Category Archives: Pets

Just Stay Really Still…


I Am The Keeper Of The Eggs

My alter ego is writing short photo stories on Instagram. You can follow here.

Click on the picture to see full size.

Here, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Mabel and Maddie have been molting and stopped laying for a few weeks. We are back to eggs this week, but their regular schedule is a bit off. Usually, their eggs are waiting for me in the morning. But a few times this week, there would be one and later in the day, another.

A few days ago Maddie disappeared mid-morning to the nesting box. I thought to myself, I’ll have to remember to recheck it. I was working at the kitchen table (a change of pace from my office) and a while later, Maddie came up to the open patio door and started making a racket. And trust me, of the two, Maddie’s ability to make a commotion is unmatched by Mabel…or the Danes.

I asked her what she wanted and went out to make sure there weren’t any predators in the area. Then I remembered I was going to check the nesting box. Sure enough, she’d left me an egg (hers are whitish, Mabel’s are blue, and that brown egg is the fake egg I leave in the box). I recovered it and took it into the house. Maddie went about her day.

That’s when I realized she thought of me as the keeper of the eggs.

Ducks are very smart and creatures of habit. So, of course, she expected me to come and get her egg, I always do.



Because of course we finished the chili off by adding some elbow mac.  These elbows have ridges!  I’m not sure if there is an Italian term for them.Ribeye steak pr0n!  Sous vide then seared in butter.  I think I let this side go too long in the hot skillet.The shot makes it look like Ollie is complaining that garden cat isn’t listening, so we’ll go with that.The Tabasco peppers are still looking pretty.  Excellent ornamentals even if you aren’t looking for a pepper to make sauce with.Our kittehs are not crazy for boxes like some you see on Youtube but they will try them on for size.Random bun bake,  We needed some for that last batch of smoked pork.  They freeze well so we try to keep some around to thaw as required.We are OK with kittehs on the table so long as they behave.  Draw the line at dogs up there, if Gabe so much as look like he is interested in something up there he is reminded of our policy.  Katie, of course, is a perfect lady and wouldn’t dream of it.We got some wind last night as the remnants of Gordon made way up the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys.  It blew over a pepper plant and broke the main stem.  We got 3-1/2 inches of rain along with the gusts.  Good time to make a big batch of that stuffed pepper soup.Miss Bea, in a familiar pose under the thyme.  The rosemary just behind her bloomed this year, I don’t think we’ve seen those flowering before:I’ll finish with some breakfast pr0n:

The Duck Sagas: Mabel and Maddie

Mabel and Maddie have been with us a year. I totally forgot their duck-versary. Which I should have totally remembered because once again, my niece was visiting and it was the two of us who rescued them a year ago.

Once they reached sexual maturity – about October of last year  – when I assume they were 6 months old (my guess has always been they were “Easter ducks” that were dumped when they got too big and messy – they are clearly hand raised) – I’ve gotten about an egg a day each from them. These get scrambled and fed to the dogs. I usually do a big batch and refrigerate and freeze until needed. This week, suddenly no eggs. None. From what I’ve read, I think we are looking at molting-season. Which would explain the fact I have more feathers than eggs each morning in the nesting box.

We will have to see if they are as prolific this winter as last – they rarely missed an egg day – even with the shorter, colder days. But they were young then, and we all know how enthusiastic and energetic we were in our teens. LOL

Pool drama. I bought them a huge pool early in the summer, which they shunned. See why here. But even after I remedied that situation, they rarely used it because it was too difficult to get in and out of – the sides were just too steep. Domestic ducks cannot fly, not even well enough to get out of the pool.

So I went back to the smaller one. Which they rarely used, either. Why? Because I thought it should stay in the “duck yard” adjacent to my veggie garden and their coop. They thought it should be in the main yard, where all the action is. Finally, a few weeks ago, I moved it to their desired location and you can see the results.

Back to my niece’s visit. I had to drive her home and since I was only going to be gone for two nights and I was taking the dogs with me, I figured I would leave the ducks out. They hate being cooped anyway and I thought I’d risk the predators – I’ve seen absolutely no raccoons in this neighborhood (unlike my last neighborhood where they ran like gangs of marauders through the street). We do have a Great Horned Owl, but these two can spot a bald eagle so high up, I have trouble seeing it, and either freeze in the grass or move into the bushes. So it was just easier than hiring the pet sitter for such a short time. And the cats are perfectly fine for two days – the litter boxes not so much – but the cats themselves, I think they enjoyed the house to themselves, especially after a month of non-stop company coming and going.

Anyway, when I got back, it was clear the ducks were traumatized by being left alone – I tried to explain to them being left to find their own way to the nesting box was not the same as being abandoned in a city park pond. But for days they followed me around, hung out by the patio door or the back door and generally moped. If I were a decent person I would have bought them mealworms (horribly expensive!) but instead, I bribed them with corn flakes, cilantro and bags of bolted lettuce from my brother’s garden. They came around.

So that is your yearly duck update (ha! I didn’t realize I had so much to say about them). If you have any duck questions, let me know. Between these two and my first flock, years ago, I’ve researched about every concern you could have.


Blog Needz Moar Bitsy Kitteh

…and I notice, as the river of days flows past, that there is more and more of that white haired old grouch.

Bixby and Scout: National Dog Day

Oh, who are we kidding, it’s always dog day around here.

Scout is, believe it or not, 9 1/2 months old. And she’s completely out of control. Not in a bad way – she still knows all her commands, she’s sweet as can be – but when puppy brain and hormones hit all of that goes out the window.

Luckily, what I learned from Bixby is that this will pass and the best thing to do is go with it. If she’s too crazy I put her in her crate until her brain calms down. If we are out walking, she has to sit next to me while Bixby gets loved on by strangers. Not to punish her, but the extra stimulation sets her off and then all the petting reinforces bad behavior. She gets lots of praise and pets from me while she sits.

But there were a few days last week when even Bixby had his fill. He refused to play with her, would only go outside if she was in. I think it was a little peer pressure to get her to calm. the. heck. down. Not sure it worked, but they are back to normal this weekend.

On a personal note, this is about the age when Bailey came to live with us, so I find myself at odd moments very sad. Then Scout jumps on me or Bixby hugs me and my world is brighter again.

Meanwhile, shout-out to my friends and family for their patience with her. I know it’s not easy to have 100 lbs leaping at you with abandon.

My house is never dull.

I suppose the cats will want equal blog time….


Nearly Messed These Buns Up

I use my bread machine to make dough.  I forgot I had a batch going until it was nearly raising the lid.  The buns were really easy to form, though – all that resting. I worried they wouldn’t rise again but they puffed up pretty well.

Here’s a bonus Homer pic for you.

Picnicking Birds

Ms Bea takes a turn chasing away those odious cowbirds.

Cleaning Out The Catnip Bed

Ms Bea is temporarily overcome but she got over it.  

Bixby Diaries: Four Years and Counting

Working hard from the boss’ chair.

Facebook popped the top picture up this a.m. and started a flood of memories. I picked him up four years ago yesterday. Crazy. This was his first day at work with me, before I went full-time with my own business.

This was the car ride home that first day.  You can see why it was love at first sight. He still loves a squirt bottle and thwarts any effort to use it as a deterrent.

Those wrinkles (he’s kept many of them).

Tired puppy. He kept that dog until he was much, much bigger than it. We still have a few unstuffed pieces for tug.


And I walked into the living room this morning to see this.  ❤ ❤ That’s his new baby.

I couldn’t do that for very long. LOL

For more Bixby Diaries, click here.