Monthly Archives: October 2014

Daily Drama 21

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Daily Drama 21

The Funny Farm volunteers are getting more involved with animal care. It certainly works out well for the guinea pigs. Kim has brought Carl into the kitchen for an extra treat!

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Kim and Carl Sagan

Jillian now knows how fun it is to trim guinea pig toenails! I’m sure she’s really looking forward to next time, but is grateful that these boys don’t need “boar cleaning.”

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Jillian and Stevie Ray

Stevie Ray has fur that needs special, but gentle care. We even trimmed him with special scissors designed for finicky cats. If I keep it shorter, “things” don’t get caught up in it.

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“I thought Frederick of Hollywood was my stylist! Who is this?”

Two years ago, when I first groomed Stevie Ray, he was furious. He chattered, spun and scratched with his back feet, and lunged for my throat. He’s calmed down quite a bit since then, and now it’s like grooming a normal angry guinea pig. We escaped without even minor flesh wounds.

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Two years ago, Stevie Ray would have jumped clean out of that box and off the table.

Nobody can go into The Dude Ranch room without feeding the guinea pigs. They make the rules, but they had to wait until after they were groomed.

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Treat time is ALL THE TIME!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luna Dovegood

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There is a new bird in the kitchen!

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The green cage on the far right is the newest addition to The Peanut Gallery

Dobby saw her immediately. She is in his territory and he disapproves.

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“Nobody asked ME!”

Luna’s family is moving, but she is handicapped and the other birds started to pick on her, so she came to live at The Funny Farm.

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She has started to exercise her wings in her new cage.

Luna can’t fly, and her beak needs periodic trimming, but she can hop up to her perches. My dove Pirate (dark red cage to the left) can fly, but she can’t walk. We’re hoping they will become friends. If they want to share a cage, I’ll get a bigger cage for them.

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“If I close my eyes and wish really, really hard, maybe she’ll disappear. Why do we need more birds around here?”

In the evening, after “everyone” is through going in and out of the kitchen door, the bird cage doors open and they come out to play. Luna and Pirate will alternate evenings until I am certain they will get along.

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Luna can hop up to those perches just fine.

She’s a friendly bird, and loves popcorn! She likes the mirrors I have given her, and coos to them.

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Luna is quite sociable.

We don’t know why her beak grows this way, but I’ll have to keep it trimmed.

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I’ve had to trim beaks on a couple quail, and a hen, too.

She seems a little lonely for her old family, but her new flock is noisy and happy and hard to ignore.

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Popcorn, please!

I think she’ll be a fun addition to The Funny Farm!

Daily Drama 20

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My Saturday volunteer, Kim, started with a fun job: filling this new guinea pig toy with grass.

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Give me that!

It is suspended over their cage from a bird feeder hanger that clamps to the table.

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It is a very popular toy!

That took about two minutes and then I hauled her out to the rabbit pen. Wiley Wabbit is STILL sneezing, over a month after the vet checked his lungs. I decided it was time to clean the pen and throw away that old dusty rug.

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Bonnie Bunny (black) and Wiley Wabbit (gray) and the dusty rug.

We hauled everything out and Kim swept out the hay and dust bunnies.

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Kim and one of the piles of hay she swept out.

For obvious reasons, Dobby was fenced off of the deck. The rabbits were able to come and go, and they high-tailed it for the garden.

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“But I want to help!”

The rabbit pen was full of dusty things. Some favorite older boxes had to be thrown out and were replaced with nearly identical boxes, un-chewed and un-dusty.

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It’s a big pen with a lot of stuff.

We threw out a couple Giant House Spiders, too.  He’s about 1-1/2″ across, wish I had put a penny down for scale.

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Bigass Spider

Dobby really wanted to help. Help, in this case, means “mess around with the rabbit stuff.” He’s not allowed in their cage anymore. He used to fit, but he’s so darned big, now. And his feet aren’t always clean. And he . . . I’ll just stop here, okay?

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Not for Dobby!

It’s a pretty big pen for two bunnies. They get “garden time” every afternoon, when the ducks and Guard Geese are out.

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Kim swept and then vacuumed.

Not yet, Dobby!

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Waiting patiently

I even took down the curtains and washed them.

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Curtains in the rabbit cage is part of what makes this Farm Funny.

Then I moved all the food and boxes back in, and hung the clean curtains back up.

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The door on the right makes a nifty tunnel, helps shade in summer, and blocks the winter weather, too.

I haven’t hear Wiley Wabbit sneezing since. He’s been here seven years since he was picked up downtown- an urban feral rabbit. He’s very friendly, so no doubt an escaped pet. He had been visiting homes in the neighborhood for several months but no one claimed him.

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Wiley loves his litter box.

In other news, the Great Blue Heron is back. Dobby’s swimming pool is deep enough to keep the fish safe. The smart ones that remember to dive, that is.

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Don’t eat my goldfish!

One more wild visitor: the mole! He pushed up a crazy tunnel in the grass. I’d love to see him in action!

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He failed the sobriety test.

Daily Drama 19 (Tree Time)

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Daily Drama 19 (Tree Time)

The trees at The Funny Farm have been misbehaving. Actually, they have a disease that is causing the upper branches to die and break off. You can see what this does to my aviary top netting in Daily Drama 13.

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There shouldn’t be big bare twigs at the top of those trees.

There are some band-tailed pigeons that like to perch up there, though.

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I can’t get them to come to my bird feeders, though.

Dobby wants to tell part of the story.

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It’s not me. The crows chase away the pigeons.

A LOT of branches have been falling, though they don’t all make holes when they fall.

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We’re not talking about little twigs, here.

The other problem is that raccoons like to enter the aviary through holes that open at the net where the birch tree trunks go through. I have patched holes, and then patched the patches for a dozen years. Now there are so many layers of chicken wire that the leaves and small twigs pile up and hold water. The wire rusts through, and it is no longer possible to determine whether the aviary is secure at the tree trunk area.

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The patched area shows as a dark zig-zag that looks like a swarm of bees in this photo.

Because repairing the net means exposing a large area to predators, the work must be completed in one day, secured before dusk. We recruited our neighbor, Connor, to help tackle the chore. His experience with tree trimming prompted him to immediately recommend taking out the smaller of the three birch trees. It was actually a very low, large branch. That would never have occurred to us. He cut the tree branch and pulled it into the aviary through the hole opened up for the repair. Now we only had to patch around the two larger trees.

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Get in our way and we will cut you down!

By the time the tree was pulled into the aviary, most of the spiders were out of the way.

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The spiders are huge this year.

Dobby wanted to rub his morrillo on the branches, but I sent the flock out to play in the yard with him instead.

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Jello the daredevil chicken stayed in for a while. All the bugs coming down were too tempting.

Here are the two trees that grow through the aviary netting. It isn’t easy to secure the “roof” around them. You can see the chickenwire cylinders we attached. We’ll connect the roof to the chickenwire. You can also see Connor’s rope . . . and just make out Connor way up there.

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Raccoon highways into the aviary, unless the net is secure.

Connor’s second brilliant suggestion was to remove as many dead branches as possible. BEFORE they crash through the net. WHILE the access hole is still open. That’s why he climbed up into the tree.

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Dobby wants to remind everyone that Connor has been up in our trees before. He did some major trimming in spring, and now the rotten maple doesn’t hang OVER THE HOUSE any more.

Everybody moved out from under Connor’s work area, even though he was actually working with a net. Spiders.

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Cutting and yanking branches, tossing them over his shoulder into the open hole in the net below.

Don’t forget about Dobby’s corn time! He likes to take his corn off this table. If we put it on the ground, he walks away until we put it on the table for him.

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“Corn on the table, Dobby!”

More cut, yank, and toss.

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That’s a LOT of dead wood. The trees will probably die, eventually. I won’t spray them over a wetland.

Almost done. Each falling branch would have required a prompt removal and net repair, some random, inconvenient time this winter.

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Preventative maintenance

Grover hid in the aviary, but Kitty Hawk came out and Dobby hung out with him on the deck.

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Dobby doesn’t always chase him. It’s more fun to be spontaneous.

If you look at the earlier photos, you will see how much dead wood Connor managed to remove. There’s still more, but he got the big stuff.

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Not enough time before dark to get all of the dead wood.

Dobby and Kitty Hawk were underfoot. This is why none of us were IN the aviary during the tree work.

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Butt. Other end is probably chewing the top off my boots.

Compared to the tree trimming, the actual net repair went quickly with three people. This time we used 2″x 2″ wire mesh. It is big enough to let small leaves and snow fall through, but too small and too stout for raccoons to get through. It’s also flexible enough to give a little when the trees blow around in strong wind. I love cable ties, but we used a lot of wire, too.

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Raccoon-resistant, because I am not foolish enough to believe that ANYTHING is raccoon-proof.

Dobby is ready to go to the front yard, now. In this photo, and in real time, too. I need to finish my story and go outside with him.

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Waiting patiently

The trees are a beautiful sight, now, knowing that dead wood is down.

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Winky says hello, and why haven’t I mentioned her, not even once? Okay, look for Winky. She’s BROWN.

The old netting we took out? The garbage crew didn’t take it. Wonder why . . .

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Really ugly stuff. We went over the ground with a magnet to pick up bits of wire, too.

Okay, Dobby, I’m coming. But first, look at the leftover wire. We call that “cutting it close.”

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That’s not much spare wire, but we’ll never need to patch it again, right?