Category Archives: Pets


20140415_093529 (1600x1060)It got cold enough the other night to freeze the little bird bath thing.  Bonus! – Homer in the window keeping an eye on me.  It’s a good thing my container garden, so far, isn’t any larger, it just barely fits onto the cart.  I wheel it into the garage for the night.20140415_093651 (1600x1060)I noticed a spike in my view count at Flickr, Buzzfeed linked to one of my photos and I blew right through 3 million total views while we were eating dinner.  I had hoped to get a screenshot of the stat page right at 3,000,000 but I missed it:Untitled (1600x1060)Here are a couple of Chicago style hot dogs.  I was surprised how good they are.  Everything on there adds something to the experience.  I have no idea why the bright green relish became standard on these things. [Note to self: remember the celery salt next time]DSC_8152 (1600x1060)We’ve looked hard at this photo from the trail camera we keep down by the back pond and I think it is an albino raccoon.  I could be mistaken.  There is a hint of color on the tail and there is probably a term other than “albino” that better describes what it is but I’m not going to look for it.PICT5974 (1600x1060)

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IMG_4766 (1600x1060)Homer strikes a heroic pose atop the liftgate on Mrs J’s Escape.

We’ve begun potting our container herb and veggie garden.  It’s just a tad early for the parking lot spring gardening arrays to reach full stock, there are several items we are lacking but I’m sure they will show up shortly.DSC_4567 (1600x1060)We are going to have to buy a lot more potting soil before we are done with all the planting we contemplate.

I have managed to get the tomato garden tilled after a few days without rain and some wind allowed it to dry up.IMG_4730 (1600x1060)Here’s a puppy with one blue eye, she’ll be a big dog – a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix.  There are seven in the litter, four females and three boys. They are eight weeks old.IMG_4727 (1600x1060)And a couple of boy kittehs The mother is a real talker, per Mrs J, a dilute calico, very pretty.  She is scheduled for neutering this week.

View from My Desk

Paperweight named Zander1

Paperweight. Doesn’t get much better than this.

Random Wildlife

DSC_4558 (1600x1060)Bitsy and Bea, in a tag team against a spring frog.  I rescued it and carried it back to the pond.  We hear a few peepers but the bullfrogs haven’t started yet, still a little chilly.

Granny’s Dog

IMG_4704 (1600x1200)Who wants a biscuit?  Who’s a good boy?  You’re a good boy!  Such a Good Boy!

Random Wildlife

DSC_4551 (1600x1060)Thunderstorms are looming, we can hear the rumble to the SW.  Mrs J thought it a good time to make a quick doggie run before the storm breaks.  Katie found a turtle interesting enough to bark at it, summoning me with a camera to take this shot.

This is the season for the turtles to crawl away from the pond to lay eggs, we see them often, enroute.

The Life of Kittens

Kitten Best

Ten years ago this month, I became the godmother of 5 one day old kittens and a very young mom, Missy. She was only 7 months old. She has lived with me since, as has Jake (he’s the one in the basket looking far and away). How Jake came to stay will become evident as you read further. They came to me from a house that, let’s just say, had too many animals and no one was ever spayed or neutered. Harley already lived with me and came from the same house. Emma was queen of my house, then, even though she wasn’t even 9 mos old. I also had three Great Danes, so five kittens and their momma made for a house full. But we coped and it was an experience I would never forget (or hopefully repeat).

At the time, I wrote a letter to a friend, telling him of my adventures. I’ve copied it below. When you get to the part about the little kitten who continually hid in my desk drawer (still not sure how he kept getting in there) know that little boy was Jake,  and after all the other kittens were adopted out, it became obvious he wanted to stay. He ignored anyone who came looking to adopt and curled up next to me whenever he could.

From my letter (May 2004):

A soft heart and large home made me the likeliest candidate to take care of a young cat and her litter of 5 kittens, when her owner couldn’t.  I won’t go into my spiel about spaying and neutering your pets, an unexpected litter of 5 kittens when shelters are overflowing, should say it all.  Unexpected maybe, unwanted never, a daily, joyful surprise, always.

Since I’ve never raised kittens from birth (actually a day old when they came to my house with their not yet year old mom, Missy) I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into.  My beloved BJ, who died a year ago, came to live with me when she was only five weeks old and motherless, and my calico ball of spunk, Emma, arrived at 8 weeks last summer.  So I suspected I’d have my hands full.  I truly had no idea how full.

I thought I’d make list of what I learned while raising kittens.

1. Mother knows best.  The first few days, when I was unsure of the care and feeding of 4-ounce fur balls, first time mom, Missy, made it clear she had everything under control:  Would you please keep your big germ-y paws off my kittens…and could keep those big, slobbering beasts somewhere else, I hear Peoria is nice…I just got them to sleep, DON’T wake them up!

2. Great Danes make great babysitters.  Missy and I both began to understand that regardless of their size, if the Danes were around, the kittens were safe and protected, wet with slobber, but safe.

3. Being the runt doesn’t necessarily mean you should panic.  On their third day in the world, I weighed the kittens and was shocked to see one of them was at least ½ ounce less than the rest.  I quickly rushed out to get kitten milk and proceeded to try and supplement Missy’s milk.  Mostly I just wore it.  By their fifth day it was obvious that, like his brothers and sisters, he was gaining an ounce a day and was in no immediate danger…except maybe from me drowning him.  He’s turned out to be a charmer…small, but charming.  And he always gets the girl. 

4. Herding cats is an apropos description.  Two weeks old and suddenly they were mobile, Read the rest of this entry


DSC_8031 (1600x1060)A friend brought by a stick of his deer sausage the other day.  He’s big into smoked and cured meats, going so far as to build a smokehouse in his backyard.  He makes his own bacon, butchers his own beef, and is a general handyman.  On top of farming and working a full time job at the local electric generating plant.DSC_8017 (1600x1060)This is the last of that over cooked chicken that was left too long in the smoker.  It was smokey enough that the flavor came through even with the generous addition of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.DSC_4540 (1600x1060)I’m a little slow getting this new coffee brewing stuff up, TaMara’s new coffee machine reminded me I needed to say something.  We replaced our old coffee grinder with a better one.  This one has a more consistent grind, and the grind timer is good enough to use its settings instead of a separate measuring spoon.  The Bunn pourover brewer will be familiar to anyone who has ever ordered coffee in a greasy spoon.DSC_4545 (1600x1060)Bitsy is doing some thinking, outside of the box.  Sorry, LOLIMG_4623 (1600x1060)A couple of shelter kittehs, a momma and her boy.  She came into the shelter with four kittens, this is the last to be adopted.  You, too, can has a Ginger kitteh!

Today I Learned (TIL)

IMG_4594 (1600x1060)That Chorkie is an actual word that people use when talking about these dogs.  That is all.


DSC_8012 (1600x1060)I put a chicken into the electric smoker yesterday afternoon and jolted myself out of bed, just as I was closing my eyes, when I remembered it was still in there.  The skin was black and the bird was pretty dry but we salvaged what we could and chopped the meat for sandwiches.  A good soaking in bbq sauce heals a lot of dry.DSC_4535 (1600x1060)Ginger kitteh pesters Toby all the time.  Tobe squalls and hisses and smacks him around and retreats to the top of the tree.  Toby’s tail is quite an attraction.  He lets Ginger get away with stuff that he will not abide from Homer.DSC_4537 (1600x1060)We often get geese at the front pond.  These two showed up today and have been hanging out.  We’ve never had any try to nest, the dogs would preclude any attempt at that.  I wonder if a raft out in the middle would attract a pair to nest?  The back pond is more secluded, we get ducks on it pretty often, there are several Wood Ducks back there now.PICT6349 (1600x1060)The males are very colorful, I wish the camera back there was better.  The light wasn’t very good, either.  The green box holds corn, the little box under it holds a timer and a little spinner motor to spread the corn at set intervals.  The raccoons are all over it at night.DSC_8013 (1600x1060)It has turned off cold again, it will be down into the twenties tonight.  Perfect weather for a good Irish stew!  I went with this recipe today.DSC_4525 (1600x1060)Mrs J sat the dogs down in the laundry the other day for a little light clipping.  We hang the hair out front in a device that lets the nest builders grab hanks for their constructions.DSC_4538 (1600x1060)The tree with the yellow flowers is a Cornelian cherry.  It’s a neat little tree, puts out loads of red berries in the fall.  It’s usually the first thing to flower, beating out the forsythia for that honor.


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