Attention, anyone in North Alabama, West Georgia or Southern Tennessee: Green Acres Animal Sanctuary is desperately looking for homes for dogs. Read more about it here. & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & & &   Happy birthday to me! I … Continue reading “1/9/09”

Attention, anyone in North Alabama, West Georgia or Southern Tennessee: Green Acres Animal Sanctuary is desperately looking for homes for dogs. Read more about it here.

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2009-01-09 (12)

Happy birthday to me! I am 41 today.

(Also, this made me laugh very, very hard first thing this morning. Thanks Nance, you brat! Hee.)

Thanks, you guys, for your birthday wishes. I appreciate them!

Like I told someone in email earlier this week, I honestly don’t feel any older than I did when I was 19.

And yes, having the spud home is the best birthday present I could have asked for! Yesterday she hung out with me for most of the morning, met the chickens (we only had 12 when she left a year and a half ago!), and met the dogs. George and Gracie both think the spud is the bee’s knees. They were VERY excited to meet her, wagged their tails wildly, sniffed and licked at her. I think she was a little overwhelmed, but she liked them.

Hard not to – they’re pretty charming.

We went out to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, stopped by Wal-Mart for Snackin’! Time! food (dudes, I know. Total party time all up in this shit!), then late morning, I gave her the keys to my car, and she headed off to hang out with friends for the rest of the day.

It sure is nice having her around.

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Oh yes, as long as I’m delurking and commenting, I’m about to get 5 baby chicks. Your fault. Completely your fault.

Send me pictures when you get the bebbes, please!

And we’re going to have babies of our own in a few weeks. We decided to let the broody hen hatch a few eggs. I feel it’s going to be too cold for babies to be outside, but Fred made like Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona, bawling about how he wanted babies, so I figure he can deal with the frozen baby chicks when the time comes, damnit.

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The way to tell if a cat was born with a stump tail is if the tip is pointed it’s genetic. If it’s a flat end, it was cut off (ouch!). We’ve had a stumpy but I couldn’t bear to check what the situation was.

I touch Mister Boogers’ stump as little as possible (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID), but Fred reports that it’s pointed and kind of twisted around at the end, so it looks like our Boog is a genetic freak!

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Many, many LGD’s are also escape artists always looking to expand their territory, so you may want to start reinforcing that fences are never ever to be challenged by installing a hot wire or two – one high to prevent climbing and jumping and one low to prevent digging – now while the pups are still learning.

We do have one hot wire all the way around the back forty, and Fred’s started putting a second wire around as well – he’s also (I think) going to reinforce the fence at the weak spots so we don’t have any issues.

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Very nice dogs. I guess they will be huge when full grown?

They get in the area of between 85 and 140 pounds – the females tend to be smaller (Gracie’s quite a bit smaller than George) and the males on the larger end of the spectrum. When we took them to the vet a couple of weeks ago, they weighed in at 43 (Gracie) and 53 (George) pounds, so they’re about half as big as they’re going to be.

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Doggies! You didn’t say how much, or what, they are eating and I’m curious.

They’re eating Puppy Chow Large Breed Formula. We’re guesstimating that between the two of them they eat a pound a day – so they’re not huge eaters right now (or maybe our expectations as far as how much they’d eat were way too high). They get the occasional small dog treat, and I do believe they’ve tested the chicken food a time or two and found it lacking.

It’s kind of surprising to me how little they eat, given how terribly high-energy they are.

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I wonder how long before you consider them family, er…pets…and also I heard on the radio that the crazy “animal rights” people are now saying that having pets is wrong because animals have just as much right to life as we do…. That’s some kind of crazy. Can it get any weirder?

I guess the point I’m making by saying that they’re working dogs and not pets is because I consider pets part of the family and it would take an awful lot to get to the point where I’d think about finding them a new home. The dogs have a job to do, and if they can’t do it (though they seem to be doing a pretty damn good job of it, they’re still really young and have lots of time to learn to screw it up!) then they won’t move into the back yard or the house – we’ll have to find a new home for them. I call them our employees – their job is to protect the chickens, and if they start killing chickens (I don’t expect it, honestly) then they’re gonna get fired.

Heartless? Maybe. Now excuse me while I go make them some homemade dog biscuits and go out to tell them how pretty they are.

(And the idea that it’s “wrong” to have animals as pets – well, let’s just say that it takes all kinds.)

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How do they run off the hawks? Are there trees in the back 40 that the dogs chase the hawks out of? (Out of which the dogs chase the hawks, if you’re being formal.) Or they get in between a dive bombing hawk and a chicken? Do tell.

There are trees around three sides of the back forty (and a couple of trees on the fourth side as well), and the hawks can sit in the tops of the trees, wait ’til they see easy pickings, and then swoop down to get dinner. Just the act of the dogs being present often scares off hawks – they know they can’t swoop in and grab a chicken without having to fight off a dog in the process. When the dogs spot a hawk, they’ll run toward it, barking, which generally makes the hawk decide to find easier targets elsewhere. Over the weekend, a hawk was swooping kind of low across the back forty and Gracie ran under it, barking, and then actually JUMPED UP like she thought she might be able to catch it. (She didn’t come close, given that the hawk was about thirty feet up.)

I haven’t actually seen a hawk try to get a chicken since we brought the dogs home, but I’ve heard stories of dogs stopping hawks in the act, so hopefully our dogs would do that. I suspect they would!

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They are probably the cutest things I have seen in a long time! Are you worried about when Gracie goes into heat and George trying to do his thang?

Not at all – I’m going to call later this morning to make the appointment for their spaying and neutering, hopefully next week. Unless she goes into heat in the next little while, we should be okay.

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I just wanted to say, too, how much we LOVE the chicken calendar we bought from you. It looks SO adorable in our kitchen. If those are still for sale, and any of you readers haven’t bought one yet, I recommend the chicken calendar!!!

I made that calendar so Fred could have a little piece of Crooked Acres at work, so I’m glad you like it! It’s still available here for anyone who wants to order it.

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OMFG, I read the list of speakers and a few words of each bio and now I want to puke! Why would you even think of going to that conference?

Mostly ’cause I thought there might be bloggers there who I’ve read, that I’d like to meet. Aside from Jen Lancaster, I’ve never heard of any of them – and really, the truth is that even if my most favorite bloggers on earth were going to be there, I’d probably talk about going and then not. Strangers skeer me.

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Are you still reading as much as you used to? You don’t talk about it much anymore. What was your favorite book that you read recently?

I’m reading pretty close to as much as I used to – I read 119 books in 2007 and 112 books in 2008, so my reading has dropped off some, but not a lot.

Um. Actually, I read 170 books in 2003, so my reading has dropped off a LOT since then. Of course, we didn’t have this house and these animals who demand attention, so maybe I had more time for reading back then!

Best books I’ve read lately – Heartsick and Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain. Gretchen Lowell is creepy, creepy, creepy, and I love it! I’ve also read a few by Jane Heller lately that I enjoyed – she’s funny, and the books are entertaining and a quick read.

On the nonfiction side, I like Merrill Markoe quite a lot, and so I enjoyed It’s My Fucking Birthday. Every time I read something by her, I end up over on Amazon adding something else she’s written to my wish list (or shopping cart).

Also on the nonfiction side, I highly recommend A Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas.

Book I read recently that I do not recommend at all: WORD: A Real Dog Locked in a Shelter Cage for Eight Years Until. I gave it two smilies ’cause I read to the end and it did make me tear up a little, but it’s a horribly written book. It’s the true story of a dog (named Word) who ended up in a cage for 8 years due to a biting incident, he eventually is released to live on a pig sanctuary, and there’s a fire and he saves all the pigs. BUT IT IS WRITTEN FROM THE DOG’S PERSPECTIVE.

Actually, now that I think about it, although I told Fred it sounds like it was written by a fifth grader (and not the smartest fifth grader; one who perhaps struggles with writing skills), it really does sound like it was written by the dog.

Except that I suspect the dog was probably a little more self-aware.

You know, I often write in all-caps, and I think someone told me that every time I use all-caps to emphasize a point, I’m supposed to send Dooce $1.93, given that she invented all-caps and the concept of blogging and such, but if I wrote a book? I would not use all caps to emphasize a point. The author of this book did, and here – let me quote the all-caps sentence toward the end of the book that kind of explains the tone of this book:


(And then, in the next paragraph, Word instantly felt an invisible line from his heart to all of theirs.)

Please don’t buy this book.

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The Barenaked Ladies remade the song on their 2004 Christmas album (Barenaked for the Holidays) and they did indeed call it “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Though, I don’t think the Barenaked Ladies are much for political correctness

I am saddened that I couldn’t find the Barenaked Ladies version on YouTube. I did kind of like this one, though:

I think I might love it more than the original, to be honest. I don’t know whether it’s the (faux, I hope) zebra skin rug when they’re gathered around the fireplace (1:46), or the child RAPPING (at 2:27), but something about this version, I absolutely love.

(Oh, and they’re German. That explains why none of them were familiar to me!)

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No, it would be called…”They don’t celebrate Christmas in Africa you politically insensitive asshole.” Or “No, they don’t know it’s Christmastime unless they’ve been forced to convert to Christianity by some assholes from the States.”

I love that song and often wonder what political correctness would do to it.

I love this comment. That is all.

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I have lost it. Miz Poo was in my dream last night.

Details, please!

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My brother raises his own chickens, much the same way you guys do. As such, we have an abundance of eggs. I prefer to hard boil a dozen or so, every time he brings them, and honestly? They don’t hard boil as nicely as store bought eggs. Do I need to let them age a bit? Or boil them differently? I have a carton of both store bought and home grown and the home grown are probably twice as hard to peel, as the store bought. Help?

You absolutely need to let them age a bit – I’d recommend one week at the very least. I tried to hard-boil super-fresh eggs on Christmas Eve, and was able to salvage only one egg; the rest were total losses.

Once you have aged eggs, put them in a pot of water with at least two inches of water above the eggs, put two tablespoons of oil in the pot (I use vegetable oil; I don’t think it matters what kind you use), then boil them on a “low boil” for 12 minutes. When they’re done boiling, put them in ice-water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda stirred in. Let the eggs cool completely and when you peel them, they should peel with no problem!

That’s how I do it, and it works really well for me – Fred’s sister used the same tricks at Christmas with eggs that were less than a week old, and it worked well for her, too. So give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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What’s the spud think of the chicken population & the 2 new furry fluffy members of the outside animals?

She thinks they’re awfully cute – when we went out to the chicken yard, Gracie was a tiny bit standoffish at first, but then she and George just about fell all over themselves to get the spud to pet them. They liked her a LOT!

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Should we all go and pester Fred to get you the G1? We will you know.

Nah. He’s contrary and the more he’s harassed to get me the G1 (which I WANT but don’t NEED) the less likely it is to happen. I mean – I don’t expect it to happen anyway, but a girl can hope!

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I think we have the same color of nail polish on!

I shall take a closer picture of the spud’s nails and report back!

She has such pretty nails. I was looking at her nails and thinking “Those are so pretty. Maybe I should get some short nails put on and my nails would be pretty, too!” Except that with my luck it’d take about two minutes in the chicken yard before I had chicken poop or dog goop (I’m always wiping their eye boogers off) caked underneath all my nails. There’s a reason I keep ’em short, I guess!

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Quick question for Friday…. I seem to have to train my cat to use anything we get her – toys, the scratching tower, the bigger scratching tower – and now she just behaves as if the scratching towers are treat manufacturing ladders to get to the top of the bookshelf and will stare you down with het once she gets onto the tower until you go and get her some damn treats already. Then she will lurve all over you. When she’s done eating treats, I mean. She spends most of her nap time sprawled out on the digital cable box, which although cute, is a habit I’d kind of like to break. It’s a 4 year old habit, and at my fiance’s suggestion, I’m just now getting around to considering that it may be bad for the cable box. So, now, we want to get her a cat bed or two that she’ll use. All of this ridiculous amount of information is to say… Is there a trick at all for getting stubborn cats to actually use cat beds? Maybe something that doesn’t require treats. Are there particular types of beds that you would recommend getting over other types? Place to put said beds that attract the most use?

I guess I’m pretty lucky that all I’ve had to do is put the beds down and eventually a cat (or two) finds it.

I’d suggest starting out with putting the bed where your cat likes to nap. If she likes to nap on the cable box, put the bed on the cable box (although… I suspect that probably isn’t very good for the cable box, either!), then once she sleeps in it, move it off the cable box and see if she’ll follow the bed.

Does she like catnip? Try sprinkling cat nip on the bed.

Oh – and you know what might work? I bet she sleeps on the cable box ’cause it’s warm. If you got her one of those cat beds that heats up (they’re a bit expensive, I know), she might be more inclined to sleep in it.

Readers? You have any other suggestions?

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Great to see the Spud again! I am looking forward to hearing the stories of your adventures together! How long is she staying?

She’s staying ’til Wednesday! I don’t know how many adventures we’ll be having, mostly it’ll be hanging around the house (though did I mention the exciting trip to Wal-Mart yesterday?), but if anything happens, I’ll be sure to let y’all know!

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If she got the phone there, won’t she have an Alabama phone number? or maybe it doesn’t matter, re: rates, long distance, etc??

No, she already has an account with T-Mobile. I bought her the new phone and we just had to switch the SIM card from her old phone to her new one, so she retains her same Rhode Island phone number. I bought her the phone – but I didn’t buy her the internet or voice plan, that’s her responsibility (her cell phone bill has been her responsibility since shortly after she moved to Rhode Island).

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I was going to ask the same thing about the Spud and the new critters. Was she surprised? What a nice birthday bonus for you to have her home.

No, she wasn’t surprised – I didn’t keep them a secret from her, just all y’all. (Or, most of y’all!)

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I’m waiting to see what you say about the cat beds. Our two spoiled brats will never use them. Of course if they got their furry butts out of the kitchen someone might cook chicken on the GF grill and they would lose 30 seconds of prime time of staring at it.

The idea of cats sitting and supervising the George Foreman grill operation, well, first of all it sounds like something that would happen in OUR house, but second of all it makes me laugh, because I can totally envision that. How on earth would the world keep turning if our cats weren’t around to supervise every moment of everything that goes on?

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Bet you are so loving having the spud around. Could she do a guest post?? Or say Hi?

The spud says hi! (Heh.)

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She’s all ::sniffsniffsniff:: “HI TOMMY!” and he’s all “Yeah, whatever, runt.”

More pics over at Love & Hisses.

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Tiny young Sugarbutt has only this cold, hard garbage can to call his home. At night, he cries himself to sleep, scared by the noises of the wild dogs in the distance. All he wants is a soft bed to call his own, some Snackin! Time! food to eat when he’s hungry, and a catnip mouse to snuggle with. For only PENNIES A DAY, you can help provide a home and THREE different kinds of nutritious foods to choose from, and his very own bed. Won’t you call Kittens International and donate today?

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2008: No entry.
2007: “Oh! And did he tell you that if I were A GOOD WIFE, I’d submit to your will?”
2006: Happy birthday to me!
2005: No entry.
2004: Happy birthday to me!
2003: Happy birthday to me!
2002: Happy birthday to me!
2001: Happy birthday to me!
2000: Happy birthday to me!