Tag Archives: animal

day 2140: odin teaches The Way of The Chicken to friends.

freaky lighting from the heat lamp notwithstanding, odin is having a grand time showing off his new chicks to friends.

it’s amazing to watch both the kids and the chicks take to each other.

odin is very aware of the each chick’s temperament and does an amazing job teaching his friends to respect their little chicky wishes to be handled ( or not as the case may be ).

day 2136: getting familiar with our new baby chicks.

over the next few weeks we’ll take a little time to get our new baby chicks used to us. odin has been feeding them a lot so they like him best 🙂

this is a black australorp.

and this is an ameraucana, known for laying colorful bluish green shelled eggs.

this is a fine, fluffy light brahma.

and a shot of our other ameraucana.

no shots of our buff orpingtons this time around, but i’m sure you’ll see them in the future 🙂

day 2135: odin gets some chickens!

we’ve been talking about getting chickens for quite some time, partly for fresh eggs ( although there is certainly no shortage of farm-fresh organic eggs in the area ) and partly to have fun with odin learning about where food comes from – know your farmer, know your food! caring for chickens and collecting eggs is nothing new to odin since he’s lucky enough to go to a school that has a couple of birds right on the school grounds.

so after years of talking, we finally went out to chett’s feed and seed and bought some chicks! two ameraucanas ( they lay blue-green shelled eggs ), two australorps, two orpingtons and one light brahma. if all goes as planned we’ll pick up a couple of barred rocks soon.

for the next 5 weeks or so, they’ll stay in a brooder under a heat lamp as slowly ween them from a toasty 95F to ambient temperature.

odin quickly took to letting the chicks smell his hands and soon they were eating away from them.

he’s going to make a fine egg farmer.

say hallo to odin’s new buddy, pushkin! and an answer to an obvious question.

say hallo to odin's new buddy, pushkin! and an answer to an obvious question.

odin has a favorite book called "three questions" which is a children’s adaptation of "three questions" by leo tolstoy. in the book, a boy named nikolai which has a dog named pushkin and lately odin been telling us that he’d like to have a dog named pushkin. so, after some deliberation we decided to grant his wish and went to a local animal shelter and collectively fell in love with a 1.5 year-old bernese mountain dog/labrador retriever mix who shall forevermore be called, not surprisingly, pushkin.

soon after getting home, pushkin, got a bath ( in process in this photo ) 🙂

without going into the details pushkin was severely abused as puppy by his first owner, but was loved by his second owner before he was taken to the shelter due to "lifestyle changes". he’s smart and obedient and loves getting big hugs from odin. we trust he’ll be a happy member of our family for a long, long time to come.

all this, of course, begs the question – where’s mauja? well, there’s no easy way to break the news but after living a decade, about the average lifespan for a large-breed alaskan malamute, mauja is now running around in doggie heaven, free of the pain of the hip dysplasia that afflicted him since he was 9 months old. the veterinary surgeon who operated on him when he was 9 months old said he would probably be lucky to live until he was 4 or 5 years old. we couldn’t feel more fortunate that mauja proved him wrong and provided us all with many years of happiness.

mauja passed away last spring and we decided to keep it private, not knowing quite how to convey the news to his legions of fans during what was obviously a difficult time for us.

so, join us in welcoming a new friend, while remembering fondly an old, dear one.

oh, while sir moo moo is somewhat indifferent to the newest member of the family, truck is a little more vocal in her unhappiness ( which is odd since she got along with mauja and pushkin doesn’t seem particularly interested in her ). hopefully cat and dog will be living in harmony soon 🙂

the eric update – day 352: mauja and odin’s first day at camp!

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! I.

yesterday we went on an ocean adventure, so today we thought it would be nice to visit our family camp in whiting, maine on what’s known as “indian lake”. ( for the two people that might be interested, the first white settler of whiting, general john crane, was involved in the boston tea party, the french and indian war and the american revolutionary war. and it still has a two room schoolhouse! but i digress. )

not more than a minute or two after we arrived we walked down onto the wharf with grandma rier to look across the lake and were all suprised to hear a splash not more than 10 feet away near the rock wall at the water’s edge.

at first we all thought it was a fish jumping in extremely shallow water, but then about ten or so feet from the sound of the splash we were shocked to see a loon come up from a dive under water. ( parenthetically, when it came up from the dive, we saw that it seemed to have an impossibly large 5 or 6 foot wingspan, which we all thought was far larger than normal. it’s funny that after a lifetime of observing loons none of us had ever seen one so close to know that it’s actually an average wingspan. )

of course, mauja jumped in the water and for the second time in as many days, tried his best to get himself a bird dinner.

by the time i ran back with the camera, the loon had lured mauja into relatively deep water and was being much more devious than yesterday’s gull by letting him get relatively close, not flying away, and making loon calls that undoubtably could be translated into “i bet i know which of us will drown first!”

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! II.

unlike yesterday, mauja didn’t quickly turn around and within minutes he was so far out in the lake that we began to fear that he might not make it back to shore!

finally he decided to heed our calls and started to head back. but he’s old and we had a brief conversation about whether or not it was possible to pull a fully water laden 120 pound malamute into a canoe.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! III.

the loon dared to come back relatively close to shore which made us think that perhaps we had unintentionally disturbed a nesting mother ( ironic considering this comment about yesterday’s photos and the downside of letting dogs run on beaches in the spring ).

we didn’t see any obvious nests in the rock wall and nobody can remember a loon nesting the cove in the entire 50 or so year history of the camp, but the loon’s behavior would certainly seem to indicate otherwise.

unfortunately for mauja, until we conclusively rule out a nest, mauja will definately need to back on a leash.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! IV.

the family camp has always had a relatively large and vocal loon population, which makes for hauntingly beautiful nights on the lake.

if you’ve ever heard a chorus of loons you’ll know what i mean.

you can click on each image for a brief description.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! V.

grandpa kirk in happy to see mauja make it to shore.

grandma rier has lived in saint lucia for quite a few years which is where she met and married kirk.

he’s a very nice, soft-spoken man and, as you may have guessed, odin loves to play with his dreads.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VI.

grandma rier and odin share a quiet moment.

eventually grandma may figure out that i can take a photo with the telephoto lens when you don’t even know it 🙂

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VII.

after harrasing a local loon, mauja still had enough energy to run around and sleuth out a muddy mess in a nearby bit of wetland.

obviously according to the dog’s handbook of life, he’s having probably his most funnest day in a long, long time.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VIII.

odin enjoys sitting on what might look like an ordinary red couch in the family camp.

little does he know that this very couch has not apparently aged at all over the past 30 or so years; regular readers might even recognize the couch as the very same one that auntie m and i shared for a special moment more than a few years ago.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! IX.

this photo is far more interesting when you realize that the long time family friend on the motorcycle who is talking with grandma rier and odin is david watts whose surname almost assuredly means that he’s a direct descendent of samual watts who we very recently learned is also a member of odin’s family tree and whom played a part in the first naval skirmish with the british during the american revolutionary war.

if it’s not apparent, david is quite a character, in the very best sense of the word.

the eric update – day 96: welcome home, odin!

day 96: welcome home, odin!

psssst. i’ve updated the post – please scroll down.

he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home!

( more later, lots to do )

time passes.

day 96: in the car seat!

we’re home. after 96 days in the nicu i still can’t quite believe that we’re actually home. and despite my slight anxiety that i’d be paralyzed by fear at not having a nicu nurse at close hand, i think we’re doing pretty well. actually, little odin is making things quite easy for us. he’s mostly just been sleeping the day away in the arms of family members that have come to visit. his monitor has gone off a few times, but they’ve all been false alarms. and while there was some concern that moving home might wipe out his “reserve capacity” and bring on another round of refluxing and alarms, he has only spit up a very little bit of food since getting home. so he seems to be handling the transition very well!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

regular readers might wonder how we were released so quickly without having any of the various surgeries that he may or may not need. in an amusing last minute twist the doctors changed the original plan that we discussed with them which involved eric coming home early next week after having surgery for his inguinal hernia. but it appears that scheduling for surgery is quite complicated and they couldn’t get a slot for him in a timely manner and they decided that they didn’t want to have him hanging out in the nicu waiting for surgery; they came back to us a couple of hours later and told us that we could bring him home today. as you can imagine we were, er, quite surprised. in a good way. mostly. so, due to the vagaries of surgical scheduling, we got to bring him home and wait for october 19th to arrive which is when he’ll have his inguinal hernia repaired. with each passing day that his reflux continues to remain under control they are increasingly confident that he won’t need any of the more invasive measure to stop the spitting ( woohoo! no gut tube! ).

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

a large number of people have asked if i’m going to continue the postings now that we’re out of the nicu. i think the short answer is that i probably won’t stop posting any time soon. so if you’ve been following along, keep following along.

as a taste of what’s to come, some of you may remember that we bought a house for the snowdeal show ® with our sister-in-law and her partner and they are expecting their second child very soon. diane’s due date was within days of little odin’s original due day, october 16th, so things should even more exciting than ever, all the more so because she’s having a home birth, which long time readers might remember is what we originally planned as well.

it’s odd to think that within the next couple of days, odin – who just celebrated his third gregorian monthly birthday – will meet a cousin who is the same age, but not. or something like that.

But now, we sleep at home together for the first time! the Beginning of Many More Adventures to Come.

here are a few sights from The Very Exciting Day ( some dupes from above but with more description ).

day 96: next to the last nicu bottle

the whole discharge process took about 3 hours, which is two bottles in bottle time.

day 96: sweet ease

sweet ease is sugar water and it’s given to preemies in the nicu to calm them down. if a kid is screaming or uncomfortable, you’ll often hear a nurse say “just give ’em some ‘sweet ease'”. eric never fussed too much, so he never had much of the stuff ( some of the kids were sweet ease addicts ), which is nice because we never were too comfortable with training him to be comforted by sugar water.

but today it appears that they gave him some sweet ease while they were administering his vaccines, which needed to be done before he could leave.

day 96: last nicu bath

you can’t go home without smelling fresh and clean now can you?

day 96: new home monitor

despite being caffeine free, eric is going to go home with a monitor, so we can make sure that he doesn’t react adversely to the change in environments by slowing his heartrate and respiration.

we had to go to a “class” to learn how it worked as part of the discharge process, which was a little silly because we’re pretty familiar with monitors after 3 months in the nicu.

day 96: going home duds

he’s sleepy after the bath, a feeding an diaper change, but we decide to show off his very cute duds that he’s sporting for the ride home.

day 96: attaching the home monitor

the sensors for the home monitor are held in place on his chest with a cloth “belt”, which a much nicer alternative to the “sticky” leads. they’re cutting the cloth belt down to a proper size as they transfer him from the nicu monitor to the home monitor.

day 96: removing the pulse ox sensor

he’s has his pulse oximeter sensor on almost continuously from the the very beginning, so it’s a little odd to be taking it off for the very last time. what will i do with my time if i can’t stare at his blood oxygen saturation levels for hours on end?

day 96: in the car seat!

woohoo! normally they like to test kids out in the car seat, but we’re leaving on such short notice that we just cross our fingers that he’ll enjoy being in the seat.

indeed, he liked it a lot and didn’t make a peep during the entire process.

day 96: in the car!

that’s right! he’s in the car! he hasn’t melted in the rain!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

auntie gina greets odin when we arrive at the house. mauja hangs back for a bit and then decides that he really, really wants to get a closer look. it’s hard to tell, but if gina hadn’t stopped him, he would have had his front legs on the table and would likely have commenced with licking, which is probably not a good idea.

mauja loves babies and i think he’s going to have a hard time understanding why he can’t plant a wet sloppy tongue on odin whenever he pleases.

day 96: lounging with grandma snowdeal

gradma and grandpa snowdeal came along to help us with the transition from the nicu to home. they held eric for a long time which was nice because we had lots to get done. odin slept comfortably the entire day.

day 96: odin meets cousin ruby

cousin ruby lives in the house that we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so she’s sort-of like a big sister. she’s been anxiously waiting to meet odin for 3 months. ruby was very thoughtful and brought a balloon along for a gift.

day 96: odin, ruby and grandma snowdeal

ruby is having a grand time talking to baby odin.

day 96: wired in a bouncy chair

we won’t be going anywhere without the home monitor and i’ve found that it’s a little tough to remember to not just pick him up and walk away without grabbing the monitor.

day 96: antiseptic hand wash and apnea journal

the antiseptic hand wash is going to be a very important fact of life for quite some time. anyone who touches eric must wash their hands before picking him up.

we have to fill out the apnea journal anytime the alarm goes off to give the doctors contextual information such as whether or not he changed colors and what we were doing at the time – e.g. feeding. so far, we’ve only have “loose lead” alarms which aren’t very important.

day 96: changing table

hey, it’s a sneek peak at his nursery! it’s sort-of a green-silver-blue with artwork theme. more pictures later.

day 96: first meds at home

eric gets his nightly meds for reflux.

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

auntie gina also lives with us in the house we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so you might be seeing many more pictures of her, if she doesn’t mind.

they were watching the presidential debate which obviously wasn’t doing much to help keep ruby awake.

day 96: sleepy time in the co-sleeper.  sort of.

it’s time for sleepy time in the arms reach Co-Sleeper®. the only problem is that he’s not so sleepy.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. I.

auntie diane is super duper pregnant and her due date is within days off odin’s original due date, so she’ll be having the baby very, very, very soon.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. II.

auntie diane was on the short list of visitors at the old nicu so odin is quite familiar with her belly. whenever auntie diane holds odin, her baby starts to stir, so maybe there’s some sort of baby-to-baby communication going on.