Archive for January, 2009

20 Jan
2009

Winter Wonderland

By Kaycee, No Comments »

We have snow in North Carolina!  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s been snowing for several hours and there are still huge flakes falling.  I think the prediction is about 4 inches and I think we’ll easily hit that mark.  Gavin didn’t appreciate the snow at all, but he is grumpy with a cold to begin with so he was only out for a few minutes. 

20 Jan
2009

My, how you’ve changed…

By Kaycee, No Comments »

We’re all sitting in front of the TV watching Obama’s inauguration.  I have a notebooking page printed out for Kaitrinn and she’s taking a few notes.  It has a photo of Obama at the top of the page.  Gavin crawled up next to her and started asking about the photo.  “That’s Obama, Gavin.”  Gavin looked a little confused and did a double take looking up at me.  “Mama??”  No no no… OOOOO Bahhhhhhh Ma, not Mama kiddo.

13 Jan
2009

Introducing: Oreo and Angel, and their new cage!

By Louie, 2 Comments »
As an early Christmas gift, we adopted two female guinea pigs from our friend Sheri. We had talked about the possibility for a while, and Kaitrinn and Shealyn were beside themselves with excitement when we made the decision to go for it.
From top to bottom: Shealyn, Angel, and Oreo.

From top to bottom: Shealyn, Angel, and Oreo.

 The piggies were small when we first got them, so they fit well in the pet store cage that Sheri passed along with them.

Their original cage.

Their original cage.

However, they seemed to be getting bigger by the day. It became clear that we’d need a new cage, so we did some research. It seems that guinea pigs need plenty of room to run around and get exercise. After looking at expensive store cages (which were STILL too small!) we decided on what’s called a C&C (cubes and coroplast) cage. The “cubes” part is modular storage cubes, and coroplast is the stuff that political signs are commonly made of. With some tape and zip-ties you can use these inexpensive materials to make the perfect cage for guinea pigs.

Once we had our materials, we went to work on building the cage.

The girls help with the new cage in progress.

The girls help with the new cage in progress.

It was pretty amazing how quickly the whole thing came together after a little planning. We soon had the “cubes” part all put together. You can also see where we attached inexpensive closet shelving as doors on top to cat-proof it. 

The old cage and the new one. BIG difference!

The old cage and the new one. BIG difference!

After we made boxes out of the coroplast (the yellow stuff) and added some other touches, the new cage was finished!

 

The new cage - all finished.

The new cage - all finished.

 

 

 

The new cage. Another view.

The new cage. Another view.

 

 

Kaycee sewed together an old fleece blanket (washed multiple times so it wicks away liquids) and a couple of old towels for the bottom exercise area. Oreo and Angel run full-tilt laps around that part of the cage. It’s fun to watch them!
Detail showing the ramp on the bottom floor.

Detail showing the ramp on the bottom floor.

I attached a length of cheap vinyl gutter as a ramp, and Kaycee hot-glued some vinyl shelf paper to it to give the pigs some traction.
The top floor "kitchen" area.

The top floor "kitchen" area.

Oreo getting a drink.

Oreo getting a drink.

The top floor is a “kitchen area” with bedding, food, and water. Guinea pigs use the bathroom in their “kitchen”, so they go upstairs when they need to go.
Angel and Oreo are incredibly happy with their new digs. They’re still toddlers and will probably want more space as they grow up, but the great thing about this type of cage is that we can change or add to it whenever we need to!
Here are some things we’ve learned about guinea pigs since getting them:
  • They’re social animals, and enjoy being held.
  • They’re extremely gentle, and trainable (if they want to be trained).
  • While sudden noises/movements might make them run and hide, they tolerate (and even seem to prefer) a busy environment.
  • They don’t like to pee/poop on you. They’ll let you know vocally and by nibbling on you if they need to be put in their cage to go to the bathroom.
  • They need lots of room to RUN. 
  • They can only jump a couple of inches.
  • They call for each other if they’re separated for too long. Then they celebrate when they find each other again.
  • They ‘popcorn’ to show they’re happy. If they’re really happy, they jump up and down just like a couple of little bucking broncos.
11 Jan
2009

Book Review: Just After Sunset by Stephen King

By Louie, 1 Comment »

Before I start, I’d like to reassure you that I won’t spoil a thing.

Ah, Stephen King. Everyone knows who he is, and I’ve heard from just as many folks who don’t like his work as those that do. Those that don’t like it have lots of good arguments:

    It rambles. It’s too wordy. It lacks good pacing. Who would be afraid of that anyway?!

Funny thing is, I think all of those are true! I also happen to love what Steve-o writes not simply in spite of those arguments, but because of them.

During a conversation with my brother last week, he shone a light on the fundamental quality I like about Steve’s work. Every story of his is a study of humanity! From the made-up language we came up with as children to the strange times when something ordinary seems downright creepy. All of the weird quirks people tend to keep to themselves are on those pages. It’s all about what makes us tick.

When he’s “on” (which is a lot of the time in his books) Steve shows what’s going on inside his characters’ heads like no other author I’ve read. It is so much more complex than giving a character a sense of motivation or sticking to a plot line. When he writes it’s as if he becomes those people in a way that is very real, and is doing everything he can to describe what it’s like to be them.

That’s as well as I can explain it. So… about the book…

Just After Sunset is a collection of thirteen short stories. Most are short enough to read in one sitting, which I thought was particularly nice. Several might even be considered vignettes. Unusual for Steve, isn’t it?

It has been forever since I’ve seen short stories by this guy, but he hasn’t gotten rusty at all! He has a knack for throwing me into the story with the first sentence, and I’m held in thrall until it is done. With just a couple of exceptions he succeeded in doing this with every story in the book. Even in the cases where he didn’t, I enjoyed myself. When the last story is done, you’re treated to a behind-the-scenes look at his motivation for writing each one of them.

If you’re a Stephen King fan you must get this. It gets a 9 out of 10 score from this fan.

If you’re not a Stephen King fan this book might still be worth a try if you’re into fiction. The stories are short, and extremely well done. I say get the paperback and give it a go. At the very least you probably know someone who would appreciate it if you gave it to them.

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