Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Meet Bugsy, The Lucky Kitten

You may recall that I'd found a kitten which someone dropped off at my barn. I kept him isolated in the barn for a week while I treated his runny eyes and made sure all his fleas were gone. Then I took him to the vet for vaccinations. I named him Bugsy and brought him indoors to see his new home - and its other occupants:

Seamus was the first to come see the tiny kitten. Bugsy didn't panic but wasn't quite sure what to make of the gigantic dog:

Then Daphne came to see him. Bugsy seemed to think he liked the smaller dogs better:

Then Jack gave him a thorough sniffing, but by this time Bugsy was unafraid and sniffing back:

I took him upstairs to the cat room, where I showed him the litter boxes and set him up on a cat tree:

I left him upstairs but he ran back down to be where the action was. Daphne, Seamus and Jack checked him out once again:

And again:

A friendship was born - the biggest dog and the smallest cat. Seamus and Bugsy really took to each other:

Soon I began finding Bugsy curled up at Seamus' side while Fergus tried his best to fit on the same dog bed:

Bugsy and Seamus were almost inseparable:

Because he'd hissed at Clover when they first met, she'd thereafter been reticent to get chummy. But Bugsy soon marched right over and got close, signaling that he'd decided she was OK. You may be wondering where the adult cats were. Bramble watched Bugsy from a distance, but Georgette and Rocky pretended the little squirt didn't even exist. But they all came around in a few days - Bramble first, then Rocky and finally Georgette:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Red Poll Ladies

For all the hubbub about calves and breeding and feeding and haying, most of the time the cows spend lounging around and chewing their cuds:

They have two trees for shade:

They show a fondness for being near the barn, grazing in a section which I kept mowed before the cattle arrived. Perhaps there is more grass and fewer broadleaf weeds there:

They've got the grass clipped short near the barn but it's longer (and weedier) farther out in the field. The brown in the field beyond the fence posts is mostly grass seed heads:

After I took this picture, I went back into the barn and got the weed whacker. I took down all the thistle-like plants and Burdock I could find:

The cows usually avoid the wet areas, but have enjoyed them during our hot, dry summer:

I remember how things were when these girls first arrived. They were skinny and fearful. Things have sure changed in three years!

This is Rosella, just before she gave birth. She was actually much wider than she looks in this photo:

My neighbor comes once each week and drops off a trailer load of grass clippings for the girls to munch:

The Red Poll girls didn't figure out what they were at first, but they certainly know now. The entire load of grass clippings is eaten in about an hour:

And then they come in for a drink of water:

This is Violet, the one cow who I thought would never become friendly. But she is beginning now to think maybe I'm OK after all. I guess it takes longer to win over some hearts than others:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dogs And Cats At Home

The livin's been easy for the dogs and cats who stay in the house. Georgette's favorite place is atop the tallest cat tree at the top of the stairs:

Congregations of dogs and Bramble, the cat, collect in the farm house kitchen:

Seamus got a summer haircut and he's feeling fine:

Jack's as hyper and silly as ever but enjoying life. I remind myself sometimes that this little dog had the shelter flummoxed. He screamed and bit when anyone came near him. You'd never know it now, even when guests arrive. He greets new people with as much enthusiasm as my other dogs:

Bramble still enjoys pushing the water bowls away from the wall and watching the water slosh everywhere:

 And the dogs have learned where to find shade when in their fenced back yard:

I've begun to relax and used the belly-bands less often. But when I leave the house for a few hours, I still put them on Fergus and Jack:

Jack often stands at the foot of the stairs and watches me. I wonder what he's thinking:

  Seamus, despite his great weight loss, mostly wants to sleep:

Georgette moved down to a lower shelf on her cat tree for this picture:

Clover and Seamus enjoyed the shade next to the house on a summer afternoon:

Daphne lounged in the grass. Yes, these dogs and cats have a pretty good life:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Summer Happenings Around The Farm

Someone dropped off a family of cats at my barn during the night. I began trying to trap them and finally managed to get this little black fellow. He was a veritable love sponge but quite unhealthy. I rid him of fleas and treated his eyes with ophthalmic ointment I had from previous pets. I think I'll keep him, but first need to get him to the vet. He's been staying safely out in the barn until I'm sure he won't introduce any health problems to my elderly house cats: 

The baby chicks have grown so rapidly that I often think I can see the increase in size each day. But I have been afraid to let them outdoors because I haven't caught all the cats someone dropped off. Maybe they went elsewhere, but I can't yet be sure:

The fantail pigeons, however, have finally accepted living with chickens. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em:

They are a stunning variety of colors and patterns. Half of them will be cockerels, however, so will need to be eaten. That may seem sad now but won't be when they get old enough to fight all the time and brutalize the pullets:

In the meantime, my remaining Barred Rock hens are enjoying their summer freedom:

Life is good when you have lots of food and water - and no predators hunting you:

I don't know if anyone sees my farm sign, but I notice it when I have to clip the grass which grows all around the base:

It's been a lean year for apples. So far this is all I've found - pretty slim pickins' compared to previous years. Nonetheless, the cows enjoyed them. The horses took them in their mouths and then dropped them:

A fantail pigeon came to the open window and considered taking a flight around the yard:

The first and so far only Clearwing Moth of the year arrived in August and, as usual, went straight to the Tall Garden Phlox:

It was smaller than normal, but still looked like a miniature hummingbird:

I love watching them feeding on nectar with their roll-up proboscis:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Remy And Blue

The two little horses have been licking the mineral salt blocks just as the cows do. I know that our soil is deficient in some minerals, so I am glad to see them taking advantage of them:

Blue was sidelined for about five days by sore hooves. The vet diagnosed them as abscesses but apparently they were not. Nonetheless, the painkillers he left for Blue helped a great deal:

Toward the end of the week, Blue was running wildly across the fields alongside Remy, so I assumed he was healed of whatever had bothered him:

When I walk out into the field, Remy runs right up for attention. Blue wants to be about ten feet away - close enough to be companionable but not close enough to be touched:

And the cows mostly ignore me when I walk out into the field. That's a good sign, for they used to run away when I first got them. Now they usually don't even stand up when I arrive. They feel safe:

Sometimes I can get Blue and Remy to play:

But usually I wind up backing away from Remy, who can't seem to get close enough:

OK, I'll admit it. I enjoy snapping photos of these miniature beauties:

And they enjoy each other's company. Heaven forbid something should happen to one of them. The other would be bereft:

Blue and Remy were born ten days apart and have never been separated. No, never:

When the neighbor brings over grass clippings, the horses arrive first and eat what they can before the big cows arrive. Then they have to go play because the cows take over. That's a good thing, because eating too much of the grass clippings could be problematic for horses (but not for cows):

I began driving out into the field when Rosella's calf was born and it made my life so much easier that it became a regular thing. Of course Blue and Remy think I've brought them a toy to play with and I have to watch lest they pull off my windshield wipers, etc: