Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

22 April

All The Better To See: Retinal Exam

by Jon Katz

It takes 90 minutes to get to Dr. Falk and 2-3 hours to be examined at her practice, but I won’t complain about it.

She’s done an amazing job of protecting my retina from the dark forces that nearly blinded it three years ago with laser surgery and some new medication drops for my eyes.

Here exams are thorough and unyielding and unwavering.

Photos, x-rays, , dye in the eyes.

She’s a border collie owner and lover and we have some fun talking about dogs. She’s done a wonderful job of protecting and preserving my eyesight.

When I first went to see her, the tops of letters disappeared from books and print. My eyesight is good and strong now. She’s concerned about some swelling in one eye, but we agreed to change eye drops for now, we’ll check it again in four months.

I’ve been good at reading the photos they take of me, and things look good. The swelling is well away from the center of the cye.

Above, my life eye – the swelling is whitish and round.

Maria generously agrees to drive me, because the drops they put in my eyes to test them leave me nearly blind for a few hours.

I’m lucky to be living when I’m living. I suspect the swelling will give me some trouble down the road, but for now, all is good.

When my eyes clear, I’ll head for the gym.

22 April

Video: Dining Room Table Confiscated For Chicks. At Dawn, Maria Was Up Naming Them, Feeding Them, Singing To Them

by Jon Katz

I came downstairs to this sight: Maria standing on the dining room table in her nightshirt (once my nightshirt), which she had magically converted to a chick station. She was singing to them and feeding them out of her hand, on which she had placed some chick feed.

She built quite an ingenious chick next last night using a heating lamp from the barn, some cardboard and cables.

It was a classic Bedlam Farm sight, one that lifts the heart and sings its own song of life. I had to do a video so you can see it for yourself.

The chicks are named Kitty and Anne, after two of our friends.

Come and meet our new baby chicks. We are in a cold snap so they will be joining us for dinner for a few days. Then, hopefully, the barn, although I like the peeping.

Zinnia met the chicks at the radio station yesterday and gave one of them a lick. Bud has been stalking them ever since he heard the peeps. I like the peeps, they sound like Spring. Come and see Maria bond with them.

21 April

Meet The New Co-Host of “Katz And Wulf On Animals.” Seeking Help In Getting The Phone Lines Straight…”

by Jon Katz

Many of you already know here from our blogs and our podcasts. She is a favorite subject of mine; she is the Queen Of Bedlam Farm. The broadcast is now called “Katz And Wulf On Animals.”

Maria is wonderful, and she did a terrific job on our debut today (every Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT), WBTNAM.org.

(You can stream the broadcast live here on the website. Every Wednesday, 2 – 3 p.m., EDT.)

Maria and I work well together. It’s great fun to have her sitting next to me and jumping in with her own compelling and hard-earned ideas about dogs and other animals.

She has a lot to say, and the show had a full and warm feeling about it. She cranks me up.

I just need to figure out a phone system that puts our callers on hold. It will happen.

The calls were excellent, the topics thoughtful and valuable. Tracy Snell brought us another wonderful dog for adoption.

Cynthia Daniello brought us another chapter in the remarkable story of her abandoned deaf dog Edgar, who she got from a shelter a few months ago and is learning to communicate with.

Ann told us about her increasingly effective efforts to curb her dog’s barking, and Maria and I had a dozen things to talk about, including two baby chicks we just bought and brought into the studio.

We are doing better with calls, but I’m pushing the station to get some lines where callers can wait on hold rather than get lucky and pop through when someone gets off the phone.

I think the content of the broadcast will be strong and useful to people. Dog training is a catastrophe in the United States, a hodgepodge of books and videos that charge people a lot of money for ideas few people can’t execute.

The system is working on one level – we are getting some wonderful calls – but it could be chaotic if the program grows, as I believe it will. I’m going to write a check to the station – a penniless Community Radio station – towards putting in two extra lines where callers can wait without all kinds of beeps and loud phones ringing (it sounds like a World War II battle room in there.)

I have more topics to cover than time so far, and that is a good sign. There is not much idle time.

Community radio is a good cause, and this station is really making waves. If anybody wants to offer any donations to WBTN (they are going FM in a week or so), that would be helpful. I think this show can fill a huge void and help animals and the people who love them.

With Maria, I feel as if the cavalry has come. I’m all fired up and raring to go.

If you are so inclined, you can donate here. We need those phone lines.

Small contributions are as welcome as big ones. I feel an intelligent show about dogs and animals must succeed.

My life is full and content, but I love this idea about a dialogue with animal lovers I and want to fight for it. I’m contributing $100 to the Phone Line Fund.

We need our own place in the mediasphere; Lord knows the big media won’t offer it to us.

Any help would be appreciated. Donations here.

21 April

Let’s Try To Get Jaxx Adopted. He’s Playful, Loves People And Dogs, He Needs A Home. Part Lab, Part Beagle

by Jon Katz

Maria and I did our radio show today, “Katz And Wulf On Animals,” and I was very happy with it – great callers, fascinating talks, I learn as much as I teach, easily.

As part of every show, Tracy Snell of Our Best Friends Rescue, a rescue group that really has its act together, comes on to offer a different dog for adoption.

We’re going to do this every week.

These people know their stuff. Today, Tracy brought us Jaxx, a fun-loving Lab/Beagle mix.  He’s four years old, neutered, and fully up to date on his vaccinations.

He gets along well with other dogs, and his foster mother for the past six months says she has seen no issues that concern her.

This dog seems to me like a lot of fun. He sounds high-energy.

Tracy recommends him for a family with older children and/or active adults, as he is very fond of playtime. “He absolutely loves, loves, loves squeaky toys and balls,” says Tracy,  and he weighs about 35 lbs.

We talked about Jaxx for a while during the broadcast and Tracy is very enthusiastic about him.

Our Best Friends Rescue is headquartered in Freeport, N.Y., but has shipped dogs everywhere. You can visit them on their website or Facebook.

21 April

Chicks On The Table. Rooster On The Way

by Jon Katz

Before our radio show Wednesday, we stopped to pick up two Brahma chicks in Bennington. At the moment, they are dozing in a box on the dining room table underneath a strong heat lamp.

Maria is working on her blog right next to them.

It’s hailing and snowing a bit outside, and for the next couple of days, so they’ll be inside the farmhouse. They were supposed to be in the barn.

We are fond of Brahmas, they are good layers, tolerate cold weather well, and are gentle and easygoing.

We had three, but two of them died. After that, we decided not to name our hens anymore, but we’re ready to name them again and build up our little flock.

Two chickens just don’t look right, so we ordered two females and a male, who is coming next week. Brahma roosters are said to be gentle, which is good.

I had to shoot the last two roosters, they got pretty nasty with people, especially Maria. Farmers have a saying, “you never waste a bullet on a chicken,” but these roosters deserved one. I yelled at one when I shot him, “I am the biggest rooster on the farm.”

I felt for a few seconds like John  Wayne.

The chicks have to be kept warm and dry for a month or so before they can be released to the roost, which has plenty of room for them. We keep them on cedar shavings with chick feed and water.

The temperature needs to be close to 90 degrees, which it is with a special light hanging off the dining room ceiling lots.

I’m looking forward to the rooster. Brahma roosters are said to be gentle with hens and people. Maria and I both love the idea of hearing a rooster in the morning again.

Maria is having a great Spring – succulents all over the house, a lamb in the pasture, and chicks on the dining room table, where we can keep them warm through the weekend.

I’ve put in my hay order and will order some wood for the stove in a week or so. The limed grass is looking strong. We’re ready for summer.

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