Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Here it is, 11:35 on December 31, 2010: less than thirty minutes before midnight and how am I ringing in the New Year? By writing this blog. My brother is out at one of several parties he'd been invited to but I am choosing to stay here on the Unfarm with the animals. (In the interest of full disclosure I should probably say that I wasn't actually invited to a New Year's Eve party as all the people I know are animals, and most of them already live here on the Unfarm with me - but that's fine with me: I don't get along with people nearly so well as I get along with animals.) So here I am, at home, trying to finish my massive to-do list before I go to sleep (another classic case of I-think-I-can-handle-it-itis, for which I am well known - it is rare occasion when I tackle a project that I actually have a reasonable chance of completing.) I have decided that instead of (or most likely, in addition to) spring cleaning, I will clean (and even dust) my room, do all my laundry, change the sheets on my bed, and try to catch up on my workout so that I can start 2011 fresh tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I spent most of the day procrastinating so now I have an unreasonably long list of things left to do and I am quickly running out of time to accomplish them.

I also need to write out my resolutions, which will probably include trying to make a dent in the massive pile of books I have yet to read (I did manage to read at least 12 of them this year but I probably also bought close to that many, if not more, new ones.) Books are my one weakness. I generally hate collections, but I will admit to having a fairly large book collection - but in my defense, many of them are reference books having to do with animal health and art techniques. The only problem is that I am now running out of room for all my books. I have four bookshelves (one of which is an IKEA shelf almost as tall as the ceiling) but they are now all at capacity and it will take a small miracle if I am able to rearrange them enough to fit in the new ones.

Fireworks. It's midnight.

I will probably have several things on my list of resolutions, but one of the most important goals is to lose weight. I know, I know: everyone makes that resolution and very few people keep it - if I am being completely honest, I made that resolution last year and didn't manage to keep it, so we'll have to see if I'm able to do any better this year. I am not looking forward to a weigh-in tomorrow as I have been eating fudge and butter toffee and cookies for the last few weeks. I have a terrible sweet tooth and I have discovered that if I try to simply limit my sugar intake, I generally go overboard and my self-imposed limits are usually out the window before lunch, so this time I'll try going cold turkey and cutting out sugar (in the form of candy, cookies, ice cream, etc - it would be too difficult to eliminate all sugar from my diet) altogether. Whether or not I will manage to keep any of these resolutions, however, will have to remain to be seen. I will try to keep you updated as to my progress on my goals, but whatever the animals have been up to lately is usually far more interesting than whether or not I lost a pound or finished reading Think Like A Cat yet.

So, as a special treat for New Year's Eve, here's a sneak peek at some upcoming posts from the Unfarm. First, a report from the field: we took all three dogs - even Buddy - up to the mountain for some post-Christmas snowshoeing (by which I mean that we were on snowshoes and the dogs were barefoot: we tried giving them little boots to wear but the dogs had them off within minutes.) And secondly: what do you get when you mix Buddy, a low table, and a bag of carob chips accidentally left out? Hint: the answer is not pretty.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Note: Forgive the delay, I started this post before Christmas, but with all the last minute shopping and spending time with my family, I wasn't able to get it posted until now.

It is, unfortunately, almost Christmas. This is unfortunate for two reasons, first, the sooner Christmas comes, the sooner it goes and all that's left is dreary, gray, wet winter; and second, I am - once again - nowhere near being ready. Why does that sound so familiar? Perhaps because I went through the same thing last year. The difference is that this year I have very little help with all the baking. And I got a much later start than I would have liked, due to the fact that I was slogging my way through a depressingly thick microbiology textbook and trying to cram the common names, scientific names, and identifying features of a huge list of deciduous plants. All this studying left very little time for doing anything. I think the only people less excited about all my schoolwork were the animals. The dogs were lucky if I managed to walk them once a week, the bunnies rarely got their usual time out in the evenings, and the ducks... who am I kidding - the ducks are exceedingly adept at getting whatever they want so my studying didn't bother them a bit.

The other task that fell by the wayside was keeping up on this blog. So, since I know everyone has been clamoring for an update (all one or two people who read this blog), I will oblige. There is nothing new to report with Kita and Maia, which is usually a case of no news is good news at this point: it means that their arthritis isn't getting any worse and their health is holding fairly steady. Kita is, however, on more pain medication in addition to his Rimadyl which seems to have made him a bit more playful, but he's still dragging by the end of our walks. But, despite his convincing performance of utter exhaustion, I am still not entirely sure that he's telling the truth. He always seems to be able to get up the energy for a second wind whenever he finds himself out without a leash or able to find a hole in the fence. As for Buddy, he temporarily acquired the unflattering nickname of "conehead." This was due to the fact that he managed - somehow - to rip a quarter sized piece of skin off the front of his shoulder which required stitches to patch it up (resulting in yet another vet bill, but on the plus side, they are naming the new wing of their building after us). And to keep Buddy from picking at his stitches, he was required to wear one of those plastic e-collars, hence the conehead nickname. He bore it tolerably well, though and after two weeks he was able to shed both the collar and the nickname.

Aspen is overjoyed that my brother - who had left for a month to visit relatives in another state - is back at home as this means that he will once again be getting decent milk. I should mention that the milk I give Aspen is the exact same milk that my brother gives him, but Aspen is convinced that what I have poured him is sub-par milk. He will drink almost anything my brother pours him, but should I make the mistake of pouring him anything less than half-and-half he looks at me like I'm trying to feed him dog food or something equally absurd. He will, however, grudgingly accept whipped cream from a can, cream, and eggnog from me. Mynx is easier to please and is quite content as long as the cable box with her blanket on top stays warm.

The chickens are finally out of trouble. A couple weeks back they were regularly staying out at night instead of going into their coop. This then necessitates an in-the-slippery-mud-and-pitch-dark chase of the chickens around the yard - a chase that the chickens nearly always win, being much smaller than us and therefore able to dart under the deck and wiggle around bushes much faster than we can. After several nights of slogging around in the dark after the chickens I grounded them to their run for a few days and that seems to have cured them of their rebellious attitude: they are now going into the coop on their own once it begins to get dark.

Things continue much the same with the rabbits: Jojo hates TJ. TJ hates Jojo, but gets along with Suki. Suki loves Jojo, tolerates TJ, and hates Clover. Clover spends all his time out of the cage marking every spot that Jojo has marked but is otherwise prevented from having any contact with TJ, Suki and Jojo by an elaborate system of gates and blockades. All attempts at bonding the rabbits are temporarily on hold, but I am hoping to start up again soon as their hormone levels will be lower during the winter (or so I am told - we'll have to see if that really makes the bonding any more successful than it has been previously.)

As for the ducks, Minna is - once again - laying eggs. This means several things: one, that Minna is regularly leaving eggs in the bunny room every morning; two, that Minna has become very insistent - and very vocal - in demanding multiple trips to the dog's water bowl every night; and three, that Maggie's hormones are in overdrive and she (he) frequently attacks both Minna and myself in multiple attempts to mate every day. It is particularly dangerous to refill the dog water bowl in the evening as that seems to have a sort of aphrodisiac effect on Maggie. I'm not entirely sure why that is - but it is almost a guarantee that as soon as I start pouring the water Maggie will either hop on top of Minna or go after my ankles.

Ah, and there it is, right on cue. Minna is demanding her third, or maybe fourth, trip out to the water bowl which means my peace and quiet has come to an end. She is, as I said, very vocal.