Tag Archives: Dobby

Capybara Coloring Books!

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The Funny Farm has received a thoughtful donation of five Capybara Coloring Books from the author, Jonathan Terry. These are the same coloring books that I gave to my family as holiday gifts. Over fifty designs and lots of capybara facts. Good quality coloring books with nice paper suitable for markers, colored pencils (my personal favorite) or even crayons!

The Pursuit of Capyness

Yes, you can order these on Amazon (long after my five books are gone!) and the proceeds still go to a good cause (especially if you order through Amazon Smile and select Stacy’s Funny Farm as your charity.) But I am hoping you will buy these because every penny (over the actual shipping cost) helps out the animals here at the farm. I am setting the price at $8.00 including shipping. such a deal!

As is so often the case, shipping costs are completely out of whack with reality. Shipping alone costs at least $7.50. The good news is that these can be shipped out Media Mail, a USPS bargain. But I can’t use click-and-ship and I can’t have them picked up at the house. That means “somebody” has to drive to the post office and stand in line, and then the poor clerk has to hand-enter your address into the register while everyone in line behind “somebody” stares and cusses as the line stretches out the door to the curb. And it can’t be me because I am a senior and I am staying at home. I will have to sweet-talk my volunteer into performing this act of mercy. So, this is my plan: let’s sell all five of these coloring books lickety-split and I can have her drive to the post office for all five at once. I will let you know how we’re doing with regard to sales, and of course, if I can send them sooner, I certainly will. If you are in a hurry, by all means pay the Amazon price and premium shipping. It’s still a good deal, but it doesn’t help the Funny Farm.

He’s fancy!

Because it’s Media Mail, I can’t combine this purchase with jewelry sales shipping and get the same low price. The only enclosures I’m allowed are packing slips and promotional material. In this case, that means a couple postcards and Dobby cards with suggested coloring schemes. In case you aren’t sure exactly what shade of brown capybaras are.

We’re informal here. Fill out the following form and I’ll get back to you. I’m all set up for PayPal, but I can figure out how to take your money no matter how complicated you try to make it.

 

 

 

Daily Drama 87 – It’s All the Same Day, Man

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Daily Drama 87 – It’s All the Same Day, Man

Nothing changes much around here, including the fundraising, to my surprise. Give Big 2020 was as successful this year as it was last year! It’s especially gratifying to have so many repeat donors. Once again, we had a number of totally anonymous donors, so if you mystery guys are reading this, thanks! Or maybe it should be thanks again! Read the rest of this entry

Daily Drama 84 – Indoor Recess

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Daily Drama 84 – Indoor Recess

In the Pacific Northwest, indoor recess is de rigueur from November to March. At least. The Garden Party at the Funny Farm still happens every afternoon, rain or shine, but enthusiasm ebbs during the winter. Even Princess Blur goes out each afternoon to play chicken for an hour, but she’s eager to return indoors well before dusk. That’s 4:15 PM in December.

When the outdoor hens decide to stay in the barn all afternoon- indoor recess- I don’t take Princess out. If they aren’t going to come out into the garden, it’s probably too cold and wet for a tiny hen with a heart murmur.

Windy and Coffee Bean hunkered down for the night– at 3pm. They are both old and feeble and prefer to roost on the ground.

I thought that sheep from the Shetland Islands would be okay with rain, but no. We built a nice roof over their pen and they hang out in there when the rain is overwhelming. Bev, a Muscovy duck has been inviting herself in, too.

Have you seen Hamish and Bev’s video? Slightly off-topic, but I’m not sure it didn’t start when Bev went looking for shelter from the weather.

Baad Romance

We thought the incessant rain was bad and then it snowed. And then the temperatures plummeted.

He’s sitting atop the ring around the feeder.

We have hummingbirds year round here, so it becomes a nightly game called “Will the hummingbird feeders freeze tonight?” If I take the feeders in at night, I need to take them out at dawn, when the hummers start to feed. When it’s cold out, they pouf out downy feathers over their feet to keep warm, like they are wearing little tiny down slippers. If I manage to get a photo of that, I’ll quit my day job.

I dare you to get all ten in one photo. I got nine, here.

I have ten doves outside. They are very tough but they get hungry when it’s cold. Of course, their water freezes overnight. Years of experience have taught me to be careful where I toss the ice. If it doesn’t thaw for a week, I can end up with a treacherous pile of ice shards that make it hard to walk around. Ice maintenance seems like an awfully fussy consideration until that morning when I can’t open the gate past a hasty midden pile of ice.

The heat lamps emerge with the snow.  They all love them, but heat lamps are inherently dangerous. That’s how fires start in barns and finding charred wood near a lamp is scary. I have friends who have had the fire department out. So I only bring them out when the animals are cold enough to actively use them. I’ve had two going this year, already.

The sheep love the snow. They eat it, they cavort and gambol, they do everything but roll around in it. They have deep, dense fleece. I can stick my hand up into it nearly to my wrist. It’s warm and dry in there. I look at those skinny velvety legs and marvel at how they stay warm. After poor snow-hating Dobby, and worrying about frostbite, this is a welcome change.

The snow reveals other wonders. Look at the tracks in the snow, above. That’s a cottontail rabbit track in the center. Tiny tracks, solitary: did he drop from the sky? I have only seen one bunny in the front yard, long ago. Dobby loved that bunny, but he only hung out here for about a week. Or so I thought. Is he still out there? I have seen them next door, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I have (at least) one here.

What is going on with my hens? On snowy days they stay in the barn, jockeying for position under the two heat lamps. Rainy days they prefer to cram themselves under this kiddie slide. Five chubby hens must generate enough heat to make it nice and toasty under there. These are the days– barn days and under-slide days– when Princess Blur has a treat in her living room pen and gets marched upstairs to go to bed right after her afternoon meds. They are the days when I hide in my little greenhouse and pretend it is warmer in there.

True indoor recess occurs when I give up and let the sheep rampage through the aviary. I have to put up the chicken food and heat lamp hazards, and the ducks glare at me, but it’s a big treat for the sheep to be able to explore in there. If the weather was good enough for me to be in there taking photos and making videos, there would be evidence of this excitement. Maybe if we ever have a summer storm. Meanwhile, I am afraid to look: they’ve got access to the aviary now. My only hope for getting them out of there at bedtime is that they are fools for saltine crackers. Anything for a saltine!

So, the snow is long gone, but the rain has returned with a vengeance. The sheep are hoping for more snow. I am hoping for summer. Take a look at my poor basement. That’s six inches of water. Sigh.

Thoughts and prayers for my wet-dry vacuum. It’s on its side in that mess.

~~~~~(-:  **  :-)~~~~~

Did you know that Prince Dobalob is featured in a book you can read for free? Before you get too excited, the book isn’t finished, yet, but it’s close enough that I am putting it up serially on Dobby’s website. Check it out!

Daily Drama 83 – Deconstructing the Pond

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Daily Drama 83 – Deconstructing the Pond

The ducks need a new pond. It was so bright and shiny when it was new that Dobby refused to swim in it. He was thoroughly disgusted by it.

“What the heck is that supposed to be? Because it sure isn’t a swimming pool. Make it go away. Now.”

Because Dobby was a Prince, he received a very fancy new swimming pool. My son and a couple friends were invited to help move the old tin can pool into the aviary. Because it was capybara-sized, it didn’t fit through any of the gates. You can read about that adventure here.

Okay, sure, it was a convenient hole for the hose to go through, but really? That’sa big meatball hole.

But it’s dead, now. The side that was set into the slope totally rusted out. It created a dabbling area that the ducks liked, but the jagged rusty edges were hard to look at.

Reinventing the wheel. A Funny Farm specialty.

This time, we decided to think it through. The new improved but slightly smaller duck pond rolled right through the gate. Of course, last time, it wasn’t destined for the aviary. But this time it was, and so look at us, now! So simple.

I am the Queen of Siphoning. No, I don’t suck at it. Ever. Look at that water– there are fish in there!

Now, to drain the old pond. It’s too big to roll out the gate. It’s full of fish and sludge. Our thinking cap was still on. Cut that sucker into smithereens. But drain it first.

The new blue plastic pond is smaller, but the water will never be rusty. A capybara would eat it up, though.

I know these fish. Eight of them. Four with IQ’s below 100. Four with IQ’s above 100. I have spent hours trying to net them. This time I will wait until there is hardly any water and make them beg to be netted.

You can see the four easy fish, but even those are tough to catch with this much water in there. I’ll wait. I’m smarter than I look.

I can usually get the first four fish without too much trouble. It’s trying to net the ones smarter than I am that is the problem. Can you say “Try to hide in that sludge, sucker?”

Still a couple fish in there. Mind you, these are not special fish: they are $.29 feeder goldfish. I can’t believe I almost took in a 30yr old koi into sanctuary here. Found a better home for him, instead. I know my limitations.

The last four fish cried uncle and swam into the net. They all went to Dr. Pepper Turtle AirBNB for a week.

Dr. Pepper is hibernating. I have until St. Patrick’s Day (first day of spring here) to get the last two out, and he’ll not be the wiser.

Time to bring in my top wrangler, Connor. He’s the one who deftly lifted the tree off the top of my barn and house last summer. You should all be so lucky to have a Connor next door.

Sparky!

I am always surprised when the neighbors don’t look over the fence, or phone, or ask a few days later. “What the hell were you doing over there on Sunday?” After twenty years, they expect this craziness.

Stompy!

Well, actually, Connor is one of those neighbors. He is usually the one over here making a gawdawful racket and having a great time. It was his birthday present to me, getting this old tin can pool outta here. I think he likes doing this stuff.

The pristine bottom of the pool is still there. How annoying.

The Bartender helped, of course. The project was timed to occur prior to his (second) shoulder operation. In case anyone wonders why he needed a shoulder operation. Come to think of it, I have had a shoulder operation, too, but not as serious as his. I guess Connor is next.

Check out Charlie & Hamish back there. They are pretty good sports about all of this. But they are guy sheep, so like Dobby, they love this stuff. Dobby would hear the chainsaw and could scarcely contain himself until he could investigate.

Connor and The Bartender cut and yanked and pried that old pool out of there. We were astonished to discover that the bottom of the pool was still in perfect condition, no sign of rust. Shiny and new. We tried to think of a repurposed use for it, but Connor’s trailer was going to the dump the very next day, and I looked around at all the other junk I never found a use for and the pool bottom was cut up, too.

The wuss poultry hides in the back. Boxcar, Ping, Frieda, Adelita, Windy, Coffee Bean, and white Adelita. Princess was in the living room, watching football and drinking beer.

The hens retreated to the far edge of the aviary and cowered. The ducks were even farther back, out of sight. None of them were terrified, they are used to the Funny Farm shenanigans. It’s much worse in winter.

I was so excited about the rooster tail of sparks that most of my photos have a fingertip in the corner of the photo. Some of us are slow learners. I should have had fishes number Seven and Eight take the photos.

Yanking is the worst activity, ever, if you are considering the longevity of your physical body. Shoulder, back, it’s never good.

Most of the cutting was finished, but there was still some more pulling and more yanking to be done.

One thing a duck owner learns quickly: Don’t sweat the mud. Trust me, this is clean enough.

Connor tried to leave, but I made him stack up the steps. Some of my elderly ducks have trouble getting in and out of pools. Then I filled the pool.

They love it! Ducks are easy to please, though.

You might think big bright fish would be easy to net out of a little turtle tank but, no. There are still two in there, clearly smarter than I, and I may never be able to net them, unless I drain the tank. Heh heh heh. But six of them are back into the new duck pond. The six dummies, anyway. A couple days later, the bravest ducks were swimming in the new pool. And six of the the fish are in there, tickling their feet.

Farewell Conchita, my Golden Girl

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Farewell Conchita, my Golden Girl

Conchita made a hasty departure. When I went out to feed the chickens that morning, she was still roosting. This was not a good sign, as she was the “jumping-est” hen I’ve ever had. She wasn’t the best at landing though, which is how she broke her leg last year. It cost her weight in gold to repair that leg, but here she was, still on her night perch, half way through the morning. I plucked her off the perch and set her on the ground. She collapsed, then struggled to stand up and hobbled off to sit in a mud puddle. I didn’t like the way things were going, so I set her up in the infirmary with food and water. When I checked on her a little later that afternoon, she had shockingly and suddenly passed.

Welcome to the Funny Farm! Adelita, front, Conchita behind, Bianca out of frame.

Conchita, Bianca, and Adelita were dumped hens found loitering outside a local feed store in December of 2015. A friend contacted me and brought them right over. I was delighted to see that they were Welsummers, and young healthy ones at that. I sequestered them in the infirmary while I set up the bully pen for them. Newcomers usually start out in the bully pen where they can get used to the Funny Farm flock without getting picked on.

Conchita checks out the bully pen. See her, in the back, other side of the fence?

I’m not projecting when I say that Dobby loved his hens. I was trying to take photos of them, but he was very excited about his new girls and posed with them behind him. I didn’t let him into the bully pen for fear of scaring the heck out of them their first day here. I liked to give them a day to learn he was benign, a big gentle doofus.

Not a safe roost, girls!

That night they decided to perch on the bully pen fence. Branches had once been piled loosely on top to discourage my Muscovy drake from jumping out and they were still a menacing barrier. The hens on top were very near the overhead wire roof, near enough for a raccoon to reach down or for an owl to crash into them. Plus they were in pole position to jump down on the not-bully-pen side of the fence at dawn.

Three hens in the infirmary, night watchman on duty.

One by one I snatched them off the wood pile and stashed them safely inside the infirmary. Dobby freshly marked the catch nets for me and then supervised the whole affair.

Primo roosting: Jello, Conchita, and Adelita, L-to-R. Conchita is trying to peek back at me, you can barely make out her beak underneath.

Eventually they got to know Dobby, the other hens, the goofy ducks, and settled in. Conchita selected a roosting perch near the middle of the barn, with Adelita next to her. That’s Jello on the right. In the photo above you can also see dear Lula, the handicapped hen, in the infirmary. Little Princess Blur is glowing back there, too. She kept Lula company and I set up a ramp so that she could come and go as she liked. Lula is the only hen Blur ever liked. Maybe her heart broke when Lula died, because after that she roosted alone, until very recently. She avoided all the other hens and spent her days out in the back yard with Dobby. With Conchita gone, teeny tiny Princess roosts next to Adelita, way at the teeny tiny left end of that roost in the photo above.

Musical Chairs, chicken style.

To mix things up, Conchita occasionally roosted on a different perch. That meant everyone had to move with her, and Bianca had to adjust. The Boss Hen does what she likes, even if it causes a ruckus.

My golden hen

She was a prolific layer, and true to her breed laid big chocolate brown eggs. She and Adelita laid more days than not, most of the year. Even at six years old, they were both contributing most of the eggs around here.

Pouffy about hens. Jello, Dobby, Conchita, Adelita, L-to-R.

When Jello died, Conchita became Dobby’s favorite hen. He loved to share birdseed with his hens who were responsible for most of Dobby’s snacktime pouffiness. He liked Conchita because she was naughty, too. Every morning, when I went out with lettuce and a plastic bag of kitchen scraps, as I struggled with the gate and Dobby and all the excitement of a new day, Conchita would leap at that bag of scraps and rip open the bottom, emptying enough out for an appetizer before I could properly distribute it. I still flinch at the gate though it is an orderly and eminently sober greeting these days.

One lucky hen

Then she broke her leg. That’s when she became golden. She had surgery to set and pin the leg.

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After a month in my bathtub, I could recognize her cluck anywhere.

She moved inside to my big Jacuzzi tub, the indoor infirmary. Pain meds, antibiotics, and a cleanup twice a day. It was kinda fun to have her around and I was reluctant to move her back out.

 

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The infirmary, in its intended use.

After the vet check-up when they took off her cast, I reluctantly moved her out to the infirmary so she could visit her flock. She appreciated the fresh air and conversation.

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You’re not fat, Conchita. Don’t worry about it!

She went back to the vet for a second surgery, this time to take out the pin in her leg. Of course, the pain med and antibiotic routine began again.

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She really liked the IKEA abacus.

This time, though, the surgical area around the stitches had to be cleaned and disinfected daily. Back indoors to the bathtub. This time I set her up with some toys. When she started perching up on the toy support at bedtime I knew she was going to be okay. She had broken her leg on August 19, 2017 and six veterinary visits later (including two surgeries), she finally had the stitches removed on October 12, 2017. She owed me some golden eggs.

 

Racing for the Garden Party treats. Conchita is the hen nearest to the camera. Her leg wasn’t quite straight, even after all that surgery.

She lived another year and regained her position as boss hen, gimpy leg and all. She took back her pole position on the night roosts. She laid another hundred eggs, minimum. And she kept jumping.

Conchita’s dust bowl.

When the swimming pool disappeared and the grass started to grow, she kept her favorite dust bath open for business. The eggs kept coming, but recently I noticed that some of the dark chocolate eggs had a subtle indentation in the shell. The eggs were groovy, but not in a good way. I didn’t even know if they were Adelita’s or Conchita’s until I saw my golden hen emerging from a nest with a newly laid, slightly dented egg.

Conchita’s eggs were dented like when you touch a hot chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven.

The day after I buried her, I noticed this egg in the infirmary. She had laid me one last “Thank You!” chocolate-but-not-golden dented egg before she checked out.

Angel’s fabulous blue egg, some dark brown Adelita eggs, tan eggs from Emmy Lou and Frieda, and a couple big old duck eggs underneath them all.

I have taken in three new hens in the past three months. One quickly became the new boss. Emmy Lou is friendly and smart and her takeover was uncontested. The two newer ones are mostly in the bully pen, gradually emerging. Coffee Bean and Angel are wreaking havoc with the roosting and the cackling at dusk is disconcerting. I need to ignore it and let them all work it out, but in fact I’m out there, dinner on the back burner, checking once or twice after they should all be settled for good. Then there is Samantha, who has been here for a year, died last week, but is recovering nicely. Dead as a doornail, I’m not kidding. Sounds like an upcoming daily drama to me.