After 5 days away in Washington DC (Maryland), and Ferdie at Kennelwood Village, we all got back just a few minutes ago. Ferdie was beyond happy to see us. Thanks Ruth and Mary for freeing him from Kennelwood for us.
We left Rockville Maryland at 3:30 eastern time and just got back to the seminary, all of us worn completely out, but happy to be back safely with no deer jumping out in front of our car on the way back. We did see I-70 through Pennsylvania and western Ohio littered with deed deer, but thankfully no live ones on the road. I mean, seriously, there really were scores of deer laying off to the side of the highway and in the median after having been hit by vehicles.
The annual Lutheran Prayer Breakfast took place this morning at the Westport Sheraton Lakeside Chalet and the speaker this year was Tim Hetzner of Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog ministry. Not only was Tim present, but so were 5 of the Comfort Dogs and their handlers. You have to know this was not an early morning event that I'd want to miss.
There were 4 of them in the lobby outside the ballroom.
And there's the fifth and most senior of the dogs, Howe. Tim is behind him in the dark shirt. Howe is a wonderful guy who is closing in on retirement. But what a kind face he has.
And there was Luther
And Hannah and Zoey
When everyone headed in to find their appointed table, the dogs went in too and sat by the chairs of Tim and the other handlers.
The program began, people ate.
and his stories on this ministry with the dogs were engrossing, funny, sad, heartwarming. The Comfort Dogs have been asked to come to areas of the country which experienced tragedy (Newtown, Connecticut and Boston marathon bombing), natural disasters (Joplin and Oklahoma tornadoes, Colorado floods, Texas wildfires) as well as visits to people in hospitals and schools and firehouses and police stations and EMT stations. They are trained to allow people to hug them, cry on them, lay on them etc because when they're hurting or scared or sick. What an amazing program this is and what wonderful work they do.
Then it ended and we all had to leave. I always hate to say goodbye to these dogs.
This morning the count is 2 raccoons and one possum in the traps around our house in Collinsville. There would probably be one more animal except the Critter Control guy forget to set a 4th trap yesterday. We're going to be in the poor house by the time this all ends because we pay for each caught animal.
All this makes me wonder just what our street has looked like during the middle of the night. Raccoons all over the place.
Beginning in 2008 our house in Collinsville began sharing space with more raccoons and groundhogs than I'd like to remember. They didn't actually get into the house, but managed to pull back the metal soffiting under the roof overhang and worked their way into a large space under the second floor dormer. We finally called Critter Control and they caught at least 3 that year plus a couple of groundhogs. It cost us a fair amount of money to have these guys taken away and the same thing happened in 2009, 2010 and again in 2011. We'd tried a lot of things to keep them out of our soffiting, but those long fingers with the Edward Scissor Hands fingers could open a steel tank.
We had the Miller and Maack construction guys put up new and more secure soffiting but that did not work, the raccoons kept appearing. New ones each year. Finally Critter Control put in metal rods under the soffiting so that the metal would not lift up enough for the animals to get in. We have been raccoon free for 2 years. But now new ones have shown up and for some reason they like our property. Yesterday morning Dale was having coffee on the front porch when all of a sudden he saw a raccoon climb down from the oak tree in the front yard, give Dale a disdainful glance and amble across the street.
Our neighbors have seen at least 3 walking down our driveway the driveway of the next door neighbor.
So we've called Critter Control again and I have to go over there to meet him this morning and get some investigation done and set more traps. They're a good company and it will be successful...for now.
Every year another local municipality takes up the issue of whether or not to allow residents to keep chickens in their yards. Most end up coming up with an ordinance setting out guidelines, but otherwise agreeing to it. In the Rockford Illinois area officials in the town of Poplar Grove has sent the backyard fowl issue to its planning and zoning committee to come up with a set of rules.
Clayton has had no real ordinance forbidding chickens but has recently voted to change their "Possession of Domestic Fowl- Maintaining an Enclosed Pen" portion of its zoning regulations Section 210.280 "animals running at large" and section 220.020 "nuisances affecting health".
The meeting minutes for September 24th where this came to a vote are not yet online and as far as I was able to determine, some of the zoning change has to do with secondary structures (coop) and distance from property lines. But the minutes should be approved this week so we'll know more then.