Monday, September 26, 2016

Camping out at the vet...again

It had been a couple of weeks since we've been to the vet's office so naturally it is time to go back. This time it was Axel and Jojo who drew the short straws. It seems no one else wanted to volunteer to go in for some reason.

Axel went in for a bout of diarrhea that lasted three days before we gave up and took him in to see the vet. We brought in a stool sample and he was given some nasty medication to take to help clear up the diarrhea. We had to coat the medication in peanut butter to make sure he would swallow it because it tastes bad and starts to dissolve quickly - I know this from personal experience. I had to take this same medication several years ago and in order to be able to swallow it at all I had to coat each pill in chocolate almond bark so I wouldn't be able to taste it. Gotta give me props for creativity, right? Axel's visit was pretty straight forward: test for parasites and treat for diarrhea.

Jojo's visit was another story. Jojo went into the vet for something that we thought was minor - blocked tear ducts and a disinclination to use his litter box - that turned out to be a bigger problem than we foresaw. His tear ducts are in fact blocked, and he was given eye drops to try and clear that problem up but his reluctance to use the litter box was more than simply wanting to keep me on my toes and make more work for me in an effort to keep his cage clean. It turned out that he had poor control of his hind end which could have been caused by several different things, the first of which was parasitic infection, so we tested for that and it came back positive for E. cuniculi. Enter another medication, stage right. Now, not only is Jojo on eye drops three to four times a day, he is also on oral medication twice a day. 

And they weren't done yet - they wanted x-rays of his back end, so back we went to the vet. The x-rays were taken but the vet advised sending them out to a specialist to look at to see if it could be cancer of the bones that could be causing the rather squabbagy (pronounced skwa-buh-gee, it basically means crooked) look to his spine. It seems the vets are determined to clean out my entire savings account this month. The results are in and they do not think it is cancer (thank goodness), just arthritic changes and an old, healed fracture but they want him on an anti-inflammatory medication and ideally laser treatments twice a week for several weeks at $50 a pop. Someone there must have a child headed off to college that they need me to pay for. We are starting with the anti-inflammatory medication because really, why not add another medication to the already long list of medications the animals need each day? Whoever said that moving to the country and living on a farm was getting back to the simple life was seriously mistaken. Or else I just have rotten luck.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Minestrone soup and mini cornbread

Having grown tired of our usual last minute dinner stand by options of macaroni and cheese, rice and beans, or stir-fry I decided to make something different for dinner the other night and it turned out pretty well so I am passing along the recipe. I am also including a recipe for three mini cornbread. Since my brother has been in Australia and is not around to inhale any bread we bake I decided to split our regular recipe so we wouldn't end up with leftovers that sit around for a week before finally being crumbled up and fed to the chickens. Sorry, ladies.

Minestrone soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups (about 2 small) zucchini, cubed
1 finely chopped onion
2 cups carrots, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 quart vegetable broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, if desired

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot while you cut up the carrots. Add the carrots and cook several minutes while you cut up the zucchini and onion. Add the zucchini, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook approximately three minutes or until the onion is tender, stirring often. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer ten to fifteen minutes or until carrots are tender. Sprinkle servings with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese if desired. 

Mini cornbread (makes 3)

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 tablespoon baking powder
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly pour in the milk and oil, then add the egg. Stir just enough to blend the ingredients thoroughly. Grease three 4 inch ramekins and divide the dough between the three ramekins and level the dough with a spatula. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The nightly routine

It is no secret that dogs like to eat and that their palate is somewhat less sophisticated than ours with a taste for, among other things: cat poop, bunny poop, chicken poop... basically anyone's poop, liver, cat food, and fish oil. Along with their own food they also have a taste for duck food, which leads me to the nightly routine. After the dogs get their dinner the chickens get put away in the coop for the night and the ducks are brought in. Before bringing the ducks inside for the night we feed them dinner on the back deck: a bowl of water and a bowl of Purina duck chow. The dogs know this and wait impatiently at the kitchen door for me to bring the ducks inside. This is not because of some great love for the ducks and a strong desire to see them again after being separated all day. No, this is purely selfish on the part of the dogs. 

After I put the diapers on the ducks I scoop them up while they furiously paddle their little feet and we head to the back door. As soon as I get the door open six inches or so the dogs will force the door open the rest of the way and then I just stay out of the way as all three dogs burst through onto the back deck. They run right past the ducks and I as if we weren't even there and make a beeline for the duck bowls. Were Scout and Axel after the same thing we might have a problem but they complement each other perfectly because Axel heads straight to the water bowl and starts drinking while Scout grabs the food bowl and takes off. Scout picks up the bowl by the rim without tipping anything out and takes it across the deck to eat the water soaked duck chow in peace. Molly is left to clean up the scraps that fall onto the deck boards. Having eaten less than an hour ago I know for a fact that the dogs are not starving, they simply like the taste of watered down duck food. Go figure. I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tags: check

Check that one off the list - I've been wanting to get the ID tags back onto Scout and Axel's collars for a while now but I couldn't find the right size key rings. I finally just gave up and bought regular sized ones instead of the small ones I was searching unsuccessfully for. But the story here is not about my to do list or the fact that Axel's ID tag had been sitting in my desk drawer for months, but rather how it got there in the first place.

Scout's tag came off innocently enough, likely while he was rough housing with Axel or playing with Molly but Axel's tag came off after repeated abuse. Axel, in case I have not explained before, likes to sleep on the floor in my room at night, wedged between the bed and the wall right next to the air vent cover. Often on top of the air vent cover, actually. And herein lies the problem: his neck and head are often over the air vent, which means so is his collar and, naturally, his ID tag. Several times while lying over the air vent Axel's tag would slip between the slats on the vent cover, become wedged there, and the tag would get pulled on and the ring bent out of shape as Axel repositioned himself. Were this Molly we were talking about she may have remained stuck there, attached to the floor until someone came to rescue her but this is Axel and - being rather more on the large side - he would simply stand up and walk away. The reason I know this is what happened is because it usually occurred in the morning after he had been lying on the vent all night and I would wake up to a clanking sound only to discover Axel walking around my room with the vent cover hanging off of his collar like an oversized pendant. I would then have to twist the tag back around so that it could slip back between the slats and remove the grate from his collar. It seems that after this had happened ten or fifteen times the ring called it quits and gave up trying to keep the tag attached to the collar. I can't say that I blame it. At least it didn't fall down the air vent and get lost. The new ring should be stronger and hopefully the new vent cover will prevent his tag from slipping through it because next time we might not be so lucky and I have no desire to fish around in a forty year old air vent looking for his ID tag.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The best seat in the house

This post is late by, like, a week because we've been hosting my cousin and having a craftapalooza here on the Unfarm. She only gets to come down from Seattle once a year or so since she is usually so busy with school so we like to cram as much arts, crafts, and tax free shopping in as possible which leaves very little time for blogging, checking email, or doing anything remotely responsible aside from taking care of the animals and even that didn't always get done - the dogs missed their walk on Wednesday. At any rate, here comes a post for you, short as it may be.

Scout likes chairs. And couches. And beds. And basically any soft spot. In the bunny room/my art studio/my office there are two chairs. One is a wooden desk chair and the other is an IKEA poang chair that I stole from the living room. Needless to say, the poang chair is by far the more popular one. It is springy and cushioned and comfortable and it was where I happened to be sitting last night when Scout came into the room. He stood around near me for a few minutes before he lost patience and used his muzzle to nudge my elbow a couple times. When I didn't respond he repeated himself, nudging my elbow again. Figuring he wanted something I stood up to find out what it was he needed. He immediately hopped into the chair and made himself comfortable. Turns out what he wanted was my seat. If Scout is in the room I usually have to content myself with the desk chair because Scout will inevitably want to sit in the poang chair. But saying no to those puppy dog eyes is nearly impossible, and Scout is incredibly persistent so I may as well get used to it.

Scout curled up in the poang