own book in which the paper is one chapter?

Hmm

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:33 am
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[personal profile] flick
Please, I said to the sitters before we went away, please help yourselves to vegetables, and be sure to pick the courgettes before they get too big.



(Mrs Farmer's been picking tomatoes for about three weeks now. "They are in the polytunnel," she said consolingly, but then so are mine!)

We've been travelling around The Frozen North* for the last few days, including Chester, Glossop, Ripon, Harrogate, Barnsely and Stoke. The sitters seem to have mostly done a good job, although I'm going to be having A Word with them about getting the gravel out of GB's feet when they come back in a couple of weeks for worldcon: I must have spent five minutes on what's normally a thirty second job, this morning.

The Wedding went pretty well in the end, although there was quite a lot of venue drama beforehand. My aunt is threatening a blistering TripAdvisor review, although I think my sister would rather have a refund!

* I had to borrow a coat from my mother. Never occurred to me to take one with me!

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:06 pm
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[personal profile] popelaksmi
One of my regular, favourite web comics  ended today. If you are not familiar with it, I suggest checking it out. It's not that long and has a pretty good story.

http://www.alicegrove.com/

A weekend in the 'Dacks

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:35 pm
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[personal profile] dagibbs
I headed down to the ACC Montreal section's hut near Keene, NY for a long weekend of climbing on Thursday evening with Jenna (my climbing partner), Felix, and Ellie. My primary goal was to do two ascents (by different routes) of Chapel Pond slab as practice Jenna and I to get more experience together on multi-pitch climbing before our attempt on The Chief in Squamish in about a month. We did succeed with this on Friday, though it was a warm day. Saturday we had an excellent day of cragging at the Beer Walls, where I red-pointed several routes including the brilliant Sword, which was most everybody's favourite pitch of the trip. I also managed to find a couple of quite nice cams that someone had left behind in the rock. Sunday we woke up to rain, so had a mellow day, with a bit of shopping in Keene, where I ended up buying a few more climbing guidebooks. The drive home went smoothly, and was quite relaxed as we ended up home around 4:30pm.

All in all, it was a good weekend.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Every. single. time. my shell hosting company announces a planned outage for an upgrade for something having to do with email, and they assure me that it won't impact me at all and I won't have any email outage, every single time they've wrong.

I'm not going to embarrass them in public because they do try so hard and are quick to fix broken things when I bring them to their attention.

It's just that, by now, I'd hope they'd just email me, "Hey, Siderea, we'll be fucking up your email at this future date and time. We'll be around on Twitter until this subsequent date and time. Please be available during this window to exercise your account and let us know what we've broken this time."

Instead, I email them in response to the planned outage announcement and say, "Hey, what can we do in advance to make this work?" and they're like "nothing, it's all going to go perfectly!" and I'm like, "ooookay, when exactly will you be flipping the switch, (so I know when to check on you, but I don't say this part)?" and they're like, "oh, sometime on that weekend." *throws hands in the air*

(I miss nyip.net so hard.)

Advantages of a two-house household

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:36 am
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[personal profile] fairestcat
For those who don't know, we live in an up/down duplex. Marna, Ian and I live upstairs and Lorayne has the downstairs, with two spare rooms for any guests of upstairs or downstairs.

Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.

It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.

So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.

Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.

Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.

They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.

Also, the lack of dog.

Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.

His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.

And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.

ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.

*sigh*
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.
fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
As promised, some books I've read:

Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
★★★★

Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.

I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. read more )

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. read more )

Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. read more )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. read more )

The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★

Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. read more )

A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★

I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. read more )

There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.

What I got was so much more. read more )

Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★

A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.

I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. read more )
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
One of the benefits of the new mood-stabilizer is that I'm reading again. After reading my way through a shit-ton of fanfic, I'm now switching between fanfic and pro novels.

I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.

I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.

A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.

Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.

I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.

It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.

Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).

The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.

If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.

Whistles

Jul. 19th, 2017 06:36 pm
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[personal profile] elizilla
The library seems to be handing out whistles, this week. I keep hearing kids in the parking lot, tootling away.

It's not loud enough at this distance to bother me. I am more bemused than anything. But I can't imagine this is popular with parents.

Edited to add:
The whistling has continued, and finally I stopped by to ask: What's going on? Turns out the whistles are the prize for a summer reading program. The woman at the front desk thinks it's an odd choice too. I could tell it wasn't her program decision. :-)

[tech, domesticity] Oy, Verizon

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:28 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
The one logistical thing that has not gone swimmingly with D's move to assisted living has been moving her landline.

The extent to which Verizon has screwed this up has been epic. [personal profile] tn3270 referred to it as a Russian novel.

Penultimately, I had a conversation with billing that went approximately thus:
Billing: Hello, Verizon Billing, this is [NAME]. How can I help you today?

Me: You can waive this month's bill because Verizon has screwed up two move orders so far, and the 90 year old account holder hasn't had access to her phone line for five days and counting. It's still not on at her new place, but I understand there's an expedited technician order for today. But who knows? You're the seventh Verizon employee I've talked to so far, and I've been told a variety of wrong and contradictory things every step of the way. This has been the worst corporate fiasco I've been involved with in years.

Billing: ...yes, we will totally credit the account for the month.

I had originally thought that we might have trouble because Verizon had security and stuff, and I wasn't the account holder (D) and I wasn't the contact on the account ([personal profile] tn3270). But no. I text chatted with Verizon in advance of putting in the order (CSR #1), and they told me what authentication tokens I needed to authorize the move order, I got them, and they worked fine when I put the order in.

No, everything went to hell apparently due to galloping incompetence on Verizon's (staff's) part(s).

Initially, I was told we didn't need a technician to come out for the line move, unless we wanted help plugging the phone into the wall; they could do it on their end. For the record, this is a good ol' fashioned POTS line, and moving within the same town. Fine. Once we'd nailed down the move date and booked movers – June 30th, to be precise – I got back in touch – btw, I was using the Verizon website realtime customer service chat, because I couldn't find a damn customer service phone number. It's 1800VERIZON, btw. So I fired up the chat thingy, and talked to a customer serv rep (CSR#2), who said they'd be happy to do the move order for me. Somewhere in the middle of the process, he apologized to me and said that the system was saying that a technician is required for that address; that there were no available technicians on the move in date, but could do the day after (7/13) between 1pm and 5pm, and it wouldn't cost anything to have the technician. I said to make it so, so he put the move order in. I asked him to confirm the service and he quotes me a price that I later find out is almost twice D's usual bill. I ask him whether he needs the account contact there to meet the technician, and he doesn't know, so he transfers me to another cust serv rep (CSR#3), who says, no, any adult who can let the tech in is fine, and who confirms the order is all complete, and (he specifically said this) the previous CSR did everything necessary.

Subsequently, [personal profile] tn3270 got a phone call from Verizon confirming the incipient move.

On Thursday, 7/13, 6pm no Verizon tech, and D's landline still has no dial tone at the new place, and is still working at her old place.

I am working until 9pm, so when I get home around 10pm, I get back on the text chat, and ask what happened. I'm informed they can find no move order on the account. The cust serv rep (CSR#4) asks if I have an ID number for the move order, and I don't have one. But they're happy to submit a new move order. Grrrrr. I say, yes, do it. After a long pause, the cust serv rep apologizes and says they can't do the move. Because it's a landline. The text-chat customer serv reps can't do landline moves. For that you have to call in. 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM EST Monday through Friday or 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday. Also, he tells me, I might need to present paperwork in person at a local Verizon office.

It's after 10pm on Thursday, so I have to wait until the phone is staffed again. Why they can have 24/7 text chat CSRs but not 24/7 phone CSRs, I don't know.

Other stuff comes up, that has priority Friday, so I don't get to call Verizon until Saturday, 7/15. The rep I speak to (CSR#5) tells me she sees no record of the move order for Thursday, but she can totally put in a move order for right now immediately. I say the guy I talked to on Thursday said I needed a technician and special documentation; she said she had no idea what he was on about, no technician was needed, and no, they didn't need any special documentation. She said it would be done by "5 today, though maybe really more like by midnight". I make her give me the order number for this move order.

Sunday, 7/16, still no dialtone at her new place, dialtone at the old place. Verizon is closed for phone calls.

Today, Monday, 7/17, I call Verizon and ask WTELF. The CSR (CSR#6) calls up the account and says, "Oh, I see you had a move order for last Thursday." "WAIT. WUT. You can see that order? I was told you guys had no record of that order!" I make him read me the order number; so now I have the order numbers for both move orders that failed to happen. He then apologizes on Verizon's behalf and tells me they over-booked technicians, and that is why no technician came out. "BUT, BUT, WAIT. NOBODY EVER CALLED OR EMAILED. I WAS TOLD THERE WAS NO ORDER. THE LAST PERSON TOLD ME WE DIDN'T NEED A TECHNICIAN AT ALL." The CSR apologized again, and said he'd put the order in, and expedite it, and a technician would be by today.

Then I explained that I wanted the bill credited, and he referred me to billing (CSR#7), who both credited the bill ([personal profile] tn3270 has already got the confirmation email) and confirmed her service level and price, contra CSR#2.

Miraculously, a Verizon technician actually showed up at the assisted living facility today. He did a bunch of stuff, including something in the network closet and sticking some sort of probe in her wall socket, and assured us everything in the building is all set.

She still doesn't have dialtone, though; the technician confidently told [personal profile] tn3270 that the problem was on the pole outside. They'll have a lineman deal with that tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/18).

Next up, contacting the Mass DTC to see about filing an official complaint.

Hay-fever

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:15 pm
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[personal profile] flick
My mother had hay-fever when she was younger, and it went away entirely when she was pregnant with my sister.

My sister has always had really horribly terrible hay-fever, and childhood eczema, and dust allergies.

When my mother was pregnant with me, her hay-fever came back.

I've never had hay-fever, or indeed any allergy in my life.

We've always put the whole thing down to some sort of pregnancy / immune system weirdness. However....

I've been sneezing for the last four or five days, and feel otherwise fine. Bah! I guess it's caught up with me at last.

A summer weekend

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:22 pm
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[personal profile] dagibbs
I think this was the first weekend this year that truly felt like summer -- hot and humid. It's felt, so far, like we've mostly had an extended rainy spring.

I climbed at Lac Sam on Saturday with a small crew, then had dinner with the family back in Ottawa -- my sister, brother-in-law and nieces (2) were in town for a 2 weeks (except BIL, only a week) and headed out this morning, so met up with them for the last dinner before they left.

Today we climbed at Mont Rigaud as it was the only area without a 70-80% POP starting in the afternoon. We did get a full day of good, but hot, climbing there.

How embarassing!

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:51 pm
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[personal profile] flick
I just went to vote for the Hugos, and the only category where I had any strong opinion was Best Series (which I'm still not entirely sure I agree with as a concept anyway) and maybe BDP:SF.

I don't think I've read any of the fiction other than one novel that I bounced off. I've seen one of BDP:LF, and half of BDP-SF but couldn't tell you which episode was which. While I do think that Chuck Tingle deserves some Fan Writer kudos I'm not sure I want to rank him top in the category....

Oops. Am obviously a Bad Fan!

Enlightenment apostasy

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:09 pm
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[personal profile] dpolicar
(A friend recently posted about feeling depressed at the extent to which people seem perfectly content to embrace beliefs about the world that fly in the face of our observations of it. This started out as a comment and got out of hand.)

Yeah, I hear that.

That said: I find it really helps me, when I'm disoriented in the way you describe, to remember that the Enlightenment is fairly recent, historically speaking.

The idea that we can arrive at accurate beliefs about the world by observing it, studying it, experimenting with it, taking careful records, making predictions and checking to see whether our predictions are accurate... that idea is just a few centuries old.

The idea that we can converge on beliefs about the world through that process...
That the same experiment can be expected to get the same result whether performed by Christians or Jews or Pagans or atheists, by conservatives or liberals, by materialists or spiritualists...
That the observable world itself can be the source of a set of shared self-reinforcing beliefs...
That reliance on that process can form the cornerstone of a community just as reliance on a set of stories about God that we inherited from our ancestors does...

...these are really new ideas, historically speaking. Our culture has not fully assimilated them, not even close. Most of us weren't raised in the community of believers in the process of observing our surroundings and reasoning about them rigorously and communicating about them reliably. We don't really have social practices that reinforce that process.

So, sure, we often reject it. We often stray from that path and return to the older practice of performing culturally endorsed beliefs about reality in order to reinforce group boundaries and affirm group loyalty without reference to a shared observational practice.

That's unsurprising. Humans have been doing that before we have records; probably since before we were recognizably human.

And the alternative is genuinely hard! And honestly, as community-centering practices go, it lacks a lot: it de-centers individuals, it doesn't directly address moral issues, it doesn't distinguish between emotionally satisfying and emotionally alienating claims, it doesn't speak to our fears about nonexistence and loneliness, etc.

The one thing it has going for it is a promise to converge on shared truths if followed assiduously.

And for a lot of us that just isn't enough, or isn't always enough. We may embrace the tangible benefits of the practice, the tools and medicines and crop yields and cherry-picked theories that reinforce our culturally endorsed beliefs, but we tend to reject the practice itself. Heck, even the thing we call "science" is riddled with those practices, like any other human institution. Those habits run deep.

So, sure, of course we continue to practice the old ways, choosing the practice of performing cultural beliefs despite contradictory observations over the practice of centering and converging on observable patterns in reality.

We will continue to do that for a long, long time. It's a natural consequence of being the sort of systems we are.

So anyway, as I say, remembering that helps me approach Enlightenment apostasy with compassion during periods where I start to fear it as the end of the world. And I find that helps.

Multi-tasking

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:20 am
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[personal profile] flick
This morning, I pruned the wisteria, which (despite, or possibly as a result of, not getting to flower) has grown very vigorously this year.

This had the added advantage of providing Jo with a bijou snackette (once she figured out how to unwrap it) and, I very much hope, stopping expectant-mama-pigeon from waking me up at 4:30 every morning from now on.

BOS -> YOW & home

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:14 pm
dagibbs: (Default)
[personal profile] dagibbs
Ah, Ottawa. Welcomed home by a thunderstorm and drenched between the airport and my car.

Awkward to the end...

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:41 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
It's very common to have a horse who spends his working life wearing shoes and then has them taken off for his retirement, on account of them not being needed when all he's doing is wandering around in a field.

GB's been happily barefoot for a decade, but today the farrier said that now he's not working we need to think about putting shoes on him for the two hundred yard walk up and down the hill each day to the summer pasture. It is true that his feet were a state, but I was thoroughly expecting to be told not to be silly when I mentioned shoes....

What I'll probably do is put booties on him, morning and evening, just for the walk. I ordered a set this afternoon, and they'll probably arrive before we go away for The Bloody Wedding so that I can check that they fit / he doesn't object too much before the sitters have to deal with him.

When we first took his shoes off, I bought him some ferociously expensive booties, which he hated with a passion. Now that he's had no shoes for so long, they don't fit him any more, so they've gone back in the box. Hopefully he won't complain too much about the new ones...

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