Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

Here are Ludwig (left) and Schubert (right) taking a noon snooze after tearing down their hay rack and eating all the Timothy Hay. They’ve been quite excited about Springtime, the little birds known as Bushtits flitting around the window, the carrots coming frequently from my hand… Both boys are making progress tolerating my love of them. Sometimes even Ludwig lets me pet his fuzzy head. Schubert licks my hand sometimes, with little licks that seem possibly preparatory to biting with his tile-snip teeth, making me laugh and move away nervously… They both lie flat now, less squirmy, when I take them out to watch their favorite show, the Leher News Hour. When I play “The Young Turks” talk show on my computer, or shout at my computer as I did when it bombed last week, or when I speak with my clients on the phone, they perk up and start talking back. I think they have a good life, as this picture, a couple weeks old, shows. But it just became a little more unsettled…

A stray cat entered our office team last night… She’s about six months old, I think… Quite a nice, affectionate, spritely youngster… She hasn’t revealed her name yet. The people who found her had guinea pigs, and I saw with my own eyes this feline applicant sniff them without malice or excitement. It was either adopt her to our team, or let her go to a shelter. That was what decided it.

Will everyone become friends? I’m not giddy with optimism of bending the laws of predator and prey, but it can happen.

Sorry, no cat picture! My camera is broken. I’ll work on that issue. And the name…

Published in: on March 23, 2007 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

Salt “lick”? or Salt chew?


The guinea pigs love their salt lick.  Their teeth are like tile-snips. No wonder the salt lick looks so ravaged.  Yesterday I watched Schubert licking and chewing it. Then he ran to the water bottle tube and drank. Then he ran back to the salt lick. Lick. Water bottle. Salt. Water. Finally he stopped. Ludwig had been watching. Ludwig went over the salt lick. Then he went to get a drink.  By this point I ambled out of the room. The guinea pigs were quite sure I was going to bring them some red leaf lettuce and began squeaking with anticipation. I returned, however, without lettuce. They stared at me with disbelief. Did I not go into the kitchen? And was not there red or possibly green leaf lettuce in the kitchen? Then how could I possible not return with red leaf lettuce.  I tried to ignore them. Who is the boss?  They began to protest.  Little interlocutory squeaks became Wheeks and Whistles. Wheek, Wheek! We know our rights, the guinea pigs were saying.  I sighed and went back for green leaf lettuce.  Seeing it in my hand as I approached, the piggies were my best friend.  They ate it all in about 90 seconds.

In general, there’s a little more vivacity to their behavior…why? Spring fever, my friends. The weather is a bit warmer (60s F) and there’s been a lot of sunshine (despite the frequent rain).  The GPs feel it, and share their joy.

A few times a week I have phone conferences with my clients and their clients. I read market scripts to them all. My guinea pigs perk up when they hear talking and they want to talk too.  They are my office assistants, after all.  So, habitually, what I do is cut up several lengths of carrots for them right before the conference.  The second before it starts, I give them the food.  While I’m reading the script aloud and “with feeling”, I hear chew chew chew chew chew nearby. This week, right before the meeting started, I handed my assistants their office carrots… but the client didn’t show up on time… we rescheduled for later in the afternoon.   By that time, I had run out of carrots.  So I had to go through the phone meeting with nothing but hay for the GPs…  And to my surprise, the GPs forgot all about their carrot rights. Full of spring fever, they began chasing each other madly. Up and down the ramp, jumping, following and chasing. Fortunately they did not start clicking their teeth angrily at each other. Instead, they started doing that very pleasant burbling they do. My meeting went well.  And I picked up some more veggies for my staff.

Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

Economics Reporter Soothes Guinea Pig

hayracksnooze.jpgSchubert and Ludwig take another nap. Notice that they have once again knocked down their hayrack. Schubert has discovered the brilliant idea of napping with his head inside the hayrack. That way, if he can just chew on hay with his eyes closed, drowsing his guinea pig dreams of Incan regency.

(Also note, once again they sleep perpendicular to each other.)


They are little bulls. They like knock and bump into things. When I try to pet them, sometimes they head-butt my hand, not like a cat in affection, but in tough-guy defiance. Ludwig is a little more like that than Schubert. However, I’ve noticed something about Luddy. Sometimes I take him out during the Leher News Hour. When the excellent economics reporter Paul Solman comes on, Ludwig’s tough-guy demeanor changes. He relaxes. He makes little noises of contentment. He lies flat and lets me rub his little fuzzy head.

paulsolomon.jpg Paul Solman soothes and tames our fears of learning about economics… And I perceive that this natural ability to soothe and tame the wild guinea pig is another feather in the cap of Mr. Solman’s many accomplishments.

Next time: Guns, Germs, and Steel… & Guinea Pigs

Published in: on February 23, 2007 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

The View From the Fridge…

One day this week, I walked out of my home office and went into the kitchen. I poured myself another cup of coffee, and went to the refrigerator for some milk. Looking over the open refrigerator door, I glanced at this scene:


Purple jute rug… yes… antique gooseneck lamp…check… turqoise Minnesota landscape painting by Scott Hirschberg… check… After pouring the milk into my coffee cup, I returned to the fridge to put back the milk carton. The door open momentarily, I looked up to see this scene:

Peace lily… check… Byzantine-style miniature Madonna with child… check… light switch without cover…. check…

Hey, wait a minute! What’s this?shubfridge0circ.jpg

And what, or rather WHO, is this…?


Hmmm. It’s like sighting Nessie… Let’s look at some close-ups of this amazing photographic evidence:

shubfridge0close.jpg shubfridgeclose1.jpg

Why it’s Schubert!! Schubert the Guinea Pig, also known as Shooby-Dooby. This, citizens, THIS, is proof of the intelligence of the cavy… Proof, that Schubert the Guinea Pig is a percentive individual, one who understands the role of the human domestic appliance known as the refrigerator. Where is his brother? There is no sign that Ludwig has reached this enlightement. Ludwig is immersed in the textbook of Introduction to Timothy Hay Studies. But Schubert… Yes, he knows the fridge contains carrots, lettuce, kale, and even cilantro. Citizens, the evidence is clear. Guinea Pigs can be geniuses when it comes to food.

(And this may explain why Shooby is so chubby.)

Published in: on February 16, 2007 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

gpsnoozefeb07a.jpgSchubert (left) and Ludwig (right) are taking a snooze, as they do every late morning to early afternoon. In this picture they’re lying between the hay rack and salt lick. I hooked up the salt lick diagonally like that because they kept knocking it down when set up normally. They like to push and knock things down. They knock the hay rack down several times a day. Sometimes they do it so noisily that they scare themselves and run down the lower levels of the cage.

When they nap, Schubert and Ludwig often choose to lie almost nose to nose, as in the picture. It’s very sweet, but I’m sure it is a defensive advantage to keep an eye on each other, in case one spots a hawk or Peruvian restauranteur. Also notice that they are lying at a 90 degree angle, so their two pairs of eyes look in all directions.

Yeah, I know the picture is blurry. My cheapo camera isn’t satisfactory. I’m going to have to buy a real one.

Published in: on February 9, 2007 at 10:03 am  Comments (1)  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

Yes, Schubert plays a role in a science fiction movie as a ferocious Venusian jungle-beast.

Click here for a larger version that’s easier to read.

P.S. Looks like I accidently deleted last week’s GP blogging… Sorry about that. I’ll repost the picture & commentary another time.

Published in: on February 2, 2007 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging


Ludwig and Schubert like kale (and so do I). They need the vitimin C (and so do I). They’re pretty good about sharing their food (well…).

I have a little wound healing on my wrist… Yes, Schubert bit me. I don’t mind. It’s an honor, really — think about it — I am one of the few human beings to have a scar from a guinea pig bite. Schubert bit me because I was “hugging and squeezing him and calling him George”.

Ludwig and Schubert aren’t completely socialized. We’re working on it. The people who gave them to us (via Craigslist) said they didn’t handle them in their first two months. They’re 11-12 months old now… Sometimes, when I reach my hand in the cage, they will hold still and let me pet them.

Besides that, I’ve trained them to make a lot of noise whenever they want food. I’m practically a guinea pig whisperer.

Published in: on January 19, 2007 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging


Here are Schubert (left) and Ludwig (right) doing one of their favorite activities. As you can see, Ludwig has lifted his head from the bowl to watch what I’m doing… Am I going to give him a carrot? Or try to pet him? Schubert, however, merely gives me a glance and goes back to his dedicated hobby.

This is a peek at their world…


They have a cage with two levels, but like to spend most of their time up top, near the hay rack. As I type this, they’re both lying down in that area, taking a siesta. The winter sun reaches that part of their cage this time of day.

For their first 6 months, they spent most of their time downstairs, where it was more cave-like. Note that the proper name for guinea pigs is cavies. This winter, I put some old towels on top of their cage to stop any drafts from reaching them. Their behavior changed immediately–they spend very little time downstairs, now. They like the overhead cover, I think, for the sense of protection. Also, they’re near their food, and can keep an eye on the food-bringer.

Ludwig also bites that ball, lifts it, and tosses it a few inches. He has a rough-and-tumble urge. Do you see the horizontal ladder in the above picture? I hang leafy vegetables on it. A few days ago, it was several inches higher, but “someone” knocked it down. When it’s empty, and Ludwig is in the mood for trouble, he nudges it, chews it, and head-butts it. I don’t know if he’s trying to bully it, to get more food out of it, or if he’s just exuberant. These boys behave like male herding animals sometimes– funny little bison-bulls.

I find that their cheerful exuberance sets a good example.

Published in: on January 12, 2007 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging


Here is young Ludwig, hiding behind a brick. Well, not quite. He’s partly hiding, and partly alert to any carrots, tomatoes, or kale I might be bringing him. Am I going to pick him up? Or am I going to give him food? That is the question, and he’s having a Hamlet moment.

He has a stack of bricks to climb to reach the ramp that leads to the second story of his palatial cage, which is not from from my writing desk. He, and his bro Schubert, are my office assistants. They took up that position officially from internship as I said good-bye to my elderly cats last year.

Cats and guinea pigs have quite different approaches to office assistance. For one, it comprises sleeping in the window sill, belly up, sleeping on important papers, and nudging my leg to go out in garden together. For the other, it involves running and jumping and squeaking for carrots. Either ways, they provide important value-added cost-plus assistance with excellent return on investment.

My camera broke, so I’ve had to use the older pics… But I recently purchased a new one, which should arrive next week. That promises more excitement on Friday posts.

Published in: on January 5, 2007 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Guinea Pig Blogging

This is little Ludwig when he about three months old. (He’s currently 10 months old.)

That seems to be his brother Schubert’s rear end behind him.

(They’re too big to fit under that wooden piece these days.)

By the way, I’m almost finished with MOBE #3… It’s hard to find the time for the final edit.

Published in: on December 22, 2006 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment