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More of the Maple Kind – 10 Maple Facts I Didn’t Know Last Year

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The oddest maple recipe I found was maple almond jello. Continue reading

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My Senior Moments with the Great White Bunny Revisited

“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.” ~Robert Browning

Domestic rabbits live on average 7-11  or 8-12 years depending on the source of your information, the breed (larger rabbits have shorter lives), genetics, and lifestyle of the bunny.  I always use the 8-12 year range to quote to people in the hope they’ll understand the long-term promise they’ll be making when they say:  “Yes, let’s take that one home.”  A shelter is an adoption agency, not a lending library.

In my mind I choose to believe the 8-12 year range to give myself an extra year with an animal that will be my source of joy, calm, and amusement.  How ironic that it is that extra year that I use to validate the worthiness of a potential adopter to weed out those whose interest in bunny companionship may wane in a couple of months, while simultaneously using that same year to steel my heart against the limited time I might have to share with a more senior rabbit I might want to add to my family.

Mystic, by best accounts, turns seven this year, (her former owners couldn’t even remember they had a rabbit in a hutch outback, so I’m guessing her birthday was even less of a priority) and she is showing signs of age.  We’re having trouble keeping weight on her despite her long-standing and often commented upon voracious appetite.  The GWB as I’ve called her is still a Great White Bunny, but she is no longer a Giant White Bunny.  Her blindness is advanced making her more tentative and sedentary – a lot less barreling down the hallway and mercifully that means a lot less barreling into things she cannot see or remember.  She’s adapted, in her own way, she sidles against the hall wall and follows the thundering feet of her brother, Bullwinkle.

She looks particularly disheveled right now, almost like an Abyssinian guinea pig with a bunch of conflicting cowlicks, but that is due to the big way she sheds, molts really.  Her fur is an eruption of white clumps both clinging to (through static electricity) and pushing away from her body.  Merely passing by her can mean an outfit full of fluff.  I don’t really care, though my husband has pointed out more than once, that after an encounter with the GWB, I have more chest hair than he does, and maybe more than she does.  I am helping the economy with this rabbit, too.  I am single-handedly responsible for the uptick in stock prices for tape-style lint removers.  I’ve gone through 4 lint brush rolls this shed alone. I brush and groom her incessantly during the Great White Shed because I don’t want her (or Bullwinkle for that matter) to ingest all that hair.   She has trouble keeping herself clean when she sheds, so that represents a whole new type of care she needs.  And I think despite her lack of vision that she like most women has some vanity and feels best when she is looking her best.  Finally, I believe she tends to get sick when she’s shedding; my froth of companionable fluff is always evident after a visit to the vet.  Somehow I think the molt and the malaise are related, though no one has written anything that corroborates my theory, yet.

Today after consulting with my vet (the fabulous Dr. Kruse at VCA Wakefield) and the wonderful rabbit folks at MSPCA Nevins Farm (thanks, Sheri Gustafson), I picked up some higher calorie baby rabbit food, and have opted to leave out a full bowl of pellets (heretofore known as “treats” to be administered sparingly) for her enjoyment.  My concern had always been that she would devour the whole bowl in a sitting.  And surprisingly that is not the case.  She CAN stop after just a bunch, albeit a big bunch.  That never would have occurred to me after years of witnessing her crack-like addiction to the things.  Had I known she could resist temptation if she just feels secure in the belief that some treats will still be there for her later, I would have come up with this solution 3+ years ago when we first got her, and nearly lost her as she inexplicably dropped from 10lbs to 7lbs in a month.  And trust me, we, and a series of vets and specialists, tried very hard to “explic”.

That brings me to my next point, Mystic has always been sick, except for maybe a cumulative 12 months of our almost 4-year tenure when eye ulcers and mysterious-never-diagnosed-illnesses offered a brief respite.  She’s never had good vision but that was less an illness than a tragedy.  She lost her vision because the previous owners (note I do not call them “family”) neglected her eye ulcers.  So you’d think I’d have been prepping for the inevitable for quite some time or at least that I wouldn’t be so focused on it.  But I am; I am missing parts of her all ready.  It’s strange especially when you consider, my dad’s pretty old (he’ll be 87 in April) and has experienced a long series of health issues over the years, but I never feel that he is about to leave me as I do with Mystic.  I’ve learned many a life lesson from animals and I am hoping that my baby Mystic is not here to teach me about loss.  I’d much prefer to find out she’s here to teach me about miracles, long lives, and answered prayers.

Great Rabbit Resources:

House Rabbit Network: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rabbitnetwork.org%2F&h=LAQEykIWF

House Rabbit Society:  http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rabbit.org%2F&h=vAQF8NsHE

MSPCA Nevins Farm Sheri Gustafson,  and volunteers: Stephanie Vandetta, Maureen Collopy and Uli Thomann http://www.mspca.org/adoption/methuen-ne…

VCA Wakefield Dr Astrid Kruse: http://www.vcahospitals.com/wakefield

Remember, Rabbits are not Easter treats, learn before you adopt or opt for a chocolate bunny

 © 2012 by Alison Colby-Campbell

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New England Maple Syrup Makes the Grade

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Originally posted on Brain4rent's Blog:
Buddy: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”  From the movie “Elf” Call me a sap for maple syrup, but I attribute…

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Turkey Tales – Stalkers and Plunderers

Just passing through nothing to eat here

Just passing through; nothing to eat here

I typically do NOT feed the turkeys that march through my yard in platoons up to two dozen strong. But I relent under a few circumstances, for example if: 

1. I have a lot of stale bread or left over Indian Corn. But in this instance I am feeding as many squirrels and other birds as I am turkeys.

Turkeys only got spillage

Turkeys only got spillage

2. Guests who have never seen turkeys are in the house when they are marching by to better feeding grounds. Everyone should have a chance to see in person in the wild this first runner up to the national bird.

3. The snow is so heavily concentrated that there is no bare ground visible and perhaps won’t be for months and thus food supplies are very limited.

Right now we’re experiencing circumstance number three.

It’s snowed 4 times in the past two weeks with two storms gathering strength for potential visits next week.

TURKEY TALE 1

Stalking turkey coming

Stalking turkey coming

It’s late February now and turkeys are starting to couple off so I do not see the great flocks I saw earlier in the season. Instead I see this one dope turkey – the feathered equivalent of every over muscled bully, brutish guy ever depicted in fiction. Big physique, pushing himself too close to his intended. I watch them stop traffic as the little one zigzags down the street and he follows after, reducing the distance between them – chest puffed up, coiffure just so, doing everything in his power to be noticed. Little one wanders about like Belle with her nose in her book, oblivious to his fabulosity. They are together always and the little one doesn’t fly away, and the big one never completely catches up.

Voyeuristic Squirrel

Voyeuristic Squirrel

I’m not quite sure if this is an actual courtship ritual or just an early middle school dance for fowl who flirt at flirting but still find the opposite sex kind of icky. I’m not even sure what sex each is though I cannot imagine he of majestic and brutish bearing is not a he.

Stalking turkey going

Stalking turkey going

But maybe it is young love, as they seldom have an appetite for seeds or bread crusts, their gullets filled with butterflies only the love-sick understand. But were it I being tailed every day, every hour, by a suitor, I’d say “enough is enough – back off”; and maybe she does with a flip of a wing and a faster pace. My mother would advise “Ignore him and he’ll go away.  And she does, but he’s having none of that. He has a soul mate to shadow, which is perhaps the same belief every human stalker shares.

talker turkey

Stalker turkey flexing his muscles – er feathers

TURKEY TALE 2

Early this morning I discovered two forgotten apples with more wrinkles than I have after an hour-long soak in a hot bath. So I did the only sensible thing. I opened the sliders and chucked one clear from my kitchen to the woods behind our place. I watched it disappear as it sank heavily into the snow. Apple two, I threw just over the edge of the deck to the little pathway I shoveled below and it split upon landing on the frozen ground.

Mystic in repose

Mystic rabbit in repose

At three o’clock I was upstairs admiring the most beautiful white bunny in the world (AKA Mystic the GWB) and looked out the window  wondering whether I shall compare her to a winter’s day.  (She art far more lovely and temperate.)

This particular winter’s day featured three darkly contrasting shapes standing out against the heavily snowed woods – three turkeys. One small turkey stood stock still, its out-stretched neck resulting in a tiny head plunged in the snow like a cartoon ostrich in the sand*. The turkey seemed not to move and I obviously came to the conclusion its head was lodged and trapped beneath a branch. The other two turkeys edged in closer to help, no doubt, but without a clue what to do. I put on my rubber boots and heavy coat and gloves ready to take on the turkey rescue mission. I was fleet of foot as I flew down the stairs and headed to  the door without even stopping for my camera.

Two turkeys in the wood

Two turkeys in the wood

I hadn’t quite made it outside when the view from the back deck changed. The little turkey moved. Not much and always with the neck fully extended in a downward angle approximating 7:30 on a non-digital clock. I followed its movements until concerted effort brought the head up higher than the terrain. Dangling from its mouth was first the stem and then the entire giant wrinkly apple.

The other turkeys crowded in for their share of the bounty…a slow mo chase ensued. The heavy apple probably 4x the size of the turkey head prohibited most evasive movements, but the little turkey prevailed.

Me? I stayed inside, cutting up a less wrinkly apple and chucking the pieces off the edge of the deck hoping that would encourage sharing in the future.

Dressed for a Victorian tea party with one major difference - Victorians mindlessly massacred to the point of extinction many birds and animals extinct for their own personal embellishment. I can assure the feathers in my hat were willingly donated by my turkey friends.

Dressed for a Victorian tea party with one major difference – Victorians mindlessly massacred to the point of extinction many birds and animals for their personal embellishment. I, on the other hand, can assure you that the feathers in my hat were willingly donated by my turkey friends.

(c)2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell

*Ostriches do not actually burying their heads in the sand; that is a myth.

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Valentines – Romantic Antics in the Middle Ages – and I don’t mean the 1300′s

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Romantic Antics can be big or small, it’s all in how the right person knows when and how to make us feel good, special, appreciated and above all loved. Continue reading

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A Guy’s Guide to Valentines and the Meaning of Flowers

                            A Guy’s Guide to Valentines and the Meaning of Flowers.

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The Cold Weather Burn – Calories and Winter Activities

 

Sledding can burn 346 calories per hour

The Cold Weather Burn – Calories and Winter Activities.