Mr Snowy – Over the Rainbow Bridge

Mr Snowy has gone over the Rainbow Bridge. He was the sweetest little friend, a super cuddle-bunny right to the end.

Mr Snowy would have been eleven in October and lived quite an exciting life for a rabbit. He was well-travelled even making a few international visits and he lived in several houses in different cities and states. Mr Snowy made many trips to schools for show and tell visits. He enjoyed meeting new people and was patient with curious little hands. Most of all, he enjoyed curling up to watch a movie in the arms of his less-Furry family members and friends.

Mr Snowy was less than four pounds but had a personality many times larger than his little body. He was not intimidated by his larger Furry Beastie siblings in the least. He often stared them down and was most horrified one day to be sneezed upon. He bathed himself for quite some time after that particular adventure.

In his later years, Mr Snowy’s legs grew weak and his vision went blurry. Ms Betty Bunny began to take over more and more of his daily grooming. Ms Betty was a comfort to Mr Snowy and they were usually found next to each other whether having a nap or just relaxing together.

Mr Snowy’s age caught up with him at last and now I would like to think he is hopping again with the legs of a young rabbit, vision restored and happily bossing about our Furry Friends who passed over the rainbow bridge before him. In fact, I hope Lucky and Shelby were waiting for him and I suspect Mr Snowy would have saved a sneeze just for them.

Mr Snowy really was just the best little bunny and we miss him enormously. 💔

Beach Dogs

Like most Newfies, Daisy and Diana love the water. We wrapped up our summer adventures with a family trip to the beach. Mr Snowy and Miss Betty Bunny stayed home for a bit of peace and quiet. They are more home bunnies than beach bunnies!

Daisy had the best time ever. I think she smiled the whole trip! Whether we were on the beach, on the dock, or on the deck overlooking the canal, Daisy could smell salt water and she was happy. Living her best life.

Diana had a pretty good time too. Nothing like sea breeze in a dog’s fur. Even if she didn’t love getting the sand washed off when we got home!

Of course, the best part about a beach trip is playing in the water. Diana liked splashing in the shallow pools.

Daisy opted for the full surf experience. She could play in the water all day. Happy sopping wet sandy Furry Beasties! Best trip ever. ❤️

Chiengora – The Middle

Adventures in spinning continue in the Furry Beastie Home. Turns out, spinning and knitting and all the steps along the way are a bit of a rabbit hole. I thought this would be a bit of fun, but it’s a touch all-consuming!

Rabbit hole? What’s this about a rabbit hole?

Never mind Mr. Snowy. Your fur is a little too short to spin well. Newfoundland fur is just perfect though, especially when blended with some wool.

Daisy and Diana have spent lots of time supervising as I prepare and spin dog fur. Sometimes they find it a little confusing.

Mum? What is my fur doing on a chair? This is supposed to be attached to me!

Diana gets quite interested in the washing and drying stages. All fur is hand washed, dried in the sun, and blended with wool before spinning. I spun two singles of chiengora and then it was time to ply them together to make a stronger, more balanced yarn.

My drop spindle filled with yarn after plying. It got a little heavy to work with!

Plying the two single yarns together was more complicated that I anticipated. Once I got the hang of keeping tension on both my single ply balls and stopped dropping the spindle every few minutes, it went fairly quickly.

Actually, that’s true of this whole project. It’s way more involved that I thought it would be. I have great admiration for the artists who create beautiful yarn and who have been so willing to share their knowledge. I have thoroughly enjoyed every step even with the mistakes and the inevitable tangles along the way.

One more bath

The last step is soaking the yarn in hot water to set the twist and then hanging it to dry. It dried quickly in the Texas sunshine, unlike Daisy and Diana who take many hours to dry after a bath. Then I wound it into a ball to make it easier to use.

Ta-da! One ball done.

Finally! A finished ball of chiengora yarn. It is so soft and fuzzy! It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start. I will definitely keep spinning. Maybe with a spinning wheel to speed things up a little.

Next step – Knitting. Getting closer to having a Furry Beastie Hat of my very own. Okay, even after all the work, that still sounds a little weird. But I cannot wait to see how it’s going to come out!

Ms Betty Bunny’s Favorite Things

Birthday – June 11

Nicknames – Betty Boo

Favorite Toy – Mr. Snowy hands down. Ms Betty and Mr. Snowy bonded pretty much right away and even when they are having free range time, they usually wind up right next to each other. Ms. Betty frequently grooms Mr. Snowy. Mr. Snowy has never been particularly fastidious in his grooming. Ms. Betty may think he’s a bit of a slob, but she doesn’t seem to mind helping him out in that department.

Favorite Foods – Broccoli is her very favorite but she also enjoys a bit of celery tops, cucumber or carrot peels. The usual faves for a bunny rabbit. Primarily she eats rabbit pellets and timothy hay, but she does enjoy bits of veggies as a treat. Ms Betty wouldn’t say no to the odd strawberry or blueberry either!

Habits– Ms Betty has lovely manners and prefers to wash her paws before eating. Unlike some of her Furry siblings, Ms Betty Bunny is a lady.

Diana ❤️ Squirrels

Every morning we go for a walk before it gets too hot. We live in Texas, so hot comes early and often when you’re a Furry Beastie. For Diana, the best part of the walk is the section of the park filled with squirrels.

Diana ❤️ Squirrels.

Daisy likes squirrels and all other creatures too. But when Daisy is walking, she’s got places to go, things to sniff. Not much time for squirrels really.

Diana – “Squirrel!”
Daisy – “Hmm…what? Who cares? Come on, let’s go!”

Diana zones in on squirrels.

She’s a big fan.

Diana is convinced that if she could only meet a squirrel up close, they would be friends. Daisy and I are not so sure that would be a great idea.

Diana would love it if I would install a squirrel table in our backyard. A place for friends to hang out. Get to know each other. Something like this.

This admittedly super cute squirrel picnic table is made by Squirrel Feeder and available on Amazon.

Diana, that looks like a trap! Sorry, that’s definitely not a good idea.

No pouting Diana!

Diana wonders if there is any chance she’ll get a squirrel picnic table for Christmas. Maybe if she asks Santa Paws…

Chiengora – The Beginning

Living with Furry Beasties means living with dog fur. Everywhere. Vacuuming and sweeping helps of course, but inevitably there is fur on my clothes, in my food, and definitely on my floors. It’s worth it for the sweetness of my Furry friends.

Newfies frequently generate enough extra fur to create a bonus dog!

Wandering through the internet one day, I came across an article on chiengora. Chiengora is yarn made from dog fur. Similar to angora, chiengora is soft and warm with a sort of furry halo around it, but it is made with dog fur instead of fur from Angora rabbits. Immediately I pictured myself wearing a warm chiengora Furry Beastie hat. After all, I certainly have enough raw material!

I started saving the fur that I brushed out of Furry Beasties with the theory of one day sending it off somewhere to be spun. Clippings aren’t great for spinning but Newfies shed hair pretty much constantly. They also blow their coats a few times a year which means daily brushing and lots of loose fur. Each time I brushed my Furry friends, I shoved a few handfuls of dog fur in a bag and stuck the bag in a drawer. Before I knew it, I had overflowing bags and the drawer was stuffed full. It was time to go a little further in my plan towards a Furry Beastie hat.

Source A – Daisy likes to be brushed. Happy times.

Turns out many people who spin dog fur have a backlog of clients. Since I’ve had some spare time at home the past several months due to Covid restrictions, I decided to try doing it myself! Full disclosure – I am in no way a textile artist. I read some blogs, watched some videos, thumbed through a few books and then just gave it a go.

Source B – Willing to accept bribes for brushes. Sometimes.

Okay, so when I say I’m not a textile artist, the truth is I didn’t even know how to knit. That seemed like the place to start. I started teaching myself and made some scarves, hats, and dishcloths. Turns out, knitting is pretty fun. And soothing too!

Next step was ordering a drop spindle and some wool top and learning to spin wool into yarn. Dog fur can be tricky to work with and starting out with wool seemed like good practice. Spinning feels like meditation. Creating a bit of order out of chaos. I liked it immediately. I learned how to pinch, spin, draft. I got better at keeping my yarn thickness consistent and dropped the spindle less often. There are a few steps after that to set the twist and so on, but in the end, I created my first ball of spun yarn.

Dog fur stored in paper bag, spindle, helpful booklet and wool top.

It was time to get out the bags of dog fur. I washed and air-dried several ounces of prime Newfie fur. Diana was fascinated by this part. She thinks all future washing of dog fur should happen after the fur is off the dog. She’s not a fan of bath-time!

Carders full of dog fur and wool

Then I bought myself a pair of carders and used those to create a batt of dog fur/wool mix (80% dog fur and 20% wool). Next, came the spindle again and in no time at all, I had spun some chiengora yarn.

A good start!

Okay, so the whole process is a little time consuming. I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would! There will be lots more washing, carding, and spinning to do before I have enough chiengora to start knitting my lovely warm Furry Beastie hat, but I am definitely getting closer to my goal.

What will the dogs think when they see me wearing Chiengora? I’m not sure if they will be thrilled that I have embraced their Newfie-ness or if they will be creeped out by the whole thing. Updates to come.

Daisy’s Favorite Things

Birthday – November 30

Nicknames – Daisy Bear, Lazy Daisy, Nap Queen

Favorite Toy – Hedgehog. Daisy used to have a pillow pet she would carry around so that she was prepared to nap anywhere at any time. Diana stole it. Daisy got a new one. Diana stole that too. Hedgehog is sacred. Even Diana knows better than to try to steal Hedgehog. Most of the time.

Walks or Car Rides – Car Rides. All day long. Short walks are okay. Anything longer and Daisy has been known to lay down on the sidewalk and request that we go home and get the car to pick her up.

Car Rides with Hedgehog? Perfection.

Pet Peeves – People making noise during nap time. Diana stealing her toys.

Favorite Foods – Cheese. Watermelon. Fish. And French fries. Always french fries.

So juicy! She only gets the red part, no rinds for puppies!

Hobbies – Daisy is a certified Therapy Dog. She loves going to schools to help kids practice reading. Her favorite books are Biscuit books. Woof! Woof!

Daisy is a Biscuit super-fan.

Embarrassing Puppyhood Story – Daisy is a water dog. She loves to swim. Without an indoor pool, she once resorted to splashing her front paws and head in a toilet. Water all over the bathroom! Thank goodness it had just been cleaned. Silly Daisy Bear. Good news for Daisy, we did not take any photos! Now that would be embarrassing.

Weekend Pool Party

Hooray, it’s the weekend! A hot sunny summer day cries out for a pool party. First step, you have to fill the pool.

It’s so hard to wait. Feels like it takes fur-ever. Daisy spends some time napping in preparation. Diana waits impatiently by the door.

Mum! Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? How about now?

Finally, the pool is filled and the fun begins!

Darling Diana – Water Warrior

Diana is always eager to hone her attack skills. She fights on, undeterred by water up her nose or the threat of soggy ears. She is determined to come out on top. Perhaps Darling Diana needs a sprinkler?

Little sisters…

Daisy would never be so undignified. Little siblings act like lunatics sometimes. Inside the house, Mr Snowy snorts in agreement.

Daisy waits patiently for Diana to leave the pool area. Will it ever be her turn?

Diving Daisy Bear

If this pool had any salmon swimming about, Daisy would be ready to scoop them up. Daisy is always prepared to go fishing. Or eat fish. Either way.

Diana wonders, “What’s this about Salmon?” Never mind Diana, you had your pool time already.

In only six or eight short hours, Daisy will be dry again. Until then she will happily rock her new ‘do. Even majestic beasties like to get a little wild.

Super wet, super happy Daisy Bear.

After lots of fun playing and splashing in the pool, it’s time for Diana to go roll in the dirt. What, what was that last bit?

Oh Diana!

Diana is thrilled. She is now a Wet Dirty Wild Beastie. Just the way she likes it.

Best Day Ever!

The Upstairs Adventures of Mr Snowy and Ms Betty Bunny

Ms Betty Bunny in a rare quiet moment.

Mr Snowy and Ms Betty Bunny are not free-range bunnies. This is an unfortunate side effect to living with two… ahem… slightly larger Furry Sisters. Daisy and Diana have always been gentle with their smaller siblings, but no one wants to risk disaster brought on by an over-zealous paw or extra-enthusiastic snuggle.

Mr Snowy and Ms Betty Bunny share a home on our main floor where they can be a part of the daily action of the house. Often, they visit upstairs where they can get a good stretch of their legs and check out a change of scenery. During upstairs adventures, Big Furry Sisters are not invited.

Daisy is always a little bit sad when she’s not invited to join in on the fun.

Once the bunnies make their way upstairs, they get a little curious. Mr Snowy enjoys checking out his surroundings. Was this here last time? Yes it was, silly bunny.

Occasionally, Mr Snowy gets a little too close to the edge when sitting on furniture and he requires rescue. Mr Snowy is an elder rabbit and we think he has gone a little blind. He is closely supervised anytime he is off solid ground.

Mr Snowy, you are on the edge!

Ms Betty Bunny is often a bit of a blur during upstairs time. She hops here, she hops there, she hops and changes direction in mid-air. After all her hipping and hopping, she looks for a quiet spot to lay down for a rest.

If she’s lucky, she might even have a little music to listen to during her down time. Ms Betty Bunny loves music. She does not, however, love wrong notes. Ms Betty Bunny thinks the young musician needs more practice!

Miss Betty Bunny says practice makes perfect.

After all the fun is done, Mr Snowy and Ms Betty Bunny are happy to return home. Their home is cleaned during their upstairs adventures and often there is a delicious treat waiting for them. Possibly some carrot peelings or a bit of kale. After all, adventuring works up an appetite!

Happy Birthday Diana!

Three years ago, this small sweetheart came into the world. A short time later, Darling Diana became a part of our family. We loved her from the moment we saw her.

Today we celebrated our sweet furry girl as Darling Diana turned three! She had a fabulous day. We planned a pool party with her bestie, but rain and Covid-19 changed our plans a little. No worries, we still had lots of playtime and cuddles. Diana even enjoyed a virtual visit through Zoom with some dear friends!

And of course, there had to be cake. Who doesn’t love cake?

After cake, it was time for presents!

Diana loves her new Birthday Loofa Toy. Stuffies are her very favorites. She loves to cuddle them, shake them, and gum on them. A new stuffy was just perfect for her.

Eventually even the best of Birthdays come to an end. Diana had a lovely day with her family and friends. All that partying wears a puppy out.

Happy Birthday Darling Diana!