Friday, October 29, 2010

DNA part 1

Happy Halloween! Isn't DNA a little scary?

K - mebbe that is a stretch...

I bought a couple canine DNA tests for Furry Husband. He'd been wondering out loud what Sammy's breeding might be. Figured it'd be interesting and fun to see. I purchased one test for each of our two mix breed dogs...

NPR did a couple stories about the canine DNA tests....

Read part one first:

And the follow up ending to the story here:

In the above story, there were a couple extra dog breeds thrown in along with the two the dog turned out to be. Blood testing is more accurate than the cheek cell test. The cheek cell test seems to get you into the ballpark of breeds your dog might be with a couple random breeds accidentally thrown in.

We had the cheek cell test.

This is Bequia (pronounced beck-way). She is our 12 yr old mix breed dog we picked up at a Denver animal shelter 11 yrs ago... we've always called her our cattle dog mix and figured there was some border collie in there. She's a medium size dog... prolly about 45lbs.

She goes after tennis balls all day long like those high energy herding breeds will do... she tries to herd the horses through the fence...seems to be a strong herding instinct going on there. In fact, sometimes Sera will paw at our gate when we are being too slow about feeding.
The tip of her hoof sticks thru the gate (don't worry, it's not big enough for her hoof to come thru). Bequia will latch on to the tip of Sera's hoof with her mouth ... mad that Sera is not listening to her herding instructions and moving along as instructed. Of course Sera can't feel a thing and there is definately no damage to the hoof or to Bequia in those few seconds.
Or Bequia will snap with a click click click of her jaws at any horse sticking it's head over the fence not listening to her imperious command to move already. She doesn't connect or jump up to attach to a nose... she is just doing what I've always thought of as herding behaviors....trying to intimidate large livestock ... she isn't formally trained in anything other than basic obedience. No herding trials or anything like that.
She is super smart and learns almost by osmosis. She loves retrieving and will fetch anything... the morning paper, the t.v. remote, if I drop a pen I can tell her to bring it to me and she will. I can give her something, Furry Husband will call her and she personally delivers whatever it is. She absolutely adores children and always has....which is no fault of ours since we don't have any. grin. I figured she must have come from a family with children before we adopted her.

What do you think Bequia's DNA results were?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Snow and Mojo update

So far Mojo is normal, eating, peeing and extremely happy. So happy in fact that he keeps waking us up at 3 AM to tell us how happy he is... walking over the top of our heads.... head butting Furry's chin... purring loudly.

We are happy too.... but ... well... the 3 AM thing is getting a little old Mojo! Anyway, the powers we spoke with say as long as he is acting normal and peeing and eating all is well. Shew.

Let's hope it KEEPS going well.

Last night was my night for stall cleaning. We have 40mph winds with gusts up to 50mph because of a storm hitting the CO mountains.

I like to take Rosso with me and I wasn't gonna take him but figured, it's good to get him out and about in ALL kinds of weather and to experience all the sounds of wind from the barn... scree and branches and lord knows what getting blown against the metal walls.... wind screeching in cracks, the building moaning and groaning as it withstands the buffets of wind...

I get Rosso loaded up, pull the truck and trailer out... as I shut the gate once we are out of the front pasture, there is this wall of white at the far end of the neighbor's alfalfa field across the road.

Weird. Must be clouds or fog or something....

I begin driving and it was like the movies when the people are escaping from something and they look in the rear view mirror... all of a sudden there was snow - white out snow - all over the road behind me... clear in front of me but it was following me up the road!

Got to Rex's, unloaded Rosso and tied him up in the barn and then the snow hit... 40mph wind and white out snow swirling everywhere. True blizzard conditions! I thought I was hosed for going home. It is hard enough to see at night for pulling into our driveway and pasture with the truck and trailer.... but in white out conditions at night and in snow that might be slippery? I'd be screwed.

I had 2 hrs ahead of me cleaning stalls so figured I would just see what happened.... by the time I was done cleaning, the snow stopped, was mostly melted 'cept for in patches here and there and the wind had died down. Shew!

And Rosso stood hind leg cocked the entire time...

Hmmmm. What is it I keep hearing in clinics? You have to ride the horse you have. Or how about ... you can't treat the horse like a criminal when he's not acting like a criminal.

Good theory to put into practice for myself vs. thinking 'bout prior incidents eh? Why do you suppose it's so hard to be in the right here, right now moments?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things have moved past the threes....

'Member how our vacuum broke...then the fence went out... then our fridge broke? We were all hoping it was a case of "things happen in three's".


It was not to be.

Our giant, black kitty, Mojo was weird Thursday night. He went to the vet Friday and it was discovered he has urinary blockage... he was catheterized. He dislodged the catheter, when the vet tried to replace it a tear occurred in his urethra.

Well - the tear can heal on itself shutting off the ability to pee. That would be a life ender for the big fella. There is a small chance that may not happen.

She tried one last ditch effort to get the catheter back in place to prevent it from healing closed. If the tear could heal with the catheter in place, things will stay open ... no dice... too much blockage lining the urethra.

There is a surgery that can be done to make he into a she.

It's thousands of dollars and we just can't do it.

We brought him home and we are watching him. We are hoping he will be o.k. He's on some drugs, antibiotics... special food.

Never was a cat so happy to be home.

When Furry Husband went to pick him up at the clinic, Mojo kept head butting Furry's chin and licking his nose and face. The vet said she'd never seen such a thing... that Mojo must think he's a dog. That is what we've always thought too. Mojo goes out with the dogs and comes in with the dogs... lays around with the dogs.... I'm sure he thinks he's a dog.

There might be ... maybe... fingers crossed ... an inexpensive way to get him re-catheterized to prevent things from sealing shut. We are keeping our fingers crossed and should find out more tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted... send good thoughts to our big, black Mojo kitty.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Itty Bitty

This morning I went out to turn horses out into pasture, I had cut up a couple apples to give them (someone gave us this big bag of apples but they aren't crisp, they are mushy and so they are now horse apples and I'm trying to get rid of them! I can't eat mushy apples... gag)

Noticed Itty Bitty Opal Kitty and the dogs gathered around her. I move the dogs away. Lo and behold she has a mouse, it's dead and she's trying to eat it.

I tell the dogs to leave it but Toe is notorious for stealing dead voles/mice from the cats. sigh. I go to the horse pen - feed the horses the apples, turn them out... I see Bequia and Sammy thru the fence line and know they aren't trying to steal the mouse... but Toe is nowhere to be seen and I think he is eating dead mouse... grumble grumble....

I come back into the yard.... Toe is running up ahead on the path, Itty Bitty is licking her chops and following me with the dogs to the door... hmmm, maybe Toe didn't get it and Itty Bitty ate it after all?

I let everyone in, Toe runs to the bed, jumps up on it, circles to find a good spot. I say, "You better not have anything..."

*ptooie* (Dead mouse flies out of his mouth onto our bed.)

Innocent look. blink. blink. "Wha? Heyyyyyy, how'd that get here? Didinna come from my mouth!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TD pix and hula hoops

Group pix of everyone who passed the tracking test... Here is me with the Little Toe-ster along with the 2 judges and the woman who put in the track for us that day.

And... the really, BIG, EXCITING news?
I hula'd!
I asked for a hula hoop and a jump rope for my birthday. Wanted to move more but have fun and play a bit while doing it. I've never ever been able to hula in my entire life. Never.
I have to admit I Google'd "how to hula hoop".... I learned it was more of a side to side motion vs. an around around motion with your hips - other than that, the site told me to practice and good luck.
I pulled my hula out last night to practice.... and I did it! I hula'd!
I was able to keep it going and once I stopped, I could start it up again! Furry was chuckling cuz I couldn't put the hula down...
I was a hula hoopin' fool last night....
Maybe today I look up jump rope rhymes and jump rope tricks. Will they come back to me from my grade school days?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Our vacuum cleaner broke... left giant streaks of dirt and dust instead of sucking it up. In a 800-900 sq ft house with 5 cats, 3 dogs and 2 hoo-mans, a vacuum is a necessity!

Our refrigerator warmed up to 70 degrees this weekend.... sigh. The fridge repair guy came out and said the fan was broken.

And last but not least, our electric fence is out. It's run by a solar panel but it is dead, dead, dead and dead. Nothing coming out of the housing box for us to follow a fault finder and fix anything. We had our electrician neighbor come and take a look. He confirmed... it's dead. We had to order a new housing box.

Hopefully the saying about things coming in 3's is true and that's gonna be all for broken things at our house. Yeesh!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toe is a TD dog now!

Here is Toe's tracking test!

The straight line is the path the track layer left, the dotted line is Toe's path. Track was aged about an hour.... we went a total of 450 yards... to me, it is a huge open field and other than the 2 flags, I have NO earthly idea where the track goes. The judges follow behind me about 100 feet or so with a map and the track layer.
If I go off course they blow a whistle. I'm allowed to finish my track with the track layer to assist me in staying on the track while the judges leave to judge the next dog.
In a TD test, there are 2 flags. One marks the start of the test and it has a scarf on it with the track layer's scent. Toe sniffs it, I pick it up, wave it over my head and put it in my pocket.
The 2nd flag indicates which way the track goes.
Toe was really strong... pulling and confident and then we came to this ditch...
I didn't think TD's had "obstacles" like ditches or hedges or whatever in them... Toe went across the ditch and I thought, really? (and this is where the hoo-man interferes... after all, I can't smell or see any scent right? This is where I coulda blown it by "thinking"... in tracking you are supposed to just follow your dog)
I stood my ground. He went back and forth at the top of the ditch and then was pulling me across... clearly saying, "It's this way, Mom, c'mon already!"
Alrighty then... gotta follow my dog and still I was waiting to hear the judges' whistle to tell me I was off course.... no whistle! I kept going....

After a while Toe's little stump-butt started wagging and he turns to look at me.... there is the glove!
I praised him huge, picked up the glove and waved it over my head. We passed and Toe is a TD dog.
One of the judges was this man from New England... NY I think?... he has Golden Retrievers and I guess when Toe was on the track he was heard to say, "Wow - lookit that little dog go!" That is funny to me... guess there aren't really many smallish dogs out there.... ? The dogs in this test were Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, a Belgian Sheepdog, and an Elkhound...

You can see Toe circled a little on a couple corners and the lines that go sort of back and forth was the ditch when I was holding ground and he was, I think, double checking before he committed again to the track.

Out of 8 dogs, 6 passed that day. It was a good trackin' day!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Just say that in a big mega super sales pitch way.... feels good huh?

We made it!

I'm taking Toe tracking tomorrow. (2 hrs away... gotta be there at 7:30am... getting up at 4:30 am... ow. ow. ow.) Keep your fingers crossed! If he passes, we'll get our Tracking Dog (TD) title. Then we can focus on obedience and see if we can't get a CD on the little fella this winter... and maybe take an agility class next?

Tho' I seriously wonder about my coordination for agility.

Can the dog still pass if the owner trips and is lying face down eating dirt?

Prolly not.

Give all your furry, feathered, hairy critters a smooch and ENJOY your weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Milk Test...

I told you guys we added our does to the milk test? yeah. Fun. F-U-N, fun. not at all.

The directions are/were super confusing. Every time my poor friend who I suckered into being my milk tester came over to draw milk, we'd sit with all the instructions strewn about the kitchen table and it felt like we were studying for finals or something.

Now that we seem to have it down... I get the milk reports each month after submitting samples of milk from Spot and Speck.

I have no idea what they mean.

I see the fat % and the protein %... other than that? Nothing makes sense. Just adding to the frustration and bad feelings overall about this stupid, *^%@* milk test bid'ness.

But my poor suckered in milk tester is a woman of reason and she tells me that now we have it figured out, we should keep sending in samples each month. The interesting thing is that Spot and her daughter Speck have pretty negligible differences in fat or protein from the milk they give - we are talking maybe a tenth of a percent ...

I have to get the gumption up to call the woman who runs the milk test to get a more thorough explanation of the reports, however, since it is a confusing, frustrating thing for me... I drag my feet about it.

We are gearing up for breeding season and so do I keep milk test going into next year or quit when I dry the does up?

Think my vote is to give it up. Will probably breed one doe next year while I wait for the babies who were born late this spring to mature for breeding next fall. Hardly seems worth it for ONE goat to stay on milk test and I did it for a year.


I think my milk test itch has been scratched.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I have seen around 793 dead racoons on the roads when I'm driving to and from work. What in the....?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The world did NOT come to an end....

when I turned 40. Shew! I woke up and the sun was still in the sky, birds were chirping, the cats were taking turns walking across my full bladder as I lay there checking all body parts were still functional. Fingers - check. Toes - check. Can I move my neck? Yup.

Alrighty then...

Sorry for the lack of posting... work has been insane. I get home and the last think I wanna do is look at a computer screen.

We had a great party for my first 40th and Furry Husband's last 40th later this month.

We put the keg next to the goat pen because goats really needed to be part of the experience. Need a beer? Scratch a goat.

Funny how at a 40ish party, there are lots of children... baby strollers... wee folk....

Even the band brought a baby... my Mom adopted it. I'm not sure the band left with the baby, I think my Mom took it. Baby snatcher.
(see the stroller to the left there? And oh, look, there is a play pen over to the right. It was part of the band set-up...)

At the last minute we confirmed on the band. I'm so glad we did. They played bluegrass-ish or maybe Grateful Dead-ish sort of music. There was a banjo. And really? That's all that mattered. Banjo. All hail the banjo.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pix o' my little red-headed mule.

Sera Sue at the Estes Park show.... (and how can I be FORTY this week?)