12/24/2016

Remaining dairies of Taranaki

Below is the culmination of a  personal journey for Hubby and me when he bought me the book 'And Then There was One' which is a history of the Taranaki dairy industry. 

In 1963, the hundred or so little dairy factories dotted around Taranaki were combined into one big company, and we ventured around the Taranaki countryside to locate the buildings/remains that were thriving at 1933, finding 77.

A few have become private homes, some are, or were, other businesses. Sadly, most are in disrepair. If I were to win the lottery, I would save them all :)

Thank you, Hubby, for the research, the names, and all the driving!












12/14/2016

When wallpaper eludes you

Renting a house has its good points and bad points. 
One of the bad points is that not all renters treat it with care. 
Another is when the wallpaper on all the walls is out of date and, even if you could find the large flower pattern (which resembles angry goats, according to Hubby) it would probably not match perfectly. 
Below is an excellent example. I covered this plaster spot above the living room/lounge light switch with a framed photo, but have decided it's time for a change.

My first thought was to take a photo of the pattern and print it out and glue it onto the appropriate place. (That's where my mind goes. I've come to accept that it's about a half-bubble off plumb).
So, I took the photo and printed it; then I edited it several ways, but couldn't adjust the colors to even closely match. :(
When I showed it to Hubby, he suggested to frame it, and so that's what I did!


We call it 'Home Renovation, Eltham Style'!

11/29/2016

Feeling my age

I have come to the conclusion that I am officially a relic.

I am definitely 'old school' when it comes to most things. After all, it worked when I was growing up and we didn't die or hate our parents.

Personally, I think most kids are repeating what they have heard when they have 'opinions' on politics or the state of the world.

Kids claiming 'Not my President'? Oh, please. What could a 16 year old possibly know about world economics and the difference a political party makes over the next 4 years?

I barely knew what party the President belonged to, much less what party controlled Congress and the Senate when I was their age. Have they matured that much? I tend to think not.

The video below is a trailer for a show that is being shown here in NZ. It's called 'Making Families Happy'.



What caught my attention is the boy at the beginning saying, 'I've never really seen a happy family.' I'm wondering how he decided his family wasn't or his friends' families weren't. It's certainly not something that I remember weighing on my mind at his age.

'Cynical' is not my default mood, but I'm beginning to understand, maybe a little, why old people are that way.

11/14/2016

Earthquake

I'm sure most of you have heard that we had a huge earthquake last night. It was felt all over the country--that's BIG!

I definitely felt it and, for a few minutes, pictures swayed on the wall and free-hanging things swung, but we had no damage or injuries in our neck of the woods. The electric flashed off and on a couple of times, but we never lost power like the neighbors across the river behind us and many others around the country.

All is well at my house.

10/25/2016

Legend of Jack O'lantern

According to the Pumpkin Nook: 

Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. 

Here's the most popular story:

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.

Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared . He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".

On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.

10/12/2016

Another older post

I found a second list of 'first's that I made in my early Blogger days.

When I was looking at the first list of things I had never done and thinking about things I never thought I would ever do in my life, I realized that the list has updated a bit since that post. Welcome to my world.
  • get excited to see Pepsi on the grocery store shelf
  • take my phone everywhere
  • bake fun treats
  • play Skip-Bo on a regular basis
  • consider (and actually get) our version of TiVo
  • search for brand names that I recognize from the US
  • never shop at Wally World
  • search unsuccessfully for popcorn to pop on the stovetop
  • see deer, alpaca and llama farms along the main roads
  • pay $100 to fill up the gas tank
  • see sea anemones
  • ponder insulation
  • cheer out loud when I heard Doritos are coming to NZ
  • enter local photo contests
  • wonder how old the tv shows are and smile to find out when one is less than two years old
  • drive a big station wagon
  • see lighthouses
  • have a bridge built for me
  • get excited to find something that tastes like hot dogs (frankfurters) and polish sausage (kranskies)
  • ride a gondola up a mountain
  • take an interest in the Maori language to see what town names mean
  • rarely leave the house without my camera
  • see ads on tv that I think are tacky and tasteless
  • buy fresh veggies every payday
  • make bottle rockets with vinegar and baking soda
  • experiment with 'exotic' cheeses while looking for a substitute for Meunster
  • have a clothes dryer hung upside down over the washer
  • call orange road cones 'rabbits'
  • see geysers and boiling mud up close and personal
  • eat Vegemite
  • see black swans, wild pukekos, waxeyes, kiwis, wild goats, fantails, tuis
  • be aware when American tv shows are on--as opposed to BBC or cable stations that are mostly through Australia

I'm sure there are more, but they are a part of who I am now and the line between 'then' and 'now' is quickly blurring.

10/02/2016

A blast from the past

Since I have a few more followers now, I thought I'd repeat a post from '09 that still holds true--mostly.

I was thinking the other day about things that I never  would  have done if I hadn't moved to a whole new life on the other side of the globe.  As I wrote them down, Hubby reminded me of more.

I'm sure it will lengthen as time goes by, but for now, here's the list of things I never thought I would do:
  • pull weeds
  • worry about balanced meals
  • buy brown eggs at the store
  • snuggle on the sofa (I didn't own one in KS)
  • be chased by waves
  • watch the Simpsons
  • dust
  • recycle
  • hang clothes out to dry
  • consider myself responsible for wild ducks
  • grow my own tomatoes
  • see dolphins swim alongside a boat
  • take a zillion pictures
  • grow flowers in an old work boot
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a ferry boat
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a charter boat after my wedding vows
  • hike through woods to see a waterfall
  • stand on the beach at midnight
  • wonder if flowers need moving for more sunlight
  • check homework
  • look 200 feet straight down while standing on a window 
  • compost
  • turn a plot of grass into a flower bed
  • watch BBC programs
  • search for John Deere tractors
  • buy furnishings from the internet
  • see sea anemones up close
  • read the back of a seed package
  • text proficiently
  • sit in a tennis-court size hot pool
  • chase trains
  • kick a soccer ball around
  • hear about--much less actually see--glowworms in a cave
  • ride a train for pleasure
  • learn some English history
  • buy Swan plants to attract caterpillars
  • drink instant coffee on a regular basis
  • have a pet cat
  • call the bush beside the pond 'George'
Looking back over this list, it seems I was saved from a life of boredom.

9/24/2016

Whanganui rocks!

If you have seen my photoblog, you'll know we recently spent the day in Whanganui, about an hour and a half drive from the house.

When we got there, it seemed that two of the main reasons for going were not going to happen. We wanted to visit the Durie Hill tunnel and elevator, just for fun but it was closed. We found out later that it was a temporary thing but they could have done better with communication.

The other thing was to see St Paul's church and take pictures. We showed up at 2pm like the website said. As it turns out their website is rubbish and, if it weren't for other visitors who had gone to the information center to 'book' a tour, I wouldn't have gotten in.

This is part of their website with a CAMERA icon next to the words '1 hour'.  In my literal mind, it meant that you had an hour to take photos. I snapped one photo and then was informed that photos have never been allowed, so I paid $10 to hear an hour of Maori history.

We saw other things, so the trip wasn't a complete waste of time, but I was far from a happy camper about the church.

I didn't want to launch a public complaint, so the next day I wrote a message to the 'Visit Whanganui' Facebook page, explaining very calmly the problems we had.

A few hours later, I got a great response thanking me for 'fantastic feedback'. They seems genuinely glad that I let them know there were problems. They said to give them a bit of  time to talk amongst themselves and they will get back to me.

I am absolutely impressed.

-------------
Edit: About 3 weeks later, I heard from the 'Visit Whanganui' FB page. They told me that the site has been updated and those in charge of the public attractions will be providing the FB page information on closures. Nicely done, Whanganui.

8/30/2016

What is up with Pixlr?

I tried to download the Pixlr photo editing program a couple of days ago, but couldn't get the download finished.

So,I emailed the company for help--but they 'only give one-on-one support to Pixlr Pro members, not for free apps.' Huh??

I think most people know that to become a Pro member, you have to download the free app first, then decide if you like it enough to buy. So there is more than a little irony in their reply. I don't know who decides their priorities, but whoever it is is not real bright.

Hubby pointed out that, in the time it took to tell me they wouldn't help, they could have given me a solution!

Oh, well, that's one program I will never use.

8/21/2016

I finally gave in....

As some of you know, our winter here in NZ has been  anything but cold. There have been very few days that we needed the fireplace going during daylight hours to keep warm.

Now, I have to admit that I am a rules sort of person. Probably more than most. And the 'rule of thumb' is that we don't plant seeds and bulbs until after Labour Day, which is the fourth Monday in October.  That's also about the time that camellias are usually in full bloom.

Well, this year has been so mild that camellias and rhododendrons are blooming everywhere now.  Gardens close to the ocean already have trees full of blooms and fields full of daffodils!

Seeing that other gardeners have planted bulbs already, Hubby convinced me that the worse that could happen would be that they get frosted and don't come up until next year, so, today, I put out all my dahlia bulbs and I feel like such a cheater!

I also planted about half the seeds I have had in the cabinet just waiting for spring so we will just wait and see if my impatience paid off!

8/07/2016

KiwiRail weekend

We spent Friday and Saturday travelling by train on KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.  It was a fantastic little getaway and I recommend  travelling by train to anyone who wants to see New Zealand. The crew took very good care of the passengers, even making sure that taxis were waiting for those who needed them when they disembarked. You can take your own food or buy it on the way. The windows are quite large so you can take in the scenery. In addition, there is an open car for those who are brave and/or want to take photos.

In addition to the fabulous scenery, there is audio commentary with some interesting history and facts about the railway and some of the areas through which the train passes if you want to hear it. I learned that Alexander Graham Bell came to New Zealand and married a Maori lady. You can google it to learn more.

Friday's travels took us from Palmerston North up to Hamilton where we spent the night and then headed back on Saturday.  
It took about 6 hours to leisurely travel the 390 or so driving kilometers and that was the perfect amount of time for us before we were ready to get off the train. 
Of course, no driving made it stress-free and we saw scenery that we would have not seen by driving.  You can click here if you are interested in the railway system.

Being the middle of winter, there was a lot of water rushing everywhere and the hillsides were fabulously green (with lots of brown mud from the rain).

The original railway made lots of little towns pop up along the way--some for workers, some for suppliers. Most are, sadly now, gone and only a few buildings remain.  Other towns rebranded themselves and continue to thrive today.

I will be posting photos on my photoblog soon. You can click here to see them.

7/19/2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

We just got back from seeing the Hunt for the Wilderpeople and it was fabulous! 



It was funny and serious and touching and actually had a huge car chase--with an army tank among the lot!
There aren't a lot of actually New Zealand-made movies and the last one that I watched and loved was Predicament, which was shot mostly in the little town of Eltham (not far from where I live).
If you get a chance, I highly recommend giving it a look.

7/05/2016

Ten years!

It was ten years today that I arrived at Auckland Airport at 5:30AM, having gone through customs for the first time in my life (after a 14 hour flight) and hoping that I recognized a man I had only seen on my computer screen.

Today we celebrated the anniversary in our own weird unique way with Burger King at Pig Out Point to watch the ocean and feed the gulls as we eat. 

Before I could get the food out of the bag, Hubby jumped out of the car. He then placed one of our mantel candle holders on the hood bonnet to make it a candlelight dinner lunch. Needless to say, it was perfect.




After that we soaked in the mineral pools for a while to relax. It's always a treat to sit in a jacuzzi full of very warm bubbly water every now and then.
All in all a great day together.
Here's to ten more great years!

6/18/2016

Garfield and Sox

It's been about 8 months since we rescued our cats. They certainly have their own distinct personalities but are happy to be together most of the time.

We are not sure how old Garfield is--just that he is over five years old. Sometimes, I'm sure he's a lot older than five when he takes forever to walk down the hallway. But then, when Sox walks by and he smacks her on the nose for no apparent reason, I'm not so sure. 
He gives a little 'meow' lots of times during the day for no reason I can fathom so we just call him 'Mad Uncle Jack' and try to ignore it. When he sees us, he looks at our hands, from one to the other, but never in the face. And the fact that he doesn't like closed doors is weird, but other than that, he has adjusted well.
As you can see, he loves to sleep on the bed. Any time. 

Sox, on the other hand, doesn't sleep in the bed with us. She will jump up early in the morning but not during the night. Her favorite place is in her basket.

I love that she sleeps on her back sometimes but never long enough for me to get a photo of it. I also love it when I'm on the couch and she rubs up against me, curls around on herself and ends up half-upside down while I pet her. Sometimes, she just flops (I use that term loosely as she doesn't weigh much) up against me and falls asleep however she lands.
She's a great little mouser. And baby rabbit-er. And moth-er.
When she's laying next to me and I get up, she still startles me a bit when she grabs my clothes with her claws. She does the same thing when I pet her and stop before she thinks I should.
When I am standing at the sink or sitting on the toilet, she will sit facing away from me like a sentry and wait until I move. Strange cat.
All in all, they rule the house. I think that's the way it's suppose to be.

5/21/2016

sharing an old email

Back in June of 2014, a New Zealander was attacked in Poland and left for dead. I got an email from a Polish resident that day that I saved because it was so sweet. I have no idea who the writer was but I was quite touched by the fact that, somehow (possibly through this blog), I was the recipient of the email. It read:


I just read the news that in Poland in Zakopane was beaten tourist from New Zealand. 

I am ashamed and I'm sorry about what happened in Zakopane. I do not know why some people behave in such a way, why do such things. I am glad that the bandits were apprehended by the police. I hope that the bandits receive long sentences. I also hope that a tourist from New Zealand will also have fond memories of your stay in Poland. 
Probably you do not know this man, but if I could, I would tell him that I am very sorry and I am very sad because of this event. 

Mariusz from Nowy Sacz






It's so nice to know that people are moved by this type of action.




5/11/2016

10 years and counting

In July, Hubby and I will mark the 10-year anniversary of my arrival in New Zealand.

After all this time, I still feel guilty by not stopping at every intersection. Although I found that 'yield' signs are few and far between in the US, they are the rule here in NZ.  Most small towns only have roundabouts for traffic control. I have to admit that I do stop at many 'yield' signs out of habit :)

Fortunately, it's been a while since I've walked up to the wrong side of the car, but I still consciously look for the steering wheel sometimes when I come back to the car. :)

I have finally learned that, when we are shopping anywhere, if we need something, just put it in the cart. There are not enough stores shops to compare prices. All the major grocery stores are supplied by only two distributors.

When I moved, here, I knew it would be 'home' for good. I had no idea there would be so many differences in culture but I tried to take it all in stride.

That being said, it doesn't mean I never got frustrated. On 9 occasions, I blogged about my perception of 'rude kiwis'--just blowing off steam, as we all do.  I don't even have the label of 'rude kiwis' in the list on the right because that's such a small part of my life here, but the total views of these 9 posts, as of today, is 24,316 views. One post in 2008 has had over 18,000 views, and still come up in searches eight years later. It has been read many times in the last few days according to Feedjit.

I have a few different thoughts about this particular post. It bothers me that so many people google 'Rude Kiwis' in the first place; it also bothers me that people think this one post sums up my opinion of New Zealand. If you read the posts under the label 'cultural differences' (on the sidebar),  you will see that I tried to adjust with a bit of humor.

New Zealand has only been a colony since 1840, so it is relatively young as countries go. After much discussion, Hubby and I concluded that, theoretically, the country seems to be at the 'teenager' stage and some of the people showing themselves as such. On that particular post, you can see it with some of the comments about selfishness, bullying, the I-don't-make-mistakes syndrome and any other traits that we attribute to kids of that age. Obviously, that doesn't apply to all the people here, just as you can't apply traits to all of the people in any country.

For those that follow my photography blog over at Photographing New Zealand, you know that I find a LOT of beauty here. After all this time, I am still amazed at the sights I see riding down the roads--even the same roads I've been down many times. I have also met some people that are just as beautiful.

I don't usually write posts this long, so, for those who actually read it all, thanks!

4/12/2016

Can I have a drumroll, please?!

It's time to announce the winner of the giveaway I mentioned a couple of weeks back! I wish I could send a gift to each of you, as I am truly in awe of your faithfulness, but there can only be one winner.

I considered using one of those on-line randomizer thingies to pick the winner after I had assigned a number to each commenter, but my problem with that sort of thing is that, of the few that I have seen, the first or second person was never picked. So, I did it the old-fashioned way and wrote each name on a piece of paper and coerced asked Hubby to pick one.
And now, without further ado......

the winner is.... Wandering Wren!  
Congratulations!!


Please email me your address at tenfootheart (at) gmail (dot) com and I will get your gift to you as soon as I can.

Thanks again to all of you lovely bloggers who stop by.

BTW, I have to mention that she was, amazingly enough,  the very first commenter, :)


4/09/2016

caterpillars in autumn

I have enjoyed seeing all manner of birds in the garden: to name a few, pukekos, plovers, starlings, magpies, swallows, the occasional kingfisher or two and the latest being a wild pheasant. 

I have, however, noticed the distinct absence of butterflies. In Hawera, just 20 minutes away, we have seen trees covered with them in the park and bushes covered with them at a public walkway. But there has been only the occasional single monarch fluttering past the house.

When I mentioned this to Hubby in early spring, he suggested we plant a 'butterfly garden' with lots of hebes, as the walkway signs suggested. I doubted his wisdom, but he sarcastically quipped, 'If you plant them, they will come' and commenced digging. 

We considered planting swan plants, but the ones we planted in Stratford were chewed to their death in a matter of weeks by the lovely little caterpillars. So we concluded that we would need to cover them the first  year in order for them to be hearty enough for caterpillars and decided against them.

All spring and summer the hebes bloomed but there was no increase in  butterfly activity even though the bees loved them :)

Then, in mid-summer, Missy showed up with two swan plants for my garden and I decided to plant them and wait to see what happens. I waited. And waited. It grew some lovely green leaves and flowered beautifully. And one day, I noticed that one single monarch started to drift by almost daily. Some landed on the swan plants and some didn't.  Then, even though it was already getting into the autumn months, much to my surprise, I noticed one fat caterpillar!

As of today, there were 10 caterpillars of various sizes and the swan plants don't seem to be any worse for wear!


I am delighted beyond belief with the success of  attracting the beautiful butterflies! Of course, I plan to get more swan plants next summer and see if we can change the courses of monarchs in Taranaki!

3/30/2016

Blog stats and a giveaway!

I started this blog in December of 2007 with no idea that it would end up where it is today:  with  over 260 followers and almost 250,000 pageviews!

As you can see, a post from 2008 is still going strong after all this time with over 16,000 views. The internet is a strange place.



My photo blog started in 2009 and has 385 followers and over 400,000 pageviews!



It seems that last January was a good month for my blog with 15,000 pageviews. Amazing!

All these number just boggle my mind and to show my gratitude, I am having a little give-away. It's not much, but I want you to know that I appreciate my faithful followers and those that pass through occasionally. 

I'm giving away a silver fish hook necklace that has a paua inset. The fish hook is a Maori sign of good luck  and the swirl on the side is a sign of life.  It hangs on a long, adjustable black cord but you can put it on a chain.
For your chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post. I will let you know the winner in two weeks!


2/26/2016

Hubby's plans are the best

When we travel, Hubby does a lot of research and gives me many choices to make as to where we go and what we do. He is very efficient and I think he would be a very good personal travel planner :)
On our SILDI (screw it, let's do it) trip to the south island, we were reminded why Hubby's plans are always way better than being a part of a tour.
For the Doubtful Sound trip, we took an hour trip across Lake Manapouri by boat then through a road pass by bus to the jetty at the Sound. Personally, I wasn't impressed with the trip as both boats were extremely loud and gave me a headache. The bus driver in between was the highlight as he was quite informative and funny. 
As far as I'm concerned, the captain took us out too far into choppy water.  I was not happy with the boat rocking quite hard back and forth just to see the seal colony at the mouth of the sounds--not my idea of a 'cruise'. I would have been happier if he had stayed within the Sound. At least, they had free coffee and tea aboard.

The Milford Sound trip was much easier to get to as we just drove to the Milford Sound Visitor's Center to board the boat. The visitor center was quite busy as there were several cruise check-in counters and many tour buses but it was fun to watch the people scurrying about.
The cruise boat actually had a Pita Pit store and a coffee shop aboard so I'm glad we brought our own lunch. This captain turned around as soon as he hit some bad water, so I was  impressed with that.
I have to mention that an Asian lady insisted that I take one of her family's umbrellas as we waited in the rain to board the boat. I was quite touched by her concern.

All in all, the tours were nice, the scenery was  awesome (even in the rain) and the people were mostly well-behaved but I think I'll stick with Hubby's tours. They are made specifically for me and him!!

2/24/2016

trusting GPS

Until we traded in our car last October, I had never owned a car that had GPS. Being an old fashioned girl that can read a map, I am skeptical about this 'new-fangled' stuff, but around Taranaki, we don't have a lot of need for it.

On our trip south, even though we had maps, we got GPS with the rental car that is held onto the windshield windscreen with a suction cup and Hubby was fine to rely on the GPS to get us where we were going. I'm not sure how it determines which road to show us, but the fact that 4 out of 5 times, it asked if we were ok with unpaved roads was interesting, even though I know that dirt roads are part of living in New Zealand.

We had just left Moeraki and Hubby asked for directions to Lawrence as a point in the general direction we were headed. We turned onto a dirt road and I didn't think much about it. But it went on and on. And turned onto another dirt road. After a while we were crossing this crazy looking bridge that I thought was crossing a river but later learned it was across a lake.


On two of the posts along the bridge, we saw copies of this reward poster. When you read the fine print, you learn that it was a replica of a local poster from 1865.


Then it was on to yet another dirt road!

Now, as we are traveling along, I'm sure this is not a well-traveled road because the livestock--mostly sheep--is spooked by our arrival next to their paddocks. One or two are startled and they cause a panic across the whole group of animals.

We also noticed other cars with the suction cup on the front window and realized that they are doing the same thing--relying on GPS. The conclusion we came to is that the district might end up paving these dirt roads if they are going to have so much traffic stirring up so much dust!

I'm pretty sure that we were given the 'shortest' route as opposed to the 'fastest' route but that's ok because we were on vacation  holiday and it really didn't matter. We saw parts of the country that we would never had seen otherwise.

1/20/2016

Mystery solved, maybe

...maybe. Back in April, I posted a photo of some seedpods that I found under the flowering cherry trees in the front garden. 
Since we rent our house and it has been here quite a while, the possibilities were endless as far as I was concerned. 
There didn't seem to be any flowers from bulbs nearby and they weren't recognized by anyone that I asked. I was advised to plant them and see what comes up--which I did, but nothing yet.


Today when I was digging up my anemone bulbs because they weren't happy this year, I noticed that they have the same sort of net-looking cover on them!!
The bulbs definitely didn't have the coverings on the when I planted them, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw them.
They may not be the same, but I am happy to learn about the anemones and maybe I am a step closer to finding out.

1/05/2016

Missy and her mermaid tail

Missy is going to college uni in the cold, cold south and asked me if I'd make this mermaid tail to keep her feet warm. I haven't crocheted in a while, but she doesn't ask much so I thought I'd give it a try. I really didn't understand the instructions as they were written, but I knew what the final product was suppose to be so I made it up as I went along. I think she's happy with the result!