9/6/03 An article in our local paper
HEADLINE: "Quiet Action Figure Raises Loud Protests"
Archie McPhee and Co. has some unusual action figures.
A new one is a frumpy looking librarian who moves her index finger to her lips with "amazing push-button shushing action!"
Other dolls include:
Sigmund Freud: captured in a pensive pose holding a cigar
Jesus: has poseable arms and wheels in base for gliding
Note from Kay: My son read the article to me. We were having a great time imagining how they came up with putting wheels on Jesus for gliding. My son and I tried acting out some different scenarios like Jesus gliding on water, Jesus gliding over to heal the high priest's servant's ear, Jesus trying to glide up the Mount of Olives (poseable arms would have to be behind Him to catch Himself if He rolled back into something), and more. Oh, we laughed and laughed! Where DID they get the "wheels for gliding" idea????
Yep, here He is.... Jesus the action figure!
I found him at an antique store for only $5.00!
I called my son to tell him I was looking at Jesus.
We got a good laugh out of it.
I bought Jesus for my son for his birthday.
Here's the bad news. Jesus' poseable arms are not suitable for doing the part:
"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16)
He is a choking hazard for children under three years old. Sad, isn't it?
The Job Interview
About 25 years ago or so I went for a job interview. A housefly was buzzing around me. It was embarrassing and hard to stay focused on the questions I was being asked by my prospective new boss.
The fly came zipping past and I reached out, snatched it out of the air, and slapped it dead against my thigh.
I got hired!
Kay's Own Animal Stories
First I'll give you an overview of the layout of our yard. We have a 1/2 acre lot. The top half of our back yard is pretty flat and the bottom half slopes downhill toward a wash. Skunks, possums, ground squirrels, gophers, mice, and rats live down there in the wash. There is a stream of run-off water that contains crawdads, mosquito larvae, and other little creatures. Often we see ducks and egrets and other water birds hanging around down there. We have tons of crows and some hawks flying around. We aren't in a crowded urban area, but we are surrounded by houses and busy streets and such. I don't live on a corner, nor directly near a busy road. To get to our house from the front you have to travel a few other streets and partway down my street so it isn't like animals have nobody else to bother!
It all started with the wind. We get very strong winds here and, as a result, have had quite a few trees topple. In 2007 we lost two more. Two of our three remaining cottonwoods (We lost four of them in a fire in 1989. The wash behind our house burned and we lost a lot of trees. Thank God the fire was put out before it came up to the house!!) broke in half during the high winds we had. The top halves of the 50' trees came down on top of our patio which we call the saloon. (Here's some pictures.)
We had one cottonwood tree left. Since we didn't want any more surprises we decided to bring it down. The easiest way to do it was for us to remove the fence between our yard and the yard next door and bring it down and cut it up in their yard. My husband got permission and told the neighbor that we'd take care of his goose.
Our neighbor bought what he thought to be a duck for his kids for a pet. As the "duck" grew it turned into a goose. Knowing I would be in charge of protecting the goose I began to try to make friends with it, as much as you can make friends with a goose. I named the goose Goosey Loosey. I scoped out the neighbor's yard and saw they had a fenced in area which looked perfect for keeping the goose contained while we dropped the tree.
The day of the felling I tried to herd the goose up the hill to the fenced area. It's not easy herding a goose! As I was trying our neighbor came out back with his puppy and wished me luck when I told him I didn't know how to herd a goose. He told me the puppy could do it. He said he had to go to work and went back in his house. I heard the puppy going through a doggy door after him.
I finally closed the goose up and went down to my place on the guide rope. Our friend was cutting away at the base of the tree with his chain saw and I turned to look at the goose. The goose had slipped out under the gate and was waddling down the hill toward us.
I herded the goose back up and put objects under the gate to prevent the same thing from happening again. Back down to my place on the rope I went. After a while I looked over my shoulder to see the puppy playing with Goosey. I turned back to the tree when an uncomfortable feeling crept over me. Something wasn't right. I turned back around and saw blood on Goosey's head. I let go of the rope and ran up the hill.
I had assumed that the puppy and the goose got along since my neighbor had said the puppy could herd the goose. I yelled NO and the puppy rolled on its back and peed on itself. I turned to Goosey who was hunched down in a corner making a strange groaning sound. There was blood down the front and around the eye and beak. I knew I had to get medical attention for Goosey, my neighbor's children's pet.
I ran to my house to get the only container I had that I figured might work for carrying Goosey. It was a dog carrier for a medium to small sized dog. I ran back over to Goosey and set the cage down on end with the door up. I knew the only way I could get Goosey in it was to put my face perilously close to that dangerous beak. I've seen what a goose can do to human flesh. It looks pretty painful.
I had no choice so I scooped Goosey up and into the carrier. I pushed his head down and closed the top. I walked back to my house carrying the heavy carrier with the heavier goose in it. Setting it in the shade next to my car I went in the house to find a vet who treated birds. Not an easy task! My vet gave me a phone number but didn't know the street address. I called the phone number and got an answer machine. I left a message for them to call me back with their address on my cell phone. I began driving in the direction of the city it was in. Poor Goosey was making a moaning noise. I thought his honker was broken.
Then I remembered that my son had found a vet that handled exotic animals for his iguana. I called him and got the address. It was even closer. I walked in their office carrying my load of carrier and goose. A man was sitting in the waiting area with a large dog. The dog went over to the carrier to sniff it. I told the man to keep his dog away from the goose since the goose had already had troubles with a dog that day.
The man just looked at me and let his dog continue sniffing. When the dog jumped up on the bench and looked down into the carrier I found out that Goosey's honker was working just fine. It didn't have an "off" button, either!
I grabbed the dog's collar and put him in front of the man, looked him firmly in the eye, and said, "Keep your dog away from the goose!" When the vet looked at Goosey he said it was good I got him in there because birds die from shock. He examined Goosey and didn't find anything seriously wrong. Goosey was so good. He just stood there and allowed himself to be handled. Goosey got a shot for shock, a shot of antibiotics, and antibiotics to go home with to the tune of $105.00. Goosey was to be given antibiotics twice a day and kept in a quiet environment for a week.
My neighbor was not home so I put a note on his door that I had his goose. I borrowed a cage from a neighbor that was too short, but Goosey stood in it with his head out the opening. It was better than the dog carrier. I gave him his evening dose of antibiotic, a bucket of water, and some oatmeal. Later that evening my neighbor came over.
When I told him what had happened he was in shock. I think he was mostly in shock because I took the goose to a vet. He wanted to pay me back. I told him that it was a goodwill gesture between neighbors and that my husband had told him we would make sure the goose was safe and we didn't. I told him that I knew it was his kids' pet and I would hope that someone would do the same for my pets.
It was then that he told me that they were planning on......
you better sit down..........
EATING THE GOOSE!
So, I told him it was his goose and he could do whatever he wanted. I gave him the instructions from the vet. He said he had no place to keep the goose that was quiet. I suggested his garage, but he just shrugged his shoulders. I told him I'd keep the goose that night and bring him over the next day. I figured that way the goose could have at least one peaceful night and would get at least one more dose of antibiotic in the morning.
Well, my neighbor put Goosey Loosey back out in his back yard. The next few days I went to visit him as he was sitting in the corner of their back yard so I talked to him through the fence. He just sat there making funny goose noises. After about a week I didn't see Goosey any more. I couldn't bring myself to ask what happened to him. I was afraid of the answer. My husband asked and my neighbor said, "A wild animal must have gotten him. There was nothing but a pile of feathers in the back yard."
Grrrrr...... me-thinks the puppy did Goosey in.
Here's Goosey in the cage in my garage:
One morning, around 3:00AM, I heard a commotion in my back yard. I got out of bed, put on my robe, and went out to see what was happening. I turned on my yard lights (which light up the yard very nicely) and saw (and SMELLED!) that my Springer Spaniel had a skunk in his mouth. I immediately thought about rabies and diseases that the skunk could be carrying and my immediate goal was to get the skunk away from my dog.
My dog, Zeke, was worrying the skunk.... shaking it violently from side to side to try to kill it. I began to yell, "No! No!" at my dog. I yelled at him to put it down. He knew what it meant to put something down because he chased balls and Frisbees and I taught him to put them down on command. (Picture this in your mind.... 3:00AM and the yard is lit up almost like it is daytime and I am yelling as loud as I can. The houses behind us, on the other side of the wash, are not close enough for them to be able to see what was happening. However, a single man lives next door and his bedroom window was the closest window to where I was. My husband was still in our bed. Our bedroom was on the back of our house where I was. I could have been being killed out there and nobody was coming to help!!)
I grabbed a shovel while I was yelling so I could scoop up the skunk's body when my dog put it down. He didn't put it down. I wanted to get that thing away from him because skunks can carry rabies and other diseases. I began to bonk my dog on the head with the shovel. It didn't phase him. I whacked him on the side and on the rear and it still didn't phase him. So I began a steady bonking on his head, "Bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk." I guess my dog finally began to feel the pain and he put the skunk down. I began to try to scoop the body onto the shovel. All I could manage to do was push it around the grass as I walked barefoot through the skunk-sprayed grass, dragging the hem of my robe behind me. By then I the smell didn't bother me any more.
Then it occurred to me that I didn't have anywhere to put the body. My trash cans were all old and had developed cracks. The smell of the skunk would not be contained and my dog would probably knock over the trash can and get the body out.
I remembered I had an empty 5-gallon detergent bucket with a tight-fitting lid in the shed. I pointed at Zeke and warned him, "No!" as I backed toward the shed, leaving the skunk's lifeless body on the grass. As soon as I got far enough away, Zeke picked it up and began to shake it again. I ran and grabbed the bucket and returned. I began to bonk bonk bonk Zeke again until he put it down.
I pushed the skunk's body around with the shovel, trying to pick it up. I finally pushed it up against the bucket and got it on the shovel. I put it in the bucket and securely fastened the lid. After depositing it in the trash I finally stopped to take in the situation. There I stood, all alone, stinking to high heaven. Nobody came to see if I was all right. All was quiet.
As I went in the house, turning out the yard lights, I pondered taking a shower. I probably wouldn't be able to get the stink completely off of me without tomato juice, which I didn't have. So, I took off my robe, which stunk as bad as I did, and climbed back into bed. (Like I told you, the smell didn't bother me any more.) I finally got my husband's attention. I got a smug satisfaction out of hearing him say, "PEEEEEEUUUUUU!!!"
Here's my dog, Zeke, the next day... drenched in tomato juice:
THE FEMALE DOGS
Normally, when a female dog goes into heat all she has to do is stay at home and male dogs will find a way into her yard. Every once in a while I would go into the back yard and find that I had one or two extra dogs!! I guess my male dogs were more attractive than the rest because I kept having female dogs that were in heat digging INTO my back yard.
My next door neighbor's female dogs kept digging into our yard. We put chicken wire on the ground around our fence line and they would just dig longer tunnels under the chicken wire. After his dogs would dig into our yard our dogs would go through the tunnels into his yard. He got mad at us because he would leave dog food out all day long for his dogs and he accused our dogs of eating all the food. He kept thinking our dogs were doing all the digging. If they were, they were pretty clever about it. When they finished digging they must have carried all the dirt they removed through the tunnel and deposited it into our neighbors' yard. That way it looked like his dogs did the digging!
After my youngest son got too old for a sandbox I filled it with dirt and planted a bunch of plants in it. I also put a small fish pond with goldfish in it. One morning, as I walked through my family room I was startled to see what I thought was a person standing by the fish pond. Closer inspection revealed a four foot tall egret getting snacks out of my pond. I went and got my camera, but when I slowly opened the door to get a picture it flew away. I got a blurry picture of a flying egret (see the picture on the left above). The picture on the right I got off the Internet. The funny thing was the egret was up under my patio. Apparently it heard the water from down the hill in the wash. My dogs, who were napping, heard me open the door. You should have seen their faces when they saw that big bird take off!
One lovely day I had all the windows and doors open to bring in the fresh air of spring. We don't get too many days that are perfect like that. Usually I have to keep them closed because it is too cold in the winter, or have to close them early in the morning because it gets too hot the rest of the year. We occasionally see ducks in the wash behind our yard. However, I generally can't hear them unless they are flying over our house.
I heard a duck quacking. The quack gradually got louder and louder and louder . I looked out the window and saw a Mallard duck walking up my back yard toward my back door. He walked as purposefully as would a neighbor coming over for a cup of coffee!
Since I still owned two Springer Spaniels that would love to have some duck for lunch, I chased the duck away. Fortunately for the duck, the dogs were napping and didn't see him. That dumb duck kept coming back. I kept chasing him away. If I'm remembering correctly I had put my dogs on leashes until I was sure the duck wouldn't return.
That afternoon a young neighbor of mine rang my doorbell and asked if I had seen a duck. It was her pet! Sure enough, the duck was back in my yard. I helped her corner it and she took it home.
This particular bird story began in the wash and ended up in our yard. My son was out in the wash that runs behind our house with his friends. They found a peacock wandering out there. The poor thing had lost its pretty tail feathers. The feathers that were left were stubbed off and appeared to have been cut. My son's friend thought he would be able to make money selling the peacock, but found out otherwise. They put it in a cage and gave it to someone who had other peacocks. That's the one he caught in the picture on the left. The picture on the right I got on the Internet.
One time, when my youngest son was about 5 or 6, he went out the front door only to run back through, slamming it behind him. His eyes were as big as dinner plates. He began to stammer, "There is something, something, something out there.... like a, like a, like a baby ostrich or something!"
We went out and looked around and didn't find anything that resembled any kind of bird, much less a baby ostrich!
Later on that afternoon I heard my dogs barking. They were on the side of the house by the gate that divides the front yard from the back. I went around to see what was bothering them and saw a turkey (my son's "baby ostrich") sitting on a split-rail fence that separated our yard from our neighbor's. The dogs could see it through the gate. At the time I had two Springer Spaniels.... BIRD DOGS! They wanted that bird! I shooed it away.
Around dusk the turkey came back. It was sitting in the exact same spot as before. I figured that, since the bird had come to visit three times, it considered our yard its home. I pondered what I could do so that I wouldn't have to play any noisy "animal games" in the middle of the night again. The only thing I could think of was to catch the turkey.
So, I began to collect turkey-catching materials. As I had never caught a turkey before (nor even been up close to one) I had to imagine what I might need. I knew that turkeys had a sharp spur on their leg as well as claws that could scratch me. I grabbed a big beach towel to wrap its legs in and to protect my hands. I got a bright flashlight since the sun had just gone down. I called my middle son to help me. I also grabbed the only cage I had which was designed for small dogs.
As we marched outside with our turkey-catching paraphernalia my husband asked me where I was going from his comfortable seat in front of the television. I told him I was going to go catch a turkey. Instead of running to grab a camera he just thought for a second and gave me the only advice he could muster, "You catch a turkey like you would a pheasant." Now, that was the most useless piece of advice I had ever heard!! In my life I had as many experiences around pheasants as I had around turkeys.... NONE!!
So, off we went. I had my son shine the flashlight directly into the turkey's eyes in hopes that I could get close enough to grab it. I would only have one chance at it. I got as close as I could with the beach towel over my hands. I had difficulty getting up the nerve to lunge forward. I finally made myself go on the count of three. "One... two... (take a deep breath) THREE!" I grabbed at the turkey's legs and only managed to grab one. I had hold of a flapping, screeching kite! That day had been trash day and whichever of my family members had brought in the trash cans had piled them inside of each other and they were close to where I was. I wanted to separate my body from the beak and claws of the turkey. I stood on one side of the cans and threw the turkey over the top of them and hung it on the other side, upside down.
The turkey quit flapping. With my son's help I reached around the cans and felt around for the other leg, with the beach towel protecting my hand. ( I found out later that turkeys lose their equilibrium when they are upside down and they go limp. However, at the time, I didn't know that and expected it to go back into action at any moment.)
I got hold of the other leg and laid the bird on the ground. My son placed the cage at the turkey's head. The darn bird wouldn't cooperate and stay stiff enough for me to shove it in just using my grip on its legs. I told my son to fold the wings down against its body and to help me shove it in the cage. It took a couple of tries because the bird would get its wings lose from my son's grip and my son would jump back ten feet or so when the bird began to flap around.
We shoved it into the cage up to its tail. The tail fanned out and was bigger than the door on the cage. My son shoved the bird by its rear-end and it was in the cage!! It filled the tiny cage.
Fortunately, my neighbor across the street wanted to take custody of the wayward turkey. It turned out to be a half-grown turkey. Unfortunately, my neighbor didn't clip the turkey's wings short enough and it appeared back on my split-rail fence about two weeks later. With my neighbor's help we cornered it in my back yard. My neighbor grabbed it that time since I had no desire to practice my "turkey and pheasant-catching skills!" Why did the turkey like my yard?
THE SICK DOG
Right around the same time as the turkey came to visit my youngest son saw a dog coming up our driveway. I looked out the window and saw that the dog was staggering and foam was coming out of its mouth. I immediately called animal control.
By the time they got to my house the dog had laid down under one of the bushes that was in my front yard. All we could see was the dog's legs sticking out. The animal control person poked at the dog with a stick and got no response. She felt one of the legs and it was stiff. The dog had died. When it died it apparently clamped down with its teeth on the bush. The animal control person had to yank the dog's body loose from the bush. Why do you think it picked my yard? It had to pass a lot of yards to get to mine!!
My neighbor's elderly aunt came over to my house. She was visiting her sister who lived in an apartment in my neighbor's back yard. She told me there was a sick pigeon sitting in a chair in the back yard. Her sister was getting very upset about it and they didn't know what to do. Since there was a highly contagious bird disease going around called Newcastle Disease, sick birds needed to be caught and analyzed by some sick-bird organization.
So, I decided to be a good neighbor and grabbed my gloves and a cage. I went across the street and found the pigeon just as had been described, sitting in a chair. When I tried to grab him he flopped onto the ground. He was pulling himself along by the wings with his legs dragging behind him as if they were paralyzed. I chased the bird around the patio. He moved pretty fast for not using his legs!
I finally caught him, put him in the cage, and took him home. My neighbor had chickens and other fowl so I figured I should get that bird away from his yard just in case it had the Newcastle Disease. I had saved the flyer that was handed out with a hotline number to call about that disease. They got a description from me of the bird's symptoms and had someone call me back.
After much discussion on how we were going to get that pigeon to their testing facility, it was decided that a man from one of their facilities would go out of his way on his way home from work to pick up the bird.
When my neighbor got home that afternoon he told my husband what was wrong with the pigeon. He had shot it!!!! He shot it down and expected his dog to finish it off, but the bird got away from the dog. He neglected to inform the two elderly women that there was an injured bird hanging around.
OH NO!!!! I had arranged for some poor man to fight rush-hour traffic for at least an extra hour just so he could come pick up the pigeon and I didn't know how to get in touch with him! I called the hotline number and was only able to tell them the first name of the woman that had called me and the city where she was located. The hotline number covered a couple of counties.
I told them that the bird wasn't sick (I just couldn't bring myself to tell them that it had been shot by my neighbor) and that I wanted to stop the man before he had come all this way out of his way. He never showed up so I guess they caught him before he made the long drive.
This first story belongs to my father-in-law, but it happened at this house. We bought this house from my in-laws.
My father-in-law had an old porcelain kitchen sink with cabinets on the back patio. He used it for a potting bench. One day he opened a drawer to get a gardening tool. As he opened the drawer a long snout with a rack of sharp teeth appeared as if it were programmed to come out with the drawer!
My father-in-law immediately pushed the drawer shut, not knowing what had taken place because he was still in shock. He slowly opened the drawer while standing back a bit farther and there it came again.... a possum snout! The possum had entered into the back of the sink cabinet and worked its way into the drawer.
My father-in-law managed to get rid of the possum after checking with a neighbor who had one for a pet. It wasn't the pet possum. My father-in-law thought about boarding up the back of the sink but figured it was just a one-time occurrence. He finally did board up the back of the sink about a year later when he had the exact same thing happen again! Just like the turkey.... animals make return visits to our yard!!
The possum story we can claim as our own involves my youngest son, again. He was young enough that he still played in his sandbox on the back patio. I was very busy in the house fixing food for the 20+ high school football players and coaches that were going to arrive any minute to have a meeting at our house. My son was trying to get me to come out to his sandbox. He kept telling me there was something "squishy" in his sandbox.
He was so insistent that I finally left what I was doing and went out to his sandbox. There was a large, dead possum buried in his sandbox. Apparently one of my dogs had killed it and buried it. Ack!!
I heard a very strange sound that was similar to a jackhammer. I went out in the front yard to see if someone was chopping up the street and didn't hear a thing. I went out in the back yard and didn't hear it any more. A little while later I heard it again. I went looking for it again. This happened a few more times.
I finally heard the sound while I was in the living room. It was VERY loud and was coming from my chimney! I went out in the back yard and saw a woodpecker hanging on to the metal stack at the top of our chimney. He was hammering on the metal as if it were a tree!
The next day I saw him pecking at the roof of our patio at the bottom of the hill in our back yard. The roof is covered with the metal skin from our old camper. He was rat-a-tat-tatting on the metal roof!
He has been back to our chimney now and then. The last time I threw a redwood chip at him and he flew over to my next-door neighbor's house and began hammering on the metal atop his chimney!
I suppose this particular woodpecker is of the opinion that the female woodpeckers will be attracted to the fact that he is louder than all the other woodpeckers. Then, on the other hand, maybe he has knocked his brains loose and thinks he thinks he is hammering on very hard wood!
Yes, they are cute but they sure can do some damage!! Squirrels have turned parts of our back yard into the underground railroad system. There are tunnels everywhere.
The squirrels come in from visiting our neighbor's yard. We have the nice soil to dig in and she has all her garbage piled in her back yard.
I needed to do something. So, I tried poison... no luck. They won't eat it. So, I tried trapping them. The first time I caught one I asked my son for help. I didn't know what to do with it.
We discussed our options. The most logical thing seemed to kill the poor thing, but how? Neither of us wanted to do that nor could we think of a way to do it while it was still in the cage.
Out of the blue my son asked, "What would Jesus do?" The question seemed to be so silly I laughed and laughed.
I proposed that Jesus didn't own a yard so He didn't care what squirrels would be doing. However, should Jesus have had to address the issue He probably would re-locate the squirrel.
So, my son took the cage and released the squirrel into a large area away from houses where there were lots of other squirrels.
I again caught a squirrel in the trap and left a note for my son that "Jesus caught another squirrel. It's in the garage. Please go release it." I went grocery shopping. My son called me on my cell phone and told me that Jesus let the squirrel go. Wait a minute! He didn't need to call me to let me know he had re-located the squirrel. I realized something was wrong.
I asked if Jesus accidentally let the squirrel go back into our yard. "No, Jesus knocked the cage over in the garage and the squirrel is in the garage," my son said. Oh, good grief! Perhaps one of the neighbor's cats got into our garage again and knocked the cage over. So, we opened the garage door and let the squirrel go free... hopefully to be caught again and re-located.