The Hugos

I’ve been mostly ignoring the whole mess.  Mostly because the Hugo’s themselves never made any difference to me (wait, I’m supposed to be picking my reading material based on the awards won???  Damn, why didn’t anyone tell me??).  But since several authors I read are involved in the current uproar, and several more bloggers I read have commented on it I’m certainly aware of it, at least a bit.

Today however I ran across this, and this……

Never met any of the authors mentioned, though I follow Ringo on Facebook.  But I’ve read enough of the books by the various authors mentioned to completely get the references…..

Put down your drink and food before reading…..

How much does it cost….

I keep seeing these articles on how much people are saving (money wise) by growing their own produce.  The numbers are usually astronomical.  

So I’m going to attempt to track how much I’m spending on my garden this summer.  Its not going to be perfect.  For example, I’m not going to track how much gas I used to pick up stuff.  And a LOT of the seeds I’m planting were from packages bought in previous years, and the seeds I buy this year will likely also be enough to plant from the same packages next year.  But I’m going to try.  And I’m going to try to track what similar produce would cost at the store or farmer’s market and compare.  I’ve added a new post category for this for ease of tracking.

To start with:

seeds bought this year: $36.40 However most of these will provide enough seeds to grow the same plants again next year at bare minimum, some of them, like the carrots, will be enough for several years.

dirt/compost: $10

garlic: $31.75

So far I’ve not spent anything else on the garden for this year.  The tires for the addition were free, and I’ve been able to re-use the trellis and most of the stakes etc from last year.


Arty officially completed his Barn Hunt Novice Title today, making him officially Artemis RATN were I to bother with paperwork for him.

He was far less impressed with the whole photograph with his ribbons thing than he was with the find the rats thing.



But thats ok cause I’m still proud of him!

Well, crap…..

A few weeks ago I posted about a random bout of digestive upset I’d experienced.  I actually posted to early, I ended up experiencing random digestive problems for the rest of that week.  Not cool.

I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.  And since then I’ve eaten large quantities of dairy (including the rest of my homemade velveeta) with no problems.  Prior to the incident I’d used duck eggs in a variety of baked goods.  And I’ve eaten duck meat with no problems.

Last weekend I made pancakes for breakfast for me and my husband, and (after performing a float test to be sure the egg was still ok) I used one of the remaining duck eggs I had in the fridge in the pancake mix.

About an hour later I had gas, bloating, general stomach upset, and acid reflux again.  And once again I had random stomach upset for the next couple days.  My husband, who ate from the same batch of pancakes at the same time as I experienced none of it.

I guess that answers that question.  No more duck eggs for me except in larger baked goods like breads or cookies.  Which means that my thoughts of eventually getting Muscovy ducks instead of chickens isn’t going to happen either…..

Nebraska Dog (and cat) Law–proposed amendment!

Text of the proposed amendment here.

Current status here.

This amendment will allow the court to sell, donate to a shelter, or destroy any animal thats been seized for PROBABLE CAUSE of abuse or neglect BEFORE the owner has their day in court.  And if the owner is then found not guilty they do not get their animal back.

This amendment will also, if the court does not decide on the above, to allow the court to set a “bond or security” that the ACCUSED owner must pay, to cover the costs of caring for the animals while the court case is pending.  And if the owner is found not guilty the funds will be returned to them.  HOWEVER, failure to pay those funds in the first place (because, you know, court costs alone are expensive) the animal is forfeited REGARDLESS of the outcome of the court case.

The new dog prep

No, we don’t have a new dog.  I was following links and ran across this post.  I can’t seem to figure out how to comment there, and it’s something that I think that every dog owner ought to think about anyways, so…..

The questions as listed in that post.

1: what meds to store?

The answer is going to depend a bit.  You need to know what pests are normal in your local environment, and if your prefered bug out location is completely different then you need to know what’s normal there too.  Some areas of the country will need heartworm prevention year round (I prefer Revolution for my dogs, but do some research, there are areas where heartworms are showing resistance to some meds).  Know what kinds of ticks are common locally, there are at least 4 kinds of ticks common in the USA, but not all are found in all areas, and not all preventatives work on all types (I prefer Preventic collars for my dogs).  Know if there are other pests common to the area you’ll need to prevent.  Keeping a stock of a standard intestinal wormer product may not be a bad idea, especially for folks in more rural areas.  Many wormers can be bought over the counter from local pet stores, feed stores, and veterinary supply stores.  A decent anti-fungal that’ll work on both you and the dog isn’t a bad idea either.  Benadryl is another one thats good to stock, bee stings can cause nasty swelling for some dogs, to the point of impacting the airways, and benadryl will help with that.  Standard dosage is UP TO 1mg of benadryl per pound of dog, however I personally recommend starting at half that and only dosing more if the dog needs it as some dogs are highly affected by it.  

2: food?

Most kibble will store for extended periods if you can buy the bags shortly after it hits the stores, but check the “best buy” dates as it CAN go rancid.  Also kibble is a PIA to haul if you have to move quickly.  A gallon ziplock bag’s worth will get you through a day or two, but you’ll want to plan on what to expect after that.  Some folks can up meat and planned dog food using their pressure canner.  Others (like me) try to keep dehydrated meats on hand.  But its something you’ll want to think about.  My dogs are also comfortable eating raw meat and bone, so in theory I could hunt deer or rabbits and they could eat anything I didn’t, but know your resources and what your dog will or will not eat.

3: Purified water?

Your dog isn’t as likely to be affected by the NORMAL bacteria in streams and ponds the way us humans are, however water contaminated by large quantities feces or chemicals can be as much a potential issue for them as it is for us.  If your local off grid water source has the potential to become so contaminated you may want to consider how you’ll purify water for them.  

4: skills?

If you can train your dog to be RELIABLE off leash that is a huge help.  This means that you only have to call your dog once, MAYBE twice, to get them to return to you.  That they’ll stay in a reasonable heel position off leash on command, that they’ll keep a “stay” command off leash reliably.  In ALL conditions.  Neither of mine is off leash safe, and that means I’ll in an emergency I’ll have to be juggling leashes on top of everything else.  Also, a reliable “leave it” and/or “drop it” can save your dog’s life.  A dog who’ll load into the car off leash on command, AND who’ll leave the car off leash on command.  A reliable “quiet” command.  And maybe a reliable “pretend you’re a big aggressive dog” command.

5: what else?

Get your vet to show you how to properly wrap a bandage on a dog.  Dogs can’t tell you if you got it too tight and it might be cutting off circulation, so you need to KNOW.  Add some extra bandage type supplies to the first aid kit, specifically for the dog, consider specialty bandages such as the StopLik.  Know what human meds are safe to give your dog (and which ones AREN’T) and keep those in stock along with what doses to be used on your dogs.  Train your dog to be comfortable in a muzzle and keep one in stock for him.  YOU might know your dog would never bite, but even the best dog can react on instinct if they’re injured, and it’ll make emergency personnel much more comfortable if the injured animal is muzzled.  Consider training your dog to wear booties and stock them, so that in the event of alot of broken glass or other such footings you don’t have to worry about cut up feet.  If your dog is small enough to lift consider having a lifter style harness for them.  Traveling by boat?  Seriously consider a lifejacket, even for the dogs who love water, getting stranded a couple miles from shore is a long swim.  Is your dog big enough and strong enough to carry a pack and have a bug out location that requires a hike?  Consider having him carry some of his own supplies in a pack harness, but be aware that this requires time and training to get him to the point of being able to carry any real amount of stuff.  Extra leashes and collars, bare minimum a quick slip collar leash combo, should be in every vehicle, location, and bug out bag.  Copies of your dog’s rabies vaccination records bare minimum should be kept too.  Ideally copies of your dog’s entire medical file.  Consider also having a ICE specific to your pets, stating who besides you has the right to care for your dogs and make medical decisions for them if you’re not available, not only on file at your vets office, but also in your bug out bag and with any other animal supplies, along with any notes on required meds the dog might need.  


I’ve linked to a few products in the above post, some I personally own (in which case I bought them with my own money), some I know of by reviews, but I have received no kick back by linking to them.  I’m using them as examples of what I’m referring to, absolutely look around to figure out what’ll work for you!

Dogs and kids

Just before Easter a newspaper in a town in Idaho posted a picture sent to them by a reader.  The photo hit their Facebook page Friday, and went out in Saturday’s paper.

If you’re part of a community of dog people on Facebook I’m sure you saw it.  A 2yr old toddler, who I’ll refer to as B, and a large dog I’ll call T.  The child’s bunny ears had been placed on the dog, and B was kissing the side of T’s nose.  The uproar was because of T’s expression.  Tight staring eyes, wrinkled face and nose, teeth bared, the dog himself clearly tense.

By Monday the paper had pulled the photo off their Facebook page, and printed a short article in response.  In the article were repeated statements by the mother detailing why she felt that everyone else was wrong and there was no danger to her child.  The paper even found a local veterinarian to lend credibility to the idea that the public was over reacting.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some of the responses were over reaction.  The calls for the mother to be reported to authorities were stupid and made it easy to lump all the responses into the “crazy” category.


But lets get some things straight.


Some dogs do appear to “smile”.  Its often a “submissive grin” and often means the dog thinks there may be a problem and he’s trying to appease (though not always), but its characterized by the lifting of lips in an otherwise “soft” face, and may even include the showing of some of the whites of the eyes, though usually they’re squinty.  Although a dog may bite after showing a submissive grin, they don’t usually.

However what T was displaying was an “agonistic grin”.  Tight eyes, wrinkled face, baring of teeth.  Although an agonistic grin doesn’t mean the dog is going to bite, it is far more likely than with a submissive grin.


Veterinarians ought be decent studies of dog behavior, just by virtue of the time they spend with them.  However that does not mean that they are.  And the one in the article who shrugged off the photo (assuming he was quoted correctly) appears to be particularly clueless.  Stating the dog didn’t appear to be skittish or aggressive in the photo so therefor there was no problem.

However dogs do not have to be skittish or aggressive in order to object to the way he’s being handled, and even the best dog can snap if pushed too far on a bad day.  Something that every vet ought to be aware of since they are in a situation to see a lot of very unhappy dogs.


The mother stated that T is a big loveable oaf who’d never harm her son.

But if you a search for “family dog bites child” you’ll find almost identical quotes from the parents in those cases too.


The mother stated that T is “regularly used” as a racetrack, a pillow, and a step-stool by her son, and although T is generally not happy he tolerates it.

Which tells me that this kiss on the face isn’t a once off thing, that the child is regularly allowed to treat the dog as if he’s an inanimate object whose feelings don’t matter.


The mother also states that T often makes that face “when his whiskers are touched, he doesn’t like it”.  And that “.05 seconds after the photo was snapped T got up, licked B’s face, shook off the ears and walked away”.

Look, dogs lick people for all sorts of reasons, but in this case, in this setting, that was a blatant “back off kid……”.  Never mind that she KNOWS that T doesn’t like having his whiskers touched, and yet has continued to touch his whiskers enough to shrug off T’s expression as normal, and to even allow her toddler to do so, to the point of allowing B to put his face in the line of fire.


Its enough to make me want to cry.  This is apparently a well trained and socialized dog who’s doing his best to be polite to the baby.  And his owner is essentially setting him up to bite her child.  Hopefully he won’t.  He’s a good dog who doesn’t deserve to be put down for his owner’s failure, never mind that no 2yr old deserves to be on the sharp end of it.

Please don’t do this to your dog, much less your child.  Please take the time to read over the couple links I’m going put at the end that detail the canine body language you should be watching for.  And please please please, teach your child proper dog manners, so that they won’t join the far to many children who are bitten by a “friendly” dog every year.


Why Supervising Isn’t Working

Learn to speak dog

Family Paws

The heartbreaking story of another mother who was sure her dog wouldn’t bite her child.



We had a couple of absolutely lovely 60+ degree days last week.  I can finally access the garden again, and the snow in the yard is mostly gone except from a couple really shady spots.

Course, that rapid melt means that every single waterway has burst over its banks with no prior warning.  In many cases by a good 20 feet.  And of course the ground in our yard went from frozen solid to swamp in the same period.  

When I could finally access the garden again I was surprised to see quite a bit of green already.  It looks like the combination of insulating snow and black tires kept the garden warm enough that many of the annual flowers I planted last year (for color) survived the winter (the coldest one the area has ever had) and were getting ready to bloom!  Course, this means that every single weed survived too…..

Current 10 day forecast says we’re not supposed to dip below the freezing mark at all during that time period.  Though we’re going to be getting a fair bit of rain instead.  We don’t need more water at the moment, really.  The downside to that is that every single fruit tree in the region is about to start budding.  If we get a solid frost after this (which is entirely possible since normal last frost isn’t for another month at least for most of the area) its going to play havoc on the orchards.

I’m going to try growing broccoli again.  I’ve got it started in pots inside with an eye towards potentially planting it under row covers in a couple weeks.  Along with the Sugar Snap peas, radishes and some lettuce.  The tomatoes and most of the peppers are out in the greenhouse.

I found a local farm who’ll deliver a pickup load of well aged cow manure for cheap, course, the ground’s so wet she can’t drive the pickup right to the garden like I’d hoped to be able to do.  So we’ll be ferrying the lovely black dirt with hand-carts and the lawn tractor (if the lawn tractor doesn’t bog down in the mud anyway).  But it should do good things for my garden, so its worth it.

Arty’s enjoying the warmer temps, while Apollo is mourning the missing snow.  Arty has now completed 2 of the 3 required Qualifying runs to earn him his Barn Hunt Novice title.  Hopefully he’ll get that last Q later this month at a local trial.  We’ll be running Apollo for his Instinct title at the same trial, so wish me luck!

Bald Eagle

This fellow flew over yesterday while I was out in the yard.  



I’ve had others fly over, but for various reasons hadn’t gotten a photo.  This one made my day.