Thursday, July 28, 2011


Nothing says deep summer like the juicy, bright pink flesh of a watermelon.  I'm not talking about the seedless model engineered to be eaten politely at the dining table with a knife and fork.  No, sir, I mean the kind you have to slice outdoors to keep the sticky juice from covering the kitchen floor.  The kind you have to lean over to bite into, and after you chew, you enjoy the secondary sport of seed spitting.

Now that's watermelon!

So about a week ago, in the midst of the torturous humid heat we've all been suffering, I saw a nice, small watermelon at the market.  Licking my lips, I thought I could share part with the chickens and enjoy a good, thick slice myself.  Everyone would be happy!

I got home and took the melon into the kitchen, sliced out a big wedge over the sink and left it on the counter to take the rest to the chickens.  In the barn I got to do one of the most fun food-related things that people almost never enjoy -- I intentionally dropped the melon on the floor to crack it open for the hens.  They were all over that sweet pinkness in a matter of seconds, grabbing tasty chunks, then running away from the other hens, all the while clucking away over their prizes.

I returned to the kitchen ready for my refreshing slice.  Instead, I discovered two naughty cats chomping away at my wedge.  Nothing dainty or polite about it -- if I'd gotten them to look up (which I did not), both of their faces would have been covered in pink flesh.

So I gave in.  I moved what remained of my wedge onto a plate on the dining table and let the cats have at it.  They were so excited to be given such a prize, I just couldn't deny them. 

Then what did I hear?  Whimpering by my side?

Ulani was not going to be left out!  I got a knife and gave her a large slice, too.

So this is who had watermelon:  Spot, the other rooster, Eartha, Smokey, Lacey, Blondy, Peep, Maria, the other hens, The Duck, Abe, Luke and Ulani.

And this is who did NOT have watermelon:  me.

Friday, July 22, 2011


In order to appreciate this story, you need a couple of facts. Fact #1: My elderly cat Abe frequently uses the bathroom but not the litter box. I've grown a bit weary of cleaning up pee and very loose poop from the bathroom rugs, or if the rugs are in the laundry (which they are a few times a week now), from the tile floor. Fact #2: When I moved into my house, I went to a Crate and Barrel warehouse and got a large red cotton area rug for the living room, and two smaller, matching rugs for my kitchen floor.

And now the story.

Last night when I got home from dinner, I discovered Abe had pooped on the bare bathroom floor. Again. So I cleaned it up and sprayed bathroom cleaner with bleach on the area, then went about my business. I'd had a stressful dinner with a friend, after a very busy day at work, and so I was distracted. To clear my mind I watched some of America's Got Talent and fell asleep.

I awoke around 11:00. The TV was still on. I needed to go brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. When I sat up, I thought I smelled that bathroom cleaner. Must have gotten it on my shoes, because I was now lying in bed with the bedroom door closed. So I got up, traipsed through the house, which all smelled a bit like a swimming pool in mid summer. Boy, I really sprayed that cleaner! Brushed my teeth, peed, back to bed and sound asleep quickly.

When I woke again this morning, the swimming pool smell was even stronger. Had a tank of anhydrous ammonia been broken into at the farm across the street? I am, after all, in the middle of farmland. I don't care for overly chlorinated pools and the smell was bugging me. I got up, went to the bathroom where I discovered more poop and pee on the bare bathroom floor. Cleaned that up.  No need for further spray, thought I.

I went into the kitchen. As I entered the dark kitchen area, I looked at my beautiful red rugs. One of them had something spilled on it. It seemed that maybe a can of baby powder had exploded on it -- half the rug appeared to have a white coating on it, in a kind of circular pattern.  But who has baby powder in the kitchen? I turned on the light.

A bottle of bleach had been dropped onto the rug from the edge of the sink. What I was seeing was the absence of color on that section of the rug. Abe must have been on the counter in the night, looking for food, and knocked it over. So my whole house is full of bleach fumes.

Argh. Now the rug is out on the grass (Ulani was too curious, I needed to get it out of the way). I mopped and mopped the floor underneath with clear water just to try to get it off the floor. Threw open the glass doors and windows to get some air circulation. Of course it's about 80 and raining lightly this morning, so it's not exactly like fresh air is gushing in. Still I feel a bit healthier knowing there's some circulation going on.

That damned cat!

I know Abe's sick with something serious -- he's not getting much nutrition from what he eats, and he's always looking for more, hence his visit to the kitchen counter overnight.  And he's about 15, which starts to get old for a cat.

His spirits seem ok still, though. He doesn't appear to be suffering. He enjoys going outdoors for a little while, then he comes in and rests. He sits on my lap to have his ears scratched. So I cut him some slack. Maybe a little less after the bleach incident!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Comb over!

This is Spot.  For some reason, the back part of his comb is always flopping to the side.  Actually, it's fortunate for me because that's how I can tell him apart from the other rooster, whose comb stands up.

Maybe Spot feels, as the elder rooster, that he should be stylin'!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All that was left...

I mowed the grass behind the barn this morning.  Seeing something unusually white in the cuttings, I slowed the mower and discovered what was left of the Quacker.  (There are pictures behind the "read more".  I don't think they are gruesome, but if you are sensitive, you might want to skip this one.  --JH)

Morning has Broken, 11

Coffee and cat.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lazy July 4

A perfect summer day spent lazing around.  My only chore was bringing Luke a beer.  Honestly!