Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wildlife Weekend :: The Cats are Revolting

You know it's time to give the dog a bath when the cats start revolting.

Oh the things they put up with.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who ARE you people?

I'll admit, when I started blogging almost two years ago, I always hoped someone would read my ramblings. I didn't know if I'd have one reader (thanks mom) or a hundred readers, but I think anyone who takes the time to write hopes someone will take the time to read.

One of the strange things about blogging is that you really don't know how many people read your blog. There are a few readers who often take the time to comment (thanks to my "regulars" - it means a lot to me!), but there are plenty more of you who visit on the sly - not leaving a trace that you peeked into my blogging life.

I visit blogs daily and I only have a handful that I routinely comment on, but many, many others that I read without ever saying a word. I'm not sure why I don't comment on so many of the blogs I read - I think some blogs become like a newspaper column to me - I read it, enjoy it and then move on. Sometimes I don't comment because I know the blogger probably doesn't read the comments section and other times I simply don't know what to say or have time to say it. Writing "hi, I read what you wrote and enjoyed it" doesn't seem comment-worthy to me, but maybe I SHOULD write that from time to time on other people's blogs...

So here is my chance to ask you. Who ARE you? If you stopped by this blog - even for a moment - tell me who you are - where are you from - are you a secret blog reader stealthily reading random blogs on the down low? Just hit the comments link down there and give me a quick "hi" so I can see who my silent readers are. I know my site statistics show hits from all over the world... so I'm dying to see who you people are...


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Triumph of the Carrot!

Bwa-ha-haa!!! I have conquered the carrot! Bow down before me you long rooty orange fiend! You thought you beat me last season, but I triumphed this time and forced you to grow in my kingdom of gardening horrors!


But seriously - I did it! I successfully grew carrots! They're one of the things that has petered out in past gardens and they just plain grew well in my SFG this time around. I was floored when I pulled a few out of the ground and they actually looked like carrots and smelled like carrots and were bug-free to boot! I am seriously giddy about this carrot harvest. But I'm sure you didn't gather that, did you?

The boys were equally giddy and it was like Christmas morning as each rooty beauty popped out of the ground. One of the good things about being a not-too-successful gardener is that if ANYTHING actually grows, your kids think you're a gardening god. It's wonderful!

But the best part was they even tasted great. We had about half of them for dinner last night and I've got to say nothing makes a mama prouder than hearing her boys arguing over who gets to eat more carrots.

I bet you thought I had forgotten about gardening with all this talk about puppies and chickens, but I'm still trucking along. I'm getting ready to plant our Spring veggies and I'm going to try potatoes for the first time too. Before I can plant we need to revamp the garden fence since a certain white puppy of mine has recently discovered that if she gets really really wet and then jumps in the SFG and digs a hole and rolls in it, she gets really really awesomely muddy...right down to her skin.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wildlife Weekend :: A Whole Year Later

It was a year ago today that my mom was in Boston for a travel show and I made a late night phone call to her as she sat in a noisy restaurant with bad cell reception. "Baillan just died," I repeated about five times until she heard me. A pet lover, she was deeply saddened. She knew that dog had been my protector when I lived alone in a crappy apartment in college and was an important part of our family 13 years later

I vividly remember giving Baillan a big hug and a kiss and burying my head in her white fur as she laid awkwardly panting madly on a blanket in the back of the car that night. It was weird to see Farmer B pull away leaving me standing there without her knowing I'd never see her again. And when he came home without her holding her collar I felt empty, but I do remember feeling surprisingly good that she'd had such a long life.

Here we are a year later and right now my mom is at that same travel show in Boston, and I have another furry white lump who likes to carry around her blue bowl and has that funny otter-tail that goes thump-thump-thump when she sees me.

New puppies are born, old dogs become a pleasant memory, and life goes on. The boys still talk about Baillan constantly, which is nice, because I know she'll be that first dog they talk about when they're older and reminiscing about their childhood.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A little known gardening hazard

I was out in the garden earlier this afternoon turning the compost pile and adding some scraps from last night's dinner when I heard a clunking and a whining next to me. I had just watered the compost by using my watering can and apparently the little bit of water in the can was just too tempting for Saffron.

She stuck her head in to take a drink and… well… you know what comes next. To think, she almost went a full day without getting her head stuck in something.

She even got an eye out for a change.

She gets an A for effort for using her paw this time.

Even Rommel showed up to see what that strange little creature was doing again. He was disgusted, as usual.

Isn't she pathetic?

You cannot leave that puppy alone for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I'm sure you all heard that bizarre statistic on the news the other day about there being snow on the ground in 49 of our 50 states with Hawaii being the hold out. Just an insane thought, don't you think?

Even more insane are these photos of our hiking trip from the other day. Farmer B, the boys, the dogs and I headed out for a very chilly hike out to a pond not far from our neighborhood. Look at all the white stuff! And let's not forget that we live in Central Florida… Here are some pics from our hike.

So did I fool any of you? Even for a split second? Did I make you take a second look? Okay, so it was in the 50s, which is still REALLY too cold for my tastes and instead of snow we had sand, but when I looked at the pictures I was struck by how similar sugar sand looks to snow. I think our green snowless trees sort of gave it away, but it was a fun regardless.

Stay warm everyone!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Curious Case of the Cardinal Couple

When I go out in the mornings to let the chickens into their run from their coop I'm always surprised at what's in the run waiting for me. I've found squirrels, sparrows, blue jays and cardinals in the chicken run frantically zipping around looking for a way out. There is a little space where they could crawl in along the dirt near the corner posts, which doesn't surprise me with squirrels, but I am always surprised that birds squeeze under there.

We seem to have found some permanent guests in a curious Cardinal couple who can't go a day without getting stuck in the chicken run - and even in the chicken coop sometimes. I tried putting birdseed in a feeder in a tree near the chicken run, but it didn't seem to reduce the number of days I found the cardinals in the run.

Some days it's the male in the run. Some days it's the female. Most days it's both. It's sweet that when one is stuck in the chicken run and the other isn't, the outside one scampers around the chicken run right next to the one who's stuck inside, following like a shadow.

Getting them out in the mornings is quite simple since I just open the door and they fly out, but some days they get in there in the middle of the day while the chickens are in the run, so getting them out becomes a bit more complicated. I can't open the door or the chickens will get out and the dogs would really enjoy that. I end up running around like a lunatic trying to keep the chickens in, the dogs out, the boys out, and get the cardinals out.

One time the male cardinal got in the chicken coop, which sent Sookie into a frenzy and she pecked out all of the red feathers on his head giving him a haircut like a monk. I had to reach in to the coop, grab the cardinal with my hand and throw him out. To thank me for saving his life he bit me really, really hard. I had a perfect pink X on my palm where he was holding on to me like a crab on a beach. You'd think he'd learn his lesson after that, right? Apparently not.

Look what I found yesterday afternoon. The cardinal couple flying madly around Sookie's head trying to get out. She was not amused. I got them out just before she monkified him again. It took that male cardinal about a month to get his red head feathers back after his last scalping.

When they get out he always perches in the big tree near the run and screeches for a minute before flying off with his mate. I'm sure what he's saying is wholly inappropriate and from the angry ba-gawks the chickens reply with, I'm guessing the chickens know what he's saying and don't like it one bit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Great White Beast

I'm not sure at what moment we started calling Saffie "the beast." I think it may have happened after she devoured the head of the fourth large frozen frog from our backyard. Or it might have been after she flattened one of our tiny little Siamese kitties. But when Saffie and her huge paws and fat belly come charging in a room the boys yell "AAHHHH! The Beast is loose." I've got to say - she does fit the name.

I spend a lot of time trying to take really sweet photos of the puppy, but I realized recently that showing her true colors is really a better representation of life with a Lab puppy.

Here is a photo a day from the past week. She is such a full-time job. I'm not sure a day goes by without her rolling in mud, eating something dead or chewing on something she shouldn't. She's the Christmas present that keeps on giving.

We heard a thumping outside of our bedroom door and I came around the corner to find this. Sadly she gets her head stuck in this thing at least once a day. Farmer B just yells "Your dog is stuck in the pumpkin again!" and I shuffle over to where she's thumping her head and pull it off.

We emptied out the boys sandbox the other day and then it rained. She spends every possible moment in the sandbox now and prefers to lay down in it and roll around until there isn't a dry spot on her.

The boys have a plastic table on the patio for painting and arts and crafts, but Saffie prefers to lay on it and eat my garden trowel. Or a shoe. Or a rock. She's not picky.

Her frog-eating habit is one of my favorites. She prefers ones that smell like roadkill and obviously the bigger, the better. I really enjoy prying them out of her mouth and flinging them over our fence. It's always a highlight of my day, especially if it's a bad throw and it falls back and touches me.

If there's mud, she finds it. If there's a toy left in the yard, she chews on it.

Mud. Rake. Enough said.

And finally, you know that Saffron and Rommel have become best friends, but you might wonder how she's adjusting to the cats. Not very well. Not very well at all. They have yet to come to an understanding. My two kitties are disgusted with the Great White Beast and have a whole new appreciation for their former foe, and new best friend, Rommel.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wildlife Weekend :: The girls

I can't believe next month I will have had these girls a year. Time definitely flies when you're raising chickens. I haven't posted any pics of them recently and I thought it would be fun to show off their full combs and wattles now that they've grown into them.

Here's Maggie, who is insanely difficult to photograph. She does that fast-moving-head-thing like pigeons do so every photograph is either blurred or she's not in it. I have to take about 50 of her to find a couple where she's focused and in the frame.

She's got an awesome comb that's so big it flops over a bit. I know we're not talking show quality birds here, but I'm giving her major points for style and personality.

Then we've got our big softie, Clementine. She's a full-figured gal and doesn't go anywhere fast. She stays perfectly still for photos and will look straight at you when you say her name.

She looks sort of mean in this photo, but she's just being all fluffy and cute and looking right at me when I ask her to strike a pose.

Poor Sookie missed out on the entire photo shoot because she was laying an egg. There is just something nice, old-fashioned, natural and sweet about seeing a chicken sitting on a nest. I still can't get enough of it.

* * * * * * * *

On a personal note, the blog has taken a bit of a backburner as of late. We've had some tragic news from family in the UK and my mom has flown over to the hospital in London. It's hard to focus on blogging when we're focused on that right now. I'm crossing my fingers that I don't need to go over there too... it won't be good news if I do.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin