Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Check the Freezer

MERCI:  We didn't expect to be posting so soon.  We're supposed to be on a hiatus while Jan tears the house apart looking for her energy.  And her memory. Remember we mentioned she forgot to take a leash when she went back to the vet's office last week to pick up Marcus?  Well, when they got home she ran inside and grabbed his leash to bring him in but can't remember what she did with it then.  She has spent the last week looking for it. (The leash, not Marcus.)   

PERCY:  Has she checked the freezer?

MERCI:  The reason we're posting today is because Jan finally realized this is the last day of March and she hasn't helped us with our March Chewy review.  She put all the other dogs outside so I could do my taste test without them trying to steal my treats. 

PERCY:  But a treat is on the floor and you're not eating it.  It sure smells good.  Don't you like it?

MERCI:  Jan was just about to tell me I can have it and take my picture before you butted in, Percy.  If you move out of the shot, I can eat it.

RUSTY:  I smelled something edible and came by for a taste.  And some attention.

MERCI:  You aren't a dog either, Rusty.  I think you and Percy just came by to get your pictures taken.

RUSTY:  It worked, didn't it?

SAM:  Now that Merci has given the treats her seal of approval, it's our turn.  When Jan tried to come outside, Buddy and Marcus blocked the door.  Usually Marcus pushes Buddy down the steps to get inside first, but today Buddy ...

MARCUS:  ... Buddy pushed me.  He PUSHED ME out of the way and squeezed through the crack in the door.  But Jan fooled him.  She came outside so we all get some treats. 

BUDDY:  This month we have some natural grain & gluten free Merrick Kitchen Bites.  These are the Cowboy Cookout.  They're oven baked with real beef, potatoes and carrots. 

MARCUS:  I'm sitting nicely and waiting patiently, so where are my treats?

SAM:  Perhaps Jan is waiting for you to wash your face.  As usual, you're covered in mud.  You even have mud spattered in your ear today.

MARCUS:  I don't need a bath for my taste buds to work.  Here, I can tell you what's in them.  Deboned beef, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, organic cane molasses, canola oil, carrots, apples, flaxseed, cumin, gelatin, mixed tocopherals and rosemary.

BUDDY:  Your taste buds really do work better when you're muddy!

SAM:  He was reading from the package in Jan's hand.

MARCUS:  Mud doesn't affect my eyesight either.

BUDDY:  I think I need glasses, but my nose still works well.  You knocked my treat out of Jan's hand, Sam. 

We give the Merrick Kitchen Bites four paws up.  Although Percy and Rusty didn't actually taste one, they both came running when Jan opened the bag.

Chewy.com provided us with a sample bag of the treats but we were not paid or influenced on what to say. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Opera and Lion Poop

Loulou has said it would be okay to share her fun suggestion to keep coyotes away from our pen.

Get your brother or any MALE to pee all around your property and the coyotes will NOT be happy and they will NOT come around after a few pees. The other thing to strew around is manure from lions, if you have any.

Loulou suggested it because her mama actually went to the zoo and GOT lion manure when the coyotes were slithering around Beverly Glen Canyon in LA and her kitties were out often.  The coyotes would come in back of the house and yip at night...sort of high, wild notes that make her not want to go in the yard!

We're not sure a pee competition would be legal here in town and Jan doesn't think she could ask anyone to enter.  Not with a straight face, anyway.  But the lion poop sounds like a great idea.  We don't have a local zoo, but we will have Jan knock on some neighbors' doors.  If none of them have any, perhaps she can order some on Amazon.com?

A while ago we decided this would be, for the most part, a fun blog.  There is too much pain and sorrow in the world and we all need laughter in our life.  We think we were doing so-so at entertaining readers, until Miss Klutz took up flying again in the beginning of February.

To review just the high points:  In one crash landing, she managed to sustain two head injuries (same head, separate injuries) that gave her a beaut of a hematoma and two black eyes.  Plus injuries to her neck, one hand, a shoulder, her back and both knees.  She has not been a good patient.  Humans with a head injury are supposed to rest.  She slapped a bag of frozen peas over her face, made a phone call, finished a partial cleaning of the bathroom and then vacuumed the house. 

After a week, she tried  to resume walking the dogs and was "roughed up" by a territorial dog that tried to attack - twice.  In between those two dog events, Marcus was physically attacked by a neighbor's dog.  He came through it with a small cut under his eye.  Jan managed to stay on her feet but had chest pain and trouble breathing. That was about the time she lost her sense of humor and energy and although we've turned the house upside down, we haven't been able to figure out where she lost them. 

Then one week ago Cameron died.  Jan tried to dig a number of holes in rock hard dirt/clay. She finally managed a small one and buried him.  Overnight, a coyote came into the dog pen and stole Cameron's body, but the dogs next door broke out of their fence and the body has been re-buried, but only after a dozen or more attempts at digging a new, deeper hole. The coyote must have come back two nights later and we didn't get much sleep worrying about the dogs next door breaking out and not being found again.  Fortunately, as hard as they tried, those hero dogs did not escape and were safe. 

Digging those holes, left Jan barely able to stand, walk or sit all week.  Her thinking has been fuzzy, too. 

This, as you know, is Marcus.  He is no longer a puppy but when excited or playing canine soccer, he sings in a continuous soprano. Or if you prefer, in a very high tenor.  Guess he will now be singing opera.

Yes, arrangements were finally made for Marcus to be neutered.  Monday night Jan set the alarm for 6:45 to call her ride at 7 a.m., as requested.  When she decided to get up without the alarm, she found it was already 7:15.  It turned out, she had actually set the alarm for 7:45. 

After Marcus was left at the vet's, she fed the rest of us, then herself.  As the coffee pot heated, she realized she had set the pot of water on the warming pad instead of pouring it into the machine. 

She did remember to set Buddy's 2-step stool on the porch to help Marcus into the van.  When she arrived to pick up Marcus, the assistant asked for his leash. Leash?  Uh ...

Her ride thought these things hilarious.  They scared the he** out of her!  She has not just been feeling "out of it", her pain level has been through the roof!  So we will be around even less while she tries to rest and recover.  There will be no Mousebreath interviews until then.

Oh, and you won't believe this, but Jan has another black eye.  Nowhere near as colorful as the first two.  While Jan was trying to sleep Wednesday night, Cyndi leaped over her head.  A back paw kicked Jan's eye as she slipped and left a small cut.  It wasn't Cyndi's fault.  Jan should have moved her head out of the way. Right?

Monday, March 23, 2015

You Will Be Okay

Seldom a dull moment around here.

I don't know that I will ever actually feel safe here again.  Not since one or more coyotes came over my dog pen fence Friday night to dig up Cameron's body and carry it away before the neighbor dogs scared it/them off.  It amazes me to learn they can easily jump or scale a 6 or 8 foot fence.  All those stories I have read about them jumping a fence to grab a cat or small dog -  I assumed the fences to be about 4 feet tall. 

First, a couple of years ago, all the feral cats along our walk route disappeared.  Last year all the squirrels disappeared.  They are repopulating now but not the cats. There was the coyote I sighted nearby last summer while walking Buddy and Sam.  And then a couple of reports from neighbors of coyote sightings right here. The neighbors and I have no doubt it was a coyote(s).  But why the bottom of the fence was torn loose and Cameron dragged through such a small opening is a mystery.

It's a relief I couldn't dig more than an inch in the clay outside the pen or Cameron would have been gone.  I re-buried him Saturday.  It was a long hard, brutally painful day.  Between my back and the latest knee injuries from the fall in February, it was all I could do to use a shovel.  NEVER, EVER try to dig in clay unless you are a big, strong, young dude, which I am not!

Saturday night was quiet.  It was hours before I could crawl out of bed Sunday.  Last night I slept hard for a while and got up before 4 a.m.   There was no barking but it sounded like the neighbor dogs were trying to get out of their yard again.  I opened the door to hear better and Marcus hit the screen to run out barking.

He's funny.  He has a habit of getting so excited, he runs bravely to the fence barking madly, turns his head, finds he's alone, turns tail and runs back toward the house.  As usual, Sam and Merci charged through the door to his rescue and the three ran to the back fence and barked. I got a squirt bottle (well, it's better than no weapon at all) and followed in the slushy mud.  There was a face peering at me from inside the wooden fence the neighbor had just boarded over Saturday. 

There was nothing I could do at 4 in the morning, but I was so worried I stood at the door watching for well over an hour, then sat on a stool.  The noise continued and there was a lot of whining between breaks.  No barking, so I had slept through whatever had happened to initiate this.  Before 6, it got quiet.  I felt terrible.  The dogs had escaped and I couldn't even let the neighbor know until after daylight. 

When I tried to go back to bed, I discovered Buddy had been left gated in the bedroom so he had pulled back the covers to make himself comfortable and had vomited.   There is a pad under the sheet for such an emergency but I had to dig up another sheet and remake the bed.  Sleep was a long time coming and thankfully the phone rang at 9. 

I would be devastated if my dogs got loose, so I dressed and went next door.  There was such relief as I checked their back fence.  The dogs had not made it out after all!  But the folks do know the fence needs repair again.  She said they will try to put up some type of camera back there to see what is going on in that area at night. 

The funny part is that after I fed the animals and was about to fix my own breakfast, the dogs started carrying on.  I found a city worker on the outside of the fence reading the meter.  He pointed to Marcus and said, "What is he?  He's beautiful." 

I guess it's time to get Marcus a bigger bowl.  I don't think his nose is going to fit in it for the swelled head he has now. 

I really enjoy group called Kaoma.  They often make a capella singing videos, but this one has music.  It seems an appropriate time to receive a YouTube notification about their song titled "You'll Be Okay".  I sure hope so!

If the video doesn't play, click here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Surprising Update on Cameron

I thought it was hard to bury Cameron on Friday.  It was hard to bury him again on Saturday.  But before I tell you that peculiar story, I would like to thank everyone for the kind facebook and blog comments and emails.  I do intend to thank each of you individually after I recover from the past two days.

Meanwhile, thank you Miss Ann the Zoolatry Human for sending this lovely graphic after our Friday post.

And We Bees Siameezers made this lovely graphic on imikimi for us.  Thank you, Ingrid. 

Just over Marcus and to the right of our logo, you can see the area where I tried twice to dig a grave so Cameron could be buried beside his old Funny Farmer siblings but the Georgia red clay is rock hard and I had to change the plan.

I decided he would be safe inside the pen.  It was not any easier and I could only manage a shallow hole.  Marcus didn't want his friend buried and dug up the dirt as fast as I could shovel it in. After I finished, I half-filled a large plastic storage container with water to temporarily protect the grave. 

Late that night all the dogs in our corner started barking. It was more intense than usual. The 2 dogs next door could be heard scratching and beating at their wooden fence.  I had a hard time getting my dogs inside but they finally came.  There was nothing to be seen and I wasn't about to go back near the alley late at night.  And whatever the ruckus, it was out of sight.

I was up with Marcus about 3 times during the night.  Each time he went out to the container and stared toward the corner of the wooden fence.  He didn't want to come back inside.

After the sun came up, I let Marcus outside again and saw this.  It's the shirt I wrapped Cameron's body in before burying him.  There was a small shallow hole dug under the end of the container.  Something strong had dug just far enough to grab the body and pull it out so the grave collapsed on itself.  Something strong had worked an opening at the bottom of the chain link just barely big enough to drag Cameron's small body through. 

A coyote can leap over a six foot pen.  It can climb a chain link fence.  There are coyotes in this area.  I saw one for myself last August or September.  Cameron was gone!

Thankfully, I found his body in the area under our logo in this picture.  This photo was taken after the hole in the fence was boarded over and bricks spread to "fill in" the hole that was dug.  That patch is just out of sight around the corner in the photo below.  That's why Marcus had stood staring.  Cameron was on the wrong side of our fence.

I went next door.  The guy was at work.  When his girlfriend checked, his dogs were missing.  She called and he came home to search.  Fortunately, he found them a mile down the road. I am so grateful those dogs are safe because I really believe they broke out of their yard in time to chase off one the predator(s) carrying off Cameron's body. 

Marcus was so happy to have Cameron back.  I tried to dig deeper but couldn't, so I wrapped Cameron in two plastic bags and tied them closed.  Then I moved the dog house over the grave and perched a container on top to discourage any idea of using the dog house as an entrance or exit aid.  Marcus is quite the athlete.

Marcus became attached to Cameron the last couple of months and is acting out his stress.  He started three fights with Sam (one included Buddy) before breakfast Saturday and two more last night. I hope all the Funny Farmers will calm down soon and there won't be any more midnight raids in the back pen.  And definitely no more grave digging! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Farewell Cameron

I had no clue I would be celebrating the first day of Spring by digging Cameron's grave. 

He has not been doing well since I had that bad fall in the beginning of February and we were recovering together.  Yesterday, Thursday, he ate well and was as affectionate as ever.  Last night, when I went to bed,  he climbed over the pillow and cuddled with me for a long while.  Then he went to sleep in the bed I'd made for him between the headboard and the pillow.

I had an offer of a ride to walmart today and he died shortly before the appointed time.  I bought a new shovel, thinking it would be easier to dig his grave.  It could barely cut the ground..  My old shovel worked better in this hard clay. 

I wrapped Cameron in one of my summer shirts.  All the Funny Farmers were given an opportunity to say good-bye.  Marcus bathed him. (He has been giving Cameron a good bath every night and several today.)  Buddy opened the screen door to come outside and make sure I dug the hole properly.  (I didn't. The ground is too hard for me and I can't dig a grave deep enough but there was no one to help.)

Cameron was born next door and moved in with us because he loved his best friend Merci and wanted to be an indoor cat.  He was the calmest of the group.  He never raised a paw or started a fight. His biggest annoyance was his habit of closing his eyes or turning his head when I tried to take his picture, so I have few decent photos of him.  

Farewell, my handsome tuxedo. I am going to miss you something fierce!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Wearing of the Green

PERCY:  We are aware we posted this graphic last year, but, come on, admit it, you don't mind seeing it again, do you?

BUDDY:  That was supposed to be a declarative sentence, Percy, not a question.  Not everyone has seen it yet and those who have most likely don't remember it, so we're good.

CYNDI:  It's too bad Jan didn't have an opportunity to update the graphic so you don't look like you wandered in from Clown School, Sam.

MICAH:  Give Sam a break, Cyndi.  He has such a big head, it's hard for him to find a hat to fit.  In a pinch, he has to do with whatever is available.

SAM:  Yes, what Micah said.  At least I'm not wearing some of my breakfast on my nose like one cat I could mention but won't, Micah.

MARCUS:  Micah has breakfast on his nose?  Where?  Here, I'll just clean it off for him. Thanks, pal, I was getting a bit hungry.

RUSTY:  It's St. Patrick's Day.  Can't we ever stick to a subject?  It's the day for wearing of the green and drinking a pint at the local pub.

MERCI:  I didn't know we have a local pub.  What are we supposed to drink, green beer?   Since we don't have any green papers between us, why don't we just stay home and try some of that green barley concoction Jan makes?

CAMERON:  That sounds good to me.  Perhaps some kind person will knit Sam a more appropriate hat.and next year we can celebrate with a new graphic.