September 26th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
An article appearing on NBCnews.com today rankled me enough to protest the senseless slaughter of an entire wolf pack in Washington State consisting of no less than 8 wolves. And why??? Because rancher Bill McIrvine has not done enough to protect his cattle grazing on public land. His convoluted idea that there are radical environmentalists conspiring to introduce Gray Wolves to the detriment of ranchers who lease grazing land is absurd, when it is he who has done nothing to prevent the wolves from doing what comes naturally. The Gray Wolf, on the endangered list, has only just begun to proliferate over the last ten years, and now sadly, an entire pack must be destroyed because of the stupidity of just one person.
Long a subject of controversy, Ranchers versus Conservationists advocation of wolves, the two can readily co-exist by separating wolves from domestic livestock. It’s a no brainer – open land, open hunting. Wolves don’t understand they’re not supposed to do this. Man with his brain has to delineate the line by making it a visible one. We have McIrvine to thank for not using his and compromising an entire species for his ineptitude.
74% of the public vote NO in the decision to eliminate the pack. They are being destroyed as we speak. Get smart, America. Endangered or not? Extinct or not? It’s up to you. Make McIrvine assume responsibility for his non action. He wants grazing rights without lifting a finger. Then points it at us when the end result is what’s to be expected. Go eat a burger, you foolish excuse for a human being. Get yourself endangered with a huge topping of cheese.
So……….whadayathink? What do you think? Even ranchers have commented on McIrvine’s lack of wit. As ranchers, they expect a certain number of cattle to be lost to wolves but they use preventive measures. Even so, they are not opposed to wolves. If they can understand we’re all part of the chain, why can’t McIrvine?
June 24th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
While bike riding in the nearby Massapequa Preserve yesterday, I came across a glorious sight. Twelve swans floating as one in the creek that’s fed from the large pond a little further upstream. Other people also stopped to observe, one remarking “Six pair”. Everyone knows that where there’s one swan, there are usually two. Thus, multiple swans should turn out in pairs. They mate for life (something we humans can learn from). I spent a few moments drinking in their beauty before continuing on my way.
On my reverse trip, it seems that a Swan Lady had appeared, knee deep in the water, looking magical as the swans surrounded her. Then it became apparent, as the scene tarnished by the fact that she was feeding them along with a smattering of baby ducks. We were always told not to. Had something changed? As if reading my mind, she turned to me and said “It’s actually good for them. It’s wheat bread, not white”, she added in defense, as each swan politely took its turn accepting her offering by hand. I was somewhat skeptical but thought that she might be a swan expert, so certain was she in her conviction . She seemed pleased with herself at saying they had finished off the loaf. She had brought two and immediately began doling out the second one as more people gathered to watch. “Do you have any bread for the birds?” she asked a set of toddler twins. “If you do, then you can feed them too”.
On the other side of the preserve is yet another pond, along with a prominently placed sign facing Merrick Rd. DO NOT FEED THE WATERFOWL. It was posted by the Department of Environmental Conservation listing the reasons:
Concentration At Unnatural Sites
Spread of Disease
Costly Management Efforts
Cumulative Effects (one person feeds them, then another and so on)
Devaluation of the Species
And so, dear people, please leave nature to itself. It’s quite capable of providing for itself without any “help” from us, however well intentioned. It’s done so since the dawn of time. Take the bread home and spread some peanut butter and jelly on it for your kids. There are other ways of teaching your children about nature, beginning with suppressing the urge to feed the birds. They are not starving. They beg for food the same way your dog or cat does but the added distinction lies in the fact that these creatures are wild. So enjoy them at a distance with all the respect that they deserve. Meanwhile, the Swan Lady has prompted me to request another sign from the DEC to be posted at the Swan Lady’s site. It seems that it is she who needs to be re-educated, not I.
March 8th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
Michael and I love our two Lagomorphs. What??? Put simply, our rabbits. In the past, it was thought that the rabbit belonged to the rodent family but this is untrue and they should not be referred to as such. This is insulting to them. Besides being utterly cute, they make wonderful pets and they’re smarter than you may think. Not quite as bright as Bugs Bunny – more along the lines of Peter Rabbit in McGregor’s garden.
Blossom has quite a personality and if you’re under the mistaken assumptiion that she’s just some dumb bunny, you’re in for a rude awakening, and I do mean “rude”. Never, and I repeat this emphatically with the emphasis on the first syllable, NEV-er be so careless as to place your hand into her domain without placing the other available hand on top of her head. She will invariably bite you. Hard. Her otherwise sweet temperment will be dominated by her territorial instincts, and you (even if you come bearing gifts) are considered to be the intruder. When the cleaning lady arrives (that’s me), it gets even trickier but I have mastered the situation over time. She has to be lured into the outer section of her home (this being the sunroom) while I deftly grab a large piece of slate (used for this sole purpose, readily available) and cover the opening to prevent her from entering her loft (complete with cathedral ceiling). This is accomplished with the use of food as enticement. It works every time. The other day, however, she managed to move the heavy slate aside, which is no small feat when you consider it weighs a good deal more than she does. This would have proven disastrous for the unsuspecting cleaning lady busy about her task, for were Blossom to make her way inside, a set of acutely sharp incisors would have made their presence known. If Blossom were ever featured in a Flintstones cartoon, she would have been utilized as Fred’s razor to shave with in the morning. She even has the audacity to charge at you in defense of her turf and actually emits a small grunt- like noise in the process, stopping just short of you in an effort to frighten. It’s rather effective knowing she will nip you. When this happens, I laugh it off by calling her “The Big, Bad, Bunny”. It’s really very funny because she’s so cute (provided you escape the wrath of her teeth). When we bring her to the vet to have her nails clipped, they think she’s sooooo adorable! They don’t know the real Blossom.
Then there’s our other Lagomorph. Godiva. Whereas Blossom is snowy white, Godiva is like dark chocolate, hence the name. She is docile. Serene. Sweet. Clean. The complete antithesis to “The Big, Bad, Bunny”. That’s it. Nothing more to be said about Godiva. In no way is she the lesser of the two. She’s just “good”. More of what you would expect in the typical bunny.
If you’re thinking of getting a rabbit for your kid at Easter, you may want to reconsider. Rabbits demand a lot of attention and can easily become sick if not properly cared for. They need a variety of fresh greens daily in addition to fresh bedding, hay for consumption, and papaya pills to aid in good digestion. All these things can prove costly but if you’re dedictaed to their good health and well being, go for it – they are a constant source of amusement. They will interact at play, with toys made especially for rabbits. Have you ever seen a rabbit wash its face? Too cute! Or seen one yawn? Hilarious!
If you decide to keep them indoors, be sure to cover all your wiring with plastic tubing or they will disconnect your cable service, or eliminate your source of electricity and quite possibly themselves in the process. But if you choose to house them outdoors as we do, you’ll need to provide a constant source of shade as shelter from the sun and the elements. Many a bunny has suffered heat exhaustion and died as a result of exposure. In winter, a clear plastic covering acts as a sort of greenhouse effect. You may however, need to shovel a path in heavy snow. This is not always convenient but they will thank you for it. Don’t expect an outcry of “Hooray! We’re saved!” but instead, a little dance of appreciation to make you smile.
Never serve them wilted greens and not all greens are suitable. Not long ago, I purchased an assortment of greens from the local supermarket. On this particular day, the kale was so fresh that when I placed it on the kitchen counter, a large, bright green grasshopper crawled out of it! Now that’s FRESH! Needless to say, I was quite freaked out by this display and had to contain my anxiety and act fast before he hopped off into the nether reaches of the kitchen’s recesses. He made a feeble attempt at a hop, having survived the trip from California, to the Pathmark on Long Island, into the plastic stay-fresh bag, wheeled around for a tour in the cart, ferried down the conveyer belt to be rung up, placed into another plastic bag with a multitude of sundries, back into the cart for a bumpy ride across the parking lot and into the back of the Jeep before reaching our home as its final (?) destination. So, little wonder that by this time he might feel a bit woozy, much to my benefit. I hastily grabbed the plastic bag from which he had just been removed and gently covered him, scooped him up, and raced to the front door. Snow was in the night’s forecast but no matter. He would find quick refuge under one of the many cedar bushes outside. Now, as anyone who knows me can verify, I am not, not, not, a bug person but as Michael often quotes, “All life is precious”. This being said and my duty done, I found it safe at this point to promptly freak with an audible “Eeeeeeeee!” shrieked several times in succession while shuddering and stomping my feet at the horrific ordeal I’d just encountered. I hate to think of what would have happened had I put the kale into the refrigerator along with “Grasshopper”. Might he have eaten all of the meat loaf? Or jumped out at Michael during one of his late night binges? I can picture him waking me up to tell me about it, and me saying “Go back to bed, It was only a nightmare”. Oh yeah??? Then where’s all the meat loaf?
In short, if you are prepared to deal with all this for the sake of a cute little, button-nosed bunny, then you are ndeed the perfect candidate for just such a pet. Make the leap only by making the commitment. Otherwise, stick with the chocolate version. Might I suggest Godiva?
October 30th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
Winter is fast approaching and if you’ve been feeding those feral cats all summer long, they’ll need a warm dry place to stay. People have all kinds of misconceptions about cats. Because of their independent nature, people tend to think cats can fend for themselves and to a certain extent they can. But the sad truth is, these animals won’t live very long if they’re forced to endure extreme cold wet weather year after year. It takes its toll. So, you’ve been feeding that feral cat? Good for you! Now take the extra step in prolonging that precious little life.
I never intended to become the Cat Lady. It happened one winter when I was feeding the birds in my backyard. A small white cat would visit the feeder each day and in ignorance I would shoo her away. What I believed to be mischievous behavior was completely misunderstood. That pile of feathers revealed something more. Put simply, she was starving. I caved in. “Catherine” was fed from that day forward and was my friend for nearly ten years. Others came during this time – her sidekick Heathcliff. And a male I thought I’d been feeding (Mr. Linton) gave birth one Spring to three healthy kittens. I trapped and kept one. My intention was to trap and neuter them all but before I could bat an eyelash, three months later Mrs. Linton got pregnant again. This time there were four. God knows what happened to the other two from the first litter after a not so neighborly neighbor trapped and brought them to a local animal shelter. I was determined this would not be the fate of the second litter. But I needed help and fast!
I queried and I called but it wasn’t until I sought the expertise of two dedicated people at a local organization that things finally began to take shape. They lent me their Have-A-Heart traps for free and helped me to trap all four female kittens along with their mother. Oh, it wasn’t easy. It took round the clock supervision to trap them one by one but in the end it was worth it. When they were brought to be neutered, they discovered that Mom was “in the family way” once again and so was one of the kittens at just three months old!
So, number one. You must trap and neuter your feral cats. As humans, we are responsible to take on the challenge and reduce the number of feral cats safely and humanely. After all, the problem exists because of us – beginning with the domestic house cat we failed to spay or neuter. Since this is the root of the problem, it’s also the means to its end. And just because you have a male cat, it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be neutered too. What do you think he’s going to do with all that unharnessed energy? Contact any feral cat organization for help and information. They’ll also put you in touch with how to house your furry friends.
Mine are bundled all safe and snug on my backyard deck which happens to have an awning. Three separate units (small dog houses or large plastic pet crates) are clustered together with warm wool balnkets and rugs inside each one. Or you can even use straw for warm dry bedding. Styrofoam sheets for insulation along with plywood for stability (purchased at Home Depot) are stacked around the units and the whole shebang is covered with a heavy duty plastic tarp to keep out all that wind and snow. They love it. It’s like winter camp. When Spring arrives, simply take it apart, wash the blankets and store them for next season. Replace the winter blankets with some soft cotton ones as shelter against the hot sun and the occasional summer thunderstorm or if we happen to have a rainy season.
My five lovely ladies are happy, healthy and a source of constant joy all year long. Although I’ve given up feeding the birds (an unfair disadvantage to them with five cats to battle) I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything in the world. They’ve gone from feral to friendly as nature intended. And the glow I feel inside having given them the life that they deserve goes beyond all measure. They give me so much more in return. Keep in mind, if you want to domesticate your furry family, you need to invest in the time. You can gain their trust by keeping perfectly still and letting them go about their business. Attempt to give them treats and eventually they’ll eat right out of your hand. I made it a daily habit of sharing my dinner with them. It took several months but now we’re friends for life.
I want to publicly thank Rob and Joanne at All About Spay & Neuter for their invaluable help four years ago. Please do your part and help support your local feral cat organization or get involved by writing to your congressman to stop the senseless killing of feral cats. The answer is “Trap, Neuter, Return”, an effective measure in eliminating feral cat colonies over time. To learn more, log on to Alley Cat Allies. Give cats a voice.
So…………..whadayathink? Was this article helpful to you? Will you get more involved and help spread the word? Thanks for reading.