Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five down and four to go!

Today, children, I am going to talk about my animals (or as Norm calls them - “ani-mules” - he loves being silly).

As I think you know, we have two adult ewes, Soot and Lulu - we also have Lulu’s daughters, Melon-ie and Honeydew. They are pretty nearly weaned and will go back to the Farm when the other lambs go to market. I think they will probably stay on the Farm as the plan is to normally save the ewe-lambs and sell the wethers (neutered boys). Then we will have just the two again. Both ewes have beautiful fleeces that are a joy to work with. I am anticipating the new fleeces we will get next spring that will be just as nice.

Norm has been busy putting up hay for the winter and feels we will have enough without having to buy any. With our acreage, Norm can cut with either the tractor and sickle bar mower or the “Jari” - a hand sickle bar mower - in the small areas. He either rakes with the tractor and rake or does it by hand with the old-fashioned (but newly made) wooden hay rake. And he pitches it into one of the trailers to haul to the barn and put in. I help rake but cannot pitch hay anymore and do not drive the tractor. Norm doesn’t seem to trust me on the tractor although my cousins taught me how to drive when I was ten. I also cannot handle the Jari as I used to be able to do, twenty years ago.

Then, of course, the chickens - we have about fifteen of them and get a goodly amount of eggs each day so that we can keep Candy and Wayne in eggs as well as ourselves, give eggs to niece Cookie and Joy and sell the extras. I enjoy chickens and love to collect eggs and cook with them, even if I don’t like to eat eggs.

Then, the cats. We started three years ago with a kitten from Norm’s home ranch where his brother and wife still live. Norm picked her out and called her “Scooter.” Then in the fall I got a black cat from the Farm - my Halloween cat, Spook. Each year we had only one kitten survive from the batches that Scooter had; we kept Spunky, so named because she was spunky enough to survive from that litter. When Spunky was a year old, she lost her litter through disinterest (and I was too late to notice) and Scooter had one surviving kitten, Tiger. So, with only one kitten per year, I figured that I didn’t need to go to the expense of spaying the female cats. Spook is taken care of (neutered) but Tiger is not.

But now my head hangs down in shame. We had nine (count them - NINE) kittens this Spring out of two mommas!!! What a shame for someone who advocates neutering and not expanding the population of unwanted kittens and puppies!! My reasoning has always been money and the fact that only one kitten survived each year and we kept that kitten each year. But not this year! I have sworn to have the cats spayed this year when the kittens were weaned.

When we worked at Walnut Grove, we took kittens along to hopefully find good homes for them. The first weekend all three of the kittens we took went to one home. One was to be a house cat and the other two were to be barn cats (they do come from excellent mousers, by the way). The next weekend was too hot for either man or beast and so we left kittens at home. The third weekend was cooler and we took four kittens, getting homes for two of them. That makes five gone and four left.

Yesterday while in town, we left flyers for the kittens around and I have gotten two calls, so far. So two MIGHT be gone by tomorrow which makes it much more allowable in my mind! We will keep the ads up for as long as it takes to find homes for all of them.
Gandalf, still looking for a home
Feisty, who is looking for a home, with Onion, who has found a home
Little No-Name (can't think of one for him) and Nelly (who now has a new home)
Yesterday, also, I took Spunky in (she had her kittens first) and she has been spayed now - I collect her tomorrow. One down and one to go for that job! Money is “no option” when it comes to peace of mind and the fact that I will not be populating the world with kittens anymore! Well, it IS an option but I have saved the amount needed and gone without fun things I could have gotten from what Walnut Grove paid me for demonstrating!

And, as to Peanut - sweet little Peanut. I have never in my married life seen Norm react to a dog as he does to Peanut. He simply adores her! He talks to her when I’m not around - I hear a voice in the kitchen and have learned to not ask “What did you say?” as the tone is different from that he uses for me. She is a clown - I’ve heard it said that Dachshunds are clowns and she certainly is one. She and Norm have a little dance routine that he makes her go through for a treat. She knows the word “treat” so we really DO have to spell it or she will head to the treat jar and beg until we give up. Friend Jody says that Peanut is very smart because she has trained US well. We seem to do what she wants - let her outside even if there is no reason except she is sure there are bears on the driveway, give her treats in the middle of the day because she feels she needs one, and so on. Her treats, fortunately, are made up of organic dog food bits that she, fortunately again, loves. So we are not giving her something to assist in making her fat. Norm is the one that insists we take her to town (if the weather allows) and was the first one to insist that she go with us when we travel rather than leaving her at home with a dog sitter or at a kennel. I can tell when a storm is coming because Peanut glues herself to my ankle until I go to bed and then hides under the bed. She is nervous about noises and won’t even go outside if Norm is mowing the lawn.

I have never had a dog as small as Peanut and Norm has not, either. Since she is our “child,” we enjoy spoiling her and loving her as much as she deserves. She turned eight years old this month and hopefully will be around for thirty or forty more to make our lives more enjoyable.

So, children, there is my animal story - we have a few to make life more enjoyable but not too many to make life difficult for two old people. Sister Candy will take care of the chickens and cats and check on water for the sheep when we go to events. We try to make that chore as easy as possible for her and also for Wayne who helps.

It is a beautifully cool day today - only in the low seventies and no humidity .... a day that makes you glad to be alive. You have a beautiful day.

1 comment:

Candy T said...

I'm glad you are finally taking care of the girls. Kittens are great. But just like the rescues I take in, hard to find homes for. I still am trying to talk Hubby into Gandalf. "Nelly", what a nice name for that beautiful little girl.