A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘Cat’

A Feline House Guest

I’ve written about Violet before.  At nearly 11 years old she’s my oldest barn cat.  She lives a mostly solitary life because she refuses to associate with the other barn cats, and she’s terrified of most humans.  Violet loves me.  She chose me to be her person and so I’ve always watched her closely to be sure she’s doing well.  This winter has been hard on all of us.  I noticed Violet shivering  at times, and because she’s pretty old for a farm cat I felt like she needed special care.  So I brought her in the house.  I’m hoping she’ll be ready to return to her previous life of freedom when the weather warms up.  Her residency here has been almost trouble free.  I’m surprised that Violet has taken to using a litter box as if she’d been doing it her whole life.  She had never been in  the house before.  She learned quickly that the kitchen table is off limits.
We do have a serious problem though.  Charlie.  Violet hates Charlie.  I hoped at first that they would meet, be wary, and tolerate each other.  They rumbled twice.  First time wasn’t too bad.  Violet tried to kill Charlie, he backed off and left her alone.  The second time was more violent and Violet clawed his face, very close to his eye.  Charlie has typical Boston Terrier eyes and they are vulnerable.  I’m now very afraid that Violet will scratch his eyes out, so I keep them safely apart.   They each have plenty of roaming time, but just not together.
Violet’s favorite place to be is wherever I am and especially in my lap.  I’m determined that she will not be a permanent house cat, but time will tell.

Competing with the computer

Competing with the computer

Charlie 2/14

Charlie 2/14

Snuggling in my lap.

Snuggling in my lap.

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July 2012 Newsletter

The wheat has been harvested, and most of the straw has been baled.  The wheat yielded about 65 bu/acre.  The price is high right now, sadly due to the misfortune of farmers everywhere.  Now we’re seeing the sandhill cranes and Canada geese gleaning our wheat fields and probably finding bugs and frogs in the stubble. The next crop related job will be cutting and baling a small field of hay.  The lack of rain and high temps have burned up our pastures (and lawn) so we’ll be needing more hay than usual.  The sheep aren’t getting anything out of the pastures now, and Lee’s had to supplement them with hay.
We are still very dry.  Last night while all around us rain was falling, sometimes in gully washer proportions, we got a measly 1/10″!  It didn’t even settle the dust and only served to raise the humidity levels.  There are more chances for rain in the next few days and we’re hoping some of it will fall on our farm.
Even with the lack of rain, the roadside weeds and wildflowers are still abundant.  One of my favorites is wild chicory.  Its flowers are such a pretty shade of blue.
This summer has been hard on the farm cats.  We started this spring with 10, and we’ve lost several, either to illness or the road, or just unknown causes.  One of the kitties was dead on the road the other day and it’s the first time I’ve ever lost a cat that way and known it, in all these years.  We have more traffic on our road lately because we have new neighbors building a house and there’s lots of construction activity.  Well anyway, I think our current cat count is 5 or 6.
We’re anticipating some family visits in the next few weeks.  Collin will be home on leave soon, and Meredith and her family will be here for a few days in August.  Kay and the girls will be coming in August too.
Here’s a slideshow of photos I’ve taken in the past few days:

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March Musings

      

 

      

     Getting closer to Wisconsin spring, but not quite there yet. I don’t let my winter guard down, don’t get my spring hopes up until May. I’m encouraged to see so many migratory birds back home on the farm. I’ve seen an abundance of sandhill cranes and Canada geese. Robins and killdeers are brightening my mornings with their songs. The cardinals are singing their mating songs. I’ve sighted Tundra Swans 2 days in a row. They landed at the back of the farm, near a very large puddle. There’s a lot of water standing due to snow melt and recent rain. I always worry about the birds when we get the inevitable return of winter. This week will be very cold again, with wintry precipitation. Living just on the edge of the Horicon Marsh is a bird watcher’s dream.

Yesterday I found Tiger, dead, behind a bale of hay.  Tiger was Lee’s favorite kitty, who lived in the hog barn and followed Lee around like a dog.  Sadly, farm cats don’t live long lives.  Tiger was probably 4 years old.  We don’t know what caused his death.  RIP Tiger.





 Payten turned one year old on the 20th.  She’s so precious.  Paige and Lucas had a party for her, and she had her own little cake to smoosh, which was the top layer of the birthday cake.  She really wasn’t interested in  eating or smooshing that cake and had to be coerced to dig in for the photo op.Eventually  Payten did make a little mess and was  removed to the bath tub before opening her gifts.

Click on the photo thumbnail to see the full size versions.

The Stray Cat

This fuzzy little bundle of mats, burrs, and bones is the kitty who showed up here a while ago.  As you can see, he’s being tolerated by some of the barn cats now.  I call him Smelly Cat (thanks Phoebe) because the resident cats take a whiff of him and then hiss.  I don’t notice any offensive odor, but I’m not a cat.  I tried so hard to get him to the shelter where they could help him out, but Geeze Louise!  Even though he is a stray they want me to pay them to take him.  Big dollars!  To “surrender” a cat the cost is $50.00 for intact cats, and $25.00 for altered cats.  Are you kidding me?  Does it matter that some of the leashes and collars and supplies they’re using were donated by me?  Nah.

I’m guessing that this cat was owned by someone at one time.  He loves people, doesn’t love other cats, so maybe not a farm cat who wandered.  Was he dumped?  Could be.  Or he could have just strayed from his home and got lost.  No matter.  He’s my problem now.  I can’t pay$ 25, or $50 to get him the help he needs.  I can use that money to feed him and the others.    He’s going to have  to tough it out here.  He’s not the first stray we’ve had here and he won’t be the last.  In fact, we have 10 cats on the farm, spread out in 3 or 4 buildings.  All of them are descended from strays.  Speaking of descendants, it sure would be nice if  some area vet would sponsor a spay/neuter clinic for farm and feral cats.

For the record, I don’t blame the shelter or the people who run it.  I understand that they have rules.  I just really wish there was an option for people like me who want to help the strays, but can’t.  They make it so hard to do the right thing.

Animal Stories

There’s a stray cat hanging out here lately.  The first day I had contact with him there was a meow at the barn door.  I opened the door and was surprised to see a strange black cat  come in and walk right past me to the cat food dish.  Unfortunately he was terrorized by the resident barn kitties and I haven’t seen him come back in the barn since.  I don’t think he’s going to be able to make a place for himself here.  The existing barn cats are just too territorial and he’s not aggressive enough to stand up to them.  I can tell that he’s used to people but not other animals.  He looks like a wreck.  He is mostly black with a bit of white on his chest.  He has long hair which is full of burrs and matted.  He’s very thin.  I’ve been leaving food for him in another building and I put my cat carrier in there also.  I’m hoping he’ll get comfy and I’ll be able to catch him in there and take him to the shelter.  He needs TLC.  I’ve been calling him a “him” but I really don’t know his gender.  He’s rolled on his back a couple of times near me and I haven’t seen any boy bits.  He could be a she, or a neutered he.  I haven’t seen him near the horse barn for a couple of days but Lee has seen him around the farm.  Time will tell if I’ll be able to help the little guy.  I hope so.

 

We have electric wires at the end of the driveway, just above the ground.  They work similar to a cattle guard, and keep the sheep from going into the road.  Well, they used to.  We have an older ewe who has decided that a shock is a small price to pay for the opportunity to eat grass along the roadside.  She’s been escaping several times a day for a few days now.  This isn’t a good situation.  Bad things could happen, like a car accident.  There’s no easy remedy.  Lee can lock her up, but sheep don’t like to be alone and it will stress her out.  We tossed around a few ideas this morning and I’m not sure which way he’s going to go.  I’m hopeful he’ll listen to my idea to open up a pasture for them, but pretty sure he won’t 😦

 

Have you ever been awakened at 5 AM by a retching, gagging dog?  Was this dog under the covers?  Were the sheets freshly changed BEFORE the retching and gagging incident?  I’ll say no more.

Mikey’s a Big, Lovable Lug

Can I help you?

Mikey is one of my two favorite barn cats.  He’s a young cat, just a year old.  What makes him stand out from the crowd is his size, and his personality.  This is a huge barn kitty.  Most farm cats are fairly small , as cats go, but Mikey is a giant among cats.  He’s a gentle giant, though.  Mikey is sweet, loyal, and laid back.  In the photo on the left, he’s lying in a feed pan, on his back, and asking me why I woke him.   Everyone loves Mikey.  Our tenants have a little boy who is afraid of animals, but he loves Mikey and talks about him every day.

I named Mikey after my brother Mike.   They share very similar personalities, and they’re both gentle giants.  I have to say though, that it’s a mistake naming a pet after a real person.  Mikey the cat disappeared for a few days and  I was beside myself.  He did come back home, but I just felt so badly about Mike’s kitty namesake possibly meeting a terrible fate.

Still in the feed pan. Silly kitty.

What??

 

The last picture for today is self-explanatory, Mikey doing what he does best.

Yes, he's asleep. Under the birdfeeders.

Big Family News, and Farm Fun too

You might have noticed that the background theme of the blog has changed.  I was tired of the coolness and serenity of the blue theme I had been using for so long, and I needed something green and springish.

We’ve been taking care of business on the farm.  The farrier was here to trim the horse’s hooves.  We do that every few weeks.  The vet came and gave them their vaccinations.  We only have to do that annually so we’re good now until next spring.  We’re so fortunate to have a vet who will barter for her services.  We provide her with pork in exchange for vet work. 

The sheep shearer was here to clip the wool off of the sheep.  We have it done shortly before they lamb every year.  They’ll begin lambing around April 13.  It never fails that the weather is cold/bad on the day we shear.  Poor things are naked and the temps plummet.  They do have a nice barn to go in and keep warm, and they make good use of it for the first few days while they get used to their lack of wool.  Here’s a bit of sheep and wool trivia….the fleece of each sheep weighs 7-10 pounds.  A sheared sheep takes up 1/3 less space in the barn.  You can make 2 adult size sweaters from the yarn of 1 sheep fleece.

Now, on to the family news.

Nikki and Ken spent last week in Oklahoma, and attended Collin’s graduation from basic training.  This picture is of Nikki and Collin.  Collin should be in Georgia now, if his flight ever left Oklahoma.  They had some very nasty weather with snow and ice.  Nikki and Ken had a rough drive home on the weekend.  They were also able to spend some time with JD and his family.  We’re so very proud of Collin.

This little bundle of cuteness is Payten Margaret, who joined our family on March 20.  The proud parents are Paige and Lucas.  Payten was 8lb. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  She was delivered by c-section.  Being born into this large family assures her of lots of love and attention.  We love babies 🙂

Speaking of babies, my barn cat Sissy has a kitten.

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