Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In memorium - Barnard

Barnard was diagnosed with a slew of ailments in December. Her bloodwork startled the vet -- Feline Leukemia, Feline Infectious Anemia, Kidney Failure.  Country cats who spent time outdoors are very vulnerable -- you never know who is coming to visit.

Anyway, I made the decision not to treat her, but instead to allow her slow decline to continue and when it became clear that her quality of life was compromised, to euthanize her.

Yesterday was the day. I looked at her in the morning and said to myself "it's not going to get better.  This is the best that she has.  Is that ok?" No, I could not honestly say that it was.

So today I find myself without a cat for the first time in 18 years.  (You'd have to go back another 18 years before that to find the previous time.)

Barnard showed up in the barn in August, 2011.  That was a rough summer -- Oskar died in May, and Abe in August. It took her until the freeze of January to actually venture up to the house.  It took a while before she moved in. The vet said she was about five years old and had had kittens at least once.  I thought she was a kitten herself! I am happy that the second half of her life was spent at Busy Solitude Farm where she could bask in the sun without fear.

I believe a cat makes a house a home.  In time I will find a couple of cats to bring home.  They'll need to be ok with dogs -- Phoebe is rather enthusiastic about other animals in the house. And I'd like a couple who know and love each other.

But until that time, Phoebe and I are alone, with only our memories of Barnard.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hello, deer!

Well, this photo was really "goodbye, deer!" But it was the only one I got, so it will have to do.

My lawn mower went in for an oil change and blade sharpening on May 7.  I had not cut the grass in a week when it was picked up, but I figured it would be back in a few days and I could cut it then.  Instead, the business that brought it in apparently had a walk-out.  Then when they finally got to my mower last week they broke the blade spindle and needed to wait for the part.  The mower was delivered back to me yesterday, June 2.

You can imagine how long the grass grew!  Luckily I had friends do me the exceptionally good deed of trailering their mower to my house and cutting the grass inside the fence so that the dogs wouldn't disappear!  But outside the fence it is over two feet high.

I cut a path with the string trimmer and then started the slow process of mowing yesterday.

The blade kept getting tangled and I'd have to back off and allow it to chomp up the grass.  I only got one wide path cut from north to south, and the area around the vegetable beds.

Shift to this morning....

I woke before sunrise, but the sky was growing light. The dogs snoozed back-to-back on the bed next to me.  It felt truly indulgent and lazy.  Then suddenly Phoebe slide off the bed and trotted to the window where she likes to watch wildlife. And the barking began.

I sat up in bed and saw what I've never seen before -- two deer standing right next to the fence! I realized that was where the path was.  Even deer prefer the path of less resistance when it's offered!  I jumped from bed to calm Phoebe down, and together we watched the beautiful deer sniff and graze as they slowly made their way from north to south, disappearing behind the barn.

Moments later their scent must have made it through the open window, because Ulani suddenly sprang into action, barking furiously and trying to figure out where they went! So we all got up.  I took a couple of minutes to pull on some clothes (and give the deer a chance to move on).

Once outside, I saw that the deer were now out in the cornfield next to us. That's where I took the photo. And I discovered that we weren't the only ones observing nature this morning!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Snowy" Owl

My backyard Eastern Screech Owl does not seem at all upset by today's snow.