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RIP Zoe Ferret, 2002-2011

October 1, 2011



When I got up Wednesday morning  September 28, Zoe was being a bit of a sleepy head. Not her usual up-and-at-’em self. I wondered if she was okay but she ate and tottered off to her usual sleeping spot in the big tube in the hall.  When I got home, she had passed away during the day. She was 9 years old. That’s a respectable age for a ferret, equivalent to about 90 human years.  I buried her under a little clump of trees in the yard with blueberry bush as a marker.

She had been doing so well I had hoped she would make it to 10. It was not meant to be though.  She had been active up until the end. She would go outside with the boys when I would let them out for a brief romp outside most days. She had slowed down a lot in her older years and her eyesight was poor but she was still looking good.

She had seen other ferrets come and go.  When something Balt and Phoebe passed away, her solution was what I liked to call "Poop on the World".  Since my crew is litter box trained, even when outside they tend to come inside to do their business. But when I would take her outside after a ferret passed away, she made it a point to poop on the patio with a "Take that!" flourish. 

I’m going to miss her this winter when she would normally be curled up in my lap with Katie.  Here’s some of my favorite photos of her through the years.  RIP Zoe.

zoe-box A young Zoe investigating the new ferret play box.
(Yes, she got lighter as she got older.)



Zoe playing in one of the tubes.


Zoe wrestling with the boys on a pile of clean socks. Even though
she was smaller, she could always hold her own in a wrestling match.

On another note: I kind of lost my blogging and blog reading mojo for a while there, but I’m going to try to be better.

Okay storms, I’m done with you

April 28, 2011

I feel like I had a lifetime of storms in one day on Wednesday. The day started at around 3 or 4 am with the power going on and off (with the beeping each time) until it finally went off for good. Then the tornado sirens started so I had to get up.  I have ham radios and scanners so I knew there were a lot of trees down and a few roofs had blown off. By this time, the power is still out and no phone service either so I get dressed in the dark and head out to work and to search out some coffee. It was the other side of river before I found some electricity so I could stop and get coffee. storm

At least around here, once the initial part of the front moves through, you don’t have to worry about tornados. Not this time. While I’m driving to work, the radio says what’s coming will be worse. It seems like I heard that all day long. There were two more tornado warnings once I got to work. Phone service and cell phone service was wonky at best (it still is). By noon, we decided that we would close down for the day. But then it started looking a little better and we almost felt silly going home early. The sun even came out. It turns out the sun coming out was a bad sign. It was this last wave of tornados that did the most damage in our area. Around 4 pm the tornados start again. This time they leveled several towns in our area and some other communities around Huntsville.  I got off easy with just loss of power and phones for a while. Many others did not.  A friend lost her aunt and uncle in the storms.  Some people who drive through those areas to get to work said they got lost coming in because all of the usual landmarks are gone.  People in the Huntsville area and some other areas will be without power for several days.

Check out this graph from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. The red dots are tornado reports (not confirmed by NOAA).  See the dots that come together in a blob in the very northern part of Alabama. Over towards the western edge of the blob, that’s where I’m at.  By the way, the Storm Prediction Center has lots of cool information.  It’s worth checking out if you live in a storm-prone area.

So we’re all a little stunned here in north Alabama today. The ferrets didn’t mind the storms but Katie spent a lot of time under the bed. Since I’m off work tomorrow, I plan to go out and buy a few supplies to donate. I hear that socks and underwear are in big demand.

Thunder and lightning, very very frightening…

April 24, 2011
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Our beautiful spring weather seems to be coming with a price, stormy weather in between the spurts of nice weather. Luckily, we haven’t had the tornados that other areas have had. Still we’ve had plenty of rain and lightning. One thunderstorm took out our internet for almost a week. It was one of those lightning strikes that woke me up in the middle of the night. I knew it didn’t hit the house, but I also knew it was very close. Then AT&T broke the internet for a good portion of northern Alabama. I was only down for about a day, but a number of other customers were down for several days.  But everything is back to normal now and I should be good at least until the middle of the week when the storms start again.


So how about a little bluebird of happiness. The bluebirds have built a nest in the nest box again this year.  So we should have baby bluebirds soon. Here’s dad keeping an eye on things. I haven’t straightened up my tiki torches from the storms yet, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. I also spotted the first hummingbirds the other day.

I’ve also been trying to do a bit of spring cleaning and getting rid of some stuff, especially some magazine I haven’t looked at in years. It’s going slowly but progress is progress, right?


"I like to make sure my paws are clean. I don’t know
why the other ferrets are too lazy to clean their paws. "
– Dexter

Dexter spends more time cleaning his paws than any of the other ferrets. When I put them up at night, that’s the last thing he does.

Random Wrap-up of Winter

March 20, 2011

Since today is the first day of spring, it seems like a good time for a random list.

– We’ve gone from cold and snowy to warm and very wet to a gorgeous weekend with sun and highs near 80 today.  This also means everything is starting to bloom, including everyone’s allergies. So we’re a happy but often sneezy bunch here in north Alabama. Even the ferrets are sneezing.

– One of my best purchases this winter was a pair of boots I bought with some of my Christmas money this year.


I wanted some leather boots that were well-made but comfortable (no high heels), plus I didn’t want to spend a lot on them.  One night as I was coming home from work, I stopped at Tractor Supply, thinking I would look at their western boots on sale.  Then I tried on these C.E. Schmidt women’s work boots and fell in love with them. They are so comfortable and they got a lot of wear this winter. 

– I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wild fox until this winter, and I saw two. One was at night standing along the road. The other one was dodging in and out of traffic on the way to work one morning. He’s a nimble little critter. I thought for sure someone would hit him but he made it safely to the other side somehow.

– I actually started a pair of socks but something went wrong somewhere and I ripped them out. One of these days I’ll start them again. My knitting has been almost non-existent lately.

– The "cat" bed has been getting a lot of use lately. Katie and the ferrets seem to be taking turns sleeping in it. Lately it’s been Zoe’s turn. It’s hard to believe this same little grey ferret I got over 8 years ago. Now she’s white except for a few black hairs here and there.


"Mom, can you put the cloth back down so the light isn’t in my eyes?
I’m trying to get some sleep here." – Zoe

And then it was spring

February 13, 2011


This is what it looked like driving to work last week. It’s a crappy cell phone picture but you get the idea. Another week, another snow fall. This time we only had about two or three inches.  The roads were mostly clear except for a few miles of icy roads that would have made a nifty skating rink.  By afternoon, even those stretches of road were clear. That was Thursday. By this weekend, we had temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. It’s supposed to be in the 60s all week, getting close to 70 by the weekend.  It’s been a wild winter.

Since it was so nice this weekend, I washed all of the salt and snow dirt off of the car and checked to see if the bluebird houses were ready for spring. 

Then there’s Dexter. He’s had to hit new sources for his paper fix. The other day, I caught him running down the hall with a balled up piece of paper I had thrown away. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera handy. Now that I’ve put all newspapers and magazines out of ferret reach, he’s scouting out the trash for his paper fix.

dexter-13-feb2011 "Well I wouldn’t have to look in the trash if you had left the
newspaper where I could reach it."
– Dexter

And yes, his nails have been trimmed now.  They’ve been growing way too fast lately.  I feel like I’ve been trimming them every couple of days.

Between Snow Storms

January 24, 2011

That’s what it’s been like here lately. We had the big snow storm. Then last Friday, about the time the big snow had finally finished melting, we got another little snow storm. It was only half an inch this time and it melted quickly. Now they’re saying we might get more snow this Wednesday. It’s a good thing I like snow. Actually I haven’t heard too many complaints about the snow. Usually we get more ice than snow so nice fluffy snow is a treat.


I just had to make a snowman after the big snow. The snow was just too nice to pass it up. Unfortunately the house is on a bit of a hill, which means the snowman was on a bit of a hill. As the week went on, he began tilting more and more downhill until he toppled over. It didn’t help that he was already a bit lopsided. When I put his middle on, it wasn’t quite centered but it froze instantly to the bottom part. It was fun though.

I’m not sure if it’s the weather or just Dexter being Dexter, but he keeps stealing my newspaper and magazines and stashing them under the couch. I kept wondering where the Sunday paper and some of my magazines were going. I knew I had them, but I couldn’t find them. Then one day I spotted this.


They were all under his lair under the couch. Now if I haven’t finished reading the Sunday paper, I have to put it out of ferret reach where he won’t steal it.

Katie, on the other hand, has been glued to my lap.  As soon as I make a lap, especially if I get the afghan out, she is right there snuggled down. If I get up, she’ll come wait for me until I sit back down.  I haven’t weighed her but I swear she must have gained a pound or two this winter. Well actually all of the animals look a little chunky this winter.  Katie usually doesn’t gain weight though.

katie-24jan11 "Does this afghan make my butt look big?" – Katie

Snow Day!

January 10, 2011


Actually at least two snow days for me. We’ve had a bit of snow here. What a nice New Year’s gift. I measured close to 10 inches on the picnic table this morning. This is the south. There’s never enough equipment for clearing this much snow and the temperatures are staying below freezing until the end of the week. So lots of people in town had a day off today.

I made snow cream and built a snowman. Sorry it was too dark for a picture by the time I quit. Besides, I need to find him some eyes and a mouth. I’ll post a picture later. It was a fun day. Plus it’s allowing me some time to catch up on a lot of things, like blogging.

The picture below cracks me up.


The snow on the roof of the bird feeder is taller than the bird feeder.  Katie and the ferrets didn’t share my enthusiasm for the snow however.


"I fell for the snow thing last year. I’m not going out there
again this year.
It’s cold and wet. " – Dexter

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2010


I’m croaking out a Merry Christmas to everyone who is celebrating today! Be glad you can’t hear my actual voice. If anything comes out at all, it’s a croak. But really I sound worse than I feel. In the picture above is a pottery Christmas tree ornament a friend made me, and yes that is a frog face over to the right. Other than the croaky voice, it’s been a quiet but good Christmas. It’s also been a rare white Christmas for this part of the world. Snow in January and February isn’t so unusual but snow at Christmas is very unusual. So I’ll give you a little bit of Christmas humor to finish off the day and sign off.

The Night Before Christmas by John Cleese.

A Christmas story in cookie dough.

The Engineer Cat Guys.

Katie-25dec2010 "What do you mean I’m not an appropriate mantle
– Katie

Post Halloween Wrap-Up

November 7, 2010

I know I’m late posting about Halloween. Better late than never.  Rather than NaNoWriMo, I’m trying to do art every day this month.  Since I’m notoriously bad at these things, I promised myself that I wouldn’t beat myself up about it if I miss some days.  Anyway, on to Halloween.

We usually have lots of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. They actually come in large groups in trucks, vans, and trailers.  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t need to drive anywhere because I’m not sure I could have gotten out of the driveway.  This year, I even ran out of candy way early, so no leftovers for me.

Chris had a link to fuzzy-headed pumpkins on one of her Friday linkity posts, so I had to give it a try.  By the way, each Friday Chris has one of the best linkity posts around.  Give yourself plenty of time to go through it.  So I painted faces on my little pumpkins and then looked for hair. I have plenty of unspun fiber, but I could never get it working quite right. I ended up using yarn to make Rasta-headed pumpkins with some of my not so successful hand-spun yarn.


I also carved a pumpkin.


The one of the left is ceramic. The one on the right is the one I carved. It was harder to carve than I thought it would be. I had a few knife slips but nothing too obvious.

Once I ran out of candy, I went across the street where they always have an open house on Halloween to help them give out candy. I swear I thought I had bought enough candy but it was still a fun night.


“Mom, I don’t see anything in here for me.” – Katie

And Then They Were Gone

October 10, 2010

I’ve been watching the hummingbirds at my feeder all summer. As it got closer to the end of summer, there were more and more hummingbirds at the feeder. Sometimes as many as four at one time. Most of the time they would chase each other off. Some days, they were too hot and thirsty to play the chase game. Some of the hummingbirds figured out that if they approached the feeder at just the right angle, they could sneak a drink without being seen.  (Click to embiggen.)


They trick me every year though. Just when I decide that I’m not putting enough sugar water in the feeder, they are gone and I a feeder full of sugar water. This year they left town right at the stroke of fall. One day the feeder is busy and the next it’s abandoned.

I swear I keep trying to post more often but the long hours lately haven’t left much posting time.  It’s getting better though. In the meantime, here’s some things I’ve found on the Internet.

Found on the Internet

This illustrated guide to a PhD keeps it all in perspective.

Star Wars done with paper. I love the animation and the music in this video. I’ve watched it several times already.

Why cats suck at social media, although there are some cats on Twitter who have way more followers than I do. 

I’m kind of fascinated by this mind-bending geologic time spiral from the USGS. It’s available in poster form too.

Speaking of mind-bending, this mash-up of Pink Floyd and the Bee Gees, Stayin’ Alive In The Wall, is strange but surprisingly catchy. Watch out for ear worms.

A Visitor

Katie cat has an admirer. He/She wants Katie to come out and play, but Katie will have nothing to do with it. There’s nothing but hissing, spitting, and growling from her side while Stray Cat runs his paws and claws longingly down the glass.


“Oh you beautiful gray cat, won’t you
come out and play with me?” – Stray Cat


“Mom, there’s a Peeping Tom outside!” – Clyde