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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Woes of a Dog Owner

The subjects....
Last night our lovely huskies made a break for it, and succeeded.  While they are out I always worry about two things; getting hit by a car and hurting someone or killing someone's animals.  I usually call for them and watch hoping I can guide them safely across the road when they finally appear.  There are some flaws with this process. 
  1. Who knows where the heck they go, and there certainly isn't anyone helping them cross the road wherever that is.
  2. They never come back from where they left.  They always run across the road into the field.  The last time I saw them come back they came on Route 14 headed north.  I think if it ever came to it I could hook them up to a sled or a wheeled cart and do without a vehicle.
I gave up calling for them and went back to laying the slate floor in the entry way.  The windows were open and I figured I would hear them when they came back.  As the time passed I got more and more worried.  I kept thinking I heard car doors closing and my stomach would wrench because I was certain it was someone coming to let me know they hit my dogs.

I finally heard their collars outside the window and breathed a huge sigh of relief at their safe return.  As I drew in my breath after the sigh I realized that their homecoming, although safe, was not worthy of a sigh of relief.

You know when you are driving and you pass a dead skunk and smell their distinctive odor and you crinkle your nose and say or think, "ewww skunk" then you swerve and give the roadkill a wide berth because you know that stink clings?  That is not actually what a skunk smells like.  True skunk smell is sharp and rubbery and shrivels your nose hairs.  Then as it enter your lungs the cells contract and become sheathed in armor (not a scientific description) in an effort to protect themselves from that noxious poison, and it becomes hard to breathe.

From the entryway I smelled the roadkill skunk smell.  When I went out to get the dogs, I hit a wall of "run away" and "batten the hatches soldier (that was from the lung cells) the enemy is upon us" smell.  Those fool animals found a skunk.  Then in an effort to clean themselves they swam in a mucky marsh.  They stunk and they were black with sludge.  I washed them with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and grease cutting soap, then rewashed them with yummy smelling shampoo.  

They will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, and I find myself wondering if it would really be so bad to hear a car door shut and have to apologize profusely and write a check for the loss of chickens.  I think it would be faster and easier, and less...skunky.
Why couldn't they have have gone after this kind of skunk!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Reckless Recreation: Southwick's Zoo

While visiting Aaron's grandparents we took the kids to Southwick's Zoo.  I took a ton of pictures, but I was foolish and thought about how awesome it would be to get pictures of all the animals we never see and I kind of forgot to take pictures of my animals with their great grandparents, who mean a WHOLE lot more to me than exotic animals.  Oh well, live and learn.  

So this installment of Reckless Recreation  will be your own personal virtual zoo tour.  Tomorrow's Family Friday will be the rest of our visit.  
I took A LOT of pictures of the peacocks.  They are just such stunning animals and if I could figure out an inexpensive way to have one, I am pretty sure we would be peacock owners.
The back side of the peacock gets ignored far too often.  I think it is as stunning as the front.
I loved seeing the different types of peacocks.  I had no idea they came in different colors.  Bob was especially friendly and we saw him all over the park.  I never did see him spread his tail feathers, though REALLY wished he would.
I feel as though I made friends with this guy.  We definitely connected.
Not to be ignored were the chipmunks.  They were EVERYWHERE!  The kids had a contest counting how many there were.  I am not sure what the end tally was.
Many think this guy is a kangaroo but it is actually a cavy.  They are rodents and their family include guinea pigs.
This guy was perched on top of some rocks like he was the king of the mountain. 
I think his eyes are cool, but these eyes are the reason Aaron does not want goats.  "They have creepy eyes."
I got a kick out of how his/her lips flayed out in an attempt to get at the tree safely protected behind wire.
As we watched this one I asked Aaron if he had ever been to the Granby zoo as a kid.  I started to say how the giraffes would lick the car windows and Aaron chimed in, "oh yes, I remember being scarred by the image of those big black tongues when I was a kid."
I read a book and the main character was a person who studied the hemodynamics of the giraffe.  They are kind of like the bee, who according to the laws of physics shouldn't be able to fly.  Can you imagine the amount of pressure the giraffe heart must have to exert in order to circulate blood all the way up that neck? It is incredible to think about.
Here is something you  may never have considered. How long do the toenails on a gigantic 100 year old turtle get?
Answer:  Pretty long
I tried singing the opening of Hakuna Matata thinking that these guys would come hang out with us, but they were not impressed.  Apparently not every warthog feels the same way as Pumbaa about their aroma lacking a certain appeal.
I was impressed by the amount of skin the rhinos have to carry around.  Can you imagine how heavy it must be?     I was also grateful that as dry and thick as my skin my seem at times, I definitely have not come even close to approaching rhino skin.
They were sleepy, but I thought they looked kind of sad.
 There was definitely one theme to the the things I found the most endearing while observing the animals at the zoo.  I think because we are done having kids (at least procreating, I have not eliminated adoption or foster children) I get extra sappy about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and infants.  I thought it was just people babies, but at the zoo I learned that my emotions are not bound to just my species.
This little one was nursing at one point, but I just captured it relaxing near its mama.
There were LOTS of babies.   I am so glad I never had to nurse a baby goat.  They are brutal getting latched on!  I was always surprised which babies went with which mama.  Color was not an indication as evidenced above.
At the petting zoo there were lots of pregnant mamas.  I asked if any were close to birth and the worker pointed out one who was due any minute.  I could have guessed which one she was.  She was huge, getting up to get grain from the kids was too much of an effort and she was panting in the hear.  I talked to her a lot and willed to go into labor right then and there, but no luck. 
It is difficult to see because of the bars and the scale is off.  These little tiny monkeys are the kind Aaron saw on his mission in Brazil.  They are about the size of an extra large squirrel or a kitten.  This mama had a teensy tiny little baby on her back.  If it held its head up you could see it, but when it put its head down it fit perfectly into the mama's neck and blended into her fur.  It was perfectly camouflaged.
This young chimp had a favorite blankie.  He/she dragged it all over, wrapped it around its shoulders, cuddled with it and when it got stuck on a branch and fell it would go back and get it.  
We were some of the last visitors out of the zoo.  When we passed the tiger enclosure on our way out the tigers were right up close and they were agitated.  It turns out the zookeepers were inside getting their food ready, and they knew it.  It was fascinating to look at these animals that earlier looked like big kitties:
no longer look cute a fuzzy.
The power in their features was frightening, or would have been if I had encountered them in the wild without the safety of a strong fence.
Just a smattering of some of the other animals.
Super long post about animals, I know.  Maybe someday when I have more time I will go into a philosophical discussion about zoos, but for now I had best feed my family and move on with the the present because remember the tigers waiting for their dinner?  My kids can be just as frightening during witching hour, and I don't have a fence to protect me....