Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feeding the Birds

Momma is quite mad about feeding the birds that live in our neighborhood. She spends a lot of time just watching the birds eat. Sometimes she even spies on them with her binoculars. Is that even legal?

Today she asked to use my blog to talk about feeding the birds.

Well, one must choose one's battles, so I agreed, provided that yours truly could do the narration and also be featured in the photos to add some interest for my regular readers.

Here we go...

Look above my head. Do you see it? It's a little bell made of bird noms. Well, actually, it also has what I would consider labranoms. Hence its location in the front yard which is off limits for me unless accompanied by a human.



Apparently it is the "black blob" photo time of year. A little retouching would be nice.



Out back we have The Eliminator! Master made the hanging contraption in an attempt to foil squirrels from emptying our old feeder. No luck. But the Eliminator really is squirrel proof, so no worries about that anymore.

Next to me is the bird water bowl which momma endeavors to keep clear of ice as much as possible (she says she will *not* buy a bird water bowl heater as that will mark the tipping point from backyard birder to crazy bird lady, the distinction seems quite arbitrary to me).



At least that bird bowl will keep them from pooping in my water bowl.


Moving on, we have the newest addition. I am VERY interested in this feeder. It contains nuts and berries held together by suet. SUET! As in rendered cow! Yum!


Wish those birds were a bit more sloppy with their suet.


Finches like thistle. They also have impossibly small beaks which means they can feast at the little finch feeder without worry that a big old blue jay will knock them off.



Thistle. Not a fan.


The Woody Woodpecker feeder (and more of that suet stuff). Turns out that Woody Woodpecker is not a very friendly chap. None of the other birds will eat when he's around, so he has a private station (complete with tail stabilizer for his dining comfort).

Sometimes, on a sunny day, that cow fat melts onto the ground. YUM!



Finally, in the way back, is the feeder that started it all. While nothing approaching squirrel proof, it does take them a while to empty it and they are such slobs that they scatter lots of seed on the ground for the birdies who prefer to eat at foot level.

This is also the primary feeding station for our resident hawks and many is the time that we find evidence of some unfortunate bird meeting its doom. One time we even saw a hawk wrestle a squirrel and it was not a pretty sight.


Birds are slobs.



And my reward for all that posing? You guessed it!


TENNIS BALL!!!!


Momma is still struggling with photographing me in action, but she does try.




Where are my eyes? Fi and Abby mom, please help!


Dexter done!

P.S. From Momma - All my bird stuff comes from Wild Birds Unlimited. I'm lucky enough to have a store close by, but they also have an online store. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Routine or Ritual (with action video)


On a daily basis, there are many tasks which Momma performs in exactly the same way. She claims that she is establishing the routine of motor memory so that when she begins to lose her wits, she'll still have the wherewithal to manage basic activities.

However, I sometimes wonder if her "routines" are more akin to rituals. For example, her routine to be sure the coffee pot is off in the morning is to not only unplug it, but actually hold the plug portion in her hand. So deeply embedded is this that if she neglects to hold the plug, a tingling of the palm accompanies her exit from the house and she is compelled to return indoors long enough to complete the ritual.

Extreme? Perhaps. But she claims that these behaviors pale when compared to the routines of yours truly. According to her, I am more superstitious than a baseball player compulsively tightening his gloves and touching his cap.

Considering her derision of my methods, it shouldn't surprise anybody that I have heretofore thwarted her attempts to make my sacred routines available to the public lest she ignorantly ridicule them, thereby removing a bit of the magic.

That said, I was a bit off my guard the other day and she actually recorded my pre-walkie ritual routine, which must be performed exactly as outlined below in order to guarantee happy making perambulations.


  1. Barkies (this alerts the human that walkie time is at hand).
  2. Mad spinning (it creates the illusion that I am INSANE for a walk, but really it's just fun).
  3. Stretching (for night walkies, always save this one until after your reflective cape is on as it will pop the belly attachment with a satisfying crackle).
  4. Roaching (this limbers up the spine so you are ready for mountainous terrain and generates a static charge allowing floor debris to accumulate in your furs for transport outdoors).

Here is an instructional video. Enjoy!



Dexter done!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Holiday Surprise


Here we have my human nephew, Bobby. He's a nice little fellow and I'm always happy to see him. I even let him play with my stuffies.







And now he will be getting a big surprise from Human Great Granny and Great Grampy.

You see, whilst on a reconnaissance mission into the attic space of the Greats, Momma and my Human Uncle happened to find Human Uncle's old rocking chair, circa 1953, which makes it even older than momma, and they are going to give it to Wee Bobby.

What a cool gift, right? Well, it will be once it is safely at Bobby's estate, because you see momma had the bright idea of "Oh, Dexter, you can pose with the chair to show it off to everybody and I can also take some photos to use on next year's holiday card."

Well, if there is anything that momma has no patience (or aptitude) for, it is artfully created holiday photos.

As exemplified here where you can see lack of proper framing revealing ugly couch and pillow background (not to mention no-face flash back monkey in the chair).




I am not amused by neck ornament.


Or how about this one where she cropped out my labratail in order to get rid of the couch (monkey still no-face flashy).




Actually, I look fairly labradorable in this one. 


So I am apologizing in advance if either of these shows up on my card next year. One must choose one's battles. But at least you can see how keen the little rocker is and hopefully Nephew Bobby will enjoy it.

Dexter done!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Laser Eyes as Snow Removal Tool


Think you are looking at a Black Dog in front of a fire hydrant? Think again. 

Miss Mayzie got it right when she saw this photo on momma's FaceBook. 

I've been using my laser vision to keep the fire hydrants clear. 

Just one more public service from yours truly.


Oops, forgot to turn off my laser eyes. I think I just melted momma's gloves.


Dexter done!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow Storm brings Sabbatical to an End


It would appear that a small snow storm was all that was required to snap momma out of her blogging sabbatical. Good thing too, because I have a lot to report.

First of all, after eating my breakfast, I want everybody to know that I bravely went out at o'dark thirty in the AM all by myself to do my business.


Sometimes, one must just head for the light and hope for the best
You see, I am not keen to be out in the yard alone, especially in the dark, but I've been getting braver lately and I'm sure momma appreciated not having to accompany me when she still had on her jammies and slippers.

While the total snow accumulation was unremarkable, the temperatures took a warming turn which resulted in a nice one inch thick layer of ice all over everything.

Being a seasoned New Englander, momma knows that one must always clear as much snow as possible so she set to chipping and shoveling. The top layer was breaking up in big heavy sheets like a glacier, so it was slow going, even with my help.


Don't worry, momma, I will break this one up for you.


After almost two hours of huffing and puffing, we were finally finished clearing the deck, patio, and comfort paths.

One can always use a bit of grass for making rest stops.


Next we had to make sure the birds had enough to eat. All five bird feeding stations were filled to capacity, but momma felt that she needed to give the birds an extra boost. She claims these strawberries were too rotten for yours truly, but even still, I did feel a pang when she dumped them over the fence for her feathered friends.

I could use an extra boost too.

Not sure what I will be doing for action today. I can't play tennis ball because when I run in the yard I break through the ice.

Momma isn't supposed to walkie because of her hurt foot.

But I'm sure we'll think of something.


Perhaps a game of "hide the liver treat" is in store for me.


Dexter done!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Blogging Sabbatical by Mango Momma


Dex and I are taking a little blogging sabbatical.
Fear not, nothing dire going on. In fact Pea, Master, and I are all very happy and healthy.
But after almost five years of blogging (with the odd break here and there), one is sometimes required to take a step back and regroup.



Mango Momma! Oh yeah!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Revisited by Mango Momma


My grandfather owned and operated a diner in Ortley Beach, New Jersey.

Ortley Beach is part of the barrier islands along the New Jersey shore. On one side is Barnegat Bay, on the other is the Atlantic Ocean.




Growing up, my family spent a good portion of our summer at our grandparent's Ortley Beach house which was located on the bay side at the end of a lagoon. We'd take our boat out into the bay, zoom around, catch crabs off the dock, visit the boardwalk arcade, and just generally have a good time.

After my grandparents passed away, the house went to a second cousin and although it was always available for our use, I never seemed able to find the time to make a trip.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, the bay met the ocean.






A couple of months ago, my parents made the trip down to Ortley Beach to see how the old house fared during the storm.

Not well. Very not well.

You might think that this is the front of the house sagging a bit into the bay. You'd be wrong. This is the side of the house. The front is to the left and was set back from the lagoon a good 30 feet and elevated above the highest possible tides by a safe 10 feet.

Now the bay is permanently in the side yard.


This is the back of the house and you can see the lagoon. Clearly no longer where it should be.



You see that nice sand bar? Nice except it used to be my Aunt Jean's house. Gone without a trace. Washed away, as was the house on the other side of our family lodge.




My parents said that the landscape was unrecognizable and even after dozens of trips there over the years, they had a difficult time finding the house because landmarks had vanished. 

For me, seeing the house sagging into the sea (a house which is awaiting demolition) means saying goodbye to childhood memories. It means that a place I always meant to revisit no longer exists. That's not so bad.

But for so many people, the hurricane took away their homes, their communities. Gone. Washed out to sea. And that makes me sad. A year has passed and the areas so devastated by the storm have barely begun to rebuild. 

I think of the wild fires in the west, the tornadoes in the central part of the country, the freakish snowstorm in South Dakota, hurricanes and I am reminded of how quickly one can lose everything and how long the road is back to normalcy. 

I wish I had a good ending for this post, but I don't, I guess I just wanted to share.

Mango Momma




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkeys!


Had I known that a mob of turkeys would be arriving at our estate just in time for Thanksgiving I would have counseled Master to skip that trip to the grocer.




Curiously, momma was reluctant to let me have a go at them and I had to observe from indoors as she stalked the gobblers with the flashy





They were remarkably complacent. Likely familiar with the firearm discharge regulations here in the Commonwealth of MA.


One could call the following an "action" movie, but they don't seem very agile to me.



As for yours truly, I am conserving my energy for the day ahead. I find that some time spent in an inverted posture helps one's innards fan out to make room for Thanksgiving day noms.



Have a safe and happy holiday!

Dexter done!

Monday, November 25, 2013

More Noms from Chewy.com



I'm a pretty lucky chap because I can get just about any fancy foodable I desire right in the Doggie Daycare Gift Shop.

But not every doggie has such great shopping close by, and that's where Mr. Chewy comes in.





Mr. Chewy has just about anything a doggie could want and sometimes they offer to send yours truly free stuff to sample. How can I say no?

Recently, I received a bag of Organix Dog Cookies. Yum. These tasty treats are made right here in the USA and certified organic (and wheat free for doggies with sensitive tummies). 



Nothing in there but chicken, chicken, and more chicken. OK, some brown rice, oats, and flax seed, but that's good too, right?

Momma put them in my good dog cookie jar. Here you can see me being a very good doggie in anticipation of nommy treats.

Ignore disarray in the background. Hard to get good help.

"Yes, Dexter, but are actually tasty?"

Oh indeed they are. Quite delectable and they go down in one smooth swallow (hardly any chewing required).


Sparagases eyes good!

Dexter done!

P.S. From Momma
Mr. Chewy is pretty cool. Not only do they have great stuff, but their delivery is amazing. I usually get my package the next day. We're lucky enough to have a couple of excellent dog stores close by that offer just about anything you could want, but if you don't have access to a good dog store, I suggest trying Mr. Chewy. Great customer service and lots of healthy foods and snacks to choose from. Plus you have to love their marketing campaign. Send some free stuff to dog bloggers and ask for a review. Great advertising, right? In addition to a wide selection of treats, they also have regular dog food, both kibble and canned. Stuff for kitties too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remembering Peanut - a goofy, striped nutter



Our long time pal, Peanut, left blogland several years ago, but we kept up with his adventures via FB.

Momma always had a special place in her heart for the little nutter. Can you guess why?

Well, first of all, he was one of the very first dog pals that she and the RH found on the Interwebs, but there are other reasons too...


Peanut had a big blocky head, stripes, and plenty of jowls for slobbering

He was a total whack-a-doo. Always giving everybody a piece of his mind.

And at times, kind of a jerk...

But he was very much loved, especially by his dada.


Peanut made his final journey last week, and we were both sorry to see him leave us.

Run free, Peanut, make mischief, and open up all those Rainbow Bridge refrigerators.

Dexter done!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Celebrating Slobber Day - a photo essay


Sherman and Leroy's Slobber Day Celebration!


Once again, it is time for slobber day, sponsored by Sherman and Leroy.

The truth is, that yours truly, well, I just don't slobber. Subsequently, momma has been attempting to stage a slobber photo as in this one where she is withholding my breakfast.

Momma! Please! Breakfast!


But we both agreed that was not only a bit mean, but also not in keeping with the spirit of slobber day. A day which is all about embracing the glorious slobbering abilities of the talented doggies with impossibly wet jowls.

My primary experience with slobber is having it placed on my person by the Relentlessly Huge.


I often felt like the RH's facecloth.


But I bow to his superior abilities to generate a never ending supply of the stuff. 

Thus, I give you:

Remembering Mango
The King of Slobber




The subtle foam.

The suds machine.


The artful placement.

The partially frozen stringer.

The blowing in the wind with lipstick.

The toxic water bowl.

The full facial.

The debris collector.


We all miss The Mango. Yes, even me (sometimes). And while most of the time momma is happy not to have to be cleaning up all that slime and goo I think that sometimes she'd relish slobbery walls, ceilings, guests, clothing, and labradudes if it meant having her big old Bubba back.

Dexter done!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Slobber Day is Coming and Puppy Photos from the Archives


My pals, Sherman and Leroy, are hosting the second annual Slobber Day.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 16th and post your slobberiest photos.

Yours truly is working hard at producing some suds (why not, since it involves treats).

Read all about it here.


With under 10G of storage remaining, Momma has been feverishly working to consolidate the information on our hard drive. She's not keen on having to install a larger drive. In the process, she unearthed some heretofore unseen photos of the doggies who have lived at our estate and since everybody likes puppies (in small doses), I decided to share some SQUEEEE puppy pictures with you.

Angus the Airedale was the first doggie that momma and master had. For reasons I cannot fathom, they seemed agreed that they both wanted an Airedale more than anything. This is a picture of an impossibly young momma with the Baby Shark Angus.




Yes, that is a picture of a particle accelerator in the background. Nerd art. Sigh.


By the time Angus was two years old, it was clear that his boundless energy was a bit more than momma and master could handle, so they decided to get him a companion. Now herein lies a tale, but you can skip it if you want, because lots of you have heard it before.

Master was driving around town and spotted a little lost Basset Hound dog. He popped the wee beast into his truck and brought him home. Apparently, the hound dog and Angus really hit it off, but the dog police found the people who owned the hound (named Elvis, well, you can imagine) and so he was returned to his family. But the dog police told Master that Elvis had been caught wandering before so Master told her to call us if his family ever decided to give him up.

Not two weeks later, the dog police called Master and said Elvis was at the orphanage. Momma rushed to the orphanage only to find that Elvis had already been adopted, but the people said there was another little hound that had just arrived and would she like to have a look.

Well, that hound was very scared to be in the orphanage and it broke momma's heart, so she called Master and he brought Angus down to see what was what. Apparently it was love at first sight and the little hound came home and was named Pi.


Ask Master who his favorite doggie ever was, and he will always
say "Pi." She had his number.



After Pi made her final journey, well, it was obvious that there would be another doggie. Momma and Master had talked about getting an absurdly large doggie for some time and so, Beautiful Raja came to the estate.


Poor old Angus had no idea that in another month, Raja would be flinging him about like a stuffy.


Angus was already a senior citizen doggie when Raja came to the estate and just not in to baby dog hi-jinks. One day, Momma and Master were at a doggie show and they met some mastiff people who said they just happened to have some puppies.

When momma and master went to visit the puppies, they found one idiot dog trapped in a water bucket. That's the one they brought home.





The Baby Mango practices extreme mastiff meditation



It's no secret that Mango was a big baby and without his Raja he was lost. But he was also a grumpy bully and finding a doggie that could be his pal without getting eaten alive was quite a task.

Back to the doggie shows where momma met Miss Peggy, the Nightwinds Labrador lady. After listening to momma's long tale about her relentlessly huge cry baby big bully momma's dog, she said that she had "just the right puppy."

None other than yours truly, seen here shortly after my arrival at the estate.






Does that dog ever put his lipstick away?


So there you have it. A brief history of puppies at our place. And lest you get any ideas, I can assure you that I have told momma repeatedly that I do *not* want a puppy of any sort to actually come and live with us. I like things just the way they are.

Don't forget to work on your slobber photos! The clock is ticking!

Dexter done!

A longish postscript by Mango Momma

What struck me most looking at these photos was how my capacity to "do stuff" has diminished over the 20+ years since Angus entered our lives. 

When we brought Angus home, we had two children in residence, I had a job with long hours and a 50 minute commute that required me to "dress up" and do my hair every morning. Somehow I still found time to walk Angus, take him to obedience club once a week, and do all the necessaries of running a house containing children. Heck, Angus even competed in obedience (albeit just once and at the sub-novice level).

Pi didn't slow me down. More often than not Pi and Angus had private walkies (different speeds) and Pi achieved her therapy dog certification and went on to do weekly nursing home visits with me.

For a while we had three dogs: Angus, Raja, and Mango. They required THREE individual walkies and at the time I was deeply invested in my mid-life ballet career and going to dance class three times / week.

Now? Well, I've slowed down.... A LOT. Or maybe I've just learned to relax and enjoy life. The kids are grown up with families of their own (fortunately both kids within a 15 minute drive of our estate) and one dog seems like more than enough. No more ballet class (although I miss it) because my 9-5 job with a short (25 minute door to door) commute is quite wearing and in the evening I want nothing more than to read a book or watch a movie. 

I had a long conversation with a dog trainer who is around my age. He breeds Bernese Mountain dogs and recently kept one of the puppies (after many years of placing all his pups in good homes). He said that it is very different having a puppy when you are on the down side of 50 and that even with momma dog in residence to help out, it is exhausting for him and his wife to have a puppy to chase around after so many years of calm, adult doggies. I get that.

I suppose you get the right dog at the right time. Pea is the easiest dog we've ever had. No fuss, no muss. I wish I spent more time training him tricks (I'm sure he does too).  But I have grown to love our twice daily (except on daycare days) walkies and the odd games of chase, tennis ball, and labrawrestling.