paros day 6: time flies

Today was a great day. Lainee and I walked over to my uncle’s house to do some work, only to find I’d forgotten to take my adaptor so couldn’t do anything requiring electricity. Cause of course all my power tools still have Australian plugs on them! So no progress on the curtain rod today.

Still, I did some hand sanding and managed to get another coat on the things I started painting so I’ll have something to share soon.

Lainee and I took the scenic route there and back, along the beach and over the hill. On the way Lainee made a new friend. You can see part of golden retriever cross, Babi, as he digs his way to the other side of Paros. Lainee is too much of a lady to dig on the beach. (Though apparently not to much of a lady to roll in rotting meat…)

Today there seemed to be some lingering aroma around the couch so I’ve washed the throws. I think its fixed the problem.

Meanwhile I brought home the gap filler I couldn’t find yesterday and began working on the chewed up table legs. It’ll need at least one more go to fill in the chewed bits so the legs look normal again… We’ll see how that goes.

The weather was perfect this afternoon, no longer windy and it was beautiful out so Lainee and I went for another long walk. Its that time of year when I miss having a garden to watch come to life…

My potted plants are starting to get new shoots which pleases me. I’m getting photo updates of my seedlings and they seem to be doing well. Fingers crossed on those. Hopefully I’ll get them home soon and have flowers around me again.

Oh, and I didn’t burn the spanakopita last night! Did I mention I put in a ton of cheese (cottage cheese, feta, grated cheese) and thought it might be too cheesy. Turns out you can never have too much cheese. I could have put in more. I think it needed parmesan, something I always had in the fridge in Australia. (Put it on the shopping list.)

Other than that, not much to share… Its already 9.30pm. Time flies when you’re having fun apparently. Its too late to start anything new (project wise) so I’m watching Netflix. I’m on The Last Kingdom now. At least I’m catching up with my TV viewing…

How is your lockdown going?

z

paros day 5: making do

Who knew my survival kit needed to include screws and nails of all sizes, hinges, dowells, brackets, paint, and a heap of other hardware supplies?

Well I do. Now.

Today I began my ‘make do’ and ‘make it work’ way of doing things.

I started fixing up a small side table thingy as my new bedside table, gave about 5 things I’m working on a light sand where needed and a first coat of paint*.

I also sorted through the rubbish pile at my uncle’s house for any timber (that hadn’t rotted and didn’t have termites) that I might be able to use to make the things I see in my head. I searched my easy to reach boxes for stuff I can’t find which I knew I had yesterday or the day before and ‘just put in a safe spot’ for later.

For instance, I’ve had some hefty gap filler since about this time last year – bought to fix the small table a friend gave me which had been attacked by her dog and his big teeth. I’ve been putting that thing in ‘safe spots’ for a year now. Today I decided to finally start on the table and guess what? Gap filler nowhere to be seen. I now have a small table upside down in the middle of the living room, waiting for me to find the filler.

Sigh. Guess I should have found the gap filler before flipping the table, huh?

I finished the doily curtain last night but still need to figure out how to hang it. Amongst the rubbish I found a broomstick I can use as a curtain rod, so I can tick that off the list. Now to make the brackets… I have some timber offcuts I was going to use for them. But…

My foraging was interrupted when Lainee and Spitha (my uncle’s dog) found something rotten and putrid to roll in. EEWWW. They both stank to high heaven and were so proud of themselves. I had to give both of them a bath with cold water just so I could stand being near them.

Gag.

Lainee is going to have another proper bath soon as the water heats up. Yes, cause this is the land of no-permanently-available-hot-water. We have to plan our showers here, at least 20min beforehand and turn on the boiler. And whatever you do, don’t let mom catch you forgetting to turn that thing off! I put mine on soon as we got home, after covering the couch with throws I can put in the wash in case there is leftover dead thing miasma lingering on Lainee…

Plan for the rest of the day: Wash Lainee. Make spanakopita. Don’t burn spanakopita.

Piece of cake.

Ah its all fun and games here on Paros!

z

dogs dogs and more dogs!

I finally got to a dog show in Greece! I was lucky to be in Athens when there was a dog show (a weekend of shows to be exact) in Lamia – about a 2 hour drive from Athens.

I joined a friend who breeds and shows toy poodles, we got a place on airbnb and set off with two of her dogs and Lainee.

Naturally, as it goes with all dog shows away, we didn’t really see the town, we spent all day at the show and went out in the evening to have dinner. So I can say I got a glimpse of Lamia nightlife but otherwise saw only the inside of the expo centre.

My friend’s dogs are gorgeous. She showed her black adult male and a silver veteran. We also met up with a lovely young lady from Switzerland and her first show dog, an apricot dwarf. I was thrilled to be able to groom her boy and to brush up topknots on all three.

Heaven… being back to poodle coats, even in mini versions!

I’ve missed showing. Not so much the show itself, but the dogs, the smell of hairspray, the hair… did I mention the hair? I love doing up topknots and scissoring and presenting a poodle for the ring.

I got the chance to go into the ring of course, which was lovely. Especially when the veteran girlie I handled went so well and got 3rd veteran in show! Lovely! Not to mention when the boys both got BOB in each show they entered!

Of course, I was also reminded of all the things I dislike about showing. The nerves before going in the ring. The backstabbing and politics of the show world… So no, I don’t think I’ll be back in the ring any time soon. Not on a regular basis and not with my own dogs… For one thing there’s the fact that I live on an island so getting to a show has the added expense of travel to the mainland. For another, its costly to enter shows and keep dogs in coat. Right now I’m still struggling to make ends meet on my own with one small dog to feed.

Still, I loved seeing all the dog breeds and spending time presenting poodles and with other poodle lovers. I confess I have absolutely no understanding of how showing and points work in Greece (under FCI) but it was extremely interesting to meet breeds which we don’t know of in Australia, let alone to meet the greek breeds I never knew existed.

I just love dogs of all shapes and sizes so here are some gratuitous dog photos. Enjoy.

A caucasian shepherd dog: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_Shepherd_Dog
A biewer yorkshire terrier… never heard of this before but SO pretty: http://www.yorkieinfocenter.com/biewer-yorkshire-terrier
A greek shepherd, a breed I’d never heard of before: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Shepherd

the pitter patter of little feet

This is Lainee. Her name is actually Lady but I’ve always liked the name Lainee and its so close to Lady… New life, new name, you know?

Lainee was given to me by a friend in Holland. I so missed having a poodle in my life and I miss Montana and Romeo so much… Little Lainee is helping me fill that gap.

She’s the sweetest little girl. 10 years old and so quiet and accepting on the huge changes in her life. Over the last two days she’s left the only home she’s known, been on busses, trams, trains, an airplane and now a ferry.

Today she’ll be in the second home since I got her, first mom’s house in Athens, next the house I’m staying in on Paros, and later (once I’m actually in the house I’m buying) she’ll move yet again.

In a weird way, Lainee is so much like my heart dog, Billybear. Its uncanny how much she looks like him. Same size, same colour even though she’s apricot (or was) and Billy was silver beige with very dark brown pigment.

I love having her, but its funny how quickly you get unused to having a dog. Or at least not having a yard when you have a dog. All the walks I have to take so she can pee or poop. We still haven’t worked out our routines and I don’t yet speak her language so I’m not sure what she’s trying to tell me a lot of the time. However when she grabs her lead I figure she needs to go out!

The quick trip to Holland was great. I have always loved Holland and every time I go there I feel like I could so easily live there.

Lainee’s neighbours included a miniature horse.

Have you ever seen a black and white swan? How beautiful.

Brunch in Amsterdam: cinnamon pancake with raisins and banana. Yum.

So… about the house… when will I move in you might ask… Everyone does. No one knows. Not even God at this stage. I keep following up, asking my lawyer and the agent, but apparently there is still paperwork to find, sort and submit. Really… You have no idea how not organised things are in Greece.

You know how things work in Australia? Well, here is nothing like that! In Australia I’d make an offer on a place with a written contract, the sellers would haggle, we’d settle on a price, I’d put down a deposit which would be kept in trust, we’d have a conditional contract with a time limit on the various aspects included in the contract (ie finance, building inspection, whatever) and once those deadlines were reached it would be unconditional and I’d have a settlement date I would work towards.

Here its done without a written offer or contract, without the conditions, without a settlement date. You basically say you want to buy a place then leave it in the hands of the universe. If I hadn’t pushed to put a deposit on it I would still not be sure the sale is going through.

Anyway, I’m so eager to get into my own place. To start nesting as it were. I’ve already bought some stuff for the new place, already raided mom’s cupboards for stuff I’ll need (she has an entire house of things I can take she says). I’ve filled bags with some pots and pans, some mugs, loads of NEW Tupperware she bought in the 70s… and cutlery. So I’m taking a few things to save myself some money while stocking up the new place.

When I get into the new place…

Cause as I said, NO ONE knows when I’ll get in there.

At least things are moving. I have a place to stay for now. I have a job. A car. And a poodle. All I need now is a home and that’s on its way…

z

DIY grooming bench (the ugly bench finished)

I shared the ugly bench I made for drying dogs the other day. Its a bit rough and ready, made from leftover bits of timber and offcuts I had lying around, but its strong and sturdy and fits perfectly where I wanted it.

bench1

The bench stands in a corner opposite my hydrobath and its my drying area. It holds a small dog crate for cage drying small dogs, and fits over my show trolley for drying larger dogs. I stash my stand dryer in front, with two of its legs under the trolley, and my blaster sits on the floor in front of the wall my poodles destroyed going after some critter.

bench2

That’s what it looked like when I finished it. The top was thick MDF, not water proof and thus not ideal as a drying bench.

This is what it looks like now:

bench4

bench5

I visited the hardware store and bought some ribbed rubber matting. I bought enough in length to turn over the ends on either side, and had planned to cut the width off to simply turn over the sides as well.

However, when I laid it on top of the bench I thought “Hey… this is perfect!” By not cutting it and simply rolling it up the wall and fixing it onto the plasterboard with screws, I’ve successfully waterproofed the wall as well! Whoo-hoo!

My plan is to eventually reline all the walls in my washing/drying room using anything I can find that’s cheap (or preferably FREE) so it won’t look as tacky. Till then I’ve got myself a totally non-slip, waterproof, sturdy drying bench I don’t get a sore back drying dogs on!

I’m on a roll!

z

Shared at:

1-Funky_Junks_Party_Junk_link_party.29-AM

the ugly bench

I did warn you. It ain’t pretty.

bench1

I’m not a builder. I’m not a furniture maker. I’m a furniture recycler, re-maker, re-configurer. I take things someone else made and change them. I don’t often make things from scratch.

And here’s the reason why:

bench2

I’m not very good at it. Sure, I can make things, but they’re never quite… right.

They might not be stable enough. Or quite the right size. Or not quite straight.

bench3

A little dog tries out the drying cage. I think he approves of my handiwork though he wishes he was somewhere else.

At least I get good marks for trying, right? Not to mention, I actually measured right and the trolley fits underneath it perfectly!

The drying bench is made out of 2 different size hardwood posts ‘borrowed’ from Wayne’s stash as legs, thick MDF from our kitchen makeover as the top, small size treated pine timber bought by me in the wrong size for something a few months ago, and leftover bits of pine lining from the grooming room reno as side braces.

Its 100% recycled.

Today I bought some rubber non-slip ribbed matting which will sit on top to make it waterproof and safe for dogs. I’ve already used it a few times and its a great height and size.

I’m happy.

P.S. If you noticed the ‘wall’ behind it, don’t worry. I groom in a shed (aka the ‘casita’) which houses my grooming room, my workshop, our feed room, tack room and what passes as a laundry. It needs work. And that’s an understatement.

 

z

laundry powder tin to dog food container

Sharing a quickie this morning. Lately it seems my life is a series of routine chores, work and making things. Which is great. Except that all day, while outside in the garden, in the workshop or in the grooming room, I’m looking forward to the evening, after the chores are done, I’ve showered and had dinner, when I plan to spend some time doing inside craft type projects.
However reality is so rude. At the end of the day, once its all done and I’m inside, in clean clothes and should be looking at what to do next I find myself deflating like a balloon with a pin hole. First I sit on the couch to eat dinner while watching a bit of TV (and yeah, I know that’d bad for digestion, tell that to my butt which you can land a 747 on) and then, without even realising it, dinner is finished and its 2 hours later and I haven’t stirred.
Last night was different. Mainly cause I hadn’t worked all day. I’d been a social butterfly, running around the countryside doing errands and visiting friends. So last night, once the animals were fed and the car unloaded, I still had energy. Not a lot, but some. So I did a small project I’d been thinking about doing for a LONG time.
I converted a plain old Kmart laundry powder tin into a dog food container.
I’ve had this in the corner of the kitchen for at least a couple of years now, with the Laundry side to the wall. I wanted to do something to make it fit into the kitchen better, plus to label it as a dry dog food container.
I did some googling and found a few dog food ads I liked the look of. I had to find one big enough to fit over the lettering and which would look good in the kitchen. I loved this one, but I had to cut the bottom off as it was too long. That’s ok, the ad works without the details at the bottom.
Using Modpodge I stuck it to the front of the tin, and done!
How good is it to finish one small project that’s been in the back of my mind for years? 
Its like one of those things you nag your partner about for years, then, when he finally does it, you say ‘Well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?’ Meaning he didn’t have to avoid it off for so long and force you to turn into a nagging fishwife. Then you duck.
So here it is – in the corner of the kitchen, next to the free feeding bowl.
And here’s the beauty of ruthless creative cropping. Cause this is what the rest of the kitchen looks like at the moment.
The surfaces were clean about a week ago. I swear. Then I began to put project bits on them for things I meant to work on ‘tonight’… and never did obviously. Instead I chose to do something completely different. But hey. At least I did something. Maybe that will lead to more creative evenings… I can hope.
You may notice the yellow frying pans on the pot rack. Lovely in a minty green kitchen. They were Wayne’s purchase. When he goes away I knock down walls, pull out cupboards and carpets and swap rooms. When I go away he buys kitchen appliances and frying pans.
Oh well. At least now when you look that way you get the yellow dog food ad which sort of ties in with the frying pans. Which are great stone non stick pans on the inside, but the outside… ugh.
So, how much better does the cropped version look? 
It makes me look like a good housekeeper. 
Keeping the illusion alive.
z

Shared at:

dog bandanas – something fun

Just wanted to share a quickie tonight. A quickie project I mean. Mainly cause I really enjoyed making these little dog bandanas out of scraps of fabric.

The idea of these is that they can be put on a collar, taken off and washed then put back on. They’re colourful and fun. I got the idea from a little bandana a friend gave me and I thought I could put some of my millions of fabrick offcuts to use to make something different and special for the dogs I groom.

I didn’t use any large pieces of fabric to make these, just small squares. First I joined two pieces together, then folded, ironed, and stitched the sides for neatness. Lastly I folded over and ironed to create a sleeve to put the collar through. Then ironed again. Easy peasy. If you don’t mind all the ironing.

If I can do it, trust me. Its easy.

Ok, so you noticed the crooked stitching on the dog paw bandana. Yes… it was my first try… Not an excuse, I basically lost control of the sewing machine. It happens. (To me, it happens too often…)

No two-tone effect for that first one either, justvery crooked stitching. That’s what makes it special… hehehe

I used black thread for all of these – there was no way I was going to change the thread and bobbin colour to match each one. Too fiddly and too much work for a fun little project. I put these little bandanas on grooming customer dogs cause it makes me happy to make them look good.

I want to make more. I have tons more fabric offcuts to mix and match. I just need to find the office desk. I know its in the office somewhere… under 3 metres of fabric…

z

fun junky planters

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve let other things (like working and earning money to eat) get in the way of sharing all the exciting things going on around here. I know you’ve missed me and are dying to hear how things are going at Wind Dancer Farm.
Well… not much really. Except that I’m about $1200 poorer thanks to Romeo. First a couple of weeks ago while grooming him, I found he’d got a grass seed in the sheath of his penis. Yikes. And while investigating that I saw he had a lump on his flank. It didn’t look like a grass seed but I took him straight to the vet. There was nothing in the privates, whatever had got in had got out thankfully. He got a course of antibiotics and it cleared up.
The other thing, the lump, the vet was concerned about. The ‘c’ word was mentioned. So Romeo went in for surgery to have the lump removed and a biopsy done. We then waited a week to hear. Romeo limping uncomfortably cause he also seemed to have a grass seed in his left front paw. I searched but couldn’t see anything so I waited to see if it would improve.
The biopsy said the lump was cutaneous reactive histiocytosis. Not something usually found in poodles or even, for that matter, on that part of the body. Wierd. We are waiting and seeing if it was a one off… I’ve got my fingers crossed.
When the stitches came out I asked the vet to check his foot which was not improving. He couldn’t find any indication of a grass seed either and thought Romeo might have broken his toe. He gave him anti-inflammatories.
Well, it got worse and worse till I saw that there was now a hole in the webbing between his toes. I searched and pulled out a grass seed spike and took him back to the vet. They kept him for the day and searched but didn’t find any more foreign bodies. They cleaned it out and sent him home with a red bandage, antibiotics and he’s also on anti-inflammatories again. It should clear up now but till then we call him Limpy.
Poor Romeo.
Other than that all is well. The garden is looking shocking but given that a reader commented on my old toolbox planter I thought I’d share some of my whimsical plant containers.
I have quite a few old and rusty galvanised buckets. This one, one of my favourites, sits on the porch cause the begonia doesn’t like it too hot or frosty.

Last year I bought this gorgeous 60s planter from a garage sale and have put small pots with succulents in it, as well as a cutting of a beautiful pinky white geranium I’m growing.

At the end of the porch I have my lovely old mop bucket. We had one of those things when I was growing up. I much prefer it as a planter.

Since its now autumn the garden is looking pretty awful. Most plants have finished flowering and look ratty. But some are coming up again. Like the sweetpeas in the rusty old washing machine tub and the columbines in and around the old ammo box.

The steps up the porch have some new seedlings in them, alysum and lobelia which will fill and overflow the old pots and loaf tins they’re in.

I’ve replaced the succulents in the bike basket with plants which will overflow and cascade as well. Cat mint, which has purple flowers, in one pot and a pink groundcover I’ve forgotten the name of in the other.

In three pots in a basket on the back of the bike I’ve got a white daisy like plant, some alysum and lobelia. The white will grow upwards and the others should cascade. One day it’ll look great… one day.

The succulents I put in my stacked containers are coming along nicely. I have three of these but the third isn’t looking too good yet. I made these a couple of years ago for indoor storage but decided they’d work better with plants in them. They’re made of spindles and baking tins.

I made hanging baskets out of old strainers and steamers, put succulents in them and hung them on the wall near the door. Only succulents do well in planters with so many holes as they dry out very quickly.

I’ve had this old cane chair for many years, I bought it in an op shop when I was living in Fentonbury. When I got it it was dark brown, I used a wire brush to brush off the flaking paint and sprayed it white. The paint is flaking off again now so I decided to relegate it to a garden ornament.

A bright petunia will full the jam pot. Next spring I’ll put in another one – this time in spring so I have flowers through summer.

I used to have a lot of old toolboxes with succulents in them but this is one of the last ones. I sold a few of them at the market stall I did in January. I love old toolboxes and this one in blue and rust is just gorgeous.

The last one is the one on the back of this little tricycle.

You’ll notice the flour sifter near the old (cheap) half barrel planter that I can’t move without it falling apart. I have 3 sifters but this is one in best condition – ie the plant is still thriving.

One of the other sifters lies next to an overturned pot full of succulents. Hopefully the succulent in it will grow and spread. If not I’ll just put another in there!
This little area is in a wasted corner of the driveway where the retaining wall meets the steps to the path. I envisage that the succulents will grow and fill the area.
The other side of the retaining wall is decorated with some more buckets and drums.

And more ammo boxes… with more seedlings in them!

Do you get the feeling I love rusty old things? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong!

I do need to get out into the garden and begin trimming things back for winter and, if things go to plan, there’ll be a ton of flowers next spring.
I’ve been holding myself back waiting for the right time to cut things back. I get the urge to do it as soon as things begin to look ratty. Well, time is fast approaching. Time to tidy the garden, plug up all the holes the birds use to nest in, continue making the yard safer for the dogs next summer (ie keep them safe from snakes).
Lots to do.
Always.
z

new grooming room… almost done!

My new grooming room is almost finished. I mean I’ve been using it for weeks, but I’ve almost got it how I want it now. Not that I’ll ever stop making small adjustments and changes – I am who I am, after all. Being able to say its finished is a big thing for me.
Last week Wayne made me a ‘portico’ for the entrance. I love it. I just wanted a plain old canopy over the door but he created this wonderful little space which protects the door (and room!) from the wind and rain. He used materials we already had – some cedar boards a friend gave us, leftover bits of laserlite and treated pine from the stable makeover.

You can see where I’ve put flashing to stop water from seeping into the concrete. Hopefully that works… we’ll see when we get the next big rainfall.
Of course, you may have noticed there was one problem with this design… Its dark. Too dark. The three single fluoro lights in the grooming room didn’t seem bright enough any more. But I have a cunning plan…. watch this space.

The outside area is almost finished. I put two large pots out there with cuttings from my white hydrangeas in them. Both are doing well even while the original bush the cuttings came from seems to be dying. Even if its not dying it will die soon as I plan to dig it up. Its just not doing well at all.
Anyway, back to the groom room yard… last week, feeling energetic, I decided it was time to fill the yard with pine bark. I’d already lined the ground with newspapers, old rugs, old carpet, whatever I had lying around to stop weeds coming up. I’d ordered a load of pine bark which was sitting in the driveway… I had a shovel and a wheel barrow… what more could I want?

I’ll tell you what: a younger back. 
Or more sense.
I did something like 24 wheelbarrow loads of pine bark. I was breathing hard. I was tired. I was aching. But I kept pushing on. I kept thinking ‘not much more to go and it’ll be finished’…
Big mistake. I stopped about 3 loads short of finishing cause by then I was too sore to move.
I couldn’t walk for a week.
The original plan had been to put some sweet peas along the fence but I’ve decided against it. With the snake incident I’ve become a little bit too scared to let my dogs outside unless I’m home… However the snake lady who came to visit gave me some advice I’m following. She basically said two things: 1. get rid of the food source (ie keep all horse and chicken feed in sealed containers which won’t attract mice and rats) and 2. don’t try to keep snakes out – they will get in anyway if they want to – allow them a way out if they do get in. ie The one thing you don’t want is a snake trapped in with your dog.
So, I’m not putting plants in the ground in my little yard. I’ll let the sweet peas grow on the outside of the fence so if a snake wants to rest in a cool spot, its outside the fence. And if one gets in somehow, it will have plenty of gaps to escape through.
As for the embankment with the tyres – where the snake was – the snake lady suggested we fence it off. Again, using what we have, we decided to put an electric fence across it, thus stopping dogs from climbing onto it, and again, allowing any snakes that may get into our yard a way out.
Lets hope no snakes come into our yard again.
Its looking good though, isn’t it? I have little metal poodles which will have arrows on them to point the way, and a large sign on the wall. Hopefully people will then know where the grooming room is…
Inside is still a work in progress. I have hooks for my dremmel and clippers. I have paintings and photos on the walls. The door has a window and a handle!

Okay, not in this photo, but it does. My first ever door handle! I’m so proud of myself! 
I still have tools lying around everywhere so excuse the mess.

I even made myself a scissor rack. What self respecting groomer doesn’t have a scissor rack?

I have a cute little stool for visitors…

Of course I have a cd player, and a cute poodle planter holds my business cards.

Pictures, paintings, old ads featuring poodles… my aprons on a huge nail and a plaque painted by a friend many years ago.

I bought this mantlepiece years ago and have never had anywhere to put it. I decided I’ll use it as a shelf for now – to display some of my poodle items.

Eventually I’ll have all my poodle collection on display in there, along with items for sale. Since I now have a separate area for drying dogs things don’t get covered in dog hair in the room. Its such a relief!
Anyway, I’ll take more photos soon, as things progress – like the signs and the change to the portico…
z