Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Kids

For someone that doesn't have children, I sure have a lot of kids! We have the 3 indoor cats, the 3 dogs, the 2 outdoor feral cats and the ** number of chickens! (and that number is growing!) The little kids of the household, the 3 chicks that were hatched by a neighbor while we were on vacation, (who then lived in the bathroom, and then the greenhouse) have finally been moved out to the main coop but are protected from the others by being contained in their cage.

It takes at least 1 week of caged/protected introduction before you can let the newcomers out into the general population. Because we are getting ready to leave for 5 days and my mother-in-law is going to be watching the fort, we are going to leave them in a little longer for a total of 9 days. If they are mixed into the flock too early, the bigger girls could cause harm and even kill the newcomers. Yes, pecking order is the rule of the roost!

As you can see, the other members of the flock are quite curious about these newcomers. The newcomers, for the most part, are talking up a storm and are a little nervous. This protected intro will ultimately save their lives.

What are the other kids up to?
Callebaut, our chocolate lab, aka "the Elder Statesman", "Brown", "Grandpa", "Cranky Butt", has received some preferential treatment for the last month. He just turned 10 years old and has been showered with gifts! As you can see above, he takes the original gift, in this case a stuffed faux sheep-skin goose, and transforms it fluff!

In this next photo, you can see he is quite pleased to be on his brand new "big boy" bed...and India is SOL.

On the other hand, Tasso, our Hurricane Katrina survivor, has figured out how to make the best of a situation and instead of sulking over Callebaut's new bed, has found the perfect place! On Mom and Dad's bed right in the middle of the laundry and packing area. Nice!

Parents of human children practice the art of unconditional love and we do the same, as much as is possible when they tear up your favorite robe, pee on your leg (Tasso has issues) or steal your butter. After all, they are just animals!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Dogs!

Twice a day we give India her medication for epilepsy and Callebaut his medication for his sluggish thyroid. (yes, his weight really is a glandular problem!) Early on we discovered the best way for the pups to take their pills is in peanut butter. Tasso, of course, not to be outdone by the other dogs, loves to get his spoon or licks in of peanut butter. He is such a little ham!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Life on the farm

After spending another night in emergency with Callebaut (he had another spell of anxiety, lip licking, drooling and general discomfort) I thought a blog on other news would be welcome.

Friday night Farmer Jeff and I found ourselves still pretty exhausted after the marathon chicken coop redux and crawled into bed looking forward to a good, long and deep nights sleep. Can you hear it coming? I was holding Ginger in my arms, praying for good health, when Chloe started chasing something in the bedroom. I didn't think I had seen a moth, but that is what it sounded like she was chasing. Once Ginger sat up to see what was going on, I thought I would join her. I turned on the light just as I saw something pretty damn big fly past me and land on the quilt that hangs behind our bed. Then I saw it. About a foot about Farmer Jeff's head was a very large and very dark lump. Hm...BAT!!!! I thought I had best wake him up but there really wasn't a damn thing we could do.Benny the bat flew back and forth across the bedroom, stopping only to fling itself onto curtain rods, closet doors and then the air show would resume. At one point he smacked against the wall and slid down the closet doors to the floor where Chloe was ready and waiting. I am not exactly sure what happened, but I heard both the bat AND Chloe let out a squeal and Chloe ran to the bathroom. Once Benny stopped again on the closet door, I turned off the light and told everyone to go back to sleep.

We didn't see Benny at all the rest of the night or the next day until...we came home that evening in the middle of the aerial show punctuated by cats racing back and forth in the room. I wish I had had the presence of mind to grab the camera and take movies, but I was actually laughing too hard. Once I composed myself I took action. I closed all of the doors, started turning off lights and herding the cats behind the closed doors. Small problem. My brain said, "get Julian and get him out of the room". Small problem...I tried to put Julian outside on top of the dogs. OOOoooPPPSSS. Farmer Jeff grabbed my arm as Julian was throwing himself into reverse up my arm. So much for Calm, Cool and Collected. (It is all done with mirrors!!!)

Once we got everyone secured behind the correct doors, we opened the front door and tried the "sweep him out" maneuver. We switched tactics when that morphed into bad version of "BatMinton". Farmer Jeff grabbed the tube leftover from the chicken coop linoleum, crammed paper in one end of it and then offered up the open end to Benny. After loud complaints from Benny he finally jumped into the ticket to freedom. Farmer Jeff carried/ran him outside, still in the tube, and then shook the tube until Benny came tumbling out. FREEDOM. Benny took off with nary a backwards glance. Whew...

In other news:
The 30 varieties of tomato babies, about 800, are poking their heads up. Needless to say, that is the first thing Farmer Jeff wants to look at in the morning and the last thing at night...and maybe 2 or 4 times during the day! Yesterday we did a thorough cleaning out of this room, aka the Mad Scientist's Lab. It is a much nicer and cleaner place to spend time.

This room is, not surprisingly, misunderstood and so is the crop! Last year we had a gas leak in front of our house which required a visit through the lab. Farmer Jeff wanted to make sure that the utilities guy understood that we were growing TOMATOES...not that other famous cash crop. The guy just laughed and said, "it's okay, dude, I live in Mendocino. Don't worry about it. I won't say anything". Farmer Jeff TRIED to tell him that THESE ARE TOMATOES...but the guy just waved him off, "don't worry, dude". Oh well...

The composters are in full tilt boogie. We are monitoring the temp and moisture content daily and now Farmer Jeff is intent on building our own tumblers out of 55 gallon oil drums. There is something to be said for his upbringing. Farmer Jeff is a third generation farmer and carries with him the can do/can figure it out spirit that is so essential to survival. I stand is awe of him, his ingenuity and his tenacity.

Yesterday was the first time I had ever seen Chloe and Ginger sleeping together, so I had to get a picture. I have always worried about having 2 females of the same specie together and there have been some turf wars since Chloe moved inside. It seems as though we may have had a serious breakthrough. I really hope so. Ginger needs all the love and support she can get.

Last night, when I took Callebaut to emergency, our dear, little den-mother, India, flipped out. Callebaut is her alpha and omega/all and everything, and she is NOT happy when he leaves without her. Farmer Jeff stayed behind last night to get some very necessary sleep (he had to be at work very early today) so it was up to him to calm her down. Ultimately the only thing that worked was allowing her to get up on the bed and then curl up on MY pillow right next to Daddy. She settled down after about 10 minutes, but was up and at Callebaut's side right after we arrived home. Once she saw that he was okay, she settled down on her couch and went to sleep.

We can't do a blog on the kids without talking about the darling Tasso. He is such a love. He just wants to cuddle, smile, play, sleep on the bed, be adored and be king. Well, he can't be king 'cause that is Callebaut's position, but he is certainly our fine, young prince. I couldn't decide which picture was cutest, so here are two!
PS: I can't sign off today without a picture of Julian, aka J-Boy, Sputnik, Gray boy, who was kind enough to keep me company in my office/crafts room between bags of fabric!

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Our Silver Lining From Hurricane Katrina

It is hard to believe 2 years have passed since the horrendous Hurricane Katrina disaster. We are reminded on a daily basis of said disaster by the joy that the presence of our little Katrina rescue dog, Tasso, brings to us.

I am not aware of the existence of many silver linings because of Katrina. Dear friends of ours escaped New Orleans to Dallas just before the flooding, but they didn't outrun the personal devastation. Our dear friend died of a heart attack 9 weeks later. We know of many folks that have died in the subsequent 2 years, not to mention how many families are still displaced.

It will take years to resurrect New Orleans to its former glory. I pray that it will, once again, be a vibrant, fun, diverse and economically sound city. We will head to New Orleans in October to visit the city before arriving in Oxford, Mississippi for the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium. I promise to take lots of pictures and share our experiences from our visit.

In the meantime, we thank our lucky stars for our little boy, Tasso. We call him The Kid, Scooter Pie, Little Brat Child, Junior, but most of all, he is our little Katrina boy. He has his issues (gets a little mean when guarding his food dish, has to "mark" every single bush/tree/chair in the yard, has to be on the top of the highest object) and we love him for all of his idiosyncrasies. He is teaching us what it is to have "joie de vivre/Joy of Life".

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Dogs of Naples and Pompeii

The highlight of our trip to Italy was venturing south to Naples and Pompeii. We had no idea what to expect in Naples, other than great pizza and the ruins of nearby Pompeii. What we were NOT expecting were DOGS!!! Dogs were everywhere! Dogs were at the outdoor cafes, dogs were in the piazzas, dogs were all over Pompeii and they were all happy!

We saw dogs on patrol, dogs digging for ...who knows what, dogs on patrol and more dogs sleeping!

Here we see them doing all of those activities, just as they have been for over 2,000 years!

We saw a dog that looked like she was the cousin to our girl, India and another that looked like a cousin to our little guy, Tasso.

I wonder if the the little fellow in Pompeii (or as the Italians pronounce it, "Pom Pee") snores and makes all kinds of noise when he dreams?

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