10/7/11 – Friday

Vote for Gracie! (Thank you!) Gracie is the Healthy Smile of the Week, but the voting for the “Next Pet Star” doesn’t end until October 21st, so please keep voting, please! She’s in first place (at least at the moment I’m typing this), and I’d like to keep her there. Once October 21st comes, then … Continue reading “10/7/11 – Friday”

Vote for Gracie! (Thank you!)

Gracie is the Healthy Smile of the Week, but the voting for the “Next Pet Star” doesn’t end until October 21st, so please keep voting, please! She’s in first place (at least at the moment I’m typing this), and I’d like to keep her there. Once October 21st comes, then the judges take over and decide who the final winner is. I think it should be Gracie!

Thanks again, those of you who’ve voted (and those who want to but can’t!), Gracie thinks y’all RAWK!

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Wednesday afternoon, Fred had to work later than usual. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it falls to me to feed the pigs and toss out the scratch for the chickens, refill the waterers, and gather the eggs. Feeding the pigs used to consist of dumping their food in their trough, but that changed last week. One of the pigs is going to a different processor – one that the guy who’s buying the pig prefers – and she needs to go next week, because after the end of October this processor only processes deer.

(The other two pigs will go sometime in November, I believe.)

So because the guy who’s buying the pig who will go next week wants her to go to the other processor, he brought his livestock trailer to the house this past weekend, and he and Fred set it up so that the pigs have to go up into the trailer to eat. (This is so that on Monday, they won’t have to chase the pig into the trailer, because she’ll already be in there eating.) Unlike our trailer, which is open-topped, this trailer has a roof on it, so you can’t just get up on the hitch and dump the food over the side of the trailer into the trough. You have to walk across the pig yard and go into the trailer and dump the food in the trough.

Since Fred has been feeding the pigs since the trailer was set up, I didn’t realize I’d have to enter the pig yard until he called and asked me to feed them.

Now, the pigs are about 200 pounds each, which means that they far outweigh me, and I had JUST THAT MORNING been laughing with the lady who cuts my hair about how I do NOT go into the pig yard ’cause I don’t want them to knock me down and eat me.

I told Fred I’d feed the pigs and I put on my figurative big girl panties and went out to the pig yard, bucket of scraps in hand. The pigs greeted me at the gate, and then watched me open the gate. As I started walking across the yard they took turns pressing their snouts against me, none too gently.

“Quit it!” I shouted, and waved my hand in their direction. This used to startle them and send them running. You know, back when they weighed about 30 pounds each. Now that they outweigh me, the waving of my arm and a shout doesn’t apparently scare them much. At ALL, really. They ignored me and got more aggressive about rubbing their muddy snouts all over my shorts and the hem of my shirt.

“QUIT IT!” I yelled and waved my arm again, again to no avail.

And then one of them shoved me and I fell to my knees. Then another grabbed my arm in her mouth and suddenly the “Yeah, Fred will come home from work and he’ll be ‘Where’s Robyn? In the pig yard? No, IN THE PIGS!'” seemed a little less funny.

I was absolutely terrified, and if you’d been watching me from a distance, I imagine you would have thought that I’d been hit by a jolt of electricity, because I screamed and started flailing both arms and punched the nearest pig and struggled to my feet. The pigs had moved away from me, but as I got to my feet they were too close for comfort, and I grabbed the bucket and dumped the food on the ground, and then clanged the bucket against the nearest pig’s head and I ran out of that yard as fast as I could. The pigs, seeing the pile of food on the ground, ignored me in favor of food that didn’t scream and flail.

When I got into the house, after I showered the mud off me and inspected my appendages to be sure they were all there and inspected my arm to see if it was okay (it was; it’s a little bruised today, but no broken skin), I threw my clothes into the washer and emailed Fred and said “In the future, if you work late, the pigs eat late.”

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Yesterday, one of the Peppers was doing something super-cute, so I went looking for the big, expensive, good camera, a Sony DSLR-A100 that we bought shortly after we moved into this house, the camera I get most of my good pictures with. It was sitting on the table, where I’d left it, under a pile of (clean) cleaning rags, which I’d dumped there until I got around to folding them and putting them away.

As I picked up the camera, I noticed something dripping off of it, and I knew. I just KNEW. Things had been going too well, and things had been too quiet.

Someone had peed on the camera.

As I picked it up, I turned it over to see, well, had someone peed on the rags and a little got on the camera or had they soaked the camera? One instant I realized that they’d soaked the camera, and the next instant it slipped out of my hands and hit the floor and I heard something crack in a rather disturbing way.

Today, the camera stinks like cat pee (I wiped it down with Nose Offense the best I could, but it didn’t do a lot of good) and that’s okay because, hey. It doesn’t work anyway!

On the good side, I do have the little camera – the DSC-W300 – to take pictures with while the big camera is off in Texas being examined to see if there’s anything that can be done with it.

I really need a vacation right about now.

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From Miz S:

I feel compelled to tell you this story: my sister-in-law recently took some turkey sandwich meat out of the kitchen trash can (I AM NOT LYING) because she insisted it was still good even though 2 different people had sniffed it and pronounced it not fit for consumption. Several hours later, she was sick to her stomach. According to her, she felt sick because she had eaten Thai food the night before. HA!

That is both revolting and hilarious – and also, it makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where George took the donut out of the trash and took a bite just as his girlfriend’s mother walked into the kitchen.

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This is going to sound a bit weird, but since I know you think it’s fun when your readers dream about you – in my dream last night, you and Fred visited us at our family’s summer house by the sea in the south of Norway. We all went swimming in the sea, for some reason in the seaweedy place rather than off the pier in the deep water, and our bedrooms were heavily spider-infested, though luckily you didn’t seem to mind (and don’t worry, there are no poisonous spiders in Norway!).

So yeah, I’m not a weird stalker or anything, I swear – but I’ve been reading you regularly for about ten years, so I guess it’s no wonder that you should show up in my dreams ๐Ÿ™‚

I LOVE it when y’all dream about us!

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Your Meyer lemon tree and tomato plants look unmolested. Do you get a lot of bunnies and squirrels nomming on them?

I think the occasional squirrel goes after the occasional tomato, but Maxi and Newt hang out in the garden a lot, and I believe the squirrels and bunnies don’t visit very often.

Actually, I think the squirrels are more interested in the pecan trees, which is probably why they don’t spend much time going after the tomatoes!

There’s been no harm to the Meyer lemon tree, but it’s in a little fenced area (with my raised beds), so is probably a pain in the butt to get to.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a bunny. We used to see them running across the back forty a lot, but that was before we fenced it in and got George and Gracie, so they probably found greener pastures to hop across.

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We need to start up a collection to get you a new kitchen rug – your current rug is pretty but it does not provide a proper compliment to the cats. A few of them just fade into it especially Miz Poo – and that ain’t right! What were you thinking?

I was thinking “That’s a good price!” ๐Ÿ™‚

We got that rug at the local flea market, it wasn’t horribly expensive, and I knew I did NOT want a solid-color rug. If Miz Poo wants to be properly displayed, she knows she can go to the couch or the carpet in the foster room!

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I’ve been meaning to tell you that a while back, I read one of your old entries where you mention Andrew Vachss’ Burke series of books, which then made me check which ones I hadn’t read – which was surprisingly a lot. So for about 10 days straight I was obsessed with Burke and his family. Thinking of it again to thank you for the short lived obsession as I box them up for goodwill and someone else to enjoy.

I LOVED the Burke series and I was sorry to see it end – though they did get a bit, uh, complicated toward the end of the series, and I know that more than once I thought “I do not have any clue what’s going on here, but I love you, Burke.”

I’m glad you enjoyed them, too!

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Question completely off topic – have you ever tried making your own cheese? I’m thinking of mozzarella and ricotta – soft cheeses – not the hard kinds with rind. If so, do you have a recipe?

I have never made my own cheese, actually! Wine.woot had a “make your own mozzarella” kit for sale a few weeks ago and I ordered one, but haven’t received it yet. I’m looking forward to giving it a try, if only for the experience. Probably if we had our own cow I’d be more gung-ho about cheese-making. I love reading about Suzanne McMinn’s cheese-making experiences, I bet she’s got some good recipes over there!

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Robyn, I don’t know if anyone else has said this before, but you keep having these crops of Peppers and I keep reading Peepers. I think you need to name a round of Peepers soon.

When I thought I was going to have a bottle baby several weeks ago, all I knew was that she was a calico and I had decided I was going to name her Polly Pickles. Then when I got Charlie and Patty, I thought about naming them Polly and Peter Pickles, before I decided I wasn’t done with the Peppers surname (also, I really want to save “Polly Pickles” for a wee calico for some reason).

Which is neither here nor there, really – I kind of like “Peepers” as a surname, but I may have to put it off for a while until my fingers stop wanting to type “Peppers” instead of “Peepers!”

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I was thinking about your babies yesterday – have you had a batch named after candy bars yet? Because Zagnut would be the perfect name for an orange kitty. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have not had a batch named after candy bars, but I did have a Skittles a few years ago!

I like the name “Zagnut” for a cat. I know that a lot of candy bar names (Snickers, for one) have been used for Challenger’s House cats in the past, but y’all leave candy bar name suggestions, I’ll add them to my list of potential foster names!

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Did you tell us that you use olive oil to wipe down the sides and bottom of the clean litter boxes to keep the stuff from sticking? Does that work? I’ve got a spray can of PAM that I refuse to use for food purposes and wondered if that would do the trick? Ever used spray Pam? The main issue I have is that Mackie never aims his butt in the MIDDLE of the litter box, but just kind of haphazardly pees on the SIDES where there is no litter to dehydrate it.

I have used both regular olive oil AND spray Pam, and both work really well – the spray Pam more so than the olive oil, but the olive oil will do in a pinch!

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That yum yum cat reminded of NONONONO cat.

That video freaked me OUT at first, because I thought “What the HELL are they doing to that cat?!”, but apparently the cat was looking at a friend (of the video poster’s daughter)(that’s not a convoluted description, is it?) and making that noise. I’m going to have to state right now that if any of my cats look at someone and make that noise, whoever they’re making the noise at is just going to have to live with not being able to come into my house because I wouldn’t be able to handle it!

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From Elayne:

I honestly don’t mean to be a concern troll or a downer, but I’m actually a bit worried about the cat in that video eating from the spoon. I know a lot of cats will making “mine all mine” noises while they eat, especially if the food is not in a traditional food bowl, but it’s the way he moves his head that bothers me. Those noises and head/mouth movements were EXACTLY what Mr.T was doing, in the days before I learned that his mouth had basically turned into an enormous maggot-ridden* ulcer**.

So at the risk of being That Commentor (sorry), I would encourage anyone whose cat is doing this to check the cat’s mouth, or better yet have the vet check the cat’s mouth, just in case it’s a pain reaction and not just a “don’t you think about taking my food away” reaction.

*To be fair, I don’t know for sure that the maggot came from his mouth. I mean, I saw it fall from his mouth, but IT wasn’t bloody and his mouth definitely WAS, so maybe it had been hitching a ride in his fur or something, or in the towel I had wrapped him in, and just chose that moment to appear. I never did ask the vet about it, first because his kidney stuff was more important, and then because it was all irrelevant.

**Mr.T was never a sit-by-you, let-you-pick-him-up, come-when-you-call kind of cat; he was always reclusive and aloof and don’t-touch-me, so I didn’t realize that he was losing weight until he’d already lost a ton. He obviously wasn’t eating, so I got a jar of baby food, and he tried to eat that, but made those noises and head movements, which was when I noticed that his mouth was bleeding. I took him to the vet right away, but it wasn’t soon enough. He had massive kidney failure, and the vet said that apparently the buildup of toxins in his bloodstream and tissues had caused the mucus membranes to ulcerate – which of course was why he was barely eating, and losing so much weight, and when he DID eat, even babyfood or broth, he made those noises and those head movements because it was hurting him so much to eat. The vet tried for almost a week to kickstart his kidney function, but in the end we had to put him down.

I don’t consider your comment to be at all trollish, Elayne! (And I’m sorry about Mr. T.)

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And will you look at all those cat beds on the shelf in the background of the pic with Molly and Harlan…LOL

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Horrifying, isn’t it? And lately, I’ve been looking at patterns online to see how hard it is to make a “donut” cat bed. I’ve found instructions that indicate it’s not too hard, and I have all this material that I keep buying, so I think it’s only a matter of time before I actually make one. I’m not much of a seamstress, though, so I’m not confident that I’ll be able to do it (just sewing a straight line is, I swear to you, beyond me sometimes), but if I can, it will be ALL OVER. You won’t be able to go two feet in this house without having to step across a cat bed.

(Oh, wait. You already can’t do that!)

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What’s the little spot in Tommy’s right eye? I just noticed it in his last couple of pictures.

I recently noticed that spot and just went back through his pictures to see when it turned up. About a year ago, there was a very small, light spot there, but the year before there was no spot at all. He’s got an appointment next Thursday with the vet. I’m hoping it’s nothing, but I’m worried. He’s always had the most beautiful eyes, I can’t believe it took me so long to notice that spot.

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The bigger Peppers are looking huge; how old are they now?

They’ll be 4 months old on the 12th and they’ve hit that ridiculously long and lanky stage. Remember what scared little hissers they were when we first got ’em, two months ago?

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They’ve come a long way, baby!

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Patty Peppers vants to be alone.

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It’s a rough life, Charlie Peppers.

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Glaring Sally Peppers.

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Check out the size of Harlan’s paw. He’s going to be huuuuuuuuuge.

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Peppers taking over the couch!

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The Beautiful Bookworm Boys!

I managed to get exactly two pictures of Buster and Corbie together this week.

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(“Together” might be a bit of an overstatement.)

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2010: Crooked Acres tour continues.
2009: โ€œThatโ€™s like me!โ€ Fred said. โ€œMaybe Iโ€™m schizophrenic! I always need stimulation!โ€
2008: And he likes the chickens, but I think if a hawk swooped down and snatched one up while he was watching, it would make his YEAR.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: 9. What is your biggest mistake? Immediately believing what Iโ€™m told without standing back and thinking about it.
2004: Reader requests.
2003: Why have kids if you aren’t going to make them do the scut work?
2002: You know, I don’t even have the words.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.