Category Archives: Visitors

Daily Drama 63 – Visitors large and small

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Daily Drama 63 – Visitors large and small

I was planning to write a blog post until the budgie on my desk claimed the mouse. She sauntered over to it and bit the heck out of my finger. Sigh. Not all of my minions are enthralled with me.

Visiting season has arrived and Dobby is in big demand these days. He and Sonya are writing a book, and she stopped by to kick his butt encourage him. His book is still on track for a summer release.

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Sonya Reasor and Prince Dobalob

Jeff Vandermeer galloped through the neighborhood signing books. He and his wife Ann took a small break from their book tour to say hello to Dobby.

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Jeff Vandermeer and Dobby (Dobby looks like a bear, doesn’t he?)

Finally, Ginger and Daryl Shekell dropped by on their way to join an Alaska cruise. Dobby kissed her pant leg so now she has capybara slobber on those pants for the whole trip. So adorable, that Dobby!

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Ginger Shekell

Dobby has his ups and downs and we keep tweaking his meds. His rear passenger side leg is very weak, though, and we will start laser therapy next week. We have several other options to pursue here in Washington State. He is an herbivore, after all.

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It’s okay, we live in Washington State

The Bully Pen has served us well this season. I move the aggressive drakes in and out of there to give everyone a break. They still fight through the fence, though, and the day before I left for the BlogPaws conference in South Carolina, Tony tried to kill himself. He had his head stuck through the chain link and managed to catch his bill in an adjacent grid, nearly hanging himself. When I discovered him, he had those little x’s on his eyes, just like the cartoons. He recovered swiftly and that afternoon he was good as new.

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Looking smart, Tony!

Out by the front door, Mason bees continue to live in the window frames. This one has been annoying me for several years, flitting in and out in spite of the human sitting right smack dab in front of her. They also made nests in the cheapo plywood siding grooves, above the window and door trim, all across the front of the house. In this photo, you can see her butt sticking out of the tiny hole. Today I noticed that the hole has been resealed. I also have a few kinds of bumblebees and crazy looking mud wasps. The wasps are a bit much, but I look forward to the visiting bees each spring.

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My little Mason Bee

Dobby doesn’t care about the bees. He wants to walk through the house to the back yard. He has never been allowed to go through that way, but he stands at the door and begs almost every time we go to the front yard.

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The front door is Not For Dobby!

Next he nibbles on my plants. He used to eat from that planter on the little table by the front door. I finally gave up and planted edibles for him- that’s lettuce and bok choy. Now he won’t touch it. Go figure.

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Frieda takes a short-cut

I mentioned BlogPaws, didn’t I? It’s an organization for pet bloggers, and this was the 6th conference I attended.

BlogPaws, typical attire

FANCY dogs, not the ordinary kind

There are dogs and cats everywhere, lots of swag (free samples), but never enough “exotic” pets. Snotface the ferret attended again this year, and there was a therapy rat, too. I should have taken Princess Blur, but our group had a guinea pig to feed on the table. that’s always fun.

Bobo!

Bobo is such a gentleman.

Patterned after prayer flags, honor flags commemorate the lives of our absent pets.

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Guinea pig honor flag

Sadly, there were capybaras to add to our flag this year. Chico passed during the conference, putting a damper on the weekend.

Pet Capybaras

ROUS Foundation honor flag

There are fabulous give-aways in addition to the swag. I won a VW bus! Melanie won the whale.

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My new VW Bus!

Here we are!

BlogPaws 2017 Gang of Four

Melanie, Angela, Stacy (me), and Becky!

Daily Drama 54

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Daily Drama 54

I just returned from the 2016 Blogpaws conference . . . wait, almost a couple weeks ago! So where are the blogs? I’m writing about two fantastic capybara folks, really I am, with lots of photos! 

The blogs will be posted before my next trip, but the dramas have slowed me down.

This will be a little dramatic update, then, and maybe the roller coaster that is this week will take a break.

Today, my precious little budgie, Tank, gave up on me. He’s one of the two I adopted from Petco’s back room, and we never expected him to survive more than a couple days. That’s why he came to my sanctuary instead of going to a home. Two months later, his little bitey Spitfire is alone, and she pines. She knew Tank was unwell, we all did, but he was well loved.

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Spitfire and Tank, their first day at home.

This morning I faced the fact that my pet sitter still had not responded to my request for service. I frantically started the search for a new petsitter, filling out their woefully inadequate forms, leaving so many boxes unchecked, no dogs, yes but my cats are not the issue, the “other” category only goes up to “4” but who expects fifty pets? That’s crazy, right? Fortunately, my sitter contacted me a couple hours into the task. Prompted by my voicemail message, he had checked his email spam folder and found my requests. EVERYBODY, CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDERS! You might have a Nigerian uncle who bequeathed you a million dollars!

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Frederick of Hollywood, 2014

I have been recording Guinea pig weights, just as if they are little capybaras. Frederick of Hollywood has been in a slow steady decline for the past year but I was surprised when his breathing became labored. Off to the vet he went, and now he is being treated for a touch of pneumonia.

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Frederick of Hollywood, 2015

Once we get him stabilized, we’ll see if he responds to treatment for his advanced arthritis, and what the heck is going on with his spleen? The overall conclusion is that he is much older than 5-1/2 year old Stevie Ray who he came in with. Fred loves his banana flavored medicine and his Apple Banana Critical Care. I’m also giving him some baby squash in hopes of putting some weight back on him. After loading those hand feeding syringes with critical care, I’m really excited about baby food! It’s a piece of cake!

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Fat Fred, 2013

It looks like the ratties will be here a while, so it’s time to build a larger habitat for them. I have never been quite so excited about a rat cage! Its a flight cage I picked up on Freecycle over a year ago and it has weathered to a lovely patina out in the barn storage area. It is large enough to hold some birdhouse climbing platforms, a pair of Levi’s, an IKEA bedroom suite, and two cute little white rats! There is a drawer underneath to collect debris, and I have a fistful of coupons from BlogPaws for fancy Ökocat kitty litter that should be perfect. Now we have a race to see what is complete first: the cage or this blog post. If you see before and after photos, the cage won.

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Prince Dobalob: the curmudgeon persona

Dobby has had a lot of visitors lately. It’s kind of seasonal, the interest in pet capybaras. He sets aside his curmudgeonly Dobbs persona and becomes Prince Dobalob, the charming and entertaining donkey/pig. It’s fun to see the reaction to their Facebook posts as his visitors spread the word that while there are ROUS’s, there is no fire swamp. I guess I need to talk to The Bartender about that.

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Dobby has friends in high places.

Also in the Fame and Fortune category, Dobby’s mugshot was selected by Don Moyer for his next puzzle! Selectees receive a copy of the proposed puzzle, a current puzzle, and a Surprise! Dobby just received his surprise, and it is a framed thank you card, signed by Don! Most amazingly, the card features Dobby, right smack dab in the middle of the card! It is truly magnificent!

http://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife/Certify.aspx

No, in fact, I am NOT going to mow.

Did you know that Stacy’s Funny Farm is a Certified Wildlife Habitat? The neighbors think the sign just excuses me from traditional gardening tasks, but in fact my garden meets all four of the required criteria. The sapsucker nest is next door, but the top of their rotten tree fell into my yard. Does that count? I have a pair of hummingbirds buzzing me as I write this, and fledgling bushtits were fed by their parents on the tree branch above my head.

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Better the cat food than the cats. The raccoons around here are fierce.

I’m on day four of trying to outsmart a raccoon who discovered where I (used to) store the bag of dry cat food. The nightly possum hasn’t checked out the recyclables lately, but it’s possible he checks up on the raccoon handywork for leftovers. I doubt he’s dextrous enough to get past bungee cords on his own.

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Mr. Oliver Possum (This is right outside the kitchen door.)

Dobby’s mallard ducks are currently absent, no doubt in their eclipse molt. They’ll return in a couple of weeks. Dobby’s B&B is currently hosting a Bewick’s Wren with nestlings! I can’t really see them in the nest, but she is a very busy birdmom and they cry for her when she flies off to gather food. The crow and squirrel population have increased already and summer has just begun!

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She built the nest way up, so you can’t see in. They were only eggs when I took this photo. (Yes, that’s Dobby’s bed back there.)

Did I say summer? As in the Olympics?

THIS is summer! (Not for Dobby!)

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Daily Drama 48

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Daily Drama 48

It’s so cold out that I consciously zip up my jacket and put my gloves on before I open the door to go out. What that means for the Funny Farm is ICE MANAGEMENT. Some of you are already rolling your eyes or nodding your head or both. The rest of you have a big question mark hovering over your head.

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This is a 3″ (7.5cm) ice spike or spicule in one of the cat water dishes.

I didn’t think I would ever appreciate the arctic engineering course I took, but this week’s weather is decidedly Alaska-ish. Parking lots in Alaska need to include “snow storage” areas, because, as you might imagine, constant snow plowing means huge mountains of snow building up from October through April. Similarly, cracking ice out of Funny Farm water dishes (delicately, so the dish doesn’t break) results in a pile of ice blocks that partially melt together before they re-freeze together overnight. If you have a week’s worth of freezing weather, you soon have a half dozen frozen ice mountains deposited throughout your pens. Do they block a gate? Are they in the main pathway? Are they placed where the sun can melt them or cause them to sublimate, or are they north of an object where they will take a week to go away? Similarly, I check all the gate swing areas and excavate so that the build up of hoar frost doesn’t eventually freeze me out of the aviary.

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Analog rain gauge, not quite up to the task. More of the ice has sublimated than has melted, resulting in a leaning cylinder of ice decidedly narrower than the gauge.

I think weather is fascinating, and I am proud to say that the Funny Farm now has it’s own weather station! It’s connected to the Weather Underground, so that everyone can check in and see how truly miserable little Dobby is. The mallards show up in huge flocks for the afternoon garden party. It’s eery to see a turtle looking up at you through thick ice. The hummingbirds pouf out down to cover their tiny feet as they hover at the feeders. Funny Farm ducks, geese, even the hens take it pretty well, though I do have heated kennel pads for the cats. I also set out one heat lamp in the barn, but only Dobby seems interested in it.

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The Prince’s heat lamp. It’s hung high enough so that he can’t rub his morrillo on the bulb.

When I ask him if he wants to go to the front yard, he holds up a paw to let me know it is too cold for his feet today. For a while I was cutting him a bucket full of bamboo, but it is totally frozen now and he won’t eat it. Hay and lettuce will have to suffice.

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Too cold today!

This is his sixth winter, so he knows the drill. He hangs out in the kitchen during the day, and enrichment becomes important. Unless he is napping. Maybe I’ll finally get that video of him snoring: so far I have filmed several tedious hours of him sleeping. Guests feed him extra corn, he does tricks to get my attention, and he gets a little silly.

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Bucket-Butt

I have a special big quilt I spread out for him at night, and special indoor Disney Princess slumber party blankets. I hang an insulated curtain around the bird cages in case Dobby drags a blanket out that sticks the door open all night, weather hovering around 20°f (-6.5°c). If the temperatures fall that low, his heated outdoor pen can’t keep up and his blankets freeze stiff. That’s where I draw the line and bring him in to sleep.

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“My milk bowl is empty!”

Normally, The Bartender mops Dobby’s kitchen area every night, all the blankets and rugs get washed, the milk bowl gets scrubbed and ready for morning. None of that happens when he is inside 24 hrs a day. If he leaves for a moment, I grab a rug or blanket and wash it, but eventually I give up and everything gets dank and a little bit ripe. It’s always about then that the guests arrive.

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Dobby the sun worshipper. (Sun Worship, explained, but not in a family friendly way- Rated R.) Also note that you can see the weather station on the deck railing, stage left.

The sun doesn’t seem to work any magic at low temperatures, but Prince Dobalob, the sun worshipper, never gives up. Plus, there is another kind of sunshine that always works. Dobby has lots of friends, and one of his visitors sent him this fabulous drawing!

Dobby loves visitors!

Meanwhile, icy morning chores include shlepping gallon jugs of hot water out to the aviary. Putting the hummingbird feeders back out at dawn and going back to bed. Filling and re-filling the bird feeders and re-attaching squirrel guards to the suet feeders. Hot tub after hot tub for my super-sized semi-aquatic pet. Looking up at the sky and hoping it doesn’t snow on him.

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Must remind The Bartender to peel his oranges in single spiral so they look nice in the photos.

We’re past the solstice, now, so summer sunshine is coming. Isn’t it?


Check out the Stacy’s Funny Farm Weather Station!

http://www.wunderground.com/swf/Rapid_Fire.swf?units=both&station=KWALAKEF13

Dobby’s Visitors | Dobby the Capybara

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Dobby’s Visitors | Dobby the Capybara

Look! A photo with ME in it! That’s because this is a guest blog that a visitor wrote! The blog is posted on Dobby’s website, so this is only a preview.

Stacy’s Funny Farm is a non-profit pet sanctuary, so how does Dobby figure in? He’s not a rescued animal, he’s my pet. What I discovered is that when people come to visit Dobby, they see the sanctuary pets and often leave a donation. In fact, almost every donation I have ever received came in because someone was interested in Dobby. That’s why I incorporated as a non-profit: because the donations were coming in anyway. Now they are tax deductible. That’s why Dobby is my Director of Fundraising. Most donations can be traced to him, one way or another.

So, one of Dobby’s visitors took the photos and wrote this great blog post for me! Click on the link below to see it!
Dobby’s Visitors | Dobby the Capybara