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H or T?

It’s another long weekend and, improbably, I want to spend some of it scraping an archaeological layer of filth off Badger House. That’s because I’m taking time off in May for my traditional birthday celebrations, and I sure don’t want to be doing it then.

We are not tidy people. In fact, we’re getting on for hoarders. I’ve just gone through our old owner’s manuals, and we had documentation for machines that were made obsolete by the invention of electricity.

Now, in some ways, the fact that we’re both similarly disinclined to throw shit away is a good thing: the marriage of a hoarder to a tidy would probably end in murder. But the downside is obvious: our home is an EFFING DISASTER.

I will say in our favor, a sizable chunk of our crap is books and cool antique doo-dahs so, while it’s technically clutter, it looks sort of awesome piled up in tottery mounds.

Are you a hoarder or a tidy? And, if you have a significant other, what is your spouse’s inclination? I shall leave you to ponder the question while I go hoover up fragments of Elizabethan history. Good weekend, y’all!

April 28, 2017 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 18

Kitty cat heaven

kets

I’ve posted about Celia Hammond before. She’s an ex-model who runs a cat rescue, one branch of which is not too far away in Sussex. I posted about it when we went to their Open Day a couple of years ago. It’s a big open landscape where they send semi-ferals and unhomeables.

I’m telling you, it was the most serene place I’ve ever been. Forget your Buddhist rock gardens, when I want to find inner peace, I close my eyes and picture those hundreds of moggies drifting gracefully around the meadows, waving their wild tails. I don’t know how they avoid territorial conflict — maybe because there are just too many cats to fight, maybe they put Kitty Valium in the Friskies — but I didn’t hear any hissing or see any aggressive behavior at all.

They didn’t seem feral, either — a bunch of friendly old pussoes headrubbing and begging skritchies. There were acres of grass and woods, dotted with tiny wooden cabins full of straw. It was cat heaven.

The picture above, by the way, is from a recent rescue of sixty cats, all one family. They were on a small farm with an elderly owner who died. Somehow, of the sixty, only eight were males, so they bred out of control really fast. They’re a strict no-kill shelter, so homes will be found for all.

If it turns out Jack’s nemesis is a stray, I can think of no happier fate for him than to be in that blessed place. I’d have to be sure, though. It would be an awful thing to spirit away somebody’s pet cat.

If you clicked that first link, I done you dirty. It’s a direct link to the cats-needing-homes page. I’ve been known to stay up too late, drink too much and start clicking. “I’ll take you home, kitty! I’LL TAKE YOU ALL home!”

April 25, 2017 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 11

It snew!

snew

It snew in Scotland this morning. It was back to Spring by afternoon (as the photographer documents), but we are having a cold snap. It’s going to flirt with frost for the next few days, even down here. The gardeners are all worried because things have started to flower.

Janna asked for an update on Jack and his territorial dispute with the neighbor’s cat. It isn’t going well.

I heard him screaming this afternoon and ran next door to his aid, only to find him screaming into the neighbor’s livingroom window. Neighbor is taking care of her daughter’s cat, so Jack was screaming at an extremely elderly cat minding her own business in her own house. I apologized and withdrew.

Half an hour later, he’s next door screaming again. I shouted over the fence and the neighbor said that time it was indeed his nemesis, ginger-and-white. She chased off the intruder.

Half an hour later, he’s next door screaming again. I asked if it was the neighborhood bully again and she said, “no, Jack is standing in the middle of my garden screaming at nothing.”

Between these shrieking sessions he’s his good-natured old self, but he loses his shit when he feels threatened. I’ve warned everyone not to approach him when he’s screaming at air. Will try to find out who owns ginger-and-white. If he’s feral, I might try to relocate him, but I have a bad feeling he belongs to our newest neighbors.

April 24, 2017 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 12

But are you bad enough?

kitty

It is one of my great regrets that I never visited the Museum of Bad Art when I was in the States. It’s in the basement of a movie theater in Somerville, Mass. I had a job right around the corner; I could’ve nipped out at lunch.

But with a gargantuan sigh of relief I note — nothing of mine has made it into the collection. Yet.

When I moved, see, my studio was a complete mess, so the real estate agent suggested I take out everything I wanted to keep and let the disposal guys hoover out the rest while I was out of town. Less traumatic for me. Lots and lots of bad early Weasels ended up in the dumpster, or worse.

On May 6, they’re hosting a free event inviting the public to bring along horrible art for evaluation. You have to think anything truly MOBA-worthy will be something somebody plucked from the trash. No genuinely awful artist is capable of recognizing his own horror; quality blindness is a necessary prerequisite.

Anyway, do spend some time browsing their collection and reading the captions. Never fails to cheer me up!

Oh, and happy National Tea Day. We celebrated by buying a teapot today!

Nah, not really. We bought a teapot today because Elbows here knocked the old one over and smashed it earlier this week. Good weekend, all!

April 21, 2017 — 6:54 pm
Comments: 13

To the moon!

pow

Four random thoughts on this story:

My Easter holiday was fantastic, thanks for asking. Do I really have to get up in the morning?

April 17, 2017 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 50

Weasel and the Swan

swan

Today I played the banjo to a swan for an hour. There were three of them in the big field behind the house, but two of them flew away while I was fetching my ‘jo. Have you ever heard a swan fly? It’s like heavy machinery. Whuff-whuff-whuff-whuff.

I intended to write a song especially for him. I was going to call it There’s a Swan in the Big Field Behind the House. But I suck at composing so, really, I just played some of my favorite odd chords at him before settling down to a standard bluegrass repertoire.

First he stood on one leg for a while. Then he stood on the other leg for a while. Then he tucked his head under his wing and had a little kip. Then his friends came back and they all flew off together.

A most enjoyable afternoon.

Have a good Easter, everyone!

April 14, 2017 — 7:56 pm
Comments: 14

Freeeeeeee!

runningchickens

Not my birds. Somebody else’s birds. I didn’t have a picture of mine running. I’ll definitely have to get some this Summer, as there’s nothing quite as funny as a flock of chickens running at you full tilt.

The quarantine was lifted today, at last. It was lifted for most of the country weeks ago, but we are in what is regarded as a high risk area, so we had to keep our birds bottled up a little longer.

On a serious note, the quarantine may have played a role in the death of Violence and Vita. Chickens are susceptible to bacterial infections caught off their own poop, and being locked up exposed them to it for longer periods.

That’s something I learned from my chicken course: for all people go on about the cruelty of cage-reared birds, they are generally healthier than barn-reared or free range birds because their poop falls through the bottom of the cage and away.

So. Today is the start of a four-day weekend for me. Brits take more official time off at Easter than Christmas! I’ll be back here tomorrow with something pointless and inane to say, though. That’s my promise to you!

April 13, 2017 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 10

There are two kinds of websites in this world

uranus

There are sites that will describe this as “Aurora Caught by Hubble Space Telescope” and there are sites that will say “Something Weird is Spotted Coming Out of Uranus.”

This blog, for example, would never be caught making cheap double entendres about Uranus. This blog is alllllll about the dick jokes.

It is an aurora, like the ones we get (Jupiter and Saturn, too) and the brightest we’ve ever seen on Uranus, apparently. Uranus is hard to study because it’s a completely featureless frozen blue gas ball.

They used an ultraviolet doohickey built into Hubble to find this aurora — and interestingly proved that it moves with the rotation of the planet. They also managed to rediscovered the magnetic poles which have been missing pretty much ever since Voyager found them because, again, featureless blue gas ball.

Also, note rings.

Oh, hey, did you see the moon last night? Holy cow, was it huge! The news said it was going to be pink, but it was gold here. On the horizon, anyhow.

April 12, 2017 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 19

Chicken drama

byechooks

They came together and they left together. Vita fell ill last night and, before we could get her to the vet, died this morning. Similar symptoms to Violence, but much faster. They were both six years old.

As it turns out, the vet called and told us not to bring her in just before she died. I didn’t realize the prohibition on moving live chickens meant you can’t take a sick one to the doctor, but it does. Quarantine officially over here this Thursday, but there was some discussion whether DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) would want to get involved and might want a necropsy. Their symptoms were not consistent with bird flu, though, so I don’t think we’ll hear back on that score. They can’t take an interest in every dead backyard chicken.

So, symptoms not really consistent with bird-to-bird transmission — Violence died three weeks before Vita got sick — but it’s hard not to think there’s a connection. I’m guessing bacterial infection. A nasty wild bird poop in the run or something.

Vita was the most beautiful chicken in my flock — a big, blowsy bird with gorgeous markings — but she had a sad life. From the beginning, she was the pariah hen. The other chickens pecked at her something awful and she stood took it patiently. Probably what made her bottom hen. Normal chickens squawk and run away from the beak.

Sometimes I’d find her all by herself in the flower border, blissing out in her own private dust bath.

As a precaution, I’ve closed the old run and put old Mapp in with the young chickens. Last I checked on them, they were on the perch as far as possible from her. Ewwww…nobody wants to sleep next to grandma – she smells!

April 11, 2017 — 7:08 pm
Comments: 15

Bloons!

bloons

They made a Guinness Record attempt today: most balloons across the Channel, from Dover to France. I had heard they were going to try for 100, but the article says 82 definitely made it. The previous record was 49, so this should be no problem.

Except – they forgot to notify Guinness.

Eh. I’m sure they’ll let them make the application retroactively. They have plenty of photographic evidence.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

April 7, 2017 — 8:11 pm
Comments: 10