The kids have been on 5 adventures this year. Hotels have gotten so much better about traveling with pets compared to the limited options during the long road trips out west in 2010 and 2011. This year they experienced a roadtrip to Maryland and on to New York in a vrbo with a private rooftop, a trip to St Louis, a quick weekend in Florida and a couple of trips to Nashville. We saw family, a couple friends, and went to a few concerts. Nashville has a full size replica of the Parthenon so we visited that as well. The dogs loved to walk in downtown Nashville. Polly was afraid of one of the garages and would walk as close to the street as possible while leaning to the side to avoid it. I couldn’t tell what about it scared her because nothing looked different than the others. I think she liked it because it gave her tons of new people to pet her. Beethoven has two luxating patellas but he’s too old for surgery, so we got a dog stroller to take him around. It helped keep the dogs from being underfoot between the vrbo and the dog park in NY. There was a dog park on the far end of our block and Washington Square Park in the opposite direction. Fletch is completely blind now so the dog stroller helped him too. More pics of that to come!
This summer I bought a colorful hummingbird feeder at a home decor store after lunch. It was an after thought. I knew we had hummingbirds in our front yard because we’d see and hear them every time we walked the dogs. They mostly stayed near the pine tree for the bugs that the sap would attract, the honeysuckle, the hollies and bamboo. I hung the feeder off the back of the deck and checked the Nest security camera to see if any birds found it. Boy did they ever! It was non-stop feeding on it. Naturally I bought another feeder. The traffic increased until I had 17 feeders across our 2/3 acre. They would also fly under the gazebo on the deck to look into the kitchen and see what we were doing. They’d sit on the bamboo outside of the sunroom to look inside. They are very curious individuals.
There are a few formulas to try to estimate how many hummingbirds are at your address. One says that for every 1 hummingbird you see, there are 4 others living there that you do not see. Another says it is 6 staying there for every 1 that you see. Another says that each hummingbird will drink 2 oz of nectar from the feeders daily. I did the math one day based on the capacity for each feeder and the very small amount that I was dumping out every other day. Apparently we had 32 hummingbirds! Did you know that feeding hummingbirds takes as much commitment as adopting a new puppy? It truly does. The reason is that you can only mix a specific sugar with water in a specific ratio with no additives and no substitutions to make the nectar that is a portion of their diet. No honey, no agave, not organic. Absolutely no red food dye. You also must clean the feeders very frequently based on how hot it gets in your area. That meant daily or every other day here. When the feeder looks cloudy, you must dump the nectar out immediately and clean with either a bleach solution or vinegar solution. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water or 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, scrub with a brush and rinse in warm or hot water. You can find all kinds of hummingbird feeder cleaning brushes at your local garden center or online. I’ll do a whole post about it soon, and re-post again before they migrate here in April.
While putting on Polly’s leash, the other kids lined up at the storm door to prepare for their trip outside. The door isn’t perfectly sealed so cool air comes in on one side and they were definitely enjoying it. This is the time of year–spring and fall, actually–when Fletch will plop his rear onto the grass and refuse to come inside. He loves the cool weather and will verbalize his objections through a song or two before finally coming inside. Some days I have to actually pick him up and bring him inside because he will not stop singing.
Polly has adopted this bed as her own house and really it fits her best. At any time you can find any of the kids spending time in it. Bates likes to just stick his head in there and nothing more. I’ve been afraid to post about Fletch for a while but he is stronger than he was before the surgery. He has an amazing doctor and surgeon that gave him the best care he could have possibly received. If I didn’t already live near this vet’s office I would actually consider moving to be closer to it. They are THAT good! Cali is missing the oscillating heater fan. She’ll snuggle up to the back of my laptop to try to get warmer. I’ve never considered having a cat wear a sweater non-stop until Cali. Check back. You may just see cats in sweaters soon.
We have good news! Fletch had the tumor removed and it is benign! It was 1 full pound between the kidney and tumor. That entire kidney had to be removed so there were plenty of question marks regarding what his reality would be moving forward. Thankfully, he is happy and energetic. His glucose is normal. He is still crated to control his activity until the full 6 weeks recovery time. His time is longer since he is diabetic. He spent almost two full days with the surgeon’s office and overnight care doctors immediately after surgery. He was on a soft warm bed and covered in blankets while he was getting fluids. Pics are: tumor, recovery bed, and back home with Bates and Polly. His legs are shaved from when they were trying to find a vein so he looks a bit like a poodle right now.
The storms were really bad and lasted so long last night. Bates snuggled up in his bed to get through it.
If you wonder where we’ve been, we have a sick pup. Fletch has a mass in his belly. He is seeing the best doctor possible. She is 50-50 on whether we should have surgery or not. She has the medical expertise. As his Mom, I am 50-50 too. Operating has risks and it could send him into kidney failure. Not operating could mean there is cancer hiding in there that wasn’t discovered when we had part of it removed and sent to a lab. This is when I wish for medical knowledge, but really nobody is better than the doctor he is seeing. Please say a prayer or two or three for Fletch. He’s such a sweet and innocent soul. It is heartbreaking that he is having to deal with this.
I think he approves of the new linens I was unpacking.
Cali watches them religiously to make sure they all make it in from their daily walks. Another successful day! All kids safe and back inside the house.
Bates rolled himself up like a burrito in this blanket and this was him on his way to unwrapping himself.