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January 12, 2018

A New Year At Saint Roch

And more weather challenges..

HAPPY NEW YEAR at Saint Roch!

After a totally rainy summer and fall of 2017 and although we'd been promised a 'warmer than usaul' winter, it's been very cold - downright freezing nights for a week or more.  These give us special challenges as birds have to be indoors continuously and dogs pretty much in and out all day and night. Typically I'll go to sleep only to have Kaspar and Bonnet Bleu wake me up anytime between 2 and 4 am to go out.  Since it's so cold out, I'll have to stay awake to bring them back in after 15-20 minutes. Then, tyhpically again, the dachshunds will decide THEY need to go out an hour or two later so the whole process starts again. These are not good restful nights..  Only Eva and Chaplin are quite wonderful about sleeping the whole night through, each one in his and her own crate. On the other hand the birds seem to enjoy their time indoors, in the kitchen where there's lots happening to see and hear - up to a point. After a week indoors cabin-fever sets in and Bolong is mad and ready for a fight.  Keep your hands and fingers to yourself becomes more important than ever.  

Dogs all got new collars for christmas, birds got some toys and treats.  Even though the bad weather makes for a crowded house, there is something very satisfying to the soul to knowing all the critters are safe, sound and warm throughout the wintry nights.  Chaplin snores loudly enough that he can be heard from his crate at the other end of the house.  Found some very soft throw blankets at teh dollar store for $5 and then buy one get one free deal.  Pretty amazing. Got 4 throws for $10 and folded in half then half again they fit perfectly in the bottom of the crates.  Acrylic, wash easily in the machinea nd dry in a jiffy on the line. Very cozy.  Cheaper than the thrift shop! 

So the last part of 2017 and so far the beginning of this year have been about weather challenges and keeping everyone as comfy as possible but not really about making big strides forward in any direction.We are looking forward to this new year and hoping and praying for an early spring even if spring always represents tons of work inside and out.  Anything decent stretch of sunny and warm weather would be so so welcome.  
During the week long freeze the gardens most vulnerable plants were covered with 2 dozens blankets and sheets but most everything looked dead just the same. Too cold for too long. We shall see what is able to make it back to life in spring - or not.  

Bonnet Bleu is rather unwell - not eating and losing weight rapidly. He will go to the vet clinic next week since this seems to be more than a passing malaise.  It sadly reminds me of our other Catahoula, Cayenne who exhibited the same symptoms due to a tumor in her abdomen. She got downright skeletal before passing at the age of 13 - Bonnet Bleu just made 12 years this month. On the other hand Kaspar is still going strong and mellow as ever, he' s just turned 11! Quite old for a great pyr.  Marguerite and Elfie had been plagued with awful skin problems all summer and fall, due I'm sure to the constant heat and humidity.  Everytime I got myself convinced it was a 'flea allergy" I bathed them only to not find a single flea on them.  The cold has helped clean up their skin and Marguerite has re-grown her hair pretty much everywhere. I would like to find a solution before the hot weather is upon us again.  

Somtimes in the fall Tiki Tortoise disappeared.  He had been in his daytime outdoor habitat but was nowehre in sight when I went to bring him indoors before sundown.  His outdoor 'run' was still locked and there was no way he could have gotten out that I could discover. I searched the gardens for him extensively over a period of more than 2 weeks, on a daily basis and ketp an eye out even after that. I pretty much came to the conclusion that someone came in and stole him.  I say this because I have some rescued box turtles who live in the gardens and I readily see them all the time - in warm weather seasons of course.  I see them here, there and everywhere. If I feel they are too close to the road, I put them back in the backyard but it is rare for me not to have a turtle sighting in a week.  I became convinced that if Tiki had gotten out and was roaming free, I would also have caught sight of him sooner or later. Thinking he was taken by someone made me very very upset and sad and has a lot to do with why I did not write for a while in this blog.  It was very upsetting.  More upsetting even than a death, the not-knowing.

On the other hand, we were able to rescue 3 Siamese fish (Beta), from a lady who had bought them for her 3 children, expecting each child to clean and look after his or her fish.  Hmm... The 3 bowls were so stinking, I had to drive back home with all the windows rolled down and the sunroof open after picking them up.  You would never know a fish bowl could smell so bad.  Two of the fish were immediately rehomed with my friend Kenneth (now a Lacombe resident too) and I have kept the smallest one who was transfered to one of those fabulous big Chinese ceramic pots, the kind that is painted on the inside with large goldfish and water plants.  I lined the bottom of the bowl with shells and sea glass and with the addition of 3-4 quarts of well water our fish really thought he had gotten his own private ocean. In sptie of their horrid previous conditions, all 3 fish have survivved and are doing quite well.  My fish likes to partly hide inside a large conch shell, with just his head peaking out.. I had put a water hyacinth to float on top but it didn't last.  I will procure him with a potted water plant soon.

Another news is that one of our lovebirds died and we have rehomed the other three, the family having been 'broken up" somehow.  The Diamond doves have been sitting on eggs continuously, 2, then 1, then 3, even four at one time and I was really hoping for some little dove chicks for the new year but no, there were none, just discarded eggs at the bottom of the cage, time and time again.  I'm sure by week-end there will be more eggs in the nest. These two like to breed and they did successfully raised one young but only once.  The little one went to live with a man with a large aviary full of birds..

Our good friends in Wales adopted a beautiful little girl chocolate lab - named Autumn!  Just lovely litttle girl and she is greatly loved and getting the best of care.   

So we are all looking forward to the New Year, to an early spring (keeping fingers crossed) and to whatever changes and challenges come our way.  We are thankful that we have enough warmth and shelter when so many throughout the world are lacking and suffering, both animals and humans.  Each day we are reminded of our blessings and we are forever grateful for all.  

Happy New Year to all animal lovers and care-givers, may the New Year bring you all health, hapiness and prosperity.   May this year allow you to  Each One Adopt One (or more).