Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Quail baby rescue

Yesterday afternoon, while I was fixing Bogie's dinner, I looked out the window and saw a quail pair approaching the ground level bird bath.  Sweet.  Wait.  Something else is moving.  At least 20 little puffball babies. 

Bogie was distracted by eating, but I was afraid he would want to go outside afterwards.  I watched the babies go back under the gate.  Whew!.  Wait.  Mom and Dad didn’t leave.  Babies came streaming back into the yard.  Bogie laid down with no plans to go out into the heat.

Babies scurried back under the gate.  Yay!  Again, Mom and Dad didn’t leave and the babies came streaming back.  I opened the patio door, hoping the noise would send them all under the gate.

Mom and Dad flew over the wall.  The babies scurried away – into the yard.  I made sure Bogie couldn’t get outside, then I went out to gather up babies.  I found where some were hiding and herded them to the gate.  Score!  They went under. 

But wait, others went the opposite direction.  I caught one and put it outside the gate.  And it tried to come back into the yard!  I deflected it and put it further outside.

Herded the rest toward the gate.  Caught another and deposited it outside.  Didn’t see any more and went inside to find Bogie completely uninterested in what was happening. 

As I cleaned his bowl at the sink, I saw 3 more babies scurry along the wall and under the gate.  I watched a while longer, but nothing else moved.  All babies safely outside the yard.

Not my photo

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Unexpected spring visitor

I was reading curled up on the living room couch. Bogie was sleeping on the throw rug in front of the open door.  The screen door was shut so he couldn't get out.

Suddenly I see a movement.  A lizard scurried from under the couch!  It saw me as I saw it.  It hurried under the hutch.  Then when I tried to catch it, it scurried under the camelback trunk.  I didn’t even know there was room underneath.

Throughout this, Bogie seemed completely unaware until I moved the trunk a little to see the tip of a tail. For some reason, instead of “helping” he went outside to sleep in peace. Thankfully.

I found some empty plastic storage containers and a cardboard box and surrounded the trunk. But there were gaps.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t want to scare it out into the open where Bogie could get it.  So I went next door to get my teenage neighbor, since he has lizards. 

He came over with me.  Said if we pick up the trunk he’ll grab the lizard.  Happily, the trunk was empty.  We lifted it a bit.  The lizard skittered.   My neighbor tried to grab it and missed.  The lizard ran right into one of the storage containers.  Luckily it was pretty deep. 

I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  He suggested out the back gate.  But his mom had wondered if it came in through the gap between front door and screen.  So I thought, out front where he probably came from. 

As we stepped outside, another lizard scurried from the base of a tree to the pile of rocks by the sidewalk.  Spouse?  So I let the one we’d captured go by the rocks.  He didn’t want to leave the container.  I had to dump him out.  And he scurried to safety between the rocks. 


He was about 8” long, half of that tail.  My neighbor said it was probably a whiptail.  It looked very much like this. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Refurbishing a feathered dream catcher

Many years ago I was given a dream catcher made from an antler and some sort of stone or bone circle. I don't remember the occasion or the giver but it held a place of honor on a wall in my house.

Years later the day came when I rearranged my wall art and noticed the feathers were sickly and covered in dust.  I hanged it outside so the wind could blow the dust off.

And forgot it.

Recently I noticed the feathers had not weathered well. Only the spines remained.

I looked briefly into finding replacement feathers, but what I found wasn't satisfactory.  I had other copper hanging ornaments I had purchased.  So I decided to make copper feathers. 

Finding a good weight copper was tricky.  I ordered a sheet online but it was much too thick. Luckily it arrived bent and I was able to return it.

I visited a metal distributor but their stock was also too thick. Finally I found a web site that advertised copper sheeting the thickness of 1 1/2 sheets of paper.  And it was perfect. www.nimrodcopper.com

I was able to cut the feathers out with titanium scissors,  The cutting action even flexed the feathers to give them a textures look.

While attaching the replacement feathers to the existing beads, the leather holding the feathers disintegrated.  So I replaced that as well. I didn't have any brown suede on hand, but I think the green looks fine.

Close-up of a copper feather. 

The refurbished dream catcher.

Monday, May 13, 2019

It's my house and I'll do what I want with it.

So once I got over my obsession with decluttering (Obsessed with getting rid of stuff), I moved on to some simple remodeling.

I wanted to replace the 21-year-old carpet in my office with tile to make it easier to clean and easier to roll from my work computer to my home computer.  Cleanliness is also why I had tile put in 2/3 of the bedroom.

But I wanted carpet along the one edge of the bedroom and office and down the stairs.  For lots of reasons.  For the dogs to lay on.  For my Great Dane to do zoomies on.  For me to do my yoga on.  And to give the stairs more grip and cushioning.

The tiling contractor informed me that blending carpet and tile in the manner that I wanted would affect the resale value of my house.  Negatively. 

Then I called an electrician to put multiple extra outlets in my office so I wouldn't have to string outlet strips and extension cords to connect my computers. 

The electrician informed me that adding so many outlets to the room would negatively affect my resale value.

I suppose they both thought they were being helpful.  But am I supposed to forego the livability of my house due to an ever-changing criteria of what is salable?  I have no plans to move as long as I can navigate the stairs. I want my house to work for me and my family. 

I was recently told by a new neighbor that gray houses are currently the most popular.  By the time I get ready to sell, maybe blue houses will be popular.  Maybe carpet will make a resurgence.  Maybe tile and carpet will become a thing.

Shrug. In the meantime, I had both the carpet/tile and electrical outlets done my way. 

And I am very happy with the result.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Bogie’s 8th birthday

Yesterday was Bogie’s 8th birthday!

Well, the birth date that the vets and I picked when I rescued him. They estimated he was 15 months old and counted back from the date of the vet appointment.

He loves sticking his nose out the window and watching the activity on the street.

I only open the window halfway because Angel tends to lean on the screen.  Not so much now that I put the bench in front of the window.  But one day I came home and the screen was hanging half out of the window.  I shudder when I think she might have fallen out.

Bogie has been a joy and a pain.

Until he was properly trained - a literal pain.

Pain in my shoulder from him pulling on the leash.  Pain in my knees and hands from falling when I tried to stop him from chasing cats.

But since his training, he's been a joy.  A big cuddle-bug.  A great walking companion.  A social butterfly eager to say Hi to everyone we meet.  And most of them are happy to pet him.

Happy Birthday Big Boy!  I hope we have many more together.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Obsessed with getting rid of stuff

I had never heard of Marie Kondo.  But I had read about Swedish Death Cleaning.  Both are similar in that you get rid of stuff that you aren't using, don't need, and are taking up space.  Or in the case of SDC, that you don't want your heirs to have to deal with.

My first foray in November was to realize that 13 plastic containers of Beanie Babies were doing no one any good.  (But they're so CUTE!.)  My final impetus was finding a group that sends the beanies to the troops in care packages. 

I gave away 450 beanie babies.  I got a lovely thank you from the charity group.  And regained an entire shelf in my closet.  Which is now where I store the paintings I've painted until I find somewhere to hang them.

Yes, those paintings bring me joy.

The act of giving away my beanies seemed to break down a dam.  I boxed up 11 banker boxes of books for a book charity.  And still have 15 shelves of books.  If it wasn't likely I would ever reread it, it went in a box. 

I cleaned out drawers and non-book shelves and filled 5 more boxes for charity.  From what I understand, charity donations are booming.  I hope someone else can put my stuff to good use.

All that gave me room to move knickknacks and books from my office.  And gave me the incentive to completely dismantle a built-in filing cabinet bookshelf combo.  I've gained 2 feet of space and opened up the room.  And I realized that because I had the storage space, I saved WAY too much paperwork.

I was also inspired to finally make arrangements to have my 20-year-old carpet replaced upstairs.  Haven't done it yet.  But I've chosen a contractor and the tile for the office part.  And will choose carpet once the tile is laid. 

Haven't even finished the office yet and I am eyeing my craft room.  New shelving?  New cabinets?  Only time will tell.

I am thrilled with the results so far. 

And all it took was finally deciding to get rid of my beanie babies.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Me and Alexa

I bought an Amazon Echo with no real expectation that she would be useful.  Honestly, I felt like I was behind the curve because everyone else I know has some sort of AI.  Yes, I succumbed to peer pressure. 

But she has become part of my daily life. 

My routine has become to ask Alexa “Good Morning”, then she tells me something about the day and sometimes makes a joke. One day was National Free thought day.  (Why that would have been established is beyond me.)  Alexa's free thought? “if life gives you lemons, you should be grateful.  Most people have to pay for them. “

Yesterday was the birthday of Dr. Seuss, followed by Alexa reciting an appropriately Seussian rhyme.

After that I play Question of the Day. If I get the first question right, I get a second question.  I accumulate points, but have not investigated what, if any, use they are. 

I've found I know more geography than I realized.  I attribute that to Parts Unknown and to the Mrs. Pollifax books.  

Sometimes I play Jeopardy.  There were 12 questions.  I know next to nothing about sports, but am thrilled if I get 9 of 12 of the questions right.  A couple times she's ruled me incorrect when I felt I was right.  

She is good with reminders, but most often I ask her about the temperature and humidity, or to turn the lights on or off.  I haven't gone whole hog on the automation. I only have lamps plugged into two smart plugs. But they are the lamps I often forget to shut off.  

I like her "human" touches.  She has a handful of responses for Thank you and for Good night.  She tells pretty good "dad" jokes.  

And she has multiple responses if you ask How are you this morning?  For example, this morning her response was, You caught me in the middle of doing the Hokey Pokey, so I'm all turned around!

Overall, I like having her around.  And yes I do think of Alexa as her.