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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Random Pictures of Pets and Things and Random Updates of Whatever Comes to Mind

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.

Random Pictures of Pets and Things and Random Updates of Whatever Comes to Mind

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spider love me
Every few days, I think, "I should write in my journal about that!" but then never actually do. Although I'm not taking any classes right now, it's a busy time of the year in the House of Felagund, and I've been staying very loyal to my gym schedule. And I've been busy at work, with a large senior class this year and all of them in some form of jeopardy (usually related to HSAs), plus the after-school program. And trying to get the B2MeM ebook together. Anyway, I've been photographing things, so I'll at least share my photos and some updates will likely straggle along with those photos.

Spring is reluctantly arriving. It's been a very cold and wet spring so far (although rather nice today), as later pictures will prove. But it's that wonderful time in Carroll County (and I suspect pretty much any rural U.S. community): chick days! All of the local feed and farm supply stores have chicks right now. Since we lost our two oldest hens to a weasel a few weeks ago, we only have five hens left and so decided to increase our flock. These are our chicks, taken the day we got them, a little over two weeks ago. They look nothing like this now; they've already started molting their baby feathers. They're cute for about three days before they start getting the rangy look of pullets. Apologies for the reddish coloration of the photos; blame the heat lamp for that!

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We got six different breeds. Starting in the top left and going clockwise, they are Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Auracana, Dixie Rainbow, Golden Wyandotte, and Barred Rock.

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The Australorp was the smallest (still is). But Australorps are pretty much the most productive egg layers there are and have broken all kinds of records.

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Doing what they do best: eating and drinking!

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Today, we installed a new package of bees. It went great except that I popped the cork out of the wrong end of the queen cage, and so we lost the queen. :^| That's not disastrous but it could be a setback; the person we bought the package from also had some extra queens, so Bobby's already emailed him to see if we can reserve one. Since we've been now over a week with no snow, we've also done quite a bit around the yard and garden. Bobby is completely refreshing the landscaping in front of the house: He's put in a stone pathway and is expanding the front gardens. I cleaned out much of the vegetable garden and turned the compost, which I didn't touch at all last year, on account of the pain issues I was having. Turning compost isn't strenuous, but when it hurt to lift my arm to write on the board some days, then twenty minutes forking half-rotted stuff from one place to another wasn't in the cards. However, I was delighted to find that Mother Nature did a great job in my stead, and the one composter was almost full of finished compost, even though I'd done nothing to it. Just further proof that it is not only possible but common to overthink composting.

Okay, back to pictures ...

Speaking of snow, these were taken just over a week ago, on April 1. This shows that the yard was still almost covered in snow. And it also gave me an excuse to get some up-to-date pictures of the Goldens.

Alexander, who is really starting to show his age. (He limps a lot now; we need to make a vet appointment to have that checked out.)

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And Lancelot, a.k.a. Phil.

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They only look so interested because I'm holding the ball as I take this.

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Phil is sad because he knows the likelihood of my throwing the ball is minimal.

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Natural law: If you are trying to photograph dogs, they will look away the moment you click the camera.

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The range of odd and probably embarrassing noises that I had to make to get them both to look at the camera just can't be captured on film.

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Not a Golden but taken the same day: the first flowers in the yard.

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This is from months ago, but I found it in my files and thought it funny enough to share. Phil is scared of loud noises, especially the smoke detector. And sometimes, when Bobby is cooking, he will set off the smoke detector. This terrifies Phil, who tries to climb in my lap. (Phil weighs 68 pounds.) I was sitting at the kitchen table, so he couldn't climb all the way into my lap, but he did his best, and my webcam captured my attempt to continue using the computer around him. (Bobby is in the background fixing the guilty meal that made the smoke detector go off.)

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Speaking of Bobby, yesterday was his birthday. His birthday present was a 9-foot surfboard. It arrived today. So here he is with his new stick.

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Whilst putting on the fins, Freyja decided to hang ten.

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I have much more I could write, but it's TV time, so I'm off for now.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Ooh look at the wee chickenlings. 8D We had some about 10 months ago. It didn't work out, as I likely mentioned on your last post including chickens, but I loved having them around while it lasted. My favorite of our chicks was the darker of our two Rhode Island reds, which of course turned out to be the mis-sexed rooster.

    Doing what they do best: eating and drinking!

    You forgot shitting!

    Edited at 2014-04-10 02:51 am (UTC)
    • which of course turned out to be the mis-sexed rooster.

      Been there! Of our first set of chicks (six), one was killed by Lancelot, four turned out to be roosters, and the lone hen died after only a year from an impacted egg. They were supposed to be sexed. :^|

      You forgot shitting!

      Of course! :D That's usually the main reason they get moved from the basement to the shed: when they start to stink!
  • I love these pictures. You got a lot of great dog pictures. They really are funny. Especially the one with Bobby cooking and you with a lap full of large dog!

    The chick pictures remind me of my childhood. We used to get those dyed Easter chicks as gifts from various relatives. They would flap their wings as adolescents (pullets?) and still have purple or green down under their wings. They grow up fast! (Interesting etymology: Anglo-Norman pullet, poulet (“young chicken”) and polette (“young hen”). Wonder if there was an Anglo-Saxon word?)

    Edited at 2014-04-10 02:57 am (UTC)
    • Thank you! The Goldens are pretty photogenic; the difficulty is getting them to stand in one place long enough and look at the camera!

      My parents talk about those dyed chicks. I suspect they are a major reason why the feed stores impose a 5-6 chick minimum on purchases. I can't wrap my brain around buying a baby animal to throw it away once it starts to grow up (which is really fast for chicks). I won't throw out a houseplant or even cut flowers until they're crispy!

      Happy birthday! :D :D :D
      • Horrors! We never threw ours away. We raised them until they were big and fat (and ate them!). Some of them did die as babies. The worst part was they would have hundreds of them for sale in places like Woolworth's and sometimes we would see one that had been pecked to death by the others. It was horribly upsetting for a little kid.
        • My parents were both city kids, so I think the assumption was definitely that they would be thrown out or killed once they got too big. And not a noble death for food! One of the owners of the farm where we buy our meat and dairy was telling us the other week that they still regularly get people dropping off chickens in the middle of the night that were purchased as Easter chicks and then got too big. Which leaves them with the task of killing them since they can't introduce unfamiliar birds into the flock, not knowing what diseases they may have been exposed to.

          Chickens just really aren't nice birds. I remember reading a vegan fundamentalist once who celebrated them as an ideal species because they eat grass. Yeah ... and bugs and snakes and each other! Our bantam hen Rose died of an impacted egg, which we unfortunately only discovered after the others had pecked her vent up quite a bit. :(
          • Chickens just really aren't nice birds.

            Hence the lack of heartbreak when my grandmother killed one for Sunday dinner! (I should not be talking about this on your thread! Bad Janet!)
            • Don't be! I think you know I'm a conflicted vegetarian. I have no problem killing animals for food; I'm opposed to factory farming.
  • Ah, I thought you would've had to bribe them! ;) Look at those appealing eyes...
    • Yep, Lance has that look mastered ... (He stared at me for about ten minutes straight in the hammock this afternoon after dropping the ball into the hammock; we don't throw the ball in the hammock or we wouldn't have a moment's peace, but that didn't stop him from trying to burn holes into me with those beady black eyes!)
  • These pics and your descriptions are SO great!

    And now I have to go to sleep, night night.
  • Poor Alex… I hope it's nothing serious.

    Natural law: If you are trying to photograph dogs, they will look away the moment you click the camera.

    Haha! My problem was that Magic used to look at the camera whenever I wanted a picture of her doing something else.
    • I hope so too. He had Lyme's disease when he was an infant, so I have a suspicion that might be part of it (since that can cause joint pain). And he's going to be eight on his next birthday, so he is getting to the age for arthritis.

      My problem was that Magic used to look at the camera whenever I wanted a picture of her doing something else.

      • My first thought was arthritis (I didn't know about the Lyme disease, but that compounds the problem). My vet suggested glucosamine and it noticeably helped Magic for the first couple of years after she developed arthritis. We gave her half of a 1500 mg pill once a day; the chews didn't have the amount the vet recommended. (Mind you, getting it down her was ridiculously easy-- I tossed it in her food bowl with her kibble. This from the dog we had to trick into taking pills prior to that.)
  • Love all your creatures. Thanks for sharing.
  • It's so sad when dogs start to grow old. How old is Alex? I clearly remember the puppy photos. I hope it's nothing, poor boy. And Freyja is huge! How time flies!
    • Alex is going to be eight on 15 September, so he is creeping up on old age for a dog his size. It does seem just yesterday he was a puppy. (Probably because he was a pain in the ass as a puppy and it felt like he was at that age forever! :^P) Freyja is eight months old now and weighs about 6 lbs/2.5 kg.

      Alex had Lyme disease as a baby, which can cause chronic joint pain, so that could be part of it. Or it could just be plain old arthritis; he has always been a very active dog (and still is ... he just limps afterward, poor thing).
  • Alex looks so handsome! He must be officially a veteran now, hmm? And I know you didn't ask, but I love love love Omega 3 oil for older animals (or any age really!). Not in lieu of veterinary opinion of course, but I do think it's beneficial and pretty risk free! Aside from potentially fishy dog burps.

    Cats. Always helping in ways that are not helpful.
    • Alex will be eight on his next birthday, so he's almost at that magical milestone for big dogs and really starting to show it. :( Bobby came home from ski patrol training one day and asked, "What has Alex been up to all day?" and I could only respond, "Turning white ..." It seems he gets a little whiter every day.

      We have been giving them fish oil on recommendation of the vet to help with their dry skin this past winter. The potential to help with joint health is a bonus. :)
    • Aww, bless. Definitely a veteran then! Louis just turned 7. o_o He's got some silver on the chin too. (Actually the hair's gone clear, it's kinda funny!) I think the white gives goldens a wise look though!

      Fish oil might be my favorite supplement. Shows what a nerd I am too, to have a favorite supplement. ;)
      • I was driving to dance class tonight after replying to your comment and trying to remember how old Louis was. I thought he was around Alex's age.

        One of Alex's many nicknames is Old Wisdom! :D
        • Louis looks good right now and I keep thinking "please please another seven years!"

          One of Alex's many nicknames is Old Wisdom! :D

          In light of this information, do you feel you made a mistake naming him Alexander Maitimo rather than Alexander Findarato? ;) ;)
          • Well two of his other nicknames are Old Piss and Leeziana Fishin Shack! (The latter because he has ridiculously long legs and so looks like one of those houses on stilts when wet.) So most of his nicknames are less ... distinguished-sounding?

            Here's to at least seven more years. :)
    • Putting a bit of olive oil in their food each day helps with dry skin, too - though that might only make a difference to our dog, who's always had exceptionally sensitive skin.

      Poor dog! Is he in pain, or are his joints just stiff?
      • He will sometimes limp when he first gets up. If he's had a "busy" day (i.e., not spending most of the day sleeping while we're at work), then he tends to limp more. He's also sometimes reluctant to get up, especially at night after a busy day, so I think he is a little sore. He seems to walk it off pretty quickly.

        He still gets around fine in general: takes the hardwood steps just fine, plays in the yard with Bobby, chases and wrestles with his brother, etc.

        We thankfully do not usually have dry skin issues with either dog; this is the first year because of the exceptionally cold winter and the need to have the woodstove on pretty much constantly. The vet recommended fish oil for the Goldens, which they been taking.
  • Thank you for sharing those great pics! And yay to receding snow and true spring! :o)

    They only look so interested because I'm holding the ball as I take this.

    *g* Doesn't that sound familiar? With cats, you usually have to be very quick to capture them looking at you before they come towards you for a head-butt, and/or somebody else has to wave a feather toy or so behind the photographer's head to get them looking in the right direction. The only good pics I have are from times when I had the camera ready for other reasons and was lucky.

    Those chicks are adorable. I hope they settle well in! How many have you alltogether? Sorry to hear about Alex's limp, though, I hope there will be good help for him.
    • We have five grown hens and six chicks, so we'll have eleven if everyone survives. That's going to be a lot of eggs! We already get a half-dozen some days from the five we have, and neither variety (Amerarcauna and Cuckoo Maran) are especially prolific layers, whereas some of the chicks we just acquired are. O.O

      I have taken very few pictures of Freyja, so I've not yet experienced photographing cats, but I will keep your advice in mind! :D I felt very lucky that she laid so long on the end of the surfboard for the photo here; she usually doesn't stay in one place for more than a few seconds at this age!
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