Road Trip!!!

Never a dull moment around here… I had just settled into my Saturday afternoon routine of catching up on work, when I heard Gene yelling from outside. I wasn’t too panicked, since I had just heard him leave like 5 seconds prior and how much trouble can you get into in five seconds? Then he started yelling for me to get Ceri inside, and my first thought was the “Air Bear” is back!

But as it turns out, the minute he stepped outside a Jay bird flew right at his chest and started fluttering in the his face. It then fell into a snow bank, where of course Ceri tried to introduce herself. He called me out to take a look, and we scooped the poor thing out of the snow and saw his beak was frozen shut. (It was around -20 at the time). We picked him up, and he sat there for a second, then took off flying but didn’t get far. Unfortunately he tumbled right underneath the cargo trailer, which is surrounded on all sides by deep snow (waist deep, as Gene soon figured out). The bird managed to slip right through the gap between the snow and the metal, so Gene had to burrow in and dig him back out.

We brought him back inside and slowly warmed him up in a kennel, stocked with warm water to drink and a selection of snacks. Happily, JB (I named him right away, obviously) partook of the buffet within about 15 minutes.

We decided to keep him overnight so he could rest and warm up, but when I let him go again early this morning he was still having obvious troubles flying. He ended up in another snow bank and just kind of spun around.

On the plus side, I was able to find a certified wildlife rehab by checking the DNR’s website. On the down side, the closest one was in Duluth, which is several hours away. Road trip! Gene didn’t even grumble too much since I said we could stop at Duluth Trading Company and buy him some more work pants.

It ended up being a really cool rescue – there was a poster on the wall listing the number of different types of animals they had saved in 2018, and a new one for 2019 (JB will be the second Jay bird rescued so far this year!) They’ll take any animal, including tiny little field mice and disturbingly large Norway rats. (Shudder. I love all of God’s creatures, but my first encounter with a Norway rat was in Washington. I thought it was a beaver, then I took a closer look and was all, hey, honey, why is a beaver dragging a dead duck around a lake? Ya, it was a huge Norway rat, and apparently duck take-out is a thing for them. I still have nightmares.)

We learned that Jay birds have very strong social bonds, and they mate for life. So fingers crossed – we’ll be able to go pick him up and bring him back here so he can rejoin his flock. Somewhere between 30 and 40 of them spend the morning and early afternoon here, hanging out at the selection of feeders and sneaking the corn from the deer feed. In the winter they get peanuts, twice a day if it’s super cold. At first we just had 5 or 6, but word spread quickly and now I’m pretty sure every Jay in the Iron Range swings by for breakfast. We don’t even have their preferred type of feeder – they like a tray or platform-on-a-post best. I can’t wait to see how many show up once Gene builds a few of those! I added it to his to-do list.

At any rate, we’re still waiting for word on how his intake exam went (everyone send good thoughts his way!). If JB needs a specialist, they’ll even bring him down to a vet in the Twin Cities for surgery. We didn’t have to pay anything to drop him off, but they have such a cool mission I whipped out my checkbook and made a donation. I didn’t even stipulate that they couldn’t use it to rescue rats.

LOUD???? That’s our word of the day!

I’m absolutely loving all the sunshine that streams into the house now! I’m also enjoying how much warmer it is in the house.

I didn’t expect the sun to make that much difference, but it’s basking weather in the living room – like 78 degrees! Gene usually opens the window so he can cool off in the single digit breeze, which Thing 2 calls “checking the fridge”. He sticks his head out and chitters at all the birds. That’s about as far as he gets, too, thanks to all that junk in the trunk.

I don’t mind the open windows either, since the bulk of the logging is done now. Logging is loud. So. Very. Loud.

And of course they invariably pick the times when I’m doing phone interviews to log directly behind the house. I’m not sure why someone felt the need to add a warning “beep” to a machine that’s literally almost as tall as our house and sounds like a jet plane taking off, but whenever it’s moving, it’s beeping. Then when the trees fall, the windows rattle.

With all the racket outside, Chupi feels like he needs to compete. He assumes his “super bark” pose, complete with one front paw up in the air, then lets loose at the windows.

All day long. On the plus side, he wears himself out fussing, so once it gets dark and the loggers leave he settles down on the couch and curls up in his blanket.

Bess Bess gave us a fleece blanket for Christmas, and Chupi has claimed it as his Wubbie. If it’s not already on his spot on the couch, he’ll grumble until you bring it to him.

He still has his nightly meltdowns, though. When ten o’clock rolls around, he’ll start quietly growling to himself. Then it’s not so quietly, and I’ll have to turn up the volume on Law & Order. Eventually he’ll either start barking himself into a froth, or start howling:

To be honest, that’s basically what I’ve felt like doing all week. Ever since our accountant called to give me yet another reason why we need to secede and declare our property its own sovereign nation.

After hearing how many zeros is going to be on the check for the IRS this April, I’ve been trying to come up with legitimate business expenses. Even though I’m full-time, I’m an independent contractor, so technically self-employed. And the problem with being a writer is sitting in a chair staring at a screen just doesn’t wrack up many expenses, once you’ve written off the chair, screen and keyboard.

Basically I need to find a less ethical accountant.

He said that even though he totally believes we’d happily live without electricity and only have it so I can give the world the dating advice it so desperately needs, he won’t claim a year’s worth of power bills as an expense.

Hon, could you bring me some popcorn? I’d get it myself, but I’m working!

Nor can I write off DirecTV, even though staying on top of pop culture is a job requirement and that’s the only reason I watch all those reality shows.

I should expense our grocery bills, since according to Gene I’ve been working so much I’ve turned into a Deskitarian. He defined the term on a helpful sticky note he put on my monitor: “when you sit at a desk all day and the food is brought to you.”

It would also help if we could get our farm up and running, but I haven’t found a commercial outlet for egg sales yet so we don’t have as many chickens here as we did in Washington. So I can’t write off the feed, for either the chickens or the deer. Apparently deer don’t count as emotional support animals so their feed isn’t a medical expense. (Seriously, what is with this guy????)

On the plus side, we may become the Northland’s first and foremost goose hatchery soon. Claire has become broody, and is sitting on god only knows how many eggs. We’ll know in 28 to 35 days whether or not they’re fertile. I’d started to notice that she spent a good amount of time over in a particular corner, but didn’t really think anything of it. Then both Gene and I were in the coop moving the heater to a different outlet, and after listening to a weird noise go on and on for a like a minute, I asked Gene if he heard that hissing noise.

Turns out, it was Claire. Here’s the ensuing convo:

Gene: I wonder how many eggs she has under there?

Andie: I’ll check!

Claire: hiiiiiisssssssssssss

Andie: Maybe you should check.

Gene: Wuss. (Takes one step closer)


Andie: Well then. I bet that many goslings will be adorable.

Gene: Indeed. I’ll get started on an addition to the barn tomorrow morning.

Okay, technically the very last thing Gene said was actually a bunch of swears, but he did agree that we should build a more mess proof enclosure for the geese next winter, and since he adamantly refused to reach under the hissing, honking, spitting demon that Claire turned into and gather the eggs, I took that as an agreement to build them a goose barn.