Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Split personality and Hecks

I sometimes find that one of the things about being a writer is that I have to develop a sort of split personality. When I'm working on a book - specially when it's on the revsions for a bok that have to be back in a very short space of time - I concentrate so hard and so totally that a lot of other things get pushed aside for a while. Then when the job is done, I'm scurrying about trying to ctach up and get the other stuff done.

The other stuff is usually practical - things like cleaning the office, doing the ironing, the accounts, updating the web site . . . So that's what I've been concentrating on recently. There's also been a flurry of activity connected to the C(Christmas) word as the result of which there was a lorry load (well - a basket full) of parcels that went out from the Post Office yesterday. With family and friends in many different parts of the world, that 'Post Early For Christmas' slogan is important - so at least I can relax and know they're on their way.

The office/accounts bit of the equation is still a work in progress. As are the web site updates. That's because there is a special celebration coming up in December that means I have extra updates and a new contest etc to work on but those will soon (I hope) be ready and posted.

I'm also thinking about maybe doing another writing Q&A - I've had several questions I would like to answer here as well as in emails so that everyone can read the answers. I have a topic- or 3 - in mind but if there's anything you'd like me to look at please let me know.

And thank you to everyone for your comments on the new style title for my next book - it was great to see the overall impression was favourabel with lots of interest in what that title implied. Joanne, for example said -
I want to know why she's a 'good wife' as opposed to a 'forbidden' or a 'bought' wife etc..

Of course that 'good wife' does have that question mark after it, Joanne. . .

There will be lots more new-style titles coming up in the next few months. I'm hearing from friends who have some very different tiles from the ones they were expecting for new books - look out for them and I'll probably be commenting on them more as they become more common.

Finally - about the Hecks - after I posted the picture of the little hedgehog on November 15th, I received a very helpful email from a lady called Cristina who was concerned about the little one. She points out that - as I already knew - the fact that it was out in the daylight isn't always a good sign. It was a very mild day with a lot of sunshine that may have been what brought him/her out. But it is a often a warning sign too.

Cristina offers such good advice that I'm going to post her email here in case anyone else had hedgehogs around that might need help.

Dear Kate

I just came across your interesting blog from Lesley Cookman's. I was looking through your November entries when I came across the beautiful pictures of your young hedgehog (dated 15 November). Is he/she still okay?

I noticed in the photo that he has three large ticks behind his right ear and there may have been a fly lower down his body. This together with he/she being out in daylight, may point to him being ill or struggling (maybe also underweight).

I have had a little experience with hedgehogs and currently have two that were rescued. I believe that having a lot of external parasites (such as ticks or fly eggs) will be a strain on their immune system. I don't know that your little one is suffering from anything but it may be advisable to remove the external parasites to give him/her a chance of survival.

It's great that you have provided a home for the hogs. May I suggest permanently placing some of those hog biscuits and water nearby for them to eat should they require it? A hog needs to be a minimum weight of 600g in order to hibernate successfully during the winter. If not, they may come out to 'top up' and get too cold or starve in the search. Hopefully in your garden (with access to plenty of food) if the little one is underweight, he should survive as then he won't have to roam for food. I believe that they can cover as many as ten gardens in an evening!

Below is a link to a hedgehog forum that I have found to be very helpful and a list of hedgehog carers. Not all vets will help out with hogs and may put them down rather than assist properly. If your vet is willing, he might be able to remove the ticks for you. I removed a large amount of them once from a little hog by purchasing a tick remover from a pet store.

Sorry to be so forward in this. Just a little concerned and thought you should know that your little one might need extra help.

Please don't hesitate to e-mail me if I can help any further. My knowledge is limited but I will try to assist if I can. I'm not sure in what area you're in, but you may have a hedgehog carer nearby and they are usually happy to give advice or assist.

Thanks for your time!


Cristina - thank you - I don't regard this as being forward, just helpful. I was concerned as well as delighted to see the little hedgehog out and about. My policy with the wild life in my garden is usually to leave well alone and the thriving colony of Hecks we have had in the 20 years we've lived here tended to make me feel that was the best policy.

Let me assure you that the hedgehog food - either that or chicken cat food - and a supply of water is always down by the Hog House. They nalso have free access to the peanuts which are left on the ground for the ground feeding birds, so I hope the little one - and the rest of the family including the big mature hogs have plenty of nourishment in easy reach.

But on your advice I will also find some tick remover and if he/she is seen wandering again I will use that to give him - and any others - extra help.

Thank you


Cristina said...

Dear Kate

Thanks for posting my e-mail and for your reply. You're doing a wonderful job assisting these lovely, gentle and fascinating creatures. I have not read all your hog blog entries but how wonderful to have so many in your garden over a long period of time! :-)

Our hogs are partial to the shredded peanuts in the Wild Things hedgehog food we give them (although Spikes Dinner is their favourite) and they love raisins and tinned peach (given only as treat)!

They are such lovely animals and deserve any extra help they can get so thank you again for your post!

I hope all of your Hecks are doing well and continue to thrive.

Best wishes,

Lacey Devlin said...

I love the Hecks :D. Nasty ticks - if only there was a way to wipe them out all together.


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