Jul 13

Animal watcher: Caddy, me and other

Caddy the BraveI am a confessed animal watcher. My husband laughs as I race to the window, again. Years of experience has taught him that nothing is wrong. His wife is just nosey! To the untrained eye there doesn’t seem to be anything going on outside to look at.

This particular day I tell him that Caddy (our grand daughter’s Personal Pony) has spotted something in the woods. All of our other animals in the pasture have already run back to the safety of the barn. I really respect this pony’s spunk. He was standing his ground; all 3 foot of him was protecting the herd “so to speak” (just look at that picture of him and run with me…it’s pretty comical!). He whinnied and turned and ran a few feet just inside the fence of his smaller pasture by the barn. Bravely Caddy turned around again to face the danger. I looked in vain and I didn’t see anything, but I have learned to trust his instincts and I know for sure that this pony saw a perceived threat.

Caddy is also an animal watcher like me. I don’t know why, but I always have been. I love to watch their antics, from ants to zebra; I like to watch them all. I seem to always notice if my animals are watching too. I know that if they are staring at something, or barking as in the case of our dog, there is visitor lurking about. In the woods and occasionally in the pastures, we frequently see many different kinds of songbirds, turkeys, ducks and occasionally deer. There are also rare sightings of fox or coyote, which always seems to get all the barn residents interest. So when all of our animals stand at attention looking in the same direction I know there is some kind of an interesting gathering in the pasture or the woods.

I have to get out my binoculars and have a look too! That is best. I think my husband would stress if I went out with Caddy to look further! But I love the wild nature and beauty of animals! Are you an animal watcher? What have you seen in your neck of the woods?

Jul 13

View From My Window – August 2013

grandma's helperGrandma’s helper came one morning when our daughter had to bring her twin babies to the Dr.. We volunteered to watch number two for her. I sometimes call my grand daughters number one and number two from the characters in The Cat In The Hat book.  That came about one night when they had just had their bath and had their footie pajamas on. They ran and ran around chasing each other and laughing hysterically.

Any way number two is a very intelligent 2 year old (yeah I know I might be biased) and has boundless energy and endless questions. In her mind she is helping us. And in fact she is but not in the way she thinks. She desires to help us, but also wants to do what she wants to do; two year olds are prone to think they are the center of the universe (and grandmas are prone to reinforce that misconception).

Our day started with a second breakfast, two year olds are always hungry, and you have to nourish grandma’s helper. Then it was on to the soap shop. I had lots of soap to wrap and I thought number two might be able to be grandma’s helper. I gave her the job of putting soap on the wrappers. She did quite a few of them and then it came to her that it would be much more fun to build a soap tower.  I was able to interest her in handing the labels to me but she was going faster then I could wrap. Next she thought “why should I wait for grammy to wrap the soap, I’ll just wrap it myself”. She tried to wrap one bar and realized it was much harder than it looked and it was just not for her and decided to go shopping for soap instead.

I was able to continue wrapping while she happily moved soap from trays to baskets to boxes talking and asking questions the whole time. Soon her momma was back and number two was so happy to see her and the twins. Then they all hurried home to meet number one off the bus.

The soap shop is peaceful now, but we miss the smiles, laughter, hugs and endless questions of grandma’s helper.

Jul 13

Cosmetic Safety – Research or Run With It?

Cosmetic SafetyArticles about cosmetic safety always peak my interest; especially articles posted on Personal Care Truth website. They are a group of writers devoted to informing with the truth and refuting scare tactics and half truths. I hope you enjoy this informative article from Personal Care Truth.

I do agree with the author L.M. Rogers statement: “In this day of social media, it seems much easier to run with a story coming across your news feed, as opposed to actually researching it for yourself. I believe in truth, facts and science. Even in politics, I check the sources of a story before regurgitating the information, to the people who will see my feed.”

Jul 13

All-Natural Remedies for Neurotic Dogs; like our Chia

puppy 003I have been motivated to started researching all-natural remedies for dogs. Our dog Chia; sometimes known as Chia Pet and sometimes Chia Pest, has always been a little afraid of thunder. She seemed to be getting worse and I didn’t want to put her on tranquilizers. I knew there must be some all-natural remedies that would at least help reduce her fear response. She is a small standard poodle that we acquired after a string of family losses. We were newly empty nesters and we immediately feel too much in love with this fuzzy and too cute little puppy. She is 7 years old now and we love her even more. She has very few vices and is typically very well behaved doggy, but she is getting more and more neurotic as she gets older. A common occurrence I am told.

Mostly it is loud noises, like fireworks and gunshots; surprisingly both are heard often out here in the country. More recently she has become fearful of balloons. The problem may be that she is just too smart on top of being a little OCD.  At our granddaughter’s birthday celebration at our house we had some balloons, which of course popped as the party wore on. Anyway, we realized right away that Chia was stressing over it. Later we put together that she was trying to run away from her home because we were blowing up a pool toy for our granddaughter.

She also thinks she likes to ride in the car but has taken to trembling the whole time we are driving; really our driving is not that bad. So we don’t take her in the car anymore and we are careful not to blow anything up around her. But the other loud noises that send her into a trembling pile of nervousness; we have no control over.

I researched all-natural remedies and this is what I have found helpful so far. I bought some Bach’s Rescue Remedy (an all-natural way to reduce stress) for her and give it to her when she is seems fearful. But that only helps a little. My other all-natural healing remedy? Playing fetch. Thankfully she is obsessed with fetching; so we just play fetch with her toys until she forgets about the thunder or whatever it is that is causing her distress. The only problem then is getting her to stop insisting on playing fetch!

Jul 13

The Nonconformist Killdeer

killdeer chick

Killdeer are certainly nonconformist. Sometimes I think they are just plain silly. I go back and forth between feeling bad for those that have laid their eggs in my territory and thinking that they are the dumbest of all birds. I can’t say they have made their nest, because they just make a little indentation in the stones and lay their eggs right there out in the open among the stones. Not in the trees to keep the babies safe; if not crazy they are certainly nonconformist in nature.

We had what seems like weeks of cold rainy days that added up to 11 inches of rain. This pair of birds took turns sitting on their eggs or trying to lure unwanted gawkers away from their eggs. They looked wet and pitiful and I felt bad for them. Today the sun was out and we noticed one egg was missing. On closer inspection, we see one of the eggs has hatched and the chick was lying lifeless outside the “nest” on the rocks, looking like a somewhat fuzzy rock. The parents had already disposed of the remains of the eggshell he emerged from.  I crept closer and wondered if he was really dead. Then he opened one eye and popped up and wobbled away like a drunken sailor trying to hop up into my raised garden.

I had never thought about it before but there are two kinds of baby birds, “cute” and “ugly”; yes really, I’m not kidding. Baby killdeer are the cute type, technically called Precocial, which means, “ripened beforehand”. They incubate longer and when they hatch they are fluffy and bright eyed, like chickens and ducks. Cute babies are ready to run as soon as their fluff dries out. They feed themselves, following their parents example. Ugly types like robins and blue jays are called Alticial, meaning “wet nurse”.  They are born almost naked and blind and are completely dependent on their parents. Interesting that human babies are both, cute (well not in bird terms) and alticial.

For now, every time I go outside I look closely where I step, afraid I will step on the killdeer chick pretending to be a rock and he is really good at it. Being a bit of a nonconformist myself, I guess I can relate.