Sunday, May 29, 2005

Have a Great Memorial Day!

For those Americans not at a Civil War Reenactment (yes, Memorial Day was decreed to commemorate the end of the War Between the States), I hope you all take a moment to be thankful that however screwed up some aspects of the USA, it's still one of the better places on Earth to live and currently free of major civil strife. Here's the official Memorial Day web site...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dog Days

We're officially moved in (although not anywhere near unpacked) to our new home. Today I spent some time planting and weeding, and putting more of the kitchen together. This morning I did a couple of hours worth of gardening for a friend of my mom who is getting on in years and not able to do a lot of that kind of thing anymore. It's become a little weekly part-time job for me, which helps with the groceries.

On a very very sad note, we've lost two of our birds to the neighbor's dog. First to go was Bertie Rooster, who wandered into enemy territory and was gone in a flash. We didn't make a stink about it, as we had been warned that this dog was a livestock killer, so I should have kept the chickens from wandering. However, day before yesterday the dog got loose (as it often did) and went straight for our barn. When I went to check on the animals I opened the outside tackroom door and found him in there with Henrietta's body and feathers everywhere.

I lost it.

I grabbed him by the collar and dragged him up to the garage where Gordon was talking to some other neighbors. Gordon took him back to the tack room and beat the snot out of him with the victim's body, but not before he punched the dog with his fist hard enough to break a knuckle. At least we think it's broken. We may have to find a "doc-in-a-box" to look at it if it doesn't start repairing itself. Just as our friend Morgan was calling Animal Control to come get the pooch, its owner showed up and was very apologetic and offered to get rid of the dog. I was pretty busted up by this point. I was totally slammed by Henrietta's death, then Gordon went Medieval (in front of other neighbors who now think he's some kind of axe murderer...which isn't entirely a bad thing if one likes to be left alone), and of course I feel bad for the dog who was just doing what dogs do. However...people need to control their animals, and this one has a record of doing this kind of thing.

What really frosted my shorts was when Mrs. Dog Owner told us that when poochie had gone on his last killing spree she had offered to get rid of him and the neighbors had said "Oh, don't do that! It's ok!" Excuse me?! It is most certainly NOT ok! What if he had bitten one of their kids? Is it because it's "just" a chicken? Would it be "not ok" if fido had molested a sheep or a calf instead? Where do you draw the line?

Needless to say, when she offered again to remove him from the vicinity I accepted. I feel bad about it, but I was having visions of this problem going on and on, and if that animal had touched one of my cats things would have gotten ugleeeee.

Luckily, the neighbor who think's we're crazy animal abusers* is kind of a goober tree-hugging liberal type anyway, so it wasn't like we were going to be on his social calendar or anything.

*I guess it's ok for dogs to kill chickens, but not ok for humans to discipline chicken-killing dogs. Maybe we can have a barnyard seance and ask Henrietta if she felt abused while fluffy was ripping the feathers out of her cooling corpse, hm?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow...!

Tomorrow is the milestone day: we can start moving in to our new house. Today we bought two gallons of primer to seal in the scary pink in the bedrooms. This morning I made a temporary "cat befuddler" (modelled on those cone things they put on mooring lines to keep rats from climbing them into ships) out of an empty kitty litter container: Hattie keeps trying to climb up to the birdhouse on the pole at the corner of the NE paddock to eat the barn swallows. Bad kitty. No biscuit. I'll make a nice cone out of some old copper sheeting my dad saved from a project and mount it permanently at some point. If Hattie can climb up there, then Gimli will be up five minutes after he's let outside for the first time. The plastic thingy will do for now. I like the swallows: they eat bugs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Escrow has closed...on our new place (and the previous owners' new place in the Tri-Cities). They will be moving out over the next few days.

I am starting to get really excited about this. Today my mom spearheaded an expedition to the other side of the pond which included Ikea: Gordon now has another nice new bookcase to put in his office. I love the "as is" section at Ikea! The only drawback is that you have to cram an already-assembled piece of furniture into your vehicle...but it's worth it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Big Day

Today we should close escrow on the new place. It's been a tense few days, as the title company in Stockton has been somewhat less than speedy getting things handled, which was beginning to make everybody up here nervous (as in "If we don't close today the people from whom we're buying our new place will lose the house they're buying in the Tri-Cities!") Yes, the agent in the Tri-Cities is a poo-head, but that's a separate issue.

By the end of today we should be the proud owners of a 5-acre "ranch". The Roths will start moving out on Friday and be totally out by the 20th. Then I start painting. The Pepto-Bismol pink walls (and ceiling: yes) in the bedrooms is going away before one stick of furniture is moved in.