Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I love a good book

I confess to being a book geek. It is a sickness I embrace. I have many many books. I will read nearly anything, but mostly enjoy fiction, books that allow me to escape for a couple hours. I will also read books repeatedly over the years, which some people won't do. I never understood that. To me, it's no different than watching a favorite movie. Some of my favorite authors include Jean Auel, Willa Cather, Philippa Gregory, Ernest Thompson Seton, James Oliver Curwood, Conn Iggulden, Stephen King and Larry McMurtry. I still enjoy young adult and children's books. I've always loved Willard Price's Adventure Series, and still enjoy Marguerite Henry, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Walt Morey, etc. I've tried a few newer authors, and it seems that a lot of the books geared toward younger readers nowadays are a bit mindless, and many are overly simple. I did come across some excellent books recently, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I tried them out after watching the recent movie that was loosely based on the first book (as usual, book is much better).

The reason I like this series so much, aside from the fun story, is that they are actually teaching the reader something in addition to just being a good read. They teach a generation of young readers about the Greek myths, heroes, and gods. The reader is learning right along with the main character, a young boy named Percy who learns that he is a demigod and a son of Poseidon. I didn't learn about the Greek myths in school, and doubt students nowadays do either. I learned about them through books I read on my own because I found them interesting (still love The Odyssey). Is knowing about Zeus, Charon, or the Titans essential knowledge? Not necessarily. Learning about these characters, though, may encourage young readers to delve deeper, read more, learn more. Books like these give new life to old stories. Reading helps to expand your vocabulary and boost creativity. (I wonder how many young readers of this series have had to look up the meaning of "greave" or "caltrop"). Exposure to literature new and classical helps one understand different viewpoints, ways of living, ways of thinking. And, of course, reading is excellent, relatively inexpensive entertainment. Can't beat that!

I used to get in trouble for reading by flashlight, under the covers, after bedtime. My mother was also caught at this as a child. I hope that when I have children of my own, I catch them doing the same. There are far worse things than getting caught with a good book.

Here's to hoping that you are never caught without a good book on hand...

From every book invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads the whole panorama of the world's life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind's own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened.  ~Helen E. Haines

Monday, March 28, 2011

In between rain showers, we get a lot done

In between (and in the middle) of rain showers this weekend, we managed to get a lot done!

Old house- I packed up a ton of stuff for the thrift store, we moved a bunch of fencing, and brought our glass top stove back to the new house. It's sitting in the garage right now, but at least it is closer to being inside!

Gravel- With the most awesome tractor, we spread gravel in the driveway, outside the back door, and down to the chicken coop so we aren't ankle deep in mud every time we go out there.

Pigs- The pig fence is complete! Woohoo! We've got all the insulators up too, and just need to get another set of grounding rods, run the wire, and install the charger. We even got a roof on the pig hut (pig palace A-frame that's big enough for a small horse). Hoping to get the porkers within a week or so... Fingers crossed!

Geese- Our mini goose (seriously, so tiny I don't think she's a Toulouse) has developed an unfortunate habit of chewing on the African. I put some ping pong balls in the brooder, and they seem to distract her a little bit. Regardless, I've had to take the African out a couple times and towel her dry. As listed earlier, we added a little boy to the mix, and he is quickly becoming my favorite. LJ and I lock the pups up each evening and each take two goslings to hold for a half hour or so. They like to snuggle up under our chins and sleep. They don't have super great control over their necks/heads just yet, and fall asleep with their little heads backwards, sideways, lolling over each other. Really very sweet. I'm going to be a little sad when they are big enough to go outside. Only a little sad, because no matter how often we clean out their tub, they are stinky. Noisy little buggers too. If we're in the room, they're a-screeching, trying to get our attention.

Chickens- The baby chicks are only about a week and a half old, and we think we might have a little boy in the batch. One of the Ameraucanas, the cutest one of course, is a crazy little bugger. It puts its little head down, wings slightly out, and scratches. Then it launches itself across the brooder, often at other chicks. When we pick it up, it doesn't really struggle, just fixes a beady little ewok eye at us and glares. Ugh. The rest are still a bit scaredy, and it worries LJ, because our Golden Girls are so sweet. I remind him that the buffs weren't really very friendly until about 2.5-3 weeks old. We'll see how they do.

We are down to 11 Golden Girls. Live and learn. On Saturday, we left the coop door open so they could explore the run for an hour or two while we ran into town. Well, when we came home, there was half a chicken wedged between the wire and the board at the base of the fence. Apparently our cat, previously uninterested in the chickens, snagged a sleeping girl through the wire. Skid ate a leg, a breast, and the head was MIA. Ugh, at least she ate most of it instead of just killing it and leaving it like a dog will. Don't know why that makes me feel better, but it does. Well, the loss prompted us to get the hotwire up (which we had been planning to do that afternoon anyway), and we also ran a second row of smaller chicken wire around the inside of the coop. It attaches to the inside of the 4x4 that serves as the run fence base, and secures to the main fence about 2' up. This keeps the girls farther away from the fence, and out of reach of the cat. As for the hotwire, Cammi has already gotten a taste of it when she sniffed too close to the girls, and we're waiting for the yowl that will tell us Skid has learned about it too. Other than the loss, the girls are enjoying the run, scratching in the dirt, and testing their wings. We put a couple half-rotten logs in there, both for shade and for fun, and they've been scratching and pecking away at them. Happy girls!

All in all, a decent weekend work-wise. Maybe we'll get some sunshine this week, and I'll be able to get some plants in the ground!

Sweet Boy

So, we had decided that we didn't want a gander when we picked out our three girls. But, when I went by the feed store on Friday, the poor boy was the last goose (Toulouse), and he was in a rather dirty tub with wet bedding and a bunch of ducks. I couldn't leave him. Poor boy went all quiet when I picked him up, and snuggled down in my hands. I had to bring him home.

He rode home in my lap, happy as could be, and slept most of the way. He is awfully sweet and cuddly, and not as noisy as the girls. When we got home, I washed his poopy wet belly (which he didn't particularly enjoy) and toweled him off (which he seemed to enjoy immensely). I don't know if his name will remain Sweet Boy, but it suits him well for now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What's in my pockets?

Always intereting to clean out the pockets of my weekend coat or vest and see what has accumulated...

10 2.5" exterior screws
2 3" galvanized nails
3 zip ties
2.25 dog cookies plus crumbs
Chicken wire scraps
Bits and pieces of metal clips
Sawdust
Nylon strap
Lighter
Dirt and lint, of course

Yesterday was a pretty busy day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Woohoo coop!

Oh yeah! The Golden Girls are finally OUT of the house and in the coop! Woohoo! We finished enclosing the run last night and lugged the brooder and the girls out to the backyard. Handfuls of outraged girls were plucked from the cozy brooder and set on the torture field ground, and we had 12 frozen golden chicken statues. It was hilarious. You could move their wings, their heads, and they'd freeze in place. Play dough chickens. After a few minutes, a couple of the girls got brave and started pecking around. The others soon followed. They were especially happy when we put them in the coop with deep sawdust bedding. Very very happy, scratch wood chips everywhere, bury themselves up to their necks girls.

The new babies finally got moved to the Henry resistant brooder, and seem quite happy. My little "Betty Barred Rock" aka Lucky, the sole survivor of Henry's attack on Friday night, is the least skittish of the babies and will walk right up to me. She's not a fan of being held, but is content to perch on my finger. I can't wait until they all get a little bigger. The Golden Girls weren't big fans of attention until about the 2.5 week mark. The Ewok Ameraucanas are the loudest of the bunch, and give me dirty looks when I pick them up. The Andalusian and the Wyandotte are meek and cuddly. The Rhodie is indifferent, as are the Jersey Giants. The Welsummer is sure that I'm a vicious chick eating monster. If this mix of chicks is anything like the Buffs, they will love me after their first taste of yogurt. :)

The goslings are very sweet, except for the one I saved (Stupid). She can't seem to decide whether to be nice or be a pinchy bitey little jerk. They want to mouth everything. Blankets, towels, clothing, buttons, fingers, hair, earlobes, and LJ's goatee. We held the three of them on the couch last night while we watched tv. If you rest your hand on their back, they will snuggle down and doze off, except for Stupid. Took her a while to get the idea and relax. The two Toulouse don't have names yet, but I'm sure they'll be more creative than "Stupid". Hers may even change. We'll see how their personalities develop. Hell, one of them (Stupid) may end up named "Dinner" if they become seriously unfriendly. It's still early in the game. We'll see, we'll see. I do know that at only a few days old, these little buggers can already really bite, and they're only biting to mouth stuff right now. I'm not looking forward to intentional pinches. I bruise beautifully. Should be fun.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gosling suicide attempt

Well, we've added to the menagerie, again. Last night I picked up 3 baby geese, one African and two Toulouse. All females, according to their leg bands, and we'll see how accurate those bands are. We prepped the gosling brooder, and layered the bottom with shavings. Here's where the gosling suicide attempt came into play. The African promptly snapped up a bit of bedding and swallowed it, sort of. Actually, got that little bit of shaving stuck in her throat. She was shaking her head, falling over, and got all fuzzy like little critters do when they're not feeling good. She was peeping, but her peeps were wheezy. Great. Just great. I really wasn't up for another animal emergency. We pried her mouth open, and I could see a tiny corner of shaving down her throat. Nothing we could reach. Baby was getting weak, and looked to be giving up the fight. No way! No more dead fluffy babies! LJ held her still while I rubbed her throat. That got her fighting back. We set her down, and after a couple more throat rubs, she horked up some gunk. Seeming to be screeching more clearly, we got her back in the brooder (this time on paper towels), and she promptly drank a bunch of water. An hour later, she was just as feisty and vocal as her two companions. Disaster averted! Woohoo!

Other than the African's idiocy, the goslings are very sweet. They are huge, even though they are only a couple days old. They seem to enjoy being held, unlike the chicks who struggle and stretch their baby wings when you pick them up. The goslings snuggle down in your lap and tolerate scratches and pets. They screech when we put them back in the tub, and when they hear us come in the room. I never realized how dense their baby fluff was, so unlike the feathery fluff on chicks. The goslings are more furry than feathery. Odd texture. In any case, they are going to be getting lots and lots of attention, though I might need to start holding them on a towel. They let loose a stream of yuck down LJ's shirt last night. I laughed my butt off til they did the same to me. Definitely need a goose towel! :)

The coop is almost finished, as well as the run that the girls will be in until we can get the chicken yard fenced. We have decided to wait for a month or so before painting. The weather is so weird this time of year, and it won't hurt it to go unpainted for a bit. Hoping to get the run finished and get the Golden Girls out there tonight. Fingers crossed! The younger batch of chicks need to be moved to the bigger brooder, and I'm thinking about wrapping our Great Dane sized dog crate in cardboard and brooding the geese in there. Doggy secure, plastic tray bottom, and big enough for the three of them. It's an idea. Don't know if it is a good one, but definitely an idea. Gotta love it!

*** According to a message LJ just sent me, the little African girl is squawking to beat all this morning, and running around like a maniac. Woohoo!

5/10/11*+*+*+*+ I'm adding something extra to this blog post, because people seem to be accessing it by searching for info on what to put in their gosling brooder. Even knowing where their food was, our goslings persisted in nibbling on shavings. We ended up using the shavings for the chicks only. (Not absorbent enough for goose poop anyway, in my opinion.) We had the best success with pine pellet bedding. It's basically compressed sawdust pellets. Smells clean, and you can get extra time out of a round of bedding by stirring it up. The best part about the stuff is that if they did somehow eat a bit, I'd hope it would break down into passable particles, unlike wood shavings. I don't know if ours ever ate any, but I do know that it was more absorbent and smelled better. Whatever bedding you choose, make sure that your goslings have firm footing. Apparently, they can hurt their hips and legs pretty badly if they go spraddle-legged on a slippery surface (newspaper, for instance, would be a bad idea). It can be difficult to find goose info out there, as opposed to chicken or even duck info. A good site I've found is www.backyardchickens.com. In the community forum, there is a section just for geese. I've found a lot of useful info there.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First losses

Well, we had our first critter losses. It wasn't quite as bad as the Henderson Massacre, Paula, but the Henry massacre was still pretty awful. My stupid dog knocked down the barrier to the chick room, jumped in the tub, and killed/maimed 5 of our 6 new chicks in about 3 1/2 seconds. We had to finish two of them ourselves because they so weren't going to survive. :( It was heartbreaking, both from losing those tiny little babies, and having to get after my dog. I'm more than a little traumatized. The only one left is a barred rock who came away completely unscathed. We went out today and got replacements, including ameraucana, wyandotte, rhode island red, welsummer, and jersey giant. (I probably misspelled most of those, but I really don't care at the moment...) In any case, LJ and I wanted more of a variety, and the mix of new babies has cheered both of us a little. We're hoping to get the coop finished this weekend and get the Golden Girls (the buffs) moved to the coop. Once that is done, we can move the new babies into the big brooder, which is much more secure/Henry proof than the tub they're currently in. Heck of a start to the weekend...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tractor love

Yes. I'm in love with a Mahindra 3016. LJ's cool with it. Lol.

Last night, in under two hours, we cleared a HUGE amount of brambles and brush. Would have taken both of us probably 3 full days to do as much with just the clearing saw and a rake. Sweet! The brush hog attachment makes short work of berry brambles, and LJ has developed a technique for efficiently clearing 8' high walls of thorns. He drives into them with the bucket high, drops the bucket with the teeth pointed at the ground, and simply backs the tractor up, pulling the berry vines with him. Driving forward, he runs them over with the brush hog, and goes in for another bite. Very very effective!

We really want to replant the timber, but we first have to clear out all the berries, scotch broom, and junk saplings. If it will stop raining for just a couple hours one afternoon, I'm going to go out with the chainsaw and cut some tractor paths. We're leaving all the cedars, Doug Fir, etc that we find. There's a lot of them out there, but the brush is severely hampering their growth. I have a feeling that a couple years of bramble free sunshine will really jumpstart our little patch of forest. As the trees get bigger, they will in turn choke out the blackberries (ah... I dream of the day). Our little tractor is sure going to help with that!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This means war!

I was sure we had moles. Positive it was moles. Praying it was moles. Moles don't eat my plants. They may disrupt plantings, but they won't eat all my seed or root veggies or suck a young tomato plant into the ground (never to be seen again). Gophers do that. And we don't have gophers, we have moles. Nope. We've got BOTH! Grrr. Our buddy Jim was over yesterday, and spotted dirt spraying into the air in the soon to be new garden area. LJ went out and dispatched a monster gopher. Like a give a rabbit a run for its money sized gopher. He tagged himself a huge female gopher (that will not be popping out a mess of pups to ruin my garden, shrubs, trees, or lawn). Moles I can leave be, but not gophers. Not with tomatoes and peas and root veggies and pear trees with tender little roots. Nope. Won't. LJ is picking up some macabee traps for me, and it's on. I just may need to watch Caddyshack this weekend, as a reminder of what NOT to do, and for a few giggles.

"License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote." -Carl Spackler, Caddyshack

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Power's out

Yup. Gotta love the boonies. Took a look up the driveway, and had a tree down. It wasn't what took out the power, as its root ball was 50' from the drive and our power lines are underground, but it was blocking the driveway. I just now finished cutting it back with the little chainsaw in the pouring rain. Ugh. Drove a bit farther, and was stopped by a branch hanging over a line where the power is aboveground. Not going near that puppy! We've made the call that our power is out, but I don't expect anything anytime soon. I had put a beef stew in the crockpot this morning, and had to transfer it to a pot and put it on the woodstove. Looks like I'll be spending my evening with a book and oil lamps! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hope you're not afraid of snakes...

So, last Sunday I had gotten out the clearing saw, and was going to mow down some grasses/berry stalks in one of the garden areas.  I started the saw, left it to warm up, and turned around to move some sticks and branches off the area I was going to mow.  I almost stepped on a snake!  Now, I like snakes and don't want to hurt them.  It turned out to be a rubber boa.  I picked it up, intending to move it so I didn't smush or mow it, and almost stepped on another!  Weird.  I looked around for more, and found SEVEN of them in about a 10'x10' area.  Seven!  I think this is their breeding season, but it was still strange to see snakes out when it's so cold.

What a handful!



Rubber boas are native to the Western US.  Their skin does feel sort of rubbery.  It's looser than you find in most snakes, and their scales are quite small.  They have blunt tails that somewhat resemble a second head.  I'm pretty sure their primary food is rodents, though I've read that they will also eat reptile eggs and birds if they find them.  The theory is that their tails serve as a decoy "head" if they are attacked, and they use them to fend off the attacker (momma mouse perhaps).  I believe it, as most of the seven I picked up had pretty scarred tails.  Below is a tail shot of one of the larger boas.


They are very docile, and I've never had one even hiss at me.  They are supposed to get nearly 3' long, but all I've seen have been under 20" or so.  These guys were very cool.  After their photoshoot, I put them all back where I'd found them, and they slithered down rodent holes (or perhaps their own burrows) and were gone.  LJ has found a few over the last week, and I'm keeping an eye out for them so as to not smush any while I'm out working.  I found a garter snake too that day, but it wouldn't hold still for a picture.  :)

Chicks update

I only get to the real internet once in a while, so this will be the next to last of 4 posts today.  Gotta use it while I've got it!

The chicks are around 2 1/2 weeks old now, and they're not so cute anymore.  Very prickly now.

This was a week ago...

All fluffy and cute, right?  Well, breast and back feathers are starting to come in... here are the chicks today.



Henry thinks they look awfully interesting, and he swears he just wants to sniff them... and perhaps a lick or two... riiiiight.


Tractor pics!

Isn't she pretty?!



I got tractor lessons from LJ last night, and while I was a bit nervous, it wasn't too difficult!  Not really that different from driving a forklift, and I've done that for years.  Too much fun!  As far as attachments go we'll have a box blade, a straight blade, and a brushcutter.  Sweet! By the time I got home, LJ had already done a rough clear on our proposed garden area.  There were huge logs (like hip high logs) all over the area, and now it's down to dirt!  Woo hoo!  I'm very much looking forward to everything we'll be able to do with our new girl, and I still have the giggles.

Stylish? Hm. Alrighty.



Don't really believe I am, but a very nice gesture!  I was given a Stylish Blogger award by Phelan over at A Homesteading Neophyte.  I guess the rules for this one are that I list 7 things you may not know about me, and bestow this award upon 15 worthy blogs.  Something kinda fun to do on a Saturday morning.

Hm.

1. I am teaching myself to play the guitar, and relearning the clarinet.  In the distant past, I played the clarinet well, the piano badly, and was proficient at bass clarinet, oboe, and flute.

2. I was born in Canada.  My parents were both born in California, but were living in Canada when I was born.  Makes for some interesting paperwork when trying to get a passport these days.

3. I can recite The Shooting of Dan McGrew from memory.

4. I played fastpitch softball for about 12 years, both in school and on traveling teams. 

5. Before my grandfather was married, he went on a double date with Howard Hughes and a couple gals.  That's just cool.

6. I had a pony named Snowy that bit me on the butt.  Hard.  I actually had scars for a while.  lol.

7. I love love love to read, and have waaaay too many books... My two sets of shelves add up to around 100' of books. More to come.  It's a sickness.

So, now for some blogs I enjoy for one reason or another.  I've not done links in a post before, so hopefully I won't screw this up...

1. Weeding for Godot
2. Crap on my shoes, egg in my pocket (and yarn on the needles)
3. ilovemydogandmymusic
4. Sprout The Right Brained Bean
5. Little Farm. Growing.
6. Going Country
7. Mucky Boots Farm
8. Musings From Fairlight Farm
9. My Farm on the Hill
10. Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures In The Good Land
11. Farm Folly

Annnnnd... I'm done.  I tried to pick blogs that post fairly regularly.  Not 15, and there are others I'd like to mention, but my laptop is a pain and if it magically and hatefully hits the back button again while I'm trying to post these links, I'm going to chuck it across the room...

Happy Saturday!  Yay weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tractor!

According to LJ, there will be a tractor and various attachments in the shop when I get home from work today! I'm so excited, I keep bursting into fits of giggling. A tractor! If I make it to the old house this weekend (and real internet) I will post pics and more info. Heehee!

Spring is almost here. It is finally light out (as in don't need headlights) by the time I get to work each morning. Love it! With the help of the mythical tractor (won't believe it until I'm sitting on it) I can get the garden areas cleared and eventually tilled and planted. I'm a summertime kind of gal. It's getting closer!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I might like chickens

The chickies are finally developing personalities, and I'm actually starting to like the little buggers, maybe. They no longer freak out when we take the top off of the brooder (ok, one or two still think we're evil chick-eating monsters). For the most part, they just cock their little dinosaur heads up at us and give us the stink eye. They love to peck at my rings, and most are pretty ok with being picked up. A couple of them seem to love it, and nestle down in our hands, loving them some head scratching. One of them is waaay bigger than the others, and has some serious 'tude. If you pick her up, she stretches out her spiky little neck and stares you right in the eye. Their little wings are pretty feathered out, and their leaps have a lot more lift to them as a result. They seem to enjoy ambushing each other, leaping across the brooder to land on another's back. I think I even heard one swear the other day when a leap ended with one of her sisters landing on her head. :)

I just MAY be getting to like these little girls. Maybe.

(Pigs soon... We got another 50' or so of pig fencing up this last weekend, and with a little plywood, the old swingset will make a great pig palace. Soon, soon!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Skiddy kitty, little miss priss

Little miss priss is loving the country.  Her name is Skid, aka Skid Steer.  For a while, we thought it might be skid mark, as she liked to sit in the middle of the road and play chicken with cars.  We'll see how little miss bloomers does in the boonies.  She's already discovered that she's camo on the woodpile.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Febreezy Friday

Driving to work this morning, I kept catching whiffs of a Febreezy smell. Just great. I figured that I must have had a bottle of it in the car, and was sure it had leaked all over the place. Crap. Well, couldn't find any in the car, leaking or otherwise. The smell followed me to my office. WTH? It took me about a half hour to realize that I was the source of the smell, or rather my sweater was. LJ must have used fabric softener on it. Yuck. I much prefer to smell like my own perfume, not like the laundry aisle at the grocery store. Can't believe I didn't notice before leaving the house. I'm slow today, apparently.

I'm hoping to get some pics posted this afternoon. We're meeting up at the old house before heading to dinner in P-town, and the old house has internet. LJ and I got tickets to a dinner at a ritzy restaurant where my brother is a cook. 7 course meal with beer tasting. Yum. We don't go out much anymore, now that we live so far out in the boonies. The drive home tonight, for example, will be well over an hour. No more running into town for sushi or a pizza, to the library for a book, or to antique stores for some treasure hunting. We're learning how to plan our outings, and it is probably saving us quite a bit of money, not running in to town on a whim. I'm good with it. The inconvenience is worth it when I can come home to our quiet property, our trees, and our space. Much better than the busy streetcorner we lived on at the old place. Sooo worth it.

When we planted the bareroot trees I bought last weekend, we got to take a pretty good look at our soil. It is lovely, and we had to go down quite a bit to hit clay. The soil seems to drain well, and isn't very sticky. I may be able to till near the end of the month. With that in mind, I'm thinking about starting some more seeds this weekend. Not sure which. I have, no joke, a plastic sack full of seed packets. I couldn't help it. Freddys had a 50 percent off coupon, and I added to those I had ordered earlier this year. Now I just have to figure out where to put it all. One big garden, or several smaller gardens... Can't make up my mind. We have lots of acreage, but most of it is covered in trees and brush. The brush will be mowed down, but we'll work around the trees. I'm thinking several smaller gardens. Watering will be interesting. Lots to plan!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More snow and the escaping dog

Came home to about 4" of snow last night. I guess there was a freak weather event, and a couple towns in our area got dusted. It was raining on top of it, so it was a lovely slushy mess. I was heading down our long driveway, when I saw something running ahead of me. A coyote? I hit it with my brights, only to find that it was Cammi, LJ's dog. Same dog that got stuck under the gate. I thought I had blocked the gap, but apparently didn't do a good enough job! The snow was a map of her wandering. I could see everywhere that dog had been, and where she had gotten out. She must have escaped hours before, because the driveway, yard, and trails were covered in Cammi prints. She was dripping wet. No tracks into the woodshed where she could have gotten out of the rain, just round and round and round the yard. Grumbling about stupid dogs, I went out in the sleet/snow/rain with our trusty Ryobi drill and secured some 2x4 scraps to the gate post, closing the gap even more. I've been saying for years that Cammi is more cat than dog. She listens when she feels like it, can climb trees, and can squeeze through impossibly small gaps. Cat, not dog.