Animal stories

It’s been hard to keep up blogging when there are so many disruptions and so many chores to do.

The kitchen remodel started on June 22 and there was a whirlwind of activity that first week. In week 2, the floors were laid, sanded, stained, and sealed with polyurethane. This is a messy, stinky process and I had to leave the house for a couple nights. The dogs were taken to the veterinary clinic and boarded and I slept at a friend’s place. I did get lucky with the weather, though. It was dry and not too hot so the windows in the house could remain cracked to let out some of the smell. I’ve been taking photos as the project moves along and putting them in a Flickr set.

Other than those 2 nights away, I’ve been doing pretty good in my basement lair. I have everything I need down here now other than loads of natural light. There are windows down here but they don’t allow as much natural light to flood in as the ones on the first and second floor. So I tend to feel a bit like I’m hibernating at times.

The Independence Day holiday weekend was a great example. July 4 was a bit drizzly and rainy until late in the day. So I lounged for the day on my comfy futon. I have a TV down here and it was on most of the day tuned to public television. I also had a book and knitting. The day went sort of like this: watch a bit of TV, read a few pages, take a short snooze, wake up and knit for a bit. It felt very decadent and I loved it. I finally got around to doing a few chores on Monday (I took that day off, too) and that’s when I was able to snap this photo.

Caterpillar on butterfly weed

Caterpillar on butterfly weed

Weeding may seem like a tedious chore, but it’s moments like the one captured here that make it worthwhile. I never would have spotted this little muncher if I hadn’t been down on my knees pulling weeds.

My little menagerie has had a tricky time lately. Some of their exploits have not been very fun for me, either.

First, my Delaware hen, Speedy, had fowl pox. It’s not usually fatal and a chicken with fowl pox is akin to child with chicken pox. She got bumps on her legs and comb, and she stopped laying. But she continued to eat and drink and seemed otherwise healthy. So it was just a matter of waiting for it to pass. She hasn’t had any bumps for over a week now and it looks like she is laying again.

The other hens were vaccinated when I got them so they didn’t succumb to the virus. If I had remembered to get the chicks vaccinated before they were shipped it’s likely Speedy would have been safe from it, too. I have no way of knowing if having the pox was painful or uncomfortable for her, but it was an experience I would wish to avoid in the future. Even though the rest of the hens were immune, their laying dropped, too. For a few weeks, I was only getting one egg a day from my reliable layer: Maisy.

The worst problem was caused by the dogs, though. Just a few nights ago Hannah and Sadie got skunked. Of course this happened at about 1:30 AM, a time when I am not at my sharpest. They woke me up with their whining and agitation and I just assumed they needed to go out to do some business. When they seemed even more riled once they were out there I thought perhaps they were trying to chase off the stray cat that sometimes visits.

I had to go out in my robe to try and get them back into the house since they refused to respond to my calls. Once out I could see the problem, but it was too late to do anything: the skunk on the other side of the fence that was backing up getting closer to the dogs who were frantically barking and lunging at this cocky imposter. I succeeded in getting the dogs far enough away that I was in no danger of getting sprayed, but my senses were completely overwhelmed with the stench and I had a lot of clean up to do.

A trip to the 24-hour pharmacy was required to pick up the supplies (lots of hydrogen peroxide and some baking soda). Then I had to wash both dogs before finally getting back to bed about 2 hours later. Needless to day, I was rather tired the next day but at least I was working from home. In between my meetings and commitments, I washed and cleaned the bedding, the floors, the throw rugs, etc. Everything seemed to be permeated with the stench.

The next night when the dogs started whining again in the middle of the night I just let them. A few minutes of ruined sleep is much better than losing several hours.

Kitchen work resumes next week and I’m hoping it will continue to move swiftly and problem free.


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