Thursday, May 21, 2015

MORE EXCITING NEW WORDS

REFECTORY
The Refectory by Theophile Gide

If you live in a monastery or a convent of a religious school, you go to the refectory to eat your meals.  It seems like they could just call it a dining room, but I guess they wanted a more special name for it.  The word comes from the Latin reficere, which means "to remake or restore," by way of the Late Latin refectorium, "a place one goes to be restored."






PHILTER

A philter is a potion or a charm that is supposed to cause the person who takes it to fall in love.  Usually, they are meant to fall in love with some specific other person.  I don't know if a philter would work on a dog or not, but it might.

Any kind of magic potion could be called a philter.  If you remember that old song Love Potion Number Nine, you will realize that the song is talking about a philter.  And now you will also have that song stuck in your head all day!








HECATOMB

Mom recently read a couple of really old books called The Iliad and The Odyssey.  In these books, the Greeks and Trojans worshiped a bunch of gods such as Zeus and Hera and Apollo.  In order to get these gods to help them out in battle, the warriors were always making sacrifices.  One kind of sacrifice was called a hecatomb.  This was a really major sacrifice that involved killing 100 oxen or cattle.  Afterwards, the warriors had a big feast and ate the meat, so at least it wasn't wasted.  I'm just glad they weren't sacrificing dogs!

Nowadays, the word hecatomb is mostly used to mean a slaughter or massacre with many victims.


MONTEITH

A monteith was a big punch bowl, usually made of silver, and it had a bunch of notches around the rim.  The reason it had notches was so that wine glasses could be hung upside-down into the bowl to get chilled in ice water.

The name for this kind of bowl came from an eccentric Scotsman named Monteith (Monteigh), who always wore a cloak that was notched around the bottom.







SARTORIAL

Sartorial means something that has to do with tailoring, clothes, or style of dress.  For example, you can do sartorial work or dress in sartorial splendor.  When I wear my little Tommy Bahama doggy dress, I always feel that I am sartorially adorable.









NUDIUSTERTIAN

If something nudiustertian happened, that means it was on the day before yesterday.  I don't know why more people don't use this word because it is so easy to remember and pronounce.  Plus you can almost always be sure that something worth talking about occurred on the nudiustertian.


Friday, May 15, 2015

MOM'S BIGGER AND BETTER ANTIQUES BOOTH

After a month as a thriving dealer in antiques -- well, sort of "thriving" -- Mom decided she had outgrown her booth.  So she thought about renting a second booth in another mall.  But then she asked how much it would cost to rent a bigger booth in the same mall where she already is.  The bigger booths look like they are about twice as big as the one Mom started out in, so she thought they would cost twice as much.  This would mean $200 instead of $100.  But when Mom asked, she found out the bigger booths were only $150.  And the owner is renting the booth to Mom for $125 to start with because she moved in the middle of the month.



So yesterday, Aunt Barbara helped Mom schlep all her valuable antiques from the old booth to the new one.  Mom brought some new shelf units in, and that helped fill up the space.  Also it made more places to display things, and they are not so jammed up together anymore.  Except that they will probably get that way again because Mom went to an estate sale again yesterday and bought a bunch of stuff.  And she has some friends who want to put stuff in her booth, too, so now maybe she has room for some of their antiques.


The sun face that is hanging on the wall by the moon face sold yesterday.  Mom got it a long time ago, so she doesn't remember what she paid for it.  She put a price of $8 on it, so that's pretty much $8 profit (except for what the store takes).  




The old booth number was 51, and the new booth number is 15.  This is a little confusing, especially if you are old and forgetful, like my mom.  but we are hoping she will be able to remember.  She had to go through and change all the numbers on the tags in her booth.



We think Mom will make twice as much money, now that she's in a booth that's twice as large.  At least that's the way it seems like it ought to work, if you ask me.  And if we have twice as much money, we can buy twice as much dog food.  Yum!



Anyway, if you like old stuff, and you want to buy some of Mom's old stuff, you can go to this website to find out how to get to the antiques mall:  http://www.afabfind.com

Monday, May 4, 2015

NORWEGIAN FOREST CATS

This breed of cat is called a "natural" breed, which means it developed all by itself, without people's help.  Back in 1000 CE or so, the Vikings may have brought short-haired cats to Norway, along with some long-haired cats that came from modern Siberian and Turkish Angora breeds.


All these cats ended up with Norwegian farmers, where they worked hard to keep the mice from eating the grain.  In the meantime, they made lots of kittens and grew long, thick coats to keep warm in the cold Scandinavian winters.  The result was the Norsk Skogkatt, which means "Norwegian Forest Cat" in Norwegian.

Maine Coon (left) and Norwegian Forest Cat
http://mainecoon.org/maine-coons-vs-norwegian-forest-cats/
Forest Cats are big, like Maine Coon Cats, but there are some differences between them.  The Forest Cat has large, almond-shaped eyes that are set at an angle in a triangular head.  And if you look at the cat from the side, you will see that the profile is straight.

Petfinder.com
The Forest Cat has a double coat that is insulated and waterproof.  The outer layer is made of long, coarse guard hairs, and those cover a dense undercoat.  In front, there is a full ruff, and in back, there are "feathers" on the legs and a bushy tail.  Norwegian Forest Cats can be any color, except for having colorpoints, like Siamese or Himalayans do.  They have long legs and a sturdy body.

Wikipedia, Uploaded by ToB

Coat care is not as demanding as it is for some other breeds.  Weekly combing is usually enough, except in spring and fall, when the cat is shedding.  Because they have strong claws, Forest Cats are very good at climbing.  Their life span is around 14 to 16 years.  Unfortunately, they sometimes inherit kidney and heart problems.
When Forest Cats are fully mature, at about age five, males will weigh from 12 to 16 pounds, and females weigh 9 to 12 pounds.  These cats are natural athletes with a lot of energy, so they like having fun toys , tall scratching posts, and perches with good views of the outside.  Also, they like to get plenty of attention from their people.

www.nfcc.co.uk

In general, members of the breed are friendly, sweet, and intelligent.  They adapt pretty quickly to new people and situations.  They are family-oriented and don't bond with just one person -- they love everybody in the family.

http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/breedskthrur/norwegianforestcat.aspx

By the early 20th Century, the breed had almost died out because of interbreeding with domestic shorthairs in Norway.  But the Norwegian Forest Cat Club became interested in preserving the breed.  Their efforts were put on hold during World War II, but after the war, they were able to create an official breeding program.  Forest Cats were registered in Europe by the 1970s.  The breed is very popular currently in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and France.  The late King Olaf named them the official cat of Norway.

http://www.cfainc.org/breeds/breedskthrur/norwegianforestcat.aspx

In 1979, the first pair of Forest Cats arrived in the U.S.  The American Cat Fanciers Association recognized the breed in 1994.  The best way to get a Norwegian Forest Cat is to buy a kitten from a registered breeder.  This is sort of expensive, though, so be ready to pay between $550  and $800 for a kitten.

http://www.catsofaustralia.com/norwegianforestcat-photos.htm

I did not ask Mom if we could have a Forest Cat because (1) we have way too many cats around here already, and (2) all of our cats except Latifa are bigger than I am, so I already feel both outnumbered and outweighed!

Monday, April 20, 2015

HARVEY: A CIVIL WAR DOG

Harvey was the mascot of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which means he fought on the Yankee side in the war.  And the Yankees won the war, in case you don't remember your history lessons.  Harvey came to the 104th Ohio when his master, Daniel M. Stearns of Wellsville, OH joined the unit.  Before that, the two of them had been with the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves.

Daniel Stearns was 29 when he signed up with the infantry.  Right away, he was made a First Lieutenant.  He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on May 9, 1864, and to Captain on January 6, 1865.  Lt. Stearns got a brass tag made for Harvey's collar that said, "I am Lt. D.M. Stearns dog.  Whose dog are you?"




The regimental historian described Company F of the 104th Ohio as having "an undue proportion of 'toughs' and 'deadbeats'," in addition to three dogs.  The other two dogs were named Colonel and Teaser, and because of them the regiment was called the "barking dog regiment."

One of the members of Company F, Captain William Jordan, wrote a letter to his children on Valentine's Day, 1864, telling them about the soldiers' pets.  He described Harvey and Colonel as "veteran soldier dogs" who "go into any of the tents that they want and lay down at night or stand with the sentinels on guard."  Teaser had only just joined the group, so Captain Jordan didn't talk about him.  Other mascots kept by the men of Company F included a cat, two tame raccoons, and a couple of squirrels.






Whenever the men sat around the campfire and sang songs, Harvey liked to sit with them.  Private Adam Weaver of Company I wrote in a letter to his brother that Harvey would bark and sway while the men sat around singing.  "My idea," he said, "is that the noise hurts his ears as it does mine!"  He also told his brother that Harvey had paid him a visit while he was on picket duty.

Harvey posing with the regiment's cornet band in Tennessee

Harvey was wounded at least twice when his company went into battle.  While they were involved in the Atlanta campaign, Harvey was wounded and captured on Kennesaw Mountain.  The next day, he was returned under a flag of truce.  In November of the same year, 1864, Harvey was wounded again in the Battle of Franklin, TN.  Luckily, he was able to recover nicely from his wounds.

Lieutenant Stearns, Harvey's owner, served for a time as an aide to Brigadier General James Reilly.  While doing this, he was badly injured when his horse fell while jumping Confederate entrenchments.  Lt. Stearns got well enough to finish out the war with his regiment.





The Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered out on June 17, 1865.  During its time of service, 3 officers and 46 enlisted men from the regiment were killed or mortally wounded in combat.  Four officers and 130 enlisted men died of disease.  This added up to 183 men who died out of the 1,740 men who served at various times in the regiment.











After the war, the members of the 104th had a portrait of Harvey painted so that they could display it at reunions.  Harvey's image was also used on keepsake buttons.  There is really no record of what happened to Harvey himself after the war, but he probably went back home to Ohio with Captain Stearns.

1886 Reunion of the 104th Ohio, including portrait of Harvey
Photo from Massillon, Ohio, Museum

Because of his severe injury, Daniel Stearns was granted a pension after the war.  Sadly, he later became insane and was put in the Northern Ohio Insane Asylum.  He died there in 1890.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

USEFUL INFORMATION FROM 1893

When Mom was out doing the estate sale thing Friday, she bought a really old book with a really long title.  It's called Manual of Useful Information Embracing More Than 100,000 Facts, Figures and Fancies, Drawn From Every Land and Language, and Carefully Classified for the Ready Reference of Teachers, Students and the Family Circle.  It was compiled under the direction of J.C. Thomas, and it was published by The Werner Company of Chicago in 1893.


I went online looking to see if this book is out of print, because Mom said it is so old that it would be in the public domain unless its copyright got renewed.  What I found was kind of confusing because you can download the book to your iPad for 99¢ and you can read the entire text of it on the National Archives site.  But the only hardcover copies of the book are ones that you can buy from used book dealers.  So Mom said it was probably safe to quote from the book without running the risk of being sent to jail, which is not a place I would like to be sent to.  Although I'm small enough that I think I could squeeze between the bars pretty easily and escape!

Anyway, the first thing I did with the book was look to see if it had any useful information about dogs or cats, and I am sorry to say that it does not.  However, it does have a lot of useful information about humans.  There are chapters about mythology and history and weapons and science and all sorts of topics.  Most of the useful information is just lists of facts, kind of like stuff you might need to know if you were playing a trivia game or if you wanted to amaze your friends.


Here are a few quotes from the chapter called RACES AND TRIBES OF MEN.  You will see that they are just a bunch of facts, listed in random order.

Blumenbach divided man into five races--Mongolian, Malay, American, Ethiopian and Caucasian.
The most influential of the people of Hungary are the Magyars.  In Language they are closely related to the Finns.
The Calumet is the pipe of peace smoked by the North American Indians, both in their councils and on the conclusion of a peace.
Craniology or the study of the skull has proved a valuable though not entirely trustworthy aid in the investigation of racial differences.
The three types of man differ much in temperament.  The Ethiopian is sensuous, unintellectual, cheerful and even boisterous, but fitful.
Avebury stones are supposed to be the remains of Druidical structures at Avebury, in Wiltshire, and are the largest in England.  They are upright stones of about seventeen feet in height.
Three primary divisions of man, as indicated by Latham, are the Indo-European, the Mongolian and the African.

ALL WHO HAVE EVER LIVED
According to a recent writer, it is impossible to give any close figures on the number of persons who have lived on this earth.  It is generally considered that one person in every thirteen dies each year.  At this rate the population would be renewed every thirteen years.  Assuming that the population of the world is 1,000,000,000 and that it has been 1,000,000,000 at any time during the last 6,000 years, we find that the population has been renewed about 461 times; that is, that 462,000,000,000 have lived on this earth since its creation.  This, of course, is vastly in excess of the real number, for the world, so far as we can tell, is more thickly populated now than ever before.  Probably if we were to cut those figures in two we should still be above the actual number, with a total of 231,000,000,000 persons.


And here is some advice from the chapter called HEALTH, HYGIENE AND PHYSIOLOGY:

Don't sleep in a draught.
Don't go to bed with cold feet.
Don't stand over hot-air registers.
A bag of hot sand relieves neuralgia.
Warm borax water removes dandruff.
Salt should be eaten with nuts to aid digestion.
Don't sit in a damp or chilly room without a fire.
Homeopathy began in the United States in 1825.
Don't sleep in a room without ventilation of some kind.
Medicine was introduced into Rome from Greece in 200 B.C.
It rests you, in sewing, to change your position frequently.
Don't try to get along without flannel underclothing in winter.
Oxygen, the life element, was discovered by Dr. Priestly in 1774.
Don't stuff a cold lest you should be next obliged to starve a fever.
Well-ventilated bedrooms prevent morning headaches and lassitude.
A cupful of strong coffee will remove the odor of onions from the breath.
For a cold in the head, nothing is better than powdered borax, sniffed up the nostrils.
In 1874 all London houses were compelled for the first time to be connected with sewers.
A popular proverb says that "a man is either a physician or a fool at forty."

Okay, well, I hope you have found this information to be really useful.  Another day I will tell you a bunch more useful things.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PYGMY GOATS

As soon as I started looking at pictures of these cute little goats, I knew we needed to have one right here in our house!  I told Mom so immediately.  Pygmy goats make excellent pets because they are small and gentle, and they are good with kids.  They eat stuff like alfalfa and grain and grass, so they wouldn't be trying to steal our dog food.  Also, they give lots of nice milk.

Photo from Belfast Zoo
I told Mom that if we had a pygmy goat, she wouldn't have to hire somebody to mow the grass.  And we could also take it for walks on a leash or to Petsmart, where Mom saw a woman carrying a little pygmy goat around one time.

But somehow I don't think Mom was convinced.  She said she didn't even know where to buy alfalfa and grain here in town. Also, a goat would eat all her flowers.  And she said that goats are very social, so if you just have one, it will get stressed and lonely and neurotic.  But I learned, while doing my in-depth research, that these little goats will bond with all kinds of other animals, such as sheep and horses and even dogs.  I'm sure that with a whole house full of dogs and cats, our little goat would never be lonely.



Mom said she would take my proposal "under advisement."  I'm not sure what that means, but I suspect it means "no."  Darn it!  Mom is always so unfair!

Okay, well, I guess I can go ahead and tell you all the other interesting things I found out about pygmy goats.  Originally, they came from the Cameroon Valley of West Africa, and they started being imported to the U.S. in the 1950s from European zoos.  At first they were put in American zoos and were used as research animals.



http://www.thegoatspot.net/forum/f184/need-pictures-pygmy-goats-pygmy-crosses-132944/index2.html
















After a while, private breeders got some of them, and the goats became popular as pets and in petting zoos.  They are friendly, animated, good-natured, and hardy.  Pygmy goats do well in all kinds of climates.  The females weigh between 53 and 75 pounds, and the males weigh 60 to 86 pounds.  The lifespan of the goats is 8 to 18 years.



Natural History Magazine
Photo by Brian Squibb
Pygmy goats are very good at producing kids, which what baby goats are called.  The females are known as does, and the males are bucks.  Does can produce between one and four kids every 9 to 12 months.  Usually, does are not bred until they are 12 or 18 months old, even though they would be capable of conceiving as early as 2 months of age.







DizzyMaiden, Tumblr.com

The baby goats spend about 5 months developing inside their moms, and then they are born.  They start nursing right away, and by the time they are a week old, they are already eating grain and roughage.  By 10 weeks of age, they are weaned.  Bucks are sexually mature by the time they are 9 to 12 weeks old, and does usually come into season for the first time when they are between the ages of 3 and 12 months.












http://nigerianpygmygoats.com/pygmygoats-children.html

If you have a goat of your own, you should provide it with some kind of shelter in your yard.  Also, you need a tall fence that the goat can't jump over.  Pygmies are usually not able to jump on top of cars, unless the car is very short.  Also, they don't jump on children, so in that way they are better than a lot of dogs.










Maryland Zoo, Baltimore

I intend to keep working on Mom, and maybe I can still convince her that every chihuahua needs a little goat.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

WE HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY BUSY!

I am sorry I didn't write for so long, but Mom and I and all the other dogs and cats have been very busy lately.  And now I am going to tell you what we have been up to.

First of all, Mom has become an entrepreneur.  This is a big word that comes from the French language, and it means "someone who goes into business and makes a ton of money."  Or at least we hope that's what it means!  The business Mom went into is selling antiques, so maybe it wasn't such a waste of time and money all these years when she kept going to antique stores.



The way Mom went into business was that she rented a booth in an Antiques Mall that is called A Fabulous Find.  Mom got to move into her booth on April 1, which was yesterday, as well as being April Fool's Day.  But I will not talk about the connection between fools and business!

video


Anyway, we have all been really busy digging up old stuff here in the house that Mom didn't want anymore.  She had this stuff because it used to belong to her parents or her aunt or else it was something she bought herself, a long time ago.  All these things had to be cleaned up and have prices put on them.  Sometimes Mom had to go on the internet to find out what certain items are worth.  Also, she has bought some stuff at estate sales and flea markets just for the purpose of selling it in her booth.


Last Friday while Mom was out going to estate sales, she had a little wreck with our car, which is a 2002 Subaru Forester, so it's pretty old.  Mom was turning left, and she thought she could make the turn without getting hit by another car that was coming towards her, but she was wrong.  So this other car hit Mom's car in the right rear door and also in the right rear wheel.

At first, it didn't seem to be a big deal, but it turned out that the wheel was all screwy, and it rubbed on the car when it turned.  So Mom drove very slowly to the repair shop, and the mechanics said they would have to order a bunch of parts to fix the car, if it could even be fixed.  And to make a long story sort of short, Mom has been driving a really big, black rental SUV because that was the only thing they had at the car rental place.  And meanwhile, it turns out that our poor Subaru is "totaled" because it would cost more to fix it than it is worth.  Which means that Mom will be buying us a new car, but right now she is waiting to find out how much the insurance company will pay us for the Forester.

It's kind of hard to tell, but the tire is totally flat.
Also, the top of the wheel is tilting in, which it should not be doing.

Another thing that is going on is that Mom has sort of got a freelance writing job, but she and the people who want her to write for them haven't quite figured out yet what type of assignment works best for her to do.

I guess the only other big news I have for you is that our "Z" kittens were all adopted, and they all got to go home on the same day.  Two of the boys went to the same home together, but the others went to different homes.

Felicity

Tuesday Mom drove over to the shelter and brought home some new foster kittens and their mom.  The mama cat is named Felicity, but the kittens didn't exactly have names, so Mom and Uncle Rob came up with some "F" names for the kittens.  They are all light grey tabby in color, except for one of the girls, who is solid grey like her mom.  The kittens look so much alike that Mom had to put colored bands around their necks so she can tell them apart!

See?  They all look alike!