Category Archives: pets

Safe From Marauding Trees

Guinevere is not a guard dog, despite her desire to be one.  When I spend time downstairs, especially if I’m hanging out on the sofa, she feels the needs to watch out the windows and alert me to the existence of dangerous dogs walking by the house, mutant squirrels touching any of our trees or bushes and any other life-threatening happenings out front.

So it wasn’t a surprise when she reacted to some tree work going on across the street.  It was fascinating; they had one of those big cherry pickers that had to anchored on both sides, two other big trucks on the street (which made the snow emergency a little tricky) and six guys that I could count, mostly up in the tree.  For a bit I was thinking they were taking the tree down with all that equipment and all those workers but it wasn’t an elm and otherwise had appeared to be fine.  After a couple of hours it was clear that they were just pruning and trimming.  The project lost a little luster for me at that point. 

But then I looked about a bit later and saw the strangest sight.  They had dragged all the bigger branches away to the chipper and were cleaning up…. using rakes!  Obviously rakes were the correct tool but you just don’t expect to see anyone raking during a snow emergency, the day after 10+ inches to snow.  (I know the picture isn’t great… I wanted to make sure that you could see that it was actually a rake.)

How can you identify a dogwood tree?  (All bad tree jokes and puns welcome!)

Best Toy Ever

Our dog’s toy arsenal has been quite limited because of his post-surgery cone, and he has had to adapt to continue to have fun. Some toys just don’t work with a cone. I am happy to report the horrid cone comes off today. We and he are heartily sick of it.

One toy that has proven a continued delight for him is the large, orange tennis ball in the header photo. I placed a smaller red ball next to it so you could see the size difference. The orange ball is about 7 inches in diameter. He plays with it in several ways. He loves to peel the orange cover off it. That orange cover is glued on really tightly, and I am amazed at the strength of his jaws and teeth. He also likes to slam the ball on the floor while holding the fabric scrap in his mouth, then shaking it violently. He rolls the ball and chases it all around living room. We like it because it is too large to roll under the furniture. He barks and whines for us to retrieve smaller balls. He also likes to have us hold the ball while he tugs and tugs the fabric scrap. A ball lasts about a week.

What have been your pets’ favorite toys? What were your favorite toys as a child. What toys would you buy for a child these days?

Cone Head

Kyrill, our Cesky Terrier pup, was neutered on Tuesday. He was really good at leaving his incision alone at the Vet Office, but started licking it once we got him home, so I got a cone from the vet.

Kyrill hates it. It is made even more awkward by his shape. Kyrill has a long snout, so he needs a good sized cone to keep that long snout away from the incision. His legs are really short, though, so unless he holds his head up high, the cone drags on the floor. The cone also pushes away or obscures things he wants to pick up. This makes eating and drinking difficult.

We tried a soft cone that looks like a life preserver, but it wasn’t wide enough and allowed access to the incision.

I considered a dog recovery suit just for this purpose, but I couldn’t find one in town, and if I ordered one, it would take too long to get here. I also didn’t relish the idea of wrestling him into an infant onesie every time he needed to go outside. We can’t crate him easily with the cone on, so he hangs with us and looks miserable. We hope for quick healing so the cone can go away.

What are your experiences with the cone of shame? How do your animals handle being under the weather?

Spa Day

Our puppy went to the groomer today. The groomer said he did splendidly, and was easy to work with. She did a really good job with him, and studied the photos and literature I gave her on Cesky terriers. She did a really good job on his beard today. His fur is turning more and more platinum. He started out as completely black as a newborn.

He has been so happy and relaxed since we got him home. I guess he liked all the attention and cossetting and brushing. It was a spa day for him. I have never been to a spa. I have never had a massage or a pedicure or manicure. I don’t know how I would react having someone so close and personal.

Kyrill told me that he was so handsome now that I should sign him up on a dating site so he could get a girlfriend. I told him that wasn’t going to happen. He gets neutered next week.

Have you ever been to a spa? What do you think it would be like to go to one of those spas in Baden-Baden, Germany? How would you describe yourself on a dating site?

That’s a Wrap!

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Wrapped up another growing season on the farm.

Got my corn harvested last weekend. Best yields I’ve ever had plus a decent price so that’s all nice. Inputs costs were exceptionally high, which cuts into the profits, but all in all, it ended up being a good year. Was it the weather? (It was a later spring than we like) Was it the lime applied last fall? Was it the co-op applying custom rates of fertilizer? Was it the fungicide applied to the soybeans? Was it some of everything??

They finished the corn harvest on Saturday, I finished chisel plowing on Sunday, and Tuesday, the co-op spread lime on the fields we didn’t do last year.  I plow at about 6.5 MPH. I was doing about an acre every 15 minutes. Something I think about while I’m out there, it works up pretty rough. And that’s intentional because we want it to hold snow and prevent wind erosion. So driving across the field is really rough in the tractors. 50 years ago, when doing traditional plowing, it turned over all the residue, and if the conditions were good, left the field fairly smooth. And with the smaller tractors and smaller tires, that wasn’t a problem. It was probably in the mid 1980’s that we started doing conservation tillage, meaning we quit using the old traditional ‘moldboard’ plow and started using a chisel plow. One of the rules of the chisel plow is that you need to keep your speed up when plowing because the shovel is only 3” wide, and you want it to physically throw the dirt as it moves through the soil. The shovel is twisted to one side or the other, so my machine has 11 shovels; 5 throw dirt left, and 6 throw the dirt right. The whole thing is about 15 feet wide. Not burying all the residue also meant the machine has to be built to allow more trash to pass through it without plugging up in the shanks of the shovels.

The first chisel plow we got only had 7 shovels. And the tractor was not front wheel assist, meaning it had small tires on the front, and boy, it was really rough going across the worked ground. My tractor now, with MFWD (Mechanical Front Wheel Drive) and the larger front tires, makes it slightly less rough.

Course I had my tractor buddy Bailey with me the whole time.

If it got too bumpy she’d sit up and lean against my leg and I’d rub her head, then she’d lay back down again. It was tough going with some frost in the ground. Some places were frozen more than others; maybe different soil types caused that? There was a few minutes I was working in a snow squall. Weird.

My brother made the comment, “Thank goodness for heated cabs.” I agreed, and said I had thought about that too. I have spent time planting or doing fieldwork wearing a coat and gloves on open tractors. I also said I would have had to quit sooner because the lights weren’t so good back then.

With my bad foot, I generally get a new pair of shoes every fall because I’ve worn one of them sideways. After getting the soybean check is generally when I go shoe shopping. I only want steel or composite toe shoes. I move a lot of heavy stuff and I got enough problems without smashing a toe as well. And safety toe shoes are expensive to begin with.  With the brace I wear on my right foot, I take out the insert and need a size 11 for that foot. I have a custom insert for the left foot, which is 9.5, but since I have size 11, I add my custom one on top of the original and I get along OK. Yet It seems silly to pay so much money for shoes and then I’m taking out some of the main thing. And they have to be built right to fit the brace in the first place. This year I’m trying a pair of Keen boots. $170 at Fleet Farm. Gosh. I’ve been wearing a pair of Sketchers that have been good. These are the shoes I wear every day. I’ve also got a pair of Red Wing work boots I wear when farming. I think I can get another year out of them.

There are a few places that deal in mismatched shoe sizes for amputee’s or other issues with the feet. One place says, “Find your ‘sole mate’.” I’ve never tried them, but I think it’s a wonderful idea.



You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!

In the “always something new under the sun” category – I came downstairs last week to find Nimue’s two ceramic bowls replaced with these two plates. 

YA purchased them because apparently kitties can get “whisker fatigue” if they eat from regular bowls. I’m not even going to look up whisker fatigue; if I do find it legitimized online, it will just make me crazy.

Any new “news” in your world lately?

The Game’s Afoot

This chess game has been ongoing for a couple of years – in the front yard of a house about 15 blocks up from my house.  I’ve always been intrigued by it, mostly because I’m not a big “decorations in the yard” type of gal. 

The other intrigue has to do with the fact that my natural instinct is to say “the cat is going to crush the dog”.  My second instinct is to say “why is the bird watching so intently?”  Personally I think watching games like chess and GO are akin to watching the proverbial paint dry.

Personally I like dice games because if you lose, you can always blame it on bad luck with the dice.  Aggravation, Sorry, Parchesi, even Monopoly.  I know the rules of chess and GO but haven’t played either for years. I’m also fond of trivia games.

Do you think cats are better chess players than dogs?

12 South

Photo credit: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation

On one of the afternoons I spent in Nashville with my friend, Pat, we went in search of a bakery that was listed online as “one of the best bakeries in Nashville”.  We used her car’s GPS to find it; the area was quite busy as it was Sunday but we managed to find a free parking spot and Pat maneuvered into it.  It was a beautiful day so we were looking forward to walking a couple of blocks to the bakery.

It was a really interesting neighborhood and Pat told me it was called 12 South – about a half mile stretch on 12th Avenue South – filled with restaurants, clothing stores, vintage clothing stores, an outdoor market, jewelry store, donut bakery, art gallery and a cookie shop.  Lots and lots of folks were walking about, shopping and sitting in outdoor areas of the restaurants.  Lots of dogs too.

The only problem was that the median age of everybody in the neighborhood appeared to be 30-25.  Tops.  I’m not kidding; Pat and I were the oldest people walking around.  It certainly didn’t feel unsafe (and I did enjoy petting a lot of dogs) but I did feel a little out of place.  I commented to Pat that maybe we needed passports to be in 12 South.

Have you ever felt out of place anywhere?

Farm Additions

Today’s post comes from Ben. Header photo from Kelly.

Had a few real cold mornings. It was 21° on Tuesday morning, and below freezing for a couple days this week, but it was nice in the sun. I had to break the ice out of the chickens water buckets. The buckets are still outside for now. Don’t need the heated bucket quite yet. I did turn up some of the house heat.

The chickens have certainly dropped down on egg production. I got 2 eggs one night. The next day I got 8. Then 6, then 4, then 2 again. The last couple days it’s just been 2. It’s not the weather so much as this bunch of chickens is just aging out. The chicks from this spring should start laying any time now. I do add light to the pen, as it’s the amount of day light that triggers egg production. Some people let their hens take the winter off. I figure my hens have a pretty good life so I’m OK keeping them laying.

We picked up 10 young adult guineas from my friend Dave. He has an assortment of animals, mostly it seems because he and his granddaughter spend a lot of time on Craigs list finding animals. But come winter, they need to pare it down so they all have shelter. I’ve gotten good animals from Dave. And we were down to just 2 guineas, so this is nice. Kept them locked in a side pen for a couple days to learn that this is home now. They’ve been outside the last few days and the dynamics are interesting. They mix right in with the chickens and ducks, but the two older guineas are showing them who’s boss. There are 7 dark gray, two white, and a silver one. The silver one got outside a day before the others. And now they’re all shunning that one. I don’t know if it didn’t get along before or why this is happening.

Then Thursday night, as I closed doors, I was looking to see where the new guineas had settled for the night. Evidently, they were outside behind the barn as Humphrey the dog, scared them all out. They panicked and flew every which way. I saw one go up over the barn, another off in the trees, one down in the swamp. Friday morning there was only 7. Shucks. They make enough noise I’d hope they’d all find their way back together sooner or later.

I needed to fill all the water buckets one day and I knew the hose would be froze in the morning, so I did it in the dark after I got home one night. Got a lot of slush out of the hose but at least it wasn’t frozen solid. Here’s a photo of the poufy duck and some others.

I did get the pressure washer put into the well house. It’s a cumbersome process simply because there’s not much room for me AND the pressure washer. One of us at a time fits just fine. Add in some electrical conduit and a water pipe and it’s a bit more of a challenge. But if I lift it just so, and suck my stomach in, and grunt a few times, it fits. It’s in for the winter. I could find an easier place to put it… but… this is where it’s always been.

I’ve delivered some fall straw. Some for gardeners, some for chicken raisers. One of my neighbors raises strawberries so I’ve got 150 bales still on a wagon for him to cover the plants before winter.

One day on the blog I mentioned my dad helping and how Kelly looked forward to “Dad Stories”; me telling her what he had done that day, whether it was breaking something and going home, or just making me crazy. Oddly enough, now I can’t really remember any. When I had the Deutz tractor, it had a manual parking brake by the seat. A mechanical one you pulled up to set, then turned and pushed down to release. It wasn’t a very good parking brake given how many times we drove off with it still engaged. Dad did that often. I’d get in the tractor after him and the brake has been on for the last hour. That frustrated me. And he hated AC, so he’d open all the windows, filling the cab with dust. I’d roll my eyes.


Scary FlappyThings

Last week was really windy here, with gusts up to 61 mph all day Wednesday. It looked like we were back in the Dustbowl, with the sky obscured by blowing dirt.

Kyrill, our Cesky Terrier puppy is a pretty intrepid boy with the usual terrier bravado, especially when the fiends (neighbors and pedestrians and the Postie) are outside and he is looking through the bay window. He even tolerates the vacuum and electric floor sweeper. He gets afraid, however, whenever he hears flapping noises, like those made when garbage can liners are shook out preparatory to going into the empty garbage can, or when the neighbor’s flags are flapping loudly in strong winds like we had last week. He wanted to get past the neighbor’s flag pole as fast as he could as we were buffeted by the Wednesday winds.

Our children didn’t have many fears, aside from our daughter when she was about 4 not wanting to go to a new doctor named Dr. Wolf because she was afraid he was a real wolf. My mother said I was afraid of the vacuum cleaner when I was little, and she had to wait until my father got home to hold me so she could clean the house.

There are several “Haunted” venues in our community to get good and scared at before Halloween. The mall and the old hospital building have been turned into such places. I don’t like things like that at all, but most of my coworkers have been to them and enjoyed getting terrified. I fly into Bismarck late in the afternoon from Washington DC. on October 31. That is scary enough for me!

What scared you when you were little? What is the scariest book you ever read? What are your experiences with “haunted” venues?