Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘pets

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

Delilah Nodded

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Has it been a while since I boasted about our brilliant Terv? Being a dog, Delilah is rather highly motivated by food. As random as things are around here, we do strive to provide Delilah with as routine a schedule as possible. She is very helpful in reminding us when it is time to eat, should we ever stray from timing she expects.

I used to think it was a function of her impressive ability to tell time. Evidence now points to her reading our activities and recognizing we put out her food after coming in from certain tasks in the morning and afternoon. If we end up coming inside too early in the afternoon, she still assumes our arrival to the house means it’s time for her dinner.

When that happens, we tend to make her wait for the clock to reach the appointed hour.

With Cyndie out of town this week, I put Delilah in the outdoor kennel while I was mowing the lawn yesterday after work. By the time I decided to stop to feed her, it was about 30 minutes past her usual mealtime. When I reached the kennel to retrieve her, she was incredibly excited to see me. I knew why.

I’m pretty sure she knew I knew.

“It’s dinner time!”

She did the classic excitement behavior of running ahead, running back, and running ahead again. Knowing she was too excited to think about peeing, I encouraged her to take a moment to do that before we went inside.

Her response, in the midst of dashing fore and aft, was a head nod to let me know that wouldn’t be necessary. Going inside so I could immediately serve dinner was the only thing on her agenda. With a very obvious nod of her head, she indicated there was no need for what I was asking of her.

While she ate dinner, I stepped back outside and finished as much mowing as time allowed. Before washing up, I took Delilah outside one more time.

The very first thing she did was pee.

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Written by johnwhays

August 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

Unglamorous Reality

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I think it’s only natural that our minds tend toward the fantastical when attempting to interpret an unexpected scene in our otherwise staid environment. Why would the first impression be the simplest option, when a more unlikely one is possible?

When I got home from work yesterday, I discovered a mysterious disruption around the front of my closet. There had obviously been some sort of disturbance. Several odd shoes had been pulled out, shoes I haven’t worn for some time.

I suspected someone had been looking through my shoes, but it was possible my footwear had been incidentally dislodged by a person looking for something else. What could someone have been after?

Well, I can narrow it down a little bit. The only “someone” around here all day would have been Cyndie. The most likely scenario would be that she was pulling out items to be laundered.

Not all that exciting, after all.

The truth was even less glamorous than that.

When Cyndie came in from trimming fence lines, she offered up a set of facts I had failed to consider. Pequenita had barfed in the vicinity and Delilah stormed in to take care of cleaning it up before Cyndie could react.

Lovely. Sometimes things aren’t quite what they initially seem.

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2019 at 6:00 am

Lake Life

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We enlisted the help of recently discovered neighborhood friends to watch over our chickens for the weekend so we could come up to the lake with Cyndie’s parents.

The chickens would be a bit much to haul with us for the trip. The hens and our cat, Pequenita, have been left behind, but Delilah came up with us.

She has only come up here a handful of times, but she seems to have adapted to the unusual surroundings without any anxiety. The first time here, the lake scared her. Now she walks in without hesitation.

Our first patrol around the property revealed eagles in their nest in the tree over the tennis court and a recently hatched turtle by the lagoon.

Cyndie should have put something in this picture to provide some size reference. Like, a thimble. Or a dime. It was a tiny turtle.

I built a fire for cooking a flank steak dinner and snuck in another hour of pedaling my bike before dinner. It was mostly sunny, with brief periods of sprinkling rain. I came upon some pavement that was freshly soaked, so there must have been a small downpour, too.

I can say that I rode in the rain, but didn’t get very wet.

After only a half day up here yesterday, I can say we’ve already settled into life at the lake. Here’s to getting sand in your shoes…

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Written by johnwhays

June 1, 2019 at 9:01 am

Weekend Alone

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Cyndie is out of town with her parents this holiday weekend, so I am the sole pet guardian. Was this supposed to be easier after we no longer had horses? A certain high-energy dog has shown no problem filling in the space. The invisible protective border we need to maintain between her jaws and our flock of free-ranging chickens complicates my including Delilah as a companion for many of my projects around the property.

I let her tag along when venturing to the far side of our land with a wheelbarrow (we haven’t replaced the ATV trailer yet) to fetch some black dirt from a pile left over from the first year we moved here and had fence work done. I have been mixing dirt with composted manure to fill some holes in the yard. One was started by burrowing rodents and the other by spinning wheels of the New Holland tractor, both voids then expanded by rainstorm flowing runoff.

I need to leave Delilah behind when collecting compost because that task is a chicken magnet. They love helping when worms and other crawly critters might be involved.

Heading deep into the western woods is far enough from chicken territory that I’m comfortable hitching Delilah’s leash to the wheelbarrow, half hoping she might consider helping to pull in the desired direction. We hauled more pavers to the ever-expanding length of our trail that is messy mud.

Originally, I laid it out with a wider spread, but after walking on it and navigating the ATV on the trail, I’ve changed to more of a single file pattern. Simple stepping stones is all that’s needed in keeping up out of the sloppy muck.

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Do you see how nicely the moss adorns blocks that have been there a while?

All these small projects were diversions from mowing grass, hoping that waiting a day might allow a small fraction of drying to occur. That is despite my knowing from experience that it takes more than two days for the slow flow of excess groundwater to trickle down and out of here.

The sun can be shining bright for two days after a spell of rain and that’s when the low areas will be at their wettest. If we are lucky enough to have two more dry days, the footing starts to firm up again. Too bad that won’t be the case this week.

Delilah will be stuck in the kennel again. I gotta mow today.

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Written by johnwhays

May 26, 2019 at 8:28 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

Definitely Cold

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This polar vortex is one heck of a weather event, but we are enduring the harshness with general acceptance. I am always amazed that anything still functions at extremely cold temperatures like -31°(F), but at oh-dark-thirty yesterday morning my garage door opener jumped to life at the push of the button, and my car started without complaint, to roll out into the frigid darkness on its rock-hard tires.

As dramatic as the media are being about the danger of this cold wave, many implying that people shouldn’t spend extended time outside or they will die, I hearken back to stories from the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition. They spent day and night out in temperatures that reached -70°F at times.

We should be able to handle a couple of days of 30-below.

When I got home from work yesterday, the horses were peacefully standing out in the paddock, soaking up the sunshine through their blankets. They are spending nights inside during the super-chill. Cyndie said they now all walk in on their own, one after the other, making their way into their appropriate stalls.

The chickens showed no interest in coming out after the snow last Sunday, so, now that it’s also wicked cold, we don’t even open their door. Yesterday, Cyndie found one beautiful egg in the nest boxes, unfortunately, cracked and frozen.

Cyndie dug out booties for Delilah’s paws, which we haven’t tried since the first attempt was met with total rejection years ago. The results were no different this time. She didn’t like them, but allowed Cyndie to put them all on. A few steps out the door and black boots were kicked in every direction.

It appears the wild rabbits in our vicinity are using activity to keep warm, as their footprints are pounding well-worn paths in the snow. I found a not-so-subtle entrance to a den dug into the snow beside the shop.

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As fast as this vortex from the pole has settled upon us, it will also recede. In its place, the forecast for the coming weekend offers a difference of 70 degrees, with Sunday’s high reaching the mid 40s.

That will definitely feel warm.

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Written by johnwhays

January 31, 2019 at 7:00 am