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Monday, August 29, 2011

Hello Harley...

Almost every evening when I go to the pond our barn cat, Harley, is there to greet me. Some days he's lounging on the old picnic table, sometimes he's in one of the chairs. He always wants some petting and his motor is always running. In fact, that loud motor Harley has is part of the inspiration behind his name.

I got Harley from a local feral cat rescue when he was just a kitten. One of his ears had been clipped when he was neutered. They do this so they can identify feral cats that have already been caught, fixed and released. The rescue folks were afraid no one would adopt a scrawny scruffy black kitten. When I picked him up at his foster home I figured he was about the ugliest kitten I'd ever laid eyes on. Harley's ears were to big for his head and his fur stuck straight out in all directions. Don came up with his name because he had a big motor (purr), was dressed in black and very scruffy...just like a biker dude on a motorcycle!

Anyway, Harley proceeded to grow into a huge gorgeous fluffy lazy love bug. He was about a year old when we moved to the farm and couldn't run more than a few feet without huffing and puffing. He rarely went outside, preferring to stay in the comfortable house where he didn't have to travel far to get a bite to eat!

Seven years later it's hard to imagine that Harley is now an outdoor cat that hates to be inside. One day he decided to move to the barn and there he's stayed ever since. He ambles down to the pond to say hello and he comes to the house at night to have a can of wet cat food in the garage when Don comes home from work. Most of the time Harley is at the barn earning his keep by napping on a bale of hay or surveying his kingdom from the barn loft door.

If it's true that cats have nine lives, then Harley has a lot more living to do. Best I can figure he's only used three of those lives so as a feral kitten in foster care, one as a spoiled house cat and one as a barn cat. That's a comforting thought because I hope mellow old Harley will be around for a long time to come!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Frustrating day...

Ever have one of those days when you just feel discombobulated? Makes you look kind of like Don and Kyla in this photo! Well, I've been having that kind of day. I'm counting down the minutes until it's over!

First, my fridge quits on me for the gazillionth time. This fridge has been nothing but trouble for the entire seven years we've had it. I've lost count of how many times the thing has been repaired. I spent the day transferring all the frozen stuff to the freezer in the laundry room and then moving all the fridge stuff to the freezer section.

What I can't figure out is why the top half of the fridge and it's freezer (side by side type) are warm, but the bottom half is freezing everything. The produce in the bottom bin of the fridge was frozen. The milk, etc. on top is warm. Last night when I realized the fridge wasn't working properly I put a bowl of water on the middle shelf of the freezer. The bottom of it froze, but the top is still water. WEIRD!

To make things worse, I took a nap this afternoon and didn't wake up until almost late to walk down to the pond. Then I made the mistake of letting Caoimhe out with me while I fed the chickens. UGH...that dog is mischief through and through. She refused to come back in with me and ended up running to the pond and jumping in. Then she finally comes in the house dripping wet! Miss Caoimhe will NOT be going out with me again. She can go into the fenced front yard from now on.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day...Monday. And Mondays are always better, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The story of the masked bandit twins...

It's been a rather boring Saturday so I thought I'd share a story from earlier in the summer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when it happened!

Don keeps the horse feed in trash cans out at the barn. A few months back he kept finding the lid off one can every day when he went to feed the horses. It was the can that he kept the cat food in and the food was disappearing rapidly. One night he decided to take the live trap (pictured above with a prior inmate) to the barn to see if he could catch anything.

It was around midnight when he headed over there with his flashlight and the live trap. Now, I don't know if you've ever been in a dark barn at night, but they can be a bit creepy. Don got the live trap set up and went to get some cat food from the garbage can for bait.

When he opened the lid he discovered two juvenile raccoons. They were as surprised as he was and immediately shot out of the can causing Don to scream like a little girl! One shot between his legs and straight into the live trap. The other dashed into some empty feed bags stacked up in the feed room.

A little shaken by the unexpected guests and their rapid departure Don decided to leave the trapped coon alone for the night. As he was leaving he noticed it was calmly feeling around the inside of the cage as if trying to figure out how to get out. He left it there with plans to release it at the creek the next morning.

Imagine Don's surprise when he found the live trap empty the next morning! He feels sure the other coon had to have released the latch to let his twin out because it can't be opened from the inside. Since the two masked bandits were sure to come back Don decided to move the cat food to a different location.

Sure enough, they came back. How do we know this? When they discovered the cat food was not in the garbage can the two rascals left Don a present to show him what they thought about him moving their feast.

Yep...they pooped on top of the garbage can and we haven't seen them since!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What day is it?

I woke up this morning thinking it was Saturday. That feeling has stuck with me all day. In fact, I haven't planned anything for supper because Don works late on Saturdays and I usually pop a pizza in the oven instead of cooking a meal.

Then my daughter (pictured above with Don and I) called. We chatted a while and when we were saying our good-byes I told her to have a fun day tomorrow. She said she would once she got off work, which confused me until I realized it was Friday and tomorrow was Saturday, not Sunday. Nicole works Saturday mornings (she's a bank teller).

However, the feeling is still clinging to me. Ever have that happen...kind of a deja vu type feeling? It just feels like Saturday to me. I have no idea why or how my mind jumped from Thursday to Saturday. I even took a nap today, something I would never do on a Friday! I need to figure out what I'm going to fix for supper. Pizza anyone?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Welcome home Aislinn...

Tuesday night Don and I were headed home when we spied a small black animal running up the road in front of us. I thought it was a cat. When the little critter got to our driveway it dashed off the road. Don turned in and I got out to check on the animal. What I found wasn't a cat, but a very small puppy huddled against our garbage can and shaking like a leaf.

Her name is Aislinn (ash-lynn) which is an Irish name that means "beautiful lady in peril"...exactly what she was out on that deserted dark country road all by herself! Aislinn gave us lots of kisses on the way up the drive to the house and continues to do so.

Don took her to the vet Wednesday morning. To his surprise the vet announced that Aislinn was a pedigree! Don asked what breed and Dr. Slocum replied, "Full blooded mutt!" adding that she has a lot of terrier in her. He said Aislinn is about 10 weeks old. She only weighed 8.3 pounds (poor little thing's tummy was growling when we found her).

Don said she literally screamed when the vet gave her a shot (immunization, one of three puppy shots)...not a whimper, growl or yelp...a human sounding scream! Then she gave Dr. Slocum a bunch of kisses to show she wouldn't hold a grudge and he gave her a bunch of treats.

Aislinn has been a perfect angel. She hasn't had an accident in her crate and always does her business when we take her outside. She loves running and bouncing around the yard with the other dogs, but they haven't quite figured out what she is...puppy? cat? crazy bouncing toy? As usual, our dog Brenna has appointed herself Aislinn's surrogate mommy and won't let the other dogs get to close.

I've been wanting a new kitty and earlier Tuesday night I tried to sweet talk a feral cat in the Wal Mart parking lot to no avail. I think Fate sent Aislinn to me for a reason. She's not a cat, but she's going to be small and I'm going to make sure she's a Mama's girl!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chickens and their culinary choices...

My chickens do not like Mexican food. I find this odd, as I thought chickens would eat anything! They do, however, enjoy Chinese food! This evening they got some leftovers from the Chinese restaurant and gobbled it up before the ducks could butt in.

I think I know why Aunt Bernice and Aunt Bertha (pictured above) won't eat Mexican food...they don't like refried beans. My dogs don't like refried beans either. I have no idea why as no one is, um, spilling the beans!

Every evening I like to take the chickens and ducks a treat...salad greens, kitchen scraps, leftovers, small fish from the pond, etc. They've always been very happy with their treats until the day I tried to give them Mexican food. It sat there for a couple of days and I finally raked it up and tossed the stuff.

Since we rarely go out to eat any more I seldom have leftovers from the Mexican restaurant. If I do, I make sure Don gets them all in his lunch. He's my other "garbage disposal". Between Don, the chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and Elvis no food goes to waste here.

I just never expected chickens to be picky eaters!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two out of three ain't bad...

As I've stated before, we are into recycling. The phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" is always in the back of my mind when I'm shopping, cleaning, gardening, etc. Don doesn't think the "reduce" part works well when I'm shopping, but what does he know!

One of my favorite places to shop is the Goodwill Store. Buying second hand is a great way to reuse and recycle! Pictured above are a few of my most recent Goodwill purchases. The little cabinet will go into my laundry room. It has a door on the bottom and I plan to store cleaning supplies in and on it. Or, I may use for my cat collectibles since the laundry room has a cat theme going on.

The rooster and hen salt and pepper shakers will go into my kitchen. My decorating theme in there is roosters and my mother-in-law got me hooked on collecting rooster/hen salt and pepper shakers. She has a lovely collection of vintage shakers. I was delighted to find the Lenox shakers above as they will make a nice addition to my collection.

The Kirk-Stieff pewter coffee/tea set isn't something I normally collect, so I'll probably resell it on Ebay or in a yard sale. It was such a unique set that I couldn't resist (thus my failure with the "reduce" part of recycling).

After the thrill of finding these reusable recycled items I enjoy getting online and researching them. I like to jot down what I learn (manufacturer, manufacturing date, value) on a strip of paper and attach to the bottom of said item. That way, when Don complains that I'm a hoarder (I'm not...I'm a collector) I can show him that my treasures truly are treasures!

As for the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" thing? I'm working on it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just call me Dr. Dolittle...

I have a confession to make...I talk to animals all day long. I can tell if a cat is thirsty, hungry or wants to go out just by the sound of their meow. I can tell the difference between a dog's play bark and their "I'm serious, back off" bark.

I'm constantly saying "Be quiet", "Stop that", "Get down", "Drop that right now", "What's going on in here" and "Excuse me". Yes, I say "Excuse me" to the dogs and cats! I also say "Bless you" when a dog or cat sneezes.

One night (several years ago) during dinner I gave our dearly departed cat Ginger a tidbit from my plate and said, "Blow on it Ginger, it's hot". My sweet family burst into laughter and I am teased about it to this day.

I was grateful there was no one around to hear what I told Maggie this afternoon. We were taking our evening walk to the pond when she grabbed what looked like a very flat, very OLD mouse (a gift from a cat I'm sure). I immediately yelled at her, "Maggie! That's to roll on, not to eat!".

SIGH...just call me Dr. Dolittle.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ye ol' persimmon tree...

Down near the pond in our front yard is one of my favorite trees...a persimmon. I was checking it out this evening and, unlike this photo that I took in late Autumn, it is currently full of leaves and big green persimmons (dare you to take a bite of one).

One year I made persimmon butter from the fruit of this tree, but we weren't that fond of it. Now I just let the wildlife and our dogs have them. Drake, our elderly Black Lab, absolutely loves persimmons. The other dogs munch on them too, but none of them are as nuts for persimmons as Drake. I've thrown a few to the chickens, but they don't seem to like them much. Sometimes Don and I will snack on a few when we're sitting at the pond enjoying the nice cool Autumn evenings.

When the house was being built we would come out on the weekends to enjoy our place. I would pack a picnic and, while Don cleared brush, etc. I would sit under the persimmon tree reading a book. Our beloved Border Collie, Huck, lived for those weekends. Sadly, we lost him to stomach cancer six years ago next month. Huck is buried under the persimmon tree along with other precious dogs we've lost...Tippy, Brawn, Bonnie and Aoife. Five markers make a semi-circle around the persimmon tree and we hope it will be a very long time before another marker is placed there.

One of these days when I am gone I'd like to have my ashes scattered around the persimmon tree. Until then I will enjoy it's beauty and delight in the sweet musky taste of its fruit each Fall.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm in a jam!

I'm not really in a jam...more like I'm in jam up to my elbows! Last time I was at the grocery store there were six cartons of strawberries marked down to $1 a carton...I bought them all! Above is the resulting jam. Strawberry is Don's favorite jam flavor, so I don't think this batch will last long. Some day I'll have a well established strawberry patch and will make as much as he can eat!

Don also helped me pick elderberries to make jelly. I plan to do those tomorrow. I'm about the only one who really likes elderberry jelly, so one batch is more than enough. If I liked wine (bleahhh) I'd try to make some elderberry wine, but I much prefer jelly.

In a couple weeks it will be time to go check the wild grape vine down in the edge of the woods. For the past two years it has been loaded and Don has promised we would harvest some for jelly. Every year he decides they are to high to reach (and refuses to let me sit in the tractor's front end loader while he raises it up high). This year I am DETERMINED to make some wild grape jelly. Think he'll let me stand up on a ladder in the back of the pick up truck?

I'm also hoping the kudzu blooms well this year so I can make some kudzu jelly. It is SO good and smells so delicious! I love going outside when the kudzu is blooming. The breeze smells like grape Kool-Aid. Yummy smelling and yummy eating!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I love volunteers...

Do you love volunteers as much as I do? You know the kind I'm talking about...those stray volunteer vegetable and flower seeds that sprout in unexpected places. I never disturb them as I prefer to let them grow where they chose to sprout.

Last year we had sunflowers and grains sprout up around the bird feeders in the front yard and this year I've enjoyed watching the sunflower that sprouted just behind the duck pen (pictured above). I'm not sure how it got there because I don't recall ever feeding the ducks sunflower seed!

Currently the chicken pen is full of some type of grain that's sprouted from their scratch. For the life of me I can't recall what it is, but I'll figure it out before long! The ducks were eating it so I decided to keep them out of the rooster's area. Once I remember what it is I'll let them eat to their little hearts' content.

We also have peas growing around the front porch. I know how they got there. There was a bag of dried peas in the box where the wasp nests were. Don dumped the box out in the yard to make sure he'd gotten all the wasps when I got stung. Now we have a pea patch in our front yard!

At times it seems like I have better luck just throwing seed out, rather than planting it in rows. Hmmm...wonder if that would work with coins? If I toss a few out do you think a money tree would sprout?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I can feel it coming...

What a beautiful day today! We had a high of 82 degrees with a nice steady breeze. There's a big orange moon peeking over the tops of the trees right now. While I was out feeding the ducks and chickens just now a fIock of Canada Geese flew by overhead.

Now, I know it's the middle of August, but I could feel a hint of Autumn chill in that breeze and I loved it! Autumn is my favorite time of year (summer is my least favorite) and it always gives me a thrill when I catch that first promise of Autumn's arrival. I'm pretty sure that's what the geese were heralding as they flew overhead.

I can officially say I was thrilled today while at the pond catching fish. It was a lovely way to end a pleasant Sunday and I am looking forward to more of the same!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mothra landed on my front porch!

Okay, it might not be Mothra, but it was definitely a large moth that flew into our front porch the other night. Don said he thought it was a bat at first! The thing was almost three inches long!

Actually, it was a Catalpa (or Catawba here in the South) Sphinx Moth. To give you an idea of how large the Sphinx family of moths are, they are sometimes called Hawk Moths or Hummingbird Moths.

Now, I'm not surprised that we found one of these (although they are rarely seen) because we have two Catalpa trees close to the house. One is in the barn lot and the other is just across the driveway from the house. These are very pretty trees in the Spring with their pale lavender blooms. Catalpa caterpillars can strip a tree of all its leaves, but we haven't had a problem with that (so far). Plus, the caterpillars are excellent fish bait!

I'm glad the Catalpa Sphinx Moth paid us a visit and was gracious enough to let me take a photo. It was an awesome moth and was gone a short while afterwards.

Don't tell Spring I'm going to use its offspring for bait!

Friday, August 12, 2011

When it rains, it pours!

I can't help wondering why we made it almost the whole summer without any critters getting sick, snake bitten or injured in some other way, only to have a snowball effect start this week. Molly, fortunately, got to come home this morning and is doing very well after her bout of heat exhaustion. In fact, she's been lazing on our bed all day enjoying the air conditioning. Unfortunately, Eoghan (pictured above) will be heading to the vet's in the morning.

Last night Eoghan had what we believe was a mild seizure. He hopped down off the love seat to eat his dinner and collapsed on the floor halfway to the kitchen. Eoghan's legs drew up and stiffened, his feet curled up and his eyes were wide and blank. He was trembling all over and unresponsive to us. Don sat in the floor talking to him in a calm, soothing voice while stroking his trembling body. The seizure only lasted a minute or so, but it seemed like forever to me. When it was over Eoghan walked around on stiff legs for a few minutes and then seemed fine. He even ate all of his dinner and finished off some of the other dogs' dinners!

Of course, I spent the rest of the evening researching and reading. I've come to the conclusion that Eoghan is suffering from hypothyroidism. He has almost all the symptoms...dry itchy skin, thin brittle hair and weight gain. He's also half blood hound, which is a breed prone to thyroid problems. Needless to say, Eoghan will be going to the vet's in the morning to have blood drawn for testing.

Sigh...when it rains, it pours. I only wish it were the actual wet kind of stuff falling from the sky, not a metaphor for one sick doggie after another!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Missing Molly...

Tuesday afternoon I headed out of town to visit my mom and take some paperwork to my sister. After I left, Don put the dogs in the front yard while he mowed. He didn't think anything would was cooler than it's been in weeks and he was right there with them.

Sadly, he realized something was wrong with Molly when he brought the dogs in that evening. She was very lethargic and immediately began to drink excessive amounts of water (they had water in the front yard) which promptly came back up. Molly refused her supper, but again, Don didn't think much of it because she does that from time to time. He gave her a treat, which she did eat, so he went to bed not realizing that Molly was in need of veterinary emergency care.

When he got up yesterday he found Molly laid flat out on the floor downstairs and blood everywhere. He immediately rushed her to our local vet where she was diagnosed with Heat Stroke. Ultrasound showed her colon and bladder were full of blood, but the vet said Molly would pull through. They put her on an IV and Don came home. I got home last night and we both spent the evening worrying, especially when we researched Heat Stroke online.

Early this morning Don called the vet to see if Molly had made it through the night and was told she was doing much better. He decided to leave work early so he could stop and see her, plus discuss what we'd learned with the vet (we were concerned about organ failure/damage, blood clotting, etc.). What a relief to hear that they had downgraded her condition to Heat Exhaustion instead of Heat Stroke! Molly had eaten some kibble and kept it down and when Don went back to see her, Molly was up wagging her tail and happy to see her "Daddy".

She's still having bloody diarrhea so they're keeping her through tonight, but Molly should come home tomorrow. I can't wait! Even though there are still 17 dogs here, the house seems empty without Miss Molly.

Please, be very careful with your pets in this hot weather! We thought we were careful because we've been giving all the animals cool water, ice and making sure they had fans, shade, etc. If you notice your pet acting odd in ANY way, stop and make sure they are not to hot. Here are some signs to watch for...

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
  • Heavy breathing
  • Anxiousness
  • Deliriousness
  • Dark red gums
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Thick saliva
  • Inattentiveness
  • Increased salvation followed by dry gums
  • Weakness
  • Very high temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
Molly did not have all these symptoms, but she had several of them, which Don missed because he didn't recognize them as signs of overheating. Please take time to educate yourself on Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke and what you need to do for your dog should they start showing symptoms. It could save your pet's life!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do you recycle?

Last night Maggie (pictured above and currently barking her head off behind me) brought something into the house. Don yelled for me to check it out, but I was a little freaked because it looked like a mouse tail hanging out of one side! Maggie has been known to bring in "gifts" the cats left us at the back door. She's also been known to carry fish to the house from the pond and has been caught carrying turtles around (always unharmed and released in a safe place).

Fortunately, she did not have a mouse. Maggie had the biggest cicada I have ever seen in my life. It was one big bug! Unfortunately, it was almost dead so I told Don to toss it into the chicken pen so someone could have it for breakfast.

You see, we're big into recycling here. Aluminum is taken to the recycling center, leftovers are fed to the critters (dogs, chickens and ducks) and other items are put in the garden compost. It's a wonderful circle, especially when the animals are involved.

The chickens and ducks eat scraps and  vegetable peels which they turn into eggs for us to eat and fertilizer for the garden, which grows food for us to eat, which in turn provides scraps and vegetable peels for the chickens, etc. The horses eat grass, which saves us gas and time to mow it. That grass is turned into fertilizer for the garden, which provides food for us and the chickens, and so forth.

Last night I cleaned out the vegetable bin in my fridge and left the bucket of old stuff on the floor. I was planning to take it out to the compost pile today, but Maggie and Caoimhe had other plans. Caoimhe has obviously convinced Maggie that over sized cucumbers are REALLY good, although I think Maggie just chewed hers up. I reached this conclusion when I saw the huge mess on the living room floor. Caoimhe, on the other hand, loves to eat cucumbers. Yes, she is a strange dog.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to recycle all the dog hair I sweep up...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crawdad Crook strikes again!

Just about every evening I walk down to the pond to check the minnow basket. I like to supplement the ducks' evening meal with live fish. They love to jump in their kiddie pool and chase minnows around and around. It's a tasty treat they've sorely missed this summer due to a sneaky thief down at the pond!

That's right...we have a thief in our pond that I call the Crawdad Crook. Every day I find one crawdad in the minnow basket and no minnows. I am convinced that it is the same crawdad who has figured out the minnow basket is easy pickings. 

What to do? Normally I get my fishing pole and catch a few small fish if the minnow basket is empty, but it's just been to hot to stand down at the pond, there are skeeters down there. I'd call the crawdad cops, but their number is unlisted. Should I have a crawdad boil? One crawdad ain't going to make for much of a boil! 

Guess I'll just have to relocate the Crawdad Crook tomorrow. He's going to find himself in the big pond tomorrow evening. Hopefully he won't be replaced by another sneaky thief! If so, the ducks may be eating crawdads! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Running late...

It was so hot today that I waited until the sun was behind the trees before going out to feed the chickens, ducks and Elvis. Elvis didn't mind, but the ducks and chickens gave me an earful for running late. Fortunately, as soon as they had fresh cool water and food they all forgot about me.

Actually, it wasn't all that hot today. I think our high was 92 degrees, but the heat index was 102. Heat indexes really irritate my son. He says that if it FEELS like 102, then it IS 102, which makes a lot of sense to me! According to Wikipedia, "The heat index (HI) is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature..." so I think my son is on to something!

Personally, I know it's hot when sweat trickles down my back within 60 seconds of stepping outside. It's also pretty evident that it's hot when the chickens are walking around with their wings held out from their bodies and their beaks are agape. They weren't doing either of those when I went out this evening, so maybe they aren't to ticked off that I was running late!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fergus and his fantasy...

Yesterday evening, while feeding the ducks and chickens, my attention was drawn to my cats, Fergus and Kearie, playing. Fergus escaped from Kearie's clutches and went up a fence post. I was delighted to see this as Fergus is often spotted sitting on top of fence posts, but never seen actually climbing up one. He had an odd way of going up the post, more a form of hitching himself up than actually doing a graceful feline climb. This didn't really surprise me since Don and I are convinced that Fergus believes himself to be a dog.

When Fergus was five weeks old a cruel person threw him out of a moving car onto a concrete driveway. The man who found him brought Fergus to the vet's office where Don and I just so happened to be...guess I was in the right place at the right time! When the man came in with something wrapped up in a brown paper bag I was instantly curious...and very concerned. Don says I was hopping from foot to foot, but I don't believe him.

When the man handed the paper bag to a vet tech he asked her what they were going to do and she said they would have to put it down. I immediately blurted, "What is it and can it be saved?" and was relieved when she said that it was a kitten and it might possibly survive. I replied that I would take full responsibility for the tiny kitten. The man thanked me (as did everyone else in the vet's office) and told me what had happened.

Poor little Fergus...his nose had been ripped off when he hit the pavement and he was in very bad shape. So the vet's office kept him overnight and I returned the next day to bring him home. We put the large dog crate in the family room so that the dogs and other cats could become accustomed to Fergus.

For two weeks it was touch and go. Fergus was in so much pain he would just lie in his bed with his head hanging. I had to feed him with a syringe because he couldn't breathe and suck a bottle at the same time. Eventually he healed as best he could and became a happy little guy.

Today Fergus is a big beautiful cat and we don't notice the horrid disfigurement where his nose used to be. He spends most of his days lying in the yard with the dogs, which is why we think Fergus believes he IS a dog...after all, he grew up in a dog crate surrounded by other dogs! He never purrs and seldom meows. I told Don this is because Fergus thinks he should bark and it doesn't come out right so he stays quiet...probably embarrassed by the girly meows.

Yesterday, after climbing the fence post, Fergus hopped down into the back yard with the two dogs that live back there. He's the only cat that ever gets in the back yard...probably because Fergus thinks he's one of the dogs. When I came in the house Fergus was sitting next to the doghouse like he belonged there.

I guess, in his mind, he does!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

We need more food!

You may have noticed I don't blog on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. That's because those are Don's off days...our Saturday and Sunday. Usually I let him stay home and babysit the zoo,, while I do my errands and buy groceries. Then we spend Wednesday together at home. I don't get much computer time on those days as I let him have it. After all, I have the computer the other five days!

Because of the heat I put off my Tuesday errands for a week or so, which meant a big shopping day this past Tuesday. When I got home all the dogs and some of the cats were very curious to see if I'd gotten them some treats. Putting the groceries away is always a challenge with ten or more four-legged "helpers" getting in the way!

Wednesday Don and I met a friend at Ajax Diner in Oxford for lunch. If you ever find yourself in Oxford, Mississippi I highly recommend stopping in at Ajax Diner for lunch. They have the best Southern home cooking you can find outside of Grandma's kitchen! YUM! I always have the fried catfish and sweet potato casserole.

Afterwards we stopped at the State Trooper's Station in Batesville to get our licenses renewed. Don's had expired on his birthday back in February and mine expired on my birthday this past weekend. It was packed, but we used the new kiosk and were out of there in five minutes.

While in town we noticed that, for once, the temperature in the truck matched the temperature on the bank sign...111 degrees! I'm glad I didn't know the heat index! When we got home it was 107 at the farm with a heat index of 113. Don made sure all the animals had fresh cool water and filled up the kiddie pool I'd bought for the dogs the day before. Then he and I crashed in the house and enjoyed a lazy, drowsy evening.

Now you know why I go missing for two days and what I normally do on my "weekend". Y'all stay cool and keep your fingers crossed that this heat eases off soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who let the cat out of the bag?

My cats love to hide in odd places. I've found cats napping in the kitchen sink. I've found cats crammed into boxes much to small for them and I've found cats hiding in bags (like Norah in the photo above). Every time this happens the old saying, "...let the cat out of the bag" runs through my mind, which got me to wondering, where did this saying originate?

After some research it became clear that no one knows where "...let the cat out of the bag" originated. There are two theories being that in the 1700s or so farmers would trick buyers by selling them a cat in a burlap bag when they thought they were buying a chicken or a piglet. Another theory is that the phrase comes from English sailors being punished with a cat 'o nine tails, which was a whip. Researchers don't put much stock in that theory, nor can they find conclusive evidence of the farmer trickery.

So, I guess in this case, I'll just have to let sleeping dogs, er...cats, lie...which I highly recommend doing when you find a cat in a bag!