Chicks, Ducks, and a Bunny…Oh My!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Growing UP, Happiness, Ideas, Imagination, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 17-10-2016

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Who buys her daughter baby chicks, baby ducks, and a bunny…in the middle of the city?

My mother…that’s who!

Imagine the squeals of delight one Easter morning! The joy! I was the happiest of happy!

We didn’t live in the country. Nor did we have the proper pens and enclosures yet built. We housed our extended family in our laundry room off the kitchen. Added some heat lamps. Purchased feed. Received a donated rabbit hutch for the backyard.

Our farm was set!

Like Fern from Charlotte’s Web, I fed, watered, nurtured, and talked to my animal friends every day. Their peeps and nibbles and sweetness made me overjoyed. My friends thought I was so lucky…indeed, I was!

One baby duck, Quincy, didn’t make it and died after a week. It was a tough life lesson. The other duck, Abraham, thrived.

When the chicks and duck outgrew their soft downy feathers and grew into their adult feathers, it was time to move them from the laundry room to the backyard, into coops and hutches.

One chick grew into–gasp!–a rooster and became the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock for the neighborhood, with his loud cock-a-doodle-dooing. Abraham was so well mannered, that you could leash him and take him for a walk. The rabbit was simply happy with carrots and came out for snuggles.

Our menagerie of animals represented my childhood: colorful, joyful, interesting, and full of life, love, and experiences. My mother was the ring leader, with her big heart and personality, always unconventionally fun and cool. I am so lucky to be her daughter.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

8 is Great

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Family, Family Pet, Pet, Pets | Posted on 04-01-2016

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How old should a child be to own a pet hamster? The pet store said eight years old.

But my daughter was turning seven. And she wanted a hamster. (Imagine Veruca Salt, “Daddy, I want a squirrel!”)

No, my daughter doesn’t ask for much. So, we gifted her a hamster for her seventh birthday. Along with a hamster cage, a wheel, food, cedar chips, a water bottle, toys, and yogurt snacks.

It was love at first sight. She named him Popcorn.

She snuggled with him. She cooed to him. She fed him grated carrots. She built him obstacles out of cardboard boxes. She let him run free. She cleaned his cage. She let him explore her dollhouse. She gave him clean water. She talked to him in a little hamster voice.

And when she was done playing with him, she always put him back safely in his cage and hooked the latch.

Except not always.

We went out to dinner one night and came home to an empty cage. I feared the worst. Had he fallen through a heater vent? Had he crawled under a door to the great outdoors? I was about to initiate an all-family, whole-house search-and-rescue when my daughter announced that he was probably in the kitchen by the mixer.

Because. That’s where she left him. Ah, perfect seven-year-old logic.

Her 7th birthday…

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Baby Ducks

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Death, Family, Life, Memories, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 19-04-2014

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When I was a child, my mother bought me two baby ducks and a baby chick at Easter. Because. She. Was. Cool. Like. That.

And, naturally, we lived in a neighborhood, not on a farm. And back then, urban chickens weren’t exactly the rage. Imagine my delight when I got to pet and hold and nurture baby farm life! The babies would gently peck at the grain in my palm with their beaks and bills. And I would rub their softness against my cheek.

They lived in a cardboard box with a heat lamp, in our laundry room off the kitchen. They were my pride and joy.

Only a few days after getting them, one of the baby ducks named Quincy died. It was one of the saddest days. But I had Abraham, who I later trained to walk on a leash.

The chick grew quickly. Her downy fuzz was soon replaced by spiky feathers. And whaddya know, she turned into a rooster. Who proceeded to cock-a-doodle-doo at 5:00 a.m., much to the neighbors’ dismay. We had to quickly find him a home at the petting zoo.

But we had the duck for awhile and he was awesome.

Thinking back, my mother had the best intentions to buy me baby animals at Easter, surrounding me with love and animals.

Years later, I bought my son baby ducks at Easter. He loved to pet and hold and nurture them. He fed them with his little hands. He helped me pour in fresh water. He “helped” his Dad make a cage outside. We lived on five acres; a perfect home for ducks. It was blissful!

Except. Not so much.

Our yard backed up to a forest, with a variety of wild animals who happened to prey on ducks.

One fateful morning, when went to feed the ducks, they had, sadly, died. Tortured, really. Turns out a raccoon or fox had climbed into their fence and bit off their heads. It was shocking.

Like my mother, I, too, had only the best intentions to surround my son with love and animals.

That was our last foray with baby ducks. We seem to do much better with large dogs. 🙂

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There is a Good Time to Chase Squirrels and…

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Dogs, Encouragement, Exercise, Family Pet, Humor, Life, Little Story, Otis, Pets, Simply Otis | Posted on 05-03-2014

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I have been running with my dog pretty regularly. You know. The famous Simply Otis? You can “like” his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SimplyOtis

We run rain or shine. And lately, even in ice. We’re actually trying to log 31 runs for the month of March. Thirty-one days in March, get it? So far, we’re four for four. In your face! But this is not a bragging story. This is an OMG-I-nearly-knocked-the-Porta-Potty-over-because-Otis-decided-to-chase-a-squirrel-while-I-took-a-crap post.

See? Otis and I make the most excellent running duo.

He pulls me, I lag behind.

I talk to him, he listens.

I take pictures of him, he lets me.

He poops, I clean it up.

I poop, and that’s where this story begins.

If you know me, you know I simply love fiber. Beans. Flax. Oats. Dates in my cookies. More beans. More cookies. You can read about how I nearly pooped my pants in this post.

As Hagrid says, “Better out than in, eh Harry?!”

Well. We were running–Otis and I–and I had to go. Like immediately. Fiber just suddenly kicked in. Fortunately, we ran by a park with whaddya know: a Porta Potty.

Hmmm. Do I take Otis in with me? Do I tie him to a tree, just outside the Porta Potty? And risk someone taking him?

I did what I had to do.

Picture this. I crammed myself into the Porta Potty. Me on the inside of the Porta Potty. Otis on the outside. With leash in one hand inside. And Otis at the other end outside. On the other side of the shut door. I closed the door as best I could and proceeded. There I am, squatting. While Otis started pulling my arm, on the other side of the door. And he was pulling. Very. Hard.

He had spotted a squirrel and was raring to go.

I, too, was raring to go. Bad timing!

Otis yanked and was. Leaping. Towards the squirrel. And you know how squirrels are. They’re fast little suckers. And they dash and dart. The one thought that crossed my mind:

“OTIS IS GONNA PULL SO HARD THAT THE PORTA POTTY IS GONNA TOPPLE OVER WITH ME IN IT!!”

Fast forward four seconds.

Fortunately, there was no toppling. Everything came out just fine. (Oh no squirrels were harmed in this story.)

3 for 3! 3 runs in…3 weeks! 🙂

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Does that Sofa Come in “Labrador Yellow?”

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Decor, Home, Pet, Pets | Posted on 07-10-2013

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Our family room is definitely a family room. It’s accessible, comfortable, and used–by all family members.

And when I say used, I mean the furniture looks like it’s used.

Plus we have a giant yellow Labrador who loves to rub up against the back of the chair, like a lion scratching against a tree. Yeah that.

Our slip-covered sofa and chair were dark grey and our dog is yellow, so you can imagine the hairiness. And the color contrast.

Thankfully, we don’t invest too much money in furniture. But I still like things looking nice. So, we ditched the old slip covers and trekked to Ikea to re-slip in “Teno light gray.”

Yeah, that’s what they call the color. I call it Labrador yellow. A perfect match.

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Our Puppy: A Year in Pictures

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Daughters, Family, Family Pet, Memories, Pets, Photography | Posted on 11-04-2013

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Happy 1st birthday, Otis!

I took a weekly picture of my puppy and daughter for an entire year, to capture the moments and to watch how much they changed in one year’s time. He grew a little faster than she did. 🙂

Looking through these photos bring back vivid memories for our family. Seasons filled with laughter and silliness, frustrations and mess, teaching and energy, cuddling and love.

Hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday is Date Night Around Here

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Pet, Pets | Posted on 07-10-2012

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Wednesdays are reserved for my honey.

Last Wednesday evening, we zoomed down the freeway. I was driving and he sat in the passenger seat. Roxanne by The Police was blaring.

It was an unusually warm October evening and the windows were half-down. The breeze made us smile. The moon was magical, lighting our way.

I reached out and held his hand. He looked back at me lovingly, knowingly. We didn’t need to say anything.

We were looking forward to our adventure ahead and were prepared, with drinks and snacks packed.

We pulled up and parked. We walked, side-by-side.

Dog obedience class.

Every Wednesday is date night with Otis.

Snakes in Toilets: Peek Before You Pee

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childrearing, Pets | Posted on 06-11-2011

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Three words for ya: snakes in toilets. Yet another reason why you should check the toilet before you sit (or squat). I have read articles over the years about just this. Snakes give me the willies. Especially snakes that travel through pipes and emerge to say hello…in your bathroom.

Just check out some headlines and articles I have come across:

Trouble for the Tidy Bowl Man

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/02/24/Southpinellas/Trouble_for_the_Tidy_.shtml

2.7m Sewer Snake Found in Toilet Bowl (2.7m is nearly 8 ft. long, y’all!)

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1025022/2-7m-sewer-snake-found-in-qld-toilet-bowl

Spotted: Pythons!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/10/spotted-pythons.html

Fortunately, I live in an area with no poisonous snakes. And often, I have read that the snakes found in pipes and toilets are not poisonous, but rather, pets that have either escaped or that have been released on purpose. But still, I don’t want to ever encounter one.

Regardless, it’s become a habit of mine to peek in the toilet first. Quirky habit, maybe? I don’t care.

And if my kids ever ask to have a snake for a pet, I will say—one word: NO. How about a guinea pig instead?