Sunday, December 18, 2022

Winter Has Arrived

Though it technically is the last waning days of fall, 

winter, weatherwise... is truly here. 

Twelve degrees F out there this morning, friends.  Hard on the diabetic hands and feet! 

I have to come in to warm up in between doing chores, and though it is sunny.... I did not let any chickens out.  Most are just too old.  Many will be in for the duration of the week, when we are plunging to literally below zero temps. 

I am out of straw in any quantity, and it was in short supply this year, but I am going to see if I can get two bales on Tuesday and bed the henhouses a little deeper. Tuesday, because my car is in the shop. 

It is beautiful, I will grant you that.  But gosh... makes it so hard to get anything done. 

Follow up to my two cataract operations... I can see 20/20 now at distance.  I did not understand the importance of making one eye near and one far.... I may have a do-over because I have to whip the readers on and off constantly, I cannot see anything close up. I will be seeing my own eye doctor this week and will talk to her about this whole thing.  I am pleased with the results, though. 

I have been taking some steps to get the cats ready for winter. 

Here are Cleo and Mama eating in front of the heater in the shop.  Last winter I used the little black heater on the left... but it cycles off after 8 hours, and yes, I went out there in the middle of the night to turn it on several times.  I have not even connected it, as you see.  Cleo prefers to sleep in the little bed on top of the chest... the one right behind the heater. 

There is a chick light over the kuranda bed. 

It has actually been on for a month or so. 

I stapled plastic over the doors so that drafts won't blow through continuously, and no, I could not do all the way to the top, but this is helping tremendously. 
IF it warms up next week (after Christmas) I will hire grandson Jax to come and get on a ladder and staple the plastic to the top. Just doing this helped so much. 

Here is Alien eating on the porch two days ago, this was the cat who began appearing in the pasture.  I found him in the shop a few days ago on the camera in there, so I know he knows how to get in where it's a little warmer.  He is sleeping here, though. 

Yes, that is the doghouse where the possum died. 

Speaking of possums, 
here she is after one full week in the pasture. 

Pretty much untouched.  I picked her up and put her over by the brush pile.  If it warms up at all today, I'll walk down and see if she is still there.  This stuff fascinates me... my brother Pete was the same way. It's not ghoulish, we just like to see nature at work. 

Jester had dibs on the warm crate on Friday.  You see I made it like a little cave for them, and they all love to take turns in it.  The electric heater on the left is on low now for a few weeks to keep the kitchen warm, and they love to lay near it.  I do not like having a huge crate in my kitchen, but I DO like making life easier for the elderly dogs. 

This little doll is the best guardian ever,  She stood there on the porch for a long time yesterday, staring into the pasture.  I really keep an eye on her because she is coyote-bait.  

Dear Buddy, whom I actually call Big Moose half the time, is in the crate behind me this morning, soaking up the heat.  In the last week, he has become unable to get on his beloved couch.  He either stays in the crate or on this bed in the living room.  He is such a good old dog, I speculated with a friend yesterday about what could have happened to him.  If only they could talk! 

On the camera in the shop. 

Check out that expression! 

About ten minutes after this shot was made, the camera was knocked over by the big raccoon. 

It did capture this: 

That's Alien, coming in to eat and drink. 

At some point, I will trap him and he will be neutered like all the others.  My traps are still on loan, they have caught a slew of ferals in a colony recently. 

Pauline, a long-time reader of this blog, sent me this bag recently.  I just want to thank you, Pauline, because I carry it in my car and I use it for so many things!  It is light, and is an easy way for me to bundle up little things and carry them in the house, and when I don't need it, it folds flat and can be put nearly under the passenger side front seat for when I need it again. 

I so appreciate your kindness! 

My heart fluttered when I looked outside for the dogs and saw this last week. 
I try to keep a very close eye on Zoey, she wanders to the gate frequently, and in fact, at night when she has to go out, we walk up to the gate in the pitch black dark.  At least Buddy was with her to protect her, but I could see both of them wandering out. 

It is the third Sunday of Advent, I hope everyone is ready for Christmas, and, as usual, I thank you all for reading the blog. 



Sunday, December 11, 2022

I Have an Excuse

Good heavens. 

Almost a month has gone by since I posted! 

I have an excuse.  

I have had one eye surgery to remove cataracts... on my right eye.  I had put it off for three years, and thanks to two friends, Carol and Mary, and encouragement from many others... I finally took the leap. 

I was a nervous wreck... I still am. 

There is an abrasion in my right eye, and I am trying to keep it lubricated because it hurts, but people... I CAN SEE.  I can see 20/20 from that eye!  I can lay in bed and see the communications tower in the wild area across from my bedroom! 

It's a miracle.  

Wednesday, I get the left eye done.  I am wearing my glasses with the right lens out, and I know it must look crazy, but I can see to drive. 

I took little Zoey to the vet this morning in heavy fog, but I could SEE. 

It's a cold and foggy morning, and I have left the chickens in for a while.  They are all old, except for the seven now almost two hens.  The cold is hard on the older birds. 

That was a cold morning two weeks ago.  I have quit opening the pophole for a while... the warming light is right across from  it, and my old girls and one of the old roosters are under it all day, just about. 

Susie the Speckled Sussex came out one sunny morning, but she is rarely venturing out now. 
You see she is showing her age greatly, her face is washed out, and she is hunched up against the cold. 
She talks all the time, little trilling noises.  As of this morning, she is still with me. 

Where once there were so many birds.... there are now only four hens and two roosters. 
(one rooster is on the dark on the right under the roosts, the other hen was in a nest box). 

The two little silkies are in their pen in this house, too. 

There used to be twenty some birds in here just a few years ago. 

In the old hen house, it is even lonelier, only Singleton and the white Ameracauna hen live in there, 
and she has just started laying green eggs again. 

That dreadful dirt on the walls was from when the starlings used to invade that house.  The popholes you see on the back and side used to stand open, and the starlings would come in, eat all the food and drink the water, and make a mess.  There is wire across the openings now, because the pen is down on the outside. 

Wanda lives in the big hen house.  She eats all her meals in there, and there is a heated water bowl. 
She does come out off and on during the day, but sleeps in there every night.  I feel better knowing she is safe. 

Teenie looks so mean in this picture... but she is not.  She is actually very small, she and Wanda did not get very large.  For some reason, she and Mama hate each other and I have to keep an eye on them. 
Teenie hangs out by the big hen house but I think she sleeps in the shop. 

Mama was the mother of the four kittens born here last year.  She was neutered and returned to me. 
She has gained a lot of weight, but I believe she was little more than a kitten when she had her kittens. 

I found Molly like this when I got up one morning! 

Coco, who does chores with me every day. 
Coco is always, always underfoot. 
Zoey does not like her and chases her all the time, so I am always having to keep them separated. 
Coco comes in, and I put her in the office, but... about 3 AM she cries to go out.  
On the porch, she has a heating pad in a chair, a heated cat house, and a dog house with straw. 
She waits for me to come out and goes all over the yard with me. 

This is Alien.  I call him that because he is the cat that appeared in the pasture at the feeder. 

Three times now, I have seen him on the outskirts of the yard.  
This morning, I was setting a bowl of dry cat food in the garage, and I saw legs on the other side of the mower.  He was in there and waiting for me to leave so he could eat.  
He is going to be trapped at some point. 
 (and neutered and returned). 

My traps are on loan right now. 

You can just see him in this picture, he waited for me to leave so he could come eat from the bowl yesterday morning. 

Here he is eating in the pasture last night. 

(yes, the feeder is still there) 

And a half hour later... I thought I was looking at Molly on the old walnut stump... and realized it was Alien! 

That's the first time he has presented himself, really, in the yard. 

I see you, Mr. Coyote. 

A week ago, I was putting the food bowl down in the garage and I noticed something in the dog house in there. 

I assumed the possum was sleeping, because they are mostly nocturnal. 

The next day, I saw it was still in there and got concerned. 
I am respectful of possums... but not afraid of them. 

I prodded it gently with a pole.  Nothing. 
I prodded again... and realized it was dead weight. 
I got a rake and gently raked it out, and it was, indeed, dead. 

It was a beautiful older female I had seen around here for weeks, and I had seen her in the shop just two days before, eating some cat food. 
Opossums have very short life spans, as little as one to three years, and they are prey to so many animals. 

I suspect she succumbed to old age, because it sure wasn't starvation, she was quite heavy. 

I carried her down to the third tier of the pasture... remember, we were tilled for planting at one time.... where I could just see her from the deck.  
I saw two coyotes sniff at her. 
She is still there, intact. 
I feel horrid about it. 

I don't have the strength to bury her. 

I may just take a shovel and move her closer to my brush pile today, it makes me feel bad to see her laying out in the open. 

I should have checked for babies, but I could not imagine she would be pregnant at this time. 

I put Big Santa up, and a small three foot tree on the porch. 
As of this morning, Big Santa has sprung a leak and is leaning in submission against the deck railing so..... he is being replaced with Big Frosty! 
I bought  Santa and Frosty on sale at the PX at Fort Leavenworth four years ago.  I did not even see any this year.  I am going to deflate the rest of Big Santa here in a bit and bring Big Frosty out from the shed and set him up.  I sure will miss Santa!  I am the all-natural Christmas lover, but I really enjoyed blow up Santa. 

Bullseye may be a little spoiled. 

I see you there, too! 

Best fifteen dollars I spent at Amazon this month.... 
my vintage Merry Christmas banner!  

I'll be back, thank you for reading!