Monday, February 28, 2005


Blue-winged teal decoys

When my husband had the idea of putting decoys on the pond to attract ducks, I thought he was nuts.

Jasmine chases off the Canada Geese that try to visit us, so I thought our days of seeing wild ducks at the ponds were over. But she must have gotten used to seeing the decoys, and decided that ducks are ok. (Either that or she doesn't see them flying in.)

The decoys work like a charm. All winter, we've spotted Hooded Mergansers near them. I know I'm being anthropomorphic when I say that sometimes they can be a little sad too.

The Mergansers swim right up to the decoys, and I always imagine that they expect some sort of ducky discourse. They're bound to be disappointed by the decoys' aloofness. (Why won't they talk to me? Do they think they're better than us?)

I know it's silly, I just can't help it.

Some real Blue-winged teal were here once last year, and we've seen Wood ducks several times.

Many ducks spend the winter here in the south, but it's also hunting season, which makes them wary. Sometimes they flush so easily that all we see is their tail ends flying off.

Ducks at a Distance would help, if we could remember to carry our binoculars all the time.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Woodsy idyll

The kind of thing you think you'd be geting away from out in the woods

Friday, February 25, 2005

Steadfast Plastic Articulated Man

One of Jasmine's favorite games is to find ways to get outside the fence. We repair the fence, then she finds (or creates) another place to get out. We fix the fence again, and so on.

She loves getting into the neighbors' garbage, which they conveniently leave lying all over the ground.

I figure that they are going with the old rural concept of a burn barrel, only without all the fuss of an actual barrel.

The neighbors' kids must have too many toys, because they leave a lot of them outside. If it rains, they get washed into the ditch and float down towards our place. Finders keepers, says Jasmine.

The man was already this far gone by the time I found him in the yard. It reminded me of the Hans Christian Andersen story about The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

I couldn't help but wonder if there had been a Weeble out there who loved him, who sang "Farewell, farewell, O warrior brave, Nobody can from Death thee save" as he was being washed away to sharp dog teeth.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Too many roosters

The result of too many roosters

Roosters tend to hang on to the hens' combs and the feathers on their heads. We currently have too many roosters, so this poor pullet is looking a little plucked.

Teenagers probably wouldn't want so many boyfriends, if it meant they'd end up bald like this.

Roosters for sale!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Night chorus

For the past two days we've heard a symphony of frogs in the late afternoon and early evening. Down by the swamp the noise is almost deafening!

I don't have a separate microphone for the laptop, but I hoped that the built-in one could pick up the sound since it was so loud. I was disappointed in the quality but I guess you can't expect much without a real microphone.

Here's my short recording of the frogs.

I was able to find a nice page that features a few frog sounds, and learned that most of our singers are Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). Go there to hear a recording that's a lot better than mine.

We could hear (but couldn't record) at least two other frog species that we haven't identified yet. I think one might be the Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala) but I'm not sure. We had those frogs at the water garden at our old house, and I thought I knew what they sounded like... but the recordings I checked seem a little different.

Edited to add:
As a result of them starting to sing earlier than anyone else the next evening, we were able to better isolate the sound, and identified the American Toad (Bufo americanus) as another one of our mystery amphibians.
(end of edit)

While we were down by the ponds appreciating the frog chorus last night, the Barred Owls (Strix varia) chimed in and made us smile even more.

This page has recordings of the owls' "courtship duet". In real life it often sounds like a courtship quartet (or more). The owls seem to work themselves into such a frenzy of calling that you'd swear you were in the deepest jungle.

It doesn't seem confined to just their courtship time either - you can sometimes hear groups of them cackling like maniacs during the summertime.

We heard Barred owls in the woods behind our old house in the suburbs too, so it's not just a rural thing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I've got small feet, but that seems like a pretty big deer print to me. The back parts of their hooves splay apart sometimes in the mud, and can make them seem bigger than they really are.

We see deer here a lot, but I haven't managed to get a good picture yet. They always smell us or hear us before we can get too close.

We see lots of deer signs though, from prints to scat to "rubs" (saplings that the bucks use to rub the velvet off their antlers).

Deer are becoming too numerous in this area. I've seen four roadkill deer on the local highway in the past few weeks, which at 65 mph usually means four totalled cars. Last year the deer ate all the tomatoes that we tried to grow, along with a large number of the trilliums in the woods.

I asked my mother once if she ate a lot of deer when she was growing up (in north Georgia). She said no, that there were not any deer around back then. Commercial hunting and clear-cutting wiped out most of the deer, and a lot of the deer habitat, by the early 1900s.

Most farmers hunted back then, but it was mostly for quail and other small game. I guess lots of southern grandmothers have old photo albums filled with pictures of men in overalls, posed with their hunting rifles and bird dogs.

White-tailed deer were restocked in many areas in the 30s and early 40s. Without many of their natural predators, populations have exploded.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sapsucker holes

Sapsucker holes in cedar

Edited to say:
Here's what a yellow-bellied sapsucker looks like. One of these days I might get lucky and get a good bird picture... but not today.

According to most sources, a sapsucker's drilling usually does not harm trees.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Signs of spring

Jacob's Ladder Foliage (Polemonium reptans)

Virginia Bluebells Foliage (Mertensia virginica). Still weeks from blooming.

A little trillium coming up amid the cowcumber leaves.

Blue violet (Viola papilionacea) - the first flower we saw this spring. Some people consider this a weed!

Toothwort (Cardamine sp.) - the buds look purple, but the flower will be white.

Another toothwort with different shaped leaves. There are about 50 jillion types of toothwort I think. "Wort" is an old English word for "plant".

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) is small and can be easy to miss. Sometimes the flowers are more pink.

Hepatica - the foliage is not the light green blades, but the half-eaten brown leaf on the lower left. The flower blooms next to last year's leaves, then grows new leaves after the flower is gone. One of the common names is liverleaf. This is the sharp-lobed variety; there is also a round-lobed one. Sometimes the flowers are blue/purple, but I've only seen white ones in Alabama.

Jasmine stalks and kills the wild mustard.

I didn't get a photo of the least welcome sign of spring - some very annoying mosquitos.

Friday, February 18, 2005


White crownbeard - Verbesina virginica

Before I knew the real name of these plants I called them Ice Plants. I'm a flower nut but mostly a springtime flower nut, so I haven't studied fall flowers very much.

They have small, somewhat coarse white flowers. There's a lot more leaf than flower to them, so sometimes they suffer from the "it's just a weed" syndrome.

It seems like half the time I ask wildflower experts the name of something, it turns out to be beneath their notice, and they'll say "I don't know, it's just a weed!"

Anyway, this plant is called White Crownbeard, frostflower, or frostweed. Here's a site that shows them in bloom.

The most interesting thing about these plants to me is what happens after the flowers are gone. The first time I saw it, I wondered if loose cotton had somehow blown into the edges of the yard.

It only happens after a really hard freeze. Although the plant remnants look like dry sticks by the time it freezes, they somehow produce all this ice. One website I visited said that they are drawing the water from the ground.

The first time it happens is the most dramatic, and forms the most ice, but it'll happen again several more times when we go through cycles of warming up and then freezing again.

So what makes it happen with this plant, but not with others? I have no idea.

After I wrote the above, I searched a little more on Google and found this page that explains more about the phenomenon. (And has lots better pictures than mine!) The frost from plants he found was very thin. On the plants here it varies, but is usually thicker.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

John Wesley Harding (not the Dylan album)

I got a real big puffy head for a few seconds when I saw that John Wesley Harding had included my blog site address in one of his web forum posts recently. And under the words, "I would recommend the following blogs," no less!

Then I realized that he had written a line for everybody that had signed up (and included a web address) for the new forum so far.

So rather than being wonderfully interesting or wickedly amusing or devastatingly clever, I was merely... early.

The fleeting illusion of fame was nice while it lasted.

I've got a postcard that I need to find, to show the other JWH-aholics.

It's the result of the last fan letter I wrote. The last one on paper anyway - I've probably sent a lot of little "like what you do" emails to various people over the years.

Actually the letter to JWH wasn't exactly a fan letter as such... As I recall it was more along the lines of a complaint about the (then recent) lack of witty liner notes.

To me, liner notes are half the fun of music sometimes. All of his had previously been witty and then all of the sudden they were... not so much. Just regular liner notes, like everybody else's, and geez didn't he know how good the previous ones had been?

I don't know what I was thinking though - musicians are always getting fan mail so they probably need some complaint mail...?! Believe it or not I was well past my teens.

He was nice about it though, and sent me back a witty postcard.

I'll try to get a picture of it soon, to show the other JWH fans who might end up here.

This was all back in the early to mid-90s, so I can't say if letters of complaint to JWH will still get you postcards.
He's probably a lot busier nowdays, what with the upcoming book, and preparing to be a major literary figure and all that.

If you are not a JWH fan already, you should be! He always has some free MP3s on his website, so go there to check him out. Or just listen to the snippets.

He has also written a book that's due out in April, called Misfortune. Since he writes the best Tour Diaries in the universe, I'm sure the book will be good too. It'll be under his real, non-Dylan inspired name, Wesley Stace.

Still not spring yet

Jasmine is looking forward to spring too, I think.

Yesterday one of the Dominiques failed to return to the roost when it started getting dark.

She's always the last one to go up, and she's also bad to wander off far from the others.

Since it was a gray day yesterday I figured a coyote had gotten her. (They always seem to be worse on dark days.)

I scolded Jasmine and told her that she was spending too much time trying to get out of the fence and not enough time guarding the chickens.

After supper Phil suggested that I go out and look by the coop again to make sure she hadn't come back. I didn't want to. I knew she wouldn't be there, and I was already sad enough.

I think half the reason she stayed away from the other chickens so much is that she was tired of roosters. We have three, and that's too many for 14 hens I think.

She is missing lots of feathers on her head and on her back, due to the roosters.

I kept thinking about the poor little half-bald baby all the way up to the coop. I was almost in tears over a chicken, again.

When I shined the flashlight under the coop, I couldn't believe it... she was there! Huddled up and looking all scrunched over and pitiful, about halfway back.

I eventually coaxed her out, and she even let me pick her up to put her back in the coop.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

How do they know?

There are a lot of technical problems with this picture. I've been trying to get a shot of the chickens when they are taking a dust bath, but it's hard to sneak up on dustbathing chickens, especially when a large dog insists on shadowing you.

They keep running away when I get close. Like some people, I guess chickens feel vulnerable in their bath. (Did they see Psycho too?)

So for now all I have is this problematic picture, too dark in one part and too light in another, distracting bits of wood that the dog's dragged into the area, and a picnic table sticking out in one corner. Sorry.

If you'd never seen birds taking a dust bath, you might think that they had gone nuts.

If there is no loose dirt available, they'll dig it up themselves (no lawn is safe).

They alternately flatten themselves in the dirt, and roll over onto their sides in it. They wriggle in it and use their wings to throw it up onto their backs. All while fluffing themselves up so that the dust can reach every feather.

When they've gotten enough dust on them, they stand up and shake it all off. Sometimes it seems like there's enough dirt in there to make a whole other chicken.

I've read that taking a dust bath helps with feather maintenance (absorbs excess oil) and keeps bugs away. Wild birds do it too.

But these chickens never knew a mother or an elder hen or rooster, having been born in incubators and shipped from the hatchery when they were just hours old.

So how do they know to take a dust bath?

Maybe it's hard-wired in their brains, a little instruction somewhere on the DNA.

Or maybe it's just obvious to them. Thirsty, drink water. Itchy, take a dust bath. Just one of the things that chickens are born knowing?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ducks take to water!

The mallard is so happy, she is even wagging her tail.

I'm happy too, even though the ducks did not stay in the water very long. They went in on their own, without being threatened with big dogs or pointy sticks.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the move will become permanent eventually.

You can tell the male ducks by their curled tail feathers. It is not as evident on the white ones though (two of them are males also).

Monday, February 14, 2005

Interesting spider

I found this spider down by the creek. Judging by the way his legs were folded (and by the way he didn't budge when I poked him with a stick), I think he had recently met his end.

I was able to look him on up on this really cool spider site, and found out that he is a marbled orb weaver (Araneus marmoreus). Not a dangerous spider at all.

A word of warning, though. Do NOT look at the pictures of brown recluse spider bites on that page unless you have a strong constitution.

I don't have a strong constitution at all, at least not about medical stuff. I confess that I have felt a little faint ever since viewing the spider bite pictures.

The only time I ever really completely fainted was at a first-aid lecture. There was a drawing of a tourniquet and a chopped off leg involved.

People are usually sympathetic about this at first, and sputter satisfyingly, and agree what a horrible thing that was to be showing to impressionable young girl scouts.

Then they always start pressing me for details about the drawing.

When they find out that, well no, the drawing wasn't really all that graphic, it was just a simple line drawing... they start snickering.

It's hard to stop them from laughing long enough to properly explain about my very vivid imagination.

Anyway, it's probably not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with what the brown recluse spider looks like. The map shows that they are found in Alabama, but I've never seen one.

In general I am not superstitious, although at this point I feel obliged to say "knock on wood".

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Nobody seems to think that this is as funny as I do.

Well obviously some people like it, because it was one of the top ten picks from the Nicktoons Film Festival, which is where we first saw it.

But nobody I know seems to appreciate it properly. The responses I got (when I sent almost everyone I know the URL) ranged from just "cute" to "uh-huh, ok".

Maybe it tickled my funny bone in just the right way. Because I thought it was hilarious.


After we found it online, we watched a few others from the same animators, and also loved Badgers and Magical Trevor.

Some of the things on the site are a little odd and not what I'd particularly want little kids to see - Mr Stabby for example - but these three are all G-rated.

The films all loop, so they won't stop playing until you leave the page. These three load up pretty quickly, even for slow dial-up connections.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Can't wait til spring!

Virginia Bluebells last spring

The other day I was having lunch with my mother in law in Cullman. (I was lucky enough to marry into a bunch of very nice in-laws.) We tried to go to the All Steak but after finding that every parking spot in the deck was taken, we figured it would probably be too crowded inside. All Steak has some great orange rolls that my mouth had been salivating for since I’d left home, so I really hated to miss them.

We went to the Cracker Barrel instead. Some people sneer at the Cracker Barrel. I guess because it’s a big chain and because it’s so commercial - you have to walk through their crowded gift shop before you can set foot in the restaurant.

In the winter I always feel like the kid Randy from the Christmas Story movie in there, all fluffy coat and “I can’t put my arms down.” I’m afraid that I’ll knock over something glass and expensive.

But they have a wonderful grilled chicken that’s worth running the gift shop gauntlet for, and on Fridays the extra veggie is brown rice, which is also wonderful.

My mother in law ran into several people she knew there. I think that happens a lot in Cullman. (I see it happen a lot in Oneonta too but so far I don't know enough people here for it to happen to me.)

One of my aunts-by-marriage stopped by our table to say hello too. She said what had been on my mind for several weeks already... "I can't wait til spring!"

Long-spurred violet

We are both wildflower nuts. I spent a really inordinate amount of time last spring combing the woods at our new place, looking to see what flowers we had. But I'm sure I missed some. I've got the fever to get out and find new things, and see the old favorites too. But it's still too early.

I heard the little frogs singing this week, and the red-winged blackbirds too, for the first time this year. I’d love to learn which frogs are singing which songs, but first we have to figure out how to actually see any of them. Sometimes I’d swear that they are all invisible frogs.

Invisible frog tadpoles

But last night it got down to about 23 degrees F, so the frogs aren’t singing this morning. (That’s -5 degrees C, for those of you in the regular, non-“I’m never gonna accept the metric system” world.)

So it's still too early. But I can't wait til spring!

Thursday, February 10, 2005


We wanted ducks because we have ponds. "Ducks would look nice on those ponds," we thought.

We bought three mallards locally and ordered ten Indian Runner ducks.

If you remember the duck from the movie "Babe", that was a Runner duck. Supposedly they stand upright from generations of being herded.

I thought they would look just like the pictures in catalogs, but I guess that is the idealized version. They don't stand like that all the time either - just when they are very alert or when they are running.

They are hilarious when they are young. If Indian Runner ducklings were prescribed for people who are depressed, it would save a lot of money spent on drugs. We shared a lot of laughs over these ducks last spring.

Typical duck posture

Two of the mallards were victims of us not realizing what a coyote problem we had. After a certain age we were letting them sleep wherever they wanted, when we should have been locking them up at night. We learned that the hard way.

The morning of our realization about the coyotes, the remaining mallard was so pitiful. She wandered everywhere looking for her buddies. I felt really bad and really stupid.

She got used to the Runner ducklings after a short time though. They annoyed her, but she wanted some friends.

One of the Runners was DOA, and two disappeared in mysterious incidents. We suspected the dog, especially after we spotted her with duck feathers in her mouth. She was still a puppy and may not have realized what she was doing.

So now we have a group of eight ducks, none of whom want to go anywhere near the ponds. They want to stay in the yard. They like looking at their reflections in the glass shop door. They don't want to have anything to do with us, yet can't bear to be too far away from us. They love their kiddy pool and hate the ponds.

Ducks don't like being much farther apart than this.

But lately we've had glimmers of hope. The ducks have discovered that they like the ditch, and have been spending a lot of time there. Ducks are the messiest creatures on the earth, and being messy in the ditch is infinitely better than being messy on the porch.

We have been trying to coax them over to the ponds by putting corn out in the area. Someone told me that it took their ducks about a year to want to live at their pond, so there is still hope!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Viral marketing

An unqualified endorsement for Tamiflu.

If your husband/wife/significant other/posslq/roommate/kid brings home the flu from work/school, run to the doctor the minute you show the first symptom. Say, "I want my Tamiflu".

Or Relenza - I think it's the same thing, only one's a pill and one's a nasal spray.

If you take it within the first two days of symptoms, it's a wonder drug. They should have named it Flu-B-Gone.

The fine print: it's not cheap, and apparently it makes some people nauseous. (I was fine though.)

This should be an over the counter drug, and employers should hand it out like candy when the first person in an office is out sick with the flu.

The doctor's phone was busy for over 2 hours, and his office was as crowded as I've ever seen it. I think half the people in Birmingham must have the flu now. Half the ones in the Trussville area, anyway.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fade to red

A dead cedar had started leaning onto the fence so Phil cut part of it off. I thought the color was interesting. The heartwood is purple like this when it is first cut, but fades to a reddish-brown color within a week.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) isn't really a cedar, but a juniper instead. At one time, almost all pencils were made out of wood from this tree, but nowdays it's only about 10%.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hooded Mergansers

Many thanks to Randy Emmitt of RLEPhoto for giving me permission to use his photo of a hooded merganser. His site has lots of great butterfly and dragonfly pictures too.

Mergansers, we got 'em! This is one of my favorite ducks, and luckily for us they love farm ponds.

They are very wary birds, and so far all my photo attempts have ended up in fuzzy frustration because mergansers spook so easily.

I guess I could set up a blind, go out before daybreak, and try to guess which pond they'll land in IF they come that morning, but... nah.

Randy told me that he was able to get this picture at a pond where the ducks were used to people feeding them. I don't think that's normal behavior for mergansers, but every now and then we have also found some supposedly non-feedable bird lining up for handouts with all the other mallards, Canada geese, etc.

When they are feeling insecure or threatened, Mergansers' crests stand up, as on the male at left. The brown-colored female on the right is not as concerned (her crest is fairly flat).

Mergansers dive completely underwater to catch fish. They are only in Alabama in the winter, and breed mostly in the northern US and Canada.

We rarely see them travel alone. Last winter we saw several groups of up to 10 or so, but this year they have come mostly in twos and threes. Sometimes two males and one female, sometimes the other way around.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Wildlife Clues

I recently found this pile of crawdad claws and bits of shell. (Or crawfish or crayfish, depending on where you live.) I suspect that it's the remains of a red-shouldered hawk's dinner. I've seen them catching crawdads before at Lake Purdy, and just the other day I saw one swooping down to go SPLAT into the water at the pond's edge, catching something small in his talons.

I'm not sure if the hawk opens the shell and eats the good parts, or if he swallows it whole and then regurgitates the shell. (If you know please tell me.) I spread these out a little bit for the picture.

Red-tailed hawks eat crawdads too, but I don't think it's as much a part of their diet as it is for the red-shoulders.

By the way, most of the time on TV when you hear the majestic cry of the bald eagle... it's actually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles don't sound impressive enough I guess, so sound editors often make the substitution, figuring that most people won't know the difference. Go here to hear what bald eagles really sound like.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

More Chickens

A Lakenvelder pullet dines al fresco with a Buff Orpington cockerel.

The Orpingtons are the largest chickens we have, but they are a very docile breed. So maybe that's why they always pick the smallest pullets to be their bestest girls.

The Lakenvelder is not a bantam (which I can't help but think of as a "toy" chicken), she is just a member of a very small breed.

They are also a very aggravating breed. They keep trying to lay their eggs in secret places known only to chickens. I didn't realize it until we found a nest in the woods with about 20 of their eggs in it.

We emptied it, which was probably a mistake since we haven't been able to find their current favorite spot. (When I was searching the woods the other day I realized I was humming that U2 song: "Still haven't found what I'm looking for...")

Anyway, the two chickens in the picture are exactly the same age (8 months).

For the non-chicken-savvy:

Female chicken less than one year old: pullet
Female chicken more than one year old: hen

Male chicken less than one year old: cockerel
Male chicken more than one year old: rooster

Friday, February 04, 2005

The rooster who is going to end up in the stewpot if he doesn't quit attacking me.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Otter in da Water

Before moving to the country, I never realized that there were otters in north Alabama. I was pretty surprised the first time I saw them.

Jasmine thinks that they are trespassers.

So does Hubby.

They have eaten most of the catfish from our ponds, and are currently working on the bass, bream, and grass carp.

I still think they are cute.

Apparently, otters used to be fairly scarce, but are now on the increase. They are more numerous because beavers are also more plentiful.

The reason that beavers are multiplying is that beaver pelts are now worth diddly-squat, so trappers don’t bother with them anymore.

Less beaver pelts taken = more beavers = more dam building = more flooding = more otter habitat = more otters.

Beavers have now reached nuisance levels in many areas, and trappers here are catching them for landowners at $50 a head, with a 5-beaver minimum. I doubt that they ever got that much for pelts.

Red State Diaries recently had a story from the Huntsville Times about a man being successfully sued for $30,000 because he failed to remove beavers from his land before they caused flooding damage to his neighbor’s property.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Important Groundhog Update

Apparently north Alabama has its own weather-predicting groundhog.

On the Birmingham tv news this morning, a woman appeared with “Smith Lake Jake”. He was wearing a colorful little bowler hat. I'm not much for hats on animals but it didn't seem to bother him.

Obviously there was no way that Jake could see his shadow on a rainy day like today.

But the woman insisted that since the hair on Jake’s tail was standing up, we’d have 6 more weeks of winter anyway.

She kept kissing the groundhog on the mouth though, so it’s possible that she wasn’t being too scientific about the whole thing.

Edited March 7, 2007 to add: This will probably show up in rss feeds as a new post. It isn't. I'm editing to disallow future comments, since I believe that all the recent ones are actually from the same person. My intuition tells me that it's likely someone well acquainted with the groundhog in question, and if this is indeed the case, I'd like to encourage that person to start his or her own blog. Smith Lake Jake could try predicting all sorts of things besides the weather. The stock market, for example. The winner of the next NASCAR race. Who'll be voted out on American Idol. To my knowledge no one has even scratched the surface of non-weather-related groundhog prognostication.

Gray Skies and Work Things

Skies have been gray all week, but this morning instead of cold drizzle we have pouring rain.

In the photo, Hubby and Jasmine check things out after the worst of hurricane Ivan, September 2004.

By the time we returned, the power had come back on, making all my elaborate junk food survival plans unnecessary.

Html has changed a lot since 1997, but my knowledge of it has not. I’m hoping that later in the day I can at least figure out how to add links on this page.

If the title sounds poetic, it’s not because I wrote it. I stole it from one of my favorite Lilac Time songs (from the album Astronauts). Except I think they wrote it as Grey Skies and Work Things since they're British.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Jasmine shows off the scar from her recent operation.

After talking to a bunch of people at the recent north Alabama soapmakers meeting, I realized that about 20% of the attendees owned Great Pyrenees dogs.

At first I thought that was kind of strange, statistically speaking.

Then I realized -

Lots of them have dairy goats.

People with dairy goats tend to make soap - they've got to do something with all that milk, so they make milk soap.

People with goats also tend to have LGDs (Livestock Guardian Dogs).

So while it wasn't particularly statistically significant, it was fun comparing stories about Pyrs... loveable stubborn things that they are.

I haven't had a dog in a long time. Actually not at all, in my adult life. But it's been fun. Aggravating at times, but fun.

(No, we don't have goats... not yet anyway.)