Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month

Did you know that March is National Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month?  A whole month focused on adopting these funny, furry little hay-burners.

I was surprised when I first discovered I could adopt guinea pigs at my local animal shelters.  I had not considered that guinea pigs are surrendered to shelters just as any other animal.

Since then I have adopted my last three pairs of pigs.   Athena and Victoria were a middle-aged couple I adopted from the Easton animal shelter.  The staff there had despaired that these two lovely wuzzy pigs would ever find a permanent home because of their age.

When I adopted Willow and Pippin from the Boston MSPCA, I was greeted by a wall of wheeking guinea pigs.  There were a dozen of them in the small animal room (along with ferrets, rabbits rats and hamsters), just biding their time for a loving home.  Most of the guinea pigs that were up for adoption were under a year old (one as young as 3 months old).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back to the Rack

Bummed out Bertie
Hay consumption has been tapering off a bit and I think the culprit is Bertie's love affair with the hay rack.  Pinni has pretty much stopped eating from the hay rack and only eats the hay in the paper tube I leave on the third level.  Besides, I worry that Bertie will injure herself bailing out of that rack.

I was reluctant to cut it down, so I covered it over with an extra piece of coroplast.  This lasted for a day or two before I removed the rack from the wall.  I was afraid she'd be crazy enough to try and climb on it even with the barrier.  Poor Bertie.  First she was confused by having a hay rack she couldn't climb into.  Then worse, the whole rack disappeared!  The tissue box filled with hay is nice, but it's not really the same.

I have come up with some ideas how to keep Bertie out of the hay rack on a more permanent basis.  I'll need a bit if time to construct and test it.  If this doesn't work, I may need to consider building a vertical rack.

For those of you keeping score:  Bertie - 3, Me - 2.  That little pig still has the better of me when it comes to that hay rack.

Meanwhile, Pinniped is going for the prize of Goofiest Guinea Pig.  Evidently sleeping in the hammock with various body parts hanging out wasn't enough.  Now she's managed to stick out both hind feet and a nipple while relaxing in the hammock.  Let me tell you, I'm impressed.  If she had that much hanging over the edge, shouldn't the rest slide out?  But Pinni was stuck to that fleece like a burr.  She wasn't going anywhere.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hanging Out

The girls spent much of the weekend demonstrating how to properly hang out.

Bertie has practically glued herself to that hay rack, now that she's rediscovered how to get into it.  Nearly every time I walked by, there she was.  I swear she gets out only to pee, drink water, beg for treats and run a few laps around the cage. 

On Saturday I stuffed the hay rack with a big handful of hay, figuring that Bertie would need to eat it before she could get in.  That determined little rodent still managed to stuff herself into the rack, although her feet kept slipping out.  There wasn't quite enough room for all of her with all that hay.

The only thing that can keep Bertie out of the hay rack is if Pinniped is in the hammock when she wants to get back in.  A distressed Bertie will circle around the hammock, unable to roust Pinni, and Pinni will blithely ignore her.

And speaking of Pinni in the hammock - I caught her hanging out over the edge again.  Both front paws were sticking out this time.  I think she was offended at me for snapping the pics.  I got a dirty look before she turned her back on me.  Lay off, Mama!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Granola Bars

Once again I have skipped my Wednesday gym class and cooked instead.  This time it was mostly to stock up on meals:  Noodle Bake and Tikka Masala.  My freezer has gotten pretty bare, and the empty containers are overflowing in my cabinets.

Along with cooking meals, I baked.  I still had half a can of condensed milk left over from some the Chocolate Caramel Bars I made.  I found a recipe for granola bars that looked interesting and used condensed milk.  I made a little less than half a recipe. Not bad - it's crunchy and chewy and not too sweet.  I was just happy to use the rest of the condensed milk.  It's not something I use very often.  The fact that I made something I like?  Bonus!

It was a good thing I liked them.  I needed that sugar rush in order to face the disaster area I left in the kitchen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bad Pig Stew

I had never heard of threatening a bad guinea pig with being put into a stew pot until I joined the Guinea Lynx forums several years ago.  Since then, I've known a number of people who said that their bad, behavior-problem pigs were headed for the pot.  I usually threaten my bad pigs with kisses and squeezes and the occasional wuzzing, which all tend to get a "do not want!" reaction.  But when my girls had a falling out a couple of years ago, I found myself inspired by a combination of rotten rodents and a brand new stew pot.  A photo shoot soon followed and the story of Bad Pig Stew was born:

Willow, Pinniped and Bertie during peaceful times
Once upon a time there were three little guinea pigs that lived together:  Willow, Pinniped and Bertie.  Willow ruled the roost with an iron paw.  The two younger pigs were scared of Willow, but all was peaceful as long as they obeyed her.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering Willow and Pippin

I adopted Willow and Pippin (then named Alberta and Sheba) in 2005.  They were supposed to be friends for Vicky, but that didn't work out quite how I wanted.  They were a mother/daughter pair that had been surrendered because the landlord discovered the tenant had too many guinea pigs.

Pippin was 9 months old; Willow was a few months older.  These two were the most people-oriented pair I've had.  Both Willow and Pippin loved to be the center of attention and would be charming to any human that walked into the room.

Both of them were diagnosed with ovarian cysts in 2008.  Both of them got injections and the cysts went away.  Truly amazing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Laptop Bag

It's finished!  I may want to put velcro or some kind of snap on the flap.  Or not.  I'm trying to think of what would work best.

Isn't it festive?  Or loud.  Take your pick.  Regardless, it's hard to miss.  I won't be mixing it up with any other laptop bag on a family trip.

Finishing the bag wasn't quite as easy as sewing the first half.  I pulled apart the handles on the front, added in the pocket, and put the handles back on.  I cut out some new fabric to attach the lining.  At one point, the top of the bag was too small for the laptop to go in!  Ack!  I had the right idea, but bad implementation.

I also discovered a few pieces had been cut following the outside measurements, when they should have conformed to the inside dimensions.  At least that was easy to solve by lopping off an inch here and there.  After ripping out a seam or two and a bit of trimming, everything went together pretty well.  Once it was all together, I tacked the lining in several places to keep it from shifting.  The laptop fits perfectly.  Huzzah!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Master Slacker

Whenever Pinniped is in the hammock, it seems that one body part or another hangs out over the edge.  Usually, it's her voluptuous behind.  However, last weekend she decided to do the saxy-leg thing.  Or maybe she was telling Bertie to smell her feet.  I wish the sunlight and shadowing weren't so harsh, but I'm thrilled I snapped the photo before she tucked her foot back in.

It has been suggested that I'm at fault for bits and pieces of Pinni hanging out because I have made the hammocks too small.  I respectfully disagree.  There are a few different sized hammocks for the cage and I have witnessed the Pinni-overhang in all of them.  I believe she just enjoys letting it all hang out when she sacks out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I picked Willow up on Saturday morning to weigh and medicate her and immediately knew things weren't right.  She had a sudden jump in weight since Friday night, but her belly was enlarged and squishy and her bottom was swollen.  I immediately called Windhover, but my vet was not in and the other vet does not see guinea pigs.  The staff told me Willow should be seen by a vet immediately.

I was distraught, calling veterinary practices in the area, trying to save us from driving into Boston.  No guinea pig vets were working that morning, so Rob called Angell Memorial to say we were coming and off we went.

The drive up was rough.  I could see Willow was hurting.  She didn't flirt or seemed interested in the drive, which was unusual.  She chewed on the towel eventually sat very still in one place and her eyes become dull.  I don't know how else to describe it -- I just watched the spark go out of them.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making a Laptop Bag

I decided to do away with my old desktop computer and got a new laptop in December.  Yay!  It's a dual boot:  Windows 7 (give me the option to work from home) and Debian Linux for everything else.  I love it.  But then it dawned on me:  I needed a laptop bag.

I searched for a while, and I didn't find anything I liked.  Everything seemed either too bulky (enough room for the laptop and every accessory I could think of) or too streamlined (literally just covered the laptop).  I wanted just enough space for the laptop and power cable and a bit of padding to absorb any shock and handles to carry it with.  Then I was told: You know, you could make one.  What a novel idea!