Tag Archives: turtle

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 46

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Daily Drama 46

More dramas actually mean fewer blogs. My dance card is full, but thankfully, my mother was right. She said “You always worry about the wrong thing.” The Koi/Goldfish Rodeo hasn’t occurred yet, for various reasons. Leonard the koi is still in his home pond. It is a bit like waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Three French Hens had a Happy Story at last notice. Their owner has sold her condo and bought a house where she can keep her hens! That is the best kind of story, isn’t it?

I am currently helping to rehome a sweet bunny whose foster mother is moving this month. Honey is a young male with meticulous litter box habits and he is available now, so if you are interested, please contact me! (Seattle)

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Honey the bunny

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Honey is a friendly, relaxed rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No blog is complete without Prince Dobalob. (We’ll skip the guinea pigs, too. They have had their 15 minutes of fame.) Here is the Dobster, so we can get that over with, and we can move on to more obscure residents.

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Prince Dobalob, stealing the show

Like this dwarf African frog. There are two in a tank in Dobby’s Kitchen. The outdoor turtles are hibernating, by the way. We can no longer hope for any pleasant weather before spring.

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Bonnie Bunny is adjusting to indoor life. She isn’t one of those cuddly types, and she isn’t very adventurous, but it sure is fun to see her skid around on the slippery wood floors.

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Bonnie checks out Dobby’s kitchen area.

Bonnie enjoys a romp in Dobby’s territory once he has gone out for the evening.

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Bird’s eye view of a melted rabbit

She is getting very relaxed indoors.

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Peg-legged Pirate

The Pirate gets out in the evening, too. She has a special kitchen “nest” and a landing strip of her own but prefers to buzz my head to get attention.

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Vincent the cockatiel

My elderly cockatiels  seem to like having a rabbit in the house again. They have been wandering around more since she came inside. Spike, the Puny Green Thing, invades their cage as soon as they fly down to the floor.

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Jorge and Vincent go for a walk.

Wild mallards have invaded, as if to make up for the sleeping turtles. Feederwatch observations started up last weekend, but only 7 of these 24 ducks showed up on my count. I had a Kingfisher late last summer, and I’m hoping he’ll swing through on one of my count days.

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24 mallards in Dobby’s pool

My little flock is adjusting to the recent loss of an elder gentleman duck, Fabio. He is center back in the photo below.

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“Where’s our snack?”

He had a nice summer, but he was walking like a stiff old man and the other ducks were very deferential to him. Even Dobby seemed to acknowledge his frailty, though I doubt Fabio appreciated his nudges of encouragement.

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Little Lula

Lula has been on Metacam forever and settles on a lower roost these nights, but she is much improved from a year ago. The cats like to walk past and swat at her tail.

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I have known Jorge for 15 years, but he was probably about 5 years old when I met him.

Here is Jorge again, just because. I am his third owner, at least, but I think he is older than I originally guessed. He’s pretty frail, too, and his cage is lined with soft blankets because he falls off his perch. The Funny Farm is becoming an assisted living facility for elderly pets.

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Classic Combo: capybara and amethyst

How about me? I failed at retirement and started a new career as a paraeducator at the elementary school where I have been volunteering for the past four years. I’m also designing new jewelry for Georgia Dee’s Gift Shop, in my spare time, of course. You’ll be seeing that here in about a week. I have plenty more to write about my trip to Paris, too, but this is not the time. It seems to me I was writing a book, too, or three . . .

Duckling Days

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A couple days ago, the first thing I did was look out the bedroom window to see if there were any ducklings out there. I had seen some the day before, but I was astonished to actually see them again, on the driveway, glowing and backlit from the morning sun! What a great way to start the day!

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You have to imagine the glowing. I’ll never get a photo of that.

They live next door, to the south. I can see them from my deck, and from the window right next to my desk. I can hear the peeping, too!

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There is a little ball of ducklings in the very center of this photo.

I’ve never actually seen ducklings in that little pond before this year. Maybe that’s because their cat is now gone.

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Decisions, decisions.

Dobby’s little stream drops into a culvert, goes under my driveway, and into the little pond. There is a hole under the fence where the culvert dumps out. There is a little slope at one side that ducklings can negotiate. They don’t have to jump.

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The ducklings hesitate at the drop-off at the edge.

Sometimes they come over to play in my little waterfall and look for bugs in the quagmire next to my driveway.

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Heading around the fence this time.

When I saw them glowing, they were leaving my duckling playground, heading home the long way around the fence. There is pretty good cover that direction, even though they have to go near the street. It’s a dead end with hardly any traffic.

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There are plenty of puddles to play in between here and there.

I feed the mom all year long, so she doesn’t mind me following her around. We’re good friends.

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Almost home

I have been tossing out cracked corn for her. The ducklings prefer bugs, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about that.

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They have trouble getting over that curb!

Their little legs go pretty fast, but they aren’t so good at jumping! They’ll grow big enough to hop that curb by next week.

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Home sweet home!

The neighbors are helping to watch out for them, too.

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Ducklings in the pond next door to the NORTH, too!

If that isn’t enough cuteness, there are ducklings on the big pond to my immediate north, too! I was seeing ducklings all the time there, and then I noticed that there were two moms, two broods! I’m tossing cracked corn over the fence that direction, too.

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Ducklings on the north pond, viewed from my aviary.

This is the view that my tomcats have. Kitty Hawk and Grover are pretty interested, so I won’t be letting them out at all for a while. I relocated a wild turtle from the street to this pond last summer, but I haven’t seen him this spring.

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Sometimes they just look like this, under mama’s wings.

In the video, you can see three dads to the far left, watching over a mom with babies. The property next door has nearly 10 acres of wetlands, so there could be more than two broods there.

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One last look.

Daily Drama 37

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Daily Drama 37

The daily dramas have taken me beyond the Funny Farm this week. I usually find time to write between disasters, but they are coming fast and furious, so this is a mid-disaster story whose end cannot yet be told. At the moment, The Bartender (my “significant other”) is stable, and so is The Mathematician (my son) so here is what is happening at the Funny Farm.

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Dressing in the dark and racing to the Emergency Room doesn’t leave much time for details. For un-matched shoes, I think I did pretty well.

Dobby is enjoying our fabulous but uncharacteristically balmy weather. Swimming season has arrived! It’s actually pretty cold outside if your swimming pool water is 49f (9c) degrees.

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“I don’t snore!”

Dobby spends a lot of time inside, napping. I have tried to get a video of his snoring, but he is too wary and always wakes as I sneak up on him.

We still spend most afternoons in the garden. Dobby grazes in the front yard, the poultry plays in the back. Lula the hen is on Metacam for her mysterious ailment, and she has even made it out to the back yard a few times lately.

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Garden Party participants, left to right: Penguin, Prince Dobalob, Jello, and Madonna (Squirrel photobomb, background)

Carmen Miranda, our newest duck, has proved to be very self assured. She is trying to claim the rabbit litter-box as a nest. Whatever.

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Carmen, get out of there!

In spite of everything, we have managed to make some improvements to the Funny Farm. We now have five birds in the kitchen: two doves, one parakeet, and two cockatiels.

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BEFORE

Our first goal was to acquaint the two doves and move them from two smaller guinea pig cages into one large bird cage. The Pirate cannot walk, and Luna Dovegood cannot fly, so the cage was equipped with landing hammocks and ramps to allow them to use as much of the vertical space as possible.

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So far, so good. Doves are on the left in the new cage.

The next step was to move two elderly cockatiels and the bullying parakeet into the other cage. I put a horizontal divider in the cage. Spike the Budgie is far too aggressive to share space with the older gentlemen. Plus, he doesn’t need the encouragement of being “Top Bird” so little Spikey gets the first floor apartment.

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Vincent the cockatiel explores the new cage.

Every evening for a week, I rolled the new cage into the kitchen for playtime. I coaxed the birds into their new spaces with treats, and they began to enjoy the new play area.

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The Pirate thought she was very clever to perch on top.

Luna can’t fly, and now that she has been here a while, we know why. She has an inoperable tumor on her left wing. It has grown very large, and she is now on Metacam. Her appetite is good, she moves around her new cage by walking on the ramps, and since starting the medication, she has been cooing a little bit, again.

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The tumor is really quite serious. It is on the other side and you don’t want to see it.

The gray cockatiel, Jorge, is probably older than I first estimated, and has started to stumble and even falls off a perch once in a while. A former pet-sitter adopted him from her neighbor who had set his cage out in the carport while attempting to find a new home for him. Judy had him about four years before he came to me (she died of ovarian cancer) in 2006. He’s just “old.”

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Jorge finally checks out the new cage.

Like the dove cage, this one also has a mattress-like floor to accommodate unexpected plummeting. Instead of ramps, it has ladders so that Jorge can get back up to his perch. Vincent is about 14 years old, but still gets around just fine and has been very comforting to Jorge, who is one of those bird-birds, not a people-bird. Or maybe Jorge was traumatized at some point. I will never know.

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AFTER

Happily ever after, they are all in their new, improved cages. I still have to hang a curtain between Spike the budgie and the doves, though. He is such a pill.

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Shipping goose eggs

It is egg-laying season, so I am constantly raiding nests. The last thing I need is more poultry to care for. I shipped off the first goose eggs, but I have decided to keep the rest and blow them out. They are really very cool.

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Georgia Dee’s Diary

One of my biggest distractions right now is my Mom’s diary. She was 13 years old when she started writing in it in 1940. It goes through 1944, and her personal story is so well told that I would like to share it. I have transcribed it and I am adding photos, a World War Two timeline, and a few footnotes where clarification is helpful.

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A 1943 Eversharp pen and engraved bracelet

Seventy years later, I am discovering artifacts mentioned in the diary. Most of them were gifts from her boyfriend, Andy. She kept them for fifty years and I have had them twenty. It is my mother’s diary, but it is about Andy, and I am certain she would want his memory kept alive in this way.

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Andy

I have contacted his nephew Randy, who is also interested in the project. Depending upon the response I get from my group of previewers, I plan to publish it. Please let me know if you would like to participate in this early review and I will send you a link to the private website in April, when I hope to have it ready. (Comment on this post and mark it “private” if you don’t want it published. I’ll just add you to the list.)

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Dobby isn’t certain he approves of he new cages.

My drakes are fighting, my capybara is amorous, the turtles are out of hibernation and basking, and the wild birds are flying around with beaks full of twigs. It must be spring!

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!