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Stop it, Google

Every time I log into my Google photos, it proudly shows me years-old pictures of my dead pets. (Well, one of these chickens is still alive). I’ve just now got so irritated I learned how to turn that feature off. It’s in settings.

I read an article about what a terrible problem this is for people who have lost a spouse or child – Facebook floating the images up on anniversaries or birthdays.

I hadn’t thought of that.

I do sometimes think about all my many free email accounts (I keep separate accounts for separate activities). When I croak, they’ll go on collecting spams in their hundreds, day after day, until…I guess until they reach the storage limit. Then the warnings will start to accrue. The cloud is probably already stuffed with dead people’s junk.

My new power supply is due tomorrow. Expect swearings!

September 27, 2022 — 7:29 pm
Comments: 5

This one’s fambly

A village fête is not complete without the weasels. The ferret tent is a special place. A warm, smelly, special place.

Ferret keepers are of a type, too. I’m not sure how to describe them. Country people, for sure. They seem almost unaware that you’re there.

She described what was in the treat bottle…I don’t remember exactly, but it was a repulsive mix of fish oils and similar. She said he’d been licking at the upright bottle so long there wasn’t a scrap of the treat left.

He’s licking the distant memory of a treat.

September 1, 2022 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 5

I made another friend

Two, actually. A pair of lovely girls at a different village fête.

Brits are mad about donkeys. I’ve posted about it before. Uncle B says it’s because they began to go abroad and see the horrible lives donkeys led in faraway lands.

There are, like, twenty donkey rescues up and down the land and between them they’ve saved tens of thousands of beasts at home and abroad.

Donkey love long predates that, though. Donkey rides on the beach have been a staple of seaside holidays for little English children since Victorian times.

So very sad to hear our local donkey rides were closed down this year – I think she said because of insurance. I search tells me that they’re being cancelled all over the country for animal welfare reasons. Though one wag is blaming climate change.

Is there nothing it can’t do?

August 31, 2022 — 7:43 pm
Comments: 9

I made a friend

This cow! Sweet little heifer. He was leading her all around a busy country show and she didn’t flinch.

I asked. Her mother is a milk cow and her father is a meat cow, but they’re going to give her a chance to be a milk cow.

Weasel approves!

We’ve gone out of our way to buy their milk ever since. I mean, we often did anyway – it’s excellent milk – but like a lot of smaller dairies, their milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized, so it usually has a short date on it.

I suppose it’s time to check out farmer’s markets, too. The real ones, where farmers sell stuff in bulk. Not the twee ones, where middle class artisans sell specialty cheeses and bespoke gin to the middle class.

August 30, 2022 — 7:43 pm
Comments: 9

This guy!

Excuse late, I’ve been chasing a chicken ’round and ’round a sheep field.

Occasionally, one of my birds pops through the double fence and finds itself in the field next door. This is bad. They frequently can’t find their way back and, isolated from the flock, they’re very likely to get picked off silently by something carnivorous. So when somebody doesn’t turn up at roll call, that’s where I look first.

Unfortunately, it was Sam – my quickest and nimblest chicken. Bastard ran me ragged.

Worse, we’ve had thunderstorms all day. Every time I ducked under a hawthorn, it pissed down my back. Worse yet, I finally cornered him in a patch of stinging nettles. Yes, I was wearing shorts.

My shins are alive with the sound of music.

So I’ve had a hot bath and a cold gin and I’m off. Stupid rooster. Yes, he’s fine. Wet and sorry for himself, like me.

August 17, 2022 — 7:49 pm
Comments: 5

Chicken selfies

Teej pointed to this site a couple of threads ago: chicken.photos. Yes, .photos is a top level domain now. From the about page:

The system consists of a Canon 7D, a speed flash, a Raspberry Pi, and an ultrasonic motion trigger.

Whenever a chicken (or any other animal) passes in front of the motion sensor, the Pi snaps a photo on the camera, which in turn fires the speed flash. Once the photo is taken, the Pi downloads the photo from the camera’s SD card and uploads it to our website. The photo is then tweeted and potentially minted as an NFT.

Everything is protected in waterproof housing and uses custom designed PCBs for power and signal routing between the components. It uses the gphoto2 library to interact with the camera, and CircuitPython for the firmware on the Pi.

I still do not understand NFTs. As far as I can tell, you’re buying…bragging rights?

So, they’re motion-sensor selfies. I like the sort of milky, porn-y soft focus. I reckon that’s damp on the waterproof housing. It gives them an otherworldly look.

It’s worth reading their About page. Oh, and looking at all the lurrvly chickens.

August 2, 2022 — 7:15 pm
Comments: 11

We saw the kitties…!

Our favorite cat rescue finally had an open day – first time since the lockdown. And it was packed. People are obviously thirsty for the old normal.

It’s a very long way for us to go when there are cat rescues nearer, but we particularly like this one.

No, we’re not shopping for a puss, we just like to hang out with them. The British cat rescue is a zen place. None of these rows of cages with sad kitties waiting on death row. They’re open and fenced. The cats swan around as they please, with cat trees and boxes and toys and litterboxes at regular intervals.

The cats don’t fight. It’s quite remarkable. We’re told it’s because no cat regards it as his territory.

This time, the poor cats were completely traumatized by so many elderly white women running after them talking baby talk. Most of them hid under or behind the buildings. A few swanned around and hissed if you got too close. It was a hot day, so many were in a foul mood.

It was wonderful.

I know what you’re thinking. “Weasel, that’s the ugliest damn cat I ever saw.” Well, nuts to you, Mister Skeptic. There was a lady with a hedgehog rescue booth there, too.

July 20, 2022 — 7:54 pm
Comments: 9

The Year of the Pigeon

Excuse me if I’m bleary; we were startled awake in the wee hours by a pigeon. Pigeons. There was a lot of flapping and hoo-hooing.

It was so loud, I was sure it was a bird loose in the bedroom, but it warn’t. It was perched by an open window making a terrific racket.

Might have been multiple pigeons. Was probably sex-motivated.

Zo! In the last hour, two senior members of the Cabinet – the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care and the Chancellor of the Exchequer – have resigned. The is big and important, but I’m damned if I can tell you what it means.

An immediate coup? Maybe. Or maybe they’re distancing themselves in case of a coup in the near future.

What can I say? I am, after all, a ferriner. I can only tell you this has been a dreadful government and more dreadful people still are waiting in the shadows.

Doooooom!

July 5, 2022 — 6:49 pm
Comments: 12

These are not my pigeons

Today has been a day of pigeon drama. When I got to work early, one of the little ones was on the ground by the front door, looking stunned. I could see mama pigeon perched above watching him and I thought to myself, let nature take its course, Weasel. I found the other one had flown off (never to return, Wikipedia tells me).

About an hour later, when he hadn’t moved from the spot, I lost my nerve, brought him upstairs and put him back in the nest. After all, one of them was several days younger than the other, so perhaps this one was not quite ready.

Both mom and dad turned up to feed him, several times all morning. That in itself is unusual – we might see one of them, once, feeding the chicks. So I figured they were helping him build strength to try again. Which he didn’t seem at all inclined to do.

Until these two showed up.

These two are not the parents. They are totally different birds. I’ve never seen them before. They began to peck and pinch and kick the baby and make him squeak. I had never heard of any sort of bird community parenting – does it really take a village to raise a pigeon? – but I assumed they were encouraging him to fly off. Concerned aunties, maybe. It seemed awfully cruel, but I thought to myself, let nature take its course, Weasel.

The little one was ducking under the geraniums, squeaking and squirming and refusing to fly off and I lost my nerve again. Spooked them away.

I raised the blinds so they could see me better and waved at them. I shoo’d them off half a dozen times, at least. Eventually, they stopped coming back, though they did investigate the window box at the far left for a while (there are three).

You know what I think? I think they were trying to kick him out and steal that primo nesting spot. The internet won’t tell me if pigeons ever do that.

I’ve watched this little bird from egg to ugly mutant and I wasn’t about to see him harmed just as he was looking like a proper bird.

Things were stable when I left. Mom had been back to feed him again. He was stretching his legs and his wings and looking a lot more capable.

Thing is, I don’t work tomorrow. I will probably never know quite how this turns out. When I go in Thursday, there’s likely to be nothing to see, no matter what the outcome.

Except possibly a pigeon sitting on eggs again. They mate for life, return to the same nest and will hatch littl’uns over and over again, even in Winter, if the food supply is good.

I’m told oatmeal is good for them. Or rice.

June 28, 2022 — 7:40 pm
Comments: 4

More, d’aww…

Yes, they both hatched. I forgot to tell you. You can just make out a second beak at the arrow.

Pigeon number two is several days younger and therefore smaller. I couldn’t really see him until the parents started leaving the nest for longer periods.

Both parents are still highly attentive. I can’t tell if they both feed the babies, but they both babysit. We’re having a bit of a mini-heatwave at the moment and the parents don’t sit on the nest, they sit on the edge and provide shade from the morning sun.

Honestly, smarter than I thought pigeons were.

Have a good weekend!

June 17, 2022 — 7:20 pm
Comments: 5