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5/29/09 (Friday)

by @ Friday, May 29th, 2009. Filed under CAE, Fostering, Life

It looks like we might have a rain-free weekend. I’m not counting on it, but I sure am hoping like hell that it happens!

My plans for this weekend? Cleaning the house (including the bathrooms, ugh) and doing some laundry. That’s about as exciting as it’ll get, I’m afraid.

What are your plans for this weekend? Tell me – I want to live vicariously through you.

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Ha, in the last photo I thought Suggs was telling YOU not to sniff his HRBL and I was all like what!!! Then I realized you ment him to be talking to Kara, it is Kara on the left, right?

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Trust me, I stay as far away from the cats’ HRBLs as possible. I have no desire to get anywhere near them!

That is Kara, but the orange cat is actually Newt, not Sugarbutt. Sugarbutt’s so laid-back, he’d probably let just about anyone sniff his harbl.

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What is a harbl?

It’s internet speak for one’s private area.

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I love Jill and Bethenny but Alex doesn’t get enough credit for being smart, articulate and genuine. She and Simon definitely have their own drummer, but I think there’s more to them than what the show wants to portray.

I couldn’t stand Alex and Simon the first season, but I have to admit that they’re actually starting to grow on me. I still find Simon a wee creepy, but he managed to amuse me several times this season. The fact that he was such a good sport about playing against Ramona and Mario (the sweatband killed me!) really said a lot. Their taste in, well, ANYTHING might not be something I’d go for, but bless ’em for knowing what they want and going for it.

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OK, is it just my cats who are totally offended by closed doors? That goes hand-in-hand with not being able to use the bathroom unescorted. It’s amusing to close a door just to see their lil furry paws reach under it like they’re gonna touch something (OK, that’s not too smart, but I’ll give them A for effort.) Serious trauma if we close our bedroom door. There’s something about the way they slam their bodies against the door over and over makes it a difficult to sleep. They are single-minded in their intensity. That whole lack of attention span goes out the door when they encounter a closed door, at least for a good long while. Smart little critters. I can’t imagine not being owned by a cat or ten.

Oh, it’s definitely not just you – cats always want to be on whatever side of the door they’re not on. They’re inside? They want out. Won’t let them into a certain room? They MUST get in there! I’m forever seeing little furry paws slide under the bathroom door (that’s right, I kick the cats out of the bathroom when I need to go – who the hell wants an audience??). I think they’re under the mistaken impression that they can force the door open with one paw and the force of their desire to be in the room with me.

Fred sleeps with his bedroom door closed and at this point – two years later – the cats have pretty much adjusted to not being able to go into his room. Sometimes one of them will dig at the door, but for the most part they stay away from it. But in the morning when they know he’s up and about to come out the door? Kara and Tommy linger outside his door, and more often than not, Kara goes hauling ass in there. I don’t know why she has such a strong desire to get into his room, but it’s her lifelong dream to have free access to Fred’s room.

Good luck to her, I say.

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It really is okay to remove those tags from items once you decide to keep them. None of that “Do not remove under penalty of law crap.” Besides, who would turn you in? Nance? Just sayin’.

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It was more because I hadn’t noticed the tag was there ’til I saw the picture than out of a desire to remain unarrested. Plus, I always tend to tear the seam when I rip the tag off, and I hate it when that happens.

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Oh, one more thing – It didn’t take Beulah long to grow into herself, did it?

It certainly didn’t!

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First picture taken around April 10th; second picture on May 15th.

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Oh my god, how in the HELL did that guy keep a straight face in that video??? I just laughed until I wheezed!!!

That is an excellent question – every time I so much as THINK about making my cats yodel, it makes me grin like an idiot. The guys in that video are very good at keeping a straight face, aren’t they? Though Fred did point out – we don’t know how many takes it took to get the final product!

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I actually think that “Whack a Kitty” is mean! 🙁

Do you really? Is it because you think the kittens are getting hurt? Because I’m pretty sure they’re being very gentle with the kittens, and the kittens seem more confused about what’s going on than scared or hurt.

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Hey Robyn, I have to comment since I have been baking professionally for so many years and I have experimented with so many different ways to bake, yes you can freeze dough. You can also refrigerate it to slow down the fermentation until you have the time to pull it out, bring it back up to temp and proceed. With frozen dough just pull it, thaw it, shape it if you didn’t prior to freezing, and let it rise before baking. King Arthur Flour has some great recipes for different types of dough on their site.

Thanks, Tammy – I should have just asked you in the first place, I know you’re a professional baker!

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Speaking of geeks, may I just mention how delighted I was when I read “fewer chickens” and not “less chickens”? I prefer to think I’m not so much a geek as I am a person who takes pleasure in the small things.

I have to admit that I originally typed “less chickens”, then the alarm in my brain went off and I realized it wasn’t right. Geeks, unite! 🙂

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I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this or not, because I do not always read the comments. On the season finale episode of Criminal Minds, the unsub was killing people, chopping them up and feeding them to their pigs. Anyway, I thought of you and your pigs and was wondering if pigs would really eat “anything”. What do you think?

I am about 95% certain that if someone chopped up a human and tossed him in the pig yard, the pigs would eat every last scrap. After he processes chickens, Fred feeds the heads and feet to the pigs, and they don’t hesitate to finish every last bit of it.

Didn’t they feed people to pigs on Deadwood, or am I wrong about that? (I never watched the show.)

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Oh the new kitties! Are they long haired-they look quite fluffy!

No, they’re short-haired. It’s been a long time since we had any long-haired kittens, hasn’t it? And they’re always so cute, long-haired kittens.

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My cat had licked his stomach until he had a huge bald spot and some sores.The vet gave him a steroid shot a few weeks ago and it was like magic. No more licking. The sores healed and the hair is growing back. I tried that collar thing. He was still able to lick his damn self. WTH?

Yeah, I took Miz Poo to the vet and they gave her a steroid shot, but it didn’t stop her for one moment. I’ve started to think that it’s really a behavioral thing, and we’re trying to break the behavior pattern. If things don’t improve in the next week or so, I’ll take her to the vet.

When we had the collar on Sugarbutt, he was laying on my desk, and he oh-so-casually lifted his foot to his mouth and started licking vigorously. Fred tightened the collar, and he wasn’t able to reach anymore. I guess it all depends on how determined and how flexible they are!

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Actually I think the Polish crested looks like a TV evangelist. White suit and all.

I can see that, too!

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“We decided that what had happened is that Baby George had wandered out of the chicken yard at just the wrong time, and a cat had come along and scooped him up, and that was all she wrote.”

Robyn, when you write “a cat,” are you referring to one of your cats? I thought your cats were accustomed to the chickens. Do you ever worry about the cats killing the chicks/chickens?

We’ve actually had a Siamese cat hanging around our property lately. I don’t know if he’s feral or not, but if we try to approach him, he takes off. He seems to spend a lot of time hanging around the chicken yard (at least that’s where he hangs out until we go outside and scare him off), so it seemed like a possibility that he could have scooped up a chick.

Our cats definitely leave the bigger chickens alone – they usually leave the baby chicks alone, too. If they show too much interest in the little chicks, we chase them away from the fence, and when I know there are little ones who are able to get out of the chicken yard, I try to keep a closer eye on them. It’s only happened once or twice that Maxi’s gotten hold of a little chick, and really you can’t blame her – she’s an animal, after all, and she’s just following her instincts. I don’t have to like it (and I don’t!), but I can understand it.

We’ve just about gotten to the point where the littlest chicks can no longer get out of the chicken yard, luckily. Fred went through and reinforced the chicken wire along the inside of the chicken yard, and blocked off a hole near the gate where they were slipping through.

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Great pic of Maxi too. I am assuming that the old kittens and the new kittens are kept separated, is that right?

Yeah, we keep the fosters separate from our cats for at least two weeks after we get them, just to be safe. Then we give them more freedom, a little at a time. First they get the run of their room and the bathroom as well, then the run of the entire upstairs. Then, if that seems to be going well, after a few days we let them out into the rest of the house. These guys will probably only be around for two weeks total, so I don’t think they’ll be mingling with our cats.

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Creed says, “Pardon me, ma’am, may I have an ear scratch?”

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Look at Phyllis, pretending to be a sweet little thing instead of the hellion she really is. “I am just a wee baby kitten and I need kisses!”

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Dwight’s all “Who, me? What? Just playing!”

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“Hewwo.”

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He really does look like a Precious Moments character, doesn’t he?

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Joe Bob, meowing his creepy, quiet, high-pitched meow. He sounds like a ghost.

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Previously
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: What the hell do people who aren’t readers DO?
2002: Oh, don’t give me that disapproving look.
2001: Have I mentioned that we lead a charmed life?
2000: Tomorrow, we’ll return to your usual rambling bitchypoo.

5/28/09 (Thursday)

by @ Thursday, May 28th, 2009. Filed under Fostering, Life

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So yes, I made a rude cross-stitched picture for Nance’s birthday. The worst part of it is that the email exchange (wherein she said something wise and then I said “You’re a smart motherfucker, that’s right” and then she said I should cross-stitch that for her) happened back in November but when did I start cross-stitching? Oh, not ’til mid-May. OF COURSE.

First I had to look through my cross-stitch pattern books to find an appropriate border (and ended up going with hearts because they’re simple and I couldn’t quite get the small butterflies to work for me) and then I had to choose a letter type. I have a really hard time cross-stitching without a pattern to follow – some people can free-hand it; I cannot – so I cross-stitched it once (took a couple of hours), then used Excel to create a pattern, which helped me figure out the centering and exactly how the border should go, and then I cross-stitched it for real.

Cross-stitching it for real took three evenings, not because it was so complicated (it really wasn’t), but because we’d started letting Beulah and Bessie out all day long and into the evening, and every time I started cross-stitching, one of them would appear out of thin air, flying at me, yelling “OH BOY LOOK, IT’S STRING FOR ME TO PLAY WITH!”, and I’d have to hide it so they’d go away and leave me alone.

All in all, I think it came out pretty well. I traumatized Fred by telling him I was going to have it professionally framed. I’m sure he was having visions of the police coming to arrest me for subjecting poor innocent framers to naughty words before I told him I was just kidding. I had one hell of a time wrestling that fucking thing into the frame, but I persevered and it worked out pretty well.

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I know I’ve mentioned that I told Fred that the tomatoes are mine to take care of this year because something about the way he cared for them annoyed me last year. So when we brought tomato plants home, I was the one who had to plant them. And it’s been so rainy (and I’ve been so lazy) that I haven’t weeded around them at all. Yesterday morning I decided it was time to suck it up and get my ass out into the garden, so shortly before 7, I went out, found some gardening gloves and the hand cultivator, grabbed a stool out of the garage, and set to weeding.

First I weeded around each tomato plant by hand (and godDAMN were there a lot of weeds around the plants), tossing all the weeds into a bucket so I could dump them away from the garden. I think I ended up dumping about 10 bucket loads of weeds. Then I took the scuffle hoe and went back through the row of tomatoes and got the weeds I’d missed. When I was done, my legs felt like rubber and I walked into the house expecting to find I’d been out there for an hour.

It was 9:30. I’d spent two and a half hours weeding and only got one row of tomatoes done. I have another entire row to do!

I guess I’d better keep on top of the weeding, ’cause this weeding for two and a half hours at a time is for the birds!

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Hey, look! It’s a bluebird! I guess the one that cats killed (grrrr) wasn’t the only one hanging around here.

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This little finch (it’s a finch, right?) drives Sugarbutt NUTS.

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Phyllis is always ready for a fight. She was sitting there and Dwight went zooming by, and she fell over on her side and waited for him to jump on her – but he ignored her!

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Phyllis and her cute little nub of a tail.

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Oh, how they love to chomp on these plastic rings.

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Getting ready to pounce. (That’s a little sprinkle of catnip to the left, not dirt. These kittens do not yet appreciate catnip, apparently. They completely ignored it.)

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When we’re outside and Maxi sees us, she likes to come over to us, meowing her husky little meow the entire way. Also, she’s a very solid, heavy little thing, thus the reason her theme song goes “Porking along, singing her song; it’s Out! Side! Momma!”

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Previously
2008: Now that I have only the one drain, which will be tucked under my clothes, I don’t have to worry about the kittens puncturing anything and blood spurting all over the place.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: Today I’m still burning with curiosity, and I wish I’d asked anyway.
2002: So yes, the vacation rocked.
2001: If vacation pictures aren’t your thing, I’ll see ya tomorrow.
2000: I’m so so SO glad to be home.

5/27/09

by @ Wednesday, May 27th, 2009. Filed under Fostering, Life

This here is George the chicken:

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(Not to be confused with George the dog.)

George went broody some time ago, so we put her in the coop on a few eggs, and she sat on her eggs and sat on them, and glared angrily at anyone who got too close. Two of her eggs hatched, and we were all “Woo! Go, George, you wonderful Momma, you!”

Then one of George’s babies wandered into the nest box of another Momma who was not her own, and that Momma responded by pecking George’s baby to death. So George was left with one little yellow baby, and she seemed to take her mothering duties to heart. If anyone so much as looked sideways at her baby, George would rush at them, all a-squawk, and peck at them, and send them running.

Then George’s baby got older, as happens, and he started exploring the world a little more, and didn’t spend all his time right underneath George. Sometimes we’d see him wandering outside the fenceline, but he always went back into the Maternity yard after a little time exploring.

Saturday night, George was being particularly obnoxious. At bedtime (bedtime for the chickens, that is, not bedtime for the humans. We stay up a whole hour later than the chickens, thank you very much), George stood in the doorway to the coop and made annoying honking noises, which scared the other chickens and it was hard to convince them that it was time to go into the coop.

Finally we got them all herded inside and Fred went inside to turn the light off, and he looked around at the chickens, and he realized that George’s baby was nowhere to be seen. He poked underneath all the other Mommas, who looked askance at his forwardness, and sent me outside to make sure Baby George wasn’t under the coop. No baby under the coop, no baby chicken making the distinct “I AM SKEERED OH PLEASE HELP ME” sound. We checked in the smallest coop to be sure Baby George hadn’t wandered into their yard and gotten shooed into the coop with the eight who go in that coop. No baby.

We decided that what had happened is that Baby George had wandered out of the chicken yard at just the wrong time, and a cat had come along and scooped him up, and that was all she wrote.

“I hope George didn’t witness her baby being eaten by a cat,” I fretted.

“I hope she did, so she has closure,” Fred rebutted.

We stood and dithered about what to do, and finally decided that we’d put George in the big coop so that she wouldn’t have to spend her time in her nest box sadly missing her baby. While I went inside to get ready for bed, Fred took her out to the big coop and put her on the roost, and there were no problems, George settled right in.

Fred came inside and climbed into bed to wait for me (it always takes me twice as long to get ready for bed. Is that fair, I ask you?).

“Did she say ‘NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER!!!’?” I asked.

Fred laughed. “No, she settled right in.”

“Did she say ‘A dingo got my bay-bee?’?” I asked in what I thought was a pretty good Australian accent.

Fred laughed “Have you been up here thinking those up?”

“No,” I said. “They just came to me!” (Total lie. I practiced my Australian accent while I was brushing my teeth.)

The next morning, Fred told me to check my email. I did, to find a picture of George… and her baby.

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“What happened???” I said excitedly.

“I don’t know – the baby was there all of a sudden! All the Mommas had their babies gathered around them, and I saw a yellow chick all by itself, so I went out and got George and brought her back to the maternity yard, and the baby ran over to her, and George didn’t peck at it!”

I’d like to say that the reunited mother and child had a Hollywood moment and spent all day telling each other that they LOVED each other and would NEVER leave each others’ side again, except that George pretty much ignored the baby all day (though I did see her cluck at him to show him a piece of corn), and at bedtime George was up on a roost, and the baby was on a roost as far from her as he could get, and well – we decided that George had pretty much cut the apron strings and was ready to let that baby finish raising his own damn self.

So we moved George back out to the big coop, and George’s baby could not possibly care less, he’s staying up late and making prank phone calls and eyeballing the girl baby chickens, and I think he’s going to be nothing but trouble.

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We have new babies!!!

Meet…

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Creed.

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Dwight.

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Phyllis.

The names, in case you’re not a TV watcher, or at least not a watcher of this particular show, come from characters on The Office. Obviously Michael, Pam and Jim have been used in the past, or we would have used those names!

These guys are very, very sweet. They’re about seven weeks old and were bottle raised. When you walk into the kitten room, they climb into your lap. Phyllis doesn’t particularly care to be picked up, but if you start petting her she’ll flop over onto her back and play-kick at your hand. She’s got an instant-on purr, too.

You can’t tell from these pictures, but Phyllis only has the tiniest nub of a tail (I’ll obviously try to get better pictures – she was super sleepy when I was snapping pictures last night). Dwight has a longer tail – it’s a few inches long – and Creed’s tail is normal length, with a dab of white on the end.

These guys won’t be around as long as the previous bunch – they’ll likely be ready for spaying and neutering within a couple of weeks. I think Creed is actually big enough now, but the other two aren’t, so Creed can wait for them to catch up with him.

Aren’t they sweet?

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Sugarbutt was licking at his toe ’til it bled (an issue we had this time last year, so I’m thinking it’s a seasonal issue), so we slapped the BiteNot collar on him for a few days (he can’t reach his toes to lick them with the collar on) and he hated us at first, then he got used to the collar, and then his toe got better so we took the collar off. You’ve never seen such a happy cat as Sugarbutt when we took the collar off, let me tell you. His butt’s been on fire ever since!

Now Miz Poo is wearing the collar in an attempt to break her of the overgrooming problem. ::sigh:: Why is it always my favorites who have the issues*?

*Trick question! I love all my cats equally!

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Previously
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: I have renewed faith in my fellow man.
2004: No entry.
2003: “AT LEAST THEY KNOW I DON’T HAVE A BOMB IN MY SUITCASE!”
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: The man is full of compliments, ain’t he?

5/26/09

by @ Tuesday, May 26th, 2009. Filed under Life

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Happy birthday, baby!

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Friday night a man and his daughter or granddaughter stopped by to buy some eggs and ask about buying chickens. We have recently begun talking about selling chickens because have I mentioned we have something like 150 chickens and more hens going broody every day? So Friday evening we put out a “chickens for sale” sign. By the time these people stopped by, we’d brought the signs in and Fred was in the shower when they knocked on the door.

I HATE HAVING TO DEAL WITH STRANGERS, HAVE I MENTIONED THIS? When the knock on the door came, I ran into the bathroom and hissed at him to MOVE HIS ASS, but he apparently felt the need to take a long and luxurious shower, so I answered the door. The daughter/ granddaughter was the English-speaker, and she asked for two dozen eggs. I went and got them, handed them over, and then she asked for another dozen. When I brought that dozen out, she handed over the money and then asked about chickens for sale. I told her to hold on, that I’d get my husband, and then I went into the bathroom where Fred was STILL NOT DONE WITH HIS SHOWER and I hissed “Good christ, what are you, a teenage girl? GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE SHOWER AND GO DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE!”

It turned out that the older gentleman wanted a chicken for stewing, he and Fred (with the daughter/ granddaughter translating) discussed what we had available, and left it that he’d stop by Sunday morning around 8 to get one of the roosters.

We had a pretty relaxing, uneventful weekend, which is just the way we like it. The people who came and bought eggs for hatching and the rooster from us last week had an incident involving a cat and the eggs breaking, so they came back and bought another dozen (at a discount). A few days later, she emailed Fred and told him that the rooster (who they’ve named Furlough, since if they hadn’t bought him, he was headed for freezer camp this weekend) had come up on their porch. She heard him out there, and opened the door to see what he was doing – and he strutted inside the house and hopped up on her husband’s lap!

Fred, being a freak, began worrying that the rooster was lonely (they have hens, but they’re being responsible chicken owners (unlike US) and keeping him separate from their hens for a few weeks just in case), and in the end he offered them a couple of our hens in exchange for a couple of cuttings from their weeping willow tree.

They agreed, and made plans to stop by Saturday morning.

Before I got up Saturday morning, Fred went out and chose two hens, then put them in the back yard so they’d be easy to catch when Marty and Loretta (not their real names) showed up. Now, I know y’all know that the cats have access to our back yard through the cat door. And longtime readers will remember that our original 12 chickens started off with regular access to the back yard, so our cats had been around chickens, and those chickens had been around the cats.

These hens, however, had never been around the cats and Kara had never been around chickens. The hens reaction to Kara was pretty much the same as Kara’s reaction to the hens – “What the hell is THAT?”

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Marty and Loretta showed up just as I was sitting down to breakfast, so I ate and then went out to chat. Fred had already caught the hens and they’d put them in a box (I missed the show on that, so I’m not sure how much trouble the hens gave Fred. I prefer to believe he had to chase them around a lot.) We stood around and chatted for half an hour or so, and at one point the conversation lagged, and it was a comfortable silence as we all stood and gazed at the momma chickens and their babies in the maternity chicken yard.

“Heh,” Fred said suddenly. “This is one of those long, uncomfortable silences, huh?”

We stared at him.

“Not really,” I finally said, “I think we were all just watching the chickens…”

He babbled something about how silences make him uncomfortable so he feels the need to fill them with talk. Or something. I don’t know exactly what he said, I was watching the chickens.

We talked a while longer, and then they headed home with their new hens and we puttered around the house.

Around noon, Fred asked if I wanted to go to the movies, and I had my boots on and was in the car before the sentence was completely out of his mouth. I like to go to the movies – Fred rarely does. In fact, we usually go see about one movie a year together, and I figured this would be it.

We decided to go see Terminator Salvation, but after some consideration (and given that Terminator Salvation had just opened and thus was guaranteed to be packed), we decided to go see Star Trek instead. Since we had some time to kill, we stopped by the bakery thrift store to pick up some bread ($1.30 a loaf for whole wheat bread!), swung by Walgreen’s to pick up some candy for the movie, and then went to the mall. We basically walked from one end of the mall to the other and back again, just killing time ’til it was almost time for the movie to start.

When Fred was getting our tickets, the lady behind the counter asked if we had a Gold Crown Membership (or whatever the hell it’s called) and Fred said no, but then I said “Yes we do! Wait!” and dug it out of my purse. My membership card got us a free small popcorn, so despite Fred rolling his eyes at my excitement, we got the small popcorn and went into the theater.

(I only ate a few bites of the popcorn and brought the rest home for the pigs and they thought it was the best! thing! ever! But then, they have that opinion on just about every food in existence.)

The movie, I’ve gotta say, was pretty good. Just before it started, a row of geeks sat down in the row right behind us and snickered inappropriately through the entire movie (I say “inappropriately”, but I guess they were likely snickering at dorky inside jokes), but it was still a good movie and I recommend it, even if you’re not a Star Trek fan (I’m not).

When the movie was over, we decided to go for dinner at Chili’s. I realized, glancing at my phone, that I’d missed three calls, and since that’s more calls than I usually get on my cell phone in the course of two hours, I called and listened to the voice mails. It was the shelter manager – her first call was to ask if I could possibly take four newborn baby kittens (their mother basically gave birth and then got hit by a car, I think), her second call was to let me know that she’d found someone else to take them (I shook my fist at the sky and howled “Nooooooo!” when I heard that one), and her third call was to ask me to give her a call.

I called her, and she reiterated that someone else was taking the newborns, but she had some older kittens that needed a foster home and would I be interested? I told her I could take them, and she said she’d let me know, but that likely I could pick them up at the vet on Tuesday after they were tested. So later today, we may have more fosters!

We came home and settled down in front of the TV for the evening and that was about it for Saturday.

We did even less on Sunday. It was raining again – I’m not complaining about the rain, though, because at least it’s not been constant, and it’s not torrential like it was for most of March and April and part of May – so Fred sat around bored and I made some blueberry oat bran muffins and cleaned and organized the kitchen. Fred had gone out to the big coop at 5:30, grabbed up the rooster that the guy who’d stopped by Friday evening was going to buy, and put him in a cage so he wouldn’t have to chase him down when the guy stopped by.

8:00 came and went, 9:00 came and went, and when the guy who was supposedly going to buy the rooster hadn’t shown up by 10:00, Fred set the rooster free, and we went to the feed store where we buy some of our cat food. We took a leisurely drive home, then when we got home I did more rearranging of the kitchen and went through the house putting stuff away.

At one point in the afternoon, the rain stopped and the sun came out, so Fred went out and started cleaning out the brooder in the garage, then asked if I could come out and give him a hand when I was done with what I was doing. I went out a few minutes later, and we rearranged a lot of the crap in the upstairs of the garage, then he got the brooder up there.

Now that the littlest chickens are out of the garage (they’ve been moved to the smallest coop) and the brooder is cleaned and put away, Fred really has no excuse to not start staining the cabinet we had made for the kitchen. I sure would like to get the damn thing inside the house.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY, NOW GO STAIN THE GODDAMN CABINET!

I don’t think we got any real rain Monday morning, though it was gray and overcast. I slept in ’til after 7 (!), and then Fred and I decided to get out of the house to go to the flea market in Tennessee. We took my car instead of the truck, knowing that if we took the truck we’d buy something we didn’t need (“Oh look, more chickens! Don’t we need chickens?”), and we also deliberately didn’t take any animal carriers with us either, despite the fact that Fred thinks we need turkeys.

(We do plan to get turkeys at some point, just not until we have a lot fewer chickens.)

We were gone for a couple of hours, and on the way home we stopped to get a few groceries and hit the movie store. The pickings were slim at the movie store, but we found a few things to rent, and headed home.

Naturally, since we were both prepared to pile up on the couch and watch TV for the rest of the day, the weather turned nice. Fred puttered around outside, worked in the garden, and did other things I didn’t pay attention to. I puttered around the house, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and cleaned out and straightened the pantry in preparation for the day when the cabinet will be stained and in its rightful place in my kitchen.

The weather worsened mid-afternoon, so Fred came inside and we were both sitting at our computers when we heard what sounded like a shotgun blast. A bolt of lightning hit very close to the house and fried the cat fence – we were going toward the back door to see if any trees had been hit when I spied a small piece of the transformer laying in the middle of the laundry room next to a bottle of soda. That thing came apart so hard that it knocked over a full two-liter bottle of soda when the piece of the transformer went flying.

Luckily, we happened to have a replacement for it, so Fred got it up and running, then I shut down my computer and unplugged it, and made him shut his down too (he scoffed “Lightning’s not going to strike twice!”, but I haven’t backed my shit up in ages, so I wasn’t willing to take the chance).

While the storm finished up, we went into the living room and watched Awkward Emo Girls with Stilted Dialogue and the Tortured Not-All-That-Good-Looking (really, what the hell are those teenage girls going ON about?) Is-That-Sweat-Oh-I-See-You’re-Glittering-in-The-Sun-Who-Was-In-Charge-Of-Special-Effects-THAT-Day? Vampires Who Love Them Twilight.

I went into the movie knowing it would be no great tour de force, and I was right, but I’ve gotta say – we tried watching Choke earlier in the day, got 45 minutes in, and turned it off. At least I was able to sit through all of Twilight, even if it was just ’cause I was waiting for certain things to happen (the stopping of the runaway vehicle, the glittering, the baseball game. Fred would like to know – if the vampires could run fast enough to catch a ball like half a mile away, why are they bothering with a regulation-size field?).

A little while into the movie, we decided that the storm was over, so Fred plugged all his computer-related stuff back in so he could look at the cast list, which is when we discovered the the wireless router had gotten fried in the same lightning blast that killed the cat fence transformer. We watched the movie ’til almost 8, went out and put the chickens up, then went to Wal-Mart and got a new router. I finished watching Twilight while Fred hooked up the router and then he joined me for about the last ten minutes of the movie.

He took today off, but the weather looks like it’ll be gray and overcast all day and we rented Rob Roy, so I suspect most of the day will be spent puttering around the house before we end up on the couch to watch the movie.

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2009-05-26 (1)

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Previously
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: He’s such a liar.
2005: But by the time I was about three words in to the text message to the spud, I was using “u” and “2″ and “gd” with abandon, and it STILL took me 4-fckng-eva 2 get th gd msg typd n & snt.
2004: I started to answer her, when I realized to my horror that Fred was leaning forward, CUPPING HIS HAND TO HIS EAR to illustrate that he hadn’t heard what she said.
2003: “I breathe oxygen!”
“Me too!”
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: Our first trip to G’burg.

5/25/09

by @ Monday, May 25th, 2009. Filed under Life, Picture Entries

Happy birthday, Nance!!!

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In the interest of clearing out my “post these someday” folder, I’ve got three picture-only entries for you guys this week. Well, maybe four, we’ll see. Or maybe I’ll save some of those for next week. Stay tuned!

These pictures were actually taken in March of 2008 and have been languishing on my hard drive ever since. What I find most interesting about the pictures is how different it looks back there in just a little over a year – in these pictures, the back forty isn’t fenced in, and the big coop hasn’t been built (the pig yard is there, though, you can see the fence to the side). Also, the cat tree and platform hasn’t been built yet. Funny how you forget the way things used to be, isn’t it?

2009-05-25 (1)
“No, Boogie, I am the king of the world! Not you! See how I’m at the top and you are NOT?”

2009-05-25 (2)
“Sure is a long way down…”

2009-05-25 (3)

2009-05-25 (5)
“Seeya, dude. I got places to go.”

2009-05-25 (6)
“Go get the ladder, Joe. GO GET THE LADDER. I’m a portly cat. A jump from here would kill me!”
“Really? You pick on me all the time, you want me to do you a favor? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.”

2009-05-25 (7)
“I am so going to break a leg jumping from here…”

2009-05-25 (8)
“Get the ladder, Suggie. GO GET THE LADDER!”
“I don’t see that happening, dude. You get stuck up there, I get your snack. WORKS FOR ME.”

2009-05-25 (9)
“That’s cold, dude.”

2009-05-25 (10)
“Toms away!”

2009-05-25 (12)
“I was stuck up there for HOURS, everyone was like “Don’t jump, Tommy! Don’t! You’ll hurt yourself! Stay there ’til Momma comes to rescue you!”, but it was almost SNACK TIME, and I was so hungry! I had to jump, even though I’m a portly cat and could have hurt myself seriously. But I’m fine! Well, my leg hurts a little when it rains and I’m in excruciating pain all the time, but I’ll be fine! I’m okay! They’re saying I might get a medal from the President for my bravery!”

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2009-05-25 (11)
Sheriff Momma and her security force.

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Previously
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: Goofy cats.
2005: Grackles are kind of evil-looking and have great big beaks and I’m sure their bite is far, far worse than their bark.
2004: I sure am MIGHTY FUCKING TIRED of going to the FUCKING doctor’s office all the damn time.
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

5/22/09 Friday! Friday! Friday!

by @ Friday, May 22nd, 2009. Filed under Crooked Acres, Fostering, Life

Yesterday, I finally got around to taking all the recycling stuff to the recycling center, and after that I ran to Wal-Mart because I had some clothes to return.

One of these days, I’ll learn that buying clothes without trying them on first is never a good move for me.

So I returned the clothes, and went back to grab a shopping cart. As I approached the area where the greeter stands and the carts are kept, I heard her talking to a man sitting in a wheelchair. It sounded like she was talking about a lightweight wheelchair, one that was easy to fold up and put in the back of a car.

“I’m going to need one of those when I retire,” she said. “I have artificial legs.”

There are people in this world who can hear a sentence like that and NOT go all bug-eyed and whip their head around to get a gander at this woman’s legs. I call these people “not me.” I took a good long look at her legs before I could help myself.

They looked perfectly normal (ie, non-artificial to me), but that could be because she was wearing slaaaaacks, and I couldn’t see her actual legs for myself.

If I had a job where I was around the public all the time, I bet I’d play games where I’d wait ’til an unsuspecting nosy-looking person came close, and then I’d casually slip in a sentence guaranteed to make them turn around and look. I’d make it a game where I awarded myself points for every double-take I could rack up in eight hours.

“He loved his cat so much he married it. It ain’t right, if you ask me.”

(The clothes I returned almost completely paid for two bags of dog food. Yay!)

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In case you were wondering how to make your cat yodel:

(Fred sent me that link yesterday, and I made the mistake of taking a drink of water while watching it. Shooting water out your nose = painful.)

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I found a kitten who the vet says is about five weeks old. I’ve never had a cat that young. After I fed her, I showed her the litterbox ( I have another cat) and she sniffed around, climbed out, and immediately disappeared into one of the many hidey holes that are in my basement, which is partially finished and totally cluttered. After several hours, we found her and were able to grab her, and I brought her upstairs where she snuggled and purred and played and slept and seemed quite friendly. After she ate again, I brought her down to the litterbox again, and she pulled the disappearing kitty act again. That was last night, and she hasn’t come out since, excpet once to wail for food, but she darted behind the wall where we couldn’t get her. There is food down there, but I’m not sure if at 5 weeks old she’ll know to come out and get it. Can a kitten that age be expected to be able to negotiate a flight of stairs to get to her food and litterbox, or, when I catch her again, should I put her in some kind of cage until she’s older. I want to inculcate good litter box habits early, and all the other kittens i’ve ever had got it if you plopped them in the box right after feeding them, but they were all at least 8 weeks. Do you think I should contineu to give her the run of the house, or is she too little for that?

My recommendation would be to confine the kitten to one or two rooms if it’s possible, or if it’s not, then by all means put her in a cage when you’re not actively playing with or cuddling her. I think she’s probably still a little young to remember where everything’s located – when we get fosters that young, they stay in one room (well, a room and a walk-in closet) for the first couple of weeks, then they gradually get more room to roam. When I got Beulah & Bessie and their brothers, they were about seven weeks old and not really *quite* to the point where they were using the litter box all the time. I think you’re going to want to give your baby a few weeks of having the litter box and food right by her before you give her the run of the house.

I hope that helps, and let me know if you have any questions!

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I would trade the banner for the threaded comments anyday but that is not a request just an opinion.

Well, we’re not giving up – Fred thinks there’s a way to make it so we can have this design and threaded comments, but it’ll have to wait ’til he has a change to mess around with it.

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You’ve probably seen this but if not:

I had not – but now I’m thinking that next time we have a large litter of kittens, it’d be fun to give that a try! My favorite are the ones who are like “Fuck this, I’m outta here!” and they crawl out and run off. TOO CUTE.

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First time commenting, long time reader. DON’T store your homemade bread in the fridge. It dries out faster and gets stale (hard) faster. You’re better off storing it at room temp and using it in 3-4 days or freezing it and taking it out as you need it. I know PITA. You can add lemon juice, bottled it fine, to the dough when you make it (you won’t taste it at all) and that will make the bread stay fresh a couple days longer. Use 2 tsp. per loaf or 1Tbs. for a double loaf batch.

We actually ended up putting the extra baked rolls in the freezer. We tend not to eat that much bread, so the bread we have sits and sits, so I think it’s better to have it in the freezer and need to thaw it out rather than have it sitting on the counter molding. I’m going to try the lemon juice trick next time, though. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Do George and Gracie like to be brushed? My girl Siberian loves to be brushed but I have to brush my boy while he eats his food otherwise I can’t get him to stay still!

Oh boy, DO they like to be brushed! I need to make a movie of Fred brushing them – they LOVE it. They grin and roll around and kick their feet in the air and if they were cats, they’d be purring up a storm!

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Hey is it just me or does the Crested Polish chick have a serious “the Donald” comb-over???

2009-05-22 (6)

Ha – yeah, he kind of does. And I sense a new chicken name!

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Hey! So. I just wanted to pass this on. My brother’s girlfriend, visiting from Mexico, says that back home she regularly goes to the market to buy chicken heads for her cats, and they LOVE it and eat it ALL. Can’t remember if you ever mentioned giving the chicken heads to the cats after Fred does the deed, but thought I’d mention it. It’s supposed to be good for them, and they seriously eat the entire head *shiver*

While I actually think it’s somewhat funny to see the pigs running around with chicken legs sticking out of their mouths, I can’t imagine a cat being able to eat an entire chicken head. You’d think they’d choke on the beak! The pigs usually get the leftover chicken parts – and it’s likely that that practice will continue. 🙂

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Robyn, Every time I hear your voice it startles me because it sounds exactly like me. Today my son came by before work and I played the first video for him. He gave me a weird look and said, “That sounds like YOU!”. Now I know it was not just my imagination. Hee! We are voice twins!

You have my sympathy. 😉 Maybe next week I’ll make a movie of myself yelling “GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!!!” and you can play it for him. Heh. I always wanted a low, husky, whisky voice like Ellyn from Thirtysomething.

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Have you had a chance to see the RHNY Reunions and the RHWNJ episodes yet? All I can say is WOW-differnt kind of catfights. Bethany’s blog on Bravo’s website and the comments are interesting too. Great trash/guilty pleasure reality tv. I have lived in NJ for 29 yrs. and have never heard the term buhbees used-boobs,breasts,tits,hooters,tatas even but never buhbees. What are they three years old? Oy!

Yeah, I sure have!

The RHNY reunion: I still love the hell out of Bethenny and Jill, I liked that Luann got down and dirty with Kelly (but she’s SO FULL OF IT when she claimed that the Countess title doesn’t mean that much to her. It means a LOT to her, make no mistake!), Alex really seems to come across as reasonable and thoughtful (hated her makeup at the reunion, though), and Kelly is a freakin’ whackjob. I thought before now that she had to have a serious drug problem, but now I think she lives on her own planet. She just strings words together that make NO SENSE. I can’t stand her! If she’s not back next season, I won’t miss her. Also, I think Jill (was it Jill?) was right when she said she thinks Mario’s trying to get more air time. BINGO.

The NJ Housewives, so far: Jacqueline is a sweetheart but might be a bit of a pushover (not a good thing when she’s got those sisters-in-law!). Dina’s kind of a pain in the ass when she’s in “bitch mode”, but she’s also kind of funny and she looks strikingly like a young Lorraine Bracco to me. Caroline (is that her name? The oldest one?) seems okay, maybe a little overbearing and all up in everyone else’s shit. If I have to hear her sputtering about how she and her family is “thick as thieves” one more time, I might be annoyed into an aneurysm, though. Danielle is UGH. I don’t need to hear about the phone sex she has, I don’t need to see her trying to drag some guy into the bathroom, and if you have to say the words “I’m so bad”, know what? You’re not bad, you’re just trying too hard. Annnnd last of all, Teresa? Honey? Stop carrying that cash around with you. You’re asking to be smacked over the head and mugged. Also, god bless you for thinking your husband is – how did you put it? Juicy and delicious? I will guess that you’re the only woman in the world who thinks so. And no one is fooled when you claim not to be a stage mom.

The NJ cast has to be the looniest cast so far, I swear to god.

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Well, I *thought* I was a master bread baker, but I’ve never frozen bread/roll dough so I’m not sure how it works. I just bake the bread/rolls and as soon as they’re fully cooled, wrap each tightly in a little sheet of foil, place in big plastic freezer bag and freeze. We only thaw what we’re going to eat right now and they retain that just-from-the-oven flavor and texture. Surprisingly, the crispy crusted rolls are still crispy crusted, but soft inside, when I thaw them (I thaw them in the foil wrapper).

Y’know, the only reason I thought you could freeze bread dough is because I’ve seen it in the grocery store. I think this weekend I’ll have to thaw out the dough, let it rise, and bake it to see if it works that way! If it’s a dud, at least I’ll know, right? I’ll report how it goes!

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OMG a kitty smaller than Miss Beulah.

Holy cow! Beulah’s already bigger than that little cat!

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Now that you have had George and Gracie for awhile – do you like dogs more than you have ever thought you would?

Well, I’ll say that I like George and Gracie a lot more than I expected I would, I don’t know that that would necessarily hold true for all dogs. I still wouldn’t want a dog in the house, but I do like going out to visit with George and Gracie a few times a day. When someone’s that happy to see you coming, well, it’s awfully hard not to like them!

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So my question for you and your peeps. We live in a very quiet neighborhood. Nice homes on small ponds. I have the windows open this morning and am being subjected to not one but two sets of neighbor music. It is very upsetting to me as one of the sources is our HOA president (let’s call him Bob okay?). I think the second source is doing a little passive aggressive move on the president. We have listened to Bob’s music for 3 years now and I am tired of being forced to listen to his mood music and for having this lovely quiet setting screwed up with Samfir and Marc Anthony. Not that I don’t like that music, I have the same MA album actually, it is just, as they say, the principal of the thing. Any suggestions on how to get these people to keep their music to themselves. I find this social offense particularly offensive.

I know that if it were Fred and I, we’d passive-aggressively bitch about it to each other and blog about it, but would we say anything to him? I suspect we wouldn’t. Has anyone ever said anything to Bob about the music? And who the hell are these people who feel the need to subject those around them to their music, anyway? Want me to send Mister Boogers up there to kick some ass?

Obviously, I’m no help here – Bitchypoo readers, give Elaine some advice!

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When you get your next pigs butchered, you could have the butcher save the fat and make lard, and make your own “suet” cakes! Some butchers will even make the lard for you but I think they are few and far between now. You are so domestically talented, you could figure it out! As long as you don’t have to leave it in the oven to dry out : )

Actually, I will be keeping the fat when our pig is slaughtered in the next few months, and intend to render it to lard so I can make suet! I haven’t done any real research on rendering fat into lard, but I think it might be as simple as melting the fat. Which is something I’ll be doing in a pot on a hotplate OUTSIDE, thank you very much.

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Robyn, what do you think about people who are scared of cats? I just don’t understand it. What’s scary about a cat? I don’t get it.

Are there truly people who are frightened of cats? Because all I can guess is that those people suffered some sort of childhood cat-related trauma and they’re still carrying it with them. I can’t imagine being honestly scared of cats.

Does anyone out there know someone who’s scared of cats? Tell me their story! I wanna hear!

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I realized yesterday (though I know some of you realized it before I did) that Beulah totally looks like a real cat. A SMALL real cat, but a cat nonetheless. She doesn’t really have the tiny bug-eyed alien look going anymore. Also, she has the softest, silkiest fur on earth.

Yesterday morning at 3:30, Spanky started howling. I’m pretty sure he’s part Siamese (a conclusion I reached years ago, given his chatty ways) and sometimes he just wants to hear his own voice. She he howled and howled and howled. I finally yelled at him to put a sock in it, and I’m not sure whether it was Spanky’s howling that set them off, or hearing my voice, but Bessie and Beulah wanted out of the cat room and they wanted out RIGHT NOW. So I opened the door for them and went back to bed.

Bessie, being a heat-seeking missile, climbed up into bed with me, located my upper arm, and started kneading. She started out gently, not using her claws, but she got happier and happier, and soon enough she was like – as Fred said – the Phantom of the Opera playing the organ, and I had to tuck the comforter between her paws and my arm lest she shred me to bits. She sure is a cute little thing. Well, really – they both are!

Okay, I’m taking the girlies off to the pet store in a little while. Send some happy adopting thoughts in the direction of North Alabama, won’t you? It’s going to be awfully quiet around here without them!

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“Hello, good-looking!”

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Bessie in the sun.

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Bessie does her daily kitten yoga.

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Gigglin’ Beulah.

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“Made in China, you say?”

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Lookin’ smug.

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Oh, how she LOVES her sleep.

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2009-05-22 (11)
“WOMAN, do NOT come over here and sniff my harbl again, I’m warning you!”

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Previously
2008: This machine keeps beeping, and it’s harshing my buzz, man.
2007: I am so old.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: More proof – not that you need it – that I am the ruler of the Kingdom of Dumbassery.
2002: What’s worse, an asshole, or an asshole who won’t stand behind what he says?
2001: We dropped Jeff off at his office, and it was then that I found out – to my relief – that the long, low farting sound I’d heard was the scary door opening by itself.
2000: The moral of the story is, don’t even think about fucking with me, or I’ll give you a really mean look.

5/21/09

by @ Thursday, May 21st, 2009. Filed under Fostering, Life

It has been so very gorgeous this week – sunny every day and in the 60s and 70s – that the fact it’s supposed to cloud up and might rain this afternoon isn’t bringing me down at all. I’ve done laundry every day this week (bedsheets and clothes on Monday, towels Tuesday, more clothes yesterday) just so I could hang it all out to dry, so that if we have another rainy spell, I can put on my line-dried clothes and smell like sunshine.

(I’m hoping like hell that rainy season has come to an end. I saw a cartoon somewhere that said “April showers bring May showers”, and I showed it to Fred and he laughed bitterly.)

Yesterday I left the house mid-morning to run errands. I had a list of stuff to get at Sam’s Club, and I wanted to swing by Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I tried to stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond on my way to Sam’s, but it was 9:00 when I got there, and BB&B doesn’t open ’til 9:30, so off to Sam’s I went. The one thing I really like about having a membership at Sam’s through Fred’s company is that it’s considered a business membership, so instead of having to wait ’til 10 for the store to open the way the unwashed masses do, I can go into the store anytime after 7. It’s a LOT less busy before 10, believe you me.

I wandered around the store, got almost everything on my list (I guess Sam’s doesn’t carry plain old ammonia – or if it does, I’m not looking in the right place. I assumed it would be with the cleaning stuff.), picked up a few things that weren’t, and was out of there a little before 10.

I tried to fill up my gas tank at Sam’s, but for some reason the pump wasn’t reading my membership card, so I quietly told it to go fuck itself and left. I did get gas at the station across from Target, then stopped at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The last time I was there, a few weeks ago, I impulse-purchased a spray bottle of Yankee Candles Good Air, and I have to say – that stuff can take care of a large stank in a hurry. I wanted to get another bottle for upstairs (because when a stank needs taking care of, there’s no time to go wandering downstairs for the bottle!), so I went in, grabbed the bottle, and stood in line.

There were three people in line in front of me, but the person at the very front of the line was doing something complicated, apparently, and after five minutes with no forward motion, I put the spray bottle back and left.

At Target I got everything on my list and then some, then got in line. There was only one person in front of me (or rather, one couple), but I’m not sure how they could have possibly moved any slower. They did the MOST annoying thing, the thing that drives me batshit every time – they waited to write out the check until after they knew what the total was. GOD I HATE THAT. I wanted to snatch away their checkbook and beat them with it.

But I refrained.

I left Target, and by the time I got home, it was after noon. I unloaded the car, put stuff away, went out to check for eggs, hang out with the dogs, ate lunch, and then it was time to snooze on the couch in front of Oprah.

Those couches, the ones we got a year ago from Fred’s parents, are THE most comfortable couches to sleep on. They’re so much more comfortable than the old couches, the cheap ones we had, with the recliners in each end. I mean, we miss having recliners sometimes and have talked about (one day) getting recliners to put where one of the couches is, but for now, you can’t beat a snooze on the blue couches. When there’s a kitten or two piled up on top of you, so much the better.

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A few years ago, I bought these small cages that you put seed cakes in and hang outside for the birds. They’re similar to suet cages, only much larger. I bought the seed cakes to put in the cages at Target or the pet store or Wal-Mart. When I first started buying the seed cakes, they were less than $5 for a 2.5-pound seed cake. Since then, due to the economyyyyyyy, I suppose, they’ve gone up. I can’t find them for less than $6 a seed cake, and usually they’re more than that.

So I figured, why not make my own? I did some extensive searching online and had a hard time finding something, because most of the recipes I was finding were for suet cakes, and while I do have a suet feeder and will likely be making my own suet at some point in the future, that’s not what I was looking for.

Finally, I came up with two recipes to try – one involves just gelatin and water, the other involves flour, water, corn syrup and maybe a packet of gelatin. I tried the first one, the gelatin and water, stirred in some bird seed, let it set, and put the seed cake out in the basket to see what would happen. Wild birds are like cats sometimes, it seems – they don’t like new things. For a few days the birds ignored the seed cake, and then slowly they started picking at it. I made another seed cake the same way, but used a different blend of seeds (this one had raisins and peanuts in it) and put that one in the seed cage on the tree I think of as the squirrel tree. If I keep the seed cage and the suet ball feeder filled on the squirrel tree, they’ll pretty much leave the bird feeders alone, which means they don’t knock ten tons of bird seed onto the ground.

The squirrels are not like the cats and birds – it took them no time at all to decimate that seed cake.

Monday, I made seed cakes using the flour, water, and corn syrup recipe. I put one seed cake in the feeder that the birds use, and one in the feeder that the squirrels use. So far, the squirrels have picked at the seed cake in their feeder (though they seem to prefer the peanut butter suet balls, and who can blame ’em?), and the birds have ignored their seed cake, which is pretty much par for the course.

Cost-wise, I think the flour recipe is less expensive – the recipe makes more seed cakes than the gelatin recipe, not that gelatin is all that expensive, about $1.40 around here for a box of plain gelatin (you use the whole box). I guess I’ll wait and see what the end result is regarding the seed cakes – if the birds completely ignore the flour recipe seed cake, I’ll stick with the gelatin version.

Both recipes are here.

And while I’m mentioning recipes, I found a recipe for filling for George and Gracie’s Kongs while I was surfing around. Usually I just put plain yogurt, a dollop of peanut butter, and some chopped-up carrots in their Kongs, and they’re perfectly happy. (BOY they love their Kongs! On the one or two evenings a week when they see me coming, carrying their Kongs, they get extra excited!) But since I don’t want them to get bored, I thought I’d try something new.

They liked the new filling well enough – but honestly, I think I could fill the Kongs with dirt and ice, and they’d be just as thrilled. It’s less the filling than the challenge, I think.

The Kong filling recipe is here.

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The girls are gearing up to go to PetSmart tomorrow, even though they don’t know it. I’m spending as much time as possible picking them up and kissing them (they are SO kissable!), and yesterday Bessie gave me this look like “Seriously, lady. What is your issue? You’re messing up my fur!”

Yeah, poor babies. It’s a rough life!

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Snoozin’ girlies.

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It just stuns me that Miz Poo puts up with the kittens snuggling with her (or at least sharing the same cat bed). After all these years of fostering, I think they’re starting to wear her down.

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I’m not sure why it is, but I think that kittens with their ears back are the cutest things on earth. Closely followed by hissing kittens. Is there anything less scary than a hissing kitten? I think not!

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Bessie, sun-drunk.

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Mister Boogers wants to know why that kitten keeps following him around.

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I don’t know what they were looking at, but check out the crazy eyes on Bessie!

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Previously
2008: These pigs, I’ve gotta say, are coming in handy as garbage disposals on legs.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: We’re off to Memphis.
2003: Possum #2.
2002: Mean mommy.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

5/20/09 (Wednesday)

by @ Wednesday, May 20th, 2009. Filed under Fostering, Life

Hey, look who made Cute Overload yesterday! I actually submitted that picture right after I took it almost two months ago, so I never expected it actually to be posted.

I feel so famous!

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Yesterday, after I puttered around in the yard for a while, visited with all the chickens and dogs and gave a cookie to each of the pigs, I couldn’t decide what to do. I threw in a few loads of laundry, considered and rejected the idea of mowing the lawn (I don’t think it’s been a full week since Fred did it last. Which is a bullshit excuse and my way of saying “I didn’t want to mow the lawn because I am a lazyass.), and then decided I’d get out the sewing machine and sew a few pads for the cat beds, maybe make a few couch pillows.

I bought some material last year when Fred and I talked about making our own ottomans to go with the couches we got from his parents (an idea we discarded not because we didn’t think we could do it, but because neither of us was all that motivated to get it done, so we ended up buying ottomans (ottomen?) from a site online), and I think couch pillows covered in that material would look nice on the couches. But when I got out the material and started cutting, the kittens got all crazy-eyed and started climbing my legs so I gave up on that idea.

I puttered around the yard some more, filled up the bird feeders, cleaned and refilled the bird waterers, took some recycling out to the garage (I need to get my ass to the recycling center one of these days), put the littlest chickens out in their play yard, ate lunch, snoozed on the couch in front of a couple of episodes of Oprah, and then started dinner. It was a very relaxing day, all in all.

We had a ham roast for dinner last night, and it was really, really good. This was one of our last roasts from the very first pig we had processed last year (Big Pig), and the butcher doesn’t cure or smoke any of the meat. So I just rubbed the roast all over with seasoning, popped it in a roasting pan, and cooked it for half an hour per pound at 350 F. Probably because there was a fairly thick layer of fat on the outside of the roast (which I cut off and discarded when the meat was cooked), it was perfectly moist and flavorful. Fred gave me his permission to cook all our ham roasts like that – but we’ll see if he still says that after we’ve eaten it all week long!

After dinner, a couple showed up to buy hatching eggs from Fred (before you ask, the difference between hatching eggs and eating eggs is that the hatching eggs don’t go into the refrigerator; the eating eggs do. Also, I never wash hatching eggs because that removes the “bloom” from the egg and makes it less likely to successfully hatch. The eggs that have to be washed, I wash and then add to the “eating eggs” pile. It’s all very complicated and fascinating, I assure you.) Fred ended up giving them the tour of Crooked Acres while I sat inside at my computer and idly surfed the web. I looked out once or twice while they were out at the big chicken coop to see George and Gracie do their patented “I love you! I LOVE YOU! Will you take us home with you? It’s terrible here, they only give us snacks 15 times a day and they kiss us and hug us and tell us how gorgeous we are. No one should have to live like this! Do you love me? Do you? I LOVE YOU! Do you have a snack?” routine, the one they go through every single time they meet someone new.

Way to look ferocious and defend those chickens, puppies.

They were out at the back forty with Fred for a long, long time and then I glanced up to see all three of them walking toward the house, and Fred was holding an upside-down rooster in one hand. He’d mentioned offering to sell them one of our roosters (they had to buy hatching eggs from us because something – an owl, they think – got their rooster), so I figured they’d taken him up on the offer. I got a box to put him in (and a baby blanket to put on the bottom of the box because I didn’t want the poor guy to slide around), and then I think we stood around and talked for another 45 minutes. They were very nice – like I said to Fred, “They seem like our kinda people. Well, except for the beer-brewing and the deer-eating.”

The rooster they bought was actually one we were talking about processing this weekend (we still have too many roosters, damnit), so the lucky guy is going to a new home where he’ll be the head cock in charge, have his pick of the wimmins and won’t be attending freezer camp anytime soon.

He has no idea how lucky he is!

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Question, master bread bakers: I made a batch of Amish bread dough this past weekend and then – because the recipe makes enough dough for two loaves of bread, or ten thousand rolls – after letting the dough rise, I deflated it and put half of it in the freezer, then made rolls from the other half.

So my question to you is this: when I’m ready to use the other half of the dough, the dough that I put in the freezer, what’s the correct procedure? Do I thaw it out, form it into a loaf (or rolls), let it rise a second time, then bake it? It seems like that would be the right way to go about it, but I just need confirmation from those of you who know what the hell you’re doing, since I very much do not when it comes to baking bread!

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On Monday, when I called the vet’s office to make an appointment to have Beulah spayed, id chipped and rabies shot’d, they told me I could bring her in right then, if I wanted to. I debated for a minute, then decided to just do it and get it over with.

Unlike Bessie, Beulah is a little more quiet in the carrier. She’s not silent by any means, but she didn’t howl all the way there and all the way back the way Bessie did last week (more on that in a minute), and when we got to the vet’s office, she wasn’t scared at all, just sat there and looked around.

When I picked her up from the vet’s office, the lady at the front desk told me she’d been the last procedure they’d done, so she wasn’t all that long out of surgery and still wobbly on her feet. She slept all the way home, and when we got home I let her out of the carrier to find that she was SERIOUSLY wobbly on her feet. Since Bessie had followed me upstairs and seemed happy enough to stay in the room with her sister, I shut the door to the foster room so Beulah could recover without the older cats coming around to sniff and hiss at her (they always hiss when another cat smells like the vet). She was sleeping every time I checked on her through the evening, and yesterday morning she was moving a little slower than usual. By late morning, though, she was bouncing around as though nothing had happened.

Regarding Bessie in the carrier, I haven’t mentioned before now that last Thursday I noticed that she was getting in the litter box, getting into position to pee, and then when she was done, she’d only passed a few drops. She did that twice in the span of about fifteen minutes, and though I’ve never seen the behavior in a female cat or one so little, I can recognize the signs of a possible Urinary Tract Infection. I took her up to the vet and that girl has got some LUNGS on her. She howled and howled and howled, all the way there. I left her at the vet’s so they could get a urine sample from her. She was there for only about three hours before they were able to get the sample and test it, and I got a call from the vet letting me know that there’d been a small trace of blood in the urine. She’s been on antibiotics since then, and after the first few days, she cleared right up and now she’s right as rain.

Both kittens are going to the pet store on Friday, hopefully to be adopted very quickly. Even Fred admitted that he doesn’t think Beulah will be at the pet store for more than a few hours before someone snaps her up!

Here are a couple of movies of the babies, one of Bessie howling, and one of Beulah playing (on May 5th) and then sleeping (yesterday).

I sure am going to miss the little monkeys.

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“Wha-?”

A few years ago, my sister gave me a package of mink tails someone had given her for her cats. Her cats weren’t interested in them. My cats are slightly interested in them, but the foster kittens? Oh, they LOVE them. There’s always at least one in every litter that will pick up the mink tail and carry it around, growling at any cats who come too close to their “kill.”

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Not the best picture, but it cracks me up that Beulah is licking that toy.

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What I’ve recently learned – if you have a single cat bed that your cats refuse to sleep in? Put a second cat bed on top of it, and they will FLOCK to it.

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Previously
2008: And I’m sure there’ll be plenty o’ bitching.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: It is, in fact, a happy-go-lucky-shpadoinkle-dy daaaaaaaaaaaaay.
2004: First day with the new brain, you know.
2003: So, Fred got it into his head a few weeks ago that he wanted a kayak.
2002: And further, you don’t get to be indignant and hurt when they act pissed off and boo you off the stage.
2001: No entry.
2000: Yesterday, I sneezed twenty-three times in a row. Fucking allergies.

5/19/09 (Tuesday)

by @ Tuesday, May 19th, 2009. Filed under Crooked Acres, Life, Picture Entries

There’s not a whole lot going on around here, and it’s supposed to be a beautiful day outside. I’m going to do laundry, clean the house, and walk around outside and marvel at the sunshine. Here are some Crooked Acres pics to tide you over!

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This is how we’re growing potatoes this year (well, we have a row of them in the garden, but we’re also doing this). As the potato plants grow, you add boards to the side, and put soil on top of the potato plants. In the Fall, you take down the boards and hopefully dig through the soil to find a bazillion potatoes. Similar to growing potatoes in a tire, only with boards instead of a tire!

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The co-parents, keeping an eye on their three babies.

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New Momma.

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Chicken George and her baby.

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Michelle, the head rooster in charge.

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Michelle surveying his wimminfolk.

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One of the little Brahmas (we think) that we got from the hatchery a few months ago. I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like when they’re grown – I think they’re going to be very pretty.

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Another little pretty one. I think we hatched this one ourselves, but honest to god, at this point I’m not sure.

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Sassy, the one true Crooked Acres free range chicken, partakes of the compost heap.

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Mommas and babies – and right in the middle, Charlie.

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We got a Crested Polish chick from the hatchery a few months ago. He’s looking very Flock of Seagulls lately.

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“Who, us? Eating the pig food from the trough? No, not at all! Why would you ask such a strange question?”

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Checking the area in case of snacks.

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George, eating dog hair and then spitting it out. I don’t know, he seemed happy and he wasn’t swallowing the hair so we didn’t ask questions.

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Gracie, dancing with Fred. You can’t see George’s face, but trust me – he disapproves.

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Gracie loves her daddy.

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“Oooh, it’s the snack lady! I like the snack lady. She gives me snacks.”

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2009-05-19
I recently made up a song about the Mommas (Upstairs Momma, aka Kara and Outside Momma, aka Maxi) that goes “Porkin’ along, singin’ her song, it’s Out! Side! Momma!” OR “Hissin’ along, singin’ her song, it’s Up! Stairs! Momma!” and it cracks me up every time I sing it, and when I snicker, Fred tells me I need to get a life. Hmph.

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Previously
2008: With my bionic legs and arms I’ll just be able to prove it much more easily.
2007: No entry.
2006: And we might have expected Mommy/ Whatever to tell the Little Prince “no” and, well, we can’t have THAT.
2005: We’re foster parents.
2004: Because WHY HAD IT NOT OCCURRED TO ME TO THROW MYSELF DOWN THE MOUNTAIN TO AVOID THE CONCERT???
2003: The words “ass ugly” were invented to describe these shoes.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: She hasn’t claimed boredom since.

5-18-09 (Monday)

by @ Monday, May 18th, 2009. Filed under Fostering, Life

So, the old design is back. I messed with that damn banner for ages and ages, and could NOT get it to do what I wanted to do, and I DREAMED about it Saturday night, so then I said “Self, it’s either the banner looking good OR the threaded comments, decide now and shut up!” and so I decided the banner’s going to look good (please tell me y’all can see all of it now!) and the threaded comments have gone away.

I thought those threaded comments were pretty freakin’ cool. Ah well. I guess we’ll just have to muddle through – TOGETHER WE CAN PERSEVERE!

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We had a pretty quiet and boring weekend. It rained quite a bit on Saturday, and there wasn’t much Fred could do outside anyway because it was still wet and soggy from the night before, so we hung around the house, moaned about how bored we were, and ended up taking a couple of naps, one around 11 and the other around 3.

Fred told me that he’d spotted something interesting in the ditch that, basically, divides the front part of our property from the back forty. So I grabbed the camera, and we went out to see if we could spot what he’d seen. We did, briefly…

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The ditch. To the right is the front part of our property, to the left the back forty.

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Crawdads! Unfortunately there were only one or two of them and they weren’t anywhere near eatin’ size, or I would have happily made some jambalaya for dinner. Crawdads, for those of you who haven’t seen them before (and can’t tell from my pictures) look like little bitty lobsters.

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Pollywog!

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“Whatcha doin’ out there, and where’s my snack?”

We decided we were in the mood for BBQ at lunchtime, so we went out and got some.

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The sign at the BBQ place cracked us both up, and Fred threatened to ask if they could give us some BBQ that was cooked NOT to USDA specs.

We hung around the house all afternoon moaning about how bored we were, took a nap, and then I made meatballs so that we could have meatball subs for dinner. We’d been planning to use the rolls I made last weekend, but when Fred opened the bag to get a roll, he announced that they had started to mold. I need to remember to store my homemade bread in the refrigerator, damnit, ’cause homemade bread doesn’t last nearly as long as the stuff you buy in the stores due to the lack of preservatives.

Luckily, we had hamburger buns left over from our package of BBQ, so we used those. We talked about making meatball subs with spaghetti sauce, but in the end I just cut a couple of meatballs in half, put them on the hamburger bun bottom, put a thin slice of horseradish cheddar on top of that, and it was perfection.

Usually when we’re coming up on a weekend, I look through the always-growing pile of recipes I’ve printed out and pick something or a couple of somethings to bake. I rarely let Fred have any input on what I’m making, but last Thursday I was feeling uninspired and not like I wanted to look through my recipes, so I asked if he had any requests. He’s been having a real hankering for lemon lately, so he asked for maybe a lemon cake or perhaps some kind of lemon pie.

I googled around and came up with a recipe for lemon cake and one for lemon squares (with a graham cracker crust), and in the end I made the lemon squares and am saving the lemon cake recipe for the future.

The lemon squares were FABULOUS. They were a huge hit with Fred, and I liked them quite a bit. My only mistake was in over-baking them by a few minutes, so they were a little chewy. Next time I make them, I’ll start checking them earlier so they won’t get overbaked.

Recipe is here.

Sunday morning, I slept in ’til 7 (SLACKER), then accompanied Fred on his errands to Lowe’s and Tractor Supply. When we got home, Fred pulled into the driveway, and I looked over to my right and said “Oh my holy Jesus god in heaven!”

“What?” Fred said, wide-eyed.

“There’s an ARMADILLO!” I said.

“Where??” he said.

“Right there! It’s dead!”

There it was, large as life, laying there ON IT’S BACK, dead as a doornail.

We got out of the truck and approached it. Fred poked it to make sure it was dead, but since it had organs visible we were pretty confident that it was.

“Joe Bob!” I yelled at Joe Bob, who was sitting on the side stoop smiling the way he always does. “Did you kill the armadillo?!”

Joe Bob just kept smiling.

Fred came to the conclusion that the armadillo had been dead for a few days and we decided that perhaps a dog had dragged it onto the property (while we were gone) before George and Gracie’s barking scared it off.

“You think I should put it in a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer ’til trash day?” Fred asked. Last summer something killed an armadillo just over the church property line, and the guy who mows the church property was kind enough to mow around it, so for half the summer we were treated to the particularly nasty stank of rotting armadillo. In the hottest heat of an Alabama summer, the smell of that rotting armadillo was so thick you could taste it. (In retrospect, I think I should have insisted that Fred sneak over there and bury the goddamn thing.)

Gah.

Fred ended up dragging it to the very back of the back forty and tossing it into the undergrowth back there. Hopefully something will come along and eat it – but at least if it starts rotting, it’ll be far enough away from the house that I won’t have to smell it every time I leave the house.

And, yeah. I took a picture, but I’m not sharing it ’cause it’s gross. It’s a DEAD ARMADILLO, and it’s got internal organs showing, and it’s gross. Trust me, you don’t need to see that and I’m not sure why I took the picture anyway.

The last thing Fred said before he dragged the damn thing off to the back forty, despite the fact that we’ve probably seen 10 dead armadillos by the side of the road in the last month or so, was “I didn’t think armadillos came this far north!”

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Sunday afternoon Miss Beulah jumped up on my desk. She brought a bit of a stank with her, so I lifted up her tail to check her nether regions (she gets no respect) and said “Whew! Did you just poop?”

And Fred said, sounding utterly offended, “Me?!”

HA.

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Beulah has finally, FINALLY hit two pounds. I’ll be calling in a little while to make her an appointment to be spayed later this week. And then, assuming there’s space at the pet store, she and Bessie will be going off to be adopted!

Those of you who mentioned that Beulah’s got big ears and maybe she’ll end up being a big cat after all – who knows? Sugarbutt was the runt of his litter, and you can’t by any stretch of the imagination call him a little cat.

And those of you who wanted to know what Fred thinks of Beulah now that she’s grown up a bit? He still says she’s ugly. But I’m pretty sure he’s only saying it because he knows it’s RUDE and OFFENSIVE. She’s clearly grown into a gorgeous little thing, and I’ll be surprised if I even get her into the cage at the pet store before there’s a riot of people wanting to adopt her.

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Doesn’t she look evil?

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“I shall take over the worrrrrrrrrrrrld!”

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Tellin’ secrets.

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Bath time!

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Kinda looks like she’s pouting and he’s asking her what’s wrong, doesn’t it?

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Previously
2008: No entry.
2007: Ten.
2006: I walked over to them and threw Cheerios at them, and they looked at me as if I were mentally disturbed.
2005: Which he proved by dancing lightly about the room once I’d said we should just stay home.
2004: He asked questions, he really listened to the answers, and he was just really a nice guy.
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001: She’s obviously picked up her mother’s bad attitude.
2000: My day in pictures.

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