Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘animal care

Two Pets

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Recent images of our dog, Delilah and our cat, Pequenita…

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They don’t often pose so well for portraits, so we are enjoying these two captures. 

Both seemed very happy to have us home again last night. Pequenita appeared to be showing an interest in traveling before we even left for the weekend on Friday.

Anna stayed with them while we were away and also tended to our chickens. It is such a treat to have all our creatures well cared for when we are away. It is a great blessing for which we are supremely grateful.

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Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

Cute Nuisances

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They sure look cute. All three of them, according to Cyndie’s eyewitness account, peering down at her from the great oak tree right outside our front door. I only count two in this photo she sent me yesterday while I was too far away at work to do anything about them.

I suppose I could have thrown a shoe up toward their general direction.

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If there are three young ones up there, logic suggests there is at least one parent also loitering in the vicinity. I’m happy to have so much wildlife wandering around, but we’d rather not have them choosing to reside so close to our home.

The way people around here deal with this kind of thing usually involves firearms, which we are more comfortable not keeping and bearing, regardless of any amendments.

Next choice, live trap, which involves transporting to a distance from which they won’t return at a location they are welcome.

Last choice, which we used when a mama raccoon had babies in the hay shed, pay painfully large sums of our hard-earned dollars to have someone solve the problem for us.

Out of sight, out of mind, out of cash.

As of this morning, I (we) have gone with my tried and true method of making no decision yet, while allowing time to provide a shove toward some solution the universe prefers. We left home and drove up to the lake for Labor Day weekend, taking Delilah with us.

Maddie, our most recent summer animal-care provider, is stopping by to tend to chickens and feed Pequenita while we are away.

Cyndie warned her to close the coop promptly at dusk and keep an eye out for the little masked bandits.

We’ll see what time brings.

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Written by johnwhays

August 30, 2019 at 7:58 am

Getting By

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Delilah seems to have finally adjusted to the fact that Cyndie is gone, only running around looking for her once a day, instead of five times a day. We are halfway through Cyndie’s planned stay in Florida, and I think we are going to make the rest of the way on our own without extreme hardship.

I resorted to making a peanut butter, bacon, and pickle sandwich on cranberry walnut bread for lunch today, because that is what I found in the refrigerator. Why grocery shop when there is still edible food on the shelves at home?

I don’t like to grocery shop.

If nothing else, I can always eat eggs. Collected seven fresh eggs yesterday! We are now getting more than a dozen every two days.

I’m starting work late all week, so I can tend to animals in the morning before departing. Our animal sitter, Anna, is stopping by between classes at River Falls, to give Delilah some attention in the middle of the day, and I resume duties again when I get home in the afternoon.

Soloing the morning and evening duties is decidedly easier without the time previously spent with the horses, but their departure has left a stupendous energy void in the center of our compound.

I do appreciate not needing to be concerned with how wet and soft the paddocks have gotten as the ground begins to thaw.

Muddy season has arrived such that the floors in the house are developing a fine coating of silt, as the debris that was once clinging to Delilah’s long hair, dries out and falls away after each walk.

When it warms outside to the point of not re-freezing every night, we will put out the kiddie pool by the door for Delilah to rinse off before coming inside.

In the mean time, yuck.

Our methods may not be pretty, but we are getting by while the matron of the house is away.

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Written by johnwhays

April 3, 2019 at 6:00 am

Snow Wrecker

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The worst thing to happen during snow season is a rainstorm. Dry snow is so much better than wet snow. Wet snow becomes slush after a time, and after the day-long rainfall we experienced yesterday, we ended up with nothing but a soupy slush.

The ground is frozen enough below the snow that water won’t soak in. Instead, it pools until the water reaches an outlet to the next lowest spot.

The drainage from the paddocks that flows across the back pasture was running like a river when Delilah and I braved the rain for her mid-day walk.

She made it across without much effort, but my big feet were going to make a definite splash. I stopped to gather my courage and plan my maneuver. Delilah busied herself with a face wash while waiting for me to take some pictures.

Everything I tried to do was made significantly more complicated by the umbrella I was fumbling to keep over my head.

As we neared the road on this typical trek around the property, I spotted the stump where our mailbox is usually mounted. That meant a snowplow must have roared past and tossed up a blade-full of the slush; a mass that packs more punch than my plastic mailbox can survive.

We found the box portion unceremoniously discarded upside down in the ditch, soaking up rain. Luckily, the plow had blown by before the mail delivery arrived, so there were no drenched bills inside.

Delilah growled at the odd scene as we approached.

I guess I kind of growled, too. Expletives.

The paddocks are a disaster of packed down slush, transformed into a dangerously hard and slippery wet surface against which the horses struggle to maneuver their hefty weight. We didn’t bring them inside overnight Wednesday, despite it ending up being the smarter thing to have done.

I brought them inside last night, with hope they might appreciate it even more, after their previous misery.

Even Pequenita was able to express her opinion about the nasty conditions outside yesterday, even though she is supposed to be an exclusively indoor cat.

Before the rain had totally destroyed the several inches of new snow that had fallen on the deck at the beginning of this weather event, I was preparing to light a fire in the fireplace. I opened the door to grab some kindling from the box out there, without noticing the cat had positioned herself right in front of me.

‘Nita walked outside before I had a chance to corral her.

Two steps into the sloppy snow, she just stopped. It was not a good day for an escape.

Maybe not good for her. Escape is pretty much all I want to do from this weather fiasco.

Rain has no place in our northern snow belt during winter. Bah, humbug!

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Written by johnwhays

December 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Venturing Out

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Maybe it was the calmness of the morning, or the fact the temperature didn’t drop significantly overnight, but the chickens wasted little time in venturing out from the confines of the coop for me yesterday morning.

Midway through the day, I stopped back to check for eggs and found two of the hens, almost on top of each other, squished into one nesting box. I decided not to bother them, closing the side door and heading off to another project.

With Delilah leashed to the double swing nearby to supervise, I spent some quality time at the wood shed. First, I needed to re-stack the majority of the last row that had blown over in the recent high-wind event. With that under control, I started into splitting some of the newest wood from the tree cut down last weekend.

I think the fact the wood was now frozen helped the logs to snap in two with relative ease. When Delilah’s interest in watching me work came to its unsurprising end, I dropped her off in the house and headed back to the coop to pick eggs.

The Buff Orpington was still sitting in the nest box, but I invaded her space to grab three eggs she was resting on.

After lunch, I headed out to turn two different piles of compost that are still cooking nicely, despite the arrival of the frozen season.

It seems as though the animals have quickly adjusted to the return of “my” routine of care. Intensified time with Delilah and the horses brings me back to my year sabbatical from the day-job when I managed the ranch full-time while Cyndie was working the Anoka-Hennepin contract.

It’s a very fond memory. It’s satisfying to see how quickly the animals seem to recognize the methodical way I do things, easing into the orderly dance of meal time and clean up with me.

Today, the chores have increased in number, as an overnight snow dusting has added to the previous paltry amount, making it hardly worth a plowing, but a messy nuisance if I don’t.

At least I know Cyndie will be sympathetic. She went to D.C., where they’re getting their own dose of snowfall today.

Happy winter!

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Written by johnwhays

December 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

Animal Care

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Caring for our animals is a lot like caring for children, except they will never grow to become self-sufficient and eventually move out and have a life of their own. Do I sound tired?

You know that part of my life where I go off on bike rides because I find time to embark on such a frivolous pursuit? It happens a lot less often after we decided to have pets that require so much care. Luckily, humans tend to fall in love with animals almost as much as they do with their own children, so it ends up being a labor of love.

Of course, when you love people and pets, it is tough to watch them suffer illness. Even though it took almost three days for her to reveal symptoms, Cyndie thinks that Delilah’s current problems have a high likelihood of being the result of her activity while roaming loose on the neighboring properties last Saturday.

Tuesday afternoon, when I got home from work, Cyndie reported two interesting morsels of news: 1) She found the fully intact and well-preserved remains of the infamous goldfish when cleaning debris from our landscape pond. Surreptitiously deposited back in May of 2016, it was only spotted two times over the course of it’s time here. 2) Delilah was suffering from severe diarrhea.

Seconds after they followed me into the house, Delilah vomited on the old Hays family farm rug in the porch. When Cyndie went down to the barn to tend to the horses, she left Delilah in the house to rest. A few minutes later, Delilah came to the chair I was sitting in and looked at me.

I hustled to get her leash and get out the door. She practically pulled me across the driveway and down the slope into the trees and leaves where she experienced the worst canine diarrhea I had ever witnessed. Our doggie was seriously ill with some gastrointestinal disruption.

Tuesday night was one of constant sleep interruptions, and Cyndie described yesterday as producing gradually reducing symptoms. Delilah ate some rice with chicken broth. I took her for a walk after work and saw what we hope was one of the last gasps of an attempt to release the pressure of mostly virtual diarrhea.

I marveled at Delilah’s ability to proceed with the remainder of the walk in her usual mode of inspired curiosity at the world of scents. It was as if the disaster that I just watched playing out in her digestive system had never occurred.

It made the role of loving witness to her suffering that much easier to bear.

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Written by johnwhays

April 6, 2017 at 6:00 am