April 19, 2015
Birdie's Cage Fail
When last I left you in this riveting story, due to the base of Birdie's cage breaking, I bought a new cage for him and seemed to be doing well in his digs 9picture taken 3/27).
Well, he liked his mirror (transferred from the old cage), but he was rooted to his spot on the upper perch. He would not venture down to eat, even when I clipped one of his favorites, whole grain bread, above the food dish. By 3/31, he still had not moved to eat, although he did eat some bread that I placed in a clip next to the perch he was on - so I knew I had to do something - especially since I would be leaving for my 3 day trip to Rhode Island. So. I brought the old cage back pstairs and placed him in it until I could come up with something better. He immediately ran down to the food dish and started munching away.
I started searching CL, and found that several weeks previously someone had posted the exact same model as Birdie's old cage. I had tried desperately to find the same model as new, but evidently it had gone out of production (not surprised since it is at least 12 years old). So, I found someone who was selling the cage - or were they? You never know on CL with older ads. Did they sell the item and not delete the post? Did they get tired of waiting for someone to want it and take it to the dump or local swap shop?
Only one way to find out, so I mailed the person that had placed the ad. In the email I offered a little less than they wanted explaining that I really only needed the base, not the whole cage. Yes, the cage was still available, and they would take what I offered so I arranged to pick it up the night before leaving for RI. I didn't wet it up as I had other things to accomplish (like pack), but at least I didn't have to worry about it while I was supposed to be relaxing.
A couple of days after I got home, I transferred Birdie to the new/used cage (hey, it was already clan, so I might as well use the whole thing). Although traumatized by the move, as usual, he settled in as if it was the same old cage.
At the same time, I decided to go ahead and assemble the stand that I had gotten for the new cage. Since the stand is contoured to fit the base of the new cage exactly, I had to scrounge in the basement and found a couple of shelves from a broken book shelf that works well for holding the cage.
If you look below the cage in use, there is a clear plastic seed catcher in the above picture. That thing has been in use since sometime in the 90's, and is brittle, cracked and falling apart. I looked and looked for a replacement, but the company that used to make them was bought out by another company and they discontinued making the seed catcher. Birdie is very messy for a cockatiel; throwing food and pellets out of the cage, so a catcher is needed.
Most solutions available now consist of a covering that blocks off view from above the seed bowl to the cage bottom. I knew Birdie would never go for that, so I finally found something that works, although it freaked out Birdie for a couple of days - but he is okay with it now.
Note that I only put up a couple of sides to the catcher so it sags and looks like crap, but it is the only way that I can still access the food bowls every day (it interferes with the latches for the bowls - if they slid upwards the catcher would be fine). It works better than the old catcher as Birdie hasn't figured out how to flip the pellets/seeds over the side, so the floor stays a lot cleaner.
Since the new cage that Birdie doesn't like is used, it can't be returned. I am torn as to whether I will try to sell it (and take a loss), or hold onto it. Every once in a while I see birds being given away on CL (cockatiels or parakeets), and I wouldn't mind having a couple more birds. Even if I don't get more birds at this point, Birdie has surpassed his life expectancy (he's over 20), so when it is his time to go, I am sure I will get another small bird or two - and having a new cage would be preferable to the used cage, which is about as old as the cage that I replaced.
At least Birdie is happy and eating, so anything beyond that is just a minor irritant.
March 29, 2015
Birdie's New Digs
I was cleaning Birdie's cage Wednesday evening when this happened.
I can't be too upset. It was Birdies original cage; I have had him since 2003 and he was about 10 years old when I got him. That cage came with Birdie, so I assume it is around 20 years old or so. Additionally, the center part had cracked a couple of years ago, so it was only a matter of time. Fortunately, Birdie isn't a big wanderer, the biggest issues the break caused would be more mess outside the cage and the wire being less securely balanced on the base. Heck, that portion that is still attached was very floppy even with the cage wire settled on top of it, and I was afraid it would break too.
I was originally going to go to a pet store to get a replacement cage - I could run out during lunch and pick one up. I got online to see what was available in-store, and couldn't believe what they were charging for a small cage (smaller than the 18 x 18 x 22T cage I had). I did find a somewhat larger cage that would be good for Birdie, but I wasn't liking the cost (really - it should have come with a bird or two already). People on CL also must have coated their cages in gold.
So, off on an internet search I went. At Overstock I found what I was looking for with the additional bonus of being able to buy a stand (total cost was for what the cage cost at where the pets go). A stand would be good because even wwith birdie's broken cage, it was all I dould do to fit the cage and the cat food on the table. With a stand for the even larger cage, I wouldn't have to worry about that. However, the cage wouldn't arrive until next week if I got it from Overstock. Although not a catastrophe, I had issues with that for my own reasons.
Since Overstock gave me a good skew number (the pet place used its own numbers), I was able to track one down on Amazon, where my Prime membership would get me 2-day delivery for the cage (the stand will be here sometime in the coming week - but that is not so urgent a need). So, Friday evening FedEx delivered the cage and I got it all set up.
The cool thing about this cage is that I can take it completely down to flat if needed (the other cage I couldn't).
Birdie is still getting used to his new place. The more vertical bars, versus his old cage having more horizontal bars, are not as easy for him to maneuver around with. He was never that good at climbing cage wires to begin with. The perch dowels supplied with the cage were for slightly larger birds (O'hara-size), so I bought a dowel yesterday and fashioned a new main perch for him - he seems more comfortable now.
As I suspected, the new cage takes up almost all the width of the table so I have moved the cat food to the living room bay window until the stand arrives.
Hopefully Birdie settles in quickly and enjoys his new cage for a long time to come.
February 14, 2015
House of Warm Critters
Last night it was -7 or -8 at 8 pm. Looked to be getting a really cold night, so I put the upstairs pellet stove in T-stat mode. Now, that sounds like a thermostat turns it on and off, but that would be SmartStat mode (which it normally is in - by the way Cop Car, the digital thermostat works great - thanks!) T-Stat mode is slightly different; I set the highest heat output it is allowed to get to (I set at #3, but the rang is 1-5) then if there is a call for heat, the stove goes directly to #3 output. If there is no call for heat, it idles at #1 output. So, it never goes out.
Since the thermostat is in the office, closer to the stove, it stays warmer than the bedroom by 2-4 degrees on a normal day. However, with the frigid temps, the bedroom temperature was getting to the lowest it has been, 66, since I put the stove in. I figured it would get even lower thru the night as the cold from the garage infiltrated the floor. So, by putting it on T-stat, there would be steady heat for the fan to push into the bedroom (dang, I should go into a big explanation of how the heat gets to the other side of the house, but I won't). This worked well and the bedroom was 68 when I awoke this morning.
Anyway, to back up at 8 pm last night - I came into the living room after checking the outside thermometer to see that Fuzzy looked like he knew how cold it was outside and was getting prepared in case the house got cold
Tory and Birdie seemed to be more confident that no such thing would happen.
And yes, I am staying toasty warm with the pellet stoves going - at half the fuel cost of when I used propane.
January 24, 2015
About a week ago - Tory in the kitchen bay window
Hope you enjoyed your cuteness quotient for the day.
January 11, 2015
Yesterday morning I awoke very early and moved my left hand down beside my hip. My hand hit a cat, so I pet Tory. It is easy to know that it is Tory since Fuzzy has never been on a bed since he became a housecat. The bed was Owned by Shadoe, who consented to let Troy on it, but not Fuzzy and the tradition continued when Shadow passed and I don't know of a time that Fuzzy has actually entered a bedroom since I've been in this house.
As I was drifting back off to sleep, I heard a strange purring. It took me a minute in my brain fog to realize why it sounded strange; it sounded like Fuzzy's purring and not Tory's. I soon figured out, while still almost asleep, that for some reason Fuzzy must be out in the hallway and he heard me move, so started purring.
When I woke up later, and got ready to get out of bed, I put my hand down to pet Tory. Being a bit mre awake, I thought the hair was a bit long for Tory, so opened my eyes. About that time, Fuzzy's purring became very loud and I realized that Fuzzy had joined us during the night. Tory was on my right side, not quite touching me so I hadn't realized he was there.
Then last night I got ready for bed late, about 11 pm. Tory was sitting on the couch staring at me, waiting for me to go to bed so he could join. He has learned it takes me a minute or two to settle down so that the covers and pillows are to my liking, so waits until I call him. I realized that Fuzzy wasn't in the living room, or the kitchen, his two usual haunts. I then went to the bedroom and saw this:
Apparently the whole family (except Birdie) will be using the bed at night now. Fuzzy moved while I got in bed, then planted himself at my right hip. Tory came for his usaul bedtime pets, on my left side (hi usual side to start the night). When I woke up this morning, Fuzzy was at my left, and Tory at my right.
I don't know what has changed where Tory will tolerate him on the bed and in fairly close proximity without at least grumbling, but I will take it.
December 13, 2014
Last weekend I was doing something, I don't recall what, which evidently made noises that Fuzzy didn't like. I only realized that when I walked into the kitchen and saw Fuzzy staring out the office door. How did that tip me off? Fuzzy never goes into the office as that is Tory's hang out.
Tory was a little disgruntled that Fuzzy was in there, but he was more upset with what I was doing. I can tell becasue otherwise he would have either moved to the couch or confronted Fuzzy.
After I finished my actions - ah yes, I remember now, I was cleaning the upstairs stove and using an ash vac that I had just gotten and it sounds much different than my tiny shop vac that I had been using.
The ash vac is the green one, the shop vac is the red one. I received the shop vac as my Christmas gift in 2012 when I worked for SG; There were a bunch of boxes and envelopes that everyone got to chose from, and that is what I managed to pick. Little did I know how handy it would turn out to be later! It has been cleaning sheetrock dust, saw dust, pellet stoves and goodness knows what else. It has been great, just it is very small and I would have to empty it as much as 3 times a day.
Anyway, once I finished with the pellet stove cleaning, Fuzzy came out into the living room (his usual haunt) and life for the kitties returned to normal.
October 20, 2014
RIP Prince 10/20/14
Prince took his last breath today and I would like to remind everyone what all he had been thru while retaining his dignity, stoicism, and loving calmeness.
I got Prince as a "used" dog, He had at least 2 homes prior to my bringing him home in June of 2001. I hadn't planned to get another dog so soon, but Sampson shut down after losing his companions Bogie and Niki within 5 weeks, and my vet recommended Prince from a family that just couldn't keep him from getting out of the (loosly) fenced back yard and running in the streets. He had a plate in his right, front leg from being hit by a car in Peterborough.
Sampson immediately perked up when I brought Prince home, even though there was a huge age difference (in dog years). Sampson was a senior, and Prince was between 1 and 2 years old. The cats, New, Tory and Indy, weren't sure what to make of Prince as they were used to being around older dogs and Prince delighted in chasing them if they were so foolish to run. Timid Indy was the first to figure out if she didn't run, that Prince would stop his charge and just sniff around. His other bad habit was chewing shoes, so those were kept out of reach until he grew out of that phase (about 6 months if I remember correctly, somewhat confirming our suspicion that he was around 1.5 years old when I brought him home). From day one, he had the fastest and prettiest sit any of my dogs have ever had and although he didn't play much with toys, he did have a favorite squeaky
Missy became Prince's fast friend when she came into the household 9/18/01 and being of around the same age helped channel his energy. When he was outside, he was on a cable until he got attacked a couple of times by the neighbor's dogs (who managed to get loose a couple of times). That is when we had the fence built at the Deering house, so he could roam the yard without danger. That is the only thing that seemed to change Prince; he was always very friendly with other dogs, but after a couple of bad encounters, he would not tolerate any other dogs coming close. I couldn't blame him, and honestly, the only major accomodation was when we went to the vet we made sure no dogs were in the waiting room when we went in and out.
Prince was a couch potato even though he wasn't allowed on the furniture. Anytime everyone went down the stairs, he was sneeking up on the couch. It finally got to the point that we gave up castigating him, as long as he got off when we entered the living room, so we tried to remember to place a comforter on it to keep the couch fabric somewhat clean. However, the couch was the only piece of furniture he got on - the bed and easy chair were of no interest to him
In the last 5 years or so, he lost a lot of his sight to cataracts (although motion was a magnet for him) and his hearing was very poor, but he still moved well. He also started developing fatty non-malignant tumors around his torso, spine, and rear legs.
Then the big changes came in 2013; Shadow passed, Missy had to be put down, the Ex left the house, then the menagerie and I moved to the Hillsboro house. Thru it all, Prince was stoic and accepting of all the changes. Okay, except when I tried to keep him in the kitchen when I was at work. I was gone 13-14 hours a day, so I wanted him to mess up the tiles, not the wood floor. Well, after about a week, he got tired of that and put in the most effort I have ever seen him put into anything to get out.
And then he went to a kennel a couple of times while I was out of town, or while the contractors were working on the house. They obviously spoiled him and he obviously loved it. I was so glad that he was in good spirits when he came out of the kennels as I felt so guilty!
He had also been on medicine since this spring for incontinence, which worked well most of the time. These last couple of months had been harder on him. Even though my work days were shorter (actually, drive time less), he could no longer hold his bladder. I got wee-wee pads, which he used most times. But the last two weeks he had also been voiding his bowels during the day, when previously he had been very regular - first thing in the morning and again after I got home from work. And his back legs have been very shaky - several times I have had to help him get up from laying down.
Tonight, when I got home from work, he had obviously been in the office all day long; voiding there (wehre is previously had been in the living room on the pee pads) and he had only been able to paddle along the floor to get away from laying in the mess.
I carried him to the door and helped him down the ramp so he could do his business in the yard. I debated with myself, but looking at his shaking back legs, decided he was in such pain and instability (I assume from the fatty tumors growing along his spine), that I had to make the decision and let him go with his dignity intact and not prolong things because of my needs.
I took him to CAVES, the emergency vet clinic in Concord and gave him the last gift I could, painless sleep. If there is an afterlife,
he is now cavorting with old friends; Missy, Sampson, Indy and Shadow- and gaining new friends; New, Bogie, Niki (who will mother him to death), Cleo (whose life was so short since she had feline HIV), Argent (Bogie's sisterm who was with us way to short a time), New (who was the most well traveled of the group), Shilo, Midnight, Black Angel, Midnight, Blackie, Butterscotch, and Fluffy.
Rest in peace friend. You are out of pain, can see clearly and hear all the amazing sounds of nature. You were a great friend and I'm glad I could provide your forever home after 2 other homes found they couldn't keep you. You were a rock, so stoic and calm no matter what happened. How I will miss you!
July 20, 2014
I haven't shown any photos of the kids for a while, so here are a couple
Prince and Fuzzy out in the pen (Fuzzy is way back at the fence):
Prince all spiffyfied up. I took him to a kennel Friday morning thru Saturday afternoon since the window guys were there with the door open all day. While he was there, I had them give him a bath, and apparently their groomer gives an extra touch with the bandana. This pic is after I picked him up on Saturday.
They said he did well, which is nice since he has never been in a kennel except at the vet for a procedure, and he doesn't like other dogs since being attacked several time. He definitely looked like a happy and relaxed dog when I picked him up. Sure, he was happy to see me, but he knows how to guilt a person, and he didnt' do that. He was relaxed and in good spirits - a huge relief as I will probably want to kennel him for any trips I take.
Guess I'll have to make an effort to get a pic of Tory so he isn't left out next time.
April 05, 2014
Walking the Dog
With warmer and sunny weather for most of the week, I have been taking Prince for a walk (but not today - cold, cloudy and windy). With the rain earlier this week and some snow meltage, the river, which is 3 short blocks away, has risen a bit. It isn't at flood stage, but still loud and impressive to behold.
Looking forward to more nice days to come!
February 13, 2014
I just saw my two favorite veterinarians, Derek and Nancy of Tenney Fritz & Combs, on tonight's NH Chronicle feature of Monadnock Oil and Vinegar Company. They were tasting different flavors of olive oil. Nothing exciting, but it was cool to unexpectedly see them in a setting other than their vet clinic!