Category Archives: animals

Farming Day 1 Part 1

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Well not exactly day one. But the first day in the field doing spring work so it’s day one from that point of view. 

Spent the morning doing my usual stuff on the computer: emails, newspaper, moms banking, our banking. A few phone calls, etc. before I’m finally out the door mid-morning. 

I needed to take a couple of tires to get fixed and the one on the grain drill I already had loose. Also had a tire on the four wheeler with a slow leak and that’s easy to put a floor jack under the back end and use the impact wrench and four nuts and that comes right off.

Got both tires in the back of the truck, loaded up all three dogs, and headed for Millville Minnesota. We’ve been taking tires to Appel service in Millville for as long as I can remember. It’s about half an hour away and you won’t find a nicer, family owned business, anywhere. Millville is a town of about 180 people and so far down in the valley you can’t get any cell phone reception. There are a couple of bars, couple of restaurants, one Church, a cemetery where I have several relatives, a gun shop, and in a better year I would’ve dropped off the tires and then gone to get lunch at the Lucky Seven Café. 

When I got to Appels, most of the crew was at lunch so I said I’d come back. They are really good at fixing your tires while you wait but I may as well keep moving. Back up the road a few miles to pick up my Oat seed. It was such a nice day, pretty amazing weather for this time of the year, and we worry that it’s so dry; all the farmers are going hard. mostly applying anhydrous ammonia- Those white tanks you see in the fields. I probably saw a dozen farmers doing that. There was a couple guys ahead of me at Meyer’s Seeds and we stood outside and talked while Meyer’s rounded up seed and bring it out on the forklift. I petted some cats (The camera snap on the phone scared them away) and I got a nice metal ‘stick’ used for checking seed depth. Always wanted one of those.


After I got my 54 bags of oats, I strapped that down in the truck, and then back to Millville. As I pulled up, they were just taking the four-wheeler tire in and the drill tire was done. There’s something pretty interesting about watching a guy change tires. The machinery involved and just the whole process is really pretty fascinating. The guy ahead of me was watching his tires get fixed, I watched them fix my tire, while at the same time trying not to get in the way or look TOO interested. (It’s kinda loud and hard to talk or ask questions).

Just a tube needed in the four-wheeler tire. The grain drill tire is kind of special. It’s about 3 feet tall, and completely smooth except it has two heavy ridges on each edge. That way, going through the field, it makes a real clear mark that’s easy to follow on the next round of the field. I had ordered two tires: they had one in stock, the second hasn’t shown up yet. And that’s OK, this one was worse than the other. $262 for the tire. $13 labor to mount both. The only thing missing was the bottle of grape pop from the café. 

The dogs love riding in the truck. And they don’t miss a chance if they can help it. Although Humphrey lays in the back and looks completely uninterested but he does spend a little time looking out the windows. Bailey bounces back-and-forth between the front seat and the backseat and she spends half the trip with her nose in my face. Allie, the queen of them all will eventually setting in some place where the others don’t walk all over her at least for the moment.

Once we are back on our driveway, I let them all out to run home. About halfway down the driveway there was a squirrel about 75 yards away from the trees and making a beeline back to the trees. The dogs were a good 200 yards away. Missed it by “that“ much. 

Do you like car rides?

Got any stories about tires? 

Contain Yourself!

Photo Credit:  Bored Panda

After a request for photos yesterday, I thought I’d expand a bit on the wild dog story.

My first trip to South Africa was with a client who wasn’t crazy about working with my company.  Her previous company had just gone through a merger and she inherited the job of overseeing the travel programs.  We were already contracted for two programs when she came onboard so even though she had contacts in another incentive house, she couldn’t change suppliers at that point.  She was professional about this but she never seemed happy or excited.  Now it’s completely plausible that she just wasn’t a person who like to emote but we’ll never know.

We had a large group, bigger than any one safari camp could hold, so we needed to check out three different camps and decide which winners would go in each.  That meant that we had to stay in each of the three camps, one camp each night.  Boo hoo. These were luxury camps with incredibly nice rooms (all three camps had gorgeous indoor bathrooms and great outdoor showers), amazing food and, of course, the safari runs.  You got up very early for the first safari run of the day (think 4 a.m. early) – heavy “snacks” before you left then a massive breakfast when you got back 3 hours later.  Then a late afternoon safari, getting back in the dark for a huge “boma” dinner.  And you’re in Africa all this time.  Amazing.

It was all I could do to contain myself during the trip.  (Actually I can hardly contain myself on any of my trips.  I can’t think of a single time I’ve gone on a site inspection that hasn’t been wonderful.) My client was the opposite; she was doing her job by being there but she couldn’t muster any enthusiasm.  It wasn’t surprising when she bailed on the last safari run of the trip.  When the driver and guide came to pick up the Account Exec and me, they told us that they’d heard from other guides on the radio that there might be wild dogs up near “the cut line” (this is the edge of each camp’s territory.  Guides are not allowed to take their charges into another camp’s territory).  They said if we wanted to try to find the wild dogs, it would take a bit and we’d have to head straight there.  The Account Exec and I immediately agreed.  As we were driving up, we both acknowledged that if the client had been with us, she would not have wanted to do this.

Well thank goodness she didn’t come.  The wild dog pack was indeed on our side of the cut line and it was amazing.  They weren’t too worried about us so we were able to observe them for almost 2 hours.  There were a lot of puppies and they were very cute.  It was a defining moment during the trip, a trip with many unbelievable moments.  The photo above is not mine (long story about where those photos are currently stored) but it is very similar to some of the photos I took that day, especially when the dogs and pups came a little closer to the jeep. The puppies are much cuter than you would think, with huge ears and puppy faces.

Even now, after almost 20 years, I feel sorry for that client.  I hope she enjoyed South Africa, even if she didn’t show it.

What makes it hard for you to contain YOUR enthusiasm?

The Pacifier

With the nice weather over the weekend, my nextdoor neighbors got their chalk out and went to work creating a village on their driveway (designed by Margot, who is 6).  When I stepped outside to appreciate it, Matilda (the almost 2-year old) informed me that she had a new bed.  Turns out it is just her crib but with the side down and a bed rail attached, but she was happy about it.  There was more big news… last night was her first night without her pacifier.  It was apparently a trade – the pacifier for the big girl bed.  I laughed and thought about my experience with pacifiers when YA was little.

When I went to China to pick up YA, there was a big list of “suggested” items that I take with me; a pacifier was on the list so I dutifully packed it.  YA, even as Tiny Baby, was not interested.  After a couple of futile attempts, I stuck it back in the duffel bag.  Nonny was at the airport when we got back to Minneapolis and she stayed for a week or so while I got my feet underneath me.  Nonny was absolutely sure that if she presented the pacifier enough times, Tiny Baby would accept it and all would be right with the world.  (It’s funny looking back because Tiny Baby was not fussy, there really wasn’t a great need.)  But Nonny kept trying and every time TB rejected a nook, it would end up on the side table or a chair or someplace where it became irresistible to someone else:  Baron. 

Baron was an 85-pound ball of fluffy, sweet, calm Samoyed.  He wasn’t the brightest bulb but he was sure that these pacifiers that Nonny kept leaving around were meant for him.  Of course as soon as he absconded with one, it became off-limits for the baby; slowly but surely over that week, we went from having a collection of 10 baby pacifiers to a collection of 10 dog pacifiers.  If ever there was a dog that didn’t need a pacifier, it was Baron.  He had self-soothing down to an art.  Eventually he chewed them all enough that I had to throw them away and we never had any more, since Tiny Baby didn’t need or like them.  Nonny wasn’t amused but I thought it was hilarious.

Do you have any self-soothing practices?  Are they working well for you?

Mad Kitty TWO

We have a mad kitty again. 

We noticed that she had a lump on her chest last weekend.  Since she had a fatty tumor last year that required surgery and some serious recuperation and a real notch out of my wallet, we were worried.  I made the vet appointment and then checked on the lump every day.  It seemed more fluid filled and it turned out to be a hematoma – the skin gets pulled away from the muscle and the body tries to fix it by filling it up with fluid.

It’s a fairly easy fix if your kitty isn’t mad.  These days you sit in your car in the parking lot while the vet deals with your animal.  They call you on the phone to let you know what’s going on and what they recommend.  When they called me, they said that Nimue was unhappy and uncooperative.  She’s gotten more uncooperative over the years; she used to be a sweet little thing but I guess some of her vet experiences have made her decide she’s not crazy about being there.  They said they would need to sedate her in order to give her a little tummy shave and to drain the hematoma.  I ok’d this and about 50 minutes later, they called me again to give me the final update along with after-care recommendations, which included putting a shirt on her (if possible) to keep the incision site clean for 24 hours.  They said they had given her a little bit of sedative reversal, she would be coming around soon and they brought her out to me in her carrier.

Well, it’s easy to put a shirt (borrowed from the neighbors) and an unconscious cat.  It took her a LONG time to come out of her sedation – I was very relieved when she started to blink and she continued to be really zonked out for most of the night.  By this morning, she was awake and moving about but NOT happy about the shirt.  We ended up taking it off at about noon but she’s still a little crabby.  Treats are OK but not much scritching or cuddling is allowed for now.  Hopefully she’ll be back to her happier self soon.

Do you ever sleep too long?  Does it make YOU crabby?

Little Library

Now that I don’t have to layer up too much, I’m out walking the dog again.  It’s been fun to see the neighborhood anew, although I have to admit, it doesn’t seem as if much has changed in the last few months.

What has changed are the books in the Little Libraries.  These are the little nooks that people have put up in their yards, encouraging folks to take a book or leave a book.  We have a good number of them in the couple-of-mile radius around my house.

I almost never take a book from a Little Library, although occasionally I’ll take one out to flip through it a bit.  I did take an Italian workbook once – no one had done any of the exercises – I work on it occasionally.  I’ve taken a couple of kids books and then returned them to a different little library when I was done with them.  But it’s fun to look.

I have a friend down on the parkway who takes the Little Library concept to a new level.  She actually curates her collection, changing out titles to fit the season or upcoming holiday.  Right now there are a bunch of Easter and Spring titles – she always has some good books for kids.  She has also installed some little string lights in the box, although I’ve never seen it at night to know if it actually lights up.  There is also a tin of dog treats (home made) in her little library and in the summer, a bowl of water underneath for passing dogs. 

So it should have come as no surprise that there is a new addition to her library this week.  A stick library for dogs – photo above.  I couldn’t convince Guinevere to take a stick – she keeps quite busy sniffing while we walk to bother with a stick – although I suppose I could take a stick for her to play with once we get back to our yard.  I did snap the photo and send it off to my friend with a little note of thanks. 

I’m looking forward to this spring and summer to see what else becomes part of the Little Library landscape!

Have you ever taken a book from a Little Library?  Left a book?  Do you have a Little Library at your house? 

Easter Baskets

I received a text from Daughter last week enquiring if she would get an Easter basket this year. I replied that of course  she would. She reminded me of her favorites (anything milk chocolate, Butterfinger eggs, anything sour) and I assured her they  would arrive in good time. I asked Son and Dil what Grandson should get in his basket, and they sent their suggestions (Cadbury mini  eggs, freeze dried mangos and raspberries, raisins, and pretzel chips).  Now I am sorting through our spare boxes to get everything sent.

I remember the activities of Easter more than the treats. It was a time I got a fancy new church dress and hat. I don’t remember dying eggs.  The Easter Bunny left white  tracks all over our house, deposited on the charcoal colored carpets by my mother,  who dipped oval shaped shoe polish applicators in flour and left bunny tracks through the house that led to the candy.

We plan to tell the children next door on Easter Sunday that we have rabbit problems in our yard, and would they please come over to get the chocolate eggs those darn rabbits have left all over the place. That will be fun.

What are your Easter memories? What do you want in your Easter Basket this year?

2020 Annual Report

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

With the COVID shutdown since March, not much happening, so looking back at my past while anticipating a year closer to 80…

Photos from the ‘60s

From a letter to my friend, Barbara, I wrote from Cape Cod, fall of 1969.

Moratorium Day March, Washington, DC

“It was an experience to experience our government afraid and aloof and militarized. The White House stood unseen behind blinding spot lights while police and MPs stood guard (yet cheerfully/politely asking people to “move” and “don’t let a crowd gather”). Eerie kind of spotlights that say “I’ll get you if you make a wrong move!” The next day for the march it was the tops of buildings that gave the spooky feeling. Atop cornices and behind embellishments were soldiers – with rifles and binoculars. (They were also sandbagged in at the Capitol building.) There were people spread from the Capitol to the Washington Monument and past, besides the curb-to-curb, end-to-beginning people who marched. I would guess that less than half of the crowd actually marched on Pennsylvania Avenue – the parade permit ran out before they could get them on the street. There were many more than the modest estimate of 250,000.

“We also followed the excitement of the Yippies, Mad Dogs, and Crazies as they carried their Viet Cong flags and Agnew effigies through the rally crowd and down the field and street to the Justice Department. The minute they began their march the atmosphere changed from peaceful companionship and cold feet to electrically charged excitement. It made me want to jump and scream, laugh and run. Expectation chills. So we followed. And got close enough to see flying objects and get a face full of tear gas. (Neato stuff!)

“The police were good, but it really was quite frightening to see the numbers of them, the sight of the helmets, shields, gas masks, belly clubs, mace, shot guns in America.”

*Photo is of me on my then boyfriend Roland’s shoulders. The guy facing Roland is Jerry L. Thompson who has become a well-known photographer. The three of us were living with Roland’s mother and sisters at her Cape Cod home. Roland and I remained friends until his death in 2011.

“On Sunday, Roland’s aunt who works for the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations took us on a fun insider’s tour of the capital and offices and treated me to a middleclass tourist souvenir treat – including a photograph* of me in Fulbright’s chair in the Senate committee room with gavels in hand. We also got to read some of Fulbright’s mail (over 2-1 against/some for Nixon) What fun!”

*photographs by Roland’s mother, Dinanda“Didi” Nooney

https://www.brownstoner.com/brooklyn-life/dinanda-nooneys-brooklyn-photos-jill-nooney-interview/

Now to the present…

New bathroom floor, rug, and toilet

 

New French Alpine milk goat, “Fiji”.  Spent the summer making “chevre” and “Cinder Ella” cheeses.

 

 

New Arabian mare, “Antoinette” aka “Toni”(Derby, a friend’s POA gelding who lived here for a year, went to live with a grandfather who wanted to teach his grandchildren to ride.) Also taking riding lessons again! What fun!

 

 

 

New hens: two “Buffy” Orpingtons, one “Heidi” Hybrid & three “Little (Rhode Island) Red Hens.” Plus New (Buff Orpington) rooster, “Neil,” who has already fathered two Buffy young ones. Lovely brown eggs.

Decided to draw again – pen & ink coyote skull sketches to accompany our book club’s Zoom meeting discussing Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan Flores.  Also bought water color brushes when I couldn’t find my old ones.  First “commission”: a Scottish Highlander cow

Hope you all are safe and well.  And here’s to a safe and healthy New Year!

What were you doing in 1969?  What are your hopes and dreams for the New Year?

 

Keep Calm and Pet Me

I’ve seen all the memes about dogs loving pandemic and cats not so much.  This was true at our house for the first couple of months.  Guinevere is SO happy to have YA and I at home all day long.  More treats, more snuggling, pretty much more of everything she loves.  Even more toys have been part of sheltering-in-place.

At first, Nimue wasn’t so sure about having us around so much.  Then in April she had some surgery that had a good result (not cancerous) but had a long, hard recovery involving the cone of shame and the dog kennel for almost two full weeks.  I thought she would never forgive me for that; the stink eye that she would give me from the dog kennel was really scary.  Then about a week after she was freed from her cone/kennel disgrace, she started wanting more cuddling.  And as the months have gone by, that has continued – whether or not I have any treats nearby. 

She has even taken to hanging around wherever I am hanging around.  The header photo is how she helps me in the kitchen.  Here is her helping me straighten up in the dining room. 

As I type, she’s snoozing on top of the radiator – about six feet away, so she is responsibly social distancing. 

Do you know anyone enjoying pandemic more than they should?

Paper Chase

There is a mysterious creature in our home, one that is a constant source of puzzlement for our cat. The creature resides in the room with the computer. It whirs, makes odd internal noises, and then shoots out paper.  Sometimes the creature pulls the paper back inside before shooting it out a final time. It usually comes to life when Husband is seated at the dining room table working on his laptop.

Whenever she hears the creature make a noise, Luna races to the computer room and  peers into the place where  the paper emerges. She often walks behind it to see if anything is there, then perches along side it to watch the paper come out.

If she is feeling particularly feisty, she will stick her paw in to catch the paper. That usually results in me or Husband needing to fix a paper jam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day I changed out ink cartridges,  and Luna was very, very interested to see what was inside  when I opened the front. There was no creature to be seen, though, just gears.

I imagine Luna vowing to solve the mystery and find the creature inside the printer.  Until then, she has a constant source of amusement and intrigue to keep her life interesting.

What mystery would you like to solve?  What mystery novel character would you like to be? What makes your life interesting these days?

 

Llama Llama Ding Dong

Llamas are “in” – they have been for a couple of years.  Lots of llama t-shirts, mugs, posters, pins, rubber stamps – you name it, you can find it these days.  I even bought a little stuffed llama when I was in Peru; it seemed the thing to do.

YA came to me three weeks ago after finding a local llama “petting farm” in Waconia (she found it on TikTok).  For a fee (relatively small in my estimation), you could pet llamas, feed llamas and even take a trail walk with a llama.  With nothing else on our horizon, we figured why not. It’s apparently quite popular so it took a couple of weeks between contacting them and getting a reservation.  We headed out on Wednesday, the farm being about 30 minutes from our house.

First there was a “llama lesson” with interesting facts about llamas as well as how to tell a llama from an alpaca.  There was another mother/daughter scheduled during our time slot, but they had shown up early; YA and got the llama guy all to ourselves.  This was fabulous because I could indulge myself by asking as many questions as I wanted.  Usually when there are stranger involved, I hold back (go ahead, laugh).  We also brought a bag of baby carrots.  Some of the llamas thought this was wonderful, some of them didn’t.  My llama (Pacesetter) was extremely leery of the carrots, but YA’s llama (Mocha) couldn’t get enough. 

The trail walk was about 20 minutes – without the snow, it would be faster, but the llamas weren’t in a hurry and it was just the four of us (YA, me, Pacesetter and Mocha) so we didn’t have to worry about keeping up with anyone else (or hold anyone else back).   We were there altogether about 90 minutes and the llama guy said we should come back in early May when there are baby llamas (crias) for petting and photo ops.  We came right home and emailed them for that reservation!

When was the last time you visited a zoo/petting farm?