Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mysterious Critter Alert!

The sighting occurred a couple weeks ago, just before daylight, out this window.  The creature was strolling casually along the edge of the mowed area.  It vanished into the tall grass beyond the trees.


dark brown in color
fluffy tail
approximately 3 feet in length, including tail
small head
small ears
beady eyes
big feet
looks like a skinny badger
aura of malevolence

The identity of this animal is most probably a fisher.

Fishers belong to the family Mustelidae, along with badgers, ferrets, minks, otters, sables, wolverines.

Some Fisher Facts

-coat thick and lush, dark brown to black in color
-  4-15 pounds
-  29-47 inches long, including tail
-  range 3-5 square miles
- solitary hunters:  rabbit, mouse, grouse porcupine, carrion
- populations dwindled about 100 years ago due to trapping (fisher fur is similar to mink)
-  fisher populations are larger now
- most active at dusk and dawn
-  able to climb trees but spend most of their time on the ground.  However, young are raised in hollow trees high off the ground

  Have there been other fisher sightings here at the homestead?  No.  But that's probably due to fisher stealth.

Read more about the Fisher here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mourning Doves On the Rocks

Lots of cheeping baby bird voices have been heard this spring, here at the homestead.  For instance, a pair of Mourning Doves had a nest near this rock. 

Now the youngster is fledging.

Here's a bit of information on Mourning Doves.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Henry's Honor

Some dogs are stoic when they don't feel well.  They valiantly soldier on.  Some dogs whine when they hurt, look at you all sad eyed, seeking comfort.  Some dogs respond to discomfort by caterwauling as though they are being tortured.  Henry is of this last type.

Henry suffers from a common toy dog problem.  Luxating patella.  On a veterianaran website providing information about the condition there is a picture of a Pomeranian.  How about that for a coinkydink! 

A luxating patella occurs when the connecting tissue that holds the knee cap to the leg is not tightly attached.  The knee cap tends to get off track.  Usually it pops back into place but all this moving around invites inflammation which, of course, aggravates matters.  In short, what Henry has is an unstable knee system.

While the knees of big dogs do sometimes dislocate, the problem is far more prevalent in tiny companion animals, like Henry.  It seems dogs that are not toys are less likely to be weak in the knees.

Real dogs have real knees!


Alas, Henry's feeble knee tendency has been evident since puppyhood. 

It didn't seem to bother him too much though. He would occasionally yelp as he scurried around but barely broke stride.  Reasonably enough, Henry was reacting to his knee cap moving out of place than back in again, surely an unpleasant sensation.  Henry's macho playing through the pain didn't last though.

In time,  Henry's emoting over his booboo knees increased.  Before long Henry achieved drama queen status.  Indeed, the agony evidently became so unendurable that Henry actually asked to be carried.  (Henry's other condition is Small Dog Syndrome. Among the symptoms of this condition are being cute and barking for no reason.  There is also a dash of the Napoleonic.  Henry displays this trait in not wanting to be carried.  The Little Corporal prefers to strut unaided, you see.)  Thus, Henry asking to be carried, made it clear he was truly having issues with his hind legs.  Well, that and the hysterical screaming.

A combination of bad luck, less than ideal genetics, having been bred down from a normal sized dog to a little bitty toy creature, and who knows what else, have taken a toil on Henry's knees.  Other factors, such as all that running down the hall like a demented chipmonk, leaping about like an insane kangaroo, and surely most damaging of all, the pirouettes, have turned Henry's less than stellar knees into infirm knees.

Still, it's not all gloom and neurosis.  There's a little strain of honor in this little dog.  Obviously, if your knee hurts, it hurts even more when you use it.  When it's time to go potty, Henry has to go all the way outside walking on his sore knee, then stand on his sore knee to tinkle.  He could just do it on the porch right outside the back door (as he does when the snow is deep).   But no.  Stalwart Henry steps down off the porch and onto the grass to do his business.

For now, Henry's knee is day to day, as they say about injured baseball players not yet on the disabled list.  Will Henry's knee trouble flare up again?  Probably.  Such a tough row to hoe.  After all, Henry doesn't always handle unpleasent well.  He cries when he gets his hair brushed.