Saturday, January 13, 2018

January 13, 2018

January 13, 2018 - Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge

It's Caturday the 13th !!! 
                                                                                                 photo compliments of Doug Deal
Betty says, Daddy .... keep my feet warm .... why'd you let this cold come back ?  

Brrr it's back to mid arctic weather ....   just look at yesterday's photos and see how many more layers we've all had to pile on today !!!!  

So I left you last night with the big conundrum about the giant cavern by the well casing and the missing water .....

Dig as much as they could all night between the horrendous down pours .....   a funny story about Doug chasing somebody out in that till almost midnight in a minute ...  first let's solve the water problem ....   absolutely NO source of a leak was found.  
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
So Wilson Well came out to help hunt it down. 

See who's on their truck?  Keeping track of everybody is really a 24/7 job around here.  Somebody is always into something.  Including in and on vehicles.  Very dangerous ....  we have to keep an eye on them when anyone is around .... and make sure all are accounted for before a vehicle can dare move. 

They will climb in and on everything !!!  Under seats, into grocery bags, the chickens will even fly in thru open windows and lay an egg on your seat !!!  You might think that's neat ....  but not so much when you don't notice and sit on it .... uh oh ... icky !!!

At first the well guys were baffled .....  then one guy said ....  did you have this dug, say round 2005 ... 6 maybe?  And did you have another shallow well that you wanted to keep working too?  I sort of remember a system we set up so you could switch from one well to the other .......   
                                                                         photo compliments of Doug Deal
YUP !!  That was us !!   He remembered setting up a special check valve system so water form the old well ....  30 feet ... hand dug ....  lots of run off ....  could not flow back into the good clean potable 260' deep nice clean new well ....   Ahhhhhh   and that's what that extra brass fitting was all about ....   yes siree .....  So they took it apart and sure enough ....  it had busted and a part of it was blocking the flow !!!!!  

Quick fix and the water flow was like totally awesome !!!! 
                                                                                        hoto compliments of Doug Deal
We now drink close to 500 gallons of water a day ....  DRINK .....  that doesn't count all that's wasted when dirty bowls are dumped and pools are drained and all the water used for cleaning ....  cleaning bowls, troughs, plates, platters .... and the mopping and scrubbing .... and laundry ... Oh the laundry .... 

After getting all the cats and dogs and goats and chickens away from the truck and getting the well guys safely on the road to their next job .....  it was back to Refuge life as normal .....

But it wasn't so normal ....  well for Refuge Life it was !!!   Normal means expect the unexpected !!!  Really, the only thing you can count on running a great big Refuge and taking care of over a thousand animals is that the unexpected that you never could have imagined will happen .....  and almost every day !!!!   A quiet boring day is an amazing blessing !!!!

So what now?   Doug !!!  Doug !!!   Doug !!!   The dryer isn't working !!!  

First you don't have enough water  ....  I get you water ....  now you want to dry it all away ....   Geesh !!!!

Doug !!!  Doug !!!   Doug !!!   We've brought up the two spare dryers and neither of them work either .... what can we do .... we have wet laundry .... the cages need new clean beds ... it's gonna be cold tonight ... really cold ....  and all the beds are wet ....  HELP !!!!

Doug took about 3 breaths and 16 steps .... tossed off the plumber hat and donned the appliance repair hat ....  In minutes he'd discovered an electrical problem ...  Oh boy ....   But really, think about it ....  three dryers not heating up .... come on ... it's not the dryers !!!!   So he knew to get the electrical tester and start at the plug. 

Toss the appliance repairman hat ......  don the electrician hat ....  

One line into the dryer had 118 volts and the other ... 60 ... uh oh ....  if you can do simple math ... you can tell that don't get you close enough to 220 to work !!!!   It wasn't in the outlet .... it wasn't in the quarantine building where the laundry room is .... it wasn't at a connector area that's had trouble before .....  it was all the way back at the main panel for the entire planet of Rikki's ....  a breaker had gone bad .... 

So off for a trip to town ....  first place didn't have one ....   but the other one did ....  back to Rikki's ... install the new breaker .... and the original dryer was working !!!!!  Luckily we have two dryers and one washer in storage now for the next disaster !!!!   Of course our machines last the longest when we have a spare !!!!  

Time to put the Refuge Manager hat back on !!!!   How much can Doug get done before the next disaster strikes !!!

Oh ... wait ....  there's a ditch that needs to be filled in ....   but first ....  the tail of a bad kitty cat ....

                                                                                          photo compliments of Doug Deal
Yesterday was a wonderful warm day and despite the rain, everybody wanted to be out ... even Mouky .....   At night Doug makes everyone go in ....  and Mouky has always been a good boy and gone inside with only a little coaxing.  But not last night !!!  He wanted to be out .... and even as the drizzle turned into torrential down pours and horrendous wind ...  Mouky wanted to be out ...

He ran under one vehicle .....   then as Doug, out in the rain, tried to coax him out and started crawling under to get him ....  Mouky ran under the porch ....  and on and on it went .....  Doug was worried about Mouky, he'd never been out a night on his own, and it was storming, what if he got scared and ran ....     And it was almost midnight when Mouky got tired enough to slow down and bit and Doug nabbed him and got him inside !!!!  

And I bet you wondered what refuge people do at night for entertainment !

With all emergencies solved and everything running nice and all animals taken care of .....  the fillin in of the ditch began ...  and it was a lot dirt to move to cover up all that diggin from yesterday
Fine ....  leaps wide ditches in a single bound !!!
                                                                                                            photo compliments of Doug Deal

Chevy offers to help Clarence
                                                                                                              photo compliments of Doug Deal

Goliath helps cover up the ditch ....  

                                                                                    photo compliments of Lauren Todd
after all ... it's only fair ... 
                                                                                             photo compliments of Katie Terrill
Obie helped to dig it up !!

Cats vs Dogs .... the competition just never stops ....

                                                                                    photo compliments of Lauren Todd
                                                                                    photo compliments of Lauren Todd

                                                                                      photo compliments of Lauren Todd

And while the hoomans work so hard .....   Just what are all those animals doing?

Standing around snacking

                                                                                                         photo compliments of Katie Terrill

Or rolling around goofin off !!!
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill

And no ....  that thing you heard about horses who lie down or are on their back with their feet up in the air ....  no, they're NOT dead !!!  They love to lay around and roll around and scratch their backs on the ground and kick their feet in the air just like everybody else !!

Ohh ...  look at that dull gray barn  .....  who's got exciting colors, patterns or murals you'd like to paint !!!  Volunteer !!   Help make Rikki's Beautiful and Colorful and Fun !!

Love, Opie 

January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018 - Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge
                                                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
What a fine day it was for a stroll in the rain !!!

The weather hooman has gone crazy ..... this morning it was a nice warm 64 ... and duck happy wet .... and that is to be the HIGH of the day ... at 8 in the morning !!!!!

Temps should slowly keep falling till they get to about 10 degrees Sunday morning ..... then climbing back up to about freezing .... and looked like about 3 days of real cold winter weather ..... then back to kind of normal winter weather !!!!

Glad for this rain today ... the fields are turning green and grass is growing for the vegivoirs !!!!! Sometimes I look at that pretty green grass and think mmmm would I like to eat that? Then I look at a can of fancy feast and say ... nawwwww open that for me !!!!! Do YOU ever think about eating grass ?

It's a beautiful day for a swim in a puddle !!!
                                                                                                             photo compliments of Katie Terrill
He's a muscovie duck and some people say he's uggy ...  We think he's beautiful !!  Muscovies are big ducks and they love to roam and swim in any body of water ... their pools, a drinking bowl, a trough, a puddle ....   water is water .... 

                                                                                                            photo compliments of Katie Terrill
This is Clinton.  He's a muscovie too.  He's been with us many years.  His hooman mom who raised him from an egg passed away and Clinton came to Rikki's.  He loves to talk to hoomans !!!  

Some hoomans think he's not so pretty and they ask WHAT is that on his face?  That's his face!  And we think Clinton and the other muscovies are lovely.  The more funny lumps and bumps the boys have, the more handsome the girls think they are. 

And getting the girls is what it's all about !

                                                                                                       photo compliments of Catina Tomapat
Right Mr. Peacock?

Already in full bloom .... well almost ...  Mr. Peacock will dance for anyone who wants to watch .....  and lots of animals who don't !!!  

See the wire covering the chimney next to Mr. Peacock up here on the roof?

                                                                                                            photo compliments of Katie Terrill
No, it's not there to keep peacocks out, they're a bit big to fit down the chimney!

But your average duck fits down quite nicely!  How do I know?  Well many years ago I was sitting at my desk in the 9th Life Center and I heard scratch scratch ...  coming from behind the plywood that blocked off the fireplace. 

WHY block off a perfectly good fireplace?  It's a great place for feral cats to climb up and hide.  And it's really hard to get them out ..... and when you do .... oh my gosh what a sootie mess you have all over the place !!!!   Yup, that's another one of those things I know from experience !!

So anyway, here I am sitting here, and hearing scratch .... scratch ...  I go over to the fireplace and tap on the wood .... and all is silent .....   Was I imagining that?  I mean, like nothing can get in there?  I get back to work and my concentration is broken by .... scratch .... scratch .....  

So I get a screw driver and I open up the fireplace and low and behold !!!!  There's a duck !!!   WHAT ???   He must have flown up to the roof and come down the chimney.  So I rescue him, clean him up, get the bathroom all covered up in soot, and let him go outside. 

I put the fireplace cover back on and go to clean up the bathroom.  And when I get back to work my concentration is broken by .... scratch .... scratch .....  

No ... no way ....   this just isn't happening ......  

Well the third time I opened up the fireplace and rescued a sooty duck and cleaned up a sooty bathroom ....  I got a little smarter.    The duck spent the night in the 9th Life Center with me.  I just was not up for playing in and out the chimney all night !!! 

When the sun was up, someone went up and installed the wire .....   and nobody has ever been down the chimney again !!!

Turkeys like to strut their stuff in the rain too ....
                                                                                                photo compliments of Katie Terrill
and the sun ... and the snow ...and ...

Turkeys are really wonderful beautiful animals .... and so personable too ....  come on a tour and meet our Turkey pack as they follow you around ....   and if you say Gobble Gobble Gobble ... they'll all talk back to you !!!!  

You can sign up for a tour by emailing
You'll get to meet all these animals I'm introducing you to every day !!
The pictures in my diary are real animals on the real day I'm telling you about them and they all live here with me at Rikki's Refuge !!

Patrick and Preston really like wet muddy days too !!
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill
It's true what they say ... there is nothing happier than a pig in mud !!!

Hey ... it looks like their house needs some painting.  Why don't you pick up a bright color or two, or come out and paint a mural !!!  They've love fun color to spice up their home !!!  We need volunteers to help with all kinds of things ....  and painting is one of them.

Emus like the rain !!!  
                                                                                                            photo compliments of Katie Terrill
When trees fall in Emu Estates, we let them be.  Unless they're on the fences or something dangerous.  That's because emus want to live in the jungle ....
                                                                                                            photo compliments of Katie Terrill
and they love hiding behind the branches !

What a little drizzle when you can chew your cud, lazing about watching the grass grow on a warm day ! 
                                                                                                              photo compliments of Doug Deal

WHAT?  Is that a cat out in the rain?

                                                                                                           photo compliments of Katie Terrill
Yup !!!  Some of the cats like to play in puddles.  And so many critters think that flavored water that collects in puddles tastes a lot better than the fresh water they get in scrubbed out bowls every day !!!

Maybe they started that craze for Raw Water out in California !!!

Where most of our animals like their feet firmly on the ground ... cats tend to occupy space vertically.
                                                                                                                photo compliments of Doug Deal
That's Hiccup with his tongue sticking out !!!!  That's his favorite pose !!!

And some cats, like Norman, like to keep as high off the muddy ground as they can !!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Doug Deal

Seriously, how does Beauty stay so white and .... beautiful ... when she loves to roll and play and lay around in the mud ??
                                                                                                                photo compliments of Doug Deal

No matter the weather ....  the show must go on.  If everybody at Rikki's only did their work in fair weather ....  well ....  things wouldn't go so great !!!!   Rain or shine, cold or hot .....  a job's a job and must get done!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Lauren Todd
It's doggy worming day !!!!   Everybody has to be treated constantly to be protected from various parasites.  Fleas, ticks, lice, worms ....   geesh ....   all those critters we didn't invite to come live here !!   

Yank your head to the side at the last minute ...  is one trick to try and avoid icky medicine !!
                                                                                                          photo compliments of Lauren Todd

No ... you're not gonna hide and get away with it !!
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Lauren Todd

You aren't here for any nefarious reason are YOU ?
                                                                                        photo compliments of Lauren Todd

Ohhh and I have a happy happy happy today !!!!! Hal has been living in my quarters for about 2 years now. Very skittish boy. Over time he's been coming close and closer. Lately I've been able to get in a couple strokes as I put the food platter down. More than a couple and he'll run.
                                                                                                            photo compliments of Kerry Hilliard
This morning while I was preparing his breakfast, as in opening cans, he was prancing and dancing and rubbing around my legs. Just begging to be patted. So I leaned over and started to rub. He arched his back for more. Then bolted about a foot away. And danced and looked at me like, hey, why did you stop. So I stepped closer and stroked some more. He bolted, but only a foot, and begged me to come back. I did.

And this time we got in a lot of back rubbing and chin scratching and the was dancing and prancing in place and turned on the loudest purr. And then he grabbed my hand and bit me!! It was an over stimulated kind of excited love bite, nothing mean at all. A happy bite. So I was happy too !!!!

I'm so looking forward to the day I can hold him and snuggle him !!!!

It really was a busy day at the refuge today.  If you remember, our well quite working all together on the Saturday before Christmas.  All was fine .... and about half way thru morning rounds ....  poof .... no water .....    Luckily we have a giant 250 gallon tank we can load up on a truck and drive to the Life Center and fill up and then deliver water to all the animals that way .....   for hot water for cleaning, we have to warm it up in the microwave. 

We called our well company
                                                                                                           photo compliments of Lauren Todd
Wilson Well - 434-990-2010.  They're the BEST ....  if you got water or well problems .... give them a hollar !!!!!

And on that holiday weekend they came out and fixed our pump so within hours we had running water again. 

BUT then the water started running not so good .....  it's be fine for a few minutes and then run real slow .....  so it was taking forever to fill up all the 100 gallon drinking troughs.  You know if you weight a thousand pounds .... you drink a lot of water every day !!!!!   And if you're eating hay instead of nice juice grass .... you're drinking even more !!

So we called Wilson Well again and they came out today .....  all was fine with the pump .... and the pressure tank ....   
                                                                                                          photo compliments of Katie Terrill
Luckily with the help of Obie and Buzz ....  they worked till they isolated the problem ....  It's between the top of the pump pipe and the pressure tank. 

WAY underground ....    You saw Tony replacing an out door faucet yesterday ... you should have heard him groan today when they said that !!!!  

The well guys said .....  can you all handle this?  And they told us where they thought the leak probably was in the 100 or so feet between the well and the well house. 
                                                                                                              photo compliments of Katie Terrill
And Tony got to work to restore full blast water to the animals !!!

                                                                                                 photo compliments of Katie Terrill
And they dug .... and they dug ... and they dug ...  looking for wet ground ... wetter than the rain had made it .....  knowing this was a job that has to be finished before it freezes again.  If you have an open trench with your water pipes in it and it freezes .... it will be like forever before it thaws and you have water again !!!!!   So important to do the job now .... rainy drizzle or not .... and have it done and fixed before the next big freeze that's coming.

Well it's about time you earn your keep, Obie !!!

                                                                                               photo compliments of Katie Terrill

LOOK at that !!!   Clarence found something !
                                                                                                          photo compliments of Katie Terrill

A giant cavern.
                                                                                                photo compliments of Katie Terrill
The leak has to be here somewhere. 

But dig as they might ...  they just found more and more washed away space and not the source of the leak .......
                              video compliments of Katie Terrill

WOW ... it seems to go on for ever .....   Wonder if we can make enough money to feed the animals giving tours in our new under ground cavern !!!!! 

I'll let you know tomorrow how it all turns out .....  time to do evening rounds and get every  body situated for the night .....   will Tony dig all night .....   will he find the source of the under ground cavern .... will he find a Loc Ness Monster living in the under ground cavern ???   Stay tuned ....  we'll be back with more tomorrow !!!

As evening comes, the cows are happy to have some fresh green growing grass.
                                                                                                                             photo compliments of Doug Deal
It's amazing how a little rain and warm weather brings the grass back so quickly.

And look at that !!!! By this time a couple weeks ago it was DARK .... not it's just kind a dark !!!! I think summer will really come again !!!! I really do !!!

Love, Opie