Hi. My name is Dobby and I’m writing today’s blog post.
We had some serious rain today, and a waterfall magically appeared in the aviary, coming from the neighbor’s back yard. It oozed across my back yard, pooled up by my bathroom, and flushed itself away. Whoosh! Just like that.
The water came and then it went away.
The harness stuck on the picket and broke both of them.
We had another exciting event recently: I broke my harness, and broke a fence, too! Super-Capybara! My super-power seems to be wrecking things.
The blue plastic buckle broke, and the picket welds failed.
My harness caught on the picket and I was running so fast I just broke the welds on the fence! I’m not sure why people think we are slow, lumbering animals. We are SWIFT! And CLUMSY! Not a very good combination.
In my fantasy blog, I am posting photos of my trip to Paris. Unfortunately, the daily dramas just keep coming, and no writing is happening at all. Are you ready for a summary?
Leonard the Koi: Negotiations continue, personalities emerge, and Leonard is still in his original home. I am trying to find this 30 year old, 24″ Koi fish the best home possible, so I am working with a local Koi club. This venerable fish is not a fancy variety, and of course there are quarantine requirements, but he will be examined tomorrow, and decisions will be made. I am secretly hoping that the “best home possible” is right here, but we will know soon.
The Three French Hens: The owner of these hens is not eager to part with them. At all. The homeowner’s association is equally eager to have her part with them. The bully pen is currently available, but nobody is in a hurry and that’s okay with me.
Dobby has been particularly goofy, and the dancing is non-stop! He seems to be full of energy, and yet, he spends a lot of time napping in the kitchen. This is a change from when he was younger and too wary to really relax in the house. At 6-1/2, he doesn’t startle as easily when someone breezes through the kitchen. He’s still a wild animal, though, and on guard when the wind blows and brings the scent of coyotes and deer into the yard.
Yes, the bully drakes are fully integrated back into the flock. They are so happy to be together I can hardly remember what it is like when they are all on the attack. You would think that the breeding season is over, but Carmen Miranda, the muscovy hen, is still laying eggs. I lost a sweet hen, Madonna, quite suddenly, after my return from Paris, but Lula, who is on daily metacam, is hanging in there. That leaves me one laying hen, Jello, or is the cat laying the eggs? I always find them in the cat carrier.
Kitty Hawk’s friend, Grover, was quiet after my return, and then suddenly started making gurgly sounds. I talked to the vet about him, and developed a strategy for capturing him so the vet could sedate him to do an exam. (He is still skittish, after 2 years, but he has just started to let me pet him.) We’d discuss medication later. I would take the next day to observe him for signs of recovery or, you know, the other direction. Grover must have overheard me, because he made the most remarkable recovery! Seriously, he’s fine, now. I have noticed that Hawk eats ALL OF THE FOOD, so now I play with him while Grover gets his share. Was Grover simply starving? I shudder to think, but really, Hawk just inhales his food, and Grover is such a gentleman, a dainty eater.
Bonnie Bunny recovered from her surgery and moved into the kitchen. She’s in her sister Helen’s old spot. She nearly chewed through the gate while I was away, so I’ve fixed that and will reinforce all the sides with an x-pen. She has always been hard-headed and nervous, but boredom and curiosity will prevail and I’m sure she’ll adjust to indoor life. It’s just very different from her gigantic outdoor pen, and I’m sure she still misses Wiley Wabbit as much as I do.
The Funny Farm has had a lot of visitors. Dobby and the Dude Ranch steal the show. The guinea pigs will be celebrating Carl’s 8th birthday next month! The cockatiels could star in their own Grumpy Old Men movie, with the tiny green budgie monster providing the sound track. I tried to write this blog post earlier today, but Pirate, the handicapped dove, had to be held JUST SO, nestled between my cupped hands. Try doing anything productive with a bird in your hand and the two in the bush start to sound very appealing!
On the human front, we have a full house again, well, almost. It seems fuller when kids come home with all their stuff and an entourage. I’m back at school volunteering again, my fifth year. I don’t want my fabulous trip to Paris to fade away, so I plan to relive every moment by posting photos and writing about it . . . but when?
‘Tis the season, and the origin of the term “pecking order” is in full Demo mode. I now have six drakes in the bully pen and only three drakes remain in the common yard with the geese. Emilio is the worst and picks on Vinny and Sal (V&S). Tony can protect them against Boxcar and Boondock (B&B), but not Emilio. Tony picks on poor old Fabio. When I put Tony away, B&B relentlessly chase V&S up onto a brushpile supported by a stump.
The brushpile also conceals illicit activity of a more devious variety: Carmen Miranda is sitting on a nest. I yank a couple eggs every time I see her off the nest. The last thing I need is more Muscovies.
Shamrock is in the bully pen because he is a jerk. He joins in every fracas and encourages any kind of aggression, like a puny feathered cheerleader. Plus he follows Cubicle, my female goose, around everywhere, which annoys the heck out of Norman. Romeo, the gigantic Muscovy drake is in time out because he is after my hens. I think earlier this spring he actually murdered my older hen, Penguin, but no one’s talking.
Shamrock the Terrible
They behave themselves in the garden. I’ve been letting Romeo out for a couple hours in the afternoon, mostly to give the rest of the bullies a break.
Cubicle, Romeo, and Madonna. You can see that Romeo has got his eye on the hen.
It’s much quieter in the aviary with everyone locked up. Norman still takes his job as flock manager very seriously. There’s not much to manage, though.
Norman on patrol, Cubicle swimming. Grover at the fence, Kitty Hawk hanging back, Winky blending in behind.
Vinny and Sal are still shy about venturing beyond their brushpile, and they won’t go out to the yard with the hens. Once their confidence is restored in the aviary common yard, I’ll let the bullies back out, one at a time. Maybe.
Sal and Vinny, checking out the pond. Jello the hen in the distant yard. And that’s Norman’s neck and head, mid-photo.
Dang it. Time to lock up Romeo. He’s huge, but surprisingly easy to grab. Muscovies have really sharp toenails, so it’s all about technique.
Sal averts his eyes as Romeo attacks Madonna the hen.
This is when I threw down the camera and made things right. Darn you, Romeo!
Romeo, professional thug
It‘s really no surprise that the meekest of the ducks are shy about reclaiming their territory. Old Fabio, named for his head pouf, has been here since late 2006. He’s at least nine years old, and walks like your grandpa. His head pouf disappeared about when he lost his curly drake feather. He’s always been scared to death of me, and now that the six ducks he came in with are gone, he’s kind of lonely. B&B are very protective of him, but they attack V&S so they are locked up. For now, Norman looks after him.
Fabio, Vinny, and Sal hanging out near their friends in the bully pen, just out of the photo, stage left.
The other drama queen is Lula, my poor little hen. We aren’t certain what her problem is, but it has been going on now since spring 2014. She’s on Metacam daily, and while she walks like your grandma, she is walking again. She has a hard time getting up to her roost at night, so I have been helping her up if she asks politely. Tonight she did. Other times I discover her up there already.
One problem is that we can’t eat her eggs because of the Metacam (meloxicam). She is a very sweet hen, and comes over to get her medicine when I call her.
“Don’t eat my egg!”
So I went back inside for the evening and I think I’m through dealing with bullies. But, NO! Here is tiny Spike the Budgie, terrorizing The Pirate, my handicapped dove. She put up with his pacing and haranguing, and then she suddenly lunged at him! He took off, flew to the kitchen via the dining room, landed right in his own cage! Nice flying, Spike!
The dramas are coming fast and furious lately, and that’s my excuse for not writing. I could write every day, but I’m a little hung up on having photos to go with the stories. Would you rather have funny stories almost every day, even if they don’t have photos? Or do you like the photos best, anyway, and oh, by the way, stop talking so much?
About a month ago, baby spiders were hatching everywhere. So cute! Now they are much bigger, webs everywhere, at, oh, I guess FACE LEVEL describes it. I try to brush them out of my hair before I cook dinner. It’s so distracting to watch them lower themselves down from my hair, right into the frying pan! I put them outside because I can’t wait until they are big enough to make a dent in the fly population around here.
Prince Dobalob is being his usual klutzy self. He was limping around last week, and also lost some fur on his cheek. No cut or abrasion but he must have smacked himself pretty good to lose fur in the process.
Hole in his head
Any kind of damage is good for getting the Royal Treatment. The grass in the front yard is long and lush and makes a nice treat.
The front yard grass is greener, especially when it is served up special.
The weather has been very summery and all the animals have been flaking out, mid-day. Bonnie Bunny misses her bunny-buddy but she still enjoys her garden party time. She scampers on back to her pen when I go in to put out food and fresh water. Yesterday I heard her hippity hop up the steps behind me, but when I turned to give her a special treat, I saw she was still out in the garden! I’m convinced I heard Wiley Wabbit’s ghost coming in for his treats!
Bonnie relaxes in her Dobby-resistant garden
Dobby has a new bed for the deck, so the old one can stay under the steps in the shade. This is my view from the kitchen window.
The new bed seems to be a similar flavor to the old one. Why must every new item be subjected to The Taste Test?
Grover and Kitty Hawk are even lazier now that summer is here. I gave them the penguin blanket that Dobby hated so much. Of course, now that it is a cat blanket, he tries to pull it down every time he walks near it.
Grover, Kitty Hawk, and the hated penguin blanket
The drakes are very, very aggressive this time of year. I have had to lock up Emilio every night, because when he attacks poor Sal, the geese honk at him. All night long. When I let him out in the morning, he races past the food and water to locate his victim. I’m trying a new strategy that I am hoping will work. I am penning him up with some drakes he actually likes, who have sequestered themselves away from Sal’s buddy, Tony, who attacks poor old Fabio. they only get out for the garden party, but already there are fewer daily altercations. Of course, we are past the solstice, and they should settle down, now, anyway.
He does get out once in a while.
Cubicle and Emilio go skinny-dipping
Dobby spends a good portion of his day in his grubby little wading pool. The water heats up nicely in the sun. As an added bonus, the ducks and geese muddy the water up to a very nice brownish color. Of course, none of that mud is placed there by Dobby!
Dobby’s fur is reddish this time of year.
Sometimes Dobby just goes back to bed after his morning milk.
Prince Dobalob’s Boudoir
Dobby also has a new hiding place behind the swimming pool. Bonnie Bunny hides back there, too, but not when dobby is there!
Dobby’s pool was clean for a few days. The swimming pool pump/filter just can’t keep up with the amount of mud he carries in from the wading pool.
Dobby the Seal
A couple weeks later . . .
Capybara, Mallard, and green water
That is a wild mallard swimming with Dobby. She hangs around most of the day. Sometimes she brings friends. She comes onto the deck and begs at the kitchen door if I am late with her cracked corn.
Mrs. Mallard, the perfect guest
Don’t forget to take the poll. Or just write to tell me what you would like to see here. Then hold your breath until I decide what to do next!
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.
Next door to the Gift Shop, my volunteer, Jillian is helping me track the weight of The Dudes.
First, you have to grab one.
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!
She got Carl and we weighed him.
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.
This should be easy.
Fred has decided not to be weighed today.
She really did get Fred, I was just teasing. He is fast, though!
Fine, we’ll get Stevie Ray.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wait a minute! Who is that in the infirmary with her? KITTY HAWK!
We’re going to see if Metacam will help her.
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.
Romeo prefers Dobby’s swimming pool.
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.
Don’t I have three Muscovies? WINKY! Dang it! Where is she? Sorry, gotta go!