Jul 27, 2010


The boys went antiquing with David and I this past weekend and were the Belles of the Ball (even though they're not exactly little ladies). Everyone was cooing over them and insisted on crouching down and petting them and surprisingly, both of my men were fairly well behaved the entire time. Sure, there were a few rather dicey (and loud) moments such as when a dealer's Pug decided that Edison and Bram were not going to shop in his human's tent, or when that Brussels Griffon suddenly leapt out from beneath a table full of glassware and startled the hell out of the boys who then had an extended case of residual barking for quite some time afterwards.

It was a stiflingly hot day with much rest time in the shade as well as gallons of water for all. The boys didn't find anything to buy that interested them (though I found a lovely antique turquoise bracelet that I talked David into buying me for my upcoming birthday). I love it when my boys behave so well and charm the pants off of everyone they meet. It sure beats those days when I'm walking two obnoxious little dogs that have people looking at me like I'm the worst pet owner on the entire planet and one who hasn't a clue how to control her dogs. Or worse still, those days when I'm carrying two armpit piranhas who try to bite the fingers off of everyone within arms' reach. But this weekend was pure doggy bliss...sigh...

Jul 19, 2010

Maia and the Skunk

Maia Louise all tuckered out, but smelling much better, the day after her skunk-filled evening.

Maia Louise got out the other evening and led us all on a merry chase for several hours. David and I left to go to a local early evening concert and when we returned home, there was Maia, sitting sweetly on the walk by the kitchen door. She pretended to start up the steps with us but then dashed off once more with a wicked gleam in her eye. Frankly, I was in no mood and instead of playing her endless game of chase, I went inside, shut the door behind me and turned off the outside lights. I completely forgot about the two baby skunks that had been busying themselves in my kitchen garden for the past three nights. Forgotten that is until about two hours later when I smelled the blast right outside my windows. Edison went berserk and ran maniacally from door to door, begging to be let out so he could handle the skunk situation himself (yeah, right) and Bram kept pace though I'm not entirely sure he even knew what he was barking at (that's Brammy-doodle for you).

Sure enough, there was Maia sitting beneath the hedge around the corner from the kitchen door, and just four feet from her was one of the young skunks, each giving the other the hairy eyeball and neither daring to look away first. So with flashlight in hand to keep an eye on where that skunk was at all times, David and I spent the next 90 minutes trying to get the damn cat into the house. Nothing worked, and honestly, why should it? Maia knew very well that there was nothing nearly as exciting indoors as having a live skunk toy to play with outdoors. Eventually, I was reduced to prancing about the back lawn in the dark with a bizzy ball on a long length of string, doing my damndest to entice the cat into a game with me and amazingly, it finally worked (after all, what cat can resist the lure of a wiggling string?). I couldn't quite get my hands near enough to her to pick her up without her skittering away, so on her next twirl around my legs I gently but firmly stepped onto her tail and David grabbed her.

She smelled only vaguely of skunk, as if she had walked into the butt cloud after the skunk went off rather than having taken a direct hit. I at first decided not to torture her by giving her a bath (and me as well, being very allergic to cats) and instead doused her rather generously with the boys' sun-kissed raspberry body spray. I asked David if he thought she smelled any better and he responded with, "No, she smells like she's wearing raspberry skunk-stink perfume." I tried to live with the smell, but it was a hot night and frankly, being cooped up in the heat with a cat who reeked of fruit scented sun-kissed skunk was more than I could handle, so at 1:30 I gave in. Griffin and I took Maia outside where she got what was coming to her: a late-night, ice cold garden hose bath with half a bottle of baby shampoo. Maybe next time she'll think twice about tangoing with a skunk.

Jul 14, 2010

A Surprising Baby

Our ducks and chickens are old and as such, they lay very few eggs these days. The rare ones they do lay are very quickly collected, simply because being able to enjoy ultra fresh eggs in our house isn't an everyday occurrence anymore. So it was with great shock and surprise that one morning last weekend we went out to clean the barn and found a tiny just-several-hours-old baby duckling running under and between the legs of Wilma Marie, an extraordinarily gentle and maternal silkie chicken hen who has mothered every baby duck and chick we've hatched in the last four years.

So how on earth did this happen? And I don't mean the fact that based on the markings of the duckling and the color of the hatched egg shell that this is clearly the love child of Pibb, our tiny male gray call duck no bigger than a toy rubber duckie and our very large and buxom rouen Emily Claire. How did the boy manage this without a step ladder? But I digress...After much thought, we've deduced that this one little stray egg was well-buried within the depths of a nest by a very possessive duck hen as no one who collects the eggs saw it at any time. And since none of the barn residents have shown any evidence of being broody, the outrageously high temperatures we've endured over the last few weeks in an unusually lengthy summer heat wave probably helped to create just the right conditions for this baby to be hatched without an incubator or a hen setting on it. It was, however, born with an unusual birth defect to its bill and tongue, which may or may not be due to the unusual conditions of its incubation and birth, though not one of my many fowl textbooks describes this aberration.

After several stressful days of worrying that the duckling wouldn't be able to eat or drink, we've had our fears allayed by a baby that is doing what ducklings do: growing at an alarming rate. If it continues to thrive, we'll now be watching to see whether it's a little boy or a little girl. I am not much for the vent sexing of birds and with the little one's deformed bill, my one nearly surefire way to sex a bird is impossible this time around. Stay tuned to this spot for updates on the newest and most unexpected member of our flock.
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