A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘farm 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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August 2012 Newsletter

This month has brought us some much needed rain.  The soybeans and corn are looking OK, although there are some areas in the corn that have been stunted.  Prices are still looking pretty good.  Hog prices appear to be going down.  Lee made 3rd crop hay and it yielded better than 2nd crop because the rain helped it to come back.

West Nile Virus has been rearing its ugly head.  There have been so many human cases all over the country.  Horses are also susceptible to West Nile, but there is a vaccine for horses.  I wonder why there isn’t a vaccine for people yet?  The horse vaccine has been available for years.

We have an adorable litter of 4 kittens.  Unexpected!  I hope to find homes for them.  One calico female and three tabby males.  I’ve been documenting their growth in pictures I’ve posted on Facebook for my friends.  Everyone loves a kitty picture 🙂

Kay and the girls were not able to make the trip to visit this summer.  We were really looking forward to seeing them so it was disappointing when they had to change their plans.  I’m hoping that everyone will make the effort to attend a planned family function in OKC next summer.  It would be so nice to have them all in one place!

In news of the grandchildren, Lexi was here very briefly  and we were so happy to spend a little time with her.  She’s  nearly an adult and really is such a nice person.  We miss her, and all of our family members who have moved away.  Meredith was here from PA with her husband and little Noah.  I was crushed that we only saw them for a couple of hours, and I didn’t even get to talk to Meredith.  It was kind of a drive-by visit!  Noah is a beautiful little boy. Alora has moved to Virginia (I think) to be a nanny.  It was a sudden departure, and there were no good byes.  Sheesh!  Collin was home on leave and has now returned to his base.  He leaves very soon on  deployment and I’m so sorry to see him go again.

It’s still very warm here in Wisconsin, but Fall is in the air.

There is a slideshow at the end of this post.  Thanks for reading, and see you in September!

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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.

How Cold is It? and More…

*It’s SO cold that  if you wear glasses, they will freeze your face wherever they touch skin, causing serious pain.
*It’s SO cold that the layers of clothes we wear make it nearly impossible to move, and forget about hurrying.  Thank goodness for cell phones, because I truly did fall backwards into a deep drift and due to the deep snow and my cold weather attire I was stuck.  Called Lee, who came to my rescue and hauled my butt out of the drift.
It’s SO cold that the balls of horse poo freeze hard as rocks.  The disadvantage is that it’s like stepping on rocks, and ankles will twist.  The frozen balls also get stuck between the tines of the stable fork and have to be removed by hand.  This slows the process of stall cleaning considerably.  The advantage is that the cats get some rousing games of horse poo hockey going and if you can stand being out in the cold long enough to watch, it’s very entertaining.
It’s SO cold that, after being outside for a while, a hot shower is a good idea, but  the hot water turns cold as it runs down your body!
I could go on, but you get the idea.

In other news, Nikki, Ken, Alora, Cameron, and Connor have arrived safely in Scotland, where they have relocated from Wisconsin.  In this picture, they were in Copenhagen during a layover and a plane change.

 

 

And here they are in a train station (I think).  They spent a couple of days doing touristy things in and around London.  They’re now in Scotland and we’re waiting for them to get internet and phone service hooked up so we can communicate.

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.

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