picture roulette

I got an interesting challenge from today: Go to your pictures, open the 5th folder and post the 5th picture in the folder. It's cool how for me that was a Christmas folder. This is 2005 when each girl got a hamster for Christmas. Have I mentioned Hannah bought two guinea pigs a few months ago? When we moved to this house she decided to take them to the SPCA to give them to someone else. Turns out the SPCA wanted $60 to take Daisy and Flossy off Hannah's hands. Ugh, I don't think so. However we left the SPCA with a new hamster. We went to drop off two guinea pigs and left with two guinea pigs PLUS a hamster. We are suckers. I'm about to randomly go to my picture files and continue the picture roulette game. The last photo in the 12th folder. And I didn't plan... Read more →

kudos to the momma tiger

In a California zoo, a tiger gave premature birth to set of triplets. The poor things died shortly after birth. The mother tiger started to decline in health and the veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused her to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve. Checking with many other zoos across the country, no tiger cubs of the right age were found to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans that could be found quickly were a litter of pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Momma Tiger is... Read more →

hannah's signature

Hannah enjoys writing her name and exploring new and unique signatures. Watching her write her name over and over last night, I was reminded of the very first time she actually "signed" something. We had two hamsters, Chimpy and Reepicheep. Chimpy belonged to Hannah, Reepicheep to Rachael. When we were ready for baby hamsters, we put them in the same cage and watched the science lesson unfold. A couple weeks later, I picked the girls up at school and we rushed home to discreetly watch the delivery. Again, very fascinating and beautiful. The girls were wowed. We watched as eight little hamster babies grew and became independent. Hannah tried to sell them to her friends and relatives to now avail. Finally, it was time to part with them as I was afraid they were getting old enough to start reproducing. With love, gentleness, and quite a lot of sadness, the... Read more →

potbelly pig

(This is Mr Potbelly Pig before I impressed the family.) Recently we had guests who were telling about their neighbor's intentions of getting a Vietnamese Potbelly Pig. I personally think that anyone who wants to have a pet pig in the house is a bit demented, but that's just my take on the subject. If someone wants a pet pig in the house, more power to them. I'll stick to dogs. As my friend talked about this potbelly pig that might soon become her neighbor, I was reminded of my brief, but interesting, exposure to potbelly pigs. The girls, Gordon, and I were at a petting zoo and there were a couple potbelly pigs. My city husband and kids didn't know I was familiar with pigs, so I was quite pleased when I had opportunity to show them a few of my piggy tricks. I told them I knew how... Read more →

hannah and ferrets

10-year-old Hannah has her future mapped out. She is going to university to become a librarian. Then she is going to get married and live in a tall apartment building. She will drive a beige PT Cruiser convertible. In the evenings, after the day job at the library, she will give art lessons and dog-training lessons. Sounds like a good life, eh? (Hannah 9, December 2006) Last week the ferret society called to interview me. That is what they do before allowing one of their ferrets to be adopted. Hannah is in the market for a ferret and evidently has been harassing the society. Finally they called me to conduct the interview and plan for an in-home assessment. Kind of intense, don't you agree? Throughout the lengthy interview I was thinking, "It's a ferret for goodness sake, not a child." As our interview progressed, I learned things about ferrets that... Read more →

meanwhile, at the dykstra animal reserve

Meet Chirp! This little bird is about one inch big and a perfect specimen of a wren, I think. Hannah found Chirp last night under a spruce tree. We looked for a mama bird and siblings, but didn't find any. We fed him ground up worm, apple, watermelon and seeds from an eye dropper,-- a meal any bird would be happy to get, or so we think. He ate tiny amounts very often. I decided to look up their diet on the net and found that they eat tiny amounts but they eat 15-19 times an hour (and mama birds have been known to die of exhaustion). Surprisingly, none of us were up to the challenge of feeding little Chirp that often. Gordon, being the good Daddy he is, concocted a secure little home for Chirp in the spruce tree Hannah found him under. Hannah checked on him this morning.... Read more →

scared of demons

(Rachael, Hannah, Deborah 2006) I went to bed much later than the girls last night. I tucked them all into their own beds, but when I went to bed, this is what I found, all of them asleep in my bed. Yesterday some dingbat at school told them about demons and how they sometimes attack you and choke you to death while you sleep. I guess Mom and Dad's bed felt much safer and secure. Read more →

bragging, quickly followed by wallowing, then a little animal rescue

Hannah's Interest Fair Project Dogs 2nd Place Winner Well, well, well, I don't mean to brag, but (picture me snorting like Barney on Andy Griffith), my Hannah won second place in the interest fair at school. It was such a cute display and she put her heart and soul in it. It was soooo Hannah and she deserved her win. Rachael's looked nice too. Deborah's display board kept falling over, but Harry the hamster was a big hit. Kids are so smart these days. There were displays that boggled my mind. Smart, creative, artistic, and elaborate. Attendees voted on the best displays. First, Second, and Honorable Mention were the voting options. As Gordon and I made our way around the gym, we were impressed with the many displays. I voted for all my girls, I admit. Gordon, on the other hand, was more methodical. He stood thoughtfully in front of... Read more →

sex in the country

(Michael, 1st grade) I grew up in a home where we didn't talk about the birds and the bees. I remember the day I discovered boy parts. I had seen them before, but I remember the day it "registered." Michael and I were in the bathtub. We were adept at changing identities with the help of Palmolive dish soap. With our bubbles we could instantly transform into Santa Claus or white-haired Brother Bowen at church. When we were feeling particularly risque`, we would slap two mounds of bubbles on our chests for breasts. We didn't have real bath toys, but made our fun with cans, shampoo bottles, and occasionally a bowl or cup. On the day boy parts registered, Michael and I were playing when I noticed he had something that would go up and down in the bathtub waves. I was mesmerized by his "floaty." Michael noticed I was... Read more →

new rodents

(Hannah and Dusty Deborah and Harry Rachael and Smudge) Deborah got a hamster for Christmas. She named him Harry. When Gordon took the girls to the pet store to pick up supplies for Harry, they came home with a surprise for me; two new mice. I was less than enthusiastic. I love animals, but mice? The girls begged and pleaded and I reluctantly agreed to the new house mates. Two hours after they arrived, the house stank. I went to Hannah's room and the stench about knocked me over. "This is not a good sign," I said. Hannah sheepishly agreed. By evening I could smell them in my bedroom. I shouted, "I can smell those rats from here and they've gotta go." No one argued. The smell was pretty convincing. The next morning Gordon took the girls and their mice back to Petsmart. He told the clerks that the mice... Read more →


(Me with my beloved cat and Raggedy Ann. Early 70's) This morning I read Psalm 71:17 in the New Living Translation. “Oh God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood…” I was reminded of my first answered prayer. I was about 8 years old, the loving, proud mother of a new kitten. She was a bundle of gray and white fur and I loved her the moment I saw her. As I studied her trying to come up with a name, my mom suggested Fabian. I’d never heard that name and I thought it sounded quite fancy, so Fabian she became. I took Fabian everywhere with me. We lived on a farm so I explored with Fabian either in my arms or beside me. When Fabian was still very small, a young kitten, I put her down while I played in a stream. I lost track of time and... Read more →


(Rachael, my hoarder, with her first snowman, 1996) On the nights when Gordon works, sometimes I let one of the girls sleep with me. Last night was Rachael's night. We were lying reading; I was reading Gifts from the Sea, she was reading The Book of Virtues. Lacy was between us and Lucy was at our feet. (That sleeping arrangement only happens when good ole Dad's not around). As I read I came across something that made me want to jot in the margin of my book. Because I had heard Rachael writing something a bit earlier, I asked if she had a pencil. What she had was a marker. She offered to get me a pencil, "I have lots," she said. I asked her where and she said they were under her mattress. I asked why she had pencils under her mattress and she said, "So I'll always know... Read more →