Monday, January 15, 2024

Everyone Lived

Everyone Lived. 

Those of you out in the country know those words mean a lot. 

We were down to eight below the last two nights here in NE Kansas, and it is only minus 2 right now, as I start this blog post at 10:15 AM. 

It is miserable.  My poor cats in the shop are miserable, two were under the hanging brooder lamp this morning, and the Lasko heater from last year is barely making a difference.  I bought a new Lasko heater a month ago, hooked it up one night and 24 hours later, it blew the circuit and I am afraid to use it.  I need to have an electrician come, but it was just before Christmas and.... money. 

I did buy a new heated dog water bowl when I went out and discovered the dog bowl from last year had frozen in the old hen house.   The cats are using a low basin that I used to use outside for the wildings.... and yes, friends, there IS still one outside for them and I just watched scores of birds using it, so I'll have to refill it shortly. 


So there have been HUNDREDS of memes over our snowy weekend here, and I am the first to tell you that the four inches we got was nothing compared to what they have gotten in many other places.... but.... the cold... brrrrrr.  

In the middle of all that, I had two lovely little fosters, Bella and Franny. 

Franny, the blonde on the left, and Bella, the darker girl on the right, had lost their mama, sadly.  They were lovely little girls, but Bella far more infirm than Franny.  Franny did NOT like the cats.  The cats were terrified of two pound Franny. 

They have gone on to a wonderful rescue in this area.  I may get Bella back as a hospice rescue, we will see. 

Of course, they were here on the coldest days of the year. 

The shop camera caught me looking down one day... and I can tell it is not from the weekend, because I am wearing a white covid mask that covers my entire lower face and keeps me warm!  I don't care how I look as long as I am warm!  Warmth is the name of the game. 

This girl is gravid, and I hope she does not have her babies in this weather, they will surely die. 
She was not alone.  

I have only seen one raccoon all weekend, and there was food left out on purpose the last three nights, and it is still there.  There is also a pile of food in the garage that has not been eaten.  Possums and Raccoons tend to den up in the bitter cold. 

There is a heated dog bowl on the front porch, a heated bowl in the shop, and a heated bowl in the yard.... oh, and one under the porch of the big hen house, and I am putting food out there, too. 

I need to put my boots on shortly and go out and replenish water and feed again in a few minutes. 

Just prior to the really cold snap, I caught a picture two nights in a row of a possum in Bob's heated house on the porch.  Bob is in the house, and he and Bullseye are not happy, but they are NOT going to stay out in this cold. 

We have been doing a lot of this (Bob). 

A blue jay. 

Not one, but two Cooper's Hawks, way at the bottom of my pasture, looking down on the Spehar's ponds. 

That was a water bowl I brought in from the barn yesterday.... Coco is modeling.  The cats out there have a heated basin now, and they are doing ... okay... in the cold. 

I'm seeing a LOT of these guys (crows). 

And hundreds and hundreds of these flying overhead.  The bean fields are all under snow,  I am not sure where they are eating. 
I love them and I worry about them. 

Right now, I estimate there are two to three hundred little birds out in my yard, eating, and I need to go replenish here shortly. 

The Coopers are beautiful. 

This was the ONE day it was not blowing or snowing last week, and I let the birds out .  They have been in ever since.  Buddy, the last big rooster, is suffering in this cold, his comb looks like it will fall off.  I hung a second brooder lamp in his house yesterday and I found him directly under it this morning, it is closer to the ground than the first.  I was so glad to see him under it. 

That is before the heavier snow... yes, it's beautiful, 
but so hard on animal and human and bird. 

Say a prayer that THIS human does not slip and fall and break anything, because it will mean the end of my dream here! 

Everyone be careful and be safe. 

Monday, January 1, 2024

Beginning Another Year

 The holidays are over again, and it seems fitting that we start another year on a Monday. 

It is sunny with some clouds here in NE Kansas, and the wind is blowing my flag from the south at the moment, though our days of temperate temps are gone for a while.  We are in a period of cold, but not like the cold and snow our friends on the east coast have seen.  In fact, one year at Christmas we had nine inches of snow... that was hard on man and beast. 

I was stunned to see I had not blogged since October, and I hope to do better this coming year. 

How did I ever find time to do it daily in the past? 

2023 was hard for me here, and I am going to write about why.  I have not written about it... on purpose, because my heart was broken... and I was having trouble going on. 

On April 4th, little Zoey begain to have trouble breathing one day.  I had adopted her from Bonner Animal Rescue in November, 2021. 

This was two days prior.  
She had had a chest infection in March, and had taken medicine for it, and had had several visits to the vet.  That week, she had a follow up, and I was told her chest was fine.  I asked if they should xray again, and the vet assured me her chest was clear. 

Two days later, she struggled to breathe.  As it went on during the day, I began to get more and more alarmed, and I ended up taking her to the 24 hour ER.  They took her right back and put her in the oxygen chamber, and told me to go home they would call in the morning. 
The phone call I got at 9 AM was to tell me she had died. 
They told me the doctor had reached in to get her to give her a lasix shot and she had fallen over dead. 

I was so stunned, I cried out, and I got myself together and drove over there and spent time in the family room holding her. I could not believe it. 
My sweet little girl. 

She had embraced being a farm dog to the fullest, she did chores with me everyday. 

Her groomer posted this for her.  Yes, she cleaned up pretty good thanks to Brooke. 

On May 5th, we had to make the decision for big Buddy to cross the Rainbow Bridge. 

He was only here for nine months as a foster, but oh, my, how he stole my heart. 


Officer Kendra from Bonner Springs (Kansas), the ACO, escorted us down to the vet, and stayed with us to the end.  He was having increasing trouble getting down the three steps to the yard... and we were afraid he would collapse out in the yard at some point.  
He had a wonderful last nine months. 

That left this guy. 

My Jester, my heart.  Remember, I had lost Snowy and Fritzi before I got Zoey, and Jester accepted them all.  He was good to everyone, even big Buddy.  We had had four pugs, but had never had a Boston until my son asked us if we would like to have him in 2014, they had taken in a Boston and an English Bulldog puppy, and it was too much for them.  
We had dog sat for them and we liked Jester a lot. 

More importantly, Lilly Ann liked Jester. 

One of my favorite pictures of our water baby, Lilly. 

My babies. 

On May 25, at 5:00 in the morning, Jester, who had never barked in the nine years I had him... he was eleven years old... began to scream and bark.  The screams were almost like human screams.  He frantically ran from the living room, into the shower stall behind the curtain, all the while screaming.  My son ran out of his bedroom, and was afraid to touch him, and I was shaking... I hurriedly dressed and in the dark, caught Jester and carried him to the car, and set out for the ER which is thirty miles away. 
The unearthly screaming stopped in the car, but he was panting terribly. 
I got him in the door and they took him right back, for once, the waiting room was empty. 

I stayed for a while, but they told me it might be hours, and I was pretty shaken. 
I drove the thirty miles home.  
I had phone call after phone call with increasingly bad news. 
He had Cushings.  He had a huge tumor wrapped around his spleen (they suspected it had started to come apart)... he had growths on kidney and liver.... 
Fritzi had had Cushings, their life span is very short, and it takes a terrible toll on them. 
There was not one encouraging thing in the doctor's reports.  

I made a decision to let him cross the bridge... and it was horrifying. 
The young doctor had a condition which did not let her empathize, and the procedure was done in a terrible way, with no time between sedative and final shot.  It broke my heart completely, my boy in my lap, literally. 

The ER offered a pet loss psychologist, and I saw her over the summer because I literally felt like I was coming apart.  Nothing had ever affected me that way, not even Keith's death because I had been able to prepare for it and we had talked about it over and over. 

Jester was my last link to Keith, pet-wise. 

It was crushing. 

I have had dogs almost my whole life, and I have none now.  I just can't go through it again, I can't.  I try... I know there are so many in shelters that need homes... I am donating, because I can't trust myself not to go off the deep end with another loss. 

I didn't tell anyone for weeks.  I didn't tell members of my family for months... I couldn't.  A few trusted friends.  
At Christmas, I got cards addressed to Jes, Buddy and Zoey, and I just had to grit my teeth. 
Anyway.... they are gone. 

The year otherwise was pretty good. 

My little great granddaughter, Maci, and great grandson, Wyatt, had a great Christmas. 
I had them here on Black Friday because I know they have a huge round of family at Christmas. 

The cats have pretty much taken over around here.... In descending order, that's Bullseye, Wanda, on my bed, Bob, Coco is in the seat of the chair, she is so black you can hardly see her on the coverlet. Molly is on the back of the big couch. Wanda was vetted for a cut on her neck, and has become an inside cat, along with Coco.  The other three still go out. 

Mama, Teeny, and Cleo are still out in the shop, and thriving.  They have a heater and a warming light. 
We have not had frigid temps yet. 

Teeny still sleeps in the wood burning stove, she has a deep bed of straw in it. 

Everyone has their current shots except Cleo, and she is going to have to be a drop off, I think, because it will depend on when I can get her into a carrier. 

Oh, yes, we still have plenty of these.  Mama Raccoon taught her babies how to come in and out of the barn to check for treats.  I pour out a small amount of dry cat food when I close up at night, and if it is warm,  I leave the door cracked.  They also still come in and out through the "cat hole" in the wall. 

That's Bullseye out in the shop overnight on the Kuranda bed, and you see there is a big possum right behind him.... I love them, they are so helpful and eat ticks, etc.. They can carry a horse disease (if they have it) but there are no equines here now. 

They are gentle creatures with short lifespans. 

I feed the finches on the deck rail outside my window only when the cats are in.  
I love to watch them. 

This Cooper's Hawk has taken up a nest in my pasture, and he often sits on the fenceposts.  He is a beauty! 

So far, he has not gone for a chicken. 
Speaking of the chickens, 
I am down to sixteen now.  I started last year with four roosters, I have two and I don't expect the larger of the two to be around for long, he is six and showing signs of being tuckered out. 
Doug the Silkie rooster is still going strong. 

The trees in the wild area across from my place turned bright red in the fall, it lasted almost ten days and was glorious. 

And yes, the sheep came back, and when the big flock went home... I had Snickers the Jersey Heifer, Doodles the goat, and an ancient sheep I called Grandma as boarders for the next month, and I really enjoyed them.

My beautiful rooster Singleton left us suddenly in October; I went out to his house and found him gone one morning.  I lost his dad earlier, and his brother, Buddy, has now moved into his house. 

I hope to do better at blogging this year... 2024.... it sounds so strange to say it. 
I do enjoy reading other's blogs, still, and I miss staying in touch this way. 

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful year, full of all the things you are hoping for. 

Jester Boy Yoder, 2012 to May 25, 2023