Monday, September 27, 2010

Abe in Decline

My beautiful black boy is in decline.  I think the cats are around 13-14 years old.  They came to live with me in April of 1998 as young cats.  Three of them together, lively and fun.  Just a couple of summers ago Bodhi left us.  He lost a good deal of weight and then got very sick.

Over the past six months Abe has lost a good deal of weight.

He's just skin and bones now.  He demands my attention a few times a day, rubbing his head on me, kneading me incessantly.  

Petting him feels like petting a rake.  Every bone sticks out.  His fur still gleens, but something is failing inside him.

It's difficult to see, especially on a black cat.  But he no longer has any padding on him.  The next photos were taken this past spring.  He still had a bit of a hanging belly on him.

Now he has a skinny belly.  I couldn't get a photo of it, because he wanted to sleep.

In contrast, Luke is still hale and hearty.

I caught him with breakfast still in his mouth!

He still looks like the healthy cat on the vet's charts.

He's tough and vigorous. 

I hope that Abe is not uncomfortable as his life fades.  I hope that he stays warm this winter, and that when his time comes it is a quick transition.  He's added much to our lives.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

See how we grow

See how our garden grows!  I planted this river birch a couple of years ago, and after a summer spent putting down roots, this year it really added height.  Think it's not so tall?  Here it was just planted:

Oskar hasn't shrunk particularly, so now you can see the change.

I planted river birch because it's a wet area, and because I love the peeling bark.  For the first couple of years it just grows, but I noticed while taking this morning's picture that the peel has begun!

Isn't it beautiful?  I'm looking forward to much more growth in the next years. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Spot started crowing this week.  There's no longer any question -- he's a rooster.  Now he needs to continue to defer to the older roosters and all will be well.  Otherwise, well, all will not be well.

Isn't he beautiful?  When he's outside he appears white with a melt of butter on him.  (I don't eat meat, so there are no worries there!)  One might say "pearlized", but I would NOT!  (If that doesn't mean anything to you, then please read this story.)

He no longer hops up on my shoulder.  In fact, he no longer comes anywhere near me.  Last night when I wanted to close the barn, he stayed out in the yard and I had to chase him into the little catch chute where he is cornered and I can grab him.  He totally freaked out.  I kept saying "hey, Spot, it's your old buddy here.  Don't be scared, I'm just putting you inside for the night."

Kind of makes me sad when they grow up and don't need you any more.

Since Ulani got Spot's sister a while back, he's alone in his generation.  He really doesn't have any chicken friends to hang around with, though I expect he'll start to be friendly with the ladies soon.

Then he won't need me at all.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

H is for Happy Dogs!

With this vest, we just regained
an hour a day of dog walk time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Art for sheepdogs

Over Labor Day weekend, the gallery where I work hosts the Outsiders Outside Art Fair, a gathering of untrained, visionary and folk art.  As my mother says these artists "have no rules"!  Each year I buy one thing.  Three years that has meant chicken art.

I got this Butch Anthony circus banner my first year.  It's big -- about 4' x 5'.  I have it hung where you can see out the window to the side of my red barn with the chain link fence coming up to it -- I like that parallel visual.  Bob Ross is one far-out rooster!  (Butch Anthony named him after the guy who had the "How to Paint" show on PBS in the '70s -- remember that?!)

A couple of years later I got this painting from Deb Henderson.  Behind the white jar in green letters it says "poop"!  I love the position of the chick's head -- very realistic and so rarely seen in paintings.  This little girl watches over my dining table.

Last year I got this vivid painting from Matt Swenson.  I was determined not to get another chicken painting, but this was so me I couldn't resist!  It's right above my television, so I look at it frequently!

And that brings me back to the sheep.  Last year the painting I wanted more than anything was a huge panel by Theresa Disney.  It had lots and lots of sheep faces all one on the other, and the border was black with silver numbers -- counting sheep.  I'd say the piece was 5' wide and 3' tall.  Would be the perfect piece for above the bed.  But even with a very generous discount and payment plan, I could not do it.  Then this year, she showed up with a different painting that was irresistible and within my price range!  So, for Oskar and Ulani my sheepdogs, I got this:

Isn't it gorgeous?!  I love it!  And I finally have something on the wall above the bed!

Waking the barn

I love all the sounds of the barn first thing in the morning. The light crackles on, the chickens begin to cackle and crow.  Next the young chicks start their peeping.  Finally, an appearance by Ari and the Wacky Quackers.

I worked an exceptionally long weekend at the Outsiders Outside Art Fair and hoped to sleep in today, but the dogs woke me at 3:00 am, I finally let them out at 4:00 am and the cats joined them outside.  In five minutes the dogs and I were back indoors but the cats stayed out.  So by 5:00 am one of the cats was howling, the dogs woke again, and I cashed in my chips. 

Rather than grouse about it, I decided it was an opportunity to capture the sounds of the barn.  I'd wanted to share them anyway.

I'll take a nap later.  Maybe two naps.