Wednesday, March 30, 2016

listening to what they say

Today when I fed Keil Bay his mid-day tub I put hay out for the herd and came back to his stall to see if he was finished. He was, but instead of going to his back door to be turned out with his pals he came and stood with me, curving his neck to my hands, standing quietly while I rubbed his neck.

When I stepped toward the back door he walked to his front stall door and touched it with his nose. He was asking for some time to himself in the barnyard, and some time with me as well.

I opened the front stall door and out he went. We made a pile of hay for him in the shade and I got the shedding blade and a brush and watched as c-shaped packets of Keil Bay fur floated off the blade and into the breeze with every pass.

The first tick of 2016 made its appearance, which required me to empty last year's tick jar and prepare it for this new year. A little Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap and water and in went the brown dog tick.

I checked Keil all over but there were no more to be found. Checked his ears and face and then sprayed him with the mix of fly spray I made up a few weeks ago. He was happy to have his time in the barnyard and chose to remain there when I came inside. 

The donkeys are not happy about that and are braying off and on to let me know one of their herd members is "missing."

In a little while I'll go serve the next round of hay and see if Keil is ready to rejoin his buddies. 

It's a sweet day on November Hill. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Moominvalley and Flame Trees of Thika

A couple of old favorites this week.

Moominvalley in November is one of my favorite Tove Jannson Moomintroll novels. When my children were young we discovered the Moomintrolls and I still enjoy reading them. In this one Fillyjonk (one of my favorite characters in these books) hears something in a wardrobe and thinks there are bugs, freaks out, and goes into a frenzy of cleaning. I definitely relate!

Another old favorite: The British TV series The Flame Trees of Thika, based on Elspeth Huxley's books about living as a young girl in Africa. We had the series on videocassette and I foolishly donated it to the thrift store years back, then realized it wasn't to be found online. Fortunately it came out on DVD in the past year or so and I ordered it. There's nothing like it and we're enjoying it again this week.

The books are wonderful too!

Otherwise, the weekend has been productive. The vegetable garden is about 1/3 in, I have a good number of saplings cut to prep and begin my fencing project (something akin to a wattle fence), and I've seeded some bare areas in the barnyard and front field.

That's 3 out of about 267 things but I celebrate their doing nonetheless!

Happy Easter! Spring is definitely here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

crazy first week of spring

One of those weeks that feels a little bit like a roller coaster. The death of an old friend brought sadness and many good memories over the weekend, then Monday morning Keil Bay had his beloved chiro as did Redford (not his favorite thing but he was brave).

More than the usual number of medical/dental appointments this week (usual = zero) and another old friend's retirement party.

Waiting on the final university decision (out of 3 she applied to, 2 acceptances thus far) with my daughter and helping son plan travel for his summer REU in physics at UCLA. (still reeling over both these things - how did 18 and 21 years pass so quickly?)

Four cats with spring fever and the cat haven front porch enclosure plus tunnel from porch up and around the side of the house to connect to the back yard cannot come soon enough. (construction scheduled in about 10 days)

Busy with writing projects even as I wait for several others to bloom where they've been planted.

It's that time of year.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tilikum is dying, Sea World finally announces end to breeding of orcas

This morning I received an email from the Humane Society with the above image. After years of keeping and breeding orcas in captivity for its own profit, Sea World has announced it will cease their breeding program and will house no orcas in new facilities.

It's interesting that this announcement comes on the tail of one a week ago in which Sea World announced that Tilikum, their most prolific breeding orca, is dying of a treatment-resistant lung infection.

Tilikum was captured and taken from his mother's side at the age of 2. He is now 35. All of his years in captivity have been spent in small cement tanks. In early years at Sea Land in British Columbia he was brutalized by two female orcas and spent most of his time in a tiny tank in fear. When Sea World purchased him for their breeding program (knowing at that time that he had been involved in the deaths of two people) he was moved to Florida. Since then his sperm has been manually collected many times and he has fathered many orcas for Sea World's profit.

You can read the entire tragic story of his life here:

Since he killed his trainer in 2010 he has been kept in isolation with very little interaction with other whales or with people. Visitors over these six years report that he is depressed and has little interest in food during feeding times. They say there are no toys in his tank. He hangs vertically in the water of his small pool, staring at the gate that leads to the other areas of the park.

I send Tilikum light and hope that his death is not painful. For at least six years petitions and groups have asked that he be moved into a sea tank to live out his life, or released. This has never been done. His plight has inspired books and a movie, Blackfish. And hopefully, the end of an era at Sea World. 

If you'd like to sign the Humane Society's pledge of support for ending orcas in captivity, go here: