Archive for December, 2011

Cheerio! Pip Pip! And All That Jazz!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

As seen here nibbling a cheerio on New Year’s Eve eve, this mouse — one of two rescued the day after Christmas from certain death by our dog Ranger from our cat Jiggy — took a drastic turn for the worse after the smaller of the pair disappeared (by chewing an escape hole through the box in which they were kept). I thought for sure this remaining mouse was a goner, but after transferring it into a more secure enclosure and providing it with shredded paper to nest in as well as a plush toy to cuddle with, it’s rebounded beautifully — much to my amazement and joy. Barring any relapse it is scheduled to be released back into the front yard ivy New Year’s Eve night, where it might join up with its far less patient rescue partner, who I like to think avoided all of our cats and found a way to freedom.

Timelapse: The Pros & Cons Of Bicycle Maintenance

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Well here’s a blast from the past that I found in the dusty archives of a back-up hard drive. This is a forgotten-about video I made in the summer of 2009 of me putting my then-singlespeed bike “Le Noir” up on the stand and doing a pretty thorough frontyard strip to update some of its wornout componentry (including the bottom bracket, pedals, seat, tires, and chain). Sadly, all this work was for naught as little more than a month later the frame started exhibiting some disturbing flex and was replaced.

Going Batty

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Since I didn’t have a gift wishlist this season Susan had to improvise so that there’d be something under the tree for me to unwrap Christmas morn. I’m not sure what gave her the idea other than my love of bats, but she totally scored in getting me a ready-made, easy-to-install cedar bat shelter from Audubon.

As documented at right, I broke out the big ladder to easily install its ready-madeness this morning under the eave above the kitchen window. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that  it meets with the approval of any chiropterans looking for a place to hang.

Close-up after the jump, plus a bonus shot whose caption should be “I can see Little Armenia from my house!”

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Would Ya Look At That: Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Stumbled on this photograph Susan made of Ranger, me and Shadow as we wandered around one of my favorite places that we had pretty much all to ourselves on November 12, 2007 (click it for the bigger picture):

2011 was one of those rare years since discovering Death Valley in 2002 when I didn’t get out and get me some of that old desert magic. We won’t make that mistake in 2012.

The Mice Hospice Is At Capacity Today

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Despite our knowledge of the myriad risks involved and much to the disdain of some of my fellow cat lovers and most animal care organizations, our quintet of cats enjoy the outdoors. We keep them in at night, but during the day they are free to come and go. We understand this is not only detrimental to their health but to the health of any variety of critters who exist around our house, namely birds, lizards, rats and mice.

Today’s special is the latter.

This morning, I knew something was up when I saw Ranger trotting across the yard with cat Jiggy in pursuit. It’s always the other way around. So when I joined them, sure enough, I discovered that ever-protective Ranger had taken a mouse away from Jiggy and when demanded by me dutifully dropped it from her mouth on the grass. It seemed dazed and in shock but not suffering any external wounds so with Susan’s help I secured it in the shoe box I keep handy to serve as a potential recovery room.

Not more than a half-hour later Susan came in to alert me that Ranger was under the patio table guarding yet another mouse Jiggy had found. At first look this one seemed to have expired, but then I saw its tiny lungs fill with air and deflate and so now our Mice Hospice has two residents.

Given how relatively unscathed and alert the last cat-caught rodent seemed that I offered sanctuary to, only to be found dead the next morning, I’m not fooling myself about the prognosis for this pair — especially the second one (at the bottom of the snap above). If they recover, I’ll be pleased to release them deep into the front yard ivy with the hopes they’ve learned a valuable lesson. But if they go to their respective ends in the near future, at least they will do so with some dignity in a warm quiet place stocked with some water, walnut bits and cat kibble should they find themselves in need of a drink or a nibble.

UPDATE (4:16 p.m.): Not sure if this is a positive sign but it sure ain’t a negative one — and if nothing else it’s very cute. The two mice are currently huddled up and cuddled together in a corner of the shoebox:

 UPDATE (12.27): Looking better! Checked on them at 7:15 a.m. and was pleased to find them improved from when I’d checked on them before going to bed last night. Plus, they’d eaten some of the walnuts and drank from the water bowl and pooped plentifully. Both an appetite and poop — especially bloodless poop —  is a good sign that internally they’re not damaged (or at least not badly). I’m still maintaining a healthy skepticism, but the fact that the little one (on the left below) has rebounded given how badly beaten up it was when I found it is pretty amazing. I’d bet it has helped both tremendously that they had each other for company.

UPDATE (3:51 p.m.): As can be seen in this brief clip, the larger one certainly demonstrates some protective tendencies. PS. They love cheerios. Not sure of the species… deer mouse, perhaps?

UPDATE (11:28 p.m.): After a wonderful night out with friends from San Francisco, we came home to find the smaller seemingly worse-off of the two mice had escaped the box through a hole it gnawed in one of the corners. So now there’s a mouse (and/or its parts) either in the house or in one of the cats’ bellies. Probably a bit of both. More bad news: the larger seemingly better-off  mouse stayed behind in the box largely because it is no longer better-off. It has taken a drastic turn for the worse and I won’t be surprised if it does not survive the night. Sigh.

UPDATE (12.28): As of 9 a.m. the whereabouts of smaller mouse is still unknown (I’m going to hope it found a way out of the house as easily as it found a way out of the box). The larger mouse is still with us. Despite remaining largely immobile with no improvement from last night, it has been installed in a chew-proof container (I’m kicking myself for not doing that in the first place with both critters).

UPDATE (5:03 p.m.): Well, the remaining mouse ain’t through yet. I put some shredded paper into which it’s nested quite adorably, along with a small plush toy just in case it could use the softness as a surrogate for the one that got away.

UPDATE (12.29): This may be the most resilient mouse I’ve ever encountered. Though it seemed to be knocking on death’s door — again! — this morning (hardly reacting when I picked it up by the tail), at 3:35 p.m. it suddenly emerged from its shredded paper nest to move about and nibble on a cheerio.

UPDATE (12.30): Amazing. Huge increase in activity today. At 1:45 p.m. it just finished another stretch that included lots of eating, moving, drinking, and exploring the perimeter of its enclosure trying to find a way out. If this doesn’t diminish release could be as soon as tomorrow.

Still Life With Grandson, Toy & Tree

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Tiny Tot With His Eyes All Aglow

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

With great grandma Casey and mom Katie looking on, my grandson Aiden shows himself to be very pleased with his Lightning McQueen car.