Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Momma and RIP, too.

Well, it's been a month since I last filed a report so let us get the sad and otherwise distressing stuff out of the way, shall we?

Little Butter Bean was dead within two weeks of the last post. He had been doing well for a while, but like they say, it was not meant to be. In retrospect, I had been torturing to keep alive a baby that was doomed from the start and I can't tell you how crappy I feel about that. The center "didn't have it in their budget" to pay for a formal necropsy, so as a personal favor to me, Dr. Martinez (www.semobilevet.com) did a gross exam and reported an enlarged, cystic liver and a body cavity filled with fluid.

In doing some more research and speaking to a friend who had some prior dealings with this center, it was reported that "unless the center has added to their breeding stock over the last three years, Butter Bean's parents were siblings and THEIR parents were siblings." Not cool. Of course, I didn't think to ask for a pedigree and unfortunately, I didn't think to contact my friend before I purchased the little baby, or I would have steered clear.

It was a month of living on a roller coaster trying to keep this babe alive and I can't remember having been so stressed out and weepy. My profuse apologies to Robert and Chris who wasted their day and resources picking up a baby that had been declared 'viable' by the center's clinician. I knew something was wrong from the first day because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to discern that a baby owl who isn't hungry isn't healthy.

When I contacted FWS about regulations concerning inbreeding, I was informed that there were none. Zip. Zero. Nada. Of all the stupid rules they ram down our throats, there is not one hint to breeders about keeping your gene pool clean. Needless to say, I was aghast. Still am. Another tragic lesson learned.

One last thing - If you're too freaking cheap to find out why your animals are dropping dead, (two out of three of this particular clutch) perhaps ya'll should have a meeting and talk turkey because bad news travels a lot faster than good news.

God bless you, Butter Bean. I am so sorry.

Momma would have been 84 today. She was very unhappy with her living situation the last few years of her life and I guess she had to die to finally get some peace. I spent time with her 4 days before she died. She had had a stroke and was non-communicative which was a blessing because every time you tried to talk to her about something important, she would start blubbering. Stops a conversation in mid-sentence, it does.

I did some foot reflexology on her because it felt like RM had already started and rubbed her head like she used to enjoy so much. And although she was emotionally absent as a mother and left me to basically raise myself, I thanked her for loving me the only way she knew how and for giving me a sense of style, a singing voice and to take pride in myself. She was a terrific seamstress, too, but did not download any of those particular genes to me, I am sorry to say.

She was up in ICU and so I softly sang Amazing Grace over and over. I couldn't remember the second verse and kept apologizing to her. A nurse gently pulled back the curtain, came in and put her arm around my shoulder and said, "Come on honey, I'll help you with the second verse..."

I can't remember having cried so hard in the parking lot before I left the hospital, knowing that I would never see her again or have another chance to speak to her. I feel a tremendous amount of regret for not having had much of a relationship with her. I knew she was depressed for years and I should have made more of an effort. I also fear that I, like her, have packed ice around my heart so no one can ever hurt me again. I guess that's the only way to stay safe, though.

Now she's in a box somewhere, unless my sister has tossed her completely, when all momma wanted was for her ashes to be sprinkled off the old bridge at Suwannee Springs... Just damn.

Edna Maxine Johnson Touchton

I have just learned that Bank of America has denied my loan modification application, so heaven only knows what will become of us. With HawkTalk programs being all but non-existent this spring and donations being down, we have very little money and essentially nowhere to go and so it doesn't look so hot for us at present. If you don't hear from me again, it means I've had to euthanize all my animals and I'm living in a refrigerator box under a bridge somewhere. Sorry for the drama. Really.

In the meantime...while I still have a home -

I'm raising seven babies this season; five Barred owls and two Screech owls. Cuter than all get-out. The stand you see in the foreground of this next pic is the hack board. In a couple more weeks, I'll open the door for them and move the stand outside and when I come out in the evenings to put food on it, I'll call out to them and ring the bell (that brilliant operant conditioning of which I spoke in the last post). Having grown up here, they won't venture too far away from the property while figuring out what to do on their own and feeding off this stand means they won't starve to death while they are developing their life skills. I don't care how many live mice you offer your captive babies before release, if you don't have some mechanism in place to support them nutritionally after you open the door, chances are very good they promptly starve to death. There are no FWS regulations encouraging this process known as hacking, either. When you figure that eight out of ten starve to death before their first winter and that's having parents showing them what to do, can you just imagine the mortality rate of orphans who have no means of food support after they're turned loose? Seems kind of crazy, doesn't it?

And yes, the walls are due for a good scrubbing after they're released!

They go from this

To this! All they need is someone to care...

Frank, go BACK to the store! You forgot the Ding Dongs!

Obviously NOT imprinted.

Four inches of awesomeness!

Loving the alien...

My relatives visited and Heather thought it would be fun to feed the chickens...it started out well enough, but didn't end up so good...

I'll take that...

We need Mouse Money and an SUV that gets better than 10 gallons to the mile.

We need House Money or some land donated to start over while I still have a little life left in me. My thyroid has stopped working and I have become a Zombie...

If you would care to help make any or all of the above happen, please follow the link and click on the 'donate' button, www.hawktalk.org OR snail mail it over to POB 130, Holly Springs, Ga 30142.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog...and for your continued support....m.


At May 24, 2011 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Lynn Coulter said...

aw, monteen...like i've said before, some days are diamonds, and some are dirt. sounds like you're in a virtual dirt-storm right now. but nothing lasts forever, not even bad times (don't argue. even if i'm wrong. let's just go with it, okay?)

i'm so sorry about Butter Bean. Nobody could have tried harder and done more. Know what you mean about your mother, too. We all regret we didn't do more, try harder, whatever. We're just human and mostly we do the best we can, so don't beat yourself up anymore. Anyhow, i don't believe she's in a box (or scattered or anything else). i believe you will see her again, and this time, it'll come out alright. (don't argue with me on this one either, okay? if i'm wrong, it's nothing lost. but i don't think i am. really.)

i hope it helps a little to know how many people respect your work and love you and all you do for the wild. what you do matters. how many spend a whole lifetime, and they can never say that?

i'm praying for what you need. you're loved, girlfriend.


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