Friday, February 29, 2008

The Canine Patient is a Cone Head on Leap Day at the Ranch

Bravo's cast is off...only to be replaced with a cone!! The vet tech said his bandage was the cleanest she's ever seen...so I did my job well putting it in a bag every time we went outside! Now he has to wear the cone for another week until the stitches are taken out. He hates the cone and I think he is a bit depressed about it. I take it off when he eats and during "special cuddle time" (yeah, he gets special cuddle time!)...if we survived a week with the ridiculous cast, we'll survive a week with conehead!!
Waiting at the vet...

The car ride there!

Downright embarrassing to wear in front of your canine siblings!
The donkeys finally get a long-awaited walk with Papa...and the hens.
Randy pretends to ride Paco.

My little canine patient.
All alone in the world as a conehead.

Sad, sad, sad.
Isabella has a thing about hanging out at the doors lately!

Boulder is worried because I haven't been paying much attention to him since Bravo's operation...so he brought me a mouse. I have to have the vegan talk with him again!
Paco in position to hee-haw.

Sophia lays her egg of the day!

The year 2008 is a leap year. If you look at a 2008 calendar, you will see that February has five Fridays–the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between the years 1904 and 2096, leap years that share the same day of week for each date repeat only every 28 years. The most recent year in which February comprised five Fridays was in 1980, and the next occurrence will be in 2036. February 29, the leap day, has been associated with age-old traditions, superstitions and folklore.
What is a leap year? A leap year is a year in which one extra day has been inserted, or intercalated, at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days.
Which years are leap years?
In the Gregorian calendar, the calendar used by most modern countries, the following three criteria determine which years will be leap years:
Every year that is divisible by four is a leap year;
of those years, if it can be divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless
the year is divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.
According to the above criteria, that means that years
1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are NOT leap years, while year 2000 and 2400 are leap years.
It is interesting to note that
2000 was somewhat special as it was the first instance when the third criterion was used in most parts of the world.
In the Julian calendar–introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and patterned after the Roman calendar–there was only one rule: any year divisible by four would be a leap year. This calendar was used before the Gregorian calendar was adopted.
Why are leap years needed? Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun.

Note: The illustration above is not to scale.
The vernal equinox is the time when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator, moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere.
The mean time between two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year–also known as a solar year–and is about 365.2422 days long.
Using a calendar with 365 days every year would result in a loss of 0.2422 days, or almost six hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days ahead of the season (tropical year), which is not desirable or accurate. It is desirable to align the calendar with the seasons and to make any difference as insignificant as possible.
By adding a leap year approximately every fourth year, the difference between the calendar and the seasons can be reduced significantly, and the calendar will align with the seasons much more accurately.
(The term "day" is used to mean "solar day"–which is the mean time between two transits of the sun across the meridian of the observer.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Burn and Work Day at the Ranch!

A burn and work day at the ranch! Randy hired two nice workers- Pablo and another man (can't pronounce or spell his name) and between the three of them a lot was done at the ranch today...the huge pile of gravel is now gone and the three big burn piles are, well, burnt! The donkeys were very interested in watching all the activity going on. And the canine patient enjoyed his LAST day with the cast on- we wrote on it for good luck!

Who is this guy in the white suit?
One of the three piles.

Hot work.

Pablo and the other guy enjoy lunch while the donkeys enjoy their hay.
Randy sends up smoke signals.
Job well done- and now there's more pasture to fence for the boys!
The fresh gravel!

Putting out the fires.
The canine patient and his last day with a cast.

Boulder in the afternoon sun ray.

I made vegan biscuits!!
Terriers in the kitchen.
Both hens at the door today.
It is easier to confine all three dogs instead of just Bravo!

Biscuit with jam...and the canine patient eyes the biscuit (the dogs all got a little taste!).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act Made the Ballot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A day to celebrate at the ranch...the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act WILL be on the ballot this year! Over 800,000 signatures were collected- over 150,000 more than necessary to make the ballot...now the focus will be on prompting people to vote YES...more on the measure at the bottom. Paco and Luigi plan on helping remind people to vote...they have some ideas...in other news, the canine patient started chewing his cast today! It is a good thing that it comes off this friday...he's starting to get really tired of it, and of being confined to the deck- although he has the company of his brothers there, so it can't be that bad!

Isabella waits at the front door.

The recently cleaned and redecorated upstairs...note the donkey stuffed animals on the dresser!

Toby thinks I have his ball.

Sweet Luigi and Silly Paco.
This is hilarious- I discovered something that Paco does and I think he thinks it is a game: he pulls the gate forward with his mouth and then lets it go...and then repeats. I watched him do this for five minutes!

Confined terriers.
As long as Solo gets the nice bed, he doesn't mind being confined!
Beautiful day for the equine.
Horse across the way naps.

The canine patient relaxes.

What will this measure do?

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act

provides the most basic protection to farm animals: merely allowing them to turn around and extend their limbs. It's hard to imagine a more moderate initiative. The purpose of the measure is to prevent three of the most cruel and inhumane forms of extreme confinement in the world of animal agribusiness: veal crates, battery cages, and gestation crates. All three of these practices have already been legislated against in the European Union.

What are veal crates? In order to produce veal, calves who would normally still be nursing are taken from their mothers. For the four months before they're slaughtered, the calves are typically tethered by their necks in crates too narrow for them to turn around or even lie down in comfortably. Prevented from engaging in their natural behaviors or from satisfying basic psychological needs, calves crated for veal suffer immensely. Not only has the American Veal Association now recommended that the industry phase out the confinement of calves in veal crates, but the largest veal producer is ending its use of veal crates. The company's CEO asserts that veal crates are "inhumane and archaic practices that do nothing more than subject a calf to stress, fear, physical harm and pain."

What are battery cages? California has approximately 19 million egg-laying hens. The vast majority of them are confined in barren battery cages that are so small they can barely move. In fact, each caged hen has less space than a sheet of letter-sized paper on which to live for more than a year before she is slaughtered. The birds can't even spread their wings, let alone nest, dust bathe, perch, or walk. They endure lives filled with suffering. Poultry scientist Dr. Ian Duncan states unequivocally: "Battery cages for laying hens have been shown (by me and others) to cause extreme frustration, particularly when the hen wants to lay an egg. Battery cages are being phased out in Europe and other more humane husbandry systems are being developed." How will egg-laying hens be housed if they must be able to turn around and fully extend their limbs? Cage-free housing usually provides hens 200-300 percent more space per bird. The animals are able to walk, spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens confined in battery cages. Several California egg producers already operate cage-free egg farms.

What are gestation crates? During their four-month pregnancies, nearly 20,000 female breeding pigs in California are confined in barren gestation crates—individual metal stalls only two feet wide. The crates are so small that the animals cannot even turn around. Barely able to move, the pigs develop crippling joint disorders and lameness. Renowned farm animal expert Dr. Temple Grandin agrees that gestation crates are problematic, stating that, "Basically, you're asking a sow to live in an airline seat. . . . I think it's something that needs to be phased out."