Monthly Archives: January 2015

Daily Drama 33

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Daily Drama 33

The biggest thing going on around here is Georgia Dee’s Gift Shop. I inherited my Mom’s jewelry inventory and after a decade of hoarding it, I realized there are some pieces I have never worn. I keep hauling out shoeboxes and finding more nice items. Check out the gift shop before all the good stuff is gone and I start uploading my ashtray collection. All proceeds benefit The Funny Farm.

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Next door to the Gift Shop, my volunteer, Jillian is helping me track the weight of The Dudes.

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First, you have to grab one.

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It’s harder than it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jillian has long arms, so she can reach them easier than I can. Plus, I have to take the photos!

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She got Carl and we weighed him.

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The pigloos are full of guinea pigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you notice the new wall hangings? I just have soft things hanging over their cage. Earthquakes, you know.

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This should be easy.

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Fred has decided not to be weighed today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She really did get Fred, I was just teasing. He is fast, though!

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Fine, we’ll get Stevie Ray.

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Putting them back is easy.

The other indoor project is the New Cages For The Kitchen project. Now that I have two handicapped doves indoors, I need a larger cage. That’s the doves on the left in red and green cages.

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BEFORE

The new cage is big and fits perfectly into the same space. Pirate can’t walk or land, so she has a couple hammocks and some wide ledges. Luna can’t fly, so she has ramps up to the ledges so she can go UP, where a bird belongs. They have only been in the cage a couple days but are adjusting quickly.

I have a new cage for the right side, too. I will divide it horizontally so my elderly cockatiels can have the top. Jorge is old and feeble and I have seen him fall once. It’s time to reduce the altitude in his cage. AND, they won’t be able to see the annoying little budgie, Spike, who will have the basement apartment. (Note the white curtain that hangs between Spike and the doves.) Because it is horizontal, he will actually be able to fly across the cage. If he behaves and I don’t have to keep clipping his wings. There’s one in every crowd isn’t there? The new cage will also mean that the pink Dobby-chewed fabric that is so tatty looking will go away.

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AFTER

Luna the dove saw the vet today because her bad wing is giving her problems. Even an x-ray won’t show us exactly what is going on, and surgery is dangerous and expensive. She is not in any pain, so it’s a wait-and-see situation. She loves the ramps in her new cage, and the two girls love sharing a cage. They are also uncaged every night, as they all are, and as long as Spike spends the evening with me, away from the rest of them, everybody is happy. He’s such a bully.

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Lula is in the infirmary.

The vet also saw Lula. Her symptoms are vague but she is slowly pulling out of this round of the blahs. She’s been up and down with this business since about May, and sometimes she’s just perfectly fine, laying eggs and all.

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Wait a minute! Who is that in the infirmary with her? KITTY HAWK!

We’re going to see if Metacam will help her.

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GROVER! You’re in there, too? Well, she isn’t lonely, anyway.

Here’s little Carmen Miranda. She is always right by my side and so is the first to discover the worms under Dobby’s hot tub.

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Worm soup.

Romeo prefers Dobby’s swimming pool.

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Stand back! That’s cold water!

After I take the photos, the Muscovies are inspired to groom. They are supposed to do that BEFORE the photo shoot.

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Romeo

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Carmen Miranda

Don’t I have three Muscovies? WINKY! Dang it! Where is she? Sorry, gotta go!

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Dobby’s Drama

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Dobby seems to create his own drama. He is a real baby about his harness, and can’t handle it at all when his leg gets through the wrong hole. This happens fairly regularly, always with the same result: like a wounded animal he skulks off to his home territory — the back yard — always looking over his shoulder for predators.

I’m a little embarrassed about this, actually.

Head on over to Dobby’s website to see the video!
Dobby’s Drama.

Daily Drama 32 – Winky, the Wild Wayward Wanderer

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Daily Drama 32 – Winky, the Wild Wayward Wanderer

Meet Winky the duck. She is a born hatched troublemaker.

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“Hello, can I get some help here? The swimming pool seems to be frozen.”

Winky is a Muscovy duck. Muscovies are commonly found in warmer climates, like South America or Florida. Except that she is a domestic duck, not a wild duck. And much less able to tolerate the low temperatures that Mallard-derived domestic ducks are bred for.

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When Winky’s feathers get wet, she swims like a fully laden cargo ship.

The most recent incoming duck is a new Muscovy hen, Carmen Miranda. Carmen is a very poised and attractive young duck and has been popular with the flock because her manners are so lovely.

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Norman is already very protective of Carmen, and is still wary of Winky.

Winky has been hell on wheels since she was hatched here at The Funny Farm. We don’t breed here, but Muscovy nests are deep. This time, I failed to locate one of the subterranean eggs, so Winky’s mom, Cocoa, was sitting on a dozen golf balls and one duck egg.

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Cocoa on her nest before Winky exploded upon the scene.

Poor Winky, her Mom was horrified when a duckling emerged from the pile of toasty warm golf balls. Sometimes, a duckling will be taken in by a hen, but not this time. Even Winky’s two auntie ducks rejected her.

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Winky came into the kitchen.

Winky was strong and hungry and grew quickly.

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Baby Winky

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Winky, so innocent

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Winky moved to the (Dobby) bathtub and even took over Dobby’s potty bowl.

It is kind of fun having a duck in the house, and for a while I thought it would be fun to raise her indoors as a companion for Dobby.

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She has always been bold.

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She LOOKS like a good “house-duck” type.

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Winky took over Dobby’s area when he went out for the night. She loved his white rabbit rugs, too!

Dobby loved sharing his milk with her and loved having a little pet. But one day she pecked his eye. I was so stunned — and so was he! —  that she pecked it twice before I yanked her out of there!

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Pouffy about Winky

Winky moved outdoors but she was so aggressive I had to pen her up when the other ducks were in the yard. Adult ducks are usually fairly tolerant of ducklings, but she was really obnoxious. She would run around harassing the flock, and I was afraid they would hurt her.

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Yes, she is in this cage to protect those huge ducks!

She grew up big and strong, and the duck population here has learned to tolerate Winky. She is still very feisty, though, and everyone pretty much avoids her, even Romeo, my Muscovy drake. In fact, the tomcats even steer clear of her. Norman the Goose is agitated at dusk if his flock doesn’t return to the aviary. He paces until they follow him in. Norman ignores Winky, though. She is always the last to return to the aviary at dusk: If Winky has returned to roost, I know everyone else is there.

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Winky grooming last winter in the snow

This year has had a lot of unpleasant freezing temperatures, and none of the ducks like it. The grass is gone, the worms are hibernating deep down, the ground is frozen most of the time. The distant sun isn’t up long enough to thaw it.

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“Excuse me, but my pond is frozen.”

The last straw seems to have been the addition of the new duck, sweet Carmen Miranda. Compared to Carmen’s nice manners and flirtatious crest flaring, it is clear why rambunctious loner Winky is less tolerated by the flock. Frankly, I don’t think she cares.

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Winky, left                    Carmen Miranda, right

I take full responsibility for what happened next, for I clipped Carmen’s wings when she arrived. I did not clip Winky, who had shown little inclination to fly or flee. Friday, as I stood in the back yard, the sky was momentarily darkened as a gigantic brown bird flew overhead. Dang. Winky had flown from the rooftop of the house to my west (when had she flown up there?) clean over the top of my house and beyond. I ran to the front yard, but she had flown next door, to the pond Dobby is so fond of gazing at.

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Saturday

She had a lovely day out there with her Mallard friends, and then they flew away at dusk, leaving her alone and vulnerable. I know this pond, I know this duck, and chances of catching here were slim. Most likely, she would fly further away from home, and this way I could watch out for her.

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Where is that undo button? Why didn’t I clip her wings? Same reason why her egg hatched.

I’m looking through the fence at her here, from Dobby’s favorite pond gazing spot. There are ten acres next door, about half is wetlands, creeks, and this spring fed pond.

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Sunday

Monday morning, she was in my back yard, waiting outside the gate to be let back into the aviary. As predicted. I clipped her wings, and she scurried away to check out her favorite dabbling plots, and to raise a little hell with the resident ducks, hens, geese, and cats.

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Winky runs away as Romeo watches.

We’re all lucky that raccoons or coyotes didn’t get her. Her mother and two aunties all flew off the same way and returned, so I had some confidence she would be okay for a day or two. And that she would eventually get hungry and come home. It’s not going to happen again, though. I’m going to keep her clipped!

Daily Drama 31

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Daily Drama 31
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The duck pool keeps freezing. I use hot water to melt the edge for them.

We skipped autumn and careened directly into winter, starting with a deep freeze in October followed by another in early November. Now that it is actually winter, we are freezing again, down to 22ºf (-5ºc) again last night. This is supposed to be a mild climate. In previous years, temperatures might dip down to 26ºf for a night or two, once a year. This year, we have gone into the lower twenties, three times already, for four or five nights in a row. And yet, it was one of the warmest Decembers recorded. We just set a new record for high pressure. Extremes are now the norm.

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Dr. Pepper, is that you in there?

This is the third time the turtle tank has frozen. I always glance in there, anyway, and today I was shocked to see someone looking back at me!

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It could be Quasimodo. Hard to tell through an inch of ice.

It is hard to keep duck water clean, and valved waterers clog easily (and then run) when ducks load them up with rocks and gravel, not to mention mud. I find it is easier to leave a hose on trickle and the water self-cleans. Not the most efficient system, but it also keeps the system from freezing, down to about 20ºf. Below that and the ducks have to worry a little drinking hole open. I have seen them take turns keeping it open. The big duck pool also has a hose dripping into it, and in that duck pool photo, Norman is standing at the overflow.

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And such an attractive setup, too! Note the black corrugated capybara protection device over one of the live lines.

The cats love their barn and heated kennel pads. Hawk is always under foot, but Grover is getting more friendly, now. He has initiated a Good Morning Nose-Bump with me. He is incredibly shy.

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Get out of the way, Kitty Hawk!

I take warm water out to the dove cage, fill a couple bowls (their waterer is frozen out of commission), dump the shallow purple bath and fill it. I’ve seen a half dozen of them in there at once, but not when I have my camera out. You can see the previous days’ frozen water outside the cage. Stashing the frozen bits where they don’t impeded access, create a hazard for duck feet, and melt quickly takes experience.

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Kitty Hawk, go away.

I have a hen and dove sharing an infirmary cage, and today, Kitty Hawk leapt over my shoulder to gain access while I was cleaning their water. He has been especially crazy lately. He likes me to take him for a little walk, and I have to hold his tail like a leash.

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Doves looking down at Kitty Hawk.

It wasn’t easy to get Dobby to the front yard today. Look at that frost! It is like snow! Yesterday’s corn cob is frosty, too.

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Frosty the Corn Cob

Dobby is eager to return to the back yard. I wonder why.

Wiley Wabbit has declined to attend the Garden Party this afternoon.

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“You can refill that bowl while you’re here, Lady.”

Dobby has been spending a lot of time in his fancy hot tub. I have a hot water tap and hose right next to it.

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“Needs bubbles”

Bonnie Bunny prefers cold weather to wet weather and is taking advantage of the situation.

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This little garden area is Bonnie’s favorite. The gate in the foreground is meant to keep Large Rodents out, but it barely slows him down.

Meanwhile, the Large Rodent is steaming.

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“Why is she talking about rabbits?”

All of the pets are wary of Dobby.

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“Rabbit? What Rabbit? Show me a rabbit and I’ll get rid of it!”

When temperatures drop to the low 20’s, Dobby gets to sleep indoors. He used to hate it, but this is his 5th winter and he is more experienced. I truly think he understands about the seasons, and knows his frozen world is transitory.

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Apparently, only the back 1/3 of him enjoyed the hot tub today.

It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but his area gets pretty grubby when we can’t get in there to mop and wash the bedding every night. Corn on the cob makes a sticky mess, and the kernels stick to your feet and end up all over the house.

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“You say grubby like it’s a bad thing!”

The guinea pigs don’t know winter. They do know vegetables.

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“Yes, we do know Winter!”

Dobby used to wander in and out all night when I tried to keep him in. He would drag out a blanket and the door would stand open, letting Alaska inside to chill the birds. I put a heater in there, now, and he also doesn’t wander out so often.

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“I sleep right here!”

I cover the birdcages with an insulated curtain. Dobby thinks the curtain is a chew toy, just like the cage ruffles he has taste tested.

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“These guys are the noisiest room-mates!”

Most of the time, I remember to bring in the hummingbird feeders. Am I the only one who wakes up at 4am, remembers the hummingbirds, and sneaks outside in my pajamas to bring in the feeders to thaw? And then wakes up again at 7am to take them back out?

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Bucket of bamboo, this time. Sometimes it is a head of romaine lettuce. Might be an apple hidden at the bottom.

Go for it, Dobby! It’s going to be a long, messy night!