Monday, July 27, 2009
It looks like it won't be long now until Butterfly lambs...uh...kittens.. well whatever cats do. Much to her anguish she is being confined in a cage until after the event. I'm in the process of setting up the kitty condo, but in the meantime, Mom has her put up in a large crate at her barn. I finished getting the garage cleaned out this morning. All the hay raked up and taken out, pallets and tarps up off the floor. I'm very, very glad to have that done. I still need to do the other side, where I park the truck, but the hay storage side is done, in case I get a call from my hay man. In the meantime, Butterfly will be staying on that side. I cleaned up the kitty condo just a few minutes ago, and will assemble it in the garage.
Mom called in a panic this morning because the kitty wasn't there. She finally showed up and Mom nabbed her. She thinks she might have already had kittens, but I'm pretty sure she hasn't. Doesn't look like anything has nursed, she still has bulgy sides (and I think I felt a little kitten leg or something, when I was gently checking her out), and no bloody discharge. She still looks awfully fat too. Just in case, Mom is going to listen for little kitty cries when she does chores. (We know the general vicinity she would have them in.)
This is a very sweet cat, very docile. Mom named her Butterfly because of her many colors. I am starting a waiting list now for the kittens! Don't hesitate too long before adding your name, as I'm sure there will be a big rush. :-) Since we all know how rare kittens are...sigh. Really, though if you want a kitten, I'm sure there will be some available to good homes!
Butterfly will most likely be going back to Mom's barn after raising her kits and being spayed...unless someone wants to offer her a house home?
Then we have this other cat... Madison.
She is not sweet and not docile at all. What she is, is old and crotchety, and ungrateful. After ten years she left home and took up residence at Mom's barn. She loves living there with no other cats, and very few humans to bother her. She pretends like she doesn't know me. She probably thinks I'm going to force her back home.
Yesterday when I was down there, she let me pet her. Then she hissed at me and stalked off. Rude.
She isn't too happy with Butterfly hanging out near the barn, so I'm sure she will be thrilled when I remove her and bring her back up here...to Madison's real home.
Lest you think this rejection hurts too terribly, you need to understand Madison. She has never been very friendly, accepting an occasional pat but not much more. Sometimes she would rub against my leg, but she hates to be picked up. Her expression can only be termed-glaring- for the most part. She also hates other cats, and dogs. She loved Jody (my sable/white collie) but has no use for any other four-leggeds. Very little use for two-leggeds either. I think the final straw for her was when I got Boone. She wasn't interested in co-existing or compromising with that, that thing.
I'm glad she has found somewhere to hang out and enjoy herself. She gets food and attention from Mom when she wants it. It seems I'm the only fly in the ointment when I'm down there intruding on her world.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I just wanted to thank your for stealing my mailbox. I hope you give it a good home. You didn't know it when you were doing your dastardly deed, but you were saving it from a crushing end.
A mere three days after you stole it, many mailboxes were crushed and killed as a Serial Mailbox Smasher went on a five mile smashing spree during the dark of night. There is no doubt my pretty green mailbox would have been one of the mangled, if you had not so kindly stolen it.
Mailboxes in all stages of crushed and mangled metal and plastic lined the road for miles, their lids helplessly dangling open.
The Serial Smashers started just a few miles east of here and proceeded to my folk's mailbox, where they caved in the whole side of theirs. As if that was not enough, they grabbed the dumpster and threw it and the trash out into the road. Then they proceeded four more miles north, leaving very few mailboxes unscathed, before their taste for destruction was sated.
Whomever they are, they have struck different areas of the county with impunity, leaving miles of mailboxes destroyed in their wake. The law hasn't yet been able to catch them at it.
However, Serial Mailbox Smashers don't take into consideration that people like my folks, might have a 60+ year old mailbox. That box was made back when things were made real and tough. A jack on the inside helped to pop it back out again, and it only carries a small scar on the side. It will be retired now, since it is an antique and has a 'family history', and because the world is full of jerks.
Note to Mailbox Thieves and Serial Mailbox Smashers--I'm in no hurry to put up a new mailbox. And when I do? It will be an old junker for awhile. Steal that if you must. Eventually there will be a new shiny mailbox, but maybe it'll be lined with well casing (smash that!), and the post will be set in concrete and maybe have some other secret things to keep it firmly planted in the ground. Oh yeah.
In the meantime, Mailbox Stealer? While I appreciate your thoughtfulness in removing my Box from harms way, I'd really like my Box back. It's special to me, and it needs medication.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The weather here has been wonderful. It has been in the 50s and 60s at night with the 70s and 80s during the day. Monday night storms moved in, but didn't amount to much, however it then settled in and rained gently all night long. We got about a 1/2 inch and all of it went into the ground. It's really nice working about the farm, as the cool temps inspire a better work ethic.... It really feels like fall at times.
I'm working on getting the sheep back on the lower pasture, and cleaning up the front where they had been. There were allot of limbs laying around where I had been trimming and letting the sheep clean them up. So those had to be carried up to the brush pile and now I'm working on getting it all mowed. It should grow pretty good again, with all this rain. It really helped having it as a supplement to the ewes these last few weeks. I made them really get it picked down, before running the mower over it. There is still quite a bit that needs to be mown, but last night was pretty productive. The lower pasture has been empty for about five weeks, so it has some good growth on it. It won't last too long this time of year, but they should have grass for at least another five to six weeks. After that, maybe some fall pasture, but it depends on if the rain keeps up.
I need to rotate Jeff (the Shetland ram) and Callum back over to their second pasture though, before I turn the ewes into the lower area full time--since they would be sharing a fence line.
Yellow & Fuchsia Four O'clock
After mowing for awhile each evening, I then work on the garage for awhile. I've just started, but most of the 'clutter' is cleared out, and I'm getting ready to start forking the old hay on tarps to drag either to the sheep (the cleaner stuff) or the garden (the chaff/moldy bits). I'll be glad to get that job done. It makes me a nervous wreck to even go in there, what with the bee incident (in the wool sacks) and all the hidden wasp nests.
In other news, Heidi had her surgery Monday. She ended up getting spayed, and all four dewclaws removed. Originally it was just suppose to be the two hind dewclaws (they were large and getting hung on things), but after a slight miscommunication it ended up all four. This will be okay in the long run though, as it will be easier for my folks to keep her nails clipped, since the dews always get longer, quicker. She is negative for heart worms, and got her rabies shot, so she shouldn't have to go anywhere for a good long while. I'm hoping she will let me take the stitches out when it's time, so that she won't have to be carted back in to the vet. She is already doing a little better, but was pretty sore that next day. I think it was best to get all this done and over before she got more settled in, this way things should be stable and consistent for her for awhile...something I doubt she has had much of. She seems to have some pretty strong anxiety issues, but hopefully time and consistency will help her out. Saturday I took down one of my horse panel/cattle panel homemade sheep/chicken crates for my folks to use. She tore out of her regular wire dog crate twice, so we are hoping she will stay in this. It's pretty stout, and she needs to have a secure place to stay overnight and when my folks are gone. She is earning a new nickname of Heidini! ha... She will be relaxed and okay, and even play a bit but then all of a sudden it's like something clicks and she gets all anxious and starts running the fence and not wanting anyone to catch her. Hopefully time and quiet will help her get past that, and help her learn to enjoy being a spoiled little dog.
First Ripe Tomato
I'm still working on the garage trying to get it cleaned out so I can set up the cat condo for the preggie cat. Hope she doesn't have her kittens before then! Had a scare the other night when I came home....saw three little dogs down by the old store. So far they haven't been spotted since, so am hoping they were roaming from a neighbors. Hope, hope.....
My mind was a bit occupied that night as it was. As I pulled up to my driveway, I knew something didn't look right....something was...missing. My Mailbox! It was gone. The mailbox, and the fancy post with the support brace...all gone. In a rather bemused state, I got out of the truck and looked it over. Yep, it was gone. Just a hole in the ground where it used to be. I had momentary hopes that maybe it had gotten knocked over and my Dad had set it up by my house. But as I drove through the gate, around the yard and out to the garage, my hopes faded. No mailbox. Sigh. So I called my folks and asked them how Heidi was (this was the evening of her surgery), then asked, oh, by the way you don't happen to have my mailbox do you? Nope they didn't have it. They were as aghasted as I was.
After that I took Boone and we went looking for clues. We walked up and down the road a short piece, thinking someone might have just been being ornery, but no mailbox. I looked over the 'crime scene' and there were no tire tracks like someone had driven up on the grass and knocked it over. Nope. Looks like they probably just pulled up next to it, hopped out and wrenched it out of the ground. Some of the iris around the base of it look like someone stood on them.
I finally got through to my mail lady to verify that the box was missing when she ran the route. The best I can tell, is it went 'missing' between 7:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday morning. Mom and Dad had taken Heidi in and were gone awhile in the morning, and the 'town' was pretty much deserted. I'm about 99.9 percent sure it was there when I left that morning, since I have to look over it to pull out of the driveway. I also called the Sheriff's office to file a report. I really hate this, as it will be allot of work to put that thing back in, plus I'll have to dig up all the iris around it. And the cost of a new mailbox...and post. The mailbox is only about three years old. I guess someone was just out 'shopping' for a new mailbox, and picked mine. Jerks. So first they stole my 911 Address sign, then the sign that has the road's name on it, and now my mailbox. I know the road has an unique name, but jeez, get over it people. Maybe get a job or something to keep yourselves occupied.
If you happen to see a nice looking green mailbox, post attached, let me know! I had the sticky letters on it with my name/address, so it'll still have some residual outline from that. Now I worry about what they will be up to next.
Lookee there.. a baby squarsh!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Bet you are thinking I got another dog, aren't you?
But nope, not yet. This is actually my new furry sister. She's pretty scraggly looking now, but give her a few weeks, and she'll look like a new dog. Here are some pictures taken tonight, on the third day of her new life. Her eyes are already looking less stressed. She was a pistol on her first day. My Mom and Dad weren't sure what 'special needs' were but they found out pretty quick when they got her home. It seems she has never seen a leash, had a collar on, and had no clue about 'leading'. Fortunately when she went ballistic and pulled her Houdini act and slipped out of the harness, they were safely within their fenced yard. After about fifty laps around the fence, which thankfully she didn't try to jump, she collapsed and Dad grabbed her. She was crated while my parents recovered. The rest of the first day she was crated. The next day she spent quite a bit of the day loose in the yard with supervision and dragging a leash. She was crated at night. The third day (today) she was crated when my folks went to town. She somehow squeezed out of the crate. Dad was sure she had somehow gotten out of the yard and ran away. But she was just hiding in some bushes in the yard. In the pictures she is tied up with a choke chain on. This was after she chewed her brand new, hours old harness to bits and took it off. The choke is the only thing she won't Houdini out of (so far). She is being watched pretty carefully. She is doing amazingly well, and is getting more calm and friendly. At first she was very shy and didn't want much to do with people.
I think she was pretty terrified. She isn't a wild crazy dog though, just scared. She licks your hand and will make eye contact. She is getting more confident with being petted. The main thing now, is to keep her from escaping until she gets confident and comfortable in her new home. Mostly I think today she just hid out in the bushes in the yard, until Dad tied her up for awhile. Eventually she'll have the full run of their fenced yard.
My parents are really tired! But hopefully things will improve quickly now. Monday she goes in for spaying and a check up. I know it will be nice to have that hurdle behind them.
A little over a year ago, just days before my Mom was scheduled to have open heart surgery, their old dog Polly, started failing. She had not been doing really well for several weeks, but it was obvious that the light wasn't in her eyes anymore and her time was limited. She had melanoma. They made the decision to go ahead and have her put to sleep. I know it was very, very hard for them, but there was not much time to even accept what had to be done, before they were on the roller coaster of surgery and recovery for my Mom.
Needless to say, they didn't want another dog. But then my Mom started really wanting another dog awhile back. Unbeknown to me, Dad had finally decided about a dog too, and they had found a little lab mix called Bella in the paper. She was located at a no-kill shelter, but they were closed down for a summer break, and Mom's calls went unanswered.
So one night I stopped by their house while out walking Boone and out of the blue I asked if they wanted a puppy. I expected the sharp 'no' I'd been hearing for awhile now, but instead got shocked, guilty looking faces. It seems the next day they were going to call about Bella and go get her if she was still there!
However when Mom called she found out the little dog had just been adopted through a PetSmart outing. Mom let me know what had happened. I felt sad for them, since they had finally been ready to make the big leap into adding a dog to the family again. So, I did a search on petfinder for local shelters and when I saw "Jade's" picture I sent it via email to Mom's email with the note that if they were interested in looking at local shelters to check out petfinder. It was just a sample picture of one of the available dogs! The next thing I know they were on their way to get her. You gotta admit though, there is just something so forlorn about that little face.
And if Heidi Jade hadn't been adopted she was slated to be put down today. She had been at the shelter for a month and her shyness made her difficult to place. Evidently she and four others had been dumped out somewhere, and were caught and brought to the humane society. They say she is an Australian shepherd mix. I think she probably is, and will be semi long haired once she sheds out that funky mess of stressed fur she has now.
So anyway, they gots a dog. Things have been hectic for them the last few days. I think it was shocking to have a dog that didn't want much to do with them and was so scared--it's been awhile since they've had a new dog.
I'm hoping it'll all calm down and that she will quickly come to love her new home. She has come a long way in just three days. She is now eating, and taking cheese from their hand and sharing a peanut butter sandwich with my Dad. She doesn't seem to know what hard treats are or knuckle bones, but she will someday. She came up to me tonight and very carefully licked my finger before she quickly retreated. That is pretty brave I think. Transition is always stressful, but I can imagine just getting out of the atmosphere of the shelter has to be soothing to her.
I don't know what the heck it'll do to her nerves when she meets Boone! I think we'll save that for a later date.
Welcome to the family Heidi Jade!
Here is a picture I found on the nets of a red/white Australian shepherd.. so what do you think? Does she look like an AS mix to you? Oh, she does have a docked or naturally short tail. It doesn't matter that much, but it's always fun to speculate. They also estimate her age at about a year old.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It's been a little over two weeks since Ariel passed. Maybe it's a little easier, but we all still miss her. Learning new routines to cover up the empty spot, sometimes something will spark, and I will miss her terribly. The critters have coped in their own little furry ways.
Boone has had a couple of 'accidents' in the breezeway, marking places he shouldn't. He gets in trouble, but I know that he is stressed, and lonely, so I cut him some slack. It doesn't take much anyway to destroy his 'feelings on his shoulder' outlook. We've made a point to get out and about so he can get distraction. Walks, a couple of rides in the truck, a trip to the river.
The cats almost succeeded in smothering me in their need for kitty comfort. Or maybe it was my need. Here are a few shots of the furries coming to grips with their loss.
Find a soft place to lay your head.
The next few shots were taken a few days after Ariel died. I had lain down for a few minutes, and was instantly covered in kitties. In the first few photos, Sage is sitting on my stomach (ouch) and you can see Meshach in the background latched onto my foot. No matter that it was still sweltering hot.
An incredibly sad face.... but some french fries got a little bit of a 'smile' from the big guy
And so it goes......I wouldn't trade my 'just animals' for anything. Nope.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Now, my chicken pen used to be really nice. Six foot chicken wire attached to seven foot posts. Over time though the chicken wire has become rotten and very fragile. The sheep pretty much demolished what time hadn't. Being the hillbilly I am, I've 'jerry-rigged' it over the years, replacing broken pieces with welded wire or field fencing. This had worked well.
Until the other night. I have a couple of big white sheep, namely Hope, who like to push their heads through, or stand on the fence to reach high branches. These girls aren't light weights. I hadn't been paying attention, but evidently this combination had squished the field fencing nearly to the ground. When it was low enough, the sheep pushed through the rotten chicken wire like it didn't exist and invaded the chicken pen.
But that wasn't good enough for them. No, they had to push through the other side of the pen as well, into a pasture I was saving for Blue and Lanny. About twenty two sheep made it into the 'new' pasture and were having a great old time. The left behinders were the ones doing the squealing.
So, did I grab a bucket of grain and calmly go up and call the escapees in? No, of course not. I ran out there, moved some panels around, plugged the escape hole, shut the gate to the Shetland pen, then opened the gate on the other end (which opens into the pasture the sheep escaped in). Did I then go and grab a bucket of grain and calmly call the sheep in? No, of course not, instead I proceeded to dash out there, and 'round up the sheep'. Bear in mind it was dark, the sheep were nervous, and the gate opening wasn't that large. Me, though in all my wisdom (and okay maybe some aggravation) was going to drive them rotten sheepies into the Shetland pen. Oh yeah.
Thankfully I had enough sense after about three tries of sheep running everywhere but the gate opening, to stop and go and get a bucket of grain. Of course they came right in. I shut the gate, shut the panels to the Shetland pen and had them corralled. What would have been a 10 minute job turned into more like a thirty minute ordeal, because of my idiocy.
Once I got them penned up, I rushed around and started putting cattle panels up over the flattened fence. The minute I turned the escapees out of the Shetland pen, they ran back around there to find the 'hole' to get back to the pasture. (Yes, I see the irony---they couldn't go through an open gate, in a fairly easy location, but they remembered where the tiny hole was to get back out. Selective remembering?)
So hot and sweaty and mumbling about 'if there was truck leaving tonight, you'd be on it', I got the job done. The sheep were very disappointed, but some of them were very smug and deliciously full of that green grass. Lanny and Blue will have to wait a little longer now, for the pasture to recover before they enjoy any green grass. Greedy girls.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Conway is growing up, and still looking very nice. He is a solid little guy, with good solid conformation. I'm unsure yet what fleece type he will have, but am guessing at a shorter intermediate. His fleece at this time seems shorter than his half siblings, so he may lean towards a UK style fleece. Regardless, it should be very soft and have a nice handle. He is stocky and wide both fore and aft and his horns are looking extremely nice, with a very wide placement. His tail is acceptable in length, although slightly rat tail in appearance. This may improve as he develops more wool covering. He is now as large as his mom, but much of this is due to being a single.
(Sheltering Pines Jerome x Locksfield Brietta)
(Pictured at seven months old)