Saturday, February 26, 2011

You Can't Feel More Welcome Than This....



"Hey! Y'all want a Ride?
We pulled in at dusk yesterday, and got set up, didn't really have a chance to meet anyone, although those we did seemed real warm and friendly-like.

Well, the next day we got the total welcome wagon right at our front door, calling us out and loading us up for an informal test ride on the new hay wagon they use for parades and such.

Can't stop grinnin'
As you can see, it's set up for comfort and convenience, complete with fold down seats and plenty of cold storage for your beverages.

Havin' way too much fun!
We got to met most, if not all, the local colorful characters all at one time, and got more socializin' done than we would've otherwise in a month of Sundays.

We even had the obligatory break down on a back trail, so we had to survive on a half bag of peanuts and Gummy Bears until a truck came along and pull started us.

We feel much at home here, these Folks are just like us, livin' on the road and enjoying a back woods lifestyle on their time off.

It's the first place we have ever stayed where we just got absorbed into the gang, like we always belonged, and Doyle is just another back country fishin' fool.

Taking the bumps in stride
The man next to Doyle is a retired professional Jockey, you would probably recognize his name if we gave it, but he likes the quiet life now, living in the back woods. Doyle and he have tons in common, as Doyle grew up training and racing horses on his Dad's farm in Iowa. They became friends instantly and look to become good buddies as time rolls on here in the Hinterland.

It doesn't get much better than this!

(Well actually, it does, we are going fishing on the air jet boat in a day or so and we have been invited to the local karaoke contest at a way back, just for locals, bar you have to four wheel into....sigh....We have found Heaven on Earth!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Historically Incorrect Club Holds First Meeting...

 OK, what happens when you get two Aboriginal Anthropological Historians, and two Anthropological Archaeologists and one Historical Librarian with over 100 years combined Native American Research together to discuss correct Aboriginal pre contact Native American clothing?

Patty, Jen, Patty's Sister, Me & Sheila

Silly, non-period correct, Electric Blue Suede Hippy Hats.

You see, nothing says "Serious Discussion Group" louder than a bunch of silly hats. It shows we take our subject matter very seriously.

It shows the immensity and importance of our knowledge in our area of study, plus our no nonsense approach to examining the past in a sober and dry manner.

You see,  if you are a stickler for authentic reproduction period clothing you tend to spend much of you time creating, studying and wearing what's right, with no compromises, no quarter given.

Soooooo, when we decide to go incorrect, we go all the way and cap ourselves in the attire that would most seriously offend the Historically Correct.

Patty, Sister, Jen, Lil' Griz, Me & Sheila
Thus, the Blue Suede Hippy Hats. We even got our resident Historically Correct Mad Hatter, Lil' Griz, (who had the afore-mentioned hideous hats hiding in the back of his van behind the incredibly well made custom hats he is renowned for making), pull them out for us and join us for a group picture in his own personal incorrect Hippy Blue Suede Hat.

We created our own "Historically Incorrect Blue Suede Hippy Hat Club" and are seriously thinking of tracking down those "Red Hat" Gals and giving them a "History Lesson" they will never forget.

Maybe not. With all the research we do, we seldom have time to "chastise" anyone but ourselves for not doing the proper documentation on a particular garment we are studying and re-creating for some ungrateful Educational Event in Anytown, USA that thinks Disney's "Pocahontas" is a true-to-life documentary.

Now, if you don't get the humor of this situation, just show it to your nearest anal historically correct type and they will explain it to you between gaffaws and helpless tears of laughter.

Resident Skunk Hat PVC Pipe Staff Goddess, Ava
And just when we had patted ourselves on the back for having offended every Historical Researcher of the Genus Librarian, we ran across our Always Historically Correct Event Photographer, Ava Francesca, sporting this outfit featuring a plastic PVC staff and shamelessly chintzy artificial skunk hat.

She beat us out for the title on points for tastelessness, cheapness and outright offensiveness in every category, including carrying it all off with an air of superior regalness that we could never hope to muster.

Kudos Ava, for shaming us all before the public with a uniquely Individual Achievement in the area of Historical Incorrectness......we gracefully and properly curtsy and graciously tip our Blue Suede Hippy Hats to you in a most proper and correct manner.

Kitty Gets a Much Needed Bath

Matted and soiled the note bald hind legs...
 Yesterday was Bath Day for our new friend, she still was covered with dirt and scabs, and didn't have the strength to clean herself.

Frankly, she smelled bad and had matted fur everywhere! I didn't dare bathe her before this as she was so weak I was afraid of putting her into shock. I had to wait until she was up to it.

I gave her a lap bath, not wanting to subject her to the stress of being dunked in water, I've found even the most skittish of critters will submit to a washcloth bath, which closely simulates the way a Mother cat would cleanse her kitten.

Lap Bath

I used a specialized cat cleanser, putting a heavy towel on my lap to catch the excess water that dripped off the cat. 
I made sure the RV was warm and toweled the kitten down right away to ward off chilling her.

I also used the flea comb to loosen and remove any scabs, eggs or dirt that remained next to her skin. By the time this was done, she was almost dry already, since she has more bald spots than hair!

After her bath, kitten crawled up in the sunny window, (which has become her favorite perch), and dried quickly. 
Fluffy!

 She still is half bald from her flea infestation, but now her coat has a chance to grow back now that the matting has been removed.






As you can see, the results are amazing, and kitten seemed very relieved to be clean!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thank You for Your Birthday Wishes!

Good Morning Everybody! Thought I'd just make a quick Birthday Video to thank you all for your great Birthday wishes and show you all how our newest member of the family is doing. 

We are so blessed to have so many good friends and loving family, it fills my heart with joy to have you all with me on my Special Day!

videoEven though my Mother passed 20 years ago, today, I feel especially close to her this day, I know her greatest wish for me at the time of her passing was for me to go on living a life more than ordinary and I feel she would be very pleased to see that I have left the work a day world and struck out in my own direction.

God Bless all our Family and Friends this day, and I hope that all your Birthday wishes come true, as mine have!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Life Long Illness Finally Diagnosed!

Alternate Title: : 
"How God Repeatedly Hit Me Over The head With The Obvious Hammer Before I Finally Got It"
I have had severe digestive problems all my life. I have been to the Doctor with several complaints for many decades, ever since I was a young woman. No one could figure out what was wrong with me.

Tired and Puffy.....
Then, this last Winter, the combined stress over Doyle's medical problems, plus an "On The Road" diet made me sick. Really sick. I knew I had to get a handle on this mysterious ailment once and for all, since it was disabling to the point of my not being able to help out in the kitchen, or even go for walks without being seized by heartburn and joint aches. If I did anything physical at all I would gain 15 pounds of water weight overnight.

I was done with Doctors on this particular problem, I had been told I had ulcers, Colitis, and several other nasty sounding and non-treatable illnesses that left me in despair over the lack of a final treatment that would improve my quality of life, (In the Doctors defense, glucose intolerance is VERY difficult to diagnose). I lived with constant daily heartburn and other indescribable maladies that no medication could touch for decades.

Then I turned to prayer, not the first time, but this time I made the right request in the right way and he answered. No handwriting on the wall or a small voice from a burning bush, my miracle came in the form of messages from everyone and everything.

All of the sudden, people were walking up to me and telling me about their illness. They kept harping about Celiac Disease and their intolerance to gluten products. It was strange, because so many people suddenly seemed to be afflicted with the same illness, but I wasn't listening. So I got sicker, and was reduced to sitting on the couch in gripping pain watching old movies.

A movie came on called "The Color Purple". It's an excellent film with Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in a refreshingly different role then you could ever imagine them in. It was even better that it was on Public Television with no commercial interruption.

I was mesmerized by it's plot and characters, but the most riveting part of the film was the end, when all the characters converge on a country church and an old timey hymn bursts forth from everyone, sinner and saint alike.

"God Is Trying To Tell You Something" was it's name, and it would raise goosebumps off a log. It had that effect on me, and then even more, I found myself moved to tears. The kind of tears that told me I hadn't been listening. 

Even on this occasion, I wiped my tears and went to bed, sniffing and telling myself, it was, after all, a movie. I had been baking the entire day before and had feasted on caramel rolls and wholesome, (I thought), fresh home baked bread the night before.

I got up the next day and felt even sicker, once again I found myself on the couch, turned on the TV and there was that movie in progress, the church scene playing out before me once again, and once more, the tears flowed. Someone was trying to tell me something.

The movie ended and I flipped the channel. The very next PBS show in progress one channel up was a program about "Celiac Disease", which is a severe allergy to all things containing wheat and/or gluten. I dropped the remote.

I watched with rapt attention as they were talking about the very illness that several people had approached me about in the past weeks. Could this be my problem? My symptoms weren't exactly as they described, but it was close enough for me to pay attention and then act. After all, what did I have to lose? All I had to do is eliminate wheat products from my diet and see what happened.

I turned to the internet and did some research, and if you suspect this may be a problem in your life, a simple search on Google will reveal several great Celiac.org sites that give you great advice on what to eliminate from your diet. You would be surprised to learn that wheat is in just about everything these days, as a stabilizer or additive. It was simple to take that list and remove bread products and products with gluten and wheat from my diet, without causing myself too much undue pain.

Lookin' & Feelin' Better Everyday!
I found out how widespread this intolerance/allergy is, affecting a good portion of the population. I found many good gluten free foods clearly labeled in the average store. Some stores like Sweet Bay have a section entirely devoted to gluten free products, so we don't have to suffer never having pasta or bread again. Substitutes are made from corn, rice and soy or a combination of all of the above.

What happened was after 24 hours my symptoms stopped cold. Over the next week my joint pain became less and the constant swelling in my hands, face and feet went away. For the first time in my life I was getting better instead of worse. I have lost 20 pounds of water weight in ten days. It couldn't have been just wheat, I told myself, but it was. I had to be hit over the head with it repeatedly, but I finally got the message.

Now, I'm not going to tell people to start watching TV for messages, that's not usually how it works and frankly there are more bad things on television than good. But what I am saying, is that when you have a problem and have submitted it to your Maker, start listening.

It's up to us to sort it all out and then act. Sometimes it's not what you want to hear, that's another problem altogether, but if you start listening, you just might get an answer...even if you are stubborn and dwelling on the hopelessness of your situation.

You see, I have a theory that God answers prayer, but He tries to answer it through people. If you pray and aren't getting results, maybe you should start being more aware of what people are telling you. If the message you get is positive and enlightening and does no harm, it just might be the Big Guy, working His will in mysterious ways.

It sure seems to work that way in my life, anyway...if only I listen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Leather Dress Project

documenting the shoulder repair
While at Alafia Rendezvous in Homeland Florida I attended the Native Celebration they hold on Thursday Night each year.

At this Event was Mia, a good friend who originally hails from Australia, but more recently of St. Augustine Florida. She's the fine Lady who got us cooking for Pirate Events and gave us our first nudge to move full time to Florida. She also arrived early and helped us set up this year, driving stakes and hauling coolers like nobody's business.
The REAL THING!

Lovely Mia in her dress
At The Native Celebration she was wearing regalia that immediately caught my eye. After vainly trying to tear it off her body, (remember, she can drive two foot iron stakes in easily), I finally got her to agree to let me study it for a few days. 

 What's the big deal about an ole leather dress? If my hunch was right, this was a "real" over the shoulder leather garment, that goes back in our human history for thousands of years. Yes, when man and woman first chose to cover themselves with hides, this is the outfit that worked best for them.


Having a keen eye for details, I noticed right away it was a circa 1940 ceremonial gown, created right about the time of Pow Wow resurgence in the United States, after the "Ethnic Cleansing" that had taken place since the late 1800's had sputtered out and it was felt that Native Americans had a right to their ancient ceremonies once again.

Documenting the size and construction
What I could tell on examining it closely was that it had been altered, which I remedied by returning it to its original state and that in every way it was true to the design of the ancient garment I had here-to-fore only read about in books and observed in paintings, but had never found an actual living example in photo archives or museum inventories.

For lack of a better name, I have always referred to it as the "Paleo Dress" and have been hunting it's actual physical existence for more than 15 years.

 It may seem like just two hides were sewn together in a haphazard way, but it actually was a very cleverly constructed garment that moves and hugs the body easily, while giving freedom of movement and comfort. The hides are huge, measuring 66" long by 55" wide. This could only mean Elk hide.

John White's depiction of Pre-contact 1580 Natives

What really thrilled me the most was that it wasn't a day to day working dress, but an actual ceremony garment. More than fifty percent of the dress is finely cut fringe, which implies, "My Husband is such a good provider that I can have a dancing dress with tons of leather fringe, I can have more than one dress and this one is my fancy one, and I had time to spend several days cutting the fringe".

Mia related that it was "gifted" to her by a tribe of Northwestern Indians in the State of Washington, after she helped them get through a mountainside landslide crisis in which they lost their homes and most of their worldly goods. She, at that time, operated a small second hand store that she threw the doors open on and told everyone to just take what they needed with no worries of repayment. They showed their appreciation by presenting her with the leather dress in question.

The reason it was still being used and worn by this particular group of individuals was that they had very little contact with other tribes or the Europeans until very late in the settlement period of this country. This particular garment suited their needs for thousands of years and needed no improvements.

A Back End View
In colder seasons it had detachable sleeves that covered both bare arms, and leggings similar to the leather strap dress of my tribe,(Ojibway), that I have also been carefully researching for decades.

This garment predates the leather Ojibway strap dress by several hundred years. I can safely say that this garment was at one time, universally worn by all tribes and all peoples in North America and most parts of Europe.

I plan on recreating this garment as soon as I can have the suitable hides shipped to me. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Kitty Progress Report, Day 2

Eat or drink, can't decide....
Day 2 brings us a Kitty that can walk about a bit, sleep more than a few minutes at a time and eat solid foods.

She has mostly slept today, and is getting along great with Katie Dog and Slippers, (AKA "P.W.").

As you can see from the photos.she has very little hair, her bald patches are very obvious.

OK Eat it is....Bald spots showing...
She has already shown a talent for working on the internet, she loves tip-toeing across the mouse pad and pressing the keys. Maybe she can get her own Blog: "The Travels of (Insert name here)". As it is, she is helping me edit this right now, type....pet, pet, type.....pet, pet.

OK, time for a drink....
After much research and discussion among my Cat friends, most feel she is a "Maine Coon" cat. Therefore she is much younger than my first estimations, since she is from a very large breed. She is probably only two or three months old at the most.

She is super smart and friendly, despite her condition, she starts purring, (purring? More like rumbling, like a car on high idle),  as soon as you walk in the room, and has the tiniest chirp for a meow. She is still very sensitive to noises, but has become accustomed to regular household noises, she really gets upset when people drive by, but if you spent a couple weeks almost getting run over, you would be a bit jumpy too.

We thank the good folks at Dade City Animal Clinic, especially Chester W. Taylor, III, D.V.M., for talking time from their busy day to save this animal, who was a deaths door 24 hours ago. Getting professional advice on how to treat a dehydrated and flea infested cat is vital to it's survival.

If you would've asked me a month ago if we were going to take on another pet, I would have laughed, but this cat has chosen us and we can't just take her to a shelter or ignore her plight. We will wait until her scabs from flea bites heal, (she is really just one big scab, from head to toe), and then we will have her wormed. After a suitible amount of time she will be properly Spayed.

Keep the name ideas coming, we are having a great time trying them all out on her.....

We are really enjoying the names, if we can't decide, we'll just alternate between them!




Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look What Followed Us Home, Can I Keep it?

I though I was long past taking in strays..but look what Doyle found curled up in a laundry basket in the kitchen this morning! The kitten looks to be about 4 months old and was obviously the domestic type who had been dumped in the Park by some stupid Family that thought it would get along on it's own.

Found her just in time, I think....
It was starved, dehydrated and just about bled out by fleas. So Doyle ran to town to the Vets and got the appropriate medications and we began doctoring our new found friend. She seems house trained and very friendly, even let me scrub her up this afternoon.
Of course we will take her in and get her spayed and her shots, she's too weak for anything but soft food and flea medications right now....

She looks to be a long haired cat of some type, her coloring matches "Slippers", the short hair we already have. She is really as emaciated as she looks, and she is mostly bald from chewing at her fleas.

Neat Mask!
In the meantime we need a name for our new feline friend, so if you have any creative ideas, let us know! Nothing cutsey or suggestive....and preferably something not involved with the phrase "Doo Daa".

For More on BC Kitty Go to:
Kitty Progress Report
and
Kitty Gets a much needed bath
and
Kitty Improving Everyday
and
Kitty Needs Another Flea Bath
and
Rescue Kitty Struts her stuff


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