Catching up

A few things have happened in the last week, so this is a catch-up post.

First, we had to call an ambulance last Friday, October 17, because Leah was having severe abdominal pain and vomiting. This is the second time we’ve had to do that. The first time was in 2011. That resulted in surgery to fix an intestinal blockage. The blockage was the caused by adhesions and scarring from the colon cancer surgery she had back in 1999.

Leah has had relatively minor episodes several times this year. An x-ray in July had shown what was characterized as a chronic, partial blockage. A colonoscopy in early September (Leah’s second this year) did not show anything in the colon, so we (and presumably the doctors) were left not really knowing what was going on.

This time there was no question that something bad was happening. Fortunately, Leah began feeling better fairly quickly and the blockage, if that is, indeed what it was, resolved with no surgery. She had one CT scan and an x-ray while she was in the ER, and at least two x-rays after she was admitted. The first scans they took during this stay seemed consistent with the July x-ray, but a later scan where they followed an x-ray opaque liquid through her small intestine showed quick passage, indicating no blockage in the small intestine. At one time her surgeon thought it might be gastroenteritis, but that did not seem to be the case.

In any event, Leah came home on Tuesday and has been on a liquid/soft diet since. They told her at the hospital that it might take two weeks to get back to normal.

That means two weeks without huevos rancheros.

Once Leah made it home, I started tramping over our new property to find the middle of the lot, which is where we plan to build. The most work I did was clearing a wide enough path to drive our side-by-side 4-wheeler (a Kawasaki Mule) up to the site with a chainsaw and other tools. There are lots and lots of trees, ranging from small enough to cut with large lopping shears to large enough to require a lot of planning before cutting with a chainsaw. Clearing for construction will take a bulldozer, and the operator said he wants the trees uncut so he can uproot them with his dozer. That’s fine with me.

And, finally, on Thursday I performed an experiment with a free-range dog. Leah has been telling me to take Zeke with me and let him roam freely while I work. She thinks it will let him get all his wandering urges out of his system. So I put him up in the front of the Mule and we rode up to the lot.

Zeke wandered around while I worked, and gradually left orbit. I didn’t see him again for about two hours, when he plodded up my newly-made path to greet me. One a scale of one to 10 (with one being perfectly clean and 10 being completely covered with mud and cow manure) he was about a three. Not too bad, but he needed a bath.

He was tired. Here he is resting after Leah and I went back up so I could show her what I had been doing. The tree with the yellow ribbon around it is the approximate center of the lot.


Later in the evening we began hearing some noises from Zeke’s direction. He was lying on his bed at the end of the sofa. And then a revolting odor wafted up in my direction. I wasn’t sure which end of the dog it came from, but eventually we figured out that he was burping. That continued through the evening. I had to keep a box of matches nearby. He woke Leah up at about 5:30, and Leah woke me from a dream (I didn’t mind; I was dreaming about writing reports at work.) I had to take Zeke outside to relieve himself. He has been having intestinal disturbances of his own all day today (Friday), and his burps can still cause paint to peel. I’m hoping he can work this out of his system.

The good news is that he came back to me. That’s encouraging. But I don’t think the wanderlust is over, and when he wanders, it seems he’s living up to the omnivore name. I’ll try this experiment again. Maybe Leah’s prediction will be right.


Friday Felines

The cats were hanging out around the driveway as usual when we took this picture. It shows Chloe and her son, Dusty. Can you see Dusty?

find dusty

He’s hiding in the flower bed. He does that a lot. Sometimes we’ll walk right by him when he’s lying next to the driveway because he’s the same color as some of the rocks we have there.

A question of size

Robin commented in the previous post about the size of a persimmon seed. Here’s a picture of a seed from one of the two trees where Zeke has been finding and eating persimmons.

persimmon seedIt’s small enough to fit onto a dime, but still a relatively big seed. I could certainly see that eating a large number of these seeds could cause digestive problems for a dog, but I don’t think the seeds from one of two persimmons will cause any harm. Nevertheless, I’m going to try to keep Zeke away from them. It’s going to be hard, though, because he seems to have developed quite a taste for them.

Just for the sake of information, here is the entire fruit from which the seed came.

split persimmon

I don’t know whether every persimmon has four seeds, but the seeds are a large part of every fruit. It’s hard to tell from this image, but there is not much persimmon in a persimmon.

Don’t do this

Zeke found a ripe persimmon on our walk today, and he liked it. That didn’t surprise me, because I remember my old dog Jesse standing on her hind legs eating persimmons off a small tree in my parents’ yard, many years ago. Now, since the possums have been pruning our two persimmon trees, there is a veritable fortune in unripe persimmons lying on the ground. I piled up most of the limbs here.

persimmon limbs

This happens to be on the route that I use when I walk the dogs around the house. Zeke was naturally interested.

zeke sniffing persimmons

Most of the persimmons are still yellow, which means they are green. A few have ripened, so to help him out, I found a couple. You can tell when they’re ripe because they’re soft and pull away from the stem easily.

ripe persimmon

Zeke can tell when one is ripe because I hand it to him.

zeke taking persimmonMost Web sites I checked say not to feed persimmons to dogs because the seeds can cause irritation or blockages in the small intestine. That’s probably true, although eating whole persimmons doesn’t seem to cause the foxes any problems, at least judging by the number of seeds in their scat.

I think Zeke is big enough that he won’t have any problems passing the seeds, so I’m not worried. Still, I don’t recommend that anyone else feed their dog persimmons. I don’t feed them to Lucy (she’s far smaller than Zeke), but she isn’t interested anyway. She prefers marshmallows when eating unhealthy treats.