Category Archives: Cats, dogs, chickens, and other critters

Time for lunch

A small pair of birds built a nest in a ponytail palm we had brought up on the back patio during one of the more frigid evenings in our “winter” season. We hadn’t quite gotten to putting it back out before they started building, and when we realized what they were doing, we couldn’t move it at that point – that would be rude!

The female laid a total of four eggs, and on our occasional peeks, it seems all of them hatched into the usual ugly, reminiscent-of-dinosaurs babies. We have some pics of them both pre and post hatching, but for now, a little clip of one of the parents bringing home the bacon, as it were.

20160424 PM feeding

Let’s do the time warp again

This day, the first day of the new year, has been an odd one. I was up well past the turn of the year, until almost 3 AM. My oldest dog got me up at 4:45 so he could run out and do some business. We all went back to bed, but were up again just before 8 AM. Since then, it’s been nonstop work, either outside (and I’ll have a separate post about that) or inside. No naps, except for the dogs, and it’s about 7:15 in the evening right now but it feels like late evening. Very late evening. Like “this would be a good time to call it a day” evening and go to bed. But it’s far too early for that, and I still have to eat again today as I’ve only had two so far: my usual to start the day, and then this for the new year, as is traditional.

Beans and rice and cornbread

Beans and rice and cornbread, with diced onion and ham. It doesn’t look like much – the soul eating baby could probably eat three of these – but it’s about what I can handle. I managed almost all of it. The leftover, sans onion, went to the dogs. We could all use a little luck for the new year, I think.

 

Helping

A common orb weaver, hanging out in the leaves of the horseradish plants, waiting for something unlucky to come along.

Orb weaver spider

As you can see from the leaves of the plants, the beetles were having a go at them. Since the value of the horseradish is in the root, not the leaves, and as the leaves are plentiful and mostly intact, the plants can weather the bug attack without too many issues other than those cosmetic. Every bug these helpers catch and devour is a plus.

 

Working it out, Dec 16, 2015

My oldest dog – the one who is mostly blind, deaf to anything but the loudest of noises, and generally a cranky old man – keeps getting me up in the very early morning hours so he can get outside and do his business. That business includes what seems to be a routine early morning poop, and if I am not quick enough to the door to open it, it becomes my business because he’s certainly not going to pick it up himself. This is relatively new behavior, as he would generally be able to hold it for the hour or so later I would be getting up anyway, but as I say, he’s an old man and it seems his body is no longer up to that task. I say this only because he woke me u on this particular day after I’d had about two hours of sleep thanks to a server issue that took me to the NOC in the wee hours. Luckily for me, there was no bonus poop round to start my day. There was also no early treadmill session, as I went back to bed for a bit, finally giving up on the sleeping attempt when I awoke just shy of two hours later.

In the evening, I had a rather bad round of reflux/indigestion, the kind that makes you feel as if you’re on the verge of throwing up or dying (or both), but got some meds down successfully and only dry heaved once or twice before recovering. I thought I might pass on the evening treadmill session, because I didn’t feel like it at all after the day that had passed. I did it anyway, and it wasn’t terrible. There’s a lesson there I should take to heart for my writing.

Working it out, Dec 14, 2015

Back in action today with two sessions on the treadmill, complete with trying to convince the puppy to stop playing with his ball and knocking it under the thing. I don’t think this will stick with him – after all, dogs have the attention spam of about four seconds, which is why they’re so absurdly pleased to see you when you just walk out to the car for something and then come back in.

Thirteen minutes this morning, just under fifteen late this afternoon, and more reading done. It’s interesting, reading a book in increments of 10-20 minutes at a time. I read very quickly, though, so it doesn’t take me forever to get through something while I’m putting one foot in front of the other to get to the end of my time or distance. It’s already becoming a habit and our (the dogs and my) routine is working out rather nicely. The only hiccup is when it will have to be done to work around medical appointments, including the xmas gift I’m getting of an MRI on my brain so they can see nothing’s there. Har Har.

A fowl deed

Another chicken down, sadly: mom informs me after she’s collected eggs that one of the chickens is dead (because I am the dead chicken collector). She didn’t take a close look as she doesn’t like to look at them too closely after they’ve died and won’t watch if I have to put one down. So, my sister happens to be here, and goes to dig a hole while I go collect the girl for burial. Through my extensive and sharply honed detective skills, I find the cause of death: the chicken’s head has been ripped off. The most likely culprit? Raccoon. I picked up the poor girl, gently placed her in the hole my sister had dug, and we covered her up. I checked the perimeter of the fence on that side and found a gap in the gate that a raccoon may have been able to fit through, and a section of the wire above the fence that is not as high as the rest but also bowed outwards – something I’ll ask my bro  to address when he’s up next (as well as asking him to walk the full perimeter to check for other gaps/necessary repair locations). In the meantime: RIP, other red chicken.

Into every life

A bit of rain must fall. That’s what they say, anyhow. It’s been raining here for three days straight, to the tune of over five inches, and I think that’s probably enough for us for now.

Front flooding May 2013

As chance would have it, the last afternoon just before all this started, I had put in the seed potatoes. We don’t have a lot of success with potatoes – sweet potatoes, that’s a different story – but usually it’s because they get blight or borers take them out. I’m hoping that all this rain does not mean an immediate end to this year’s potato experiment because they all rot in the ground before they can get going. The sweet potato slips have not yet gone out, as they just arrived last week and have been getting some hydrating of their own since they looked a bit limp when we unpacked them. That isn’t a problem now.

Sweet potato slips May 2013

The problem now is finding a place to put them where they won’t overrun everything in their path. I have a couple of empty rows up front, and I suspect that’s where they’ll end up (and where we will find sweet potatoes coming up for years afterward, as we do out back where we’ve had them previously).

One thing that does love the rains: weeds. Today, since the forecast is finally backing off, I’ll be heading out to do another round of weeding. The good thing about weeds in wet soil is that they come out pretty easily. The bad thing is they come out heavy, holding that wet soil, and unless you get most of the dirt off somehow, the weed bags get pretty damned heavy. One of the (many) tradeoffs at the ranch.

With the rains and the flooding, it also means no log runs chasing a thrown ball for the puppy. Until the flooding subsides a bit, that will be on hold. And that, my friends, makes a puppy sad.

Watching the rain May 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a recall

Finally! Purveyors of chicken jerky treats for dogs are voluntarily recalling products based on antibiotic residue found in chicken jerky treats coming from China.

“Milo’s Kitchen® today announced that it is voluntarily recalling its Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats from retailer shelves nationally. No other Milo’s Kitchen® products are affected. ”

“Nestle Purina PetCare Company and its wholly owned subsidiary Waggin’ Train, LLC today announced it is voluntarily withdrawing its Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats sold in the United States until further notice. ”

Of course, at the ranch, we make our own, so we know what’s in them: chicken. No glycerol, no antibiotics, no anything else. Grind it, put it in the jerky gun my aunt Susi kindly gave me for xmas, and stuff them in a low oven to dry. The salmon jerky was way smellier, but they seemed to love the stuff, so another batch of that will be in the offing as well.