Sunday, February 26, 2023

Bleak February Days

It's the 26th, and the second month of the year is almost over. 

I have some catching up to do. 

Bob, formerly known as Alien. 

He adores both Zoey and Buddy.  I mean ADORES. 
Mama is the same way, I don't know what it is... Mama will run clear across the property if we are out at 3 AM in the cold to rub up against her buddy Buddy. 

He has let me pet him twice, once on the head and once along the back.  Yesterday, he came in the kitchen for about thirty seconds, then went back out.  You see the straw... he is sleeping in the dog house on the porch to the left of the door.  I just put more straw in it five minutes ago, we are expecting rain tonight.  I would bring him in if he would come. 

Look who was back one night this week.  Friends, that is a healthy coyote, I mean healthy.  He has not been starving this winter.  I was clear up on the deck, and as I advanced with the camera, he turned around and trotted off.  

I will tell you one thing I am no longer seeing here... rabbits.  The cats have run them all off. 

These little guys take their lives in their hands with the cats out there, and I regret this, because I love squirrels. 

The coyote above was taken the seventeenth... this one was this week.  I watched it go back and forth across the pasture about six times, I don't know what was worrying it.  You see it looking into Troy and Kathy's pasture... I know Kathy pours out leftovers just like I do.  Something must have been worrying it.  Now that I look at it again, it could be a pregnant mother. 

Here is a picture taken by the porch cam of a rather large raccoon on the porch (I forgot to bring the bowl in) and Bob is sleeping in the Bob House. 
What you can't see in this picture is Teenie is sleeping on a heated pad on the chair to the right of the chest... Teenie has been run out of the shop by Mama. 
We are expecting 50 mile and hour winds and a storm tonight so I am hoping she finds shelter in the garage, though there IS another little house on the porch... the one to the right of Bob's house. (and it is heated, Coco still uses it during the day). As a total aside, my grandson was with me working out here yesterday, and we went into the old hen house to put something away.  Coco, (the black cat) who lives in there with the chickens, was sitting in a dark corner, staring straight at us.  She scared Jax to death... he did not want to go in farther than the door.  I told him she was watching him only because she didn't know him... but he was hesitant to go in still.  She did not move at all while we were in there, and that scared him even more! 

This is why we can't have nice things in the barn. 

And this... .

And this.  

You know, I never smell skunks in the barn in the morning! 

This, however, is the bowl after I emptied it and before I wiped it out and re-filled it... see all the pawprints? 

My grandson and I strarted buying planting media yesterday, and then got home and realized all the porch planters are still frozen solid.  I don't know what I was thinking! 

(We actually bought potting soil for the deck planters) 

I think poor old Ferdie is going to be next... he is no longer roosting and sleeps in this corner of the hen house every night now. 

Wanda has it good. And that's actually Buddy, Ferdie's son... and he is no longer roosting either, they have both lost toes in the cold.  He sleeps under the roosts.  

Pipsqueak sleeps under the light with Wanda. 

My best boy, Jester.  The American Gentleman, for sure. 

I recently had a health scare, these last two weeks. 
My first thought was 

Who is going to take care of all of my animals? 

I had about ten days to really think about this... and  I am unsure where it is leading me. 

I'm not ready to stop, I realized that. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

What About Them Chiefs!!!!

Here is a reminder that raccoons are scary little critters if you keep chickens... or cats.  I notice the cats give them a wide berth. 

There's another Disney creature that will kill your chickens in a flash if it has a chance. 

That being said, I try to live in harmony with all of the creatures here, including the skunks. 

It finally happened.  
I went out on Sunday morning, the 12th, and found Susie gone.  My gosh, she was a beautiful hen, a Speckled Sussex.  She was very old though, and I had a suspicion that even though she kept going through the bitter cold nights we had had, it was weakening the older birds.  My oldest rooster, Ferdie, father of Singleton and Buddy, is not going to make it much longer, I fear, and has quit trying to go out. 
However, on Friday, a good day, I went out to the hen house about 2 PM, and could not find Susie inside and really got scared, because my fear is that she would weaken and hide outside. 
Lo and behold, she was out with the other girls in the sunlight, pecking around. 

She had the most beautiful coloring and musical trill, and I miss her "talking" to me whenever I was around her.  

There was still some icy snow in between the hen houses yesterday, and you can clearly see the footprints of the possums and raccoons that passed through.  There is a heated bowl of water there. 

This came up in my memories today, nine years ago.  Let me just say that this was among the best memories Keith and I could have had here.  These four little goats brought us so much pleasure.  That's Delilah by the door, Winny and Windy in the middle, and Kelly at the back.  It broke my heart to give them up when we moved into the big house, when Keith got sick. Delilah bonked the front door until I came to it to see what they wanted. 

I wish... I wish I were stronger and younger, and I would have goats again! 

We had three inches of miserable wet snow on Thursday.  It had already started to melt by the time I got Bullseye, who had jumped up on the big walnut stump. 

It is 58 right now, and we are supposed to get rain and wind tomorrow.  I can take the rain, it's the doggone wind that gets me. 

This is Alien.  He is the newest.... he has been lurking around the corners for the last three months.  I honestly think he belongs to someone because he disappeared during the bitterest of the cold. 

He hangs around in the late afternoons and evenings. 

This is my girl Teenie.  Imagine trying to tell them apart across the yard.  Luckily, Teenie sleeps mostly on the porch now. 

Teenie and all the other cats here are neutered. 

I walked out the front door to see this weird scene last night.  
That's Mama, and Bullseye, on one corner, and Alien across the door opening facing them.  They are at the big hen house.  I have no clue what was going on, I think they were all trying to intimidate each other.  Mama and Bully are allies, though. 

For six weeks, there have been no coyotes in my pasture, though I have heard a great pack of them twice, and last night there was another chorus.  
I literally have not seen one on my property. 
Imagine my surprise when I went outside at dusk last night to do something, and caught movement. 

I grabbed the big camera. 

It quickly turned and trotted away. 

The rotisserie carcasses and any dead birds (and there have been several lately) are being put elsewhere for the scavengers to get.  

My big foster boy, Buddy, laps over so I got another bed for him.  He has really stopped eating as much as he was, and is sleeping a LOT.  I think age is catching up with him and it will be months. 
He has just been the best old boy ever. 

That's my other foster fail, adopted... Zoey. She has appointed herself guardian of the farm,  and she does a good job.  She does chores with me almost every night. 

My road, February 12th, 2023.  

That's my henhouse on the left, the big one and the little, and my shop/barn left of them. 

Won't be long before we start greening up. 

Chiefs gear modeled by my great grandson, Wyatt. 
He's a big fan! 

It was a good game, and a nail biter to the end.  This city has gone crazy! 


Monday, February 6, 2023

Cats and More

Look at this glorious sight I took yesterday, Sunday the 5th!  

I only had the smaller Canon in my hand, not the big guy (Nikon) with the long lens... and I was taking pictures of the many geese flying over. 

I realized when I came in that that was a line of Trumpeter Swans! 

I had seen a picture posted earlier last week in the county and asked where they had been seen, but did not get an answer.  Well.. now I know... over my own house!  

Oh, there were plenty of geese, too. 
I'm glad I got the pictures last night because even though it is 65 degrees right now, 
the wind is blowing steadily at 25 mph, with gusts up to fifty.  I can hardly walk in it, and the chickens are hiding under the big hen house. 
Even the dogs who would normally have stayed out for an hour or two are here in the house with me, it was so hard for them to walk. 

This little critter is Teenie the Meanie, only the only one she is mean to now is Mama.  She and Mama have never gotten along.  Teenie has shifted from the shop (my barn) to the house porch.  
Coco, the black cat, sleeps in the old hen house and Wanda in the big hen house.  Teenie is sleeping on the porch now in a dog house.  Or... sometimes in the dog house.  I have found her curled up in a porch chair numerous nights.  I know she goes in the shop sometimes at night, because I see her on camera in there, but... Mama is in there. 

She is not afraid of the dogs, but Zoey does still bark at her.  Zoey has a vendetta against Coco, I don't know why. 

This, my friends, is why I have to change out the water in the bowl in the shop almost daily.  The doggone raccoon gets in almost every night, and takes a bath in the heated water.  I almost don't blame him.  I lock up all the cat food but there are always scraps and he and a couple of possums go in and out. 

This is a very badly lit picture, but here is another view of the shop at night... Mama cat is on the left getting a drink from the bowl... and a possum is looking at you from the deep straw in the big dog house in there.  I had noticed a deep depression, and I knew Cleo and Mama were sleeping up high... the possum must curl up frequently and rest at night.  We had frigid nights as recently as last week... now we have a string of more temperate weather with nights in the twenties.  I actually disconnected the two heaters in there to give my bill a little rest .  I unhooked the heat lamp in the first picture but then turned it back on when I realized Cleo used  the bed off and on.  

I am getting a little worried about my beautiful Buddy.  He went to the rescue's doctor three weeks ago and had a senior panel run, and everything looked good.  However, he has slowed WAY down since then.  It takes him a long time to cross the yard, and sometimes he has to lay down and rest for a while.  
I have a ramp out in the shop which I am going to try to carry over this evening and set up on the patio steps, but I have only ever had one dog that would use it.  We will see if he does.  The steps on the east side of my porch are not big... and he can still do them easily.  

The other things that worries me is that he is only eating about a third of what he was eating. 

He has been the gentlest, sweetest foster boy.  I hope we have some time left. 

He puts himself in his crate all the time (the door is open)... he spent almost the whole day in there yesterday and sleeps in at night sometimes, though he has a soft bed.  When it is really cold out I turn the little heater on... it is on the left in that picture, and I know the heat feels good for him.  

Cleo is sleeping in Fritzi's old bed in the shop.  She always looks mad.  It took two years for Cleo to let me touch her, and she is currently shying away again if I come too close.  She is spayed, don't worry. 
Bullseye, for some reason, hates Cleo.  I have to lock him up when I do chores. 

I think Bullseye is also feeling a little under the weather.  He spent most of the day inside yesterday and is behind me right now as I type this.  I have made him a bed on top of Buddy's crate (he just went in it) and he is curled up going to sleep.  I foresee some visits to the vet in our future.  He has had all shots and is neutered... I am hoping it is nothing serious. 

Wanda.  She loves her little nest bed. 

What I see when I do chores every night.  Zoey has to go... she cracks me up. 
It was cold that night and she had her little sweater on.  

My boys. 

Beautiful Susie is still alive,  even after last week's bitter weather. 
She is inside today, I think the wind was too much for her. 

I lost my sweet little Silkie hen, Mary.  She suddenly looked terrible, all hunched over.  I checked to make sure her vent was not closed with poop... it wasn't.  Chickens are prey animals and they do not show you they are sick until they are almost gone.  This was Mary's last night, she was gone when I went out in the morning. 
Poor little Pipsqueak looked for her everywhere.  I tried letting him loose with the big birds but he got beaten up a couple of times, so now I am carrying him in and out to his little pen. 
I am going to buy a few hens for the Ag Hall, and I'll try to find a little hen I can put with him. 

Gosh, it's 3:14, I just realized.  I need to wind this up and get ready to do chores.  I am trying to still lock everyone up by four.  I think they will be glad to go in tonight!  
Cleaning hen houses will soon be on the bill, the little hen house, despite it's having been cleaned totally in October, is a disgrace.  My grandson Jax will be busy as soon as we are sure the weather is going to be better.  I am going to try fine shavings this time instead of straw. 

Sorry.... I HAD TO DO IT!!!

You can imagine what it is like here in the Kansas City metro area this week. 

Here we go, Chiefs!!!!