Category Archives: Georgia Dee’s Diary

Daily Drama 58

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Daily Drama 58

Winter is here and it’s awful. Those of you who live in a cold climate know about hauling water out to the flock in the morning. You know about “ice management.” That’s when you toss the ice out of the frozen waterers strategically, so that the shards of ice don’t create a hazard if they don’t melt within the next couple of days. You know about hoarfrost, and dig out around your gates so it can’t build up and shut you out of your pens. Winter water bowls are re-stacked so they aren’t frozen together when you need them. Food and meds are brought indoors so they don’t freeze. Ugh.

Dobby sleeps indoors, in all his glory, because frozen blankets are a drag. I have to wear my mud boots to walk through his section of the kitchen, because, you know, he’s “living” in there. In his seventh winter, Dobby takes sleeping indoors in stride. He even “goes” outside during the day. Sometimes. He has also learned to tolerate staying indoors, and not go in and out the door all night, leaving it ajar in twenty degree weather. Right next to the bird cages. He did decide to go out at 3AM last night. It was 28 degrees out there, his bedroom heater usually keeps it 10 degrees higher, so 38, and the blankets were probably pliable. I still had to go down and shut the door behind him, bird cages. Go back to bed and fall asleep, fretting. If Dobby wants to go out, there’s no keeping him in. He eats the door jamb trying to get out. Another response to the question “It’s kind of like having a big dog, right?” No. It’s not.

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November 21, 2016 issue, The New Yorker magazine.

For those of you who continue to ask, “Why capybara?” I offer this cartoon. I learned to walk by dragging a hamster cage around for balance. That means that this little joke is really the story of my life. It doesn’t explain the ducks, though.

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Vinny performs the Donkey Honk, a drake display move. Ping is not impressed.

Most freezing nights, the ducks keep their water open by swimming in it and dabbling in it. That means there is always drinking water for the hens and cats, too. It was iced over this morning, a thin sheet easily poked, one drinking hole still open, so they are doing a good job.

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The doves sit high and dry in their separate pen.

The doves are captive, though, and can’t get to the “dabble-hole.” I take out gallons of hot water to unfreeze their waterer. They have a bathing dish of water ice, and hop right into the warm bath water I take out in the morning.

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Beverly on the first day, contemplating her sudden loss of freedom.

Beverly is in jail, and has to keep her own dabble hole open. She’s brand new, rescued by a human Bev (the name is a coincidence) who befriended her at a nearby park. Muscovy ducks are from South America, not native here, so she’s probably an escaped pet. They aren’t as cold-tolerant as our indigenous ducks. Bev was able to pick her up and bring her to me, verifying her tameness, and I easily nabbed her for wing clipping. Now that she’s safe, we don’t want her flying away.

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Beverly’s first few nights here were cold, down to 18f degrees (-7c).

She spent a few days in quarantine, ye olde bully pen. She was desperate to join the flock, though, and looks very happy today, her first day mingling with the general population. Norman isn’t letting her get too close, but no one else seems to mind her.

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Freeloading Mallard hens

There are way too many Mallards, and when I open the gate in the afternoon for the Garden Party, they make a beeline for the feeder.

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Norman cleans house

The photo above should be a video. Norman the flock Manager, is at the back, beyond the gate, a pale blob above and to the right of Dobby’s hanging yellow and green soccer ball. He is marching toward us, honking, and all of these mallards, 17 I think, marched out in front of him. He chased them away from his feeder! Go, Norman! Geese are so cool.

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Carmen registers a complaint.

I was so pleased that I gave in and treated them to cracked corn out in the yard. That’s Carmen Miranda facing me, madder than heck at me for giving them HER corn. Note the stool on Dobby’s swimming pool steps, which are falling down in slow motion as they rot. They usually last a year, these were new late last summer.

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Front row: Shamrock and Vinny, Crowd scene behind: Cubicle, Tony, Sal, Norman, Boondock, little Ping and Emilio, Boxcar behind, and Carmen Miranda far right

The mallards left, and my little flock finally enjoyed their treat of cracked corn.

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Mr. and Ms. Mallard, posing after a synchronized skating exhibition. She’s the one who brought her children to the front door and then through the house to the back yard last spring.

Remember the stool on the swimming pool steps? This is another reason why it is there. Dobby isn’t doing much swimming these days, and he probably can’t mount those raunchy bales, but he won’t climb past the stool. These are the resident Mallards, the ones who have been hanging out here since before Dobby got here. I suspect that the unruly mallard crowd is their offspring.

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Frieda. She’s a little different.

Eartha, Windy, and Frieda are my newest hens. Frieda follows me around like I’m a busted feed bag.

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Dobby loves the barn. Sometimes he spends the morning out there, bothering everyone and eating their food.

I hate heat lamps, but this year I’ve got three out there, plus some heated pads for the tomcats, and of course one for Sir Dobbykins. He loves the barn. That’s the infirmary behind him. Lula is in there, but the door is open so that her companion, the inimitable Princess Blur, can come and go as she pleases.

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Princess Blur, displaying typical attitude, and her pet hen, Lula. Lula is handicapped, and Princess adores her.

A couple days ago Princess did too much going. She was missing when I went out in the morning. Blaming myself, I figured I had missed her at the nightly lockup. I walked the neighborhood. I put a notice on Next Door. I drove the neighborhood. I knocked on doors. And that afternoon when I went to open the gate to let everyone out for Garden Party, guess who was first to run OUT the gate? Today I discovered she has skritched out a hollow between the barn wall and a bale of straw. She can really hunker down in there. She’s so bad.

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Jello, Conchita, and Adelita on the roost. Princess Blur, in the background for once.

This was just before dusk, and the hens were ready for bed. These girls have been here a couple of years.

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Eartha and Windy, here since late October.

Here are the three new hens. Hmmm. They are finally settling into the evening routine. Where’s Frieda?

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Frieda, Kitty Hawk, and Grover

Frieda sleeps with the cats. Whatever. They aren’t as excited about it as she is.

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Dobby Burrito

Bedtime for The Dobster. He usually sleeps outside, but when he’s indoors, he likes his bed, his white rabbit rug, and his pink princess blankie. Goodnight, Dobby Boy.

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They’re coasters!

A very wonderful friend created and donated these tiles to the Funny Farm! They are raku fired ceramic tiles, backed with cork so they may be used as coasters. They feature the footprint of Caplin Rous, the World’s Most Famous Capybara! He was also Dobby’s big brother.

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Each one unique!

The glaze has a coppery iridescent sheen that doesn’t photograph to advantage because it changes from different angles. Right now they are mine, all mine, but I should probably sell them. They are available at Georgia Dee’s Gift Shop.

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Shanghai teens!

I will be incommunicado for about a week at the end/beginning of the year. My son is teaching at a high school in Shanghai, China and I can’t pass up the opportunity to visit. Don’t worry, The Bartender is gamely staying behind to care for Prince Dobalob and his subjects!

 

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Daily Drama 37

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Daily Drama 37

The daily dramas have taken me beyond the Funny Farm this week. I usually find time to write between disasters, but they are coming fast and furious, so this is a mid-disaster story whose end cannot yet be told. At the moment, The Bartender (my “significant other”) is stable, and so is The Mathematician (my son) so here is what is happening at the Funny Farm.

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Dressing in the dark and racing to the Emergency Room doesn’t leave much time for details. For un-matched shoes, I think I did pretty well.

Dobby is enjoying our fabulous but uncharacteristically balmy weather. Swimming season has arrived! It’s actually pretty cold outside if your swimming pool water is 49f (9c) degrees.

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“I don’t snore!”

Dobby spends a lot of time inside, napping. I have tried to get a video of his snoring, but he is too wary and always wakes as I sneak up on him.

We still spend most afternoons in the garden. Dobby grazes in the front yard, the poultry plays in the back. Lula the hen is on Metacam for her mysterious ailment, and she has even made it out to the back yard a few times lately.

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Garden Party participants, left to right: Penguin, Prince Dobalob, Jello, and Madonna (Squirrel photobomb, background)

Carmen Miranda, our newest duck, has proved to be very self assured. She is trying to claim the rabbit litter-box as a nest. Whatever.

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Carmen, get out of there!

In spite of everything, we have managed to make some improvements to the Funny Farm. We now have five birds in the kitchen: two doves, one parakeet, and two cockatiels.

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BEFORE

Our first goal was to acquaint the two doves and move them from two smaller guinea pig cages into one large bird cage. The Pirate cannot walk, and Luna Dovegood cannot fly, so the cage was equipped with landing hammocks and ramps to allow them to use as much of the vertical space as possible.

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So far, so good. Doves are on the left in the new cage.

The next step was to move two elderly cockatiels and the bullying parakeet into the other cage. I put a horizontal divider in the cage. Spike the Budgie is far too aggressive to share space with the older gentlemen. Plus, he doesn’t need the encouragement of being “Top Bird” so little Spikey gets the first floor apartment.

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Vincent the cockatiel explores the new cage.

Every evening for a week, I rolled the new cage into the kitchen for playtime. I coaxed the birds into their new spaces with treats, and they began to enjoy the new play area.

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The Pirate thought she was very clever to perch on top.

Luna can’t fly, and now that she has been here a while, we know why. She has an inoperable tumor on her left wing. It has grown very large, and she is now on Metacam. Her appetite is good, she moves around her new cage by walking on the ramps, and since starting the medication, she has been cooing a little bit, again.

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The tumor is really quite serious. It is on the other side and you don’t want to see it.

The gray cockatiel, Jorge, is probably older than I first estimated, and has started to stumble and even falls off a perch once in a while. A former pet-sitter adopted him from her neighbor who had set his cage out in the carport while attempting to find a new home for him. Judy had him about four years before he came to me (she died of ovarian cancer) in 2006. He’s just “old.”

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Jorge finally checks out the new cage.

Like the dove cage, this one also has a mattress-like floor to accommodate unexpected plummeting. Instead of ramps, it has ladders so that Jorge can get back up to his perch. Vincent is about 14 years old, but still gets around just fine and has been very comforting to Jorge, who is one of those bird-birds, not a people-bird. Or maybe Jorge was traumatized at some point. I will never know.

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AFTER

Happily ever after, they are all in their new, improved cages. I still have to hang a curtain between Spike the budgie and the doves, though. He is such a pill.

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Shipping goose eggs

It is egg-laying season, so I am constantly raiding nests. The last thing I need is more poultry to care for. I shipped off the first goose eggs, but I have decided to keep the rest and blow them out. They are really very cool.

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Georgia Dee’s Diary

One of my biggest distractions right now is my Mom’s diary. She was 13 years old when she started writing in it in 1940. It goes through 1944, and her personal story is so well told that I would like to share it. I have transcribed it and I am adding photos, a World War Two timeline, and a few footnotes where clarification is helpful.

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A 1943 Eversharp pen and engraved bracelet

Seventy years later, I am discovering artifacts mentioned in the diary. Most of them were gifts from her boyfriend, Andy. She kept them for fifty years and I have had them twenty. It is my mother’s diary, but it is about Andy, and I am certain she would want his memory kept alive in this way.

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Andy

I have contacted his nephew Randy, who is also interested in the project. Depending upon the response I get from my group of previewers, I plan to publish it. Please let me know if you would like to participate in this early review and I will send you a link to the private website in April, when I hope to have it ready. (Comment on this post and mark it “private” if you don’t want it published. I’ll just add you to the list.)

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Dobby isn’t certain he approves of he new cages.

My drakes are fighting, my capybara is amorous, the turtles are out of hibernation and basking, and the wild birds are flying around with beaks full of twigs. It must be spring!