21 March 2018

Going to the Wolves

As mentioned in a previous post, I had a birthday last week, and the one thing I had asked to do was to visit the Wolf Sanctuary of PA for one of their tours.  So last Thursday, The Tim and I got up and got going out to Lititz, PA (which I enjoy calling "La Tits" because apparently part of me is an 11-year-old boy).  It's a lovely drive, and once we got away from the city, there wasn't much traffic, so we were there in no time!

I wasn't *exactly* sure what to expect in real life, but I can assure you that the entire experience was wonderful, and did not disappoint in any way! 

The Wolf Sanctuary is a huge area, which currently houses 48 wolves.  There is one pack ("The Big Pack") made up of some of the wolves from the original group at the Sanctuary.  They had formerly bred wolves, but then realized that it would mean they would very quickly run out of room for other wolves that needed a place to be.  So all the wolves that are there now, and that come in the future, have been spayed or neutered, to control the population and assure room for any wolves that need their help down the road.

We have both always been attracted to wolves, and there used to be a woman in our neighborhood who had a wolf/dog hybrid (who was incredibly shy), but other than that, have never had much of a chance to be around the animals otherwise.  It was really interesting to hear all about the history of the Sanctuary, as well as learn details about wolf behaviors.  But of course, the actual wolves were the stars of the day.

The Original Pack includes Lincoln, Levi, Sarge, Chomp, Trinity (Alpha Female), Frodo (Alpha Male), and Lucas.  They were very interested in us, though would have been more interested if we had brought lunch for them!

Lucas and Frodo 

The Whole Pack







Below, please meet Thor.  He is the oldest wolf at the Sanctuary, having turned 18 on February 15th of this year.

Thor is blind, but was still very alert when the tour guide was talking to him.

This is Jake.  She is a relative newcomer to the Sanctuary, and is in the enclosure next to Thor.  They are hoping that the two of them will form a pack.  She was very friendly, but then decided she was lonely and started to howl.

And, just like when one dog in the neighborhood starts barking and then all the others start, the same thing happened here.  Everyone else started howling too.  It was amazing.

Here is a little video that The Tim took of her howling, I hope it works here.

Next up, we met Cheyenne.  She is particularly friendly, having been someone's pet.  She was so excited to see us and the tour guide!  Here's a video of her coming to see him.  (Again, I hope it works.)

Then we met Spirit and Mika, who are both white wolves.  Mika was extremely shy, but Spirit was ready for some attention and wanted to play!  Spirit is a former pet, who one day escaped from her yard when everyone at her house was out and she got bored.  She ended up at the playground of an elementary school, where the kids at recess loved playing with her, and she loved the attention!  Only when they called to say a lost dog was there, did they find her, take her to animal control, and learn that she was a wolf mix!  She was more than happy to get some attention, and clearly loves our tour guide, Denny.

The animals were all clearly quite content in their enclosures, and it was clear that the people working there were not only familiar with them, but that they love them all, and take excellent care of them.  

This is a cow skull, which is the only part of a cow that they are not interested in eating completely.  They use this to "play hunt," as they did with an opossum that [foolishly] wandered into an enclosure.  

Happy wolves all around.  This place is amazing and the people so clearly care about the animals and caring for them and rescuing them, it was a wonderful thing to see.  I can't wait to go back - our guide told us that the nighttime tours include a bonfire, which would be really something to experience.

I would definitely recommend a visit to this place if you like wolves and are interested in animal rescue.  There is even a B&B on the property where you can stay!  But it's well worth the day trip too.  

As we were coming home, we realized it's not that far from the Stoudt's Brewery, which has a tour of their facilities and a pub too.  So you could make a day of it and probably get a yummy meal as well.  

Which is surely on the agenda for a future trip ... 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and videos, and seeing the wolves.  I have a ton more photos, but what I have shared here surely gives you the idea of the place.  Let me know if you visit, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Off to enjoy the rest of my snow day, courtesy of the most recent nor'easter.  Have a good one!

20 March 2018

This First Day of Spring Is Being Brought to You by Yet Another Nor'Easter

I know it's wrong, but it amuses me that we are expecting yet another nor'easter to hit today.  Not because I enjoy shoveling snow and slogging around in resulting slush once it starts melting, but because people always seem surprised when the first day of Spring does not arrive and turn out to be a day that is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  Everyone always seems so shocked, and it just seems that this year, Mother Nature is saying, tough luck suckers!

I am sad that it might mark the end of our daffodils that started to bloom.  But they bloomed for my birthday, and that was good enough for me, if they can't hang around for a while after today.  I love daffodils, and consider them my birthday flower.  I take it very personally if none have shown up by then.

Anyway, I am somewhat disorganized at the moment, but wanted to post something, so I decided to borrow Nance's Monday Meme, called Love/Hate Relationships.  (Yes, it's Tuesday.  So sue me.)

1. What kind of song/kind of music always makes you feel good/irritated?

I like most music in general, but I will say that songs by The Beatles make me feel good.  "Modern" music (for example, Philip Glass) makes me irritated.  Big time.

2.  What are among your best/worst traits?

Best:  Self-discipline, loyalty, empathy
Worst:  Impatience, quick judgement, bad temper

3.  What food did you used to like but now you don't?

Marsala veggie burgers from Trader Joe's.  The Tim still really likes them, but I can't stand them anymore. 

4.  What book did everyone else love but you didn't?

The Girl on the Train.  I could not stand any of the characters, and would not have been upset had said train crashed on page 4 or so.

5.  Fill in the blanks:  I love my _________, but I hate (its/their/the) __________.

I love my house, but I hate to clean it (though once I get started, it's fine, and I'm always happy with the result).
I love my country, but I hate the current administration and their ilk.

OK, that was fun.   And it meant I had a legit post for today.  Feel free to answer in the comments, at Nance's original post, or on your own blog. 

Stay warm and safe if you are in the path of the crazy weather!

17 March 2018

Celebrating 62 Years

First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  It's one of the very best days of the year, with good baking, good food, and most excellent beverages. I hope you have a lovely one, and at a minimum, lift a glass of something good to honor Paddy himself.

It's been a grand few days (with one exception) leading up to today.  This past Wednesday was my 62nd birthday!  Other than wondering how the heck I got to be 62 (spoiler alert: it comes after 61!), it was a day of just enjoying myself.  I took that day and the rest of the week off from work.  Which is always a good idea, in my opinion.

The Tim had to work on my actual birthday, so I just enjoyed the day myself, knitting, reading, taking a walk, cuddling with the kitties, and getting my hair cut.  Once he came home, he fixed us homemade gnocchi and garlic breadsticks for dinner, followed by cake and presents.  A most wonderful way to celebrate a birthday.

The Tim had asked if there was anything special I wanted to do to celebrate, and I decided I wanted to visit the Wolf Sanctuary of PA, so he booked us a tour for this past Thursday.  It was the best day, and deserves its own post, so that's coming in the next few days.  We got back home early in the afternoon and just relaxed and hung out the rest of the day, watching some shows we'd recorded, and cuddling with the kitties.  Perfect.

Yesterday was the only ick day, but I knew that it would likely be so.  I had an appt first thing in the morning at the periodontist's office to have a tooth removed and a bone graft done in preparation for a dental implant.  Ugh.  It went just fine, but as with any dental procedure it was unpleasant.  I spent the bulk of the day putting ice on my jaw and dozing in and out.  It's still sore today, but not quite as swollen, and I know it will improve every day, but ICK you know???

So that brings us to today, St. Patrick's Day!  I'm baking brown bread this year, which will make the house smell sooooo good.  And we'll have it some Kerrygold butter, which is also a treat every year, and later we shall raise a glass to the good saint.

I still have all of today and tomorrow to enjoy my extended birthday celebration, so it's definitely been a good week overall.

I hope you are having a good weekend, and having a chance to do what you like.

Sláinte to you and yours!

13 March 2018

In Which I Get To Meet Another Blogger in Real Life!

As you know, I have had the chance on more than one occasion to get together with Dee - I even got to meet Giroux! - both for knitting and just for hanging out.  She and I hit it off really well, and it's great to meet someone in real life and have it "work," if you know what I mean.  Let's face it - some people are completely different in their online personas, and then you meet them in person and it's a quick trip on a bullet train to Dudsville.  (Perhaps it works the other way, but not in my limited experience.)

Since Dee moved back to the area, she has asked me on more than one occasion to join her and Vera for an afternoon of knitting, chatting, tea/coffee drinking, etc.  Each time, it was when I had something else I already had committed to doing, and so I'd miss out.  But the stars aligned, and this past Saturday worked for all of us, so I packed my tote bag, bought my train ticket, and headed to Beautiful Downtown Lansdale, PA, to spend the day.

The train ride back and forth was both crowded (people heading to/from the Philadelphia Flower Show), and also enjoyable.  I read my book for a while, but mostly I looked out the window, and enjoyed both the scenery, and making up stories about people I saw.  For instance, I saw a guy lugging a large trash bag out of his garage towards the open trunk of his car.  A body in a bag?  The bloody carpet from the crime scene?  Small children who once too often said, "I'm boooored"?  Only time will tell.  :-)   (Spoiler alert: It hasn't.)  Then there are also the people who are full-grown adults, and say things like, "Excuse me - I've never ridden the train before, is this where you get on?" even though you are STANDING on a platform NEXT TO TRAIN TRACKS with signs that say "BOARD TRAINS HERE," and I wonder to myself, how can you possibly be a grown person and have never ever ridden the train?  (Though Dee said her husband fell into this category.  But he's at least ridden the subway/el, so that's a variation on a theme as far as I'm concerned.)  I will excuse people who have just moved to the area, but other than that, I often wonder.  However, this is largely because growing up, my parents were not likely to drive us anywhere and so buses, trains, etc. were the way to go if it was too far to walk or bike.  (Edited to add: I am also someone who is more likely to try and figure it out myself or ask the ticket seller or conductor.  They are to the point and don't expect me to chat with them.  But maybe that's just me.)

But I digress.  Back to my destination of Beautiful Downtown Lansdale.  Dee and Vera met me at the train station, which was very nice of them.  They had said that the coffee shop where we were heading was nearby, and I'm sure I could have found it even though suburbia is often puzzling to me (would it kill them to have signs??), so I didn't have to waste any time wandering in the wrong direction.  (Also, Lansdale has sidewalks, which one cannot always assume in the suburbs, so that was nice.)  So we headed down the street to a place called Backyard Beans, which was lovely.  It's an oddly shaped spot that makes the most of the space.  Both of them recommended the Ginger-Turmeric Steamer, so I gave that a try.  It was sooooooo freakin' good!  Also - at the place they were selling Girl Scout cookies!!!  I bought a box of shortbread and Thin Mints - score!

Whoops, another digression.  Back to the story at hand.  Well, let me tell you, Vera is so much fun!  The three of us knitted, drank, and laughed for a couple of hours, and it was like we'd known each other forever.  It was also funny, because Vera was wearing a really pretty sweater.  I asked her if she'd made it, and she told me the story of buying someplace, at which point Dee joined us after getting her drink and immediately asked Vera if she had knit the sweater she was wearing - perhaps when knitters meet, they should have small cards to hand out to each other explaining any knit item they are wearing!  Then we headed across the street to a really lovely restaurant/pub called Stove & Tap for lunch.  Our waiter was SO nice - he showed us pictures of his kids and dogs, told us about a friend who had gone to the Super Bowl, and told us that he couldn't give us separate checks because a law had just been passed forbidding it.  ;-)  He was so nice, and I'm pretty sure he got a big tip from all of us ...

Then it was time for all of us to head home.  They walked me over to the train station, and we said our goodbyes.  I gotta tell you, when I got home, I was pretty tired!  I think because I am seldom that social and I used up more than my quota for the weekend!  But it was just The. Best.  To use a phrase of my mother's "It sure beat spittin'!"

Yesterday, Kathy asked the question:  If you could sit on your couch and knit with anyone today, or a few folks, who would they be?  Well, I had that chance over the weekend with Dee and Vera, and it would have been hard for it to have been better!

So, when/if you have a chance to meet others that you know in cyberspace in real life, I would suggest taking a chance!  Even if you end up in Dudsville, you can always say you have to head home at a certain time, and make the suffering less.  But I'm betting you'll have at least as enjoyable a time as I did.  Even if you don't go to Beautiful Downtown Lansdale ...

And since I have no photos to prove we were together (because of course I don't), here is a picture of Milo the Koodle from Sunday morning, which was the morning of his 6th birthday.  He is the only cat we've ever had whose birthday has actually been known to us.  :-)

08 March 2018

Three Good Things on a Snow Day

Yesterday I really enjoyed my snow day.  The Tim had to work, so it was just the kitties and me, spending a relaxing day together. 

I thought I would join Three on Thursday today, and regale you with Three Good Things on a Snow Day.

1.  I saw that the brackets were announced for MDK March Mayhem!  I was able to be very leisurely checking out the patterns included this year.   I voted in the various rounds last year, and it was so much fun.  It also made me aware of a lot of patterns/designers I was not aware of before.  Check it out, and be a part of the voting. 

2.  I got a nice chunk of knitting done on the baby sweater I posted about yesterday.  I finished the yoke, put the sleeve stitches on holders, and got an inch or so into the stockinette part on the bottom.  I really think it's gonna be cute when it's finished, and hopefully that will not be too long coming.

3.  I have been wanting to bake this coffee cake for a while, but finally yesterday the planets aligned and I made it happen.

This is Italian Walnut Coffee Cake, and it is a) really easy to put together, and b) sooooo yummy!  The house smelled so good yesterday afternoon while this was in the oven.  The Tim and I enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea when he got home from work, and then repeated that later in the evening.  I've had this recipe for years, I'm pretty sure it was originally from a magazine, but the details are gone with the wind.  If anyone is interested, I'll try and get myself together and post the recipe.  It's nice because it's not overly sweet, and it doesn't just land in your stomach like a rock.

Today it was back to real life, and back to work.  I managed to find a route where most of the sidewalks were shoveled, so it wasn't as nerve-wracking as it could have been getting to work.  After work today, I have to go to the dentist to have a filling replaced - ICK!  But at least tomorrow is Friday, so I think I'll survive ... ;-)