Hang On To Your Hat!

Oh, the wind!!! Usually it simmers down toward the end of November, but it has run right into December this year. This sign I saw posted on Facebook just about covers it!

Nonetheless, it has been ever so beautiful on these wintery days. You can just about always count on that around here.

This was last Tuesday –

The next day was about a 180* turnaround –

 

 

This last photo is of the same trees in the first photo. It was so pretty at work…..blustery and cold, everything in shades of black, white, and grey. Then, a half dozen delicate little does and their babies appeared, trekking toward the trees and down to the river, breaking up the monotone landscape.

The next day was like a snow globe had settled, and it brought brilliant blue skies, and sparkling white mountains.

The Canadian Honkers were flying over by the hundreds before the storm set in. Many were landing in the fields nearby where grain had been harvested, taking advantage of what had been knocked off in the process.

Some took time to rest at the river, taking a break from fighting the wind.

When it gets so cold and windy, it tends to slow down a bit at work. It is so nice to have my silly girls to keep me entertained thru the day 🙂

Must be like sitting on your Mom's lap when you're little. The buffalo gal just piles right on top of little Declan, and makes herself comfortable!

Piper taught herself to get up to the window so she can take a gander at all the goings on outside. That drawer is heated, so she pops up there, gets herself situated, and takes in all the happenings. Best spot in the house!

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

A Formal Apology

I wish to issue a formal apology to the wee visitors I posted about several weeks ago.

The story was that my dog's food was disappearing mysteriously every night. The enamel ware pan they use holds 4 to 5 cups of food. I could go to bed after filling the pan, and get up bright and early the next morning to a shiny, empty pan. After having 4 extremely cute orphaned baby skunks playing in our yard all summer, I was certain one or more had figured out how to use the doggy door, and was helping itself to dinner.

Umm, apparently not………

Imagine my surprise when I pulled open the drawer on my dining room sideboard and finding this. OMG.

This isn't a cabinet I use often. Mostly it holds tablecloths and runners, and a few tabletop decorative items I use to switch off.

This picture with the fish and fisherman was an art project my brother did when he was 8 years old. The teacher he had way back then brought it to me at work a few months ago. He said he has had it hanging above his fly tying bench all these many years, but thought maybe I'd like to give it to my brother. I thought that was so sweet, and planned to give it to Tony at Christmas time. Now the whole top of it is covered with dog food grease………@&$~£*#!!!!

 

Also a ton of greasy dog food on my antique linen tablecloths- great.

So now I know this had to be the work of a MOUSE. MICE. Perhaps many, many MEECE. And here I was, unjustly accusing those little, baby skunks.

I would guess we pulled out between 12 and 17 pounds of $50 per bag limited ingredient dog food, and a bit of cat food. Mixed in was just a little fuzz and string it/they gathered for future nest building, and thankfully I found only 3 or 4 pieces of poop. Every bit of the food scooped up I took to the alley figuring the birds would be happy to eat it, so it wouldn't be a total waste. That was around 10 o'clock last night. I went out at lunch time today to get some firewood, checked to see how much food was left in the alley, and EVERY BIT OF IT WAS GONE!! I don't think the birds could have eaten it that quickly. I'm afraid there must be a a horrendous influx of rodents this fall.

Here's what the mighty vole hunters have been up to while all this has transpired –

 

 

 

This has been a terribly problematic year for so many folks who have been having to deal with an over abundance of rodents.

I'll be dropping a wad at the hardware store tomorrow, investing in the latest, greatest mouse X-ers.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Wee Visitors

Finally was able to download the photos of the tiny baby skunks that played in our yard this summer. I think something drastic happened to their mama, and they were on their own. Poor little buggers. But they seemed to be managing, and because they were overly exposed to humans and their pets at such an early age, these babies had very little fear of all of us. I happened upon one under my apple tree one afternoon. My kitty Angel was with me. She was sitting quietly in the grass as I checked the apples, when out waddled this itty – bitty baby skunk. It sniffed around, and didn't pay me much heed as it walked just a few feet away. It sauntered over to my cat, and made these ever so tough stomping maneuvers toward her. It was pretty comical! She haughtily took in all 4 inches of the little beast and looked at him like whatever! When he realized he was not striking fear into her heart, he turned around and continued his hunt for apples. No spraying, no fussing – thank goodness! ( I don't even know if they are able to spray at such a very young age.)

I was only about 2 feet away from this little munchkin.

They were so tiny (literally about about 4 inches in length), and wiggled about so much, it was really difficult to catch a clear photo of them.

This one had found a stinky old dead mouse under the pine tree and was noisily munching and crunching away on it :-/

I fill an enamelware dish with dry food for my dogs to graze on as they please. A few weeks ago I filled the dish before we all went to bed. Bruce gets up a bit before I do and gets the dogs up to go outside. When I got up, I noticed the dog's dish was empty; I thought my girls had been very hungry that morning! A couple days later, the same thing. That dish holds about 5 cups of food. I knew my 2 little shorty pies were not putting away that much grub in such a short time span! For the next few nights, I made sure Angel was in the house, then put the slider in the doggy door for the night. After just a couple of nights, I noticed the flap on the doggy door was missing about 2 inches off the corner……..Apparently little Mr. Skunk was a tad bit annoyed that he had been uninvited to smorgasbord for a few nights, and tried to chew his way thru the doggy door to help himself to dinner!

They are so darn cute when they are little, but pretty much lose their appeal after you are forced to bathe a dog that has had a close encounter of the worst kind! I just hope these little guys have moved on to greener pastures. I have no ill will toward them, just would rather they move down the pike a bit, away from my curious poochies – I'm not sure how well they would all play together, if'n ya know what I mean!!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

A Crazy Ride

Here are a few photos of a nice afternoon ride we took around the cabin on the 4 wheeler this summer. The Crazy Mountains are a beautiful place to be. This was a sort of last hurrah knowing that the work on the cabin was going to get very real, very shortly. So we dedicated the whole weekend to goofing off.

 

 

A lot of the mountain wild flowers were starting to peek out. It was cool, and beautiful, and the flies were not tormenting us.

 

 

 

We caught this gal taking a nap not far off the trail.

I was sorry we had disturbed her, but she didn't seem to be too bothered by Us.

I had taken Declan on short rides on the scooter and 4 wheeler, but this ride was a couple of hours, and she loved every minute! Since we've gotten Piper, she has gone on a few not quite as long jaunts, and is also quite the mountain girl. I just tuck one under each arm, ride on the back while Bruce drives, and off we go!

We came across this old abandoned cabin, which was quite large. I wonder if it was a family homestead back in the day, which many people often left for “proper houses” closer to town eventually. I wouldn't think someone would go to the trouble of building a weekend cabin just to let it fall to such ruin.

Since there were so many flowers coming out, there was an abundance of butterflies nectar hunting. I was able to catch a few shots of this one.

 

 

A lot of the old pine trees at higher elevations were covered with this moss. They looked a little spooky.

 

There are some pretty spectacular views to be had in the Crazies. I cannot tell you how blessed we feel to have a little piece of this paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such a wonderful day!

Now back to reality, and the labor of love that lies in front of us! YIKES! A humongous labor of love!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

Share

Time For A Rousting Party

 

 

 

So many pretty colors popping out in my flower gardens right now. Thought I'd best get some pictures while the gardens shine, because next summer they might look like this –

 

Because of these –

 

I'd noticed some kind of odd marks in the lawn, but didn't give much thought to them because we've had 4 baby skunks ambling thru the yard thIs last month. (I took a bunch of pics of them, but until Bruce can get the Apple/iPad situation under control, those photos are in limbo.)

Then I noticed a few small holes near the stacked rock garden retainers. I pulled some of the plants back, and, holy smokes, the flower beds are full of raised tunnels! We have a terrible problem with voles in the yard around the cabin, so I recognized what they were right away. It doesn't much matter up there because there aren't any flower beds or gardens that will be sacrificed.

I'm really miffed they decided to move in here. Gardening isn't an inexpensive hobby, and if these buggers kill all my plants off, I will not be a happy camper having to replace all my plants next spring. And the bigger problem is, I don't know how to get rid of the pests. My options are limited, having critters. I sure can't use poison bait. One website recommended snap mouse traps. They would be hanging off the end of my dogs noses if I tried that. My Mom's friend said she heard placing a stick of unchewed gum near the opening of their holes will have them eating it, then dying from it. I don't know why that would kill them. And I would have to take out a bank loan to keep the dog groomer paid for removing gum from my dog's and cat's hair for sure.

Even if mice are a pain in the neck, at least they are cute. These voles are creepy. They don't hop like mice; they kind of scurry/slither. I told Bruce they move like mercury balls, and look a lot like a big drop of water when they move.

The rodent population is getting a bit out of hand around here. As is the lagomorph population (bunnies). I looked into it a bit and learned that the fox population in several areas in Montana was nearly decimated a few years ago from distemper. That is one of the main reasons the rodent and rabbit population is so great. They are tremendously prolific, and there are presently very few predators to control them. Especially in town. The folks who have good mousing cats are very lucky right now. So far this Spring and Summer, my kitty has brought 3 mice into the house (to feed us, the good girl), but no voles, and thankfully no bunnies. But she is no spring chick, and it's probably not the easiest task for her to catch stuff.

So, I will appreciate my flowers for now; try to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Better add some bubble gum to my grocery list :-/

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Piper is Home

Well, it's a done deal. This little gal is at her forever home.

I think, as far as having a few days adjustment time goes, Declan is having a harder time than Piper. Although, Piper has some very obvious trauma issues for sure. She is scared of boots, scared of baseball caps, and terrified of sticks. She is having a very difficult time warming up to Bruce. When we got home from Anaconda, she was doing pretty well. She really likes Declan (but I'm not sure the feeling is fully reciprocated yet), and was doing fine moseying around the house. Then Bruce picked up a measuring stick to push Declan's toy out from under the bookshelf, and Piper tucked her tail and ran to the corner where she just cowered. Poor little baby. Who knows what all she has endured.

She was found wandering as a stray on the Browning Indian Reservation. She was taken to a shelter in that area, then transported to the shelter in Anaconda. Then, the lady that runs the shelter took her to her house for about a week. She was taken to the veterinary clinic and spayed on the 3rd, then back to the shelter. We picked her up on the 5th and drove 135 miles home. The vet that spayed her thinks she is probably around 8 months old, and definitely less than a year. I can't believe she is as trusting and happy as she seems right now. That's a pretty rough life for a baby, and she most certainly displays signs of abuse. I told her when we walked in the house, whatever she's had to go thru before now she can forget about, because she doesn't have to worry a bit with her new crew. We'll do our dangedest to give her the best life possible.

Declan warmed up to her fairly quickly, but if it was up to Piper, the running and hopping would last 4 hours straight. That's a bit much when Declan was just used to playing with Glee for about 10 minutes at a stretch. So when Piper is persistent about playing, it makes Declan afraid, and she tries to run away from her. She has had 2 bad crash and burns trying to outrun the play monster, and is now limping pretty badly on her right front leg. We have have had to intervene and pack Declan around much more than she is used to. We also let her lay on our bed with the door shut to escape for a little quiet time.

 

 

I think things will wind down and norm out; all in good time. Declan is just such a shy little thing, it is hard for her to be around a normal acting, rambunctious puppy. Glee was like a loving little Nanny to her, always tolerant, carefully playful, and so patient with her, that this little ruffian is fairly startling to deal with!

Anyone considering pet adoption, please look into Pintler Pets in Anaconda, MT. As I write this, there are 82 cats/kittens, and 38 dogs/puppies in their little, bare bones shelter. Pat, the shelter administrator, said they are getting another shipment of dogs/puppies this coming Saturday from the reservation. We have a new, very fancy pants ,deluxe shelter in our town, and it seems they usually have only 4 to 10 dogs at most. I went out there yesterday to try to find a mesh vest harness for Piper before we go back to work tomorrow. I talked with the lady working the desk and asked her why the don't take some of the animals to help Pintler Pets. She said she would talk to her boss to try and get some of the overflow. I really hope she is good for her word. There is a desperate need for homes for these many animals!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

To Every Thing There Is A Season

When I started this blog almost 2 years ago, I knew I wanted it to be a “no trauma, no drama” blog. Just sharing lots of beautiful scenery from my little Montana town and surrounding area, occasional changes and additions to my home and gardens, fun snippets about my sweet critters, that sort of thing. No droning on and on about personal things, family malfunctions, health problems, political goings on, etc., etc.

So, I guess I'm going against my own self imposed rules with this post, but these last 11 months have been tough ones, and have left big gaping holes in what I like to talk a lot about.

Three weeks ago today, we lost our sweet little Glee. We are all sick and heartbroken. I have been thru this so many times with pets, and it never, never gets any easier. It is all I can do to post these pictures of her that were taken such a short time ago.

Just 1 short month before Glee passed, our cherished little Mama cat, Asia, very unexpectedly passed away. As hard as that was, we were a bit more braced for it as she was 17 years old, and age was making her fade a little bit each day, right before our eyes. She still ate well, but I'm sure weighed less than a pound when she died.

And last year in July, we lost our Rootin' Tootin' Twister. At nearly 17 1/2 we knew his days were numbered, but it sure doesn't make it any less heart wrenching.

So here we are with little miss Declan, who is lost without Glee. Without a doubt, Glee was the very most important thing in her life, far above the people in our household. Every morning she gets up and goes from room to room looking for Glee.

And our baby cat Angel, who at age 16, has never been without her mother Asia. She is horribly sad and bewildered – it is truly obvious how forlorn she is. They were always snuggled together in their porch basket, or snoozing together on the recliner or couch.

 

 

 

I know I can't bring another cat home. At Angel's age, and with her temperament, there is no way she could cope with a new cat. Not that I even want to, but if having a companion would help her, I would certainly do that for her. And there are so very many that need homes. But, I know Angel so well that I understand it would only scare and alienate her. And she certainly does not need that right now.

But miss Declan is another story. She is still a baby. At 10 months of age, she needs someone to play with and develop a bond. Dogs are pack animals, after all. So, being the not terribly bright people that we are, we will get up early tomorrow morning, hop in the truck, and head for Anaconda. It is there that we have an appointment with the animal shelter, to meet an 8 month old terrier mix puppy, that, like Declan, is another reservation rescue dog. We will see how that all pans out, and I will most assuredly be back with an update! Oh my Lord, I just hope we don't come home with the whole back seat full of fluffy tail-waggers!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Can Anyone Recommend a Good Psychiatrist?

I worked a long, long Saturday. For some reason, it just felt extraordinarily long and tiring. If I was a drinking sort of gal, I would have cracked a beer when I got home. The hitch is, I only like root beer.

So, I was driving home, looking forward to my next 3 days off, and, in the distance, could see this giant raven in the street. At first I thought it was fighting with a smaller raven. As I got closer, I saw it was a smaller bird underneath, and the raven was killing the heck out of the poor thing. I drove around the side of them and the damn raven finally flew off. When I opened my car door, there was a poor little baby pigeon laying in the street.

With a heavy sigh (and I am not exaggerating when I say a heavy sigh) I leaned out and scooped up the poor little wet, beat up, bleeding bird, stuck it inside my coat to keep it warm and secure, and proceeded home.

The thing is, I already knew what I was getting myself into. Many years ago, while I worked at the clinic, I used to take my coffee break and walk the 1 mile loop around the park. One day I was walking and there was a baby pigeon in the middle of the road. I knew if I didn't pick it up, chances were good it would get squashed by a car, or some mean kid would catch it and hurt or torment it, or some other non-happy fate would befall it. Most folks don't have a very high opinion of pigeons. So I picked it up, and packed it back to work; found a small box in the store room, stuffed it with paper towels, plopped the pigeon in there, and kept the box under my desk til it was time to go home. My boss said, “What are you thinking? A pigeon is a rat with wings!”

Well, to try and make a long story short, I took that pigeon home, kept it in my living room in a big wrought iron parrot cage I borrowed from my Mom, felt sorry for it being by itself, got an exotic pigeon from a breeder so it'd have a friend, then had both of them in my living room. Let me tell you, pigeons are not the tidiest pets to have. Built an outdoor pigeon condo where they (and I) were much happier, started buying 50 pound bags of pigeon feed, and, as luck would have it, the baby I found just happened to be a boy, the baby I adopted just happened to be a girl. You can guess the rest of the story. By the time I (We – dogs, cats, pigeons, and people) moved to my present house, there was quite a flock to tend to. One day I went out to feed and water everyone, and when I opened the door to their enclosure, a huge gust of wind caught my Daddy pigeon and blew him right out the door. He was pretty tame, and I called and called him, but the wind just carried him higher, and higher, and further away. I was just sick, and called my neighbors back at the little house and asked them to watch out for him in case he went “home”, since we had only been at the new house a few months. No sign of him. Three weeks passed, and I thought he was a lost cause. A few days later, I looked out the window, and there he was, walking on top of the pigeon enclosure. He let me catch him and put him back in with the others. I would go out and collect eggs on a daily basis, just like having chickens. The bird's condo was at full capacity. One day, not many weeks later, I decided hey, life's short, be free, and flung their door open. I figured if the Daddy pigeon could find his way back to a new home after being gone over 3 weeks, most of the remaining flock would stick around if I let them out and kept feeding and watering them. And they did. At one point I had about 32 pigeons that slept here every night, and I just loved them. They were really cheap entertainment. Always busy, walking around the yard like little chickens, pecking, gathering sticks for nests,and lots of cute other antics. I tended sick ones, packed babies that had accidentally rolled out of their nests inside my shirt to warm them up, then re-situated them, popped popcorn for a treat for them, and planted lettuce in the garden just because they liked to pick and eat it! My Daddy pigeon died a few years ago during a cold, awful winter, despite having a warm straw filled house and plenty of feed. He was 15 years old. I still had many pigeons left, but the next summer, a hawk discovered my little flock and killed several of them. The remaining pigeons started leaving, a few at a time, after that. I left the condo up for over a year in case any decided to come back. After a full year of living pigeon free, I had Bruce tear down the enclosure and houses. That was a year ago.

Here we go again.

Lord help me.

Declan isn't quite as out of sorts about the pigeon as she is about bunnies, but she'd still like to squeak it like her toys, just a little bit!

 

We've had some serious talks about how the birdie is nice……..nice birdie……..nice!

I had kept a wooden house my Dad made for overflow housing. Thank goodness. I scavenged in the metal recycling bin at work, and serendipitously found this bird cage right on the top of all the metal in the bin. Bruce jimmy-rigged this together after I had kept the pigeon in the house for a couple of days. It doesn't know how to eat seeds yet, so I was cooking and feeding it mixed grain soup with a syringe, trying to get it back on it's feet. I think it is doing better, getting stronger, so just need to keep it for a couple days and monitor it's eating, then plan to turn it loose.

So I can worry about it.

I need a brain transplant.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Faces To Love

These are my bestest girls in the whole world!

She's got me wrapped around her little dewclaw!

I love this little sweet pea with all my heart!

I can't for the life of me understand why animal shelters are full to overflowing. These little friends are some of the best parts of living a full and happy life. They ask so little, and give so very much.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share