Monday, September 30, 2013

Zoe, the Cutest Kitten in the World!! No Lie!!

I can't believe I've had this blog for a few months and never mentioned Zoe, the cutest kitten in the world. Move over Nermel, Garfield's nemesis. All our cats are spayed and neutered so they don't procreate but that didn't stop the occasional stray or drop off cat, from making their home here.

I do not know where Zoe came from, we got home from hauling cattle one morning and there was a tiny, scared, wild little kitten on the footrest of the 4-wheeler. She was held in place by an excited, wiggling Mollie, who just wanted to get more acquainted. The kitten didn't know who to fear most, me or that bundle of fur who was nose to nose with her.

I managed to grab her, then yelled at Bruce, "Get the cat carrier, if I let go of her I will never see her again!" That got an eye roll, but he dutifully got the cat carrier and I bless the day she dropped into our life.

There are cats and then there are special cats, Zoe is special. It took a few days to calm down but then she took charge of the house and everything outside. Everyone fawns over her silky soft coat, beautiful large eyes and big, mitten paw feet and she gracefully soaks it all in. She is a petite little thing but can make Mollie "SIT and STAY!" with an arched back, raised paw and crook of her head.

She does get a little cocky, just the other day I heard a cat fight right outside the front door, there was Zoe, in a standoff with Lucy, a cat that has been around the block a time or two and wasn't going to take any crap off this little shrimp. Zoe hair was strewn all around, not a bit of Lucy hair. I rescued Zoe from another thrashing and told her she needed to pick her battles better.

I've been working on a landscaping project outside the front door all summer, I have to keep tilling the ground because the weeds pop back up. There is nothing more inviting to a cat than a freshly tilled piece of earth. Zoe has one spot wallowed out into a recliner.

"I love a good roll in the dirt!"

"Ahhhhh, a good back scratch!"

"Rub the ear...."

"All I'm missing is a little tv with a remote."

"I'm cute, ain't I cute?"

"My gopher pose, eyes open...... 

....eyes shut."

And then there is Simon,
"Ain't I cute, too??"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A hen with hemorrhoids! (And just try spelling that without spell check!)

One of the little Serama hens, the last of the original group, has a problem with her bottom. It's no wonder, I watched her lay an egg one day and it was tough, she strained and strained before the egg popped out. She is an older hen and, well, things get a little droopy with age and don't go back in place like they used to.

But what to do? As usual, I turned to Mr. Google and come to find out, you can treat chickens with the same Preparation H that is in your medicine cabinet for someone who shall remain nameless in our household.

First I had to catch her and it's much easier in the dark, I blinded her with the flashlight, then scooped her up and she started shrieking which upset the rest of the chickens. I don't blame her, I'm sure it was very frightening, she probably thought the end was near.

Things were a little messy, if you get my drift, so I gave her a sitz bath in an ice cream bucket of warm water with a towel draped over it. Surprisingly chickens love a warm sitz bath, I've used it in the past when I had a hen who was egg bound. Bruce had never seen a hen in his laundry sink before so snapped a picture. The warm water relaxes them and they lay an egg averting a problem.

The little Serama wasn't quite as relaxed as the old girl in the sink but I got her cleaned up and dried with the towel before applying the Preparation H. Be very gentle and wear a glove.

Two days later I had to do it again but tonight I'm happy to report that all is well with her hiney, just so you know, caring for chickens isn't for sissies.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Golfing and a Wedding

Bruce and I found ourselves back on the road to WI, just two months after our last trip when we celebrated a birthday and an anniversary. This time our reason for the trip was a wedding and, since we got the silage all chopped, went out a little early so the golfers could get in a few rounds.
We stayed at Jean and John's while Foof and Janet stayed with Rich and Shirley. This was the Fab Five, this group played 18 holes on Thursday and Friday. Bruce and Rich went early Sat and played another 18 holes before the wedding.
L - R, Foof, sucking in his belly and telling me to hurry up, he couldn't hold it much longer, Janet, Jean, John and Bruce.
I am not a golfer, I tried it once and decided I'd rather mow the lawn, there are several thrift stores close by so I braved the Madison traffic and went to find some bargains. My first stop was the Salvation Army store, right inside the door is a sign, 'We can't sell items without a price tag.'
The first thing I spotted was a bowling ball bag, empty except for the ball stand inside, just what I have been wanting! EUREKA!! But in searching for the price, I discovered there was no tag, dang it!
There was only one clerk working so I took it to her, she searched all over and agreed with me, there was no tag. She said, "I'll have to send it to the back room." I said, "I will give you $2.00 for it." She said she would get in trouble, I looked over the other bags and there was one with a bowling ball and shoes for $4.99, but she wouldn't budge. "No, I just can't do that." I asked her if I came back the next day if it would be priced and she said it will sit in the back room for months.
I went on through the store, found a few things for my cart, then, on a shelf, sat a book light, I've been needing one. I tried it to see if it worked, it did, then looked for a price, none! AAUUGGHHH!!! Back to the clerk, I really wanted this book light!! She looked it all over and concurred with me, there was no price, she set it on the opposite counter. I said, "I'll give you $5.00 for it," I really wanted this book light! Regretfully she shook her head, "I'd get in trouble."
She rang up my purchases, minus the 10% senior discount, there are perks to getting older, started to give me a total, looked at the book light, back at me, then picked it up and said, "Would you pay $3.99 for it??" Well, if I HAVE to!! I happily handed over my money, was just gathering my loot when she looked at the bowling ball bag and said, "Would you want it for $1.99??" YES!! And, of course, my 10% senior discount! She was muttering, "If I send these to the back room they will just sit there, I might as well get something for them." I left there a happy camper, found a few more bargains at Savers and Goodwill before heading back to the house.
Friday was pretty much a repeat of Thursday, a van load of golfers took off to chase the elusive little white ball around the ground while I hit some garage sales in the area and another thrift store. By the time I got back, I was shopped out and happy to be a slug and read my book.
Saturday was Chanee` and Aaron's big day, the wedding was at 2 but there are always football games on. Bruce, Janet, Rich and John, all dressed in their wedding finery, catching some football before we left.
A beautiful bride and her happy husband.
Little cousins, Evie and Colby, running off some steam while waiting for the reception to begin. Colby was like one of those little windup cars that will run into a wall and just sit there running. At the door, he waited for Evie to pick him up........
....turn him around, set him down and they were off again. Back and forth, back and forth.

Then it was on the reception where a lot of work had been done by the bride and groom. They made these huge balls of twine and yarn and cut the bottoms off 300 wine bottles, threading a wire inside to hold a battery candle. The entire ceiling was filled with these decorations. Bruce had the bad fortune to be sitting under one of the twine balls when it gave way so we all got a chuckle out of it. He was just lucky it wasn't a wine bottle.
Then there is the family who hang spoons on their noses. Evie....
..not to be outdone, her father Curtis shows his technique, while Jack looks on and wonders how old he has to be to participate in this family tradition.
Our table, if you notice one person is watching a football game on his phone.
The bride and groom did not respond to the clinking of glasses to kiss, you had to sing a song with 'Love' in it. The Nielsen cousins met that challenge.
Linda and Ron, who is really getting into it with Dennis peeking over his shoulder.
Brian warned Chanee` that these are people who like to sing.
They even got into it and had a little dance around the head table.
Three cousins and a bride, Jean, Marilyn, Shirley and Chanee`.
Nothing like a wedding to bring out a little romance in a couple with no children at home.
Out on the dance floor, the father/daughter dance, always a tear jerker, to the very appropriate song by Trace Adkins 'She Just Thinks We're Fishing.'
Parents of the bride, Chip and Brian, Chip was beautiful in this stunning dress.
All too soon, us old people ran out of gas and headed back to the house. Sunday morning we got up and packed, it was time to go home. I was missing my critters and we have harvest coming on. It's fun to go visit the city family but we are country mice at heart and it was wonderful to see our fields again.
 "Green Acres is the place to be, Farm Living is the life for me, Land spreading out so far and wide, Keep Madison WI, just give me this country side!!!"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Training Otto

Last week, when Dennis and Debbie were here, we were out by the backyard pond watching the fish begging for food. Dennis went out in the front pasture, caught a little grasshopper, brought it back and tossed it in the water.

The grasshopper thrashed around a bit, a couple of fish came up and nibbled but backed off. Just as the grasshopper was swimming for a lily pad, "THHUPP!" No grasshopper, Otto had spied him and decided to have lunch.

That was so much fun, Dennis went back for more grasshoppers, I gave him my small fish net and it worked pretty good. Finding grasshoppers is labor intensive, get one, come back and feed Otto and go back after another.

After they left I decided I needed to have a better method of gathering grasshoppers so rummaged around in my 'too good to throw out' box of things and found a net bag. YIPPEE!! This is what you need if you are going to gather grasshoppers, the glove is a must because they have really creepy, sticky legs and one even bit me, that creeped me out so bad I screamed like a little girl and tossed the grasshopper into the air, kind of defeating the purpose.

I forgot to see if Otto was visible after my first grasshopper foray, he wasn't around so I tossed some to the fish and a big goldfish nibbled on it, then, to my surprise, gulped it down.
The fish went to the bottom of the pond and worked on the grasshopper for awhile, I don't think those sticky legs went down all that easy.
I kept checking the pond and finally saw Otto, with just his head sticking out of the water so grabbed my bag of grasshoppers. It's not an easy job, placing them just right with all the foliage in the pond so Otto can see them, the first one I bounced off his face. He flinched but didn't leave, I took that as a good sign.
We went to the Spencer Fair last week and took in a Big Cat Show. The trainer said all the cats are taught with positive reinforcement, in other word, treats. I decided if a big cat can learn how to jump through a hoop, Otto should be able to learn to come to me when I call.
So I'm standing on the side of the pond calling, "Otto, Grasshoppers! YUM!"
 I carefully took aim and tossed the grasshopper about 6 inches from his nose.
It was a perfect shot, Otto spotted him!
In a flash he was across the water and slurped up the grasshopper!

All the while I'm saying, "Otto! Grasshopper!!"

And I'm really hoping no one is around to hear me.

Do you think a frog can learn to come?
Think there is an app for that?
Maybe I'll google it and see if anyone has ever successfully trained a frog.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Dang Chickens!

Since when did my barrel of New Guinea impatients become an 'All You can Eat Salad Buffet?"


Chickens have no boundaries.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chopping Silage, harvest has begun.

Every year Bruce cuts some, not quite ready to combine, corn with the silage chopper that grinds the stalk, ear and all, piles it on a big cement slab and covers it with a 40x100 foot silage tarp. That feeds our cattle for the next year.

He used to have his two buddies, Roger and Fred, come over and in one fast paced day, they completed the job. One year it didn't work out so Bruce started chopping by himself with a little help from me and a week later he was done. He has done it that way ever since. He chops 4 loads then calls me to come pull them in.

One at a time, I haul them out of the field..... the pile and, while it is small, drive upon the pile where Bruce hooks up the pto shaft to unload the wagon.
Then I watch the mirror carefully, the hand signals tell me to stop....
...or to go.... the silage fall in a line behind the wagon.
While I go get another wagon load out of the field, Bruce goes to work leveling and packing, back and forth, back and forth.
So the day goes, a break for a field lunch on the 4-wheeler.
The pile grows.....
....soon Bruce is driving the tractor on the pile because I lose my nerve, it's getting too tall!
And Bruce packs, back and forth, back and forth, lather, rinse, repeat.
Finally the pile is complete, time for a little shaping......
....a little more packing.....
"Hey, you are getting a little close to the edge, that is a 6 ft drop and I'm the one who does your laundry!"
Since the wind was very light, we decided to put the tarp on, usually we, well I, have to get up early, Bruce is always up early, to put it on before the wind blows. Since I don't willingly do early, I was all for doing it in one fell swoop.
The tarp actually goes on in three pieces, it fits better that way, piece #1, roll across and down the side and cut.

We each pull a side to unfold, fit to the pile and Bruce starts piling dirt around the edges to hold it in place.

Morris comes down to supervise and remind me that his food bowl is empty.

After all three pieces are in place and weighted down the last job is to pile tires across the top of each splice so the wind doesn't get underneath and rip the plastic. It is a messy job, especially when a tire gets tossed that happens to have water inside, I was too close and got a dirty bath.
Years ago they used to blow silage up into this concrete silo, it was a job, the blower would plug. Then in the winter, they had to climb up and chop frozen silage away from the wall, that wasn't exactly the good old days.

Bruce said the best thing he did was to pour this cement pad and pile it on the ground, letting the tractor do all the work.
All too soon winter will be here and Bruce and Morris will be feeding from this pile.