Category Archives: animals

Kitty Lit

Photo Credit:  Alice Feigel

Nimue is not a super-cuddly kitty.  She comes around for treats and most mornings and evenings, she’ll curl up next to me on the bed if I’m watching tv or listening to a book on tape.  Very occasionally she’ll actually climb into my lap for cuddles. 

But if I want to guarantee her attention, all I need to do is read a book.  Every single time.  Doesn’t matter if I’m upstairs or downstairs, sitting on the sofa or laying on my bed.  I’ve seen her sitting in the back window watching me when I read in the yard.  She needs to be touching the book and preferably laying right on the book.  She doesn’t like to be nudged off when I have to turn the page.

I know this isn’t unusual but nobody seems to know why they do this?  Do kitties actually know how to read but can’t get the books off the bookshelf themselves?

What do you think?

Falling Weather

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Rosie and Guildy are still good. They look like they’re finally growing. They’re still spending most of the day hiding under something, but they do come out and go in by themselves morning and night so that’s progress.

We lost one of the creamy colored adult ducks. Still the two black and white, one creamy, one poufy, and 6 mallards. And two guineas. And roughly 52 chickens. Daily egg count is somewhere between 7 and 12, down from summer peak. Newest hens haven’t started laying yet; late October they’ll be 6 months old and they start laying somewhere in there.

This is Rooster #3 — Kelly calls him ‘Top Gun’ because he thinks he’s hot stuff.

Some of the latest batch of chickens have more black around their eyes than other years. They are ‘Black Australorpe’ breed and they have good longevity, but they can be kind of ornery. I like them. Most chickens in a close up just look ornery.

I’ve been busy at the theaters this week. The HVAC being installed brought in a scissor lift and I use it when they’re not. Replaced a bunch of non-functioning fluorescent lights in the theater with LED retrofit kits. Pulled down all the cables for the stage lights so we could redo them. (It just turns into a rat’s nest after a while. Good to pull down and start fresh.)

Created some new doorways and redid other odds and ends over the summer break between shows. On Saturday all the platforms for the seating are going back in place so I must finish the bulk of the work that I want with the lift before that.

I’ve been saying there’s not much happening on the farm. That’s not true. I’M not doing much on the farm, but there’s a lot happening. The corn and beans are both maturing and drying out. Beans are losing their leaves and drying down, corn is turning brown, maturing, and drying out. Birds are migrating, bees are busy, deciduous trees are turning colors, the world rotates, planets are moving, the moon changes phases… there’s a lot happening. Just not by me.

I watch some youTube farming channels; they’re busy getting things ready for harvest. Soybeans could be going in our area in another week or two.

The pod right in the center of the photo has 4 beans in it. BONUS! Most only have 3. Four isn’t unusual, but it’s not the normal either. See the pods at the very top of the plant? Those are the ‘bonus’ pods. Not only because the deer didn’t eat the buds off the top, but the plant develops from the bottom up, so the better the conditions, the better resources the plant has, the more pods it can create. It’s looking like a pretty good year for my crops. Knock on Wood.

WHO HAVE YOU KNOWN, OR DO YOU KNOW, THAT LOOKS ORNERY BUT WASN’T OR ISN’T? 

OR ARE THEY?

DO YOU HAVE AN “RBF”?

Euphemisms

Our puppy needs a haircut, and is a very fuzzy boy. I noticed that he had two rather large dried on pieces of poop on his rear end, stuck to his fussy hair. I told husband that he had to help me with the “clinkers”, as we have called such things since we got our first dogs many years ago. I started thinking about the word and the euphemisms that we use. I am not talking about hurtful or derogatory ones, just interesting ones.

I suppose many euphemisms stem from talking about body parts or functions. Many of my child/adolescent clients are embarrassed to death to have to refer to body parts by their proper names. A good friend had a daughter who referred to boys’ parts as “hoses”, which I thought was a pretty good descriptor. I don’t know what she calls them now that she is a grown woman.

What are some euphemisms that you use? What words are hard for you to say in public?

Dog Beds

Guinevere has multiple beds.  YA can’t resist them so there is one in her kennel in the breakfast room, one in my room and one in YA’s room.  Recently we’ve changed up sleeping arrangements; during the day Guinevere and Nimue pretty much ignore each other but nighttime is a different matter. The last month or so, Guinevere has moved from my room to YA’s room at night.  Every day YA moves the dog bed from my room to her room because “Gwen likes that bed during the day”.   I noticed today that both of the upstairs dog beds are still in YA’s room. 

Beds & Lambies

In addition, Guinevere has FOUR lampchop chewy toys.  This is in addition to a huge basket full of other balls and toys, but the lampchop ones are definitively her favorites.  YA and I used a giftcard last spring and bought several of them, so we have extras on hand if the current flock gets nibbles too much.

Guinevere is also refusing to eat her kibble this week.  This happens every couple of years when she just decides that her currently dogfood isn’t fitting the bill.  While YA and I are both fine with changing her food, neither of us is willing to throw out half of a large bag of kibble.  I voted for letting her go hungry on the theory that she won’t starve to death and eventually she’ll eat what we have.  YA is frantic about the non-eating.  So far this past week on different occasions I’ve seen lots of delicacies added to Guinevere’s dish: peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, pumpkin and also some very smelly dog sauces in pouches.  Each of these items worked moderately well but we’ve still got at least 2 weeks before we’re ready for a new brand of dry food. Good grief.

Have you ever had a hand in spoiling someone?

September

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Our two ducklings are doing well. Kelly has named them Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Rosie and Guildy for short. They seem to be afraid of everything. Mostly they spend the day hiding. But considering they’ve lost seven of their siblings, and the whole animal ‘fight or flight’ mentality, maybe they’re the smart ones and that’s why they’ve survived this long. And they just learned to walk up the board ramp to go in at night on their own, so that’s pretty smart of them! No more trying to wrangle them in at night. Now we’re trying to see if they’ll come out on their own in the morning so we don’t have to chase them out.

The other morning I watched a hawk swoop right down over the pen and then sit in a nearby tree. R & G weren’t out yet, but that might explain why some of their siblings disappeared. A few minutes later, when I was in the shed letting them out, a brown chicken hopped down out of the rafters right in front of me. Scared the bejezzus out of me. (By the way, when I dictated “bejezzus“ into my phone, it translated as “big Jesus” and I thought well, that works too). It scared the big Jesus out of me.

Still not much happening on the farm, beans are turning yellow, corn is drying up. I’m keeping busy with more summer projects at one theater and working on our fall show at the college. Sure has felt good to put on my toolbelt  again. Man, am I out of practice. Doesn’t take much to wear me out. Course I haven’t really done much this whole calendar year. Building up my endurance. I did haul a 50 lb bag of chicken feed over to the chickens and dump it in the wall feeder. And put two bags of water softener salt in. Progress! 

I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the garage steps just watching our little corner of the world. It’s nice.

Our apples and pear trees are overloaded this year. In fact they are so overloaded they broke a few branches on the apple tree. Yeah, it needs to be pruned. I think they’re Harrelson‘s. They sure are good anyway.

Who knows anything about Minnesota pears? I think they were called golden? They’re small, and green and only get to be slightly larger than a ping-pong ball, and really hard and they do not taste good. Do they ever get better? What do I need to be doing with them?

Kelly and I froze some sweetcorn last weekend. Only four dozen; daughter helped me husk it, and then I cut it off the cobs and Kelly bagged. I remember doing that with my parents, and for a few years my sister would come out to help me and Kelly. It’s a fond memory I have with mom and dad.

WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO FEEL GOOD?

A Woman And A Racoon Walk Into A Bar. . .

Yesterday the Fargo Forum reported that bar patrons in Maddock, ND, who were in the Maddock Bar the night of September 6 needed to be aware that they may have been exposed to rabies. It seems a rather intoxicated woman came into the bar holding a racoon she had rescued days earlier from the side of the road. She was asked to leave the bar, but not before she walked all around the bar showing people her racoon. The racoon was reportedly injured when she found it, and she had nursed it back to health and was keeping it as a pet. It is illegal to keep racoons or skunks as pets here due to the threat of rabies. They are still looking for the woman and her racoon. The bar employees say they are going to dress up as racoons for Halloween,

When I was about 6 years old, I tried lifting a friend’s rather fat beagle into my father’s fishing boat that was stored along side the garage. The beagle was not amused, and bit me on my face. It was just a nip, but my mother was panicked about it. The beagle’s owners refused to lock the dog up the required number of days to see if it was rabid, so I had to have a series of rabies shots. I got the shots under my shoulder blades. It was painful. I wouldn’t want to go through that again. The beagle wasn’t rabid, by the way, and he and I remained friends.

Know any good bar jokes? What animals would you like to see in bars? What are your experiences with rabies or rabies shots?

Is It Fall Already?

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

The days are clearly getting shorter. It’s a little discouraging it’s already dark by 8PM. The barn swallows have moved on and the hummingbirds seem to be gone. Maybe the RedWing Blackbirds too. I do enjoy fall. I really like the change of seasons and fall and spring are my favorites. I enjoy the fieldwork and planting crops in the spring, and then fall and the harvest and doing that fieldwork and completing the cycle for another year. Not everyone in the house appreciates the earlier darkness and cooler temps. It’s all good.

Healthwise I’m improving. After feeling like I plateaued a few weeks ago, I can tell a difference again. Got the kidney stone removed a couple weeks ago. Got the stent they placed after that removed the other day (Lots of new experiences!) I can stand on one foot for a few seconds. Left knee will hurt until I get it replaced, but I’m walking better and driving and even climbed up on a box to reach something the other day. I even went to the car with both hands full one morning! AND I stepped over the dog in the kitchen! Getting there!

The sandhill cranes were out in the pasture this past Thursday. It was really nice to see them. Thanks to Steve for sending them our way…

Header photo is neighbor Dave’s cows. Kelly took a walk one night and was talking to them.

Chickens and big ducks are doing well. I went out to do chores and they came running.

We’re having a tough time with the ducklings. Down to two.

The one with the bad leg didn’t make it. And one day I let three out, and an hour later, one of them was dead. I don’t know. Fingers crossed for these two.

Crops are looking good. Corn stalks are starting to dry out and the kernels are dented. There’s still milk in the kernels, but it is coming along.

Multiply the rows around (16) and kernels in the length (36) = 576 kernels on this ear. Then we count the number of ears in 17.5’ (remember we counted the plants this spring. That’s 1/1000th of an acre) and it will vary, but roughly 30 ears per 17.5’, x 1000 = 30,000 x 576 = 17,280,000 kernels / acre divided by 80,000 kernels / bushel and that gives us 216 bushels / acre. Which is way too high for my farm on average. Factor in the deer damage, corn on the edges that the trees impact, ears that aren’t so good, hope for a late freeze, and well, we’ll see at harvest. But it does look like a decent crop this year.

Who were your neighbors when you were growing up?

Aaaaahhhhh

You all know that Irish Setters are the first dogs in my heart.  But the last Wednesday of every August, Golden Retriever Day at the Fair is one of my favorite days of the year.  There is just something about a whole bunch of Golden Retrievers together, all fluffy and happy, wanting nothing more than to be petted and loved on by an adoring public.

This year I counted 29, although there might have been a couple more.  There was an agility demonstration, an obedience demonstration, field retrievals and flyball.  And more than just about any other breed, these Goldens are amazingly happy to strut their stuff.  Most dog groups do their demonstrations and then bring the dogs over to the fence for the audience to meet and greet.  On Golden Retriever Day, they START at the fence, then do demos, then come BACK to the fence.  Because there is no such thing as too much attention for a Golden.

We probably spent close to an hour up at the Pet Pavilion and I have to admit that as we walked away, I felt a wonderful sense of release and peace wash over me; therapy dogs without any vests.   I think I could have stayed all day.

Anybody know the names of the very first two Golden Retrievers (from 1889)?  What name do you think is good for a dog?

Learning How To Fetch

Our puppy is a delightful little fellow who never misses an opportunity to teach us new things. These past couple of weeks he taught us to fetch. We didn’t even know it until recently.

Kyrill loves to play with balls. He rolls them around and chases them. They often roll under the sofa and love seat in the livingroom, and the space is too small for him to retrieve them, so he barks and we get them for him.

I became suspicious of the sheer volume. of balls that were going under the furniture. I draped blankets in front of the sofa and love seat to block balls from rolling under, and then I noticed him roll the balls under the unblocked ends of the furniture. He was doing this on purpose! This was a Terrier game!

The Cesky Facebook group told me this is typical of the breed, and they all have yardsticks close at hand to retrieve all the toys their dogs like to shove under the furniture. Who would have guessed?

What are you favorite and least favorite games to play. What have animals taught you? Who has been the most successful getting you to do what you don’t want to do?

Not For Human Consumption

Our puppy is an avid chewer, and we get him faux rawhide treats to satisfy his cravings. Rawhide is hard to digest, and the fake stuff is described in one site as made from “Human grade food ingredients that are nutritious, highly digestible and completely healthy for your dog”.

As I perused a new bag of chews, I noticed in rather large letters these words: Not for human consumption. These were flat and thin chews about 4 X 6 inches in size. There is certainly nothing about them that made me want to start chewing on them. Are there people who would actually think it was ok to chew on these things? Are people that ignorant? Have parents given them to their teething infants? What would make a company put something like that on their products? I just don’t know what to think!

What are some perplexing and unnecessary warnings you have seen on products? What foods do you think are not for human consumption?