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Saturday, November 23, 2013



For the past week a debilitating bout of flu has reduced my small country life to the size of my living room and bedroom.  Since last Saturday the world as I knew it has stood still and although the rooms of my confinement are familiar, lying on the sofa or in bed has allowed me to see them through different, albeit blurry eyes. I have felt like a visitor in a stranger's home.

Animals don't know about things like the flu, so they still need to be cared for.  The house animals were manageable, but the barn critters might as well have been a half mile away.  Once again dear neighbor Sandy has come to my rescue.  What a friend!  She has taken care of barn chores for several days, brought me jello and soup and enough bags of cough drops for an army.

I finally broke down and went to the doctor who gave me a Rx for some magic potion that is slowly putting me back on track. I'm sick of being sick.

9:34 pm est          Comments

Wednesday, November 20, 2013



Veteran readers of this blog know that old Kenny qualifies as a bona fide "eccentric," but this week the purveyor of spelt bread, raw milk seething with bacteria and other curiosities has outdone himself.

"Have you seen Kenny lately," asked Farmer Chuck.  "I can't find him anywhere," he continued and as I thought about it, it occurred to me that I too had not seen him on one of his bread runs or even creeping down the road at about 15 mph in his red truck.  I said I'd make some phone calls. 

When neighbor Sandy said she hadn't seen him either I called my friend the Police Chief.  "I'll go over there and take a look around," he assured me. 

Meanwhile Chuck returned to the scene of the disappearance, but still found no sign of Kenny, but he did find some uncollected newspapers which was very strange since Kenny is an avid reader. 

The Chief went, took a look around to no avail, then went over to Kenny's friend Spic's house.  "Nope, I haven't seen him for days,"said Spic.   Kenny's phone went unanswered.  Neighbor Sandy reported that she went up to Kenny's, but was only met by his current milk cow who was wandering at will outside the flimsy fence.  Things were looking ominous.

Since I've been down with the flu since Saturday I wasn't any help at all in the search, but calls were keeping me apprised of the situation.  The Chief said he was going to get a couple other officers and they would break into the house.  We all held our collective breaths.  Kenny allows no one inside his house because the clutter in there apparently surpasses the outrageous clutter in the barn (this photo was taken before things got messy...) and having seen that first hand I can confirm that it is a disaster.

Finally the Chief and officers, armed with a battering ram arrived back at Kenny's, prepared to enter the unfathomable.  As they approached the house one of the officers happened to glance back over his shoulder only to find Kenny sitting in his red chick-mobile truck peering over a newspaper!

 The Chief was livid.  "Goddam it Kenny, you've got the whole township worried about you.  Why the hell didn't you answer your phone when I called you?"

In his long slow drawl Kenny replied that he only answered his phone if it rang seven times.

"I let the damned thing ring at least twenty times!" said the Chief.

"'Guess I didn't hear it, heh, heh, heh," said Kenny who had obviously been watching the neighborhood panic from the confines of his truck, which by the way is filled to the roofline with newspapers and other assorted rubbish.

Of course, we are all relieved that our eccentric old neighbor is alive and well and maybe even a little thankful for the drama du jour.  Not much happens out here this time of the year.

9:47 am est          Comments

Saturday, November 9, 2013



I knew that Kenny had made another delivery even before the truck stopped at the end of the driveway.  It's easy to tell when he's been here because without fail he turfs the lawn with his red truck, the chick-mobile.  Sure enough, there were several loaves of spelt bread waiting on the patio bench. 

The chickens obligingly eat the crumbly stuff and sometimes the bad asses also get a slice or two, but the most enthusiastic health food nut here is Julie.  She actually likes the stuff and would jump through hoops if asked to just for a slice.  She loves it.  She is also the only dog who is thin and extremely energetic.  Could it be the spelt bread? 

Curious about why others would like this rather tasteless bread that won't hold together for a sandwich or toast I did a little research and found that its greatest appeal is the fact that it hasn't become a GMO target crop.  It's an ancient grain that's more water soluble than regular wheat, so it's more easily digested.  It has other nutritional advantages too, but I just don't happen to care for the taste. For anyone who is concerned about the preponderance of GMO crops (and everyone should be...), spelt bread is an available alternative.

 "Did Kenny bring some bread to you?" asks neighbor Sandy.  "He brought me two garbage bags full of it!"

Apparently the bakery from which he gets the stuff he brings to me and  Sandy on a regular basis over-estimates its customer base, but Kenny is 88 years old; still independent and active, so he's a living testament to the health benefits of spelt. Try it, you might like it!

1:01 pm est          Comments

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



Recently a woman who gave birth to a walrus-sized baby (okay, I exaggerate...) made headlines.  I think that my dog Ernie's mom, a diminutive mutt who birthed eleven pups deserved similar recognition because not only was her litter far bigger than average, but Ernie and one other pup were super-sized.  I can't speak about the current state of Ernie's sibling, but Ern not only grew into a big dog, he's continued to grow.  Granted, he has a thyroid issue and has been on meds for two years, but even so, he has become so large that he's been ordered to lose fifty pounds!  I'm happy to report that thanks to Nutro Weight Control food my big boy is indeed losing a load. I think part of the impetus for his dedicated diet is knowing that his sibling Archie is competing and winning in obedience trials.  It's not likely that Ernie will ever become an athlete, but I think if human celebrities can make tons of money doing commercials for weight loss programs, Ernie has great potential.


8:59 pm est          Comments

Monday, November 4, 2013

3:04 pm est          Comments



The time change is always challenging for critters here since they never bother to look at clocks, so rather than rising and shining at our regular 5:45 am (why in the world do I get up at that ungodly hour anyway?) the dogs welcomed this chilly Monday morning at 4:00 am with the unmistakable sound of upchucking.  This not unfamiliar wake-up call urged me to exit my toasty bed and rush for the door to let whichever dog was experiencing GI issues outside, hoping to intervene before a deposit was made on a rug.  Too late. 

Dogs went out, came in and we all returned to the land of slumber until 6:00 am when our daily routine resumed normalcy--well, sort of.  After filling food bowls, getting coffee brewing, feeding the cats who claimed to be starving I called the dogs inside, but only two of the three responded.  Tess was busy tossing the leg of some unfortunate critter into the air, dropping it on the frosty grass and rubbing it with both sides of her head before taking off with her prize.  I had not yet even poured the first cup of coffee.  Assuming it was part of a deer leg salvaged from neighbor Bill's "compost pile" rushing outside to retrieve it didn't seem important.  Finally tiring of the game and apparently hungry for her breakfast, Bad Girl joined her friends in the house (sans the pieces part).

When I did trudge out into the cold morning air headed to the barn Tess and Julie again picked up the hind quarter of their find and resumed trying to make themselves smell as good as what they were playing with.  That smell was NOT good and I could see that the item in question was NOT a deer leg.  It took some cajoling to get them back inside so that whatever it was could be properly and quickly disposed of.  A hasty funeral was in order.

Inspection of the mysterious body part left me scratching my head (well, not literally).  Judging from the heft of the leg and partial torso the critter must have been about the size of a fox, but it was not a fox.  The champagne-colored coat was extremely dense; as dense as lamb fleece, but the foot was something like that of a canine with white toe nails. The fur (?) covering the pads of the foot was as dense and thick as that on the rest of the carcass and it was impossible to make contact with the actual paw.  I'd never seen anything like this. 

Clad in pink-checked pj bottoms, a long red bathrobe topped with a polar-fleece jacket I braved the frigid temperature, grabbed a shovel and dug an especially generous grave as the dogs watched from inside the house.  Fortunately no cars passed to witness the impromptu interment.

Surely my friend Fran Kitchen who has been a wildlife rehabilitator for nearly fifty years would have an idea about the identity of the now safely-buried body.   I called her and she was a flummoxed as I about the species, but worried that it might have been something exotic.  Last month exotic pet regulations went into effect and Fran says people in violation of the new law have been ‘dumping' all sorts of creatures.  It seems that I will never know what the dogs dragged home this morning although I went in search of additional parts later in the day.  Nothing was found, but I doubt that I buried the only bit Tess will find.  To be continued.  (Anyone have an idea?)

2:44 pm est          Comments

Saturday, November 2, 2013



Hi, it's me again; Tess, AKA Kujo, AKA Bad Dog, but now I've added yet another moniker.  You've heard of Johnny Appleseed?  Well, I am Tessie Pearseed.  In addition to all my other jobs around this place I have taken up silvaculture-- trying to restore the' trainer's' orchard.  She was distraught about losing two peach trees earlier this year, so while I haven't found any peach seeds to plant, I'm planting pear trees.  I hope they grow because digging all these holes and then collecting fallen pears from the heavily-laden tree and dropping them into the holes is time consuming and tiring!  It wears me out, but I do it because I can and of course because I always try to help in any way I can.  The ‘trainer' did not seem happy when she caught me digging.  I guess maybe she doesn't want more trees in the middle of her garden.  We'll have to wait until springtime to learn if my efforts are in vain.  Keep fingers crossed. 


6:49 pm edt          Comments

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