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Nothing Much is Happening

Posted on Nov 27, 2019 6:16 PM
Today is Wednesday. One day before Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yep, it’s true. Nothing much is happening around here.

I make plans. Life gets in the way. The several loads of free composted horse manure turned out to be contaminated with residual herbicide so I lost my entire garlic bed. I had also added the composted manure to a new garden bed, added coir, pine fines, and all the good stuff one does when creating a new planting bed. I got a bit sick and didn’t actually plant anything in the bed but mysteriously, there were zero weeds growing in the bed. Huh? That’s when I started researching and learned about the evil thing I had brought home to my garden. It was a huge waste of time and money and all that soil will need to be removed and replaced. Sigh.

There were some trees I’d been looking for and wasn’t able to find anywhere. Everyone was sold out. I worked with one plant nursery who was finally able to locate the trees for me. I bought 4 trees, over $88 plus shipping costs. I had put the trees in a 5-gallon bucket with some good garden soil until I could dig holes and get them planted. And…well, you guessed it. The ‘good’ soil is from that new bed so I lost 3 of the 4 trees and one is barely hanging on to life.

Back in September, there was a mandatory evacuation order as Hurricane Dorian was expected to hit my area. Instead of evacuating (and where does one actually go with 2 dogs and something like 14-15 chickens?), I drove a bit inland and adopted a dog. He is so cute and funny that he makes my face hurt from all this laughter. z

His name is Chico Burrito.

Mowing over an acre of grass and weeds with a push mower was getting tiresome so I researched and learned how to repair the Cub Cadet riding mower that’s out in the big shed. I replaced the battery, repaired one tire, drained the old (ancient) gasoline and was thankful that the old gas didn’t cause any major problems, added new gas (non-ethanol, marine gas) and then had to get my limbs coordinated to go forward and reverse and make turns without tipping the mower over on its side. After that, I decided that raking over an acre of grass and weeds and hauling it to the compost bins was…well, just plain idiotic so I researched and ordered a bagging attachment. Whew, the box was large and heavy and somehow I managed to install it. Works great. Here, look at the huge pile of clippings.

As the chickens grew, I removed them from the house to the shed, then to the coops in the garden area. Yes, coops as in more than one. Eventually, the chickens decided they were grown and no longer wanted to be put inside the coops at night. Find, you wanna be grown? Be grown! But don’t complain to me later.

Some of the chickens were roosters and honestly, I only need one, so little by little I have been giving away roosters. I gave one rooster and a hen to my former neighbors who stopped by for a visit. Last week I gave away 3 roosters to a man who was looking forward to his Thanksgiving dinner (oops!) There remains one rooster that I am unable to capture. He’s just too smart. Time will tell.

Since the chickens are grown and now select their own sleeping place in the evening, I no longer have to round them up in the evening. Unfortunately, the sleeping place that some selected was not very secure and I lost one hen to a very hungry Great Horned Owl. It took that owl 3 days but eventually, all that was left were a few stray feathers. Owls have very good table manners.

Let’s see. I did mention that I got sick? Well, I got sicker. I lost a ton of weight and my hair fell out. Ugh! So I bought some wigs and…laughed myself into insanity. No way could I actually go out in public wearing a wig. I created a collage of how silly I looked.

After living without hair it was quite a surprise when it started to grow back. Here is my “Before, after, and after” picture.

My neighbor will be moving and the new people have 5 dogs so I’ll be installing a 6-foot privacy fence. Hmm, I’d better get cracking and finish installing the fence to keep the chickens contained. So far there have been 9 cedar fence poles and 6 T-posts installed. Yesterday I purchased more T-posts. Wish me luck. The plan is to fence a perimeter around the house where the dogs can play, to close in the garden area to keep the chickens from straying too far (and annoying the new neighbors). The Cub Cadet has reminded me that wide gates need to be included in this plan.

For about 3 days I was very happy because a homeless person offered to help with some of the work. He worked hard for one day – I paid him. Worked sort of hard for the next day – I bought him new shoes and some food. And the third day he stole what he wanted. I paid him for the first two days so I guess we are about even as far as money goes.

Speaking of money, sheesh, I need to find enough money to replace the HVAC system. Mine is just plain too old. It has the old type of Freon. The good part is that the new system will be more efficient and will save me money on my electric bill. Now…if only I had a spare $5,285.00 laying around the house. 🙂

Almost forgot. In my spare time, I volunteered to help transport dogs that are going from foster to their forever homes. The group is Echo White Sheperd Dog Rescue. On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, Facebook is having Giving Tuesday and will match donations up to a certain amount but the money runs out very quickly so…if you’re not busy at 8 am (Eastern Time), why not chip in? There’s a link at the end to explain more.*

And just in case you can’t watch the clock that closely, there’s what I call the equivalent of ‘early voting’. You can send your donation early (only a few days left!!) and the monies will be pooled and donated by the group at the correct moment in time. Use this link for early donations:

Here is one more picture. For anyone who is a bit overweight and trying to lose a few extra pounds, be careful what you wish for or you could end up looking like me. Yes, that’s me and I am moving a 148-pound Sodefor anvil made in Sweden back in the 1920s. (It’s okay to laugh!)

The next project on my to-do list is to make a new chicken enclosure from an old 12-foot trampoline. Wish me luck!

*More information:

UPDATE: Feb 5, 2020
Not much is happening but a weasel got into the chicken coop and killed 6 of my best hens and my favorite rooster. Some of the chickens had been roosting in the trees and they were spared. My entire flock now consists of 2 hens and 2 roosters. Guess I’ll have to dust off the incubator and get cracking. Ooooh, bad pun!

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Dog Diapers

Do dog diapers work? Hmmm, I wonder.

Not long ago I purchased one dog diaper from a company called Dog Quality; the diapers are called Washable Wonders. The price was very reasonable. My dog Jack is not incontinent but he had spent some time in a wheelchair so I figured having a diaper on hand would be a good idea.

Recently, Jack had a medical issue which required several visits to the veterinarian and about $700 in office visits, tests, medications, etc. Free dogs are never really free, are they?

Rather than tell you about the Washable Wonders diaper, let me tell you a short story.

Here goes…

Two days ago my dog Jack ate something he shouldn’t have. It was a tube of Nystatin antifungal cream. I quickly checked online, then checked with poison control, then called the veterinarian all in the space of a few minutes. Whew, no worries. Jack will be okay. The vet said to keep plenty of water available and that Jack may have vomiting/diarrhea; forewarned is forearmed – I have spray cleaner, paper towels, trash bags, and know how to use them! I also gave Jack some plain Greek yogurt to help his tummy troubles.

Next day…Jack is fine. Things seem normal.

This morning…4:00 a.m. and it’s still dark outside but Jack keeps pacing and seems to need to go outside. I put collars and leashes on both Jack and George, we step outside just as the sky bursts open and rain pours down. Jack managed a quick pee, George said, “No way!!” so we went back inside. I dried both dogs then we all settled down.

A little while later Jack comes to me and wants something. Okay, I’ll play the guessing game…snack? squeaky toy? ball? play? I tried all of them and for a few minutes, everything was good. Then Jack did a very funny thing. He kept going where his diaper is. Over and over he went to the diaper. I asked if he wanted his diaper and he did the “happy dance” so, what the heck, I put the diaper on him and he seemed pleased. Did I mention that Jack loves his diaper?

We settled down again. I’m busy working on the computer and Jack comes into the room and. And uh-oh…I smell stinky! Someone passed gas. I think the dogs need to go outside again. I put the leashes on both dogs. We exit the front door and are on the porch when I realize that Jack is still wearing his diaper. “No, Jack. You cannot wear the diaper to go outside.”

This next part will be either gross or extremely funny depending on your experience with dogs. Since I need one hand to hold both leashes, I use my other hand to pull the Velcro (or possibly generic hook and loop tape) off the Washable Wonders diaper. The Velcro is easy to remove. In less than one second, and working with only one hand, I managed to remove the diaper, toss it through the open door and onto the living room floor…the diaper landed about 2.5 feet from the door…get ready…here it comes…and the huge pile of poop landed about 1.5 feet from the door!!!

Jack does not normally have incontinence. I only purchased the diaper because I have to put antifungal cream on him and the diaper prevents him from licking the medicine. Didn’t stop him from eating the entire tube!

But I have to say…the diaper is amazing. I looked at the huge pile of juicy poop on the floor and was grateful that I do not have carpet in the house. I looked at the diaper which was almost completely clean. Then I looked at Jack’s hind end…and it was absolutely clean. How is that even possible??? Who cares! This company is making an amazing product. Keep up the good work.

Okay, I’ll admit that I still don’t like the color of the inside fabric and really don’t like the ‘bullseye’ that fabric creates around the tail hole, but at this point, who cares!! The diapers work and that is all that matters.

I just now finished washing the diaper by hand in the sink. It washed really well and I am air drying it since it is still raining outside.

The name of the company is DogQuality. They are in Canada. Please go to their website to see the products – they make more than just diapers. There are also some helpful videos featuring some adorable dogs. You can buy DogQuality products from other companies but why not buy directly from the source?

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All This and the Kitchen Skink.

The other day there was a Skink in my kitchen.

Skinks do not belong in the kitchen.

Yes, I admit that my house is disorganized with entirely too much stuff, but I have never described my mess as “Everything including the kitchen Skink“.

Well, I spent a few nights worrying like an overprotective skink-mother. Why were you worried? Because there are two dogs in the house and one of them (I won’t tell you that his name is Jack) tries to eat lizards even when they taste nasty. Eeeww!

The next day Jack and I were walking around in the yard. He likes to jump up onto the deck. Okay, the truth is that he is too short to make the leap; I actually have to lift him up there, but let’s keep his dignity intact and say he jumps up all by himself. He noses around for a minute or two hoping for a tasty morsel. Wood roaches are tasty. Then he makes a mad leap and dives headfirst into a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Whoa!!! It could be anything – a snake, a spider, an inch of water he could drown in. Doesn’t Jack read the warning on the side of the bucket? 

No, Jack no. Please, just let me have a little look first.

Well, would you look at that!

Here, look for yourself –

Let me get in a little closer – here you go –

Isn’t that just the cutest Skink in the whole world. It’s kind of dark in the bucket; we need a closer look, please.

C’mon into the light Skink, show us your pretty blue tail… 

Fun time is over. The Skink is developing an attitude and it’s time to turn it loose.

If there is a lesson to learn it is this:

If a Skink can find its way into your kitchen, it must also know how to let himself out so don’t lose any sleep worrying about it. Also, if you keep plastic buckets around to catch rainwater, check them not only for mosquitoes but for Skinks as well. Maybe you should write a tutorial showing how to make screen lids for 5-gallon buckets? 

For more information about lizards with blue tails, check this link for Hilton Pond:

Eumeces fasciatus = Five-lined Skink

E. inexpectatus = Southeastern Five-lined Skink

Taxonomists are forever changing the name of things. Here is the Catalog of Life page for the Five-lined Skink with the currently accepted name Plestiodon fasciatus. Who knows? By the time you read this, the name could change again!

Plestiodon laticeips = Broadhead/Broad-Head Skink. Hmmm, apparently, using the V-shape marking on the head is not the proper way to identify a Skink. There are three types of Skink residing in my part of the world and when they are young, they can look alike, having stripes and a bright blue tail. A better way is to count the labial scales – I see 5 scales so I think that my Skink is an immature Broadhead Skink.

This link shows where the labial scales are located:

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My day so far (includes chickens).

March 3, 2018
Here is my day so far.

The big dog Allie woke me up about 1:30 am with here super loud licking noises (she has very clean feet). Instead of giving her a gentle kick, which is what I should have done, I used my voice and said, “Stop it, Allie!” Well, that was the cue for the baby chicks in the plant room to start cheeping…since they knew I was awake. Sigh.

I checked on the chicks and they had made a mess with their water and their bedding was wet. It’s not good to have wet, chilly chickens, so there I was cleaning the container at some strange hour in the morning. After that, I could not get back to sleep. Of course, the big dog Allie and her clean feet had no trouble getting back into slumber-land.

Note: I purchased the 6 Buff Orpingtons on February 24, 2018. They were approximately 2-3 days old at that time.

One of the chicks, the one I named Dottie, is not doing well. It is called ‘failure to thrive’. She is less active and growing much more slowly. She’s a runt…or maybe she will be a rooster and (I think) they tend to grow more slowly. What the heck, I was awake anyway, so I did some research. Lots of stuff I could buy but not between 2 and 3 in the morning, so I went with Plan D which is honey in water. I managed to get Dottie to take some and will continue with that until I can get to a store later today. I also looked into waterers for chicks/chickens and figured out which ones to buy.
(Not my image; I found it here: http://naturalchickenkeeping.b…🙂
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With the chicken research accomplished, I took a short nap and woke at 9:30 am. Allie stayed in the nice warm bed. Shared a small can of BeanieWeanie with two of the dogs and only spilled a little on my pants. Just as I was scraping the last bean out of the can Allie woke up and came running to get some. I tried to get enthused to do some yard work. Hoping to cut some grass, I walked out into the front yard to check on the dew situation. My across-the-street called me to come over. She seemed excited like there was some big news. No, not news. She had a tiny problem.

You are gonna love this one…

Seems their little dog was in the yard playing with the adult son, José, and the dog started acting weird. José called for his mama to help…then together they waited for me…because they think I am the dog expert.

They showed me the problem. It was one of those…”Why do I have to be an adult right now?” moments. There was a piece of bone stuck in the dog’s throat. I said it was a tiny problem because the dog is tiny, the dog’s throat is tiny, but I could not get my fat fingers in there to pull that big piece of bone out. I was afraid it would get shoved back too far and…well. You know.

Not knowing what kind of tools or utensils they had on hand, I used my best sign language to make a pinching and pulling motion. Mama sent José into the house. While we waited for José I instructed Mama to hold the dog upside down and pat it on the back – I held the back legs up and she held the head down and together we patted the dog’s back.

José came back with needle-nose pliers. Together the two of them held the dog still and held the jaws opened. It was my lucky task to pull out the bone. No luck. I did manage to loosen the bone…so quickly I grabbed the dog’s back legs and held them up and Mama pulled the dog’s head down – good thing we had practiced this maneuver! I started to pat the dog on the back but José said, “No!” The bone fell out onto the grass.

They were ever so grateful. But the most grateful was the dog. Oh, by the way, the dog’s name is Gato…which means ‘cat’. Pretty funny. Anyway, Gato was hugging me and kissing me and was really appreciative doing the whole butt waggle thing and all. Made me feel pretty good.

After the excitement was over, I managed to cut grass/weeds for about 30 minutes. I am now taking a well-deserved rest.

Update 10 pm – same day.
I could not stop thinking about the little chick named Dottie. There is very little I can do for her but I have to at least try. I did more research and made a decision. Loaded the dogs into the car and drove (through horrible rush-hour traffic to the Tractor Supply store in Rincon, Georgia. I looked to see what, if any, chicks they had available. My hope was to find more Buff Orpingtons, but no, none of those today. I made the best choice of the available breed and selected one called Production Red (not a very imaginative name). They are a cross between Cackle Hatchery’s Rhode Island Red and their New Hampshire chicken.

Instead of one brooder I now have a duplex brooder (these are both inside the grow tent). One brooder for the 5 larger chicks and one for the new 4 chicks and poor little Dottie. I am hoping that being with chicks her own size will give her a fighting chance to survive, thrive and grow. To create the duplex it was necessary to buy another feeder, waterer and a heat lamp bulb. I also bought some Nutri-Drench (add to their drinking water) to help all the chicks. Maybe tomorrow I will take photos, but golly, it’s been a really long day and I am tired.

I never did have that coffee.
Update March 9, 2018
Dottie continues to make progress. She is still a bit smaller than her new Production Red sisters but she is standing upright, eating good, no pasty butt, and…WooHoo!! is beginning to grow tail feathers! (Doesn’t take much to make me happy.)

For the original 5 Buff Orpingtons, the larger chicks, I installed the new watering cup and am helping them to learn to drink from it. During the day I just keep checking on things but for the night I put their old waterer in the brooder. Can’t have dehydrated chicks!

Update March 12, 2018
The chicks are doing well. Dottie continues to be smaller than the others. Here are some photos from today. One of the larger chicks escaped but did not get far.
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Another of the larger chicks decided to try perching on the side of the brooder.
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The larger chicks are looking good.
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The smaller chicks are doing well; Dottie is in the corner. She is still quite small.
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I have to dog-sit the little Chihuahua for two more days – Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, I can use the floor space to make a larger brood area for the chicks. Here are a few pictures of Chico. He is an excellent lap dog. 
Update: March 15, 2018

Chico, the little Chihuahua is home with his family. Today I went to Animal Services and bought Chico a dog tag; he is a totally legal dog now. The Humane Society shares the same parking area so I stopped in and bought an identification tag for Chico. I had them put the name Chico plus the owner’s phone number on one side of the tag and on the back of the tag, I had them put two more phone numbers, one of them is my own. That way, if the dog should get lost, one of us should be able to answer the phone and bring Chico home. In about 2 weeks the dog across the street has an appointment to get all his shots and will be neutered. I am gonna conquer the dog problem one dog at a time and am making friends at the same time.

The ten chicks were outgrowing their brooders. Well, all except for Dottie who refuses to grow. Just a note here; many years ago I read a book and it became one of my favorites. It was written by Gunter Grass and is titled “The Tin Drum”. The main character is Oscar. He is a boy that refused to grow; it’s not that he could not grow, he just refused to do so. I believe Oscar and Dottie have something in common.

Over on a Facebook homesteading group, I learned about a way I could keep the chicks confined indoors until they are old enough to go outside. It involves a kid’s wading pool, plus a dog exercise pen. I happened to have both items so all it took was some effort to clear a space in the plant room…it took me two and a half days of hard work and a lot of pain but I got it done. Have a few adjustments to make for the waterers and feeders but so far so good. Plus…my dogs like to visit the chicks.
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Something good happened. I came home to find two packages on my front steps. I thought they were things I had ordered for the chickens, but no. They were something else. I contacted the company and reminded them that, although I had intended to order from them, I had not actually finalized the order nor had I paid for it. No problem, they told me that, since I had informed them that there was a glitch in their shopping cart/ordering system, they decided to send me the items for free. I am amazed. The order was worth more than $100. Wow! Certainly needed to sit down after that one!

Gonna rest now. Maybe sleep a bit. Getting old is difficult; being in constant pain does not help much. Thinking back on the situation that caused me to be upset, I decided it’s not worth dying just to make other people happy. If someone or more than one someone is acting like a troll, I will not let them bother me. I’m gonna go talk to my dogs now. The dogs give me unconditional love.
Update March 17, 2018
Some kind person in the Backyard Chicken Forum advised me to add raw egg and fish to Dottie’s diet in addition to the Nutri-Drench. Dottie is doing much better. She seems stronger. Is walking better. Her feathers are beginning to grow. Here she is:
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Update March 18, 2018
After taking care of the dogs I checked on the chicks. Oops, I have no more food for them!! So instead of relaxing, I had to pile all 3 dogs into the car and drive over 30 miles to buy chicken food at Tractor Supply – the only store opened and selling chicken food on a Sunday.

Arriving home it took all my strength to hoist that 50-pound bag out of the car and onto the front porch. I slit open the bag and scooped the food into convenient, easy to handle plastic canister…like this:
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Headed into the plant room which is also the chicken room, I fed the chicks then looked for another plastic canister. Ah, there’s one, on the floor. And…dang…it is full of chicken food. I did not know that I already had chicken food and I just drove a round trip of over 70 miles to buy food. Getting old is very interesting, but sometimes a bit expensive and time-consuming. Feel free to laugh with me at my mistake.

Anyway, while I was at Tractor Supply I talked to the young man who helped me buy the chicks and told him about the runt named Dottie. He said it’s possible that she may be a Bantam; he said sometimes the chicks get mixed up. I will now do some research to learn about Bantams.
Update: March 22, 2018
I made a post over on the Backyard Chicken Forum but it fits here.

Pycoppe is a surname from Lancashire, England. Meaning: “hill with a peak or sharp point”. Alternate spellings: Piccop, Picopp, Peacop, Pickhup, and Pickup. I will apologize to anyone who has this surname; I mean no offense.

Way back when I was 21, working with 18 other silly young women at a bank filing the canceled checks, we would sometimes call out the names on checks to keep things interesting. One name that crossed my desk was Pamela Pickup and we all had a good laugh. At that time I did not know the history of the name, hence the apology now.

Why am I saying this? Out of the 10 chicks in the brooder, only one has thus far earned a name and that is Dottie, the runt – she is named Dottie because I had put a dot on her head to better monitor her progress. But today, several times today, one large chick stepped forward and allowed me to tickle her chin, stroke her head and to pick her up…so I am naming her Pamela (after Pamela Pickup). Hopefully, the other 8 will earn a name soon. I never realized how difficult it is to name chickens when there are no rug rats, toddlers, or preschoolers in the home! Kids can invent the best names!

I’m gonna have to learn something about leg bands to tell the chicks apart.
Is it okay to use the tiny hair elastics? Or is something more professional required?
Update: Mar 23, 2018
Leg band research.

Since I have 10 little chicks I want to put leg bands so I can tell them apart as they grow.

Looking online at chicken leg bands I found several choices. One of them looks just like the cheap plastic spiral knitting markers I purchased several years ago. Heading down the research rabbit hole I searched for knitting markers.

Oh, my!! I want to go back and live my life over again and create artistic knitting markers! I was blown away by the imaginative designs that are available. One looks like something I would have made back in the day when I was working with silver jewelry. Can I have a life do-over?!!…

Life is interesting with chickens. I decided to buy these leg bands.
Update, April 1-3, 2018:

The chickens are quickly outgrowing their indoor brooding area. This chick has discovered the window and is looking forward to being outside. Um, yes, I realize there is no interior trim on the window. Please remember that I am living in a not-quite-finished house. Hopefully, I’ll get around to the inside carpentry when winter arrives.
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Even the little runt named Dottie is growing; no image today but I’ll bet one soon.

As Y’all know I like to pick up stuff at the roadside for free when folks discard things. Free is good. The word I need to use now is serendipity. Almost a year ago I stopped to ask permission to pick up some lumber. The man had dismantled a set of bunk beds and was only too happy to have me take the wood. About 6 weeks ago I stopped at my friend Will’s house and picked up something that was almost too heavy for me to put into my small car. It was a framework of 2 x 4s with some plywood on top. I have no idea what the original purpose was but I hauled it home.

So here I am trying to design a chicken coop. It will be raised up about 24 inches from the ground and will have an attached run. I now have only the original 6 Buff Orpington chickens. The 4  Production Red chickens were given to a man I met in Home Depot. He wanted the 4 chickens to give to his dad who had recently lost his chickens to a roaming dog. Now that there are only 6 chickens helps enormously as designing the coop is easier now. I got out my trusty measuring device and start measuring the lumber in my yard and…can you believe it!!! The plywood platform measures 72 inches by 39. The wood from the bunk beds measures…Whoa!!…72 inches. Serendipity!! If I had to buy a sheet of plywood it would have cost between $25-$38. Yikes. Roadside shopping sure saves money! Here is the floor after cleaning.
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For the time being, the coop will be 72 x 39. The chicks are not yet full grown so the space will be adequate. Yes, that’s slightly on the small side for full-grown Buff Orpingtons, but I will do a makeover and add a nesting box and make an addition on the opposite side to extend the floor space about 2 feet.

Okay, that takes care of measuring, planning, and designing. Now I gotta make room for the coop and run. Time to get down and dirty in the garden. First I have to move about 150+ plants…It took me the best part of three days to move all these plants. Some needed to be divided and repotted, watered and all that. I still have to add labels to the plants that are headed to the swap.
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Then I had to figure out how to lift up a huge wooden raised bed frame. This frame was originally for the raspberry bed but that bed got taken over by goldenrod while we worked on fixing the house. The next thing the frame was used for was to corral the many plants that were moved from my old garden to this new property. Now that the plants are out, the frame is out…I don’t yet know what it will be used for, but it will definitely be used for something. This frame was really heavy. I could barely move it. I pushed, pulled, dragged, cursed and managed to get it out of the way of the area for the coop and run.

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I dragged one of the 14-foot long 2 x 10s (a gift from a neighbor who works construction) into place just to get an idea of how much more space I needed to clear. Ugh. Quite a bit more. Here are the before and after images…
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Right smack in the middle of that spot is what’s left of the Celeste Fig tree. It was not a good producer so it had to go. I won’t bother to remove the tree stump as it will be under the coop area.

That’s as far as I got so far. Gotta eat more protein and build some muscle to get this job done. Sheesh, all this for a few free eggs. Is it worth it?

Update: April 24, 2018

Whew, the past couple of weeks have been…not good. Younger daughter made the difficult decision to have the big dog put down (cancer, arthritis, pain, etc.), then I got sick (sicker than normal) for over a week, plus had to keep the neighbor’s dog in my house after surgery…no time or energy to build the coop. Daughter arrived for a visit. After she left I had a good scare when my car tire blew out.
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I gathered some strength and got back to work. Went to Lowe’s and purchased VCT squares and glue for the floor of the coop. Ran out of glue. Ugh! Bought more glue and finished the tile. Not the best job but at least the coop floor will be a bit easier to keep clean. Sorry about the shade but here is what the tile looked like after I cut and laid it all out, and a photo of what I finished before I ran out of glue.
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Hauled the extremely heavy 14-foot long 2 x 4s into place. Cut two 2 x 4s 72 inches long. Screwed them together to make the base frame of the coop and run.
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The weather did not cooperate. Thunderstorms and extremely heavy rain most of one day. Over four inches of rain fell. Soggy ground; not good for working outside but I ran between the raindrops, made some measurements and spent some time indoors drawing the design. During a break in the storm I cut some 2 x 4s, screwed them into place, then carefully (so as not to damage the floor or hurt myself) I hauled the floor to the back and somehow miraculously hefted it up onto the four uprights. This is not the normal way to build a coop but it was all I could figure to do to make use of the free floor. Then, of course, more rain happened, so I covered the floor with a tarp and ran into the house. The floor is somewhat warped but that won’t bother the chickens.
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Update: April 25, 2018
Today I began assembling the first wall section. Cutting braces for the corners is always tricky when a person has dyslexia but… Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! No mistakes!!!

After putting the first section together I measured it to see if it was square. Not quite. So I took one corner apart and fixed that. All square now. That’s enough work for a while. If I get another burst of energy I’ll tackle the next section, either later today or tomorrow, weather permitting
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While I worked the dogs, George and Jack were snacking on the swamp sunflower leaves.
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And some good news! I’ve been trying to kill a plant for two years. Today it made a flower. It’s Comfrey!
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Update: Apr 27, 2018
Yesterday no work got done on the coop. I had a low energy day so I went to Home Depot to buy some more 2 x 4s. Most of the coop is reclaimed wood but for the inside, I wanted new wood. I selected 6 very nice, straight pieces, loaded them onto a cart, left the cart and went to get a box of screws. When I got back an overenthusiastic employee had put the lumber back on the pile. No worries. She knows me and apologized. She remembered where each piece of lumber was and loaded them, gave me a nice discount, and found a handy helper to load the wood into my car. On the way home I ran a few errands and it was a good day.

Got up early this morning to work on the coop; the weather was perfect T-shirt weather. Measured and cut the wood (had to do it twice as I wrote the wrong measurement the first time), drilled holes and screwed the second wall together. Added corner braces. Everything is square. Here are the two long walls framed and ready to go. Halfway through the work, some evangelists stopped by. I gotta admire their spunk. Just because of my surname, they assume that I can speak Russian. (Greene is not my real surname; my surname is Czechoslovakian.) Nope, I can’t speak Russian, nor was my late husband Russian, but I do have a friend named Mark who wrote am academic Russian dictionary. I told this to the evangelists but they were not interested. They left me a card.
(This is what Mark worked on:…)

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At this point, I had to stop myself. Since it will be necessary to add some kind of wire barrier under the coop and run to prevent predators from digging up and in from the bottom, it would be wise to not add any more weight just yet. Okay, now to find some wire…Um, where did I put…? You know how I am forever picking up stuff at the roadside, right? Well, last night I was thinking of how to avoid spending money to buy wire fence material and it dawned on me. I had picked up a roll of chain link fence fabric. I located the roll of fence material but there was a slight problem. During one of the hurricanes, a dead tree belonging to the neighbor decided to fall in my yard. The fence material was under the dead tree, and the dead tree was covered with a Wisteria vine. Lovely. Well, yes Wisteria is lovely but I was using the word sarcastically just now. Time to drag out the electric chainsaw. the super long extension cord…ho, hum…start hacking away. Whew. After a few Lou Ferrigno moves (not very ladylike squats plus some grunting sound effects) I cut the dead tree into pieces, and lifted it high in the air and tossed each piece a whole 3 feet away.

Okay, the fence material is finally free…twice! It measures four feet wide. Now to measure how long it is. Looks good. A little longer than I need. Perfect. So, drag it 100 feet, lay it inside the wooden frame and…oops, needs to be 6 feet wide. Oh, well. Start looking around the yard and, ah, perfect. Folks who think they want that plastic coated wire shelving in their closets often change their mind and toss that stuff. I pick it up. Lots of it. The hardest part was trying to figure out how to get the shelving wire under the heavy wooden frame.

I used one of these (whatever it is that I got at a yard sale for 25 cents:
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Levered up the heavy wood frame, stuck a brick under, slid the shelving under and, rinse and repeat several times. I got a bit dirty as this job required me to be up close and personal half kneeling/half laying down. But it’s in place! Tomorrow I will use some J-clips to join things together. That’s two layers of commercial grade landscape fabric under the wire to prevent unwanted weeds from popping up. Oh, and don’t worry that it’s not beautiful; it will be covered, hopefully, tomorrow or the next day that the weather cooperates.
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Update: April 28, 2018
Whew, started at 8;30 am, worked on the coop to secure the wire fence material. The J-clips were too small and I could not find the hog rings so I just used pliers and lots of strong-arm techniques. My grunting noises are improving.
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Then I took a rest, walked dogs, ate breakfast and all that jazz.

Update two for the day. Back out to work some more. Here is the midday view. The next carpentry will have to be done on a ladder. Wish me luck!
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Since the chicks are still young I will be adding the next box later. For now. I am using two of these bins for measurements to do the framing and will figure out later how to create and attach external next box.
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Whew! Third update today. It was a good day to work outside.
Okay, I attached a few more pieces of lumber, nothing exciting there. Decided to try to pull the warped area in a bit…yep, I can do this. The screws are temporary. Also, I had to tie the top to pull it together. I’ll let everything sit for the night so it can think about what it’s done. Maybe in the morning, the wood will decide to not be so warped.
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So at 6:30 pm this is the coop; how am I doing so far? Not bad for an old, disabled woman working alone, right!? Sure hope the chickens appreciate the effort. Oh, I have decided to paint the coop barn red with white trim. The wood in the run will be painted white and the access door will be red…or maybe some strange and exciting color. I still have to build the door.
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Update: April 30, 2018
Seems my original color scheme was all wrong. The new color will be a lovely dark teal called ‘Splashy’ with white trim. This will be the best chicken coop in the entire world.

Inserting a quick hello and a great big thank you to my local Sherwin Williams store!!

Update: May 1, 2018
I worked hard today not that I have much to show for my effort.

The professional paint person advised against using the cedar wood…but, since I have no money to buy another type of wood, I seem to have no choice but to use what I have. I have some fake Tri-Sodium Phosphate and I used that to scrub down all the cedar wood, front and back. Then I used some bleach…okay, yes, I know bleach should not be used on wood but I did not happen to have any oxalic acid teak wood cleaner on hand. Ran out of bleach. Ran to Walmart. What the heck, while I was there I grabbed one of the handicapped electric carts and did a quick grocery shop. Did good; only $36. I even remembered to buy the bleach. WooHoo!!

Arriving home I quickly put stuff into the frig, said hello and apologized to the dogs, went out back and finished cleaning the cedar wood. Dang, I rinsed and rinsed…this is getting tiresome…and rinsed a few more times. That’s it. I’m done.
Does this look like a whole days work?
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Oh, I forgot something. In the middle of washing and rinsing the wood, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Aha, the little dog (his name is El Gato) that I took care of escaped and ran across the street to come to visit me. I quickly scooped him up and carried him home. After helping the young lady of the house to secure that dog and their other dog, I was treated to a viewing of their newly hatched chicks. Oh, so cute. I could not count them accurately but it seemed to be about 10 or 12.

When the cedar wood is dry – really dry, I will seal it will either Kilz or Zinsser…which I still have to buy. When the coop gets finished, this had better be the best dang chicken coop on the planet. Sure it taking long enough to build.

Update: May 2, 2018
What a weird day. I loaded the dogs into the car and before I could put the key into the ignition, my older daughter called to see if I was okay. Um, why? Seems that a plane fell out of the sky and she wanted to make sure it did not land on my or my house.

Checking the news – it was a C-130 Hurricane Hunter based in Puerto Rico with a crew of five. They were traveling from Puerto Rico via Savannah and then on to Arizona to the plane ‘boneyard’. Sadly, the plane crashed and all perished. The road will be closed for quite some time while they do the cleanup and investigation.

The dogs and I managed to get to Home Depot where I purchased some Kilz 2 to seal the cedar wood. It’s been a long day and this is all I have to show…same wood from yesterday but now one side and one edge have been sealed with the Kilz. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I will seal the other side and the edges.
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Update: May 5, 2018
Happy Cinco de Mayo to everyone!!!
I am invited to attend a baby shower today between noon and 4 pm. Hmm, I have a bit of time to do just a small amount of work on the chicken coop. I measured, cut, and attached some 2 x 4s to frame the pop door and get ready for the siding on one of the longs sides of the coop. It may not look like much, but I’m happy with the way it is turning out. This will all make more sense after the siding is installed.

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After supper, a short rest and walking dogs, I installed a few pieces of siding over the pop door. Here are the outside view and the view from inside the coop. I had to stop because it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were getting. The pencil marks will be painted over, no worries.
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Note: Writing a note to myself. Something I learned today about keeping lice and mites under control in the coop. Have not researched but I will. Clean out the coop (wear old clothing and breathing protection), sprinkle some Sevin dust in the coop and on roosts. Use LD-447Z fogger to fog the coop (closed up tight) for one hour, then let air out for one hour. To treat the chickens use Ivomec Pour-On for Cattle. About 8 drops per bird, use a dropper to apply directly to the skin along the back from neck to the tail (3-5 drop for bantams). Do this process twice a year in April and again in October. Should control lice and mites. I still need to research the amount of time to not use the eggs or meat as the information keeps changing.
Update: May 6, 2018
I thought today would be a good day to work outside but it was not very pleasant. The clouds were nice but it was very humid with somewhat bad air quality due to people burning. Taking it easy I got a bit of work done. The siding that I added yesterday needed to come off and get redone. Oops. Live and learn. Took the dogs to Home Depot to buy more screws but when we got home there was no energy left. Tomorrow will be a better day. Here is the siding near the pop door viewed from the outside and from the inside of the coop.
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While the coop is being built the chickens remain in the guest room. Little Dottie made me smile when she finally learned to fly up onto a roost. She has her own roost which is lower than the big chicks. Here they are:
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Update May 16, 2018
A sudden rainstorm happened, halting work on the coop. It will be raining on and off for the next ten days so I’ll have to run between the raindrops to get any work done.

Yesterday I was able to scrounge some plywood. I had been holding off finalizing the roof plans hoping to avoid unnecessary expense. The free plywood helped to decide the final roof design.

Here is a handy video showing how to make the bird’s mouth cuts for the roof rafters.…

Update May 19-20
Working between raindrops and rain showers I managed to get a bit of work accomplished. I made a frame for the floor of the exterior nest box. I was especially proud of myself for not making any mistakes. It came out correctly the first time. It may not look like much but I made it in such a way that I can add insulation to hopefully keep the chickens a bit warmer in winter.
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Noon, May 21, 2018
I had to rethink part of the floor unit for the exterior nest box as some of the plywood would not cooperate. I decided to use the fence pickets instead. Much easier for me to work with but it did use up quite a few extra screws. The rain held off and I was able to cut and fit everything, then I cut the insulation and screwed down all the little floorboards. It looks rather nice.

The insulation is Eco-Foil 48″ and was totally free. A neighbor tossed the entire roll as trash and I made it fit into my little car. That was back in March. When I picked it up I had no idea what I would use it for but I never argue with free stuff.
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Here is the floor showing the insulation, and the finished floor. Everything still needs to be caulked and painted.
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Update May 29. 2018
There is a sub-tropical storm named Alberto that decided I needed to take a break from working outside. In between rain showers, I managed to get a bit of work accomplished. Installed one 2 x 4 horizontally on the west-facing side of the coop, cut 11 siding boards to length, managed to install 4 boards before the drill/driver ran out of battery.

(There should be a photo here but it’s lost in my laptop somewhere; if I find it, I’ll add it later.)

One of the things I have been stalling on is the east-facing side. That is where the clean-out door will be. I want to incorporate a window into the door itself. I’ve used the rainy days to research and gather useful information. What I want to do is avoid buying a ready-made window.
Here is one of the ideas that I am considering:…

There is a window in a door here:…

Sliding windows using polycarbonate:…

Lots of possibilities. I am still deciding how to make the window within the door.

Too early to think about making a chicken tractor but I wanted to save this link showing how to make tractor wheels.…

I found a better plan for a chicken tractor. Joel Salatin is like the guru of pasture-raised chickens. This opens up lots of new possibilities and may reduce the amount of work I do to keep the ‘Back 40’ mowed.

John Suscovich worked out an improved chicken tractor and is selling the plans.

Okay, back to the coop. Too late to start over but if I build another coop it will look very much like this…except it will be painted funky colors.…

Update June 19, 2018
It’s hot. Really, really hot. But it’s not raining so I went out back to work on the coop. As you know, I had a hard time figuring out how to make a ventilation door to keep the chickens cool yet safe from predators. The idea finally formed, it took a few weeks to get it all together in my head. I bought hardware, adhesive, gathered stuff together. Then I misplaced the hinges. I had to drive back to Home Depot and buy more hinges.

Today was the big day. The ventilation door is now attached to the coop. Yippee! The photos may not make sense as the door is just hanging in the middle of the space, but it will be perfect after I get all the other bits and pieces attached. After that, I will tackle the roof. Then the run. No big deal. I have the rest of my life to finish the coop.
Here is the ventilation door:
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Oh, and the chickens? Sadly, they are still in the guest room. No sane person would have chickens as a guest. But they are good company. They chit chat, they have learned how to beg for treats. Two days ago I gave them an overripe banana. Yesterday they got a lovely tomato. Today I picked the seed heads of the Bahia grass and a few sprigs of Goldenrod stems. Two of the chickens now allow me to pick them up without them freaking out. One chicken does not care to be picked up so when I approach he/she flies up, bounces off my head, jumps on my back and runs away. Well, as far as a chicken can run inside a guest room. It will be a happy day when they are finally living out back where they belong and I can clean, sanitize, deodorize, clean again and reclaim the room.

Update: July 11, 2018
The chickens are outside!!
Since I don’t yet have enough money for the materials to complete the chicken coop I made a smaller, temporary coop. I am calling it a coop-ette. (Probably not a real word.) I should back up and explain how this happened. A few weeks ago I responded to a post. Someone wanted to rehome their rabbit and a rabbit hutch was included in the small rehoming fee. It was such a good deal that I rented a truck from Home Depot and drove over to pick up the hutch and the rabbit. Well, surprise, surprise! The rabbit belongs to a magician! It seems the tiny rabbit grew too large to fit into the hat for the magic tricks so it needed to go to a new home. As for the hutch, well, I had plans for that. Using the materials on hand I raised up the hutch, added 1/2″ hardware cloth, secured the existing doors, added a new door and…here is the result.
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So finally, after 22 weeks of residing in the guest room, the chickens are outside where they belong. Oh, and the fun part. I picked up Dottie and one other chicken to carry them out to the new coop-ette. Then I went back inside the house to pick up two more chickens and what do I find? Look:
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After I managed to carry all the chickens outside, got the food and water in place…guess what?! Look…another egg!
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The chickens are a bit crowded right now but today I will work on adding a temporary outside run. I have a dog exercise pen and will add a bottom frame with fence wire on the ground and poultry netting on the top.
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Update: July 13, 2018
The chickens are enjoying being outside. The dogs and I visit them several times a day and make sure they are okay. This morning I rigged up the exercise pen and the chickens quickly learned to take advantage of the extra space. I also added an extra roosting bar as they were a bit crowded on the single bar.

Late this afternoon I made a run to the local Walmart to buy a few small solar lights as the chickens are accustomed to having a nightlight (not too spoiled, are they?). Just before dark, I was happy to see that all the chickens had put themselves to bed and were up on the two roosts…well, except for one who was up on a shelf. I suspect that one might be a rooster rather than a hen or maybe it’s just acting as a big sister. So far, they have given me 3 eggs.

Update: September 10, 2018

Getting up to 4 eggs per day now so at least 4 of the chickens are girls. Have not heard any of them crowing. That’s a good thing. Oh, and those folks across the street (remember the dog with the bone in his throat?); they came knocking asking or help. Seems there was a dog in their yard killing a chicken. So, since I am the designated Dog Whisperer in these parts, I walked over and calmly placed a looped leash around the dog’s neck. The beautiful, huge red-nosed Pitbull only half-grown and really peaceful. Police, Animal Services and the Sheriff arrived to take control of the situation. All in a day work for me. Just sayin’.

Update: September 21, 2018

If you have never heard of or visited Facebook Marketplace, you don’t know what you are missing. It is a great place to buy and sell. Kind of like a yard sale but it’s one item and one person at a time. I responded to an offer for clear polycarbonate roof panels. I believed they were something like $6 apiece. That’s a lot better than the regular retail price so I drove 25 miles to buy a few. Nope, the price was wrong. They were only $3 each. Technically, $2.99. I bought 12 and will not be able to construct the roof for the chicken run. WooHoo!!

Update: An entire year later.
Ugh! Things happen. Nothing gets done. Why complain? Just start again where you left off. Unless, of course, you have decided to totally rethink and redesign the whole chicken coop plan.

Update: October 2019
I had an idea. Looked online. Not sure if anyone has done this yet. I bought a used trampoline; it’s a 12-foot one. It was completely disassembled and I had one heck of a time trying to put it all together without instructions but the basic plan is to assemble it in 2 parts, like two half circles. Then the half circles will stand up just like two arches. Yep, that’s the plan. The center will be 6 feet tall so there will be plenty of room for a human door. I’ll be adding metal pipes to make the width…not sure of the size yet but probably about 8 feet wide. Add wood to the ‘top’ to allow corrugated roofing panels to be attached. That should keep out most of the rain. The trampoline fabric will become a sunshade. Still working on the idea. Almost ready to take some photos.

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Armadillo on Lemon Ice.

Armadillo on lemon ice is a catchy title, but not exactly accurate.
Let’s see if I can get from an armadillo to lemon ice in just a few steps. For this, we will need an armadillo, some rabbits, a Puggle dog, some neighbors, a garden, two refrigerators, melted ice and finally, lemon ice. Let’s get started…

Armadillo (just one):
The other day my dog saw his first armadillo. Jack is a Puggle which is an F1 hybrid cross of one Pug male and one Beagle female. He’s a ‘designer’ dog. He looked at me for clues – Do I chase it? Play with it? Kill it? Eat it? I held the leash very tightly and allowed him to smell just enough to get the scent. The armadillo got away safely in the drainage culvert that runs under the road. Some armadillo can carry leprosy.…

Rabbits (just one to start with):
One neighbor had a pet rabbit. Since it was too much work to clean the cage and his children couldn’t remember to feed it he set the rabbit free. What harm could one little rabbit do? Another neighbor thought it was cute to have a rabbit in the yard so he got a rabbit and let it run loose. Hmmm, one rabbit plus one rabbit equals…, don’t tell me. I’ll figure it out. While my English teacher said I would never be a writer, I was good at math and earned aa 95 in Algebra. One plus one equals….um….drat. Guess the answer is not always ‘two’. Oh, goody, do I get to use the word ‘exponentially’ now? If you need a bit of help, try this link:…

Yep, what we now have in my small neighborhood is, as Yosemite Sam would say…”Rachin’ Frackin’ Varmint Rabbits”!!! They are everywhere. Looks like a low-budget Alfred Hitchcock movie with fur instead of feathers and I sure ain’t a Tipi Hedren look-alike.

It is thought that pet rabbits released into the wild are supposed to have little chance of survival. However, since these rabbits are in a semi-private mobile home community with plenty of food and shelter and, thanks to the well-placed and numerous speed bumps, the vehicles rarely drive more than 10 miles per hour, and few natural predators, the rabbits are thriving. This is not a good thing; there are numerous links about diseases that can be passed from feral rabbits to humans as well as to dogs. It is very frightening but you can do your own research for that.

Woke up early this morning…way too early for my old body…a neighbor needed a ride to the local Veterans’ Administration Medical Clinic as he had to catch the VA bus heading over to South Carolina this morning for some long-overdue medical tests. If he arrives late the bus will leave without him so I must pick him up on time. I cannot be late. No time to make coffee. I have to walk the dog. Oh, drat. Just my luck at 6 in the morning as I am getting ready to walk my dog, the silly dog decides to take off like a bat on methamphetamines chasing two rabbits.

Note; Yes, I am a responsible pet owner and always put a harness and leash on my dog; unfortunately somewhere between the word ‘harness’ and the word ‘leash’ my dog took off running. This is NOT Jack’s usual behavior.

I had only 30 available minutes in which to panic, cry, walk as fast as I could around the entire neighborhood (four times), clap my hands, whistle, and call my dogs name loudly and repeatedly to make sure all my neighbors could enjoy the early hour as much as I did. My antics set all the neighborhood dogs to barking. Oh joy, I felt like a mother Penguin when among all the barking dogs I was able to identify the sound of my own little dog barking.

Using stealth and cunning I quietly walked between two homes following the sound of his barking voice. I got on my hands and knees in the mud to crawl through someone’s garden and under their Chayote vines Very healthy looking vines you got there mister! I had thought these were cucumber vines but learned that they are Chayote; I will add a link below so you can see photos and learn more about Chayote. I worked my way around to the back of their tool shed. Ah, there was my dog Jack, baying his head off like he had treed a raccoon. He was very proud of himself. He was alternately barking, baying and digging, still trying to reach the rabbit that had hidden under the shed.
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No, Jack, No. It is not polite to dig holes in other people’s gardens.

I lifted and carried Jack, as I crawled out from the vines, and was able to get him safely home arriving at my house at 6:26 in the morning, dead tired and covered in mud. Whew, I have four minutes to spare! I cannot be late to drive my neighbor to the VA or he will miss the bus and I cannot get angry with my dog because he is part Beagle – I mean, chasing rabbits is what they do, right? Don’t worry; no rabbits were harmed.

Good dog, Jack.

Ice (or lack thereof):
At exactly 6:30 I picked up the neighbor and drove him to the VA in time to meet the bus; ten minutes later I arrive home and check my emails, skip having coffee, then give another neighbor a ride to her job. Did I mention that my neighbors seem to think that I run the local free taxi service? Finally, I walk over to my daughter’s house to pick up my grand-dog. As a dutiful dog-sitter, I always check for a note in case I need to give the dog an allergy pill or an extra poop walk.

Oh, goody. How’s this for a note:

“The ice cubes are melted; the refrigerator is officially dead, so on my way to work I stopped at the other house to turn on the spare refrigerator so it can get cold.”

I realize that not everyone has a spare house and a spare refrigerator, but my kid has both; God blessed her with good fortune. Can you read between the lines on the note? Since I am a mother, here is the way that I read the words on the note:

“Mom, in your spare time, since you are retired and have time to drive strangers all over for free, and while walking your own dog and baby-sitting my dog, can you please transfer all the food from the dead fridge to the working fridge in my other house halfway across town…since you like to drive the car so much”.

Aha! I think I really should have started my day by making coffee. But I am smart. I went to Lowe’s where they sell refrigerators and the coffee is free. Oh, dear, on this particular day, the customer service was lousy. They may be able to match prices but they cannot always match customer service.

So I went to another store with free coffee and refrigerators, oops, I meant that they sell refrigerators and the coffee is free. Home Depot has the most excellent employees; maybe the employees are happy because they get to write their name using Sharpie markers on their snappy orange vests. I was shopping for a brand new smallish fridge. It had to be in my price range, light enough for me to carry up four steps while dodging spiky cactus and delicate succulents into my daughter’s house. Did you know that while there is no written rule about backing into spiky plants, there is a written rule that says if you lay a fridge on its side you cannot plug it in until it has been in the upright position for at least 24 hours? Who writes this stuff – airline hostesses? So the fridge also had to be small enough to stand upright in the mouth of the car trunk. Yep, success. I bought a cute little stainless steel beauty of a fridge. It’s a beauty.

From the comfort of my daughter’s kitchen the dogs watched in awe as I unloaded the huge box from my car, backed into a Yucca plant (Ouch!), then ‘Yosemite Sam’d’ the fridge up the four steps, ripped open the flimsy cardboard carton, carefully avoided cutting my fingers on the numerous staples, cursed the Styrofoam. Really, did they use enough Styrofoam? I mean, this fridge only had to come from China; how much Styrofoam does one fridge need to feel safe and comfy on a ship traveling halfway around the world? All four of my grandparents traveled to America on ships and were quite comfortable even before Styrofoam was invented. That was roughly 35 years after staples were invented, but several years before the refrigerator was invented!!

I successfully transferred the food from the dead fridge to the new fridge. Oh, sorry, this might be helpful. Some of you may use the word ‘frig’ and some may use ‘fridge’ –… Okay, back to my story. The bad news is that when the old refrigerator, fridge or frig died the strawberries and raspberries didn’t survive the temperature fluctuations in the freezer compartment. Some corn on the cob looked a little iffy, too. Since I did not own any chickens some of the food went into the compost bin and some into the trash. Remind me to get some chickens in case this ever happens again.

The good news is that Luigi’s lemon ice was just fine. In fact, it was delicious! The dogs and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So there you have it – I managed to get from an armadillo to lemon ice in just a few steps.
The End

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Update on our local animals:

In the Spring my neighbor started her first kitchen garden. Lately, it seems that ‘something’ has been eating all her plants and digging up the soil. I do not have the heart to tell her that it is most likely the rabbits eating the plants and the armadillo doing clean-up eating the worms and grubs.

The other day her friend saw a strange animal in the yard and asked, “What is that?”
My friend managed to snap a couple of photos using her phone (did I mention that my friend is smart and has a SmartPhone). She sent the pics to my phone somewhere around half past midnight.

Truth is, there is a slight lag in the time needed here. It was necessary for me to take my phone to the T-Mobile store and ask the helpful clerk to please, please, please (in my younger days I might have batted my eyelashes, but I guess being an old lady is enough to encourage the young men to offer assistance) would he kindly push the correct buttons on my phone to send the pics to my email.
Yes, I admit that am not smart enough to own a SmartPhone.

Here is the armadillo. It may be the same armadillo that my dog Jack saw.
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Here is one of the cute little adorable feral bunnies at midnight. Eeeek!
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There were 17 more rabbits running loose plus another batch of babies, but this was the only one who sat still long enough for his close up.

Update September 5, 2014
The rabbits are spreading. They are now in several yards and gardens. This could get ugly. Or maybe we should just plant more carrots?

Twenty-four hours later the mint, garlic chives, Thai basil, and several young Sassafras in my yard have been chewed down to almost nothing. These adorable little bunnies also like to dig random holes for me to trip over.

Update: October 11, 2014
There was a litter of bunnies in one neighbor’s yard. The little rabbits are weaned and eating on their own and people are trying to trap them to keep as pets (or to raise responsibly as food). One of the young rabbits is living temporarily in a cage-within-a-chicken-coop in my yard waiting to be re-homed far away. My hope is that every one of these wascals er, sorry, I had an Elmer Fudd moment…maybe these rascals can find a new home – and far away from my garden, please.

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Update on the feral rabbit situation.
We still have the feral rabbit problem. Since we can’t kill or contain the rabbits, neighbors are building fences to protect their plants. I made a fence for my daughter’s small kitchen garden. (Sorry for the shady photo.)
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Today my friend PlantSister sent me a bit of information; a link with lots of natural rabbit repellents. Maybe I will try some of these methods.…

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Update June 1, 2015
My daughter’s little garden is producing lots of veggies and herbs. The fence has kept out the hungry feral rabbits. Sometimes daughter’s dog is allowed to enter the little garden fence and help with the weeding and harvesting. So tranquil; so peaceful.
Yikes!! The dog suddenly lunges under the bean plants, through the tomato cages, under the cucumber vines.
What the ???
A little gray rabbit that had been hiding under the leaves of the bean plant was spotted by the dog and all heck broke loose. We have no idea how the rabbit entered the securely fenced garden but it quickly leaped over the fence and escaped. That was a few days ago but the dog continues to look under the bean leaves, under the tomato leaves, under the cucumber leaves…she knows there is a rabbit in that garden somewhere!
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Chayote link:
Puggle link:

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Two Dog Shirts for 50 Cents

Edited to add my new dog who was not here when this post was created. His name is Chico Burrito.
Very soon I will have to figure out how to make three dog shirts for fifty cents!

Okay…back to talking about dog shirts…
Have you seen the prices of clothes for dogs?! Yikes, unbelievable. It may be better to sew clothes for the dog yourself. But oh, have you seen the price of fabric these days?! But there is a solution.

Whether you say thrifty or cheap, or if you call it recycling or upcycling…getting two shirts for the dogs for a grand total of 50 cents seems like quite a bargain. Here is how it can be done.

We first take a trip to the local thrift store where we find a snappy blue sweatshirt in size 5.

We’ll start by assuming that you already have a sewing machine and know how to sew. Also, that you have decent scissors, pins, thread and that you know how to copy a pattern from a shirt that your dog already loves – just trace around the old shirt onto some brown paper. Here is Jack in his favorite red shirt. It fits him perfectly. Jack is too sexy for that shirt.

After running the sweatshirt through the washer/dryer we will prepare to cut away some of the seams. Leave the lower ribbing intact; don’t cut that part. And when cutting off the neck ribbing, leave the seam attached to the neck ribbing; we’ll be using that ribbing later.

Lay sweatshirt flat; prepare to cut away seams.


Here is the fabric ready to be used to make the two shirts.

Lay out the pattern pieces keeping the grainline in mind, pin in place then cut out. Save the scraps; they may be needed later.


This is what’s left of the sweatshirt after all the pattern pieces have been cut for two shirts. There is enough fabric to make half a shirt. All we need is another sweatshirt in a coordinating color but that’s a job for another day.

For the neckline, we will re-use the neck ribbing that we cut from the sweatshirt. Cut the fabric slightly longer than the pattern piece.

On the old red shirt, there was a small opening about the size of a buttonhole meant to be used to attach the leash to the harness. Since I found the hole to be too small for fat fingers, I made a slight design change. Instead of making a buttonhole type opening, I opted for this. And check out what a good color match the thread is.

Here is the same piece which has been assembled with the back and front pieces. 

Okay, since you know how to sew, the rest is easy. Just sew all the seams, try it on to make sure it fits, make adjustments as needed, and that’s it!

Jack loves his new shirt. It is very comfortable.

Uh, oh. Here comes trouble. George wants to see the new shirt. George tries offering a toy to Jack hoping that Jack will give up the shirt. No, that’s not gonna happen. Jack turns his back on George.


Problem solved. I gave George the red shirt to wear and Jack is happy in his new blue shirt.


George doesn’t know how to read yet so he has no idea that the title of this page is “Two Dog Shirts for 50 Cents”. I will make the second shirt and George will be very happy, plus he can keep all his toys.

Hey, I found a great site. Upload your own images to Jigsaw Planet just like this:

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The story of Jack

This is not the entire story of my dog Jack. It’s a long story but my involvement starts when I found a dog about three months after I lost my husband. The one on the left is an alligator; David’s the one on the right.
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Back in the spring of that year, I was roped into doing someone a favor and that put me roughly 100 miles away from home. Good deeds must be done, right? God rewards us for helping even if our friends don’t offer us gas money. On my way home I stopped at McDonald’s to use the restroom and get a cup of water with ice; it was a very hot day in southeast Georgia, somewhere around 97 degrees that day. I got back on the road heading for home. But wait.

What is that I see on the road up ahead? Oh, no! It’s a dog and he is dodging semi-trucks right and left. He keeps rolling out of the way just missing getting squashed by the huge tires. Being a Yankee from up north I pull over to the side of the road and holler in my best Yankee accent, “Get out of the road you stupid mutt are you trying to get yourself killed.” I’m sure there were some curse words in that sentence but I left them out for your delicate ears.

Well, the idiot dog stops in the middle of the road and looks to see who is yelling at him so I start cursing, er, yelling even louder. Another truck just misses him and he makes a beeline for my car. He leaps into my open car, licks my face all over…smells like he has been eating dead fish mixed with week-old garbage, yuck…and starts drinking my ice water from McDonald’s. Without thinking I put the car in gear and start driving home. The dog was covered in black tire smut but had no visible injuries. He/she/it was panting so hard and was making a clicking noise when it breathed and was so hot I could barely touch him (I’m going with the generic term ‘him’ for now); he was on fire from fear. I bathed his head and ears with some of the cold water, cranked up the air conditioning and he promptly fell asleep on the passenger seat.

Along the way, I stopped to buy a collar, leash, and some dog biscuits. Poor dog had never seen a collar and thought I was trying to strangle him. I searched for the owner but no one came forward. I wanted to name him Duke; my daughter gave him the name “Jack”. Okay, that works.

Here is Jack on our first day together, uncertain of his new situation. Would life with me be better than getting hit by a truck?
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I soon figured out that he had been mistreated and abused. He recognized ‘people food’ like fried chicken, BBQ, baked beans, and coleslaw but not dog food. I had to hand feed him and be very patient as he learned to trust me. When it finally dawned on him that he was welcomed inside the house he looked happy, but when he realized he was allowed to sleep on the bed he was in hog heaven.

My old deaf, blind cat was not thrilled. She had never met a dog before. Did I mention that she was about 15 years old? This is how “happy” Mamacat was to have a dog tossed into her life.
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But she was a good old cat and she got over her little snit. Here is Mamacat watching over Jack as he sleeps on a nice, comfy bed.

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Meanwhile, my daughter who lived next door gets a dog of her own; an American Bulldog and named her Allie. Here is Allie at 3 months old.

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The two dogs Jack and Allie become friends. When my daughter was at work I babysat for her dog and walked both dogs on leashes in our neighborhood. One day tragedy struck. We – the two dogs and I – were attacked by two full-grown Pitbulls. The dogs were aiming to kill Allie who was only 7 months old at the time. Well, Jack wasn’t gonna stand for that so Jack acted like a rodeo clown and tried his best to distract two Pits so they would not hurt his sister-dog. He even tried to protect me when one of the Pits knocked me down and started biting my hand. It was the longest event in my life. Jack was a hero. A superhero.

Someone called 911 and people started showing up…to watch. No one was willing to get into the middle of this dog attack…no one except for an 87-year-old woman. She grabbed her broom and started beating the Pits with all her strength. When the broom handle broke and the woman fell to the ground I thought for sure she was having a heart attack, but she was only trying to catch her breath; she had COPD. Police, ambulance, animal control all showed up. The owner of the Pits showed up; don’t ask me who called them. I refused treatment by the ambulance crew (they thought I was crazy but hey, the dogs are my responsibility and they come first, right?) and I told them to help the lady with COPD. The police took my info and photographed my hand. One policeman reluctantly gave me a ride back to my house so I could get my car to take the dogs to the veterinarian. Just a note: the back of a police car is not a comfortable place. It’s all slippery plastic. Yuck.

I grabbed my car, picked up the dogs…oh, where were dogs? The 87-year-old lady had them inside her fenced yard and was giving them a bucket of cool water. I drove like crazy to the veterinarian; the techs came out to carry both dogs into the treatment room. Since Jack was covered in blood head to toe they looked at him first. Not a scratch. Not one single bite. No damage of any kind. The blood belonged to the other dogs, not to Jack. So they immediately turned their attention to Allie. For a while, it was a life or death situation; no time to think. She was torn up, required surgery, stayed at the vet’s a while and later required all kinds of yucky after-care at home. While all this was happening at the vet’s office I was at the doctor’s having my hand repaired. No big deal; all better after three courses of antibiotics. We figured when my hand and Allie’s wounds healed that would be the end of that.

But we were wrong.

A few weeks after the attack Jack stiffened up, he looked like an accordion all scrunched up. He could not lift his head nor could he put his head down to eat. He was screaming in pain like a banshee. I’ll skip the next part but long story short Jack had suffered a neck and/or back injury at the time of the attack and would be in chronic pain forever. He has good days most of the time, but then he has episodes of agony. Each episode is a bit worse than the last and we do the massage/pain meds, etc. until the pain resolves itself. This most recent episode was horrible – he was dragging his back legs like a mermaid on dry land and I was about 4 minutes from having him put down. It was that bad.

The vet gave him prescriptions and advised that I lock him in a tiny crate for 2 weeks and not let him move. Nope, not gonna happen. I am a former Corrections Officer and I know what solitary confinement can do to a young man; it would be far worse for a dog who cannot understand being in a crate. I gave him the prescription meds but added my own treatment which was warm baths, massage, Turmeric and Masala, tart cherries and pumpkin. I also added fresh air and sunshine to keep his mood up. It was necessary for me to learn how to make him pee and poop – no fun but I did what I had to do. He gradually got a little better. I rigged up a plastic basket on an old baby stroller so Jack could ‘walk’ and visit with all his neighbor friends. The sunlight and fresh air are good medicine. Some days we took short walks with Jack walking unsteadily at his own pace; when he got tired I carried him home.

One day while walking the dogs (without the stroller)…hold on a minute. Let me clarify that.

I forgot to mention that in November some boys gave me a little vicious, nasty, terrible dog and no one wanted it so I decided to give the new dog the benefit of the doubt. His name is George – he is a handful and rarely stays still and never stays quiet…
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George is only quiet when he’s asleep. Even then, he sleeps with one eye open. Hates to miss out.
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But George is my dog now so I love him. Look at that smile.
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Here is my favorite photo of George; it shows off his big butt – yes, dogs and owners sometimes look alike in certain ways.

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It took several months for me to get all three dogs acclimated to each other but eventually, and a great big thank you to all my internet friends who encouraged me when I wanted to give up. Here is proof that the three dogs were happy together on one chair. Left to right: Allie, George, and Jack fading into the shadows on the right.

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With a bit more work I could even walk all three dogs, Jack on the left, then George with the white tail tip, and Allie on the right. All three walking with leashes at the same time. Please do not look at the sloppy woman in the photo. Yes, that is what I actually look like first thing in the morning; but please only look at the three dogs, okay? My neighbor snapped this pic with her cell phone before I could suck in my belly.
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Leaving Allie home in the air-conditioned house here we see Jack and George participating in a charity dog walk – The Dog Lovers’ Walk at the Landings, Savannah, Georgia which benefits our local Humane Society. Oh dang, there’s that dumpy woman again and this time she’s carrying bags of dog poop!
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In case you wonder why I don’t take Allie out in the street for walks with the other dogs, well, look at how big Allie is compared to Jack. Allie has to be walked separately as some days I’m just not strong enough to wrestle 3 dogs.

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Back to the story…okay, so I’m walking with my two dogs Jack and George slowly at Jack’s unsteady pace in my neighborhood. I spotted a known thief attempting to break into my friend’s house, and, being a former prison guard, I yelled at him to get out. Since Jack was not able to walk quickly, I lifted Jack and began following the thief to make sure he left the area.

After following the thief to the end of the street found myself standing in front of my friend Will’s house and was not looking forward to the very long walk back to my house carrying Jack in my arms. I jokingly asked Will, who is a seller of junk, if he had a spare baby stroller I could borrow for 10 minutes. Will, who is a mellow kind of guy, quietly said, “No stroller, but I have a wheelchair”. He quickly added, “You probably don’t even know what a dog wheelchair is.”

Five minutes later I had Jack strapped into the wheelchair and together with the dogs, I went back home to get the $10 to pay Will for the well-used $400 Doggon’ Wheels wheelchair. It has taken some time to do adjustments to the wheelchair so that it fits but Jack is doing great. The exercise is helping him to get stronger and I don’t have to carry him in my arms anymore.
Here is a photo of Jack’s wheelchair before adjustments.
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I know that Jack’s next episode could be the end of his life so I treasure each day with him. He is my hero. He saved his sister-dog Allie from certain death and saved me as well. I owe him whatever it takes to make him happy and comfortable. See how happy he is.

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The End…

Not quite the end…
I recently rescued a tiny kitten and my daughter named him Lucky. Thumb of 2015-10-01/greene/99b6d6

Now it’s never-ending work around here. My house will never be clean, my bank account is drained by my cup runneth over with love. Here are Jack, George, and Lucky playing together., and of course, Allie is next door sleeping on the comfy chair.
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Oh, that’s not right. Allie has just finished ripping the stuffing out of a fluffy bunny and is fast asleep on the carpet.
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It may seem like Allie spends a lot of time sleeping. She does go out for walks, she runs and plays, and sometimes she sticks her nose in places it shouldn’t be.
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Note: Just in case anyone gets the impression that I hate Pitbulls, no, not true. It’s the irresponsible owners that are to blame for the Pit’s bad reputation. I love Pits. In fact, I met some of my new neighbors a few years ago when they were given a tiny little puppy. I used my best Spanish language to let them know that the dog would grow up to be about 100 pounds. They laughed because they thought I was joking. We soon became friends and I was the person who took their dog ‘Junior’ to his vet appointments. Junior, pronounced in Spanish it sounds like “Yoon-Yor”. He is a sweetie pie.
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Okay, truth be told, one day last March Junior got out of his fence when the gate was left open by the slightly irresponsible relative of the owners and Junior tried to attack me and/or my two dogs, but ha! Having gone through this experience once before I was too fast for Junior. I acted like Superman or Wonder Woman and lifted both my dogs and jumped behind a fence and slammed the gate in his face. I love Junior, but as you can see from the photo, I love him from my side of the fence.

So, that’s the story of Jack so far.