personal blog

Alright, I'm going public with the news: I'm pregnant! Today I got to hear the baby's heartbeat! The baby is currently the size of a plum and can stick out its tongue.
American Woodcock

(Look closely, it's there.)

I stepped out onto the porch today to drink my breakfast coffee, and guess what I saw? A softball-sized brown lump with a beak wandering around. It found an opening in the fence, walked through to the neighbors' yard, and I moseyed inside to look it up. (Here are my notes.)

It's an American Woodcock. A ground-dwelling bird with a long beak that it uses to probe for earthworms.
We went to the state fair.

say cheese

There were chickens ...


... and even multicolored chickens ...

I can't see you, but I'll groom you anyway.

... but my favorite hairdos were on the ducks.


When chickens have ridiculous multi-colored hairdos, they really look the part. Like, "I'm a rock star!" or "I'm a clown!" But the ducks don't really get into the character. They're like "I'm a duck." A duck with a great hairdo, that is.

I caught a sheep mid-baa:


and some pigs during their nap:

sleepy pigs

These guys were really rocking their harmonicas

The Harmonicats

and these seals were trained to plop their heads on anybody who posed for a picture.

your picture with a sea lion!

I can't forget the butter sculpture

butter sculpture

but most amazing of all is the tiny state fair inside the state fair.

recursive state fair

I looked, but I couldn't find a tinier state fair inside of it.

More photos are here. The state fair website is here, but you can't see it for yourself until next year.
go deer go!

On my walk home today, a doe and her triplets were grazing near the road. They watched me, I feigned disinterest, and they relaxed and started scratching itches and grazing. I made sure not to get too close, and they gave me lots of time to take pictures.

two out of three
Squirrel photographers love Canon Rangefinders. (I have a Rangefinder myself, but I am not a squirrel.) There is a whole photoset of squirrels at cameras.
I'm on the local mailing lists of a dog training club and the SPCA, so when the pet food recalls came out I heard about them right away. Over a couple of days the recalls rolled in, one brand after another, but fortunately the hounds' food wasn't affected.

Chris was pouring dog food from its bag into a plastic container one day when he stopped, looked concerned, and said "wow, look at this." I looked, and saw a dead mouse in the bag of dog food. Shit, another recall and we're the first to see it. First it was toxic gravy in the wet food, now it's dead mice in bags of dry food.

Chris said "Why did you scream? It's just a mouse." I took a closer look, and he was right - it was just a mouse. Alive, scared, and very cute.


He ran away when I tried to put him into a more secure container, but I saw him run into his little hidey-hole under a cabinet. (Chris's thought on dead mice in the dog food: "Are you kidding? They'd love that! It's like strawberries in their cereal!"

Amy told me about the Mice Cube humane mousetrap. I couldn't find this type of trap locally, so I ordered a couple online and they arrived today. I set up 3 traps in places I'd seen the mice, and then Chris and I went dancing.

Well, Pandora found the trap I'd left on the floor, and she crunched it into pieces because she wanted the peanut buttered cracker inside.

As for the trap on the countertop, I found it empty, with the cracker
dragged outside of it and all the peanut butter licked off. Smart mouse. So I re-baited it with cheese. Just a little bit later I was sitting at my computer and heard a "click!" and then a drumming sound like a mouse trying to burrow its way out of a trap. Yay, I caught one!

mousie #2

I went and put him/her in the mouse cage outside. You may be wondering why we have a mouse cage sitting just outside the door full of mouse bedding and mouse food and a water bottle and all the mousey trimmings. Well, it's because of Chris.

On the morning I left for Boston, Chris told me there was a mouse in the dog food bag again. When I returned from Boston, I found the mouse, ensconced in his little mousely mansion with all the trimmings, on my DESK. Yes, Chris put the mouse on the desk of the person who is most allergic to mice out of everybody in the whole house.

OK, so that was kind of funny. The problem is, he was very attached to this mouse. Even before he caught it, he was calling it Mousie and feeling very sentimental about it, and periodically reciting that Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse". It would have been cute were I not DEATHLY[*] ALLERGIC TO MICE.

[*] OK, not really.

It took about a week before I convinced him to release the mouse. The
argument went a little something like this:

him: can we keep it?
me: no. I'm allergic to mice.
him: please?
me: no. Wild mice all have parasites.
him: what's wrong with parasites?
me: they also have hantavirus.
him: you can't prove that.
me: why don't you take Mousie to a nice big field somwhere?
him: he'll get eaten!
me: so? You eat animals all the time.
him: [philosophical argument snipped]
me: huh?
him: I said, because mice are cute. Just look at him! With his little whiskers!
me: no. I'm allergic to mice.

The mice cube caught a second mouse while I was writing this email, a big fat mama (papa?) mouse. Soon they will all be in a nice big field far far away. Chris says he will have the same week-long argument with me for every mouse, but that we can do it for several mice at the same time.

mousie #3

To be continued.
amy's paintings

Yay! Beautiful paintings and sculptures, plus ponies and puppies.
Today is National Gorilla Suit Day. Which explains the extremely furry college student I saw earlier today.
the hounds

Chris and I no longer outnumber the dogs in our house. Meet Pandora - the one that looks just like Santa's Little Helper.


She is, as her name suggests, the world's biggest troublemaker. Argh.
run moxie run

From my photo-a-day project. Moxie looooves running around in fallen leaves.