Category Archives: Volunteers

Daily Drama 65 – The Duckling in the Bathtub

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Daily Drama 65 – The Duckling in the Bathtub

We’re hurtling through the summer at breakneck speed.

With the Funny Farm a tad over capacity I’m grateful to have two summer volunteers.

Before we get to the duckling, Let’s see how Cookie Monster and Brutus are doing!

Cookie Monster: every foot is a different color. Brown, white, black and the fourth one is a hodge-podge.

Remember, they took over the “Floor Suite” of the Dude Ranch in June. Brutus is about 18 months old, and big enough to be “fixed” but little Cookie Monster is still growing. The big plan is for them to eventually live with the dudes, Squirrel and Stevie Ray. We’re more likely to have a successful introduction if the girls are spayed. Stevie Ray and Squirrel were taken care of years ago, but that doesn’t guarantee against rivalry, especially with two girls as attractive as this!

Interior decorators at work.

The boys are unconcerned, but they can’t see into the girl’s area where they are working on some very distinctive decorating schemes. I have had excellent luck with introducing new boars, but this is a different can of worms.

Stevie Ray and Squirrel massacre some wheatgrass. Six year old Stevie Ray has gained 1/4 pound since his abdominal mass was discovered in April. He’s more frisky and is doing great! You just never know, do you?

There is an orphan duckling in my bathtub. Her mother and siblings perished in a hit-and-run accident on the highway. Turkey was being raised with some, well, actual turkeys, and was doing great but came here where she could be with ducks until she is ready to be released. There have been guinea pigs and ducks in this bathtub, maybe a turtle, and even a baby capybara! It doesn’t get much human use.

Miss Turkey takes over Dobby’s old stomping grounds.

I think Turkey’s bill is too narrow and upturned and her legs too long to be a Mallard, but the older she gets, the more mallardy she becomes.

Turkey is sitting on a heated pad in this photo. It is positioned so that she can be on or off while she is near her mirror.

She is very well-behaved. Quiet and dignified, there’s none of that annoying non-stop peep-peep-peep-peep-peep nonsense.

In this photo, she is sitting beside- not on- the heated pad.

She loves her mirror and has lengthy conversations with it. She joins the afternoon garden party in a secure cage and adores the ducks and geese. My wild resident female mallard has been by once and was very interested in Turkey, but she hasn’t returned. She lost two broods of ducklings this spring. It was a horrific year for prey animals locally.

She may or may not be a Mallard, but she’s 100% duck. Duckweed is tiny floating pond plants that wild ducklings eat.

Turkey has her own swimming pool in the shower stall where she can splash and eat the duckweed I collect in the pond next door.

Dobby loves his stinky front yard mud puddle. It has dried up some summers, but this year it has stayed perfectly wet and mucky.

There’s no duckweed in my own pond. the pond scum is thick and brown. Oh, oops, that’s Dobby!

The Ding Dong can’t reach the ding dong.

Dobby still fantasizes about the living room and spends part of every afternoon standing at the front door. I’m glad he doesn’t know about the doorbell.

A great big bucket of grass is a great big distraction.

He wastes so much time at that door that I have to gather his grass in a bucket. His gait is still wobbly and that makes him timid and wary in the front yard. The bucket of grass actually helps him stand still for the k-laser therapy he receives for his broken back. The therapy has helped a lot, but he isn’t 100% cured, and we’re not sure how much more muscle control he’ll regain. Maybe his new therapy pool will help.

One entire refrigerator for Dobby-food.

Meanwhile, his refrigerator empties and refills like clockwork: corn, romaine lettuce, potatoes in the drawers, apples and pears in the door.

The car finally got washed between trips to the grocer and feed stores. Sitting in there, pulled along as soap and brushes removed a year of grime, it occurred to me that getting my car washed was the most luxurious event I could recall enjoying during the past six months. I need a break.

Shadow Rat

In spite of the piggies, the duckling, and volunteer help, Dobby’s injury overshadows everything. I don’t plan trips to Paris or Shanghai, there will be no house-boating craziness for a while. Dobby’s functioning well and seems generally content, but I can’t bring myself to leave him with anyone but The Bartender for now. I hope that will change.

Dobby’s book has been making fantastic progress, in spite of him! Sonya and I are well into the final edits and our plan to have books available later this month is on target! I will send out postcards announcing its release, so gimme your address if you want one!

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Daily Drama 51

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Daily Drama 51

In the Pacific Northwest, winter seems to drag on and on and on. Summer is simply a brief, shiny, and distant memory. We have four more months of very iffy weather before “summer” which is unreliable until after Fourth of July. For now, I feed the ducks and chickens in the morning, then wash and dry my rain-soaked jacket in time for the afternoon Garden Party. It rains ALL THE TIME, there is slippery black mud everywhere, and even the ducks are wet. Dobby, supposedly a rainforest animal, refuses to do his “business” out in the cold, windy, relentless downpour. It’s just not right. Lots of fun coming up before summer, though. The ducks are starting to joust and I’m wondering how soon the Bully Pen will have to open for business.

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Jillian The Volunteer, cleaning the Dude Ranch

My fabulous volunteer, Jillian, needs to adjust her schedule around tennis practice. I still can’t believe she offered to come on Guinea Pig Cage Cleaning Night! We were able to clean The Dude Ranch plus the two rabbit boxes in a New York minute! It’s so nice to have help for the “less fun” tasks! Unfortunately, we forgot about Dobby’s extra Jillian Corn, and when she went to say goodbye to him, she noticed that he had registered a complaint IN HIS POTATO BOWL. Ugh. Sorry, no photo.

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Prince Dobalob The Author, taking a break from writing his new book

Part of the aviary fence is slowly rotting, as everything does here in the Pacific Northwest. Between the time when I counted rotten boards and showed my friendly neighbor where to install the new ones, another very suspicious hole had opened up. We hastily gathered up some plywood to patch the holes from the inside, and he can now replace the boards at his leisure. One week later, the suspicious hole resurrected itself, this time through the plywood! I set a 2×4 on the stringer and braced it with a CMU half block. Very late that night as I was readying Dobby’s kitchen area for the morning onslaught, a possum sauntered by, so close to the glass door he nearly brushed against it! So, yes, a suspiciously possum-sized hole. I kind of wondered why egg production had dramatically dropped off the last couple weeks. Thank goodness he didn’t go after the hens. And that reminds me I better check the hole from the entry-side of the fence, and maybe store a few rolls of chicken wire there. I’ve already directed the neighbor toward my stash of sheet metal.

Lula The Brave, one year ago, in the infirmary

My little hen Lula, who has been on Metacam just over a year now, is looking better day by day. Miraculously she has feathered out beautifully and seems to be putting on weight. Last night I found her roosted way up high with the other girls. I never thought I’d see her back up there, she has been roosting on a low laying box for months and months. The sun came out for about 5 minutes last week, and I saw her standing tall and enjoying it. It won’t be long before she’ll be joining the others for the Garden Party.

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Honey The Innocent

It has been a while since I heard from Honey Bunny’s owner, and so it goes. I really don’t like to take “fosters” because they are exactly as much work as full-time residents. I’m glad I was realistic about Honey’s future here, but she is probably the most “spirited” bunny I’ve known. She would be a more suitable guest if she’d refrain from leaping up to the bookshelves, but it’s hard to stay mad at a bunny doing figure-8’s around your legs!

 

 

Daily Drama 45 | Carl Sagan, Birthday Boy

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Daily Drama 45 | Carl Sagan, Birthday Boy

Hey Carl! Come over here! Let’s do an 8th Birthday photo shoot! We don’t know the exact day, but you were born around Halloween.

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“Corn is an extra special treat. Surely you don’t need me NOW?”

Okay, we can wait a couple minutes. I’ll get the camera set up.

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“I got dressed up in my favorite t-shirt!”

Very cute, but I had something fancier in mind. I do appreciate that you picked out a nice orange t-shirt to match the pumpkins.

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“Orange is my favorite color.”

Ha ha, nice. But everyone has already seen that costume. Don’t you have something else?

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“I’m getting seasick. Urp.”

Ah, yes. The hat I brought you from Venice. You make a very cute gondolier!

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“Oy vey! Oops, I mean, OLA!”

And here’s the sombrero I brought you from Zihuatanejo, Mexico! That is a great color on you, Carl.

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“Yes, I’ll have another pina colada, thanks for asking!”

Where did you find that lei from Hawaii? I don’t think that belongs to you. You’re right, though. It’s way too small for Dobby.

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“I do like these cowboy hats. After all, I live in a Dude Ranch.”

Now we’re talking! Sheriff Carl Sagan and his horse. Wait a minute, is that Capycoppy?

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“Now we’re just getting silly. Can I get back to my corn?”

Taking your dog for a walk down to the mailbox? Looks like you dodged the rain.

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“From bad to worse. I’m in a police lineup here. Aren’t we finished yet?”

The best costume of all is actually being a cute guinea pig, isn’t it Carl? Those friends of yours certainly have better manners than Stevie Ray and Fred!

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“I am NOT hanging around for a mugshot. I’m outta here!”

That’s right, Carl. You are INNOCENT! Happy Birthday!


[Carl absolutely LOVED the attention, but not all guinea pigs tolerate costumes. I also had an experienced volunteer on hand for the wrangling. Use good judgment if you decide to dress up your pet. Make sure it is fun for everyone involved.]

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!

Bath Day

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Bath Day

It’s easier and more fun to bathe the guinea pigs when you have a volunteer to help. Still, there is quite a bit of equipment to round up, the kitchen has to be cleared, and you have to have a plan for getting them all wet and then dry efficiently. Once you have your ducks in a row (Yes, I have bathed ducks before, too.) Eventually, you take a deep breath, say “Okay!” and dive in.

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“Why did I have to go first?”- Frederick of Hollywood

The shampoo and bath part goes fairly quickly. The hair drying takes FOREVER. Fred has the shortest fur, so he goes first. When you are bathing several pigs, it is easy to get ahead of yourself and end up with a bunch of soggy pigs. I’ve learned not to bathe the second pig until the first one is dry.

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Jillian was on drying detail this time.

Meanwhile, #2 pig, Carl Sagan, is sweating bullets. Wait a minute! That’s not sweat and those aren’t bullets!

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Bean maker extraordinaire

Stevie Ray is such a handful, he’s been asked to wait in the other room. He’s last for a variety of reasons.

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Still drying.

Even short-haired guinea pigs take forever and a day to dry.

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“Oh no!”

Little Carl is next. Like the others, he enjoys the warm water until he realizes he is wet, and then he panics a little and tries to jump out.

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“Aaaah! So nice and warm!”

I pour a bit more warm water on and he relaxes. Then he realizes he is wet, and then he panics a little and tries to jump out.

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“I think I can get out of here!”

Repeat.

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“What’s that noise?”

Carl’s fur is a bit longer, so we have to keep fluffing it up to get it dry underneath.

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“I like this part!”

They all seem to like the hair drying part. It’s noisy, but it’s warm, and they all want to be the center of attention.

Stevie Ray Vaughn has to be last because his fur is so long it takes a couple forevers and then another week to get it dry. Plus, he’s a snippy little guy with a lot of attitude, and it’s good to practice on the NICE guinea pigs first. Stevie Ray is such a handful that I was unable to get any photos of him in the tub. Between the shampoo and the voluminous hair slowly expanding to fill the entire tub and the constant bean removal and the frantic jumping from one side to the other, there will probably never be any photos of this guy in the tub.

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“I’m hot stuff.”

Stevie Ray likes the hair dryer, but it takes a long, long time and he gets bored. After a while he starts horsing around. He spins and slashes at us with the toenails on his hind feet, and the beans start flying. He stands up in the drying box- good! We can dry his belly fur! But no, he drops and spins. We get a dry clean towel. I hold him on his back like a baby, the way he loves to be held. Jillian takes advantage of the new damp exposed areas and he lets us dry him for another minute and a half.

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He looks good in the photos, though.

We take a break, but all-in-all it probably takes over half an hour to dry this turkey. We’re wet, now. The kitchen is wet. I’m thinking ahead to dinner, maybe we’ll go out.

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So handsome, Stevie Ray!

Meanwhile, back at the Dude Ranch, snacks are served. I wonder if they have noticed that they smell like raspberry shampoo.

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“Go away, we’re busy.”

Right.