Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Mystery

Something's afoot in the garden!
Someone tunnelled under the snow in pursuit of...
Brussels sprouts?  The skirt of sprouts on this Brussels plant do not appear to be disturbed.  But I love the silhouette of this tall leftover in the garden.
Could it be looking for kale?  This plant actually has what appears to be new growth in the center.  A couple more bright, sunny days and we could be eating greens again!
I do not know what the tunnel creature is looking for here in the veggie garden, but it is welcome to whatever it finds.  No damage will be done this time of year.  Elsewhere, however...

Someone has been nibbling the bushes in front of my house.
Look how those lower branches are stripped of their bark!

And another stripped-off segment there on the lower part of the middle branch.  There are many bunny tracks in the snow around these bushes, so I expect they are ripping off bark with their long, yellow bunny teeth.  When I prune out the old growth in a month or so, I'll be sure to get those parts out.

And while we're looking around the garden, a sign of spring!

Forsythia buds beginning to swell!

And lilacs, silhouetted against the snow, beginning to round out.

Just a few short weeks and spring will be quite apparent!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Watch Ari in the Mud in Animals  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Look at all that mud in the chicken run!  No problem for the intrepid duck -- Ari Duckass loves mud!  And one of her hen-friends took delight in waddling around with her.

As for this camera-woman, my shoes needed serious washing after plodding around the pen to bring you the pictures!  Yech!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Busy Solitude Polar Bears Club!

In the first two weeks of January we received two feet of snow.  Light, fluffy lake effect snow, but the birds did not wish to venture out and freeze their feet.  So they made up games like "let's build a swimming pool in the barn"!

It never really got big enough to swim in, though Ari Duckass enjoyed standing in it, keeping her webbed feet well moisturized.

And drinking from it, which is really kind of gross because it's so muddy and full of, well, you can just imagine.

During this inside time it has become increasingly obvious that the Labor Day chicks are roosters.  Drat!  This is going to be a big problem and I know I need to address it sooner rather than later.  But maybe not today.

And don't you know their Mama is sitting on a new nest already?  I have no idea how many eggs she has under her.  She's fierce, and I have enough trouble with Egglebert stalking me right now, I don't have to go looking for a chicken to peck me!


After all of this cabin fever, we had a lovely warmer day and the snow melted enough that I could lure the hens outside!

Here they come!  First one hen, then Ari, constantly talking.  Look at that blue sky -- who wouldn't want to come outside on a day like today!

All their colors glow in the soft winter sunshine.  One golden girl jumped up on the ramp just as I snapped the photo -- camera shy, I guess.

Eartha Chick just glows in the sun.  Look at the green irridescence on her back.  Incidentally, and this is no offense meant to the other hens, Eartha has the softest feathers.  She's not keen on being stroked, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

Evil Egglebert came along to keep track of his hens.  OK, he's a gorgeous rooster, but looks aren't everything.  He's jealous.  See the red hen looking right at the camera there?  He chased her back calling "don't go over to Johanna's side, Red Hen!"

No surprise that Ari enjoyed the puddles in the chicken run.  That duck just lives to be WET!  And not only that, she encourages the others to join her!

And sometimes they do.  It's the Busy Solitude Polar Bears Club!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Is there any sounder sleep than that of a shaggy dog in the winter?  I tried to sit on the end of this couch with them, but I needed a bit more space and they were not scooting over for me!  Ulani is out like a light, so when Oskar wanted to shift positions and ended up with his leg over her neck, well, no problem!

I hope they don't wake suddenly.  It could be disastrous!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A gift from the dogs

Yesterday evening, after supper, the dogs asked if they could go outside for a while.  They said they wanted to look for something for me for my birthday.  So of course I opened the door and sent them off into the darkness.

I realized after a while that I had not heard them lately, so I went to the door and simply called "Pup Pup!"

Around the corner of the house they trotted.

Ulani approached me and placed this at my feet. (It's not gross, but it is dead.)

Monday, January 18, 2010


...fifty and no profound thoughts.  I'm trying to come up with something, but so far no juice.  Tomorrow's the day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Guest poster: A Message from Oskar

I got sent to jail today.

Johanna said because my bark got hoarse and I was coughing some days I had to go see Dr. Mike.  Again!  Wasn't I just there and he said I was A-OK?!  Uh-yea-uh, I think that's true!

But Johanna said I had to go, and I like to ride in the car, so I went.  Dr. Mike examined me and said he could not find anything wrong, but maybe they would do an X-ray to make sure my heart and lungs are ok.  I thought we could take a pass, but Johanna said yes, that would be nice.  Nice!!

This is what it looks like inside jail.  Cinder block walls.  A thin mattress.  Bread and water to eat, and just a few minutes on the basketball court... Oh, wait.  That was a movie I saw.

After a while they brought me to the Xray room.  You know I am a Big Guy -- look how tall that table is!

I thought perhaps they had made a mistake and they did not mean that they wanted me to lie down up there.  I won't show you the next step.  Just know that Dr. Mike called me "wiggley"!

Betty had to hold me still on the table so they could take my picture.  I guess they're not very good at taking pictures.  Johanna never has to hold me still!  And she takes lots and lots of pictures of me!  Maybe you have seen some of them.  They're all over this blog.  Only the chickens are more popular.  Darned chickens.

After they took my pictures they put me back in jail.  And this is what my picture looked like:

Dr. Mike says heart and lungs look fine for "a big guy my age".  I like when he calls me a Big Guy.  Because I am a big guy.  Nice to know someone appreciates it!

Johanna picked me up and we went back to her work for a few hours.  I had a nap, and when we left I ate a lot of snow.  Then we came home and had dog dinner and now I am writing to tell you:  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!  SO DON'T TAKE ME TO DR. MIKE AGAIN FOR A WHILE!

Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Guest poster: Ulani - "I love snow!"

Oh, "I thought I lost Oskar in the snow!"  Boo hoo!  There's not too much snow.  It's perfect.

Perfect for FRISBEE!!!  Check me out!

The simple out and back.  Anyone can chase a frisbee on a shovelled path, right?

But how about chasing the frisbee into the snow?  Eh?  Not everyone is keen on diving into the snow to find the disc, but off I go!

And nothing gives me more joy than leaping off the path into the snow to tame that flying beast!

So not to worry about me.  Snow?  I LOVE SNOW!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ready for the Yeti Yet?

First let me point out, it is still snowing.

The snow began sometime on New Year's Eve night.  Lake effect, those unpredictable fingers of snow that caress Lake Michigan and its eastern shoreline, gathering up moisture from the lake and tossing it, sometimes ferociously, at the land.

Oskar had to go out at 5 am.  I thought I lost him!

Then he reappeared out of the darkness.  He looked at me and said "I'm too old for this!"  We went back to bed and pretended the grass was green and the sun was shining.

But when we got up again, we had to face the truth.  A lot of snow fell overnight.  I had shovelling to do.  This pile faced me down when I opened the front door.

Once I shovelled my way to the car, this was the reverse view -- much more passable!

In the backyard I shovelled paths for Oskar and Ulani to use so they wouldn't be belly-deep.  They appreciate the passageways.  When I have more time, I'll shovel a path to the back gate, where they often stand to bark at critters, and another back around the mower shed.  But I have to work today so I stuck with functional.

So I got the snow I was looking for.  Now...

Where are my boots??!!

"We don't have them!!!"