Tag Archives: experiments

Squirrelkin, Squidgum, Squidjum, and Soap Foam

5 Sep

The Castile girl and I have been having disagreements about what to call and how to spell different ideations of the babies.

Last night and this morning the little squirrels are up to about 10cc total of their milk replacer which is about half Esbilac and half heavy cream.  A combined total: one takes about 6 cc and the other about 4cc.  Then the next feeding the one which took 6cc takes 4cc and visa versa.

Rather than a syringe, I have found that a glass 1 ml pipette works best for feeding.  Last night and this morning I used a 2ml pipette for the first frantic dose.



The smaller one with a broken upper front leg one now has a rubber tubing splint  wrapped with masking tape and with the elbow joint also taped so the arm can not slide out.  That baby is not as happy; pain, probably.

They are housed in a tissue box in the large cage the three flying squirrels used this winter.

A stray antler, a 2.5 inch diameter log chunk, a dry washcloth they use as a latrine,  a couple pieces of dog food, a raspberry and a dab of peanut butter on a spoon complete their abode.

They are fed about 6 times per day and have noticeably gained weight, though I did not weigh them upon arrival and have not yet done so: making their food, feeding them and then cleaning them and the tools up is absorbing plenty of time.

This morning at about 3AM I was washing pipettes.

For a few months we have been using a home made soap solution in a Bath and Bodyworks dispenser that makes soap foam: an ounce or less of a mix of Bronner Eucalyptus Castile soap  , a Tea Tree oil soap  ,  and water, sometimes with a little food coloring for fun.  Those soaps were forms of delayed gratification impulse purchases on my part.  But they have been useful and a very little goes a very long way in the soap foam distribution method.   The Castile soap foam solution cleans the milk fat from the inside of the glass much better than dish washing detergent.  It works well for cleaning eye glasses, too. And, it was first made in Spanish Castile from olive oil and plant ashes.

Anyway, as cleaning progressed,  I recalled that much of my adult life has been spent feeding milk or other food to young creatures.  My MS thesis research involved different strategies of milk replacer delivery and weaning to orphan lambs. That was over 25 years ago.  There have been  more lambs, along with kittens, squirrels, birds, and of course children since then.  It is still fulfilling for me as much as for them.

Spring Tonics

1 Mar

The first is some we bought at the Mennonite grocery: Yoder’s Good Health Recipe “Good for what ails you

Until it is gone if you visit you will be offered an ounce of spring tonic.  It is essentially herbal vinegar:  cider vinegar, water, apple juice, grape juice and tinctures of Ginseng, Goldenseal, Echinacea, Valerian, Ginger, Black Cohosh, Camomile, Black walnut, Licorice root, Anise, Cinnamon, Cloves, Chickweed, Fenugreek.   Believe me, you will know you have had spring tonic after a slug of this!

The second tonic:  to celebrate March 1st I  removed all the greens still in evidence from the Christmas season and picked pussy willow and forsythia branches to force indoors.

It got to 40 F today.  But back in the twenties tonight.

Water or Gas?

27 Feb

I vote water. For now.

This article in today’s NY Times pushes me off the fence.  This past summer I listened to acquaintances in PA tell about roads degrading under large trucks,  noise, farm land prices soaring–pushing those who wish to farm off the land, contaminated wells.  To drill or no has been a big controversial conversation in this county for the past few years.  And we, Jay and I,  have been on the fence.  Why should the rest of the world provide us with what we have at hand? Why should they bear all the stink and heavy lifting?

But it seems data has been hoarded and problems not revealed.  If we say “No”, the engineers and chemists and geologists will go back to their skills and technology to come up with a less damaging method to extract the gas.  And tell the truth this time.

Burning Log

29 Jul

Sunday we had supper at S and H’s.  Afterward Henry introduced us to a Scandinavian summer treat he has seen in his journeys for work: the standing log bonfire.

Envision a Yule log set on end and meticulously chainsawed into eighths for 7/8ths of its length.

If starting with a dry hardwood log Henry says the fire is started on the top and burns down over the course of the evening. He provided a wet pine log, and so started the fire down inside (gasoline was involved) and hoped it would work its way out.

The heat coming out the top was intense.  Marshmallows burned almost instantly.  Popcorn in a cast iron skillet popped and then burned within two minutes.

This is what the log looked like near the end.  Fun, fun, fun!

Henry says pre-cut logs are widely sold in parts of Europe during the summer.  Wouldn’t one be fun to have in the snow in winter?

April Yarn

26 Apr

Mary Stepney wool, kid merino my parents brought back for me from a Texas ranch, silk.  I dyed, carded and spun it.

Earlier skeins were of a heavier gauge.  Two  2/3 filled bobbins plied together yielded6.25 oz and about 580 yards.    That is a dime under the threads.  About 1500 yd/lb.

Now I am working on laceweight yarn from the same stuff.  Aiming for at least 275 yd/ounce.

Bird Seed Bag Bag

13 Apr

Lately I have noticed a proliferation of bags made of other bags.  Most are coming out of other countries and being marketed as ‘green’ and a way for consumers here to help others. If you wear one, or use one, you can be seen as publicly supporting poor people.  A  dubious  proposition at best. They were even in the knitting shop!  Some are lined with fabric.  Many are not.

Also note that these bags are plastic.  Narrow, flat woven plastic strips, for the most part, rather than the bolsas used in Bolivia in the 80’s which we have and are woven plastic threads.  The new ones may have had some sort of heat applied to them to fuse the flat plastic reeds together.

There are also bags made of this plastic fabric which are printed with beautiful designs.  I bought a small one last week as a cheap tutorial.  Because the sunflower hearts bird seed bag is empty.  And it is made of this same fabric.  And it has a lovely picture on the front.

So last night I went to work.  Since all my memorization obligations are complete!  Here we see the boughten bag, and the empty seed bag.

The bag on the left uses one piece of plastic fabric for front, bottom and back.  Then the sides were sewn on with ‘binding’ of the same material.  Since the bird seed bag already had nice side pleats, a great width and picture, I decided to add only a bottom.  Which resulted in some technical difficulties, though not insurmountable ones. Handles  and ‘binding’ were made from this same bag’s ‘fabric ‘.

The back of the finished bird seed bag bag.

Or, it could be the Sunflower Hearts Bag:


13 Apr

My children have been memorizing words and music for years: Latin, piano, violin, speeches, poems, lyrics.  To the point that now Isabelle can spend less than two days and memorize her parts in three scenes from Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Not me.

A soliloquy from Hamlet, some scales, and a couple marching tunes for clarinet were all I ever had to memorize when I was my daughter’s age. The Lord’s Prayer.  The 23rd Psalm.  Back when I student taught I memorized one chapter (Matt 6) of the sermon on the mount for my own edification.  I kept a couple psalms written out with me when I worked alone in the lab decades ago.

Last fall, before my brother died, I agreed to be part of a gang of people who would memorize one chapter of 1 Corinthians.   I chose chapter 9; the reason why is lost in the mists of time.

Then brother John died. Isaac left for school and has had difficulties of one sort or another ever since, Isabelle has had her own troubles.  All the skill, faith, coping, discipline I command was used for living each day.   The upshot is that memorization fell off the list.  And I felt intimidated.

I read all sorts of versions but could not find one that seemed the best fit.  I started compiling a version for me to use pulling from various translations.

The project kept being pushed back.  From Thanksgiving to Christmas, to after the New Year.  I told the organizer I just could not take part because of all the upheaval in our lives.  She ignored me.  She told me to look at the Holman translation.  So I downloaded that.

Then a young artist who is also a videographer got involved and wanted to film each person saying their chapter. Yikes!

I dutifully read my chapter for two test runs.  Not recited, mind you.  Read. Still thinking I might get out of this.  I had the first couple verses memorized.  Sort of.

But then the date  for filming was set.  Sunday at dawn.  Similar to an execution.  Yes, very similar.

Over the last ten days I started memorizing in earnest.  Note cards, recording myself and listening to it, writing it out, saying it to Isabelle and Jay and having them provide nudges to get me going when I got stuck.

Awake at 2.05AM, 3AM, 3.45AM, 4.10AM 4.22AM, 4.50AM, 5AM.  I finally got up at 5.11AM Sunday.  Dressed, recited the best I could, worked on a couple passages that still gave trouble–all the bits about authority and his not using it in various ways–made some coffee cake and waited for Karen to show up.  She wanted to film me at dawn.  I talked her into doing it up on the hill in the alfalfa field behind our home.

It was about 5o degrees F, still with very slight gusts of breeze, and cloudy.  There was no sunrise.

I recited the whole chapter once.  Using my cheat sheet a few times out of sight of the camera.  Remembering those professional musicians with their music we listened to Friday night.

Karen filmed me reciting two parts as I walked towards and away from camera.  One part I knew.  One not so well known.

She was kind and thought I did a good job.

But it is done.  Over.  Finis. Hurrah!

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