Tag Archives: Quasimodo

Daily Drama 52

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Daily Drama 52

There will be more than one blog topic generated this week, but I will be lucky if I manage to write up even one. First, this is the worst trip to Florida I’ve ever taken, but the Seattle weather here at home is cooperating and we’re going to try a couple local Cuban restaurants this week and pretend we are in Hollywood Beach. My mint has enough tender new foliage for mojitos, we have stocked up on rum, and The Bartender is doing his best to take our minds off the unexpectedly aborted vacation. This is the stay-cation, classic version, and it is nice to have a week off my grueling 8.75 hour a week work schedule.


My little turtle, Quasimodo, emerged early in spring to say goodbye, I guess. He was never quite right, as you can tell from his name, but we had six nice years together. Doctor Pepper inherits his portion of the tank, and I hope he overcomes his extreme shyness the way Quasi eventually did. They rarely played “Turtle Pile” so I don’t think Doc had enough emotional attachment to feel grief, but animals are unpredictable that way.

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Farewell, Quasimodo

Lula the hen still receives her daily pain meds, but has had a couple setbacks in spite of it. She has walked stiff-legged for about a year, but recently added a stanky leg flourish to her amble. On sunny days, I bring her out to the yard to keep Dobby company. It also prevents my crazier hens from pecking at her.

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Bianca, being obnoxious

The bully pen has only three drakes this year, but one more has been “asking for it.” Romeo, Shamrock, and Emilio beg to attend the Garden Party every afternoon, but they are tricksters and I refuse to fall for their “Poor Me!” act. Tony, Vinny, and Sal have managed to retain their territory and it is refreshing to see them work together as a team. The twins Boondock and Boxcar are an even match to the trio, but one of them is a meany. Or maybe they both are, taking turns with sneak attacks. Because they work independently, Norman the Flock Manager is usually able to settle the disputes.

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Honey Bunny is listening.

The big news is very rabbity. Honey Bunny, my foster, has been surrendered to me. I just scheduled her to be spayed next week and then she will be available for adoption. It’s breaking my heart because she has been here since December and she is the best pet rabbit I have ever had, except maybe for Wiley. But he was a garden rabbit. Honey has taken over the house guinea pig room. Sadly, she is much more fun than my own rabbit, Fat Bonnie.

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Relaxed, are we?

Fat Bonnie doesn’t move. She sits, hunkered down in unjustified fear. A gorgeous mini-rex, “black otter” in color, she is the softest rabbit I have ever had. Too bad she hates to be touched. She doesn’t tolerate much attention of any kind, come to think of it. She loved Wiley Wabbit so much that in a jealous rage she tried to kill her sister, Helen. Fat Bonnie bit her and drove her far under the deck where I found her two days later, scared, hungry, and dehydrated. So I don’t trust Fat Bonnie with other female rabbits and she has never met Honey. They are aware of each other, but live in different areas of the house.

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Run, Fat Bonnie, run away! Quick, get under the shelves!

Every night, The Bartender cleans and sets up Dobby’s kitchen area for her, and Fat Bonnie’s door is opened so she can scamper and run and explore and browse and interact with us. And every night we encourage and beckon and cajole and beg her to leave her pen and find the salad waiting for her around the corner. And every night (for eight months now) we end up pushing and nudging and shooing and sometimes I even just carry her around that corner to her evening play area. And there she sits all night until it is time to go back to her pen. She’ll emerge for a treat tossed her way, but mostly she’ll retreat behind the door at a sudden noise or activity in the kitchen. Like someone opening the refrigerator door. Is she the only pet on earth who is scared of that sound? The guinea pigs are down the hall wheeking, and Fat Bonnie is quivering under the shelves

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Honey is probably a Hotot.

I can’t really keep both rabbits. If they could live together or even if they would play together nicely, I would keep them both. I would prefer to find a new home for finicky Fat Bonnie, but it would be a hard sell. So I will be re-homing Honey Bunny, the better bunny. 

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Honey’s night cage

Friendly Honey Bunny runs to EVERYONE for petting and attention. When I step into her area, she gets the zoomies and rips around the room in big circles, next around my legs a couple times, then the room for a few more circuits before she settles down for some attention. Toss her some lettuce and she’ll ignore it, preferring to come over for a pet. I had never seen a bunny who flopped her ears so much, and thought she had mites. Turns out it is a Happy Thing. (Fat Bonnie doesn’t do it.)

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Oopsie

She hops readily into her cage at bedtime, but is perfectly well behaved out of it during the day. Well, except for the time she hopped up to the bookcase and broke a lamp. Or maybe that time she got behind the bunny barrier and ate her way through the guinea pig hay bags. Or when she opened the bag of shavings and decorated the room, or chewed a wire, or pulled a stack of towels through the bunny barrier. Or when she sticks her head through the gate to the hall and chews the edge of the hall runner.

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Honey’s “nest” box

She has made a couple nests. She has an active litter box in her cage, and another in the corner of her room that she doesn’t use. Twice she has pulled fur and made a nest in the clean corner box. A few days ago, I saw her pulling fur again and looked in the box. She had dragged a blanket in there and two little stuffed animals- the monkey and the hamster! Her babies. She knew that it would be wrong to include the stuffed banana toy.

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Slug bunny

So, little Honey is available. Let me know if you are interested!

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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 31

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Daily Drama 31
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The duck pool keeps freezing. I use hot water to melt the edge for them.

We skipped autumn and careened directly into winter, starting with a deep freeze in October followed by another in early November. Now that it is actually winter, we are freezing again, down to 22ºf (-5ºc) again last night. This is supposed to be a mild climate. In previous years, temperatures might dip down to 26ºf for a night or two, once a year. This year, we have gone into the lower twenties, three times already, for four or five nights in a row. And yet, it was one of the warmest Decembers recorded. We just set a new record for high pressure. Extremes are now the norm.

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Dr. Pepper, is that you in there?

This is the third time the turtle tank has frozen. I always glance in there, anyway, and today I was shocked to see someone looking back at me!

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It could be Quasimodo. Hard to tell through an inch of ice.

It is hard to keep duck water clean, and valved waterers clog easily (and then run) when ducks load them up with rocks and gravel, not to mention mud. I find it is easier to leave a hose on trickle and the water self-cleans. Not the most efficient system, but it also keeps the system from freezing, down to about 20ºf. Below that and the ducks have to worry a little drinking hole open. I have seen them take turns keeping it open. The big duck pool also has a hose dripping into it, and in that duck pool photo, Norman is standing at the overflow.

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And such an attractive setup, too! Note the black corrugated capybara protection device over one of the live lines.

The cats love their barn and heated kennel pads. Hawk is always under foot, but Grover is getting more friendly, now. He has initiated a Good Morning Nose-Bump with me. He is incredibly shy.

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Get out of the way, Kitty Hawk!

I take warm water out to the dove cage, fill a couple bowls (their waterer is frozen out of commission), dump the shallow purple bath and fill it. I’ve seen a half dozen of them in there at once, but not when I have my camera out. You can see the previous days’ frozen water outside the cage. Stashing the frozen bits where they don’t impeded access, create a hazard for duck feet, and melt quickly takes experience.

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Kitty Hawk, go away.

I have a hen and dove sharing an infirmary cage, and today, Kitty Hawk leapt over my shoulder to gain access while I was cleaning their water. He has been especially crazy lately. He likes me to take him for a little walk, and I have to hold his tail like a leash.

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Doves looking down at Kitty Hawk.

It wasn’t easy to get Dobby to the front yard today. Look at that frost! It is like snow! Yesterday’s corn cob is frosty, too.

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Frosty the Corn Cob

Dobby is eager to return to the back yard. I wonder why.

Wiley Wabbit has declined to attend the Garden Party this afternoon.

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“You can refill that bowl while you’re here, Lady.”

Dobby has been spending a lot of time in his fancy hot tub. I have a hot water tap and hose right next to it.

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“Needs bubbles”

Bonnie Bunny prefers cold weather to wet weather and is taking advantage of the situation.

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This little garden area is Bonnie’s favorite. The gate in the foreground is meant to keep Large Rodents out, but it barely slows him down.

Meanwhile, the Large Rodent is steaming.

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“Why is she talking about rabbits?”

All of the pets are wary of Dobby.

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“Rabbit? What Rabbit? Show me a rabbit and I’ll get rid of it!”

When temperatures drop to the low 20’s, Dobby gets to sleep indoors. He used to hate it, but this is his 5th winter and he is more experienced. I truly think he understands about the seasons, and knows his frozen world is transitory.

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Apparently, only the back 1/3 of him enjoyed the hot tub today.

It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but his area gets pretty grubby when we can’t get in there to mop and wash the bedding every night. Corn on the cob makes a sticky mess, and the kernels stick to your feet and end up all over the house.

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“You say grubby like it’s a bad thing!”

The guinea pigs don’t know winter. They do know vegetables.

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“Yes, we do know Winter!”

Dobby used to wander in and out all night when I tried to keep him in. He would drag out a blanket and the door would stand open, letting Alaska inside to chill the birds. I put a heater in there, now, and he also doesn’t wander out so often.

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“I sleep right here!”

I cover the birdcages with an insulated curtain. Dobby thinks the curtain is a chew toy, just like the cage ruffles he has taste tested.

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“These guys are the noisiest room-mates!”

Most of the time, I remember to bring in the hummingbird feeders. Am I the only one who wakes up at 4am, remembers the hummingbirds, and sneaks outside in my pajamas to bring in the feeders to thaw? And then wakes up again at 7am to take them back out?

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Bucket of bamboo, this time. Sometimes it is a head of romaine lettuce. Might be an apple hidden at the bottom.

Go for it, Dobby! It’s going to be a long, messy night!

Daily Drama 13

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At some point, I’ll write up my turtle story. For today, I’ll just tell you about my trip to the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS). For reasons I won’t go into right now, I knew my little turtle was lonely. I looked at the SAS website, and they had a turtle available for adoption!

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Lonely Quasimodo

Here is Pepper the Red-Eared Slider on the way home from the shelter.

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Pepper checks out the sun

He was pretty excited about the sun, fresh air, and jostling.

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If you’re going to transport turtles, best to have a convertible!

Pepper is very lively! Time to come out of the carrier. That’s Dobby’s old carrier, by the way. Hard to believe isn’t it?

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Clear eyes, nostrils open and dry

He looks pretty healthy to me, but he comes with a certificate for a free veterinary exam. That’s too good to pass up!

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Approved by Dobby

Prince Dobalob had to check him out, of course.

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Quasimodo will enjoy having a friend to sun with.

Quasimodo wasn’t sunning, so I set Pepper on his regular haul out spot.

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DUCKS KEEP OUT!

The aviary is totally fenced, with a chickenwire “roof” to keep out raccoons and herons. This grid just keeps the ducks out. NO SWIMMING!

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That diagonal branch should still be on a tree about 40′ up. The chickenwire roof should be about level with the top fence stringer.

On my way out of the aviary, I turn back and I notice an odd branch that wasn’t there in the morning. That’s right where I walk in and I would have had to duck under it to get in. Even before my coffee I would have notice this big lulu.

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Lulu the Tree Branch

Here’s what it looked like from inside. Probably at least a 6′ diameter. Came down from about 40′ up, fast. It pierced the 2″ chickenwire and ripped a gash in it. Big enough for a flock of herons, a family of raccoons and maybe a bald eagle to saunter through at the same time.

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The Intrepid Bartender

My Bartender, Dick, to the rescue! Here he is standing in the gash. That wire should be a couple feet above his head! It was an easy fix. One straight gash, during the day, it wasn’t raining, and we noticed it before a massacre happened. Yay!

 

Daily Drama 12

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Daily Drama 12

You’ll be happy to hear I did NOT stop to take a photo of yesterday’s first event. Dobby’s swimming pool pump has two filters, one in the pool and one just in front of the pump. The one by the pump has a clear plastic dome and I was surprised a couple days ago to see an orange flash in there, but decided it was a reflection off my shirt. I clean that filter out only occasionally because the entire pool tries to empty out through that opening when you pull the filter basket out. Fortunately, I decided to clean it out yesterday and, yup, there was a fish in there! I quickly tossed him into the pool (no photo!) but he was in there while the pump was on for 4 hours the night before, spinning like a top! This morning there were three dummies in the POOL filter basket. I’ve never had even one in there before. Must be the season when goldfish migrate.

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Darwin Award Candidates?

There is a Turtle Story coming but it is to complicated to go into right now. Anyway, here is poor little lonely Quasimodo, enjoying a sunny moment. The tiny goldfish I got him are not the same as having a turtle friend. Maybe another one will need sanctuary here some day.

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Meh. Goldfish.

That  large wilted gray-green stalk on the ground was a beautiful tall upright sunflower on Tuesday. It managed to sprout and grow and survive until then. Dobby doesn’t really go into that area. I have it fenced off so the rabbits can go in there without him bothering them. So what happened to my beautiful sunflower? It was almost ready to bloom!

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Wiley Wabbit says he has no idea what happened to it.

Dobby never fails to amaze me. I was in his pen, scooping equipment in hand, looking around for something to scoop. Like guinea pigs, capybaras are prolific- big eaters for sure, but more seems to come out than goes in. So as a capybara owner, nothing to scoop could mean digestive problems or even a blockage. Oh, look! There it is, IN HIS WATER BOWL! Maybe he finally noticed that those are fire hydrant decorations.

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“I’m not a dog!”