Archive for January, 2009

I Could Learn to Like Snow With These Puppies

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Diesel and Dolly haven’t been allowed outside without being on a leash until today. Today was a big day for them. They have finally learned to come back to us when we call them, so they were finally allowed to run around without being on a leash. And it was the perfect day for it. It snowed! And Diesel and Dolly LOVE snow. But before they were allowed to take off on their own, Bernie had a little chat with them and they promised to mind us. Diesel shook on it.

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Diesel is so tiny, he has a hard time keeping up with Dolly. At first, she spent time with him and kept him close by.

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He followed her around for a while, but kept looking over his shoulder to make sure we were following.

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Before too long Dolly ran off without Diesel.

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I don’t think I have one picture of Dolly without snow on her nose.

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They played for quite a while, but it was quite evident when they got cold and decided it was time to go inside. Diesel sat in the snow, shivering, and looking up at us. Bernie had to pick him up and cuddle him to make sure he got warm.

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And when Dolly had enough she simply hauled tail straight to the house. She even climbed the stairs for the first time ever!

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Diesel and Dolly really love the snow, but I’m not sure they’ll care for the ice we’re supposed to get tonight. I am absolutely positive that Bernie and I won’t care for it – especially at midnight when we do the puppy poop run with them. And the poor chickens don’t care for any of this weather. They haven’t left the coop all day. I took them a few special treats during the day, but even that didn’t seem to help their mood. Puppies aren’t as moody about the weather as chickens.

Diesel and Dolly ended up getting sick over the weekend. By Sunday night they had pretty bad diarreha and we were a little worried about them. We took them to the vet Monday morning and learned they have a bacterial infection in their intestines. The good news is, the antibiotics the vet gave us for them started working right away. They slept so well last night that we actually had to wake them up to go potty at midnight and again when we got up at 5AM.

These little pups are doing great. I’m sure everyone thinks they have the smartest, sweetest, cutest pups in the world, but we really do. Seriously. You’d think so too, if you met them. They wouldn’t let you leave until you agreed. Diesel and Dolly are like that.

Bee Free,
Penny

Awww, the Cuteness

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Cute: Waking up at 6AM to two puppies gently whining, realizing they only woke up once during the night, and being able to smile that the babies gave you a good night’s sleep.

Not cute: Waking up at 6AM to two puppies who couldn’t “hold it” after sleeping mostly through the night, have pooped in their crate, and are now covered from head to toe in that poop and are waggling their poop covered tails in their excitement to see your horrified face first thing in the morning.

Enough said.

Bee free,
Penny

Puppy Dog Tales

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

They’re finally here!

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Just look at those precious little faces!

This is Diesel:

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And this is Dolly:

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They had a very long day yesterday, but they were good the entire trip. When we got home they ate, drank, and went potty, and then we introduced them to their crate.

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They LOVE their crate. We put the same blanket inside it that they layed on during the trip. Bernie and I wore old shirts the day before we picked up the pups, and then we put the shirts in the crate with them for the trip home, in the hopes they would become more familiar with our scents on the trip. We’ve done this with our previous dogs, and it seemed to help. We added those to their crate in the house and they specifically slept on them last night.

Dolly likes to pile on top of poor Diesel and use him as a chew toy.

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He doesn’t seem to mind too much. She’s nearly twice his size at this point. They are just so darn cute together. They are exactly two months old today, so they are still very much babies.

All along I’ve worried about how the puppies would react to the chickens, and specifically how they would react to Duke. Well, it’s not the puppies I should have worried about. Duke has tried to attack them twice today, and when we picked them up as he approached the last time, he ended up flogging me. You can imagine just how well that went over with me. I handed Bernie the puppy I was holding, and then snatched Duke up and carried him around quite a while. He was still upset when I put him down, so I ended up turning him on his back and carrying like that for a bit. He calmed right down, and managed to behave the rest of the day. I guess we’re all just going to have to work this out so everyone can live in harmony.

The puppies had us up several times last night. Dolly’s whine sounds much like a fire whistle. It is loud, piercing, and doesn’t stop until she gets the attention she thinks she deserves. She woke us up with that whine a few times last night. Talk about a rude awakening! But the good news is that they both pottied right away when we took them outside. So far we’ve only had two “accidents” in the house.

We are just tickled to death with Diesel and Dolly. They are such sweet natured little puppies and just as cute as they can be. And what’s a homestead without a couple of dogs to keep an eye on things for you? Elvis and Priscilla have peeked in on them a few times, but they’re still a little annoyed with us for going against their wishes and bringing the puppies home in the first place.

Puppies are a lot of work. They really are worth it, though. I did let them know they are much cuter during the day than they are at 2AM. MUCH cuter.

Bee Free,
Penny

Frugalness, Puppies, and Frost Bite

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

My sister and I have always been close and while we have a great deal in common, we differ greatly in others. Take organization, pack-rattiness (I may have made that word up), and clutter management for example. My sister’s home is very organized and clear of clutter. She doesn’t have a pack rat gene in her body. If she hasn’t used it, worn it, or eaten it recently, it gets thrown out. She has begged – and I seriously mean BEGGED – to come into our home to organize and de-clutter it. It just slays her that we will not permit it. Her eye begins twitching when she visits us and gazes upon the mass of clutter in our home. We are very attached to our clutter and we’ve accumulated boxes and boxes of it that we store in every nook and cranny of our home. You just never know when you’ll need that t-shirt from high school or when that broken toaster will come in handy.

I tell you the above to explain how very happy I was to find a box full of dog food bowls, waterers, leashes and collars. When the last of our dogs passed away a few years ago we didn’t plan to get puppies anytime soon, but we knew we eventually would, so I packed everything dog related into a box and stored it. Finding the box was a-whole-nother story, but find it I did! And after washing it all up, setting up the feeding area, and strategically placing the waterer, I believe we are prepared. The only thing missing is the puppies. And tomorrow that will be remedied. Yay!

So, in a nutshell, the clutter of that box of dog items and the pack-rattiness of saving it all these years actually aided in the organization we accomplished in setting up for the arrival of the puppies. So take that, sistah! Besides, it’s called “frugal”. We are just very frugal people around here.

With all the below freezing weather we’ve encountered this year, Duke’s comb has suffered significantly from frost bite. I’ve mentioned this before, but thought I would post a picture for those of you who may have never seen frost bite on a chicken’s comb.

The front of his comb is unaffected. He’s still a good looking boy, don’t you think?

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The rear of his comb has the frost bite. It’s mostly on the tips of his comb.

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The dark stuff on his feathers is grease from the back hoe. When it rains, snows, sleets, etc. he prefers to go under the back hoe for shelter, rather than in his coop. I’ve tried explaining how the coop would be better, but he doesn’t listen. Boys will be boys.

I’ve been slathering a triple-antibiotic cream on his comb each evening and it was starting to look much better – but then we had another Arctic blast and the high temperatures didn’t get out of the 20’s for a while. His comb is looking rather bad again. I hate to think of it, but I may end up having to dub it.

Chickens with large combs and wattles are more susceptible to frost bite. Some people believe that applying Vaseline to the combs and wattles will prevent frost bite. I’m certain it won’t hurt, but I question it’s effectiveness. Believe it or not, this is actually a very controversial subject among many chicken owners. All I know is that the antibiotic cream I am using is petroleum based, and it did not prevent him from further frost bite. None the less, frost bite can be a very serious issue. The necrotic tissue can cause an infection, making the chicken very ill, and possibly even resulting in death. Dubbing is sometimes the only alternative. It involves cutting off the comb and/or wattle. Some people routinely dub their chickens as a preventative measure, and some with Show Chickens are required to dub them.

Personally, Duke and I are both very fond of his comb and wattle, so we are both hoping that dubbing is something neither of us has to experience. His wattles are fine, so that won’t be an issue. I’m keeping a very close eye on his comb for any sign of infection. At the most, I am hoping I only need to remove the affected portion, which is close to the back of his comb. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it. If the frost bite doesn’t get too severe and there is no infection, he will likely lose the black tips. They will just fall off when completely dead. That is what Duke and I are hoping happens.

Tomorrow is the big day! We will leave early in the morning to pick up the puppies. I’ve tried my best to prepare Elvis and Priscilla, but they are in a state of complete denial. They refuse to even discuss it. But they are fairly adaptive cats, so I guess they’ll learn to deal with it when the puppies finally get here.

And if you thought I bored you with peep pictures when we got the chickens, well……..

Bee Free,
Penny

Cold, Chickens, Puppies, and Cats

Friday, January 16th, 2009

We awoke this morning to a thermometer that pegged out at a whopping 2 degrees. I know that many of you are suffering far colder temperatures than that (I read it was -40 somewhere in Minnesota yesterday!), but I have to believe that 2 degrees is cold by most standards. At 10:30AM, it was 9 degrees. The chickens have two outside waterers, and I’ve been rotating them every hour or so to make sure they have some water to drink today, should they venture out.

Yesterday our chickens awoke to the first significant amount of snow they have ever seen. It was really only a dusting. But they were not impressed. While they have seen snow before, they had never experienced ground completely covered by it. Normally when I open their chicken door, they come barreling down their chicken plank at full speed, running in all directions. When I opened their chicken door yesterday, however, not one of them came out. I peeked inside and found an opening covered in chicken faces with eyes as big as saucer. After two minutes or so, a brave Phoenix started down the plank, but she high tailed it back inside before reaching the ground. It took a while, but a handful eventually made it out into the yard. Around 9AM I noticed six chickens in the yard, and all the others stayed in the coop. Even though it never got above freezing yesterday, the sun eventually melted off the snow in their run. But the chickens remained in a fowl mood (pardon the pun) for the entire day.

We have no snow today, but the majority of the chickens are staying in the coop. It’s just too darn cold out there. Chickens may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they are smarter than most people give them credit for!

Last night I was attempting to squeeze some hair ball medicine out of a tube to give to Priscilla when, quite suddenly, the tube bottom sprung a leak and squirted a 5 inch long blob of sticky, nasty hair ball medicine on the top of Priscilla’s head, over her ear, and down her neck. I would say she was unhappy, but the truth is she was furious. Priscilla does not like anything to drip, plop, or ooze on her. I learned that when she was sitting on my lap one morning while I was eating breakfast and a minuscule drop of egg yolk landed on her head. From her reaction you would have thought it was acid. And she wouldn’t even look at me for the remainder of the day. That cat can carry a grudge like you would not believe.

At any rate, I immediately grabbed Priscilla and wiped off as much hair ball medicine as I could. Then I wet a paper towel and tried to wash it as well as I could. You can not imagine how incredibly angry she was with me. I could barely get her to look at me the rest of the night, and when she did, she would give me the stink eye. Elvis got tired of her complaining about it and eventually decided to try and help out:

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“Oh, wait a minute. I missed a spot.”

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Ignore the cold weather gear draped over the dining room chairs. They are “on ready” for any ventures outside. Oh, and also ignore the fact that there are cats on the dining room table. If it makes you feel any better, they also get on the counters, beds, cabinets, and all furniture and they open cabinet doors and crawl inside if they are in the mood.

Oh, and wonderful news! My parents adopted a rescue puppy they found on Pet Finder! They are so excited, and I’m really happy for them. It’s a little Dapple Dachshund and it sounds like quite a character. They named him Oliver. I tried to find his picture on the website, but couldn’t. I hope they figure out how to email one to me. I just can’t wait to see this little guy.

And speaking of puppies, you may have noticed that I put a puppy count down on the right side of the blog. Frugalmom suggested it and I love it! Only seven more days until we pick them up! Yay! I’m taking a vacation day next Friday and we’re heading down bright and early to get them. Yay again! They are currently about 235 miles from us, so it will be a long trip for those little babies. We plan to make several stops during the trip so they can get out and potty and stretch their little puppy legs. I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures when they get here.

It has been many years since we had a puppy, let alone two at the same time, in this house. In fact, other than the peeps, it’s been a great long while since there was any baby in this house. It will be an adjustment, no doubt. We’re looking forward to it though. I can not say the same for Elvis and Priscilla.

I just realized this entire post is about nothing but animals. I wish I had some news about the homestead, but the truth is that it’s been so darn cold, we haven’t done much recently. Bernie stays on top of the firewood supply and I stay on top of taking care of the chickens. Other than that, we rarely wander outside during this frigid weather.

We’re gearing up for the Virginia Legislative session and keeping track of the unbelievable amount  of bills that are dropping daily. As they say, our rights are only safe when the legislature is not is session. We’ll be headed to Richmond on Lobby Day next Monday. Lobby Day is a great day to meet up with your representatives and let them know what matters to you. That’s something Bernie and I try to do year round, but it’s nice to show up in Richmond as the session starts and let them know we’re still around. If you plan to be there, look us up!

Bee Free,

Penny

Huh?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Based on your emails, and a comment from Bernie, I guess I need to clarify a few things.

 

We have not yet seen the puppies we adopted. They are actually about 235 miles away from us right now, in Southern Virginia. The pictures I posted were from the Pet Finder website. Betty Sue, from Our Critters, tells us the puppies are even cuter in person. I am not sure that is at all possible. Lordy, those babies are just adorable.

 

The All Good Dogs Go To Heaven post was about TC, who was my parent’s Dashund. The picture is of my mom holding him. TC had been with my parents since he was a baby, and it has been incredibly difficult for them since he passed. On the up side, they are also using Pet Finder to locate another Dashund. They know they will never replace TC, but they are lonely without a little buddy running around. I’m happy they are looking into a rescued pup.

 

And finally, Bernie took offense at my post about his cooking. He feels I portrayed him as incapable of cooking. Nothing could be further from the truth. And certainly I can not live with his pouting over my remarks on a daily basis, so I am going to apologize for offending him, clarify what I meant, and try not to piss him off again while I’m doing it.

 

Bernie CAN cook. He really can. And he has cooked many meals for me. Great meals. He also cooked for himself while I was visiting my parents for Christmas. Seriously. Not just eggs and bacon, he cooked a meat loaf.  With deer meat. From scratch. He saved some for me and it was delicious.

 

Here’s the deal: Bernie can cook if he has a recipe. If I tell him exactly how to make something, he can make it. And he does a fine job of it. For me, cooking rarely involves a recipe. It involves a little of this and a little of that. I have NO QUESTION that Bernie can cook, and if he did it regularly, he would do it creatively with no recipe at all (hint,hint). Now he CAN cook a mean scalloped potato caserole and he made that recipe up all by himself. And it’s good. Really good. So I apologize, Bernie. And I love you. What’s for supper?

 

Now I’m going to post some more pictures of polymer clay eggs. I made them this weekend. I hope I don’t have to clarify anything about this….. 

 

 

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We’re staying busy on the homestead and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our puppies. Bernie went for groceries today and returned with six toys for them. I don’t think they have any idea what a wonderful home they have waiting for them. I can’t wait until they see for themselves!

 

Bee Free,

Penny

We’re Expecting!

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Bernie and I are adopting siblings – a little boy and a little girl. They are seven weeks old. In two weeks, we will pick them up. It’s a big step, but one we feel we are ready for.

Introducing, our little bundles of joy:

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Are they not just hopelessly adorable? The white one is the male and the brown one is the female. They are German Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute mix. We’ve been searching for the perfect dogs for our situation, and I know we have found them. We found them using Pet Finder. If you are looking for the perfect pet, check them out! Betty Sue from Our Critters in Ararat, Virginia is caring for these babies right now, and that’s from whom we are adopting them. Yay Betty Sue! What a great service.

The babies won’t be eight weeks old and ready to leave mama until next weekend. Unfortunately, we are out of town next weekend. Betty Sue has agreed to hold them for us until the following weekend – January 24. I just hope I can sleep between now and then. I simply can not wait! Bernie’s pretty darn excited, too. In fact, it was Bernie that looked at their pictures and immediately said I should check to see if they are still available. He’s such a sucker for a pretty face.

We’re going to start working with the puppies right away to make sure they get along with Elvis, Priscilla, and the chickens. I imagine Bernie will keep these puppies at his side most of the day as he works around the property. I’m OK with that, but I can’t help but hope that maybe, just maybe, one will be a mama’s girl and want to hang out inside with me in my office while I’m working during the week. Elvis and Priscilla may have different thoughts on that, though. Especially Elvis. He “goes to work” with me each morning and situates himself right next to my keyboard as I log in for the day.

OK. OK. Enough baby talk. I just thought you’d like to hear me talk about something other than turning ffff, ffff, ffff, um, another year older. Hey – maybe turning half a century isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Bee Free,
Penny

The Day After

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Thank you for all the phone calls, emails, and comments to wish me a happy birthday. It was really nice and I appreciate every one of them. In the case of Julie, all three of them – the phone call, email, and comment on the blog. I guess I deserved it for taking such joy in her BIG FIVE OH birthday. But geez. Talk about bitter…..

 

I had a nice birthday. Other than a couple of rude and uncalled for comments, Bernie was sweet. The night before he asked me to set the alarm early for him so he could have enough time to get in 50 spankings. He took me to my favorite burger joint for lunch, and threatened to ask for a senior discount for me. Other than that, he was especially sweet and made sure I had a great birthday.

 

Today was a kind of lazy day for us. We slept in until Elvis decided we had slept long enough and started yowling for breakfast at 6:30AM.  I got up, fed him and Priscilla, made some coffee, got a fire going in the wood burner, and then sat in my chair and wondered why turning 50 had bothered me so much. I think it’s because I still feel so young. I really don’t feel, nor act, like a “grown up”. I pout. I cry when I get a splinter. I talk to chickens. I play in kiddie pools with my great neices and nephews. I even dance naked in the yard when Bernie has his friend take him up in an airplane to survey our property. Ooops. Maybe that’s too much information.

 

I guess the point is, I am not old DAMMIT! And I don’t appreciate a big fat honking number making me feel like I am old! I think I’ll take my mother-in-law’s advice. I’m just going to pick a freaking number and say that’s my age. And it won’t be as dad gum big as the number I turned on January the 9th at 12:20AM. I just need to coordinate with her and make sure my number isn’t bigger than hers. We need to have some credibility, after all.

 

Today we have ice. Again. Everything has a big, fat layer of ice on it. Other than collecting wood and checking on chickens, we spent the entire day inside. Sometimes it amazes me that I can spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no one other than my husband – and still love every minute of it. It doesn’t hurt that he is just as crazy as I am. Here is a typical Saturday conversation between us:

 

Him: What’s for supper?

Me: I don’t know. What do you want?

Him: I don’t care. Whatever you fix.

Me: How about meat loaf?

Him: I’m not feeling very meat loafy.

Me: How about stew?

Him: Hmmmm. I’m not feeling very stewy.

Me: Well, what are you feeling like?

Him: I was thinking about tacos.

Me: Well why the heck didn’t you say that in the first place?

Him: I thought maybe you had something else in mind.

Me: I’m not even hungry. Are you really hungry?

Him: I think I’m getting hungry. How about I make supper tonight? I’ll make the tacos.

Me: You don’t cook.

Him: Yes I do.

Me: You cook eggs. All you can cook is eggs.

Him: I can cook bacon. And sausage. Don’t forget how I can cook sausage.

Me: Well eggs, bacon, and sausage have nothing to do with tacos.

Him: If I can cook eggs, bacon, and sausage, I can cook anything. I’ll make the tacos. If you’ll help me.

 

So we go into the kitchen and other than browning the meat, I end up cooking supper. And then Bernie says “I made a pretty good supper, didn’t I?”.

 

“Yes you did honey, thank you.”

 

“I told you I could cook.”

 

Honestly. I’m losing ground here.

 

Bee Free,
Penny

The Big-Five-Uh-Oh

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

 

Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s the first birthday I’ve ever had that involved a number I simply could not bring myself to say out loud. Oh, I’ve had NO problem saying the number when someone ELSE reached it. For example, when my cousin, Julie, hit that magic number a LONG time before me, I remember telling her “Happy Birthday. You’re 50!” and then rolling on the floor with laughter. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I had no problem whatsoever saying that number at that time.

 

But now that I’M facing down that number, well…. I frankly don’t see the humor in it. I mean what the heck is so funny about being a half a century year old? What kind of a jerk would find that funny?

 

I’ve been dreading this all year. I’ll actually be happy to get there and get it over with.

 

I know, I know. Many of you have faced it before me. And you’re still around to talk about it. Good for you. But this is me I’m talking about here. And I’m not used to that big, scary number. So have some compassion will ya?

 

They say 50 (gulp, I SAID it!) is the new 30. Well, considering I still act like I’m 12, that’s small comfort.

 

I’ll post again in the next few days. If I can remember . And if I can still get out of the bed. You young whipper snapper, you!

 

Bee free,
Penny

All Good Dogs Go to Heaven

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

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You were a good boy, T.C.  I hear you’ll get a bowl of cereal each night for a bed-time snack. I bet you get a king sized bed.  And I imagine they’ll put you in the choir. You always did sing better than Daddy.

 

You’re a tough boy, T.C. And we miss you.