Saturday, September 21, 2013

Red light, green light

I remember playing red light, green light as a kid while at school or daycare but at (eek!) 32 years old, I haven't thought about that game in years. Until tonight, that is. (In case you don't know or remember this game, there is a description on this website that you can check out.)

What prompted this bit of nostalgia was in watching the interaction between Maggie and Axel. Over the last couple of weeks, the interactions between these two has become increasingly combative. This occurs mainly in the evening, when Axel is hanging out in the kitchen and the ducks are on the back deck finishing dinner and waiting for me to get their diapers on and bring them in for the night. During this time, the screen door is the only thing standing between Axel and the ducks. Or Axel and Maggie, to be more accurate, because Minna is above it all and could care less what goes on between Maggie and Axel. I have yet to determine what exactly is the cause of this argument. It could be that Axel thinks Maggie is threatening me when he chases me around during mating season (as I am apparently part of Maggie's harem - an honor I could do without.) Or maybe Maggie thinks he needs to protect Minna from Axel. On the other hand, they could just be expressing their mutual dislike for each other.

Whatever the reason, Maggie and Axel have taken to charging the screen door, Axel from inside and Maggie from outside. Maggie is quite brave when he knows that Axel is securely on the other side of the door and that, more often than not, I am on hand to reprimand Axel. When not separated by a door, Maggie is more cautious; he doesn't want to risk an actual run in with Axel, but his ego will not allow him to stand down completely. The compromise Maggie makes is this: when Axel is looking at him, Mag stands his ground. When Axel is walking away and not looking at him, Maggie lowers his head, pulls up his shoulders, and charges at Axel. This is what I call Maggie's linebacker stance - although, knowing nothing more about football than the fact that the ball is roughly oval in shape, it is entirely possible that I am incorrect in my reference - at any rate, this is the posture Maggie also uses when charging chickens that threaten Minna and squirrels that have the nerve to eat the squirrel food that Maggie considers his. The minute Axel turns his head to look at Maggie, however, he stops in his tracks and stands normally. If he could whistle and look around in apparent innocence, I'm sure he would. As soon as Axel loses interest and begins walking away again, Maggie resumes his charge. This continues until Axel comes back inside with me - to keep me company (in Axel's opinion) or because Maggie has succeeded in sending Axel running for safety (in Maggie's opinion.) Red light, green light. I honestly don't know what people without pets do for entertainment. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

DIY Unfarm swimming pool

I love to swim. (Or, to be more accurate, I love to doggy paddle.) What I do not love is public pools. I am both extremely shy and less than pleased with my weight right now so the thought of a public pool has as much appeal as a root canal. 

This poses something of a dilemma as we do not have a pool of our own. Aside from a lack of horizontal space due to the location of the Unfarm on a slope, we also have a lack of one other critical resource: money. As with most cases when we are faced with a lack of finances, I was forced to get creative. The solution I came up with is far from ideal, but it serves the critical purposes of cooling me off and allowing me a place to "swim" (read doggy paddling and kicking.) And so, the Unfarmgirl swimming pool was born. 

True, it looks remarkably like a 2 foot wide, 3 foot deep, 8 foot long metal livestock tank, but make no mistake: it's a swimming pool. Should any other Unfarmgirls out there want to learn how to make this Unfarm swimming pool, I have put together a tutorial to explain the complicated process. Ready? Got your pencil handy to take notes? Here we go.

DIY Unfarm swimming pool tutorial

Step one: Purchase livestock tank of appropriate size. If you can find it, a three foot wide tank would probably be a bit nicer, but a two footer will also work. 

Step two: Bring said tank home. 

Step three: Find appropriate location for tank and position it. A spot that gets some sun and is relatively flat works best.

Step four: Fill tank with water

Step five: Enjoy!

Did you get all that? I know it can be a bit overwhelming, but take it one step at a time and I'm sure you'll be able to manage it.