Sunday, August 28, 2022

Almost the End of Summer

This is Mama... variously called "Little Mama", "Mamacita" and other similar sobriquets. 

She is missing. 
She is the mother of the four kittens that were born in my shop, the kittens who went into 
rescue a month ago.  Mama, hardly more than a kitten herself, went to be neutered and ear-tipped... and came back to me.  She quickly moved from the shop to the front porch.  She was a little bit of a bully. 

She was having trouble seeing, I noticed that as she moved through the yard, she would have to stare a long time at things... and going through a gate was very hard for her. I resolved to take her down to the doctors at Pleasant Valley Clinic in Tonganoxie, this week, who are wonderful with cats. 

Thursday morning was the last time I have seen her. 
My heart is breaking for her.  She followed me across the yard, and I helped her through the gate onto the "chicken side".  Out of the corner of my eye I could see her intimidate Teenie and Wanda who live at the big hen house.  Then, I lost sight of her. 
My neighbors have looked for her too, and Troy is watching his cameras.  I have been up and down the road. 

I have called and gone in and out of the buildings multiple times. 

I am praying she comes home and is okay. 

This morning, the sheep went home to their Smiling M pastures. 
I will miss them over the winter. 

In the bottom picture is Flicka, the Dorper that I gave to the Smiling M family three years ago. 
She is heavily pregnant, and I was told she had her lambs in December the last two years. 
Her owner looked at her this morning and said "That looks like two!".  I agree. 

I moved the vulture feeder back into the pasture for now, but the vultures will also be going home in another month. 

Here they are this morning, just prior to being put into the trailer, which was being moved in, in this picture.  

Gosh, it's quiet without them. 

Zoey loves her little fan.  We had hot weather again this week, but not as hot as 
three weeks ago. 

Then we were told that it would be in the eighties next week, and the sixties at night.  I just looked a short while ago, and now it reads "89" every day next week.  UGH.  I'm ready for cooler temps. 

Three of the young hens have begun laying in the dog house just to the left of my front door, on the porch.  They know how to squeeze out of the fence on "their" side at either end.  

Two are laying in the hospital pen high up off the ground in the old hen house.  I saw two eggs in their OWN house today, the first two all week.  

The morning glory vines are blooming clear across the big hen house pen. 

They are blooming inside the pen, too... there is Doug, the Killer Cotton Ball, styling for you. 

I literally cannot believe Susie has made it through the heat. 
She does not go outside very often now, though. 
She makes the sweetest little chittering noises, though... I will miss them when she is gone. 
If I talk to her, she "talks" back to me. 

A week ago, I took my co-worker at the Ag a dozen eggs.  
He forgot them there and they sat on the counter for four days. 
I retrieved them and hard-boiled them for the chickens.  I cut them up and do not bother to take the shells off, I just cut everything up together. 
They go nuts! 

Chickens going nuts. 

Cleo looks so evil in this picture! 
She is not, though, just a loner. 
She will let me stroke her now, and this is a HUGE step of trust for her. 
I feed her at the Little Red Hen House, which, though it's crumbling, is still sturdy enough for her. 
Now that the sheep are gone, I can go in and out of the pasture easier for the next few months. 

I rescued not one, but two baby meadowlarks from the cats this week, one from Bully and one from Coco. 
This one, I put in the brooder pen in the old hen house, where it was quiet and dim. 
I checked an our later, and it was gone safely.  I was so glad.  The other took off and flew over the house. 
I agree with James Herriott, that quiet and dark can do wonders for a stressed out animal or bird. 

Mama began sleeping every night in the chair where Jack had slept.  I keep automatically looking down at it as I get to the door.  I still hold out hope, as she was feral before coming here.  

I'll let you know next week if I find her. 


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Not Much to Post About

First thing, I want to thank everyone who wished me well from last week's post. 

I continue to be very tired... I got my chores done this morning and then laid down "for a minute" and slept three hours!  I have managed to clean the house  and go outside several times to check on everyone, but other than that, I am taking it easy today. 

Can you see the sheep under the little red hen house? 

They know where to keep cool during the day, though we are at our high for the day, 84.  It's a huge change from two weeks ago, when we hit 100 numerous times.  

The little red hen house is slowly crumbling, but Cleo, one of the barn cats, uses that as her home base. 

This is a baby meadowlark I rescued from Bully this morning, and the weird thing was, 
I had just rescued one from Coco out in the yard.  I set it on the platform feeder, and after a moment, it took off and flew over the house.  Then I went up on the deck and found one in Bully's mouth.  I got it out and set it in a planter while I took Bullseye in. 

I then went back out, took it to the old henhouse which is dark and quiet (there are lights, but it is an old building) and put it in the open brooder pen.  I am happy to tell you when I went back out, it was gone.  I am of the James Herriot theory that dark and quiet does wonders for an animal.  I made sure, looking around carefully... that it was not trapped somewhere in the buiding.  

I did find this under the brooder pen in the dark: 

This is Brownie, one of the two Ameracauna hens that live in this henhouse with Singleton, the white rooster.  I believe Brownie is not long of this world.  I have found her hiding in the dark house numerous times in the last week... I just think her time is coming. 

This is the other one I am thinking will be leaving us soon... Susie, the Speckled Sussex.  She is six years old... yes, the roosters have ridden her terribly, because she can't get away from them quickly.  She is spending her days in the big hen house.  She does still go outside, but never ventures far.  Susie talks to me all the time in the most charming little chirps and clicks. 

During the first part of the heat this month, I carried buckets of water around to water all my hanging plants... it was a pain.  Finally I took the plants down and set them on the patio.  A sunflower is growing out of one of them!

I am going to bring them up on the porch in a bit and trim all the dead plants out of them, and see if I can keep them going another month or so.  I do not have room in the house to bring in so many geraniums. 

Sam came over the other night to look at a sheep that has been limping badly.  I held the flashlight for him while he felt and looked at her leg carefully... we could not see any injury, any animal bite, anything that was embedded.  She is hobbling around on three legs, but I watched her graze by kneeling down this morning.  They will be going home soon and she can be put in a stall and checked over well. 

My pasture has just about given up the ghost for the summer, though we did get a bit of rain on Friday. 

I sure enjoy watching the sheep grazing, they are so comforting to me. 

Mama has taken over the chair where Jack used to sleep.  I often find her out there in the morning. 
There is a dog house just to her left, full of straw.  
I am going to get another and put it on the other side of my porch cabinet, just out of sight to the left... so that she and Coco have places to sleep in the winter.  

Teenie and Wanda are at the big hen house... I will either let them sleep inside, OR, run the heat lamp in the shop again, and let them sleep in there, where they kept warm last winter.  I ran a heater, too. 

There is a dog house in the old garage on the south end of the property, by the shop, and Wanda used to sleep in it. 

It is up on cement blocks and full of straw. 

My theory is that they are hesitant to use the dog houses because there is no "escape hatch" where they can run from raccoons.  

I thought this was kind of a neat picture... can you see the eyes in the middle of the fenceline?  I think a raccoon had climbed up onto the fence in the middle of the vines.  

I was going to take those vines down, but Ben reminded me they are keeping the dust from our road rolling into the yard, and he is right. 

I checked the card from the camera a bit ago, and there were no pictures from last night. 
I noticed when I went out this morning that there was still seed from the bird feed yesterday, so I wonder what was going on? 

This is a baby raccoon who comes up on the porch for a treat every night, and YES, I know I should not do this.  I bring in all the feed from everywhere, but pour out just a bit.   This little one is not afraid, I can sit there and watch it eat and talk to it.  It's sibling IS afraid and won't approach if I am out there. 

It was almost dark and the camera picked up so much ambient light it was incredible.  The sibling is right behind it, behind the pots, and in fact, I think there was a third one back there, too. 

Blurry picture of the two.  They don't look little in this picture, but they are. 

Definitely this year's babies. 

Here is my little doll, Zoey, surveying her domain.  She came to me last year on November 4, after ten years with her first parents. 
I am so glad to have her.  She is not a cuddler, but she is a wonderful little girl.  How she loves to sit on the deck and watch the chickens. 

She loves to do chores with me in the evening, too, as the pugs did many years ago.  It's nice to have a little dog to talk to. 


Saturday, August 13, 2022

It Finally Got Me

My friends, Covid finally got me. 

Despite wearing a mask religiously for the first 18 months, being careful for this whole length of time, two shots and one booster... it got me ten days ago. 

I was one from the Ag Hall that got it, it was passed around among us there. I started to experience a sore throat and fatigue, tested negative twice... and then really went downhill with fever and terrible, all-encompassing fatigue. 

I had talked to my doctor about a booster, but he had advised me to wait and get the new booster and my flu shot at the same time, in September. 

Would it have made a difference?  We don't know. 

Thanks to the Army, I was able to get molnupiravir, a new experimental drug, and took it for five days. I would say the first three days were really the worst but.... I caution anyone thinking this is a free ride, because I have never had such exhaustion in my whole life.  Even now, ten days later, I am having to rest frequently, and I have no energy. 

My heart goes out to those in the very first part of the pandemic who suffered so very much with no medicine to help them. What they must have gone through. 

So, today was a momentous day.  I got up this morning, Friday the 12th, to find no water at my faucets.  I could not imagine I had left a pump open and used all my water, but I flew around the yard in my nightgown. 

No water. 

Think about that.  Can't even flush the toilet. 

Can't water the animals.  Can't fill the sheep troughs.

Can't water the plants. 

I carried two buckets this morning, and I no longer have the strength to carry full buckets. 


And then a miracle happened... the well man who worked for me in June was 
able to come today, and brought an extra body to help. 

Yes, they are mighty close to the electric line from the pole to the house. 

The pump, which was nine years old, did not fail.  My phone pictures did not come over yet, so I can't show you.  I may wait to post this tomorrow. 

The wiring split. 

There is the old pump, and the pipe leading into it.  They stand in heavy mineralized water, can you tell?  See how blackened they are?  

I had them replace all wiring and put a new pump in, I do not want to have to worry about this ever again in my lifetime here at Calamity Acres. 

Here is the new pump, getting ready to be lowered in, it looks sleek, doesn't it? 

The funny thing is, this is something I always, always feared after moving back, and now it's past me. 

My thanks to Aqua Services, LLC, for coming so quickly after I called. 

Here is little Teenie the Meanie, and believe me, she is. 
She and Wanda live at the big hen house, but she beats up on Wanda something fierce. 
Teenie came here in heat, and drew Jack Flash months ago.  I had her neutered by Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society. 

Wanda, who gets hissed up one side and down the other.  They are actually almost the same size.... little. 

The Sunday I went down with Covid, Sam brought nineteen ewes and the ram back over. 

I was in a daze when they came, and didn't properly look at them for a few days.  Sam was here checking on them the other night, and we agreed they are looking in fine fettle.  Most have been bred. The heat is not bothering them as it bothered the lambs last year... though we have had some really hot days.  

It's good to see them grazing when I look out the window.  
Once the well is working, I'll top their water off. 

My beautiful Bullseye. 

Oh, Look... there are still raccoons here (laugh). 
The funny thing is, they are being cheated.  I have switched to a really cheap feed that is mostly sunflower seed with a few peanuts mixed in.  You see how they are ganging up on each other... and there is hardly anything in the flat feeder. 

The "ring" under the feeder that spread out for ten feet in a huge circle is no more... there is hardly any wasted seed. 

My neighbor Linda has beautiful surprise lilies in her gateway. 

This was another kindness last week... Forest Keepers Tree Service came by to see what would be needed to pull this down. 

It was huge, and resting on the roof. 

Parats Wolfe, the supervisor, jumped up on the fence, jumped onto the roof, 
got his pole cutter, pulled the huge branch down and four others, and then went over to the big maple next to the house, and pulled three or four more down! 
His two young boys were with him, and they made a big pile for me. 

I still need to get them cut up, but what a blessing for me. 

You see, Ben has gone away to college now, and I have lost my main helper. 
I could not have done the last three years without him. 

However, my grandson Jax has been coming out during the summer and learning, and I hope to have his help next summer. 

I will find someone to cut this pile up for me. 

I have been so happy with my flowers this year. 
I spent less than I have in the past years. 

I don't know the name of this wildflower growing in the fenceline, but it creates huge dandelion-type puffs after blooming. 

This is a type of banana pepper, called "Gorbaci", that I got from Baker Creek. 

They are crispy and good, but folks, I can't eat that many peppers, and the plant is loaded. 

I was so happy with this coleus planting this year. 

I love how the plants peak through the railing... and a bunch have self-seeded along the 
side of the porch. 

I just really have enjoyed gardening in containers.  Next time I will show you what is left of all my in-ground beds and what I am doing with them. 

I also found a picture of years past, when I had two twenty five foot long borders, and they were in full bloom.  How it made my heart swell. 

I am going to wait to post this tomorrow, so I can show you pictures of the new pump going in. 

It's Saturday morning, and I just checked the camera card from the camera in the garden. 

I am going to post a couple of pictures from it. 

I swear it's a free for all out there at night!

That's Bullesye, hanging from the flat feeder. 

The birds have a fraught time of it when he is outside. 

Bullseye was brought up a feral kitten in the woods at Tanglewood Lakes, 
and my son brought him home to me  Yes, he is successful from time to time, and yes, it breaks my heart.  Right now, he, Mama, and Molly are all out there in between the feeders, but I also know the birds are on high alert.