14

No Mow May: Sheep Going For the Green

How to Keep Animals Cool in Hot Weather | Livestock Solutions from OLE

Ed. Note: We are pleased to welcome Snoops’ and Kommando’s human brother to the ranks of our contributors:

Alonso was not a happy sheep.  As he walked dusty New Mexican streets with the hot May sun beating down on him, he wondered if he and his brothers had even made the right choice coming this year.  In past years, they had done quite well for themselves.  Every season, they would be shorn in the spring, and then they’d pile into their battered Jeep for the trip North.  There, they got by taking care of people’s lawns—not only was it a free meal, but they normally even managed to send something home to help the rest of the family.  But in recent years there was less work every season.

Coachella Valley on Twitter: "A bighorn ram headbutts a barrel cactus to  break through the skin and spines to get to the water rich pulp inside.  Bighorn sheep can go for months

Lush, green, delicious lawns were becoming less and less common, as rains were becoming more sporadic.  Where sprinklers had once flowed freely all day every day, there were bare trickles of water into sparse patches of grass.  And that was if there was any lawn at all!  Last year, they’d come calling on a well-to-do tortoise who had always been very generous, only to find his yard not a swathe of green, but a wide, sandy space filled mostly with rocks and gravel.  The only bits of green were a few cacti.  Alonso’s littlest brother Francisco had tried eating a cactus once.  His review was, “Ith nah vehy tathty.”

Lambs learn to eat Dalmatian toadflax by watching Mom at pasture potluck

But the latest news was even more ludicrous than the cacti.  He, Emiliano, Sancho, and Francisco had gotten into town a few days ago, and had been overjoyed when they saw a yard practically overgrown by shoulder-high grass, but the bear living there had turned them away, simply saying that he was “letting it go this year.”  Initially, they had figured he was just grumpy and out of sorts from having just woken up, but the next house was even worse.

Why Do Cats Lay In The Sun?

That home also had a large, verdant lawn, but when he’d offered their services to the cat who answered the door, she had also declined!  When Alonso asked why, the cat had replied, “It’s No Mow May!”  Alonso had started to ask just what that meant, but that was when his brothers showed up, back from another bust.  They’d trotted up to Alonso, startling the cat.  “Just how many of you are there?!  One, two… threeeee…”  Then the darn cat had just fallen asleep right on her front porch.

As the flagging flock fled that latest absurdity, Alonso turned to Emiliano, who’d been in charge of the other two as they hunted for work, since he was the second-eldest.  “We finally find some decent lawns, and nobody’s biting, least of all us!  That cat said something about ‘No Mow May,’ do you have any idea what that means?”

Felted Bumblebee Sheep – League of NH Craftsmen

“We got that too,” Emiliano replied, “Something about bees, I think, but all I know for certain is that it’s hot, we’re hungry, we’re a long way from home, and Abuela isn’t going to be able to buy a new hat this year.  We’re in a bad spot.”  He looked glumly at his older brother.

Just then, a rattlesnake passing by stopped and slithered over.  “Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear you fellows speaking among yourselves.  You sound like you’re in quite the sticky situation, but I think I might be able to assuage it.  I’m running late right now, but if you meet with my assistant, then she should be able to help you out.  Tell her Simon sent you.”

Cute Sheep Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Alonso didn’t know what to make of the stranger, but it wasn’t like they had any better options, and, judging from the diamonds he was wearing, the snake was at least well-off enough to back up his offer.  Maybe running into him was a stroke of serendipity.  “Alright, we’ll take what we can get, at this point.  Where do we go?”

“Start off to the Southern edge of town, and keep going until you see the windmills—you can’t miss it!”  With that, the snake was slithering off as swiftly as he’d arrived.

A windmill and a lovely sheep named Susan... 🌱🐑 🌱 💢 Nominated 💢 stock  photo bbe0d3de-e8f7-4408-9bfa-707db6c854ff

“Thanks!”  Alonso called after him.

“…I think,” Sancho murmured.

With renewed purpose, the four brothers walked off to the South.  Even if they weren’t quite sure about the details, it was still the best lead they’d gotten since they’d hit town.

“Who do you suppose that snake was, anyway?” Sancho asked.

Snakes with hats. Say no more. | Cute reptiles, Cute little animals, Baby  animals pictures

“Probably some wealthy suburbanite.  I just hope all this walking is worth it.  Anyone who lives this far out ought to have a huge yard, right?”  Alonso replied.

“I guess that makes sense.  Gosh, I’m so hungry even the cacti are starting to not look so bad.”

Francisco chimed in, “The middle is actually pretty juicy!”

Feeding cactus to livestock - dry areas could profit - All About Feed

Alonso cut him off.  “Don’t even think about it; Mama isn’t here to pick the needles out of your tongue.”  As they crested a hill, they suddenly saw what the snake had clearly been talking about.  Before them, they saw a luxurious expanse of grass, speckled with small ponds and, just as promised, a couple of small windmills.

The vision of paradise before them invigorated the tired sheep, and they broke into a run, heading for the windmills at full tilt.  As they neared it, a gopher came hurrying out of a building on the grounds.  “Excuse me, can I help you gentlemen?”  she asked.

All four of them skidded to a stop.  Alonso began tentatively, “Um, Simon sent us?  We’re lawn-care specialists…”  He was doing his best to be courteous, but his stomach was rumbling at the sight of so much green, and his brothers were practically drooling.

Sheep Take Over Golf Course in England, Act As Greenskeepers

“Oh, wonderful!  We need a team to take care of the green for us!  And if Simon thought you looked like a good match, we really just need to do some quick interviews and sign some papers…  Do any of you have experience working on a golf course?”

A few hours later, the brothers gathered around one of the ponds and looked proudly at each other in their matching visors.  They were so stuffed they could hardly move.  “You know what,” Emiliano said, “Not only do we all have fancy new hats, but I’ll bet the one Abuela gets this year will put ours to shame!”

the moon's wife on Twitter: "instead of getting into a pointless argument  on the internet, why don't you look at these pictures of sheep wearing hats  https://t.co/BmwdN2OipO" / Twitter
Pictures courtesy of Google Images.
12

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 2

Image result for group of animals

Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has decided that they need to send a petition to the humans telling them how offensive they found the use of animals in a lot of the human insults.

Douglas Gorilla was ready to read the petition that his group had put together to the rest of the members.

Douglas: We spent quite a lot of time putting this together and would like the input of everyone else to make it as good as possible.

Image result for gorilla readinggo

Dear Humans

We would like you to reconsider your usage of animal names in your insults. For example, “hairy as an ape,” is not considered an insult in our world. We would appreciate you not using it in such a manner either. There are many other examples of problem phrases.

Image result for snake in the grass meme

We feel that such insults stereotype us, generally in a negative way. You use “snake in the grass” to define someone who looks harmless, but can’t be trusted. Snakes live in the grass because that’s a logical place for someone to be who doesn’t have feet or legs. They only feel threatened if someone comes near. Humans with big feet and boots are especially scary to snakes.

Image result for cat high five

We would be happy to work with you to create a list of more appropriate insults at whatever time and place is convenient for you. We will provide a translator, if you like.

You may respond to carabbit@arcanimals.org, We look forward to hearing from you.

 Sincerely,

Animal Rights Coalition

Image result for hyena

Douglas: We thought that everyone could sign so they know it’s a group effort.

Ida Hyena: I think it’s great. If I hear one more “laughing like a hyena joke,” I might have to bare my teeth in public.

Image result for dumb as a rock

Jeni Dodo: I agree. We could suggest that they could just use “dumb as a rock,” rather than “dodo”, it would be great.

Chester: All in favor of sending the petition?

The result was unanimous. They decided that they would deliver the petition by hand/paw. Chester and Chrissy Calico were chosen so the humans wouldn’t feel intimidated.

Image result for rabbit reading'

A few days later, Chester and Chrissy went to a human council meeting. They were stopped at the door.

Guard: This is a human meeting. No animals.

Chester: We just want to deliver a petition to your council.

Image result for animals in meeting meme

Guard: Let me check.

He called someone on his phone. Chester and Chrissy waited patiently. The guard explained the situation. They heard him say, “Actually, they’re pretty cute. Nothing dangerous at all.”

Guard: He said that you can’t go in, but I can take your petition and they will look at it after the meeting and get back with you.

Chester and Chrissy looked at each other. It seemed like there was no other option. They gave the petition to the guard.Image result for rabbit and cat

Next week: What will the humans do with the petition? Will they even look at it?

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

 

 

11

Cat Forum: A Guide to Summer Cat TV

Snoops and Kommando here. Welcome to this month’s Cat Forum. (Yes, we have been pushed back a week because of the stupid bison story. Maybe the editors will learn to count by June. We are the second week feature, not the third week feature. How are our fans supposed to find us?)

Image result for couch potato meme

Oh, well. On to this month’s topic. We’re going to talk about summer Cat TV. Unlike humans, we never have to worry about seeing the same program twice. Just another sign of cat intellectual superiority. We don’t have to turn our brains off to watch the same stuff day after day. (We know some humans are like that because our Dad used to do it – watch the same stuff, not turn his brain off.)

We live in a house without air conditioning, so we are lucky enough to have sound. Some of you air conditioned cats aren’t so lucky. (Although you don’t have to deal with sticky humans, a definite plus.)

Image result for hummingbird

First are the birds.We live in Michigan, so we have more birds this time of year than when it’s cold. Some of you who live in warmer climates might not see much of a difference. Our favorites are the hummingbirds. They’re small and fast, so they’re a lot of fun to watch.

Image result for finches birds

Our human brother has a really big lilac bush just outside his bedroom window. It’s full of birds most of the time.All kinds of birds: sparrows, finches, wrens, robins, blue birds, blue jays, …. He complains about the noise waking him up. We’ve tried to tell him that they’re calling us, but he doesn’t seem to get it.

Image result for squirrels running around

The squirrel and deer channels get a lot more active too. The squirrels like to chase each other around. It looks like fun, but they get pretty mean sometimes when they fight. We’re glad they’re only on TV.

Image result for chipmunk running

Every once in a while, there’s a show on the squirrel channel that we really like. The little guys look a lot like squirrels, but much smaller with stripes down their backs. Mom says they’re called chipmunks. They look like they’d be fun to chase. But we don’t know what we’d do with it if we caught one. Mom says we can’t bring it in the house.

Image result for woodchuck in a tree

The funniest show is Woodchuck Adventures. Woodchucks (aka groundhogs) look like huge rodents. (Bigger than us.) They like to lay in the sun. They probably don’t have to worry about sunburn, because they’re really furry.. As soon as they hear a noise, they race for the nearest shelter. It’s great watching something that bulky and slow running that fast. It’s even better when they climb trees. One went up a baby peach tree and was too big to sit on the branches.

We get the boring specialty channels too. We don’t have many snakes in Michigan. The ones we do have just lay in the sun. If we want to watch someone sleep, we can watch Mom.

Image result for moths

(silk moth – we don’t have those on our channel)

The night channel is pretty boring too. We like to watch the fireflies. Mom says their tails are poisonous, so we cant play with them. Moths are the best. They’re fun to play with, and crunchy and tasty if they get annoying.

Image result for angry skunk

The worst show on that channel is the skunks. We were really disappointed. They’re kind of cute; they reminded us a little of cats. But they seem to fight dirty (and loud). When something scares them, they make a huge stink (for real). It smells awful. You air conditioned cats should be grateful. We hear some dogs try to make friends with them. Big mistake. Tell your dog friends if they upset a skunk, they’ll smell even worse than usual.

We recommend you check your local channels. Chances are, there’s something good out there that you haven’t seen for a while.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

0

The Great (Zoo) Escape – Day 2

UPDATE – 9/7/15

The Bonners Ferry Police Department has received several tips regarding the grizzly bears who escaped yesterday. As expected, they appear to be traveling north, with the most recent sighting near the Canadian border.

Apparently the bears have been taken in by a group of wild grizzlies in the far northern part of the state. Local rangers say that they are unable to identify the missing bears because of “significant similarities” with some of the wild bears. Some of the grizzlies are shown below:

 

Image result for grizzly bear group

 

Image result for grizzly bear group

 

In related news, one of the hyenas at the zoo have told the authorities that the bears had inside help with their escape. An unidentified monkey took the key to the back door from one of the attendants and unlocked the door. Meanwhile, some of the snakes left their enclosure and distracted the attendants. Apparently the bears walked out the front gate with a group of visitors. Police are looking at security tapes from the time of the escape.

 

Image result for hyenas  Homer

 

No motive has been identified for the timing of the escape. However, several of the other animals had noticed Brutus being more withdrawn recently.

We will keep you updated as news comes in. The police would like to remind you that these bears are armed and dangerous.

6

Is WordPress Specie-ist?

As I was wandering through some blogs a few days ago, I made a discovery. There are a lot of blogs about/by cats. Which makes sense, since everyone knows cats are the original Internet stars. There are probably an equal number about dogs, although I really didn’t do a full recon on that. In fairness, for me size matters when it comes to dogs. Generally speaking, I prefer those of 40 pounds or more.

Of course, I found some posts about hedgehogs. Lord Nelson (my hedgehog) seemed to be the predominant recurring character. I guess grumpy and spiny is not for everyone. In fairness to Horatio, though, he has stopped huffing at me.

The only thing I found for bears were some very nice photos, but nothing with any personality. Likewise for most creatures who live in the wild. Raccoons and bats made the cut for the cuteness or nuisance factor. Not exactly material for an ongoing storyline. I disqualified blogs like Cute Overload who have a variety of animals, but only pictures/videos intended to make you say “awwwww”.

Then I tried to figure out how one would put backyard critters in a blog. When I looked out the window this morning, I would have sworn it was November: cool, gray and rainy. Eureka! A story about how the little guys decide where to winter. Hint: most of them can’t afford the fare to Florida or Padre Island. If we’re quiet, we can listen in:

The fall meeting of the semi-rural/suburban animals was about to get started. Squirrel, the most energetic of the group, was getting ready to moderate. He looked around to make sure everyone was represented.

Then he frowned and pointed. “You predators, you know you’re not allowed at these meetings.” The coyote slunk off, but the rest stayed.

Fox: You never let us stay. What are going to say that’s so top-secret?

Squirrel: You know very well that the main topics of these meetings are food and safety. The last time we let you guys stay, you and raccoon spent the meeting whispering about which of us looked tastiest and which was the easiest to catch. We’re talking about winter survival today. Now scram!

Raccoon: We have to survive too, you know.

Squirrel: Maybe, but not by eating us.

Fox and Raccoon walked away. The deer made a circle around the little group to keep them out.

Squirrel: OK, does everyone have a den ready?

Woodchuck: We found a great place under an old tree trunk. My cousin Woody already claimed the primo spot under the deck.

Rabbit: Just remember, Woodchuck, we live in that complex too. Keep the noise down.

Woodchuck: What are you talking about? We hibernate all winter. You guys are the ones practicing to repopulate the world in the spring.

Mouse: We’re taking our usual spot in the walls of those two old houses over there (points to a couple of Victorian holdovers).

Mole: Well, be careful. There’s a couple of domestics over there that roam around a lot outside.

Mouse: Not to worry. The pointy-eared one spends the winter in front of the fire and the floppy-eared one only comes out to mess up the landscape. The human won’t stay out and play with him.

Squirrel: Are all of you going to fit in those two houses?

Mouse: Not a chance! But the older kids want to try toughing it out in the woodpile. I tried to tell them that the humans use those woodpiles in the winter. They think they won’t get caught. You know what it’s like trying to talk to kids.

The animals all laugh and nod.

Frog: It’s almost time for us to burrow into the mud for the season, so we’re set.

Snake: Same here. What about you, squirrel?

Squirrel: We’re splitting up this year. Some of us are going the usual route and sleeping in trees. But my brother Earl heard that attics are nice and toasty in the winter.

Mole: There’s bats up there!

Squirrel: Earl says they were all driven out over the summer.

Mole: But the humans will hear you.

Squirrel: That’s part of the plan. The mice will be in the walls and the squirrels will be in the attic. It’ll drive the humans nuts, but it will be too cold for them to do anything about it. We just have to get out quick in the spring.

Mole: I think the rest of us will just hang out at the club underground. It’s pretty cozy if we cuddle up. We mostly sleep anyway.

Squirrel: Well, it looks like everyone’s set. The community center has extra nesting material if you still need any. Otherwise, on to the potluck! Remember, you can take as much as you want, but eat everything you take. It’s the season for bulking up, we don’t want any food to get wasted. Anything you brought that’s not eaten, you can either take home or donate to the emergency pantry.

The animals disperse to eat and talk.

The humans have been inside commenting on how cute they all are. They don’t realize they are about to be invaded.

 

0

Lord Nelson Doesn’t Like the Savanna

Actually I don’t know whether that is true. He has never been to the savanna. Horatio, Lord Nelson, is the full name of my hedgehog. He is an African pygmy hedgehog. Which means that his ancestors came from Africa and his breed is smaller than the ones found back home by the British explorers who first saw them. I think that he is extremely cute and was pretty excited to see a relative on the front cover of the most recent issue of National Geographic. Until I discovered he was the poster boy for the questionable practice of trying to make pets of wild animals.

I don’t think Horatio knows he’s supposed to be wild. When we let him out of his cage, he likes to roam around sniffing everything. But he has never made a break for the door or shown any signs of wanting to leap for our throats and have a meal. Although that may be more of function of him weighing about a pound and a half. Besides, he is an insectivore and last time I checked, we are not insects. Do not call him a rodent. He is extremely sensitive to the reputation rodents have, and he does not wish to be confused with one.

We have a paper giving his parents’ names. Given that hedgehogs only live 2 – 4 years, his family’s been in the country for generations. More generations than mine has.

He has never seemed particularly interested in the occasional bug we have flying around. Apparently he is content with his kitty kibble. (Although he did seem somewhat interested in a chocolate chip I dropped by him. He’s definitely my hog.)

Which brings me to the animals that are actually discussed in the article. One of them is a capybara. For those of you not into rodentia, a capybara is the largest member of the rodent family (at least I hope so). They are larger than housecats and look like a large guinea pig with slicked back hair. They are actually rather cute. But I can see having nightmares about the cute little critter in the habitrail (do they still make those?) taking steroids and coming after me.

I can’t imagine having one of those big cats they show either. This morning, one of our cats was rubbing against the bathroom door while I was getting ready for my shower. I thought she wanted to go downstairs, so I opened the door to let her go. Instead, she came into the bathroom and laid down wanting me to rub her tummy. (By the way, the experts say cats hate having their tummies rubbed – I haven’t had the heart to tell our cats.)

Anyway, if a tiger wanted to be petted, I’m guessing he would have come through the door and made his wishes known. It’s cute when a 10-lb. cat wraps her paws around your hand. I would feel like lunch if a 400-lb cat did it. I’m thinking that play time would probably involve more than waving a feather on a stick. Unless the feather was attached to a chicken.

Bears are another exotic option. I think baby bears are adorable. And the parents are beautiful with their 4″ teeth and 10″ nails. When I was little, my parents got me a teddy bear every Christmas. They always came with a music box that quit working before the year was out. I ended up with a family of silent bears.  The best kind when you sleep with them.

Sleeping with a baby grizzly sounds kind of attractive on some of the cold nights we’ve been getting. They’re probably nice and warm. And they look so cuddly. They seem like the type of animal that might snore. And eat me if I took up too much of the bed.

There were some exotic birds in the article. I really dislike birds. They are beautiful. And some of them are pretty amazing in the way they migrate thousands of miles. Others have cool ways of building nests or feeding their young. But they all have beaks. I do not want a pet that can peck at me. Or whatever the equivalent is for a toucan. Thinking about it, I’m not sure how a toucan would bite.

Which brings me to snakes. I’m not a huge fan of reptiles. I’m OK with the ones with legs. We had a mountain lizard for several years, and Rex was definitely part of the family. I put him in the same classification with the hedgehog. Not particularly cuddly, but a definite personality.

On the other hand, I don’t have any rapport with snakes at all. I’m not afraid of them, I’m just not interested in having one running (slithering?) around the house. I don’t like having things watching me, and they seem to spend a lot of time curled up not doing much of anything else. I refuse to go to the pet store to get live things for it to eat. And the only ones that cuddle are the ones that squeeze too tight if you don’t give them enough other things to play with.

It all reminded me of an article I read several years ago about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The person being interviewed said that it was cruel to keep dogs and cats as pets. They were intended to roam free.

We had two (different) cats at the time, Rascal and Critter. Beauty and brains. Rascal probably wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of days before being eaten by who knows what out there (we have raccoons, coyotes, skunks, hawks, etc.). She was a very sweet cat, but a total princess. Critter would have sat at the door crying to be let back in. She knew she had a good thing.

I think I’ll keep things the way they are. Our cats have us trained, but at least I’m not worried about them eating me if they want a midnight snack.