Monthly Archives: September 2014

Daily Drama 18

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Daily Drama 18

Now that Stacy’s Funny Farm is an official non-profit organization, the high school will send students over to fulfill their community service requirements. So the Funny Farm had its first volunteer today! She was great, but Dobby was suspicious. I loaned her Becky’s old mud boots and I think he thought she was trying something sneaky. We had fun cleaning the guinea pig cage instead. I’m hoping she decides to come back next week!

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Dobby gets pouffy for hens but not volunteers.

This is what pouffy looks like, closer up.

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Pouffy!

Rusty wanted to say hello. When are her babies going to come out? They must be huge- she’s been nursing forever.

 

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Yo! Got peanuts?

 

Waiting for The Prince to make up his mind. Are we going to the front yard or not?

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I’ll get back to you on that.

Standing under a spider while I wait.

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Spider Season

Finally in the front yard. I set up a new nose tickler for him.

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It’s a success.

The old mailboxes made a nice nose-tickle station.

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That’s a plastic grapevine dangling at morrillo height.

Almost 1-1/2″ of rain since yesterday. (About 3.5 cm) That’s soggy grass.

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Munch munch munch

See you again soon.

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Daily Drama 17

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Daily Drama 17

I forgot to mention the excitement in the car on my way to the feed store on Friday. It’s spider season here, and the Orb-weaver spider webs are suspended across every conceivable walkway outside. Hobo spiders are all over the place inside. Maybe they are just Giant House Spiders.

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Anyway, I got in the car, started driving to the feed store. I felt a tickle on my cheek, brushed at it and UGH! Brushed a pea-sized thing onto the floor of the car by my legs! Fortunately I noticed that the truck in front of me was braking for a traffic signal and stopped. And I stopped. I picked a sturdy plastic windshield ice scraper out of the door pocket, making an executive decision not to save this spider and toss him out the door. Not having a jar and an index card handy, I just didn’t feel I could nab him efficiently. After about 25 swipes with the windshield scraper, I finally felt his little abdomen crush, and looked down to verify the murder. I’m usually not this cruel, but at that moment, the traffic signal changed and traffic started up again. I was awfully glad the face-kissing spider was dispatched. The nerve of him!

As I started to drive again, I glanced to the passenger seat where an identical spider made his/her way to the edge and dropped onto the floor. So how many were there in the car? I opened all the windows, just in case that one was trying to escape the murderess with the deadly ice scraper, but I never saw another. Searched the car while I was at the feed store, but there was no sign of spider #2.

Let us hope that is the end of the story, okay?

 

Daily Drama 16

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Daily Drama 16

There has been so much drama lately that I haven’t had time to write about it! School has started again, and with it my 4th year volunteering in a 6th grade class. I’m fortunate to have the time to help out there. We’ve had some drama here at the Funny Farm, though. Never a dull moment!

 

There are three Highbush Cranberry bushes, berrying away behind Dobby in this photo.

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Hi, Dob! Cranberries!

I’ve picked most of these blueberries, but I have several bushes producing. Dobby eats the bushes, but not the blueberries. Sigh. And, sadly my tomatoes look just like this, but green. Yep, about this size. Oh well. There are a couple that turned red, but they’re pretty intense. And now a huge branch is on the ground.

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Blueberries as big as tomatoes!

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Tomatoes as big as blueberries!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planted a pot of bamboo in the back yard for Dobby and surrounded it with protective fencing so it can establish. Good luck with that.

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This bamboo is mine, right?

We’re starting to get some visitors to Dobby’s pool. I have mixed feelings about having a flock of mallards spending the day in Dobby’s pool, but they are shy and don’t usually stay long.

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About six mallards, I think.

The drakes are getting along nicely these days, and the bully pen is closed for the season.

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Vinny, Sal, Tony (behind Sal), Boxcar, Boondock, Fabio, Shamrock, Emilio, and the tomcats Kitty Hawk and Grover.

Why is Dobby so pouffy?

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I think everyone knows.

Does everyone know about this trick? There is a rumor out that capybaras poop in water, but in fact, adult capybaras go on hard ground. Dobby gets inspired when I clean his up, and loves to go directly into my dustpan!

 

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How special is this?

You might think I am exaggerating his obsession with poop, but I assure you that I am not.

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Just reporting the facts, ma’am.

Speaking of facts, this is the quantity that I clean up every morning, including the more current embellishment. There will be another dustpan this full by the end of the day.

 

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Quality AND Quantity!

Not to change the subject or anything. This is a typical load from the Feed Store. The back seat is down, too, and there is a pile this big further back. So double what you see here.

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There are two of those big bales of white shavings in there, by the way.

I thought this “chicken toy” was optimistic. My hens would be bored with that in a minute. I know some sad little guinea pigs that will like it, though.

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Stuffed it with hay and kept the guinea pigs busy for quite a while!

Finally, the day was ruined by Facebook bots. They deleted Dobby’s “Prince Dobalob”profile. Again. People are suggesting a page, but he has had a page since the deletion last April. I guess nobody sees the pages. Which is why I keep making profiles.

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Here’s mud in your eye, Farcebook!

You want to see that again?

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MUD. In. Your. Eye.

Goodbye Ziggy

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Goodbye Ziggy

One week ago I held Ziggy for the last time. It has been a summer of sadness, with many losses, both pets and humans. With each new loss, it feels as if I lose the others all over again. It occurs to me that while my little sanctuary is made up of all ages of homeless pets, more often these are older pets. Because of the different ways these homeless pets find their way to the Funny Farm, sometimes I have no idea how old a pet is until I see the walk, the stiffness, the hesitation and the slowing down that I feel in myself, now, as I age. I recognize the signs. So it was with Ziggy this past year. I could see a bit of weight loss, a few stray gray hairs, the little trot not quite as sprightly. And now he is gone.

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Farewell, sweet Ziggy!

Some pets come to me as if by magic. Others I seek out. My little female guinea pig Jette was alone, her auntie having passed on, and I located Ziggy at a small rescue north of here. (There were two males and I often wonder what happened to the one I passed over.) Ziggy came home, got neutered, and went to live with Jette. She was in a long narrow cage, two cages, really, end-to-end, and she could really catch air in there! Recently, a very large guinea pig had arrived and grown and grown and grown and was now spending a lot of time outside that cage.

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Jette and Ziggy and The Biggest Guinea Pig Ever!

Ziggy was quite athletic in those days. He spent a lot of time on top of his huts and roared back and forth in the long, long cage. I made him a suspended hay rack out of the leg of a pair of blue jeans. He liked it best once the hay was gone- he’d take a running leap up into the blue-jean tunnel and loll about up in there for hours. The “missing guinea pig” could be located by poking at the pudgy bulge in the tunnel. “Yep, he’s in there!”

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The blue-jean tunnel can be seen to the right. Ziggy isn’t in there, he’s in the hut to the left. Another photobomb by Dobby.

Ziggy and Jette had some very good times. This was a photoshoot for a Papua Piig halloween mask contest.

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Always the snacks. That’s Jette under the mask.

Ziggy was less cooperative than Jette.

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See, I can knock it off just by tossing my head!

Here is Jette and Ziggy looking at the fancy sweatshirt that was the prize for the mask contest. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they weren’t really the winners. The Great Big Guinea Pig actually won.

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Winners!

Ziggy thought nothing of hopping up into a food basket. He had just enough long, long fur to make his bum look big and round. But not enough of it to create an inconvenient grooming obstacle.

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Shaped like a baseball.

Jette and Ziggy lived together happily for a couple of years.

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Happy Hanukkah!

Alas, not long after Hanukkah, Jette succumbed to one of her many respiratory problems and then Ziggy was alone. He began to taunt the Great Big Guinea Pig in the kitchen, and Dobby in turn began to click and stomp and let everyone know about the annoying little rodent in the intrusive cage in his kitchen.

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Ziggy

Situations change quickly at the Funny Farm. Before you could say “poor lonely Ziggy,” I had agreed to provide sanctuary for two male guinea pigs, and a second pair came as fosters. Suddenly I had 5 male guinea pigs and The Dude Ranch was founded!

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Little Ziggy spent lots of floor time with the others.

It was a lengthy process, but eventually they all got along well enough OUT of the cage, to be put INTO the cage. I have learned never to rush that process: not with guinea pigs, not with rabbits, chickens, and never with ducks.

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Getting acquainted- floor time on neutral territory

And then they were five.

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That’s Ziggy in the foreground, then Stevie Ray, Ankhsheshonq, Frederick of Hollywood, and then Carl Sagan around the corner, just out of sight.

The Dude Ranch was the perfect environment for a widower pig. Ziggy loved to be held and petted. Visitors would reach toward the cage and the guinea pigs would scatter, diving into huts and pigloos. All except Ziggy, who came near to be touched. He was a trusting and confident pig, reliably pettable for small children. He was always my first choice for toenail clipping night. Might as well start with the easy one!

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Ziggy snacks on cucumber.

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Ziggy sits on broccoli.

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Ziggy, still eating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ziggy is centrally located at the feed trough.

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L to R: Stevie Ray, Frederick of Hollywood, Ziggy, Carl Sagan, and Ankhsheshonq

Yes, in fact they are constantly eating. Why do you ask?

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Sharing lettuce and cilantro with Stevie Ray

Alas, summer sadness struck The Dude Ranch. One of the foster brothers, Ankhsheshonq, died suddenly. His brother Carl, who is healthy (other than needing eyedrops for cataracts) will be 7 years old in October. A very respectable old age for a guinea pig. I noted the fragility of little Ziggy, the guinea pig for whom I knew no birthdate, no age. He continued to join the stampede at the food trough, though. Until he didn’t.

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L to R: Steve, Ziggy, Fred, and Carl

He spent a very quiet last day in my arms. He said goodbye to his friends, he drank a little water, but his time here was done. And The Dude Ranch is now three. They are subdued, but their friendship is strong, and the snacks keep coming.

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The Graveyard

It’s tough to be a sanctuary sometimes. So many homeless pets come here to live . . . and then to die. It’s what I do. I take in homeless pets. I can only take a few, but when they come here, they come home to stay. Until they leave.

 

Daily Drama 15

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Another big branch fell through the aviary “roof.” The top of a birch tree is dead and rotten and, I guess, on the way down. In the photo below, you can see the apple tree, then the dead top of the birch, then some live birch, and finally, at the right, the remaining half of the maple tree I “trimmed” last spring. I spend a lot of time looking up, now.

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Death of a Tree

Dobby has been enjoying our sunny days.

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Corn tastes best when you are standing in the sun.

Dobby didn’t seem too inclined to go to the front yard yesterday.

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Can’t you see I’m in the bathroom?

He went around to the gate, anyway, though.

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Just a minute, I’m busy marking this tarp with my morrillo!

Then he stalled.

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Just a minute while I eat this grass!

He’s usually pretty efficient about getting his harness on because he likes to go to the front yard.

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On second thought, can we go later? I’m not really in the mood right now.

Fine. We’ll go back and see what the chickens are up to.

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Up was the right word!

Madonna and Jello are un-planting pots. I’ve never caught Jello in those planters before, but now I know it might not be the squirrels who have dug the dirt out of those.

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Get down from there, Jello!

I guess I need to put some protective screens on those planters.

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Get ALL THE WAY DOWN, Jello!

Speaking of protective screens, let’s check on my fancy rattoon.  A rattoon is a sprouted root of sugar cane that can grow into a new plant. In Brazil, they grow sugar can to feed the cattle. It looks like gigantic grass. Not surprisingly, capybaras are fond of it, too.

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The protective screen around Dobby’s rattoon.

I bought this one to grow for Dobby. However, the squirrels think it is for them. They gnawed off the top leaves and severed the stem.

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Dang it, you naughty squirrels!

Might as well feed it to the Dobster!

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Munch munch munch.

Here’s a video of Dobby eating his sugar cane. I love the way it goes in magically. He eats like a guinea pig! You can even see his little tongue in this video. It’s the only thing about dobby that is small!