Tag Archives: Jello

Daily Drama 64 – Am I smarter than a goldfish?

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Daily Drama 64 – Am I smarter than a goldfish?

In nice weather, I open the door next to my desk so that it feels like I am working outside. I had a couple raccoons approach one night, but I sent them scurrying. More worrisome is that I could step away from my desk, forget about the open door, and take Dobby to the front yard. I can only imagine the capybara glee when he finds the inviting open door into his old territory! He was banished from my bedroom/office over seven years ago. Double the glee when he finds MY pristine White Rabbit Rug! He has destroyed his, but he’s not touching mine!

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Cookie Monster and Brutus below, Stevie Ray and Squirrel above

Queen Brutus and Cookie Monster are two young guinea pigs who came to live with us recently. We are waiting for Cookie to grow up a bit so that they can be spayed at the same time. After their recuperation they will move upstairs with the dudes.

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“The bowl is empty!”

The second photo was taken after “The Great Escape.” See those orange clamps on the side of their cage? Even in this photo Queen B has been messing around with the ground covers, checking for breaches. They didn’t get far when they made their break. The girls had a little picnic way in back there by the baskets full of hay.

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The engaging plastic ball is a parrot toy stuffed with hay.

They were “free-range” before they came here, and are surprisingly tidy. They use the big hay box with the pigloo for a litter box, and have a well-used smaller litter box in their cage. I lock them in their cage at night, especially since their Big Adventure. It’s easy to shuffle them in with a big salad.

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No guinea pig photo is complete without beans!

The girls like vegetables but frown on strawberries, mango, and kiwi. Queen B is a year older than little Cookie and steals her food, but Cookie is quickly learning that I always have something for her if she waits until Brutus runs off with her prize!

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Stevie Ray will be 7 years old this fall.

Stevie Ray was losing weight and has an abdominal mass, but the trip to the vet must have scared him into getting his act back together. He’s friskier and seems to be putting weight back on. This is a guy who likes his strawberries, carrots, and tomatoes. Check out the fur under his chin! Guess he’s due for a shampoo.

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Squirrel, Maniac of the Year, in pole position at the food dish

Squirrel has been here almost a year. Not five years old, as advertised, maybe three. He’s a speed demon, very excitable. Clean cage? Popcorning. A lettuce leaf? Standing up oh-so-tall. Cleaning girls’ cage below? Zoomies going on above. I’ll never know why this amazing pig was considered un-adoptable. He’s a hoot!

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No, not a goldfish, it’s a Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, Dojo loach.

I have been trying to dip a goldfish out of Dr. Pepper’s turtle tank for two years, and now it’s enormous. It isn’t “gold;” it’s black and fast and smarter than me. Now there’s a smaller one in there, also black and fast and smarter than me. It’s not worth draining the tank to get them out. They have eluded the turtle for a couple years, too. I put them in as fry several years ago, for mosquito abatement, but with the three of them in there, nothing lives long.

Remind me to tell you the Dojo story some other time.

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Climbing rose, Rosa ‘Cécile Brünner’

This climbing rose has the most precious little rosebuds you can possibly imagine, thumbnail sized. You have to have a teeny tiny bud vase if you want to bring them inside. It’s easier to bring in a spray of flowers.

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Sluggo

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Bring flowers in, Sluggo will crawl over to your dinner plate from the bouquet! Seriously, slugs invite themselves into the house all the time. I guess they do, I rarely find the slugs, but see slime trails all the time.

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Norman splashes in Dobby’s clean hot tub. It won’t be clean after Dobby gets in there.

Same roses, hiding the gang valve and four hoses on the wall. It broke (don’t ask) and one of the hoses was frozen into it, the live feed into the aviary, of course. That particular hose is threaded through 50′ of protective tubing. I needed another project like a hole in the head.

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The hens are making headway at killing the brand new grass.

Winter rains kill Dobby’s grass in the back yard. After Mother’s Day, the weather is perfect for reseeding it. Every week I broadcast seed and water. The hens love to pick out the seedlings and the ducks dig holes if there are any puddles bigger than your big toe. Still, it’s looking good this year and should be in great shape when the September rain storms massacre every single blade. It’s a testimony to my optimism and sheer stupidity. Anything for Dobby, though. The boy needs pasture.

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“Actually, I prefer the mud.”

Dobby stops to indulge in a mud treatment on the way to the front yard every day. It gives the chickens time to scoot past me into the storage area where the baby grass is even more lush and tender. A couple good scratch-and-pecks and they have ripped up an area the size of a bathmat by the time Dobby finishes up at the spa.

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Dobby and Jello wait for the front door to open.

Sometimes, Dobby invites a hen to the front yard. This was little more than a week ago, and old Jello looked as perky as ever. A couple days later she suddenly departed for the big dustbath in the sky. This was her 7th spring, and her cohorts preceded her long ago. Hens are both tough and fragile as I have learned in my 30+ years of chicken wrangling.

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Practicing to be an alligator.

The mudhole in the front yard has the perfect amount of water, muck, and weedy buffet. Today I watched Dobby grazing and asked him “Go swimming?” He perked right up and we walked over to the mudhole and he scrambled right in! He used to swim in his big pool on command, but he’s not using it any more (even though his diving video has gone viral). We’re not sure he can get out of his swimming pool, though it’s unlikely he can make it up the straw bale stairs that are no longer there.

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“All I wanted to do was clean my face off on your pants. Why did you run away?”

He still has trouble walking and going up and down steps, but his weight loss seems to have bottomed out at 110 lbs and he’s back up to 116 lbs. He’s eating like a horse. Literally. The grass in the front yard is, well, it’s BIG. You can see some of the coarse blades in the foreground of the faux-alligator photo. He grazes and I cut him a bucket full and haul it around to the back for him. Prince Dobalob’s trusty servant.

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Bored with svelte, and going for the porky look next.

This toolbox holds his milk meds and supplements, all color coded for morning, noon, and bedtime so they don’t conflict with each other. The actual milk powder is in a separate container, and the yogurt is in the refrigerator. Some of the pills have to be ground up with a little mortar and pestle. The Fluid Action HA is the newest concoction to be added. Dobby started receiving K-Laser treatments at about the same time as we added the Fluid Action HA, or “Castrol” as we so fondly refer to it. One of those two treatments could be the reason why he seems to be improving.

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Where’s the milk?

Dobby’s book is in final editing and moves next to formatting for publishing! So we are very close to our due date of Late July or August.” I hope we don’t “April the Giraffe” it! When the book is available I will be pretty obnoxious about letting everyone know. Dobby’s smug fans who request postcard announcements can ignore my blithering. I will need your snail mail address. That’s what the form below is for.

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That’s all for now! Once Dobby’s book is launched, I’ll be back to my irregular but more frequent blogging.

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Daily Drama 49

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Daily Drama 49

I wasn’t busy enough, so I am now officially not retired. Sixty-four is an odd time of life to start a new career, but my volunteer status no longer adequately describes my activities, so I have been hired. Coincidentally, my wildlife photography, my non-stop blogs, and my stunning cinematography have been derailed. The dramas have no respect, and continue to unload at an alarming rate. Currently, the blog-waiting room at the Stacy’s Funny Farm Station is taking numbers, but all of the clerks are out to lunch.

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Miss Honey Bunny, looking so very innocent

For instance, there is still a rabbit at large in the guinea pig room. I am losing confidence that Honey Bunny will be reunited with her owner in the near future, but she is a lot of fun for now. Other than the fact that she has started to mark the carpet. My own Bonnie Bunny has previously attacked a rabbit- her own sister!- so I don’t dare introduce them.

Snow White, the dove, is finally perking up. I had brought her inside and she did well at first but then languished. I still don’t want her to have direct contact with her daughter, The Pirate, until I am certain she is healthy. For the past four days, I have been wheeling her cage into the kitchen so they can “flock,” and they are eating together (from afar) and Snowy is suddenly showing signs that she will completely recover. Next I will let them interact, supervised, and determine whether they want to share a cage. Snow White probably thought she was doomed to flock with guinea pigs. Oh, the horror of it!

In fact, the guinea pigs are a fine little herd. Carl’s eight year old legs still scurry with the youngest of them. He honestly doesn’t seem any older than the other dudes. Speaking of old dudes, my antique cockatiel, Jorge, still occasionally falls off his perch onto the padded cage floor. I’m beginning to think he is a LOT older than the sixteen years I know about. I’m his third owner, and he’s been annoying me here for ten years.

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Jello the hen, bathing beauty

The new hens are settling in, laying eggs, begging and underfoot. The flock dynamics are fascinating: little Bianca is now shunned by the two hens she arrived with, and old Jello seems happy to have her as a new companion. And yet, the roosting positions vary from night to night, with Bianca randomly sleeping near the two and then Jello. Little Lula sleeps below, but still manages to get off the ground. She has been on Metacam for a year, and if she ever dies we might discover what her problem is. She is a sweet happy hen, comes when I call her each morning for her medicine.

We had 11″ of rain in January, almost 1/3 of our yearly rainfall. Even the ducks are sick of it. Norman’s feathers are in poor condition, and the Muscovies look pretty bad on wet days, too. They have a heat lamp and whole wheat and cracked corn treats, but we’d rather have some sun.

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Quasimodo, not eating his food because it’s FEBRUARY

Quasimodo the turtle has been out a few times this winter. He’s been here since 2009, and each winter I wonder whether I should bring him in or let him hibernate. In this photo you can see the bulge at his right cheek, a calcium deposit he’s had since before he came here to live. I feed him when I see him, but he really isn’t interested in eating during winter. Dr. Pepper has emerged a couple times, too, but not for long.

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Lotsa mallards . . . oh boy, look at the steps. Will they make it to summer?

The crazy wild mallards are proliferating. There were 26 one afternoon last week, right at the time of day my flock generally emerges for the Garden Party refreshments. A couple of the mallard ducks march directly into the aviary, turn right at the turtle tank, enter the barn, and help themselves to the poultry food! I now have to make a sweep for mallards before I secure the gate for the night. One morning last week, a drake surprised me by flying off the roof onto the ground in front of me as I walked out with the breakfast treats. Entering the aviary I was greeted by a female mallard, merrily swimming in the duck pond. She was reluctant to leave, though her drake was mighty relieved to have her released.

My tomcats vacillate between boring and completely frustrating. Grover has decided to discover whether it is possible to actually perish from hairballs. Kitty Hawk is easy enough to handle that I occasionally grant him the privilege of walking the circuit around the house. Those days are over as he apparently strayed across the street. I figured that out when I heard the distant cat fight- who could that be?

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Prince Dobalob “I’m bored!”

Dobby, my precious angel, has been saving “gifts” for me, letting loose in the kitchen as I return home for school. He’s so thoughtful. I keep telling myself it’s the weather. You might think a rainforest animal would like the rain, but no. He seems to disapprove of rain, though honestly, in winter he disapproves of almost everything except corn-on-the-cob.

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Mr. Wooly Bear

There has been a tiny visitor at our front door, and I have almost stepped on him twice. The second time I brought him in for a photo shoot. It’s spring when wooly bear caterpillars appear, right? Summer is surely coming!

Daily Drama 42

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Daily Drama 42

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?

Daily Drama 40

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Daily Drama 40

‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Lurking Lula

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.

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“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!

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“BACK OFF, puny green thing!”

Daily Drama 36

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Daily Drama 36

Can you hear my printer in the background? That’s the sound of my first Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) application, popping out, page by page, ready for signature. Incorporating as a Non-Profit Organization has been an adventure, and mostly a boring one. But I want to keep doing what I am doing, and this is the best way to do it. That’s enough of that. Let’s look at the fun stuff.

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“There’s a tiny snake eating my face off!”

Let’s be honest. Most of you are here to see silly pictures of Dobby. No doubt about it, he is a major force around here. Long before Dobby, though, I was taking in castoff pets. I have been the “Go-To Girl” for transitional pets for over 40 years. Fortunately, I know how to say “No, thank you!” and I re-home many little critters that come my way. I still seem to end up with a lot of drifters, though.

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“I disapprove of this morning’s offerings.”

Because Dobby is such a charming animal, and SO well behaved, he has brought a lot of attention to my little pet collection. Initially, I thought to exclude him from the “umbrella” of my non-profit organization. In fact, every single donation that has come in can be traced to him. I grit my teeth and repeat my mantra every time I clean up a masterpiece in the kitchen. “Thank you, oh Evil One.” Yes, here is Mr. Charm himself, sharing bird seed with Penguin the hen. He does love his hens.

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Lula is a couple years younger than Miss Penguin, but she has been having “spells” off and on since early last summer. She was in The Infirmary for a couple months, but a daily dose of Metacam has her out cavorting with the flock again. She’ll be on drugs for whatever her forever is.

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Lula, foreground; the ubiquitous Carmen Miranda, background.

Norman is in Full Honk again, spring being what it is. I’m seeing pairs of birds, birds with beaks full o’ straw, because we’re only a few days before St. Patrick’s Day. I know that isn’t officially the first day of spring, but around here, things start hopping coincidentally with the Wearing of the Green.

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Norman keeps his eye on that pair of mallards on the edge of the pool. “Back off! HONK!”

When I agreed to take in a flock of doves, I knew that population control would be important. I swear I just collected eggs two days ago. No wonder there were more than 20 doves at the time I received them!

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Six dove eggs and two pigeon.

Here’s little Carmen Miranda, again. She’s one of those sticky birds who is always underfoot. Seriously, I can’t take a step without checking where she is. She is convinced she is more special than the others: first one out of the aviary, last one to return in the evening.

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Jello, the busybody hen, and Carmen Miranda. Princess Carmen is enjoying the dregs of Dobby’s warm bath water.

The next photo is actually the before picture, with Prince Dobalob in his hot tub. Carmen is lurking in the background, waiting for Dobby to wander away.

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The Bartender has upgraded his orange peeling technique so they look nicer in the photos.

I know you want to see more Dobby photos, so he’s going to show you a couple of his toys.

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Dobby’s morrillo.

Dobby is quite territorial, so he marks everything, including me. He marks with urine wherever he walks. He poops strategically, surprisingly most ends up in his pen, the ultimate territory. But, of course, also the kitchen. But mostly he marks with his morillo, the hairless waxy area on the top of his snout nose.

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Dobby’s Big Apple, hanging on the apple tree, of course.

He especially likes this new one, a deflated punching bag. If you’ve never shopped at Goodwill Outlet, I highly recommend it. Put on some old clothes, grab a pair of vinyl disposable gloves, borrow somebody else’s car, and see how much (I’m talking VOLUME here, like cubic yards . . . ) crapola you can get for 20 bucks. It is sold by weight.

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My new punching bag is SWELL!

The grass is starting to grow, and every year I try to get my mudhole of a back yard to look like my front yard. Until then, Dobby and I spend a lot of time in the front. We’re expecting a major deluge this weekend, so I will be hiding out in that little greenhouse back there. And Dobby will be grazing, rain or shine.

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Dobby’s Front Yard