Little Round Top

Gettysburg is much like the rest of Central PA, yet very different.  For me, hearing “Gettysburg” makes me think of a variety of things.

Part of Route 30 that is typically well below the speed limit.

Traffic to be avoided during bike week and reenactment week.

Parking meters and the traffic circle at the square (both uncommon in the region).

Antiques priced substantially higher than they would be 30 minutes in either direction.

The most delicious macaroni and cheese with blue cheese and bacon bits, home brewed birch beer, and microbrews at Appalachian Brewing Company.

Not being able to get the aforementioned lunch at 3 pm because it turned out to be the day of the Remembrance Day parade (oops).

Outlet shopping.

Gettysburg College.

The Land of Little Horses.

Produce stands on the drive there.

A winery that has much improved in the last few years, and another that caters to local tastes – high residual sugars – that aren’t my style.

The Christmas tree farms a few miles away.

Herds of boy scout troops.  Herds of tourists on Segways.  Really, herds of tourists in general.

Nifty zig zagging log fences.

Civil War enthusiasts in period costumes.

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Wait – back to that last one.  The Civil War.  The Battle of Gettysburg – the turning point of a war that greatly impacted our nation.

That’s what Gettysburg is really all about, isn’t it?

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A lot of blood was shed on these rocky fields.  Many lives were lost, many families’ lives changed as a direct result of this battle.  These were people – not just characters in some history lesson, some book, some movie.  Living, breathing people whose lives were altered forever.

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Not to mention those impacted by the results of the war.  Communities that had been devastated.  Economic impacts.  Those who were freed from an impoverished and precarious existence, only to be thrown into another precarious existence – but a free one.

 

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Standing at Little Round Top, you can see many of the southern Gettysburg battlefields.  It’s a beautiful view from an outcrop of rocks.  Rolling, rocky fields, South Mountain in the distance.  I can’t quite comprehend the importance of this place, and the devastation that occurred here.

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What do you think of when you hear “Gettysburg”?

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Home project: crochet wreath

The pups and I did not love this winter’s well-below-average temperatures.

Admittedly, Gambit enjoyed that it meant I got a huge, warm, fluffy trapper hat for walks.  He promptly decided it was his and gave me the saddest puppy dog eyes any time he wanted to wear it.  He also went nuts over the ten billion sweaters his grandma gifted him.

What can I say?  This weirdo loves warmth and clothes.

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Spring is a diva when it comes to cold temperatures.  She has a thin coat and virtually no undercoat (bonus: she barely sheds!) but can’t stand clothes.  She does, however, LOVE snow.

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Both this winter and last, I had an ongoing conundrum.  Wreaths.  As a not-too-creative person, what do you do between easy evergreen swags for Christmas and mid-spring floral wreaths?  Particularly when you search for ideas, but it’s 2015 and you’re just not into wrapped wreaths, wooden monograms, or potato sacks.  Just give me some early country antiques and quality local crafters’ products, please.

This winter, an image finally popped into my head.  A grapevine wreath with a swath of crocheted snowflakes in white and icy shades of light blue, in different patterns and sizes.  Realizing those would be a bit difficult to attach to a grapevine wreath while maintaining their shape, I decided to go with flowers instead.  Unlike snowflakes, flowers could also hopefully get me through early spring!

I stuck with cotton yarn in hopes that it would dry out a bit better on rainy days than acrylic.  Because of this, I ended up with fewer shades than originally planned.

After scouring Ravelry and Pinterest, I found a number of flower patterns to try:

Wagon Wheel Stitch Flower by B.Hooked.  I prefer written patterns, but I recommend using the video tutorial for this one.

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Crocodile Stitch Flower, also by B.Hooked.

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Double Crochet Flower by Crochet Rochelle.

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Flower Accessory/Trim by Thomasina Cummings Designs.

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Adaptable Crochet Rose by My Giant Strawberry.  This one was my favorite to make and the most realistic.  The petals should be slightly more even, except that I missed one and decided it was still pretty enough to stick with what I had.

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All in all, the finished product was different than the original picture in my head, but I love it just as much as the initial idea.

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The snow is finally melting and my wreath is still holding up.

How do you decorate your door in those awkward months between Christmas and mid-Spring?

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Telltale sign of a Couches for Breakfast foster

In the CfB household, most of our fosters have one thing in common:

They love, love, love to tear up furniture, dog beds, or blankies.

Examples: This and this and this and plenty more. Let’s just say I’ve come to peace with the fact that we should probably avoid replacing our 90s floral couches with shredded covers indefinitely and it may be years until Gambit gets a cushy bed that doesn’t have to be shared with the human residents.

Naturally, we came home to this after upgrading Spring from a blankie to a bed:

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While Spring got demoted from beds to a thick pile of blankies in her crate, Gambit’s worn bed became a double-stuffed pillow fit for a prince.  We’re gonna ignore the fact that it’s got a huge chunk missing out of the corner from when Rusty decided he was an interior designer.

She’s lucky she’s so cute… and that we totally expect this kind of stuff to happen on the regular.

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Lap dog

Some lap dogs actually fit in your lap.  Others make your legs fall asleep.

Fortunately for Spring, she just barely fits.  She’s not expected to hit 40 lb, so she’ll probably stay that way.

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Spring

On Wednesday, we had a foster first.  After spending Saturday morning meeting a puppy Knick Knack Pittie Pack was hoping to pull, we headed down to the Frederick County Animal Control to pick up her directly from the shelter.  We’ve never walked a dog out of the shelter for their freedom ride before – even Gambit was picked up from the vet that neutered him.

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Spring is a sweet little 5 1/2 month old, 30 lb bundle of love and energy.  She’s named after the neighborhood in which she was found as a stray, but I’m convinced it’s because there are springs in her legs when she first sees us in the morning and after work.

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She’s got one little quirk that we intend to work through… if she’ll show it to us in a home environment, that is.

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Spring is a very smart little girl, but since the last time we had a puppy was in March 2012 when Rusty had his first birthday, we are definitely getting used to the whole puppy thing again!

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Worldless Wednesday: Pretty little pittie

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Wordless Wednesday: Whiner

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Recipe for a purebred shelter mutt

This one time, about two months ago, we started to reveal the results of Gambit’s Wisdom Panel 2.0 DNA test.  We forgot to finish.  Please excuse us for the forgetfulness! Our Dobie hound has not been confirmed to be a Dobie hound, but the DNA test did indicate that he’s part chow chow and Shepherd.

The last major component of his mix was found to be Weimaraner.  With this one, I can see some potential visible resemblances.  Weimaraners tend to be short coated, lean and lanky.

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/weimaraner.htm

As for the last half of Gambit’s breed mix, besides White Swiss Shepherd, were Dalmation, Basset Hound, Lhasa Apso, and… Treeing Walker Coonhound.

http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/breedinformation/hound/treeingwalker.html

We’re pretty sure the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a definite.  Despite his lack of gloriously long, floppy ears or the need to bay, our Gambit is so coonie it hurts!

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It just goes to show that a dog’s predominant breed may barely present itself in terms of looks, personality and instincts while a more minor breed in the mix may dominate.

DNA

And that is what makes a Gambit.  Sure looks like the pedigree of a purebred shelter mutt to me!

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Made in Germany

Gambit’s DNA test results indicate that he is a quarter Chow Chow, 1/8 of two other breeds, and half purebred shelter mutt.

One of those other eighths was another breed we’re having difficulty seeing in him in terms of appearance, personality or instinct:

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Meet Abbey, a German Shepherd rescue in the family.  Gambit’s never met Abbey because he doesn’t get to fly to the west coast in a cold, dangerous cargo hold.

Gambit’s DNA test indicates that he is 1/8 German Shepherd, and the top breed in his mixed breed portion is White Swiss Shepherd.

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Intriguing.  Do you think Gambit seems like he could be (essentially) a quarter German Shepherd?

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… with a curly tail

Since he reached adulthood, we’ve called Gambit a Dobie hound with a curly tail.

So, now that a DNA test did not find Doberman as one of the top five potential ancestors of Gambit’s 4 mixed breed great-grandparents, where might that tail have come from?

He recently did his best impression:

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Do you see it?

The DNA test found Gambit to be 1/4 chow chow!  It was actually his primary breed, so maybe he’s a Chound?

I’m not convinced that’s the only place the tail may have come from, since theirs are folded over and not actually curled!  A lot of people say he must be chow due to his tongue, but all the chow tongues I’ve seen have been blue, not spotted black, and there are actually quite a few breeds that have spotted tongues. Food for thought.

http://www.wisdompanel.com/breed_count_matters/chow-chow/

What do you think, does he look like he could be 1/4 chow chow?

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