Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin and Squash

Butternut squash in 1/2 cup portions
We got a wonderful selection of winter squash this year from the Moose Hill CSA.  My share of the loot was three sugar pumpkins, nine butternut squash, two acorn squash and a delicata.  I spent Saturday afternoon roasting the pumpkins and three of the butternuts.  I discovered I have an allergy to butternut squash skin.  I guess I've never peeled that many at once.  It did fascinating things to my hand (it's back to normal, now).

I ended up with about four pounds of pureed pumpkin.  I've already used half of it.  Once I pureed the butternut squash, I put half-cup portions in one of my muffin tins and froze them.  It's the first time I've tried that.  Seemed like they'd be good for single portions or for cooking.  Once frozen, they easily popped out of the muffin tin and I stuffed them into a gallon bag for the freezer.

And, of course, there were pumpkin seeds to toast.  The seeds weren't as plump as I like them, but they're not bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Certificate, Cake and Costumes

Happy 10th Annual Fall Pignic!
The 10th Annual Boston Fall Pignic had a number of firsts and surprises.  Tammy brought a big sheet cake to celebrate ten years of Boston pignics.  The schedule also indicated there would be announcements at 2pm.  I had no idea of the topic.  As Tammy started talking, I got a sneaking suspicion of where things were heading....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So Many Meds

Simethicone, Metacam and Baytril
I swear that guinea pigs purposely pick the worst times to get sick or take a turn for the worse.  Bertie decided to show signs of pain the night before the pignic.  Why, Bertie?  Why would you stress out your Mama?

She's slowly been diminishing.  Overall, her attitude continues to be good.  Bertie hasn't been totally exhausted as she had been in early August.  But she keeps losing weight, even with hand feedings and a subcue every other day.  Her attitude changed, slightly, last week, but not enough for me to worry.  However, Saturday night she hopped when she walked - a sign of pain.  Her abdomen was hard but not bloated.  Since her input and output continued as normal, I decided to wait to bring her to my regular vet on Tuesday.

Once again, the vet was puzzled.  Best guess is that we're still dealing with fallout from the viruses.  Lungs don't look good on the x-rays (but no worse) and yet she seems to have no problems breathing.  Pain in the hindquarters, yet no stones or arthritis.  And goodness - with all of those subcues, she certainly shouldn't be developing stones!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boston Fall Pignic 2012

It started out as a typical Fall pignic:  I spent the morning checking three different weather web sites, debating whether the grass would be dry enough and the temperature warm enough for outdoor pigs.  It was borderline, but the long-term forecast for next Sunday was even worse, so we went for it.

I'm glad I did.  It was a bit cool, but otherwise a perfect pignic day.

The Pig Patrol arrived early and was ready to go, in case the pignic's 10th anniversary drew more people than usual.  Oddly, we were over prepared (if there is such a thing).  There were barely 50 people, and only 30 pigs.  It made for a very laid-back, mellow day.  Wonderful!  Not a single pig visited the time-out pens.  Spats were at a minimum.  I'm not sure if the Dustpan of Doom was even used.  Maybe it was the cooler weather?  The abundance of clover?  Courteous pigs?  I know there were a few wails of protest from the sow's cage, but I think the boar's pen was just one big love-fest.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Birth of a Pignic

Our 10th annual Boston Fall Pignic is scheduled for this Sunday (if the weather holds - otherwise we will hope for good weather on the 30th).  I can't believe it's been 10 years.

One of the early pignics - guinea pigs outnumbered humans
I guess you could say the Boston Pignic owes it's existence to a guinea pig named Eclair.  I had joined a couple of guinea pig forums in 2003 to research her mammary tumor and ovarian cysts.  I soon discovered there were quite a few guinea pig owners in the greater Boston area.  About that time I stumbled across the New England pignic, which was held in western Massachusetts, posted on CavyMadness.  I was intrigued.  I contacted Tammy and asked her if she would put together a pignic closer to home.  It seemed a shame to travel for hours for a pignic when we had a quorum locally.  Tammy told me she was interested, if I could locate a site that met three requirements:  untreated grass, no loose dogs, near public transportation.  If I could find that magical combination, she'd be happy to help get a local pignic off the ground.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Clean Cage Anticipation

Is the cage ready yet, Mama?
Guinea pigs are the ultimate  homebodies.  My girls (current and past) love getting back into their cage, especially when it's just been cleaned.

My last few pairs haven't had a ton of floor time, and I haven't had a serious lap pig since Eclair.  But when I do let my girls out, they have the run of one or two rooms.  They'll spend some time burbling about, checking out the rooms and trying to breach whatever pig-proofing I've done.  But as soon as they hear me wipe down the cage and start putting in fresh bedding, every pig I've had comes front-and-center, just waiting for me to pick them up and put them back in their cage.  Pinni and Bertie line up at the grids closest to the pig room.  Willow and Pippin used to do the same.  Eclair had been given the run of the apartment when I had her, and I'd have to be really careful towards the end of cleaning up, because she'd stand at the foot of the cage.  I worried I'd step on her or trip over her.  I would shoo her away, to no avail.  Eclair would stand on my feet sometimes, just so I wouldn't forget she was there.  Hurry up, Mama!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Adventures at the Cape

Bertie and Pinniped came down to the Cape for Chick Weekend.  It works.  They're chicks... or sows... whatever.

You go first.  No way - you go first.
The drive down was uneventful, but they were unhappy on arrival.  I made scary noises unloading the car and setting up their vacation cage.  Even once in their cage, the newness was so overwhelming, they jammed themselves in the tunnel and made those cute little "I'm scared" noises.  I had to laugh.  They were not amused.

Eventually, though, they decided being on vacation wasn't so bad.  The porch was bright and airy.  My girlfriends checked in on them from time to time.  Pinniped made sure to remind everyone when their morning pepper was overdue.  They even got to meet a two-year-old boy who babbled at them and fed them corn husks through the grids.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cape Jewels

I worked on the quilt some more over the holiday weekend, finishing the small corners, the large triangle corners and beginning the last bits of the block centers.  I was down to a half-dozen piles of untouched fabric by the time I had to return to work.

I squeezed in stitching up the last of the loose pieces whenever I could during the week, so I could take them with me to Chick Weekend.  That allowed me to pin pieces together while gabbing with my friends in the back yard.  I ran out of pins long before I ran out of pieces, but that's okay.  I'll have a stack of the greens ready for sewing when I get home.

Matching seams was a challenge.  The triangles are at a 60-degree angle, but the middle pieces are a 45.  It wasn't the most intuitive pinning.  I'll see how well I've done once I stitch them together when I get back home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cape Chick Weekend VI

2012 Chicks
North Eastham has survived another summer onslaught, and celebrated the departure of the tourists with Windmill Weekend.  It coincided perfectly with Chick Weekend - a weekend of food and relaxation with a few of my friends.

The weather couldn't make up it's mind and I spent Friday either dodging rain or sweating in the heat and humidity.  Most everyone had arrived by mid-afternoon and we spent much of time hanging out in the back yard and enjoying the sun.

We spent part of Saturday attending various Windmill events.  We even found time to go body surfing in the waves at high tide.  It was so windy!  One chick had to leave on Saturday morning, but we gained another by late afternoon.

It rained and was overcast for much of Sunday but it worked to our advantage.  We spent the early afternoon at the Atlantic Spice Company and picked up bread and pastries at PB Boulangerie Bistro.  Yum.  Four of us managed a nice walk on the beach after lunch, even if the sky spit raindrops on us from time to time.  We wrapped up the evening with bread, cheese, wine and pastries.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tug of War

The Guinea Pig Shaming photos we shot of Bertie and Pinni took more than a week to pull together.  Sometimes I wonder if the pigs know when I'm about to capture their badness on camera, since they suddenly act all cute and innocent.  Unless, of course, we're trying to get photos of their cute and innocence, at which point we get nothing but misbehavior and pig butts.

Pinni chews the coroplast guards just about every time I sit down at the computer.  But when I wanted to video it?  It took the better part of a week to catch her.  I think the extra lighting made her suspicious something was up.

It took a few sittings to get the photos I wanted.  We were amused with the food-stealing shots.  The photos didn't really do them justice, so we took some videos to capture Pinni and Bertie's goofiness.  Although we were trying to show Pinni as the glutton she is, I think the video shows Bertie as the winner more often than not.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Guinea pigs are not known for their vast intelligence.  I've had more than one owner admit their pig's bulb burns pretty dim.  However, I like to engage their brainpower when I can.  Many pigs are very curious and some are actually pretty good at puzzling things out.  So I decided to get a couple of pet puzzles/games for my girls to try out.

The first to arrive is a toy for cats, not guinea pigs, called the Egg-Cersizer.  It's an egg-shaped plastic container about the size of my fist with holes in it that allow food to fall out as the egg rolls around.  It can be adjusted to allow 1, 2 or 3 holes to be open.  Seemed pretty simple and for under $10, it was certainly worth a try.  Guinea pigs won't bat it around like a kitty would, but I'm sure they could grasp the concept of rolling it around for food.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drying Corn Husks

After a number of false starts, I eventually acquired the quantity of corn husks I was hoping for to shred and dry.  In past years I would get only what I could store in the fridge for a few weeks (husks last much better than lettuce).  But since my girls really like corn husks and I have access to a consistent quantity of organic corn, I wanted to see if preserving them is worthwhile.  It's a treat I'm sure they'll appreciate outside of corn season.  Besides, I would like to reclaim my veggie drawer.

I left a hamper at the Walpole farmer's market when it opened and picked it up after work.  Not as many husks as I had hoped, but much better than my attempt at the CSA the week before.  Bringing my own husk container helped out a lot.  I plan on returning several more times until they close down in October.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Guinea Pig Shaming

Bertie wonders where the corn husk went
Have you heard about a website called Dogshaming?  I discovered it through the Guinea Lynx forum in an inspired post labeled Guinea Pig Shaming.  Dogshaming has spawned similar sites for different pets, including rabbits and cats.  I even found a Guinea Pig Shaming page on Facebook and a brand new tumbler blog.

The forum post inspired me to start taking photos.  Or perhaps I should blame it on Pinniped's recent behavior.  It's amazing how much badness can be wrapped up in a little rodent.