Off Topic Journal (mostly pets )

Sometimes its fun to have a little window into what goes on in other households.  I’ve had some messages from readers, who want to know more about the pets who live here.

NOVEMBER 10, 2016

My mom would have had another birthday this week, and she loved cats! She’s been gone now for almost six years, and in honor of her birthday, I’m posting a  short video clip featuring  Phoenix the grumpy cat.  She would have really enjoyed watching it.


Today is October 22, 2016.  It is a windy autumn day, and Ernie dog was bored inside.  So, I asked him if he wanted to go outside to look for mice (a favorite pastime of his, which is unfortunate for the field mouse population).  He, being Ernie, did, and I let him out. The links below are videos of him and his quest to find mice.

I was keeping an eye on him, because we, and a neighbor have both seen a rat lately, and I didn’t want Ernie tangling with it.  (We don’t know where it lives).

That, in fact, is why you can see an animal trap in the video, we have it for the rat, but keep catching field mice and chipmunks, which we free again.  Its a losing battle really.

Its very windy here today.  But normally, when Ernie’s  on the hunt, you can hear him from yards away snuffling with his nose when he shoves it down into a hole.

I didn’t think to record this  until his hole was well underway, so the tail wagging with butt up in the air, and snuffling was mostly done with.  We keep smoothing out the dirt, and he keeps digging it back up.  I fear that a creature has started a tunnel out in the field somewhere, and it leads to under the shed!

The goal is to get a ramp in place there at the shed door, but its one of those “down the road” projects.

We have two small ponds in the backyard.  You can see the smaller one in the videos of Ernie.   It only has water lilies in it (none blooming so late in the season).

The  second pond is right off of the deck.  It has goldfish too.  We even have a baby that survived being eaten by the big fish, wintered over just fine last year, and now is colored up and growing larger. This photo was taken this morning, but I don’t think baby is in the picture.


Below is a photo of the goldfish pond taken earlier in the year:


Next on the entertainment list for you today, are my finches in the indoor aviary.  I used to keep  Gouldian finches exclusively , but, over time, I branched out to a few other varieties too,  I have a pair of Cordon Bleus, a pair of Orange Cheeked waxbills, a green singer, a gold breasted finch, and the Gouldians (a total of eleven finches).

It’s an all male cage.

Anyone who is familiar with green singer finches will understand what  glorious sounding (early!) mornings we have around here.  The gouldians don’t start in until later, and they don’t have the sheer volume he does.


Here’s a  photo of some them:


That’s it for today.  I’ll add more photos and videos from time to time.


Ernie has elbow calluses.   And I guess it’s not that unusual for dogs (especially those who lay on hardwood floors)  to have calluses that become  cracked and bleed.  We are using an organic  “Blissful Dog” elbow butter that seems to be doing the trick.

So, while he’s being treated, he’s getting to wear a nifty “elbow pads shrug” I made him 🙂  Unfortunately the first attempt (shown below) ended up with the pads too high.  But, it still kept him from licking.  I’ve since made him another one, with pads that go around his lower leg from just above the elbow to right above his ankle.




June 2017

Phoenix in his catio…

Phoenix in his catio

July of 2017 was a miserable one for Ernie Dog.  The best we, and the vets can figure out, is he became obsessed with licking his elbow calluses to comfort himself, because he couldn’t reach the real source of his pain (hips, and possibly a slipped disc in his back)  Whatever the reason, it has been nonstop “no fun for Ernie” (and no fun for me!)   One good word to describe the obsession  is PANTING! ( and licking if he was able to) .  He will literally sniff the floor or carpet where his front legs have been touching while laying down, and lick there!  He is on pain meds, anxiety meds (trying another type now) anti-inflammatory meds, joint supplements…   Bitter Apple spray does not work.  He decided he’d rather taste it to lick, than leave his elbows alone.  We are alternating between the little elbow shrugs I made him, and “The Cone”.  I think the lavender scented heart shaped patch inside the cone really does help calm him.  Next up is an attempt with the Bach Flower Remedies essential oils…. (before I spiral down into insanity right along with him!)




I got a  nice surprise the end of July.  It is a new outdoors aviary  which connects  into the one in the house via a “fly through” tunnel.

My younger son built the aviary,  and made a connector tunnel with plexiglass.  The only downside, is because it is always open to the inside of the house,  (but can be closed off once the weather gets cold)  he couldn’t use a metal mesh for the aviary.  It would have made the birds more visible from the outside, but would not keep mosquitos and other insects from coming in.  He used heavy duty screening instead.  One of these days we’ll get around to landscaping around it.