08.25.13

Dog Safety: play-dates, snakes, and shock collars

Posted in Dogs for dog lovers at 9:17 am by petArtist Cmoses

5 Ways to Avoid Disaster During Your Dog’s Next Playdate
Informative Dogster.com article…

The Potential Benefits of Shock Collars
This Care2.com article deals with protecting dogs from rattlesnakes… read that to include other possible dangerous critters such as porcupines, skunks, bees, bears (?) etc.

My take on shock collars–
Peaches enjoys a huge area of free run, including horse pastures, thanks to our invisible dog fence. IMO, being trained by a shock collar (humanely, sound signal warning plus intermittent-pulse shock) is far more beneficial to a dog than being run over by a car. The invisible dog fence is the greatest invention since sliced bread, if you want your dog to have freedom to exercise WITHIN BOUNDARIES and do not have a securely-fenced area.

I have seen dogs who had a short attention span be effectively trained to pay attention to master– and thus be kept out of trouble– through (humane and judicious) use of hand-held shock controllers. Both our English setters, who are fast-running dogs, learned safer behavior from shock collars.

In pretty much all cases, the judgment of the human handler is better than the dog’s, where the dog’s safety is concerned.

07.30.13

Fly-fishing in the shadow of eagles

Posted in Other interesting stuff at 9:39 pm by petArtist Cmoses

Only a fisherperson can appreciate the fishing part of this tale, but most anyone could love observing bald eagles.

I taught myself to fly-cast years ago, using my father’s (quite old) bamboo rod. I never could get very good at it or cast as far as I felt I should, but it was fun at times. I mostly enjoyed, in spring and early summer, casting floating popping bugs (”poppers”) when smallmouth bass were in shallow water and aggressively feeding, thus relatively easy to find. By late June, the bass were getting few and far between. I assume they move into deeper water and I prefer to fish topwater so don’t fish much as the summer goes on, except on the rare day when I can get myself out of bed really early to get on the water.

But recently, the old, slightly-bent bamboo rod gave up the ghost– it split in a couple of places and was no longer usable. Since it had sentimental value I hoped it might be restorable, but was told that would cost more than buying another rod; then I discovered a local fly-fishing store where I picked up a used bamboo fly rod for $100.

When I first tried casting the new rod, it was a revelation to me how much “feel” it had. There was spring to the rod tip, and I could actually feel the line running through the line guides for the first time! It was then I realized that all these years, I had been using a brittle and stiff old bamboo which did not allow me to improve my fly-casting technique. There was a HUGE difference in the new rod! In fact it is surprising I was able to cast the older rod at all!

Long story short– I became re-enthused about fly fishing and began going out frequently, and discovered I could find the bass in shallow water, even in July! A couple of good spots were below where the eagles sit on their high pine tree perches and keep watch on the water. The occasional bass was interested in my small (panfish-sized) topwater poppers even late into the morning. I wasn’t catching fish every time I went out, but I was really enjoying feeling my fly-cast improve, now that I had a responsive rod to play with. Besides, I can combine rowing exercise with the fun of fishing, because I fish from my rowing shell.

The two baby eagles of this year fledged at the first of July, and often I can hear and catch glimpses of them while I float fish and fly-cast offshore of their island. Within a week or so of leaving the nest, they had mastered the art of flight and were looking very graceful in the air, though they were still practicing landings. They sometimes sit in the same trees their parents prefer, over the water.

AND– just yesterday, I was row-fishing and in order to increase my distance, I was slow-rowing and trolling a bug on the surface which was sort of like a muddler minnow. I’d had nothing while casting it except tiny fish jumping over it or breaking the surface next to it, so I started trolling around a large island to check out the shallows. I rounded a point moving into s steady breeze rowing upwind when suddenly my fly line began to be stripped out of the reel. (I must row with the rod lying out the stern of the craft, while clamping the handle down with my foot so it won’t be totally loose in the boat.)

I grabbed the rod and gave it a good pull, and it felt like a bowling ball was on the other end. But it WAS a fish, and it was strong and diving as deep as it could. I played it and let our line whenever it pulled really hard, as my boat began drifting back downwind but fortunately I wasn’t blowing towards shore. (The leader on my line I figure is about 6-8 lbs. test; it started out as 4 but what with losing the tapered tip over time and retying, it was not so fine as when it was new.)

Finally I got the fish to surface enough that I could see it; I was starting to wonder if I had hooked a salmon, but it was a smallmouth and a large one. At last I got it into the net and admired its heft and weight. It was 16 inches long to the fork of the tail, and I figured at least 5 pounds, which is as large as any I have caught in Lake Winnipesaukee– maybe the largest! As I released it I felt that my day had been made. Funny thing, in 3 hours of fishing and 2 hours of trolling that same lure, nothing else came along except tiny baby bass. Fishing is often funny like that! Rowing nearly five miles was wonderful!

06.11.13

Fighting ticks and black flies on horses? (and mosquitoes in the yard)

Posted in Cats for cat people, Dogs for dog lovers, Horses for the horse crazy at 12:53 pm by petArtist Cmoses

I have pulled ticks off our horses at times, as well as off myself. It seems we can only keep our fingers crossed that no one (horse or person) contracts Lyme disease, as there are no vaccinations against it that I’ve heard of to date, except for in dogs.

It is a daunting challenge to protect a horse from ticks. Personally I think insect/fly sprays used on horses are virtually ineffective and don’t last longer than a few minutes. I have no idea how you would go about stopping ticks, OR how you could ever seriously inspect an animal the size of a horse. The ticks I have found on horses have been mostly by chance; they can be felt, and often cause a swelling or thickened area. But then, so do the biting black flies.

Sadly, New England states are epicenters for Lyme-disease-bearing ticks… although I have been in areas of Tennessee and North Carolina which had TONS MORE ticks (based on personal observations). Thank goodness there don’t seem to be so MANY ticks in south/central New Hampshire! It seems that Lyme has now spread as far south as Virginia, if not further.

Also sadly, poor horses are simply magnets for biting insects of all sorts. What a huge target they make! I HAVE found that “Swat” fly-repellent ointment (I use clear, NOT pink) is a great deterrent to black flies. I apply it inside my horses’ ears, on their sheath areas and inside thighs, and to chest and armpits if they get bite irritations there. Applying every few days seems to work because Swat is like vaseline and just stays in place. One of our boys has skin more sensitive than the other to fly bites, and he gets more bumps/itchy places.

Tips for Tackling Ticks

The Best Green Ways to Rid Your Yard of Ticks and Mosquitoes

Above articles [Care2] have several links to “green” tick and mosquito repellers, including DIY insect repellents you can make.

Has anyone tried any of these repellents with horses or dogs?

6 ways to beat mosquitoes naturally

See Peaches’ posts on Big Stinky and fly control.

See Bug products worth the cost and effort? at BestHorsePractices.com

05.22.13

Of Horses and Turkeys

Posted in Horses for the horse crazy at 9:21 pm by petArtist Cmoses

I’m wondering how many other horses are curious about wild turkeys?

Two mornings ago, I was awakened at the “a– crack of dawn” and became aware of a very loud “Gobble-gobble-gobble-boggle” outside. I knew we had a wild tom turkey with a hen recently visiting, and I was rolling over to go back to sleep, when Hubby mentioned that the horses were watching something (a section of their runout area is a couple hundred feet behind our house and we can see them there from our bedroom window.)


Hen turkey grazing while her tom gobbled insults at horses.

So I roused myself to see our “boys” (brothers Glendale and Gilford) approaching a fenceline with trepidation, listening, and staring intently past a closed gate– and then scurrying back away from the very loud gobbles in the next field. I could not see the field because of trees near the house, so I had to go downstairs and creep onto our back porch to spot the tom turkey in the open field about 300 feet from the horses.

This tom was full feather tail raised face on to the horses, strutting around in slow motion in small circles and gobbling at them when he faced them; he was flat out trying his hardest to intimidate them. His hen meanwhile was grazing in another area of the field paying no attention whatsoever.

Well the boys WERE intimidated, that large dark THING was so loud and they were not used to seeing a tom, especially a belligerent one. I have seen Glendale once or twice actually chase a flock of hens out of his pasture, I assume either with some idea of protecting his grass, or else just coltish silliness. But the horses this time were snorting and blowing and staring. Once one of them gave out with a warning gunshot snort. If you have never heard a horse do that, it is quite startling and as loud as a… well… as a gunshot. Or a whale blowing, but not quite so “huge.”

Just this morning the turkey hen wandered up close to the house to find seeds under my bird feeder, which is 15 feet from our back door. Her clucks woke me up, and our English setter Peaches got ALL interested and pointy and creeping around from window to window. As the hen moved away, I noticed Glendale approaching her from the other side of his pasture fence, trying to get a better look. Maybe he wanted to be sure it wasn’t that loud, aggressive tom!

You gotta wonder sometimes what– if anything– goes through the minds of horses!

04.17.13

Horses and riders struck by truck in Vermont

Posted in Horses for the horse crazy at 11:12 am by petArtist Cmoses

Food for much serious thought… read all the comments. Non-horse people please take note.

Stories in Vermont Standard:
One horse dead in South Woodstock accident

Two Horses, Riders Struck By Vehicle In South Woodstock

03.02.13

Cats from the White House

Posted in Cats for cat people at 4:57 pm by petArtist Cmoses

Let’s hear it for the presidential families’ cats, from Coolidge to Bush! Cats from the White House, a Care2 story…

02.17.13

Friesian video– poetry in motion

Posted in Horses for the horse crazy at 7:12 pm by petArtist Cmoses

The KFPS Royal Friesian Horse- beautiful, versatile, athletic, kind, willing, and able to do anything! May the world see that this breed is loved and enjoyed by all. Believe it and do it! Own a Friesian Horse!

For more information please visit: www.kfps.nl (this is a Dutch language website)

02.11.13

Dangers of halters and crossties

Posted in Horses for the horse crazy at 9:03 am by petArtist Cmoses

Check this blog for reasons that field halters and cross ties can be dangerous for horses…
BestHorsePractices– halters

BestHorsePractices– cross-tying

The bottom line is that training and preparation are always preferred over quick and “easy” methods.

12.27.12

Happy dog, TALL dog, existential French cat videos

Posted in Cats for cat people, Dogs for dog lovers at 9:22 pm by petArtist Cmoses

This pup is super-energetic and certainly LOVES to jump!

This is reputedly the world’s tallest dog…

Love this one, a philosophically-inclined cat…

12.24.12

Cat video of cats watching cat videos

Posted in Cats for cat people at 12:20 am by petArtist Cmoses

So cute how these cats are attracted to cats meowing on youTube!

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