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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

All the Joys of Pet Ownership

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

All the Joys of Pet Ownership

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alex eek
Today, as I was preparing lunch, I looked out into the backyard, and Alex was pooping. I notice this because I swear that every time I look out into the backyard, one of the dogs is pooping. I also notice because he's having a rough time of it.

Later, Bobby and I are sitting on the patio and Alex is, of course, pooping. And again having a rough time of it. When he came back, he smelled very strongly of ... well, you know. So I checked under his tail and, sure enough, he was a mess back there. So I went into the house for some paper towels and got Bobby to hold him (Bobby is squicked by that sort of thing so anything poop- or vomit-related is a Mommy job) and, upon parting his feathers a bit better, discovered that he had a huge clump of grass hanging out of his arse.

Ummm ... yuck.

So that was fun. Having had dogs all of my life, I've done all manner of gross dog-related tasks (mostly involving poop or vomit because dogs are dogs and, upon encountering something unfamiliar, immediately think, "Hmmm. I don't know what this is. I think I'll eat it.") but this one was a first and, hopefully, a last. I told Alex, "Xan, you're not a herbivore. You can't digest cellulose. So stop eating so much grass that you bind yourself so badly that Mommy has to pull your poop out of your butt for you."

Speaking of animals, the Felagund Family flock is about to get bigger. Literally. Bobby called the town office today and received confirmation that, yes, we can have chickens. Not only that but, apparently, our humble three-quarter-acre residential lot is actually zoned for light agriculture! So we could till up the backyard, plant row crops, and sell them on the roadside if we wanted to. (Actually, after getting over my initial surprise, our zoning made perfect sense since our neighbor across the street does sell organic lettuce and eggs.) We cannot, apparently, have a cow, though, which sucks.

But, as I told Bobby, we were getting chickens no matter what the town said. I was fully prepared to pull a Henry David Thoreau on the Manchester bureaucracy and go all civil disobedient and keep chickens whether they were allowed or not. Two reasons why. Firstly, there are three other houses on our street that I know of with chickens. It's like the time my dad was trying to get a pool permit, and the county tried to deny him, and he pointed out all of the houses on the street that had built pools without permits, while he was trying to go about things legitimately and honestly and give the county their cut in fees. Secondly, sustainability is the closest thing I have to a religion. So there. >:-Þ

While I'm babbling about the town, Bobby and I went to the fire department carnival last Thursday, and I saw five of my students there. I told Bobby that, if I get a job at Manchester Valley, like I hope, when my certification's done, then I will probably know half the kids and parents at the carnival before long.
  • Oh yeah, I know how it is with furkids. They spend most of their time doing "weird things" that usually involve *us* getting messy.

    Maybe a cow is too big -- can you get a goat? Goats are a lot of fun. :)
  • (no subject) -
    • My husband and I are building a coop for them over by our shed, and they will have a portable pen that we will move around the yard so that they can eat bugs without worries that they will themselves be eaten by a hawk. Or a Golden Retriever ...

      This might sound weird, but I'm looking forward to the poop! It's very high in nitrogen and, when composted, makes really good garden fertilizer. We're on the fence about whether or not to get a rooster. My husband says the chickens will do better if we have one, but we do live in a residential neighborhood--even if we're zoned for agriculture!--so I wouldn't want our chickens to be a nuisance for our neighbors. I don't know that I've ever had fertilized eggs, but I know that pasture-fed eggs are infinitely better than the factory-farmed garbage for sale at the supermarket! :)
  • Because dogs are dogs and, upon encountering something unfamiliar, immediately think, "Hmmm. I don't know what this is. I think I'll eat it."

    My puppyface in a nutshell. He chewed up the internet cable this afternoon and then got sick as...well, a dog.

    But good luck with the chickens!
  • "Hmmm. I don't know what this is. I think I'll eat it."

    Ah hahahahahahaha! Yes, that's a canine for ya! Of course, dogs also barf very easily. That's evolution's way of keeping that "Hmmmm. I don't know what this is. I think I'll eat it" tactic from killing them. Most of the time.

    Oh, boy, chickens! I like the idea of a nanny goat (I know you will not get a billy). You can make your own goat cheese!
    • Most of the time.

      Alex ate some poisonous berries in the backyard once right after we moved here (we didn't realize they were poisonous at the time and now cut back the bush just as soon as they appear) and exploded from one end of the house to the other. And, unfortunately, this was when Bobby was still with Customs and used to come home first in the afternoon, so he was stuck with the mess. (Poop and barf really gross him out but don't phase me at all.) Finding a little pile of barf in the hallway is par for the course with our two, thanks to their "foraging" out in the yard. (We also used to come home to a pile of diarrhea every month or so from one Lancelot, always at the top of the basement steps, but my being home all day has stopped that!)

      You can make your own goat cheese!

      Yes! :D We were just talking last night about wanting to explore cheese-making!
    • (no subject) - frenchpony - Expand
    • (no subject) - rhapsody11 - Expand
  • Oh, geez-- I've had to do that with Magic a few times. The things we do for the animals we love...

    Good luck with the chickens!
    • Thanks! :D I'm sure there will be mad picspam when the wee fuzzy cute little peeps arrive!

      Probably illustrative of the direction this conversation has taken, I just type "cute little poops arrive." *headdesk*

      I remember one of the dogs we had when I still lived with my parents, in his former home, used to eat baby socks and have to receive similar treatment from his former owner. I guess it's too much to hope that I won't be doing it again! :D
  • Chickens are an excellent way to deal with those pesky squash bugs!
    • Yes! And it's much easier than me crouching in the garden for a half-hour every afternoon, checking every leaf and dropping squash bugs into a cup of hot, soapy water!

      I wonder if they taste like Jolly Rancher candies too, or if they just smell that way?
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  • Aww poor Alex, cats in that sense (if you forget about vomit and furrballs they hack up) are much cleaner.

    Sooooo, I am beyond curious what names the chickens will get :D Geese are also great watchdogs as well btw.
    • cats in that sense (if you forget about vomit and furrballs they hack up) are much cleaner.

      I know, I wish we could train the Goldens to use a litterbox! As it is, we have to walk the grid every few weeks or the yard becomes unbearable. :^S

      Sooooo, I am beyond curious what names the chickens will get :D

      Bobby tells me that he plans to kill them for meat when they are done laying, so he says it's not a good idea to name them. But you know I'll name them, even if only to myself. ;)

      To continue the trend of naming our house spiders after the House of Fingolfin, maybe I'll name the chickens after Valar! :D
  • Oh, that's cool that you'll be able to keep chickens and grow your own crops! And there's one of my colleagues who raises goats - our ENT guy keeps goats.

    I'm chuckling at the Thoreau reference because my part of Maine is sometime referred to as Thoreau country. When he decided the area around Walden Pond was just too populated for his liking, he came up here to Maine to study the wildlife. He'd almost certainly be horrified to know that Mt. Kineo (which is just a short ways north of Greenville, a town which has a park named for Thoreau) now has a 9-hole golf course on top of it. ;)
    • I would love to keep a goat! Growing up, my favorite cousins kept--among their many animals--pygmy goats. So far, the progression of animals we hope to have in the House of Felagund is chickens, bees, then the goat. But it's definitely a goal/hope of ours!

      He'd almost certainly be horrified to know that Mt. Kineo (which is just a short ways north of Greenville, a town which has a park named for Thoreau) now has a 9-hole golf course on top of it. ;)

      Eek! Yes, indeed! I'm trying to imagine a musing on the golf course in Walden and just ... can't.
  • Jersey Cow Pictures, Images and Photos

    Get one anyway! Look at those big brown eyes!

    On the chickens, I have never noticed any difference in taste if the egg was fertilised or not, but a big one between those who got to eat greens and grubs and those fed industrialised chicken food...
    • Awwww ... I know! (And Lancer lays his head on Alex's back just like that too ... so cute. *wibble*)

      Pasture-raised chickens produce much better eggs! (Bobby tells me the meat is better too, but I have to take him on his word for that.) I noticed, even, that they make much better custard base for ice cream. It's really no small wonder, considering the misery that industrialized chickens live under. I wouldn't make good eggs either.

      And I don't know what constitutes "chicken food" in the more progressive EU but, over here, it can include everything from manure to other chickens to cement dust. :-Þ Yuck!
  • You have to ask your town if you want to have chickens? Why *is confused*?
    • Properties in the U.S. are "zoned" for certain uses, residential, agricultural, commercial, &c. Zoning restricts what you can have on or do with a particular property. In theory, it's a good thing; it keeps a reeking fertilizer factory, for example, from opening in your neighborhood or prevents people from collecting three dozen horses on a half-acre plot. In practice, it's not always so good or commonsense. Because we live (we thought) on a residential property, we weren't sure if we would have to acquire a permit or even if we'd be allowed to have poultry. Chickens are considered livestock, so they aren't allowed in most areas zoned for residential use.

      We live in Carroll County, which is a rural county (though turning increasingly suburban as the blasted developers get a hold of farmland and convert it into endless rows of McMansions), and our county has a Right to Farm Act* that guarantees anyone with more than a half-acre of land (we have 3/4) the right to conduct basic agricultural operations: raising chickens, growing food crops, &c. However, we fall just inside of town limits, so we have to bow to the wishes of the town's governance, not Carroll County, and we weren't sure what their stance on ag was. Thankfully, they allow it--in fact, we're zoned for light agriculture, not residential, as we initially thought! However, the two nearest towns to us--Hampstead and Taneytown--specifically prohibit anyone within their town limits from keeping chickens. Which I think is rather daft in an agricultural county.

      * Right to Farm Acts, incidentally, tend to follow development since the hoi polloi who decide to flee the city (too violent, too Black) for the 'burbs discover that, despite the beautiful pastoral landscapes, farming can be noisy and it can stink. And they raise a ruckus when, for example, the rooster at the small farm next door to the McMansion Reserve, or whatever homogeneous housing community they moved into, cockledoodledoos them away at 5 a.m. every day. So rural areas pass these laws to protect not only farmers but people like Bobby and me who move to places like Carroll County for its agricultural resources.

      That's probably more than you ever wanted to know about zoning laws and agriculture--I hope you're not sorry you asked! ;)
  • Coming in late but the dog poop topic is irresistible: when Jabon, my pointer was a big puppy, he had a rope toy he loved to play with pulling and tugging and, as we found out too late, chewing. One Sunday evening (never at a time where you can just call the vet) we returned from a day out and we saw that he stood up and sat down and rubbed his ass on the floor, looking very uncomfortable: to make a long story short, he had swallowed a piece of string and he was, well, trying to eliminate it and it, well, had got stuck and hung out. So amid shrieks from the girls, mummy (me) put on some gloves and pulled out until it came out. Just seeing him ran around all happy and relieved made it worth it.
    No more rope toys, of course.

    • So it seems that pulling things out of dogs' arses is totally a "mommy job." :D Lancelot once had something nasty stuck to his bum; our families were over, eating steamed crabs in the backyard, and Lance yelped and came running to ... mommy. Luckily, being vegetarian, I was the only one with my hands clean because Old Bay seasoning has a lot of hot pepper in it, and he would not have been pleased if I had attempted to fix the problem with Old Bay on my hands!

      Coming in late but the dog poop topic is irresistible

      This is why I <3 my flist. ;)
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