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Showing posts with label critters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label critters. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3 comments

Brown Hawk Down

There’s an open field between FAR Manor and the in-laws place, with a utility line crossing the road and the field. A hawk has been perching on that line, and I’ve been trying to get a decent picture of it for a long time. Good light and a few seconds is all I need, but mostly I’ve had one or the other.

On Friday, I was heading down to the in-laws after work, and saw the hawk jumping and tumbling on the road. I hit the brakes, and he got off the road and laid in the grass. This was not the way I wanted to get a picture.

Approach with much caution
He was still breathing, so I knew “no touchy” was the way to go. I told the wife about it, and she said, “Mason saw him on the fence post yesterday, and I slowed down. Then he flew in front of me. If I hadn’t slowed down, I would have hit him then.” So I expect someone else must not have missed. She advised me to get the guy who has been helping with the farm work, which was a good idea since he’s had to handle raptors before.

He put on gloves, got in behind, and made the grab on the second attempt. I drove the cart back, with him holding the hawk. As for the hawk, he was in “chomp anything that gets close enough” mode for a minute, but settled down when we didn’t do anything. We popped him into a cage, and it was obvious he had a broken wing.

Take this broken wing, AND this cage…

The farm guy called the DNR to get a rehab specialist to pick him up the next day. That meant he wouldn’t be released back into the wild, but would spend his life making the rounds of state parks and educating people about raptors native to the region.

Unfortunately, he didn’t even get that far, and died overnight. Whoever clobbered him must have left him with internal injuries. Bummer.

The odd thing is, he could have seen the in-laws’ chickens from that perch on the utility line. I always wondered why he didn’t go nail a few of them… maybe he thought chickens were too evil to eat.

Sunday, May 24, 2015 3 comments

Indoor-ish Critters

I’ve mentioned Rosie, also known as Doofus, Roomba, and GET OUTTA THE KITCHEN!, on Twitter but I don’t think I’ve done it here.

Making noise, as dogs do
She’s obviously a Boston Terrier, huh? Panda delivered her to FAR Manor around Christmas as “a gift for Mason.” Of course, I was not consulted, and of course the bulk of her care and maintenance falls to me (although Daughter Dearest gives her baths). She displays the occasional cat-like qualities, especially if she’s on the bed and someone slips a hand under the covers, but mostly she’s a dog: loud, smelly, grabs “treats” out of the garbage when she gets a chance, occasionally incontinent, and chews stuff (especially Mason’s toys) when nobody’s looking. Oh, and she’ll drop a fart-bomb and walk away—like she did just now.

Daughter Dearest’s fiancé has Roscoe, one of her brothers. When he brings Roscoe over, things get… well, this is FAR Manor. She tries to hump him.

More recently, Cousin Splat lost the lease on the house he was renting (“It was in the bottom drawer, I swear!”) and brought a cat and her kittens down to the in-laws. Dogs being dogs, they started hunting the kittens, grrr. Wife brought the mom-cat and the last kitten standing to the manor, to live in the garage, and the fiancé adopted the little grey furball right away. That left us with the hollow-flanked mom, who is quickly regaining some weight now that she only has to feed herself. She was a bit shy at first, but now she’s all about getting picked up and cuddled:

Pick me up!
For lack of a better name, I’m calling her Miss Target because that’s what she does (where “target” is the litter box). Wife is fed up with that already, even though it’s just in the garage, and is threatening to send her packing. Maybe we should try a covered litter box, where she has to be in the thing. I’ll try to get a better pic of her… it’ll have to be when she doesn’t know I’m there, though.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 7 comments

The Boy and His House

The Boy closed on a house on September 15th. Over the weekend, we took a truckload (plus half a vanload) of stuff down to him. He and his bride had filled the back of her car on Thursday with a bunch of small things—plus Mason. They have a room set up for him, and I really wish I thought to get more pictures than I did.

But I got a picture of the front of their place:

Ready for Hallowe’en, I see…

Here at FAR Manor, I don’t have to put up spider webs. The spiders do it for me:

At least this one isn’t in the walkway

The Boy’s house is sitting on a little over 2 acres; he was showing us all the things he has planned (including a garden along one side). Amazing… he’s embraced this home-ownership thing big-time. The only downside is that it’s pretty close to his in-laws. Experience has taught me that such a location is hazardous to your mental health. But her dad paid cash for the place. The wife and I looked at each other at that news… I said, “I guess he married well.” If I got FAR Manor for free, I wouldn’t complain about it very much at all.

So October is here, and I’ve been taking the work laptop outside in the mornings when it hasn’t been raining. The mosquitos are a little plentiful, perhaps the result of a few buckets left out in the rain. I’ve dumped them out, though, so now maybe the spiders will do for the mosquitos.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 10 comments

Opening Hosta-ilities

Pulling a few things together into one post…

One corner of the back yard, directly behind the downstairs bathroom(s), is one of those spots that none of us have figured out what to do with. Beneath the master bedroom is a very utilitarian cellar space; there’s about 10 feet of sidewalk in front of the door, and a low rock wall on the left (facing the door). In previous years, when I haven’t ignored this space entirely, I’ve gone in with the lawn mower and took no prisoners. But last year, I realized that there was something other than grass and weeds along the top of the rock wall. This spring, I pulled up some of the grass around the hostas planted there, and one of them rewarded me with some flower stalks. Well played, hostas. It probably helped that the tree (now the stump on the left side of the above photo) was removed, giving them a little more sunshine to play with. The lawn back here is as much wild strawberry as grass, but that’s fine with me. Mason might find some forage-snacks in late April, and they don’t need as much mowing.

Around the front of the manor, we had a handyman replace some rotted wood around the door frame. He used some kind of (I think) PVC-based composite material, which should last until the house collapses. The wife & I got around to painting it yesterday afternoon. She ever so helpfully left the paint bucket at the bottom of the ladder, whereupon I stuck my foot in it and knocked it over onto the brick stoop. Well, the window frames on either side of the door needed some fresh paint too, so I dipped brushes in the spillage and took care of it. The rest of the spilled paint I scraped into a paint tray. I figure we’ll use the pressure washer to clean off the stoop once we put the screen door back up.

After some weed-pulling outside this evening, in which Daughter Dearest threatened a rabbit who got too close to the flowers, she went upstairs for a shower. Shortly after, I heard a scream and my name being called.

“You need to come up here and kill this spider in the shower!” she yelled. Oh yeah, like I’m really comfortable with spiders? Well, I came upstairs and saw this monster in the shower. Now there are places (especially Australia and Indonesia) with much larger spiders than this, but this SOB was the biggest I’d ever seen outside an enclosure on Planet Georgia. And it was IN MY HOUSE. And its eyes reflected the flash on my phone camera. (What was even scarier was that Daughter Dearest was wearing only a towel, and it was barely adequate to keep the important stuff covered. She used this as evidence of how urgent this was to her.)

I decided I needed long-range artillery to deal with this thing, so I went back downstairs and got a shoe. Mason, meanwhile, was attracted by all the noise surrounding the situation and had to come up to get a look at it himself. Fortunately, it stood still until I opened fire; it only took two or three attempts to get the shoe angled where it could compensate for the rounded shower corners.

I reached in with the toilet brush, planning to knock the corpse into the trash can, and it stuck to the brush. It was then I realized that it had webbed the bottom of the shower stall. And the web was all over my hand. I made sure Mason didn’t hear what I really felt about that—I hate spider webs more than spiders themselves, when it comes right down to it—as I boarded the spider for his one-way trip on the Septic Express. Then I got the webbery off me as best as I could, while Daughter Dearest laughed.

With that in hand, I rejoined Mason downstairs and gladly went into his room to watch him play with his blocks, while Daughter Dearest finally got her shower.

There may be three of us having nightmares tonight. I’m self-medicating in advance.

Sunday, May 13, 2012 4 comments

They’re Bawwwwck…

See how they're in the farthest corner
away from the crucifix?
Fortunately, not in the numbers they once were though.

My mother in law was either overcome by nostalgia for the “old days,” when getting eggs involved walking across the yard, or just got bored at how much less evil things have become since November. However it was, she got herself a dozen laying hens and a couple roosters last month.

Of course, they need a little fresh air and the like, so she converted an old shed last used to raise orphaned or abandoned calves. This shed has a generous half-acre of fenced in pasture, and “all we had to do” was hang some chicken wire on it to help keep them in.

Do hippie chickens
lay psychedelic eggs?
With the place prepared, the new avatars of evil were brought in and shown their new home. Being of non-industrial breed, they’re a lot more colorful than the plain white chicken house chickens. Mason enjoys watching them walk around outside, and we all enjoy the eggs.

But I have to wonder: do hippie chickens lay psychedelic eggs?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 4 comments

Long November, Sick Grandkid

This “winter” has been one long November on Planet Georgia. The mini-winters that make up the season have been few and far between so far. I’ve actually had to stretch the definition to designate the last couple of days Winter #2 — it didn’t stay below freezing through the day, and the forecast sleet and “wintry mix” never materialized. I guess the Mountain West and Europe have been getting all their winter and ours to boot. It’ll be March in a couple weeks, so time is running out.

Meanwhile, the weather got to Mason: he’s had a cold for the last week and a half. He was pretty good about it at first, but in the last few days he’s run out of patience. He’s cranky, doesn’t want to eat much, and his sleep cycles are all out of whack. He really needs to eat; it would probably make him (and us) feel better. I really don’t know how he manages to get by on a handful of fruit and liquids (juice and a little milk), but he doesn’t look starved yet. And yet, he’s spreading the misery. Mrs. Fetched says she’s taking him to the doctor tomorrow, but she’s been saying that for a week now.

However, he has figured out how to use the iPad. He can wake it up and find a game (or Adobe Ideas, a nice finger-painting app), even if he doesn’t quite understand how to play just yet. His favorite game is Otto Matic, right now. Even “better,” he’s figured out that my iPhone has most of the same games — which means I can’t give Twitter a look without Mason crawling into my lap and trying to grab my phone. It did come in handy over the weekend though, when we were trying to keep him from nodding off in the car before lunch: I handed him the phone and he took it from there.

Tax time is here, but I’ve already done ¾ of the work: just waiting on Mrs. Fetched to get me the business expenses and car taxes.

I downloaded the Blogger app for my iPhone over the weekend, thinking maybe it would help me compose stuff at lunch. Kind of, yeah… if it bothers to save drafts. Google needs to do some serious work on that app, or make a mobile-friendly dashboard. It’s best feature is (again, when it saves) the ability to upload photos from the phone.

Oh, remember Prince Stinky? He disappeared for a couple weeks, but came back with a little matted fur but otherwise fine. I think he has a first home somewhere nearby, and comes here to visit when he needs a little weirdness in his life. Mrs. Fetched is making noises about getting him fixed, so he won’t spray everything (Daughter Dearest says he even scented my car last weekend).

Winter and headcolds both go away, so things will soon improve at FAR Manor. Just gotta wait it out.

Monday, January 02, 2012 4 comments

New Year, New Boarder

Everyone else is doing a New Year’s post, so I’ll do something different.

Thursday night, Daughter Dearest and I were coming home from running errands. I turned into the driveway, and…

“Looks like one of our cats got out!” I said, hitting the brakes. “How did that happen?”

“If it’s one of ours.” She jumped out of the car and walked over to the cat, who stretched himself up DD’s leg. He had no collar, and no problem with her scooping him up and getting back in the car with him. With a closer look, I could see he wasn’t one of ours: he’s a long-hair and his markings are mainly on his face. Mrs. Fetched let him come inside and he quickly made himself at home — it was obvious to us that he was a pampered indoor cat. We figured there would be “lost cat” signs up pretty soon, and we could facilitate a joyous reunion.

Suddenly… Mrs. Fetched wrinkled her nose. “He sprayed something!” We put the visitor in the garage and started hunting. We only smelled it in the living room; Daughter Dearest was the one to hit on the idea of bringing Pip in from the porch to see if he could find it. He was soon sniffing the tree apron and (after confirming) we chucked the apron in the washer. The smell went away soon after.

Despite his banishment, he seems to have adopted us. Mrs. Fetched thinks he was someone’s pampered kitten who was disenfranchised after he started spraying his original home, and those “lost cat” signs may never materialize. So I named him Stinkbomb, and Daughter Dearest named him Prince because he’s so spoiled. So we put our heads together, and came up with his full name: His Royal Highness, Prince Stinky McSpraygun.

Anyway. If you live on Planet Georgia, and have lost a cat who looks like this one, let me know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 5 comments

Our New Boarders, and the Boys

Mrs. Fetched brought them home over the weekend, a total but not unwelcome surprise as far as I was concerned. Daughter Dearest calls them Pip and Pop at the moment:

Mason, of course, is completely captivated. Sprite wasn’t so thrilled at first — you brought animals onto my porch! — but suddenly Mason isn’t so interested in him anymore so he’s starting to see the upside.

Speaking of Mason, he’s a little chatterbox. He has uttered the dreaded M-word (mine!) but has many other words he uses as well. It’s kind of funny to watch him pick up a large toy (or something) and grunt “heavy!” A more amazing thing, he can recognize about a third of the alphabet now — considering he’s a few months short of two, I’d say that’s pretty good. The Boy, who could speak in complete sentences by this age, wasn’t that far along with his letters. I was able to read by the time I was four, maybe he’ll be reading early too.

As you can see in the picture, he still hasn’t put on a lot of weight. We’re feeding him, really. He’ll scarf a whole piece of baloney plus a cheese stick, then eat a decent supper… and he runs it all off. Or maybe he’s like Lobster, or my college roomie CS, who can both eat as much as they like and never have it go to “waist.” I keep telling Lobster he’s going to wake up one morning, look down, and go Where’s my feet?!?? but it never happened to CS. Women of the world, feel free to growl and hiss at them both. I'll join you.

While I’m posting pics of Mason, I might as well throw in one of Big V’s grandkid Skylar. He’s not here tonight, but he has spent many evenings (and nights) here at the manor in the last some weeks. Big V is having more of her diabetes issues — i.e. not taking care of business and we all have to suffer the consequences — so between near-daily trips to the hospital and some powerful drugs, she’s not really up to taking care of him.

Actually, it’s doing Skylar a lot of good for him to be at the manor, even if it’s a hassle for us (and Mason, sometimes). He’s four months younger than Mason, and not as advanced, but bigger. With Mason as a role model of sorts, Skylar is learning how to climb onto chairs and feed himself (a little); his balance has improved immensely in the last month or so as well. When he’s not here, Mason will look around and call “Skylar?”

Skylar’s still in the vocalizing-nonsense stage, mostly, but he can say a couple of words. Mrs. Fetched thinks he’s slow… I counter that he’s only slow compared to someone who is able to talk some and recognize letters, but she’s not convinced. OK, yeah, he’s the offspring of Cousin Splat and a female of the rare sub-species of “less brains and morals than Snippet,” but there are some smarts on Mrs. Fetched’s side of the family so I’m holding out hope for him.

Oh yeah… The Boy and Snippet are back together. Again. He’s brought her over a couple times, which got Mrs. Fetched nearly on the warpath, but they (yes, Snippet too) did keep an eye on Mason most of Sunday afternoon and didn’t just ignore him like usual. I don’t have a problem with Snippet being around for lightly-supervised visits — he is Mason’s biomom, after all — and maybe a miracle will occur and she’ll get enough maturity to actually raise him. The Boy is talking about moving to Wisconsin, where a friend of his can supposedly get him a decent job, but I’ll believe it when he’s actually gone.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 No comments

Sunset, Sunrise…

Buster T. Butthead punched his ticket — the one-way trip to the Great Porch in the Sky, where the slow truck made of meat rolls by every hour — just a couple days before his legacy saw daylight:


I just hope this litter turns out better than the last batch. I really hated it for them… three of them died of possible birth defects, one was completely blind, two were partially blind and/or deaf, one was “normal.” There’s eight of these… we thought there were nine, but I only see eight in the photo I took above. One of them has already gone walkabout, demonstrating the Houdini-like “quality” of its mom and managing somehow to get out of the pen entirely. Fortunately, I found it lying outside and returned it.

Flame red crepe myrtle branchSince I didn't get a chance to post these earlier, have a couple of crepe myrtle pics too. This one is a big sturdy booger behind the house; it had no problem being used as one end of a woodpile. I don’t ever remember it blooming out like this before; it started at the top and worked its way down.

Newer white crepe myrtleThis is one that Mrs. Fetched and I put in a planter near the detached garage. It and the lemon balm are busily trying to choke out everything else. Mrs. Fetched hopes it will get taller and the branches will get out of the way; right now, you have to brush past it if you park the car next to it.

The Evil Twins and family are coming up for lunch… time to get started.

Sunday, August 16, 2009 2 comments

Puppies, age 6 weeks

Happy, hungry, and (mostly) looking for new digs:


The following are temporary names, I just tag 'em with something until we come up with something better.

Target (top left)

Walkabout (top right) — so named because she was trying to get out of the pen & explore even before she got her eyes open. This is the one I had to unsnag from the fencing a couple of times before Mrs. Fetched put a strip of hardware cloth around the bottom of the pen (that’s what she has her front paws up on — she’ll be hopping right over it before long). The guy who helps Mrs. Fetched with the farm stuff is getting her, and calling her Sassy.

Snoozer (bottom left) — obviously. He sleeps for himself and Walkabout.

Batty (bottom right) — so called because she’s blind. Mrs. Fetched & Daughter Dearest are having none of that name, but they haven’t come up with anything better. She’s the biggest one of the litter & this shot catches her disposition pretty well. We'll probably end up keeping her & training her as best as we can unless someone just has to have a “special needs” dog.

Thursday, August 06, 2009 7 comments

Vacation pix: Waterfowl

Actually, Dad thinks the geese are rather foul, because that’s what they’ll do to the grass if he doesn’t chase them off. ;-)

Seagulls: Lake Michigan (Hoffmaster State Park)
Geese & Swans: Duck Lake
Canon EOS 40D, 28-135mm zoom lens, various exposures

Seagulls, Geese, Swans

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 2 comments

And Then There Were Four

The Cosmic Rule of Everything Governing Vacations Away From FAR Manor is: there’s going to be a crisis. Mrs. Fetched’s mom was kind enough to not let us know about it until we were on the way home.

When the World’s Most Obnoxious Dog reproduced, it was a deliberate plot by Mrs. Fetched… don’t ask me why, I’m sure she has her reasons. But she picked out one of her mom’s dogs to do the honors. In spite of what I said in that particular post, he must have just preferred to do the deed in private. Then he popped the latch and ran home. Mrs. Fetched was pretty sure that he was a couple notches removed from Crissy on the family tree, but Daughter Dearest said later that they both have the same mom. Hey, it’s Planet Georgia, a little inbreeding is to be expected, right?

Maybe we should have done it in Tennessee or Alabama, where they’re experts on that sort of thing. Four of the pups — including a female I named Walkabout because she was exploring and trying to escape the pen (I had to unsnag her from the chainlink more than once) before she had her eyes open — rapidly outgrew the other three. This wasn’t a big problem at first, but as they developed to where they could start eating food, the smaller three started having problems. By the time we were on our way home, Mrs. Fetched’s mom had taken two of them to the vet, who recommended they be put down because they were in a lot of pain. The third started having serious trouble Sunday afternoon. After Daughter Dearest said he had a seizure, Mrs. Fetched asked me to look up anything I could find online — one thing I found was that some puppies could be hypersensitive to flea powders and the like; Crissy had a flea collar and we’d been doing that stuff that comes out of the little squeeze tube, so Mrs. Fetched removed the collar and brought all the puppies in for a bath (with Crissy bringing up the rear). They did the little guy first, and had me hold him and keep an eye on him while they did the others. He had a seizure while I was holding him… we got through it, and then I noticed that his belly was hard. I started stroking it, which he protested, but he blew a little dog fart and it softened up quite a bit, which led me to wonder whether he was just having a gas attack. In a fit of optimism, I dubbed him Augustus Seizure (because it was August; I later learned that Julius actually did have epilepsy) and tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

Mrs. Fetched stayed up with him all Sunday night, and they both had a rough night. I was little better off, getting woke up by the yelping several times. She took him to the vet Monday morning, he guessed his intestines had a birth defect that would maybe let him live a few more days, and Mrs. Fetched decided to have him put down too.

The other four, fortunately, seem to be healthy and robust. The guy who’s been helping Mrs. Fetched with the chickens and other farm stuff is getting Walkabout (who is often up & moving when the other three are dozing, always looking for attention) when she’s old enough, but the other three are available. I kind of hope we’ll keep one and get rid of Crissy… they simply can’t be more obnoxious than their mom.

Saturday, July 04, 2009 2 comments

Born on the Fourth of July

After repairing the shelf in Daughter Dearest’s closet, I got started on supper. I had put myself on the hook to make rolls and pasta salad, and the schedule was pretty tight to get the rolls done. Somewhere in there, I had to also grill chicken and salmon. Somehow, I managed:

Salmon Chicken strips Rolls

Meanwhile, Mrs. Fetched was frying up squash & onions, one of the few things I like really well-done. Daughter Dearest went out to feed the dogs… then came running back. “Crissy had her puppies!”


Yup, the World’s Most Obnoxious Dog reproduced. I had a look, guesstimated about eight of the little boogers, and went back to the grill (the salmon wasn’t going to wait). Mrs. Fetched came out, “Did you see them?”

“Yup,” I said. “All eight.”

Eight? You mean four, right?”

“No, I mean eight. There’s a bunch of ’em there.”

With that bit of news, Mrs. Fetched went to count them and was relieved to find “only” seven. I just hope they’re not obnoxious shriekboxes like their mom.

“I hope they’re all boys,” Mrs. Fetched said. “I need to give them away.”

“Or you could keep one and give Crissy away,” I suggested helpfully. She ignored me.

So we’re up to 11 dogs. For now, at least.

Friday, May 12, 2006 1 comment

Give Ya the Bird

I had a peek at the nest, evening before last, and found a new occupant. The picture sucks, but that was the best angle I could get & I didn’t want to disturb things to the point where the parents would abandon it. At least you can see the top of its head.

I'll post better shots if/when I get them.

Monday, April 24, 2006 3 comments

Another houseguest!

Well, at least this one just lives in the garage. I’m not sure how she(?) deals with the garage opening and closing all the time, unless there’s a hidden exit I’m not aware of. Then again, I think I know how all the bird seed got spilled out now. Sheesh. The only thing that seems to bother her is when I move the grill, which usually lives in front of the shelves here (which is how the nest managed to go undetected in the first place). Click on the picture to get a slightly larger version; look for beady little eyes under the white “eyebrows” in the center.

I'm not sure what kind of bird that is; it might be what my father-in-law calls a “jenny wren.”

I would have just chucked the nest outside, and let the interlopers build somewhere else, but I was a little late in discovering the addition. Okee-fine... maybe she’ll keep the bug population in the garage under control. If she keeps the garage spider-free, I’ll invite her in for next year.

When/if the egg hatches, I’ll post more pictures.

If you count comments, this is the 300th post on Tales from FAR Manor!


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