Tag Archives: Pets

A Tobi Weekend, of Sorts

Late Friday afternoon, Tobi came racing into the house and snuggled next to my legs while I was sitting on the sofa. Suddenly, he raced around the coffee table and again, snuggled next to me. Miez came in, he ran to her to say hello, and ran back to me.

Somewhat perplexed by his behaviour I got up and noticed droplets of blood on the carpets. I made Tobi lie down, checked him for injuries and found none. His strange behaviour continued so I took him next door to Hilde and my Dad’s, where we checked him again and discovered that the source of bleeding was, in fact, a split claw, which was obviously causing him extreme pain. He’d apparently been digging holes in the garden (he seems to be in a digging phase at the moment) and injured himself.

Off to the vet. There was no other remedy than to remove the tip of the claw, which she thankfully accomplished with one quick move. Poor Tobi yelped at the top of his lungs and just quivered. The vet bandaged the paw, gave him a whole handful of treats, and sent us on our way.

Notice the cute Sesame Street “Ernie” sock which she used to cover and protect the bandage.

Poor Tobi limped dreadfully. We felt incredibly sorry for him, of course.

Despite his injury, we took him with us yesterday for a wonderful lunch at the Restaurant which is owned by the woman we got him from. We hadn’t dared appear there for a while, as in the winter of 2004, Tobi’s mother Nicki and his brother Wuzi were shot by a hunter and we didn’t want to open any scars which were not yet healed. I posted about that incident here.

Mrs. M was thrilled to see Tobi, who immediately recognised her of course. After a joyful reunion with one of her “little ones”, she sat down and chatted with us for quite a while. She now has a new dog, a Lab, but still misses Nicki immensely. We learned some dreadful things about the incident in 2004, and it almost broke my heart when she told us of how, the next day, she went to retrieve the two dogs’ bodies from the hunter’s garage, where he had put them.

In the evening, I debated on whether to take our poor limping dog down for a walk by the river, not sure if it would be a good thing or not. I headed to the grocery store on my bicycle to purchase a few things I needed for the weekend and when Tobi saw me pushing my bike onto the property, came RACING up to greet me. Without a limp. Once I was in the kitchen putting away my things, he was limping again.

Down by the river, he ran around like a puppy. No limp in sight.

This morning at 5 a.m. I was awakened by whining sounds – he needed to go out. I let him out, and sat down in the dark living room, waiting for him to come back in so that I could crawl back into bed. It was then that I noticed his bandages were lying around the floor in a gazillion pieces. He’d managed to remove the sock and chew the bandage off.

This morning, I re-bandaged the paw for him and covered it with a plain black sock out of my collection (as Ernie was soaking wet). Wonder if it will be a limping or no-limping kind of day 😉

Ducks, Mice, and a New Pair of Socks

It was a lovely and long weekend, bleakened only through the constantly dreary gray skies and drizzling rain, which had me daydreaming of riding over high alpine passes under a clear blue sky.

But, since we have no control over the weather, I made the most of it, baking, cooking, and knitting.

Here a short excerpt from the Duck Chronicles:


A “before” picture of the duck.

I took some of the Kumquat jam that my father made from my stepmother’s homegrown Kumquats, mixed in a generous amount of Metaxa in order to obtain proper “basting consistency”. I then basted the duck and added some soup greens to the pan.
After two hours in the oven,
it was finished and delicious.

While I realize that this self-invented recipe was quite a bastardisation of the french classic, Canard aL´Orange, I nevertheless recommend trying it. The kumquats are much more aromatic than oranges, and the Metaxa adds a smooth touch.

Btw, research indicates that in northern Germany, red cabbage IS called Rotkohl; however, we Bavarians insist that it is blue and thus call it “Blaukraut”.

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I did begin frogging that sweater coat. It’s quite a bit of work actually, because all of the seams need to be opened first. I did however, manage to frog the hood and the front right panel and will be making a sweater from that yarn. I will re-knit the sweater coat with another type of yarn which I’ve ordered.

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Yesterday evening as I was quietly watching television, Miez decided to give me a present and came dashing through the cat door with a mouse in her mouth. I reacted quickly, as did Tobi, and it was a comical dash on my knees around the living room furniture, trying to fend off the dog who most likely wanted to just “cuddle” with the mouse as he does with all creatures, large or small, and preventing Miez from letting the mouse free in the living room (live toys are just sooooo much fun from a cat’s point of view).

I got the mouse away from Miez and tried to warm the rain-soaked and by now shaking little creature in my hands, but the poor thing died, presumably from a heart attack, as Miez has hardly any teeth left and the mouse appeared uninjured as far as I could determine.

So, a mouse burial is on the plan for this morning, as I find it extremely distasteful to dispose of dead animals (even mice) in the dust bin. I find that too disrespectful, I guess, “throwing away” what was once one of God’s many creatures. Call me crazy, I guess.

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Before I began the frogging orgy on my sweater coat, I finished these socks which are a birthday present for someone (I obviously cannot disclose that here at this time 😉

Teaching a Not-So-Old-Dog a New Trick

A short outing on one of our “Hausstrecken” (favorite routes) yesterday was rudely interrupted as so many have been recently, as the CDI on my father’s Honda Honbaaahh Transalp intermittently stops working, causing one of the two cylinders to completely quit working.

Meaning that you are forced to ride your motorbike through the countryside in complete “grandma” fashion, at such low speeds that even the elderly Opel drivers (who always wear hats, for reasons unbeknownst to me) can pass you. How embarrassing. How humiliating. 😉
(Well, it would be rude of me to just take off and leave him behind, wouldn’t it?)

So there I stood on the parking lot, while my father began to remove the side panels and seat of his motorcycle to get to said CDI. I waited patiently, took in the countryside around me, and spotting a group of bavarian cows on the other side of the road, pondered the pressing questions of modern life such as “How come some cows have horns and some don’t?”

I really don’t know the answer to that.
And I won’t embellish on the ride home as it was a comedy of errors, to put it mildly.
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However, yesterday evening, I managed to teach Tobi to close the front door. More often than not, he wants out several times in the evening to get a drink of water. His water bowl in the house can be freshly filled with clear and cool water from the tap and he will ignore it nevertheless. Tobi prefers to drink only from the pond in the garden.

So, when I let him out I usually leave the door open so that he can come back in without me having to get up; however, eventually it is too cold outside and the door needs to be closed, forcing me to get up again anyway.

I showed him three times that if he just “smacks” the door with his paw, the door will close. That was all. He will now close the door if you ask him to.

This, of course, was celebrated with lots of praise and many dog cookies.

First Impressions

don’t always count. As proven again last week, when we were down by the river with Tobi.

After his obligatory swim across the river and back, he bounded up the side of the dam, saw two dogs on a road on the other side of the field in front of us and took off running. I was a bit surprised because he usually does not take off.

We ran after him, he “said hello” to the two dogs which were being accompanied by a young woman on a bicycle. As one of the dogs was a female, a bit of jealousy ensued followed by Tobi and the other male dog growling at one another, as dogs tend to do.

By this time, the young woman was leaving and another man on a bicycle approached, stopped and said “you should have the dog on a leash out here”.

There isn’t a sentence in the world that makes my blood boil more quickly than that one.

If I am in town with Tobi, he is on a leash. Out in the boondocks, there is absolutely no reason to. He doesn’t run away, hasn’t a trace of a hunting instinct and is generally well-behaved.

I asked the man why he thought so. His reply was that the farmers were surely not happy about the fact that dogs were running loose out there and pooping in their fields. I explained to him that not only is Tobi not allowed to go into the fields (and he knows this and stays on the dirt roads), but that when Tobi needs to “go”, he does so on the very edge of the grass.

His reply was along the lines of “when you speak to dog owners, their dogs are always well-behaved”. He glanced at us with a mixture of doubt and slight distaste. And proceeded to let us know that he was from the Government Nature Conservation Agency.

That got our ears up. Finally a chance to talk to someone about some of the rare birds we have seen. We told him about the red kite which flew over our town some time ago (see this post); he told us there were 3-4 breeding couples in the area along the river. He explained about various types of eagles which, inspite of not being native to the area, are sometimes sighted nevertheless. We spoke about the tragic disappearance of ravens since the 1930’s and he told us with much delight that meanwhile there was an entire colony near Murnau, a picturesque town some 30 km from here.

It was a wonderful conversation, in the course of which, his impression of us did a 180° turn. By the time we finished talking about various renaturation efforts and their results and said our goodbyes, he smiled a big, friendly smile and rode off.

A Bit of A Scare

with Kuni on Friday evening. I went out to bring him in to his night quarters and he’d managed to fall off the top “perch” and was in the process of hopping back up on the ladder in the aviary. I later noticed two drops of blood on the floor in front of his cage; apparently, he’d broken off a tail feather during the fall and now the feather stump was bleeding. After disinfecting the “wound” best as I could, I checked on him every 15 minutes and did not go to bed until the bleeding had definitely stopped and he was asleep, at half past midnight. Thank goodness.

Things were fine again yesterday.

I was exhausted, however. Cleaned the house in record time. I would have done it at a more leisurely pace, but then the guy on the radio said to definitely enjoy the weather on Saturday because Sunday would not be nearly as nice. Thus, I hit my invisible “turbo” button and got movin’. The only thing that did hold me up was my stupid toilet seat. It was praised as a “quick remove” toilet seat on the wrapper when I bought it – to simplify cleaning. I decided to remove it and promptly broke the screw out of the plastic casing. I had removed it, alright. 😉 Got it fixed though.

Then, after grilling some teriyaki chicken for lunch I swung myself onto the Kiwi and had quite a nice time 🙂

The Kiwi was given a new chain and sprocket set last week. I had increased tension on the old chain the day before I drove into Munich to visit Gisi, and on my way there, was accompanied by a strange and rhythmic sound. It turned out that the old chain was unevenly stretched and worn, so I ordered a new chain kit. With the help of my father, who incessantly cursed under his breath about Kawasaki (him being a Honda rider), we got that new chain up and working in about 2 1/2 hours. Turns out you have to remove the rear tire AND the part of the frame on which the rear tire is mounted. We managed to get it done. Without injury to yours truly. Which was a relief to me, because the wrist injury I wrote about earlier turned all kinds of lovely shades of purple, green, yellow and brown and for at least a week, it hurt just to slip a glove on that hand.

I had the Twingo in the shop past week as well, inspection and TÜV were due. When I went to pick it up at the Renault dealer’s, the owner said to me, “you need to brake more often”. I was astonished. I brake when I need to. It turns out that the brake discs had about a centimeter of rust on them and the TÜV refused to certify the car in that condition. Thus, new ones were installed.

That’s what you get for owning a car that just stands around. Am putting it up for sale this month. Now that it’s been serviced and put in top shape and is TÜV certified for another two years. Plus the most amazing thing – the next inspection is due after 30.000 km.

To Answer Questions

a few of you had, Kuni is a crow and has been with me since he fell out of his nest in 1997. To find out more about him and see more pictures of him, follow this link to some info and a photo gallery of him.

I know there are a lot of fans of crows and ravens, I too love the species. They are absolute intelligent, funny, and useful. I especially love the books written by Bernd Heinrich, a Professor of Zoology at the University of Vermont who has done outstanding field studies of ravens in North America.

For any fans of this song bird species (yes, crows and ravens are of the song bird species) I can also recommend Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays”, excellently written and with beautiful photos.

For anyone interested in the behavioral sciences of the animal world, I highly recommend reading some of Konrad Lorenz’s (Nobel Prize Winner) work, who did a lot of research with magpies and other species. Here an excerpt from a reader’s (Reviewer:Frank Bierbrauer (Wollongong, NSW Australia) review of King Solomon’s Ring: New Light on Animal Ways”

“In the book, a little tome of 190 pages, he discusses a whole range of animals he studies notably, often from his own home where he keeps an entire managarie of ducks, geese, jackdaws, parrots, dogs, hamsters, water shrews etc etc. The whole house is alive with the raucous cries and crazy comings and goings of his companions. He gives much to the reader such as how to manage an aquarium properly, how to look after animals correctly so their lives are well lived and the book is chocka-block full of animal tales. The kind of tales myths and legends are grown from. I mean that the tales are often so remarkable, e.g. the intelligence shown by his pet raven or the story of two men carrying a canoe followed by several goslings, a large red dog and some ducklings. Its droll and humouress and full of joy. And, in it all the way through are his wondrous drawings portraying everything he tells of in the book. A must have book for everyone, anyone.”

Linking all over the place today, aren’t I.

Life is never boring…

…when you have pets. On Monday evening, we were having dinner on my porch (underneath that lovely rose). Suddenly, Hilde cried out “look!”

I turned around in my chair and was amazed to see Kuni come strolling around the side of the house. Apparently, his aviary door had opened (I had been meaning to fix the latch) and he decided that it was late enough to come into the house and get into his night quarters. Here he is playing on the dining room table, one winter evening:


On another note, Tobi, who is NEVER allowed to dig holes in the garden (and he knows this), dug a hole on Monday. I started to scold him, but then realized that he was trying to find a cool place to lie down (dogs instinctively dig for this purpose in hot weather) and I just didn’t have the heart to scold further. Yesterday afternoon, he expanded the hole and got all comfy.
Looks quite content, doesn’t he?

Proof That I Have The Laziest Pets in the World…

….and, what happened to my tulips?

Here is Exhibit 1:


Exhibit 2: (yes, she has taken up permanent residence here, much to my delight)

And now, to the tulips. Years ago I planted tons of tall, purple tulips. See those red ones further back?

I never planted those; they used to be purple – I swear it! Anyone ever heard of tulips changing their colors over the years?