11-27-15 Friday

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Question regarding the hens. It seems you’ve had the Rock Star and Cruella and the Brahmas for ages, (and the ducks, for that matter) – so, what is the life span of these birds? I mean, barring any predators or freezer camp.

(The fact the catfish dug that hole creeps me the hell out! Just imagining them all creepy and hiding in their creepy hidey-hole…)

I actually had to ask Fred what the expected life span is for the chickens and ducks, and he said he thought about 7 years. There are none of our original 12 hens left – we got them back in spring of 2007, and we lost the last one of natural causes at some point in the last year.

I went looking to see if I could figure out how old the Rock Star and Cruella are, and was more than a little surprised to realize that they’ve been with us since 2008. I didn’t realize they were that old!

Here they are in 2008:

Baby Cruella.

Baby Rock Star.

And here they are at about 1 year old:

I bet y’all didn’t know that both the Rock Star and Cruella appear in the book Extraordinary Chickens. That was the beginning and end of Fred’s illustrious career as a paid photographer (if by “paid” you mean “received one copy of the book”, a payment we were both pretty happy with).

The Brahmas have been with us since 2009. We got them as chicks from a hatchery.

I bet you didn’t know that you were going to get a bunch of chicken pictures thrown at you today, did you? You’re welcome!

And yes, the catfish dugout creeps me out, too – though there’s not much about the catfish that doesn’t creep me out. Have you ever heard the sound a catfish makes? I used to grind my teeth in my sleep (I mean, I still do, but now I wear a mouthpiece to prevent my teeth from being ground down to nubs) and Fred always told me that I sounded like a catfish. There are some HUGE catfish in that pond, and if I ever fell in, I would immediately die from the horror of it.


I have a huge old Maine coon cat that is indoor/outdoor. The ferals all love him and trust his judgement. When I put out food and they see he stays and puts up with me, they eventually get brave and stop running away. After a while, I can bend down and pet him first, then move my hand to a feral. Once they’ve been touched, they seem to tame faster.

What you have there is an ambassador, who is worth his weight in gold! I wish Stefan or Archie would take on an ambassadorial role, that would make life so much easier. Maybe as they get older, they’ll calm down, be a little less territorial, and help convince ferals that we’re not so bad. A girl can hope, right?


I LOVE the word “ptui”! Did you know the Ancient Greek word for “to spit” is “ptuein”? True story!

I did not know that – very cool!


The really important question–can you pick up a cat yet?

I could probably pick up kittens – in fact, I’m sure I could – but filling and cleaning litter boxes and all the other attendant chores are still a little out of my comfort zone. I think another week or two, and I’ll be able to do all that stuff again.


If you feel up to it, please spill more about your shoulder. I’m possibly looking at surgery to fix some rotator cuff issue after a fall on the ice last March.

Okay, these are the details. Although I thought I was going in for rotator cuff surgery, my rotator cuff turned out to be just fine. My labrum was badly frayed, so the surgeon cleaned that up. I had a lot of bursa (bursae?) that the surgeon removed at the top of my shoulder, which is the area that I keep aggravating. And lastly – I am not super-clear on this part, because he was talking fast and I just kept nodding – apparently my bicep muscle had grown into or attached to… something (?), and he had to detach it. He was pretty sure that that was what was causing most of my pre-surgery pain.

The worst part of the entire experience was the sutures. They bugged me a lot, and I was thrilled to have them out 10 days after surgery. No, wait – the worst part was sleeping in the recliner for a week and a half, because it’s just not that comfy.

It’s been just over three weeks since I had surgery, and as long as I don’t pull too hard or try to lift something too heavy, I’m okay. I’m doing physical therapy exercises at home twice a day, and going to physical therapy 2 – 3 times a week (next week should be my last week). I’ve been off the heavy-duty pain meds since about a week after surgery, though I still take them at bedtime. The frustrating part is that most of the time, I feel completely normal, and I forget to be careful, and then I do something dumb and OUCH.

It’s getting better day by day, and I’m hitting the physical therapy hard; I’m predicting that by the time I’m 5 weeks out from surgery, I’ll be pretty much back to normal. I hope so, anyway!

(If you have any questions about the shoulder surgery that I didn’t answer above, feel free to ask. I don’t mind sharing!)


Aw man. Looking at those old pictures a few years ago of Tommy and Stinkerbelle. Dang it. I still miss him and I’ve never even met him!

Y’know, sometimes it feels like this whole year has been a bad dream. It still blows me away that we lost Corbie, Miz Poo, Sugarbutt, Tommy, and Gracie between January and August. The only one of those losses I knew was coming was Miz Poo, but knowing it was coming didn’t make it any easier for us. My only wish for 2016 is going to be that we don’t have any losses; I’d say that it couldn’t possibly be worse than this year was, but I don’t want to tempt fate.


I wonder if I am the only one a little bit sad about no Delores this year. I wonder if she went on to greener pastures or what. I wouldn’t say I am a spider lover but she reminded me of Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web and I really like that book.

I was very disappointed not to have a Delores this year. Fred spotted one at the back of the back forty, but when we went the next day to check it out, she’d packed up her web and left for greener pastures. I really hope we have a Delores next year, because that’s one of my favorite parts of late summer!


Just don’t touch an armadillo. They carry leprosy. I think possums are kind of cute.

I have no desire to touch an armadillo! Though this reminds me of a story: back in 2009, Fred and I left the house early one Sunday morning to run some errands. When we got home an hour later, there was a dead armadillo laying at the end of the driveway. After much discussion, we decided that the armadillo had been dead for a couple of days, and that a stray dog had dragged it onto our property before George and Gracie barked and drove them off. Fred ended up dragging the armadillo (he wore gloves) to the back of the property and tossed it into the undergrowth in hopes that something would come along and eat it. Gah.

Speaking of armadillos – you HAVE seen the video of the baby armadillo playing, haven’t you? SO cute!

YouTube link.


I was looking back at one of the older posts, and someone asked if you were going to have ducklings since you had two girl ducks and two boy ducks. I don’t remember seeing any babies, though – did you put birth control in their food? haha

No, Fred gathers up the duck eggs so the girl ducks can’t sit on them and hatch them. The LAST thing we need back there is more ducks (even though baby ducks are utterly adorable)!


What are Badger and Skinny Pete sitting in? It looks for all the world like a felt-lined pie plate!

That is a Cat-Headed Shape Carpet Scratcher Tray! The cats and kittens LOVE those. I bought one, and it was such a hit that I went back and bought a couple more. The permanent residents love it, the foster kittens love it, and it’s really cute. It’s currently showing as unavailable at Amazon, but keep checking back – the availability changes frequently.


Look at all the adoptions you had this year. Do you keep track of how many each year? I was wondering what the most adoptions in a year you have had.

I wish I had a complete list for each year, but it’s only in the past three years that I’ve started doing so. I did a year in review for 2014, for 2013, and the first one in 2012. There’ll be another one for this year on January 1, 2016 – maybe one day, when I’m caught up on everything else, I’ll go through and make a list of adoptions by year. I think that would be very neat to see.


Love the crochet turkey hats on the cats. Did you do that? The cats look so annoyed, it’s hilarious!

I bought the crochet turkey hat on Etsy, last year (this is the shop where I got mine from). My intention was that Tommy was going to be the Thanksgiving spokescat this year (and I was so proud of myself for being prepared). With him gone, I thought that Stefan might step into the role, so I was a little surprised that Archie handled it so well. I took a bunch of pictures, but the one where Archie was giving Fred a Look o’ Love came out too blurry to use. He was okay with having the hat on, if a little puzzled. Stefan wasn’t sure what was going on – and Alice didn’t care for the hat at all, thus her “Why you do this to me, daddy? Why?” look.


Look who it is!

On the left is Gir, who was formerly known as Shecky.

Clearly Gir is a wonderful big brother to Kes, and is quite concerned about ear cleanliness. Don’t those two look adorably smug?

John reports that Gir gets into absolutely everything, and they wouldn’t want it any other way!

Thanks for letting me share the pics, John! Please give Gir and Kes kisses from us.


Dennis refused to wear the turkey hat, which is why you didn’t get to see him in yesterday’s post. He pulled the hat off immediately, and then started rolling around.

All Dennis wanted…

..was a great big hug! (Or maybe to steal the camera from me to take a selfie.)


2014: Sooner or later, they all end up in that wall basket bed.
2013: “YOU ARE BEEEYOOOOTIFUL!” she said, licking her paw flirtatiously.
2012: Feather Teaser Tuesday.
2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: “It is time for the pettin’.”
2006: Fred has taken to calling Maxi “Mom Cullen” because she looks and sounds so much like Tommy.
2005: No entry.



11-27-15 Friday — 11 Comments

  1. The baby armadillo is cute but in a creepy sort of way. It kind of reminds me of a huge rollie pollie (pill bug?).

  2. It’s just the 9-banded armadillo that can transmit leprosy, not the cute 3-banded armadillo you see in the video. I’ve never seen one in person, I would totally want to touch them!

    Also, can you give us the reference for the turkey hat?

    • The 9-banded ones are the ones we usually see dead by the side of the road around here (and the dead one at the end of the driveway). It doesn’t look like we get the three-banded ones around here – at least, not yet!

  3. Aw jeez…catfish make a grinding sound? Now there’s the stuff of nightmares. Now I have these visions of them going all Jaws on the ducks… Must get creepy visions out of my head.

    *scrolls up to look at Dennis, awwwww*

    That’s better!

  4. Aw man. Shecky has it good, doesn’t he? Smug kitties are happy kitties.

    Thank you for the pictures John!!!