Sunday, July 17, 2022

Two Thousand Twenty Four

I sat down here this afternoon to do a blog post. 

I realize, according to my blog statistics, that this is post Two Thousand and Twenty Four. 

Two thousand times I have sat down here to communicate with people far away from me. 

At first, it was daily as I wrote about our life here at Calamity Acres. 

Then, we moved to "The Big House" for a few years, as Keith grew more ill.  

Back I came, after he died... and I have to laugh because he made a point of getting me to promise I would not, because he knew how I threw myself into things. 

Here I sit, a month before my birthday... wondering how long I can do it. 

Last week, I told you all about the cats and how they have "taken over" Calamity Acres. 

This week, it will be about plants, and other things. 

I am going to use telephone pictures . 

When I first started doing this, I carried a small camera in the pocket of whatever I was wearing, pulled it out to take pictures, and then put those pictures into the computer.  Now, I carry my phone but not all the time, because it is awkward.  I still have the little camera and think about going back to one. 

Let's start with Zoey, whom I foster failed last November.  She has just been a delight. She is a true little farm dog, though not raised on a farm.  She loves to be outside, and loves to get into things.  I have to watch her. 
Luckily, other than chasing once in a while, she does not bother the chickens. 
She would love to catch a squirrel. 
She has a bark, too, which I love, because Jester does not bark.  I know when something is happening with Zoey. 

I am gardening almost exclusively in planters and pots now. 
Here is the downside of having a deck full of flowers... I have about 
four rotted boards on the deck.   Two were under a rug which I bought four years ago, thinking I would have a beautiful place on the deck in the shade to sit and read.  That rug trapped water underneath it, and rotted the boards.  They need to be taken up and new ones laid, and preservative put on the whole deck.  The thing is... all planters would have to be moved off, and there are four the size of the ones in the pictures above. 

So, I am thinking about how this is going to be accomplished. 

My guess is some construction company is going to tell me I need a whole new deck. 
I really don't have 10,000 to spend. 

So, we will see. 

This surreal picture is a mushroom that was growing in my yard two weeks ago. 
I actually got down on the ground to take its' picture.  It looks like a spaceship, doesn't it? 

It's been very hot here lately, and we have been doing a LOT of this. 

Last Sunday night, a lady volunteer from 
Kitty Cat Connection came here and took the mother cat and four kittens from my shop. 
I had had to trap them the day before, and I must have made twenty trips out to the shop to check on their safety in a day. 
I breathed a sigh of relief when they left. 

Mama was returned this morning, she will live here now, but she 
is neutered, had her shots, and wormed.  She is very gentle, and I will be able to continue getting her yearly shots since I can load her into a carrier. 

The four babies will go on to adoptable homes, or barn homes, neutered. 
The happy thing is, they were negative for FIV/FLV.  

I don't post a lot of family pictures anymore, but this beautiful little doll and the handsome little brother in the boppy are my great grandchildren, Maci and Wyatt. 

I have actually not met Wyatt yet, as they live some distance away from me.  Their mom and dad are blessed to still work for employers who provide six weeks of paid time off for birth benefits. 

Two more of the planters on the patio.  They have filled in so nicely this year! 

I have tomatoes and peppers growing in various big planters and tubs.

The young men who keep their sheep in the pasture have gifted me with several lick tubs, 
and they make GREAT planters, once holes have been made.  That green one with the tomato on the right is one of them. 

I am about to be inundated with tomatos. 

Another lick tub being used as a planter. 

This is part of the gorgeous display gardens tended by the Master Gardeners of Wyandotte County (KS) at the National Agricultural Center. They are just amazing and the dedicated gardeners, men and women, tend these beds and a much larger display garden in the back.  

In the middle of the one perennial bed I am trying to reclaim is this beautiful pink hollyhock... the others are wine-red and white.  

I love this color. 

My grandson Jax is helping me to reclaim this bed, and after I finish here, I am going to go out and 
work on cutting even more saplings out of it.  I am using Tordon on them now, they have GOT to stay gone.  To think I once had 4 20 foot long beds!

We are layering (okay, JAX is layering) cardboard and straw on the parts of the bed that had become overgrown with weeds.  In the spring, we will move the straw and plant new perennials in the wells, and bring the straw that will have decomposed back around them. 
This afternoon, I made a trip to a local greenhouse/produce store that I had not visited since the pandemic started... I was stunned at the quality of the plants they are raising there, and 
I hope to buy some for this bed. 

This is actually kind of a funny picture. 

This is the nest box in the big hen house. 

I have not found an egg in it in many weeks. 

Snakes would starve here. 

To be fair, there are only four old hens left in this hen house, and to my knowledge, only one of those is laying once or twice a week. 
One has become broody in her old age, and complains daily when I take the egg (that another hen has laid) out from under her. 

The young girls, of whom there are seven, may or may not lay in their own hen house, I only got four eggs last night.  This week, Ben is going to come and clear my west fence line, and I bet we find a nest under there with a lot of eggs in it.  It has been so hot recently, and I would not want to lay in the hot hen house, either. 

I end with this cool picture I found on Pinterest. 

I love fall.... and we are having a Pumpkin Festival at the Ag Hall, in lieu of a Christmas festival this year (I think).  I would LOVE to do something like this on our pond there!  

Stay safe in the heat everyone, and that includes my friends in Europe. 


Friday, July 8, 2022


Friends, I cannot believe it is already mid-summer. 

I have not posted since the end of May, and I really have no excuse except for being busy and tired.  I do try to post something on Instagram daily under Ksredhead1950, and it co-posts to Facebook.  I have noticed that many, many former bloggers with whom I was friends are doing that now, too.  One, whom I have followed for many years, noted this week that she had actually posted to her blog... she had not done so in weeks. 

You can at least keep up with things that way.

Last time I posted, I told you about Jack Flash and the mysterious gray cat that was coming to the deck to eat.  On June 6, I took Jack to the vet here in Tongie.  I had a wellness check done, and then had him neutered.  He got all shots, and had to go back in two weeks to get a second distemper shot. 

He began to waste... he did not leave the porch very often, and curled up in a chair by the door. 

I worried. 

 Molly and Bullseye learned to look at the chair before going in and out.  I picked him up to hold him on my lap daily, and realized he was losing weight and was very dehyrated.  

In the meantime, this little guy had been attacked by something... I think a bobcat... and supposedly had two broken ribs.  I spent a miserable day at the emergency vet... and had to go back that night to get him.  Let's just say, Bullseye is a very expensive pet. 

He spent ten days in isolation.

Bullseye was supposed to have a follow up, so I made an appointment for him with 
the vets in Tonganoxie who had done Jack's neuter... Pleasant Valley Veterinary Hospital. They are wonderful, three young women vets that are two miles from me.  My vet of 40 years is 
18 miles away, and very hard to get into.  So... I took Jack in Bully's stead... and the kind vet tested for FIV, and he was positive.  I could not bring him home, and he was in very poor condition, so I held him as she euthanized him, talking to him and kissing him.  She gave me five minutes with him after sedation, and I reassured him his pain was almost over.  

Here is why I am telling you. 

They asked me if I wanted to test for FIV the day of the neuter,  and I had said no. 
He was feral.  
It was a mistake. 
I would not have spent the money for the neuter. 

I spoke with a friend who has kept cats for many years, and she, too, had a cat that 
was positive for FIV, had not been tested, and had an episode after a neuter, and they lost him. 
I am not saying the neuter did it, but I think the operation trauma triggered something in him. 

Bullseye went the next day for his checkup... and because of Jack's being positive, I had him tested to be 100% sure, and believe me, I sweated.  He was negative. 

Molly goes for shots and wellness on the 27th, and she will also get an FIV test. 

Within days of the neuter, I found this in the shop: 

(Jax and I cleaned the shop this week after Mama moved the kittens to the garage. ) 

Oh, yes, friends.  The mysterious gray cat, still a kitten herself, 
had four kittens in my neighbor's yard and moved them into the shop. 

One guess who the father was. 

 Tomorrow, my job is to trap them, and on Sunday, a 
kind volunteer from Kitty Cat Connection is coming to get them. This is the organization from whence my barn cats came. 

Mama will come to me,  but the kittens will be harder.  Part of the problem is that they have vacated the hot shop, and are hanging out in the hedge or in the garage that sits next to the shop.  Tomorrow morning, their food is going back into the shop, they will have to go in there if they are hungry. 

You know I love cats, but I have been overwhelmed. 

Because Jack was so awful to Cleo, she will no longer come to the deck to eat. 

I watch for her and carry her food to her, but that stopped as of today. 
If she wants to eat, she has to come get it where I put it, and I realized she was hanging out in the Little Red Hen House (where I started her) and I am putting her food near there.  No more walking all over looking for her. 

Like I said, I'm stressed. 

Youngest grandson Jax has been working in the yard and shop for me for the last two weeks, and doing a great job.  I have plenty of work for him for the next few weeks, too.  The oppressive heat here has stopped some of the things from being done. 

I have lost a number of birds in the heat this last month. 
The old birds are six and seven, and the heat is hard on them. 
The main egg layers are the seven young hens I raised last year. 
Big Red was one I lost, and it was totally unexpected. 

This was the Silkie pair I used for programs at the Ag Hall. 
Brutus, the gentle rooster on the left, was lost shortly after this picture was taken, and through my own negligence.  For only the second time in seventeen years, I left a pophole open. 
To make it worse... I left his cage door open, I forgot to go back and close it, and I'm sure he and Mary jumped down during the night.  Something got Brutus. 

I have Pipsqueak with her now, and they and Doug the Killer Cotton Ball are the only three Silkies left here. 
And of course, Pipsqueak attacks me every time I reach in to move him. 

I have made a decision not to replace ANY chicken lost at this point.  It's time. 
Right now, I have just been out to check the little hen house two times in the dusk, as I can hear an uproar going on.  I cannot find a snake or any other predator in there. 

In the big hen house are left only two hens and the rooster, Singleton. 


Vulture going east. 

Two weeks ago, the sheep flock went home to give the pasture time to recover.  Yes, we have had rain, but they had been on it for two months, and there were fourteen.  
It has come back wonderfully. 

I cut it once, and I noticed today I may have to cut again.  

They will be back in a couple of weeks for another six weeks, I believe. 

Ben is going to devote some time to doing some maintenance things around here that need to be done, and gosh, I am really going to miss his help.

This is a strange bird that appeared in the bird feeder a week ago . 


See you all soon, I hope!