Morning kitties

Some fluffy little worms to brighten your day!

One of the orange babies still has its eyes closed. The other had one eye open, one eye… almost open. 😀

They have also reached that stage where they do the little hissing and trying to spit thing. 🙂 Beep Beep, however, was more than comfortable with my handling them.

As I head into the basement, there is typically a whole bunch of cats coming over, very curious to see what’s down there. Today, I let Two Face down. Since we will eventually be moving the litter boxes and food and water bowls to the basement, I figured it would be good to start introducing them. Two Face is the most recent yard cat to come into the house, so I figured she would be the one Beep Beep is the most likely to remember. Plus, Beep Beep is her mom.

They did snuffle each other a bit, but mostly, Two Face just wandered around, sniffing at things. She completely ignored the babies, even though she snuffled around their little cave under the chair, and gave Beep Beep an astonished stare down when she discovered her under there. 😀

I brought Two Face back up with me when I was done, and I think she was happy with that. It’s still too new and strange down there! Next time, I think I’ll bring Susan down. She is another one of Beep Beep’s babies, and likely still familiar.

It would be good if we can leave this basement door open in the summer. Last year, we were able to use grid wall to block off the old basement door and leave it open, to help cool the house down. It works better to have both basement doors open and, this year, we can do that. We’ll still need to block off the entry to the old basement from cats, but I think this time, we’ll be able to make another mesh “door” to fit, rather than rigging up the grid wall again.

It’ll be a couple of months before we need to do that, though, so plenty of time to build something to fit.

The Re-Farmer

All the kitties!

I have noticed that Beep Beep is more willing – or able! – to leave the babies while they sleep. This is encouraging, as it means she is getting food and water, and using the litter, more often. She’s also getting a chance to wander around, say hello, and jump up to one of the windows to look outside.

At least for a little while.

This gave me an opportunity to get pictures of the babies. 🙂

I also took advantage of the opportunity to switch out the bedding – and get individual pictures.

Three of the five now have their eyes open! 🙂

Beep Beep seemed to appreciate the fresh bedding, too.

Playing with kittens. What a great way to start the day!

The Re-Farmer

Good news so far!

I am happy to say that Butterscotch’s remaining kitten is doing very well with her adoptive mom.

I wasn’t able to get a photo today (I didn’t want to bug Beep Beep too much), so this is one I got last night. Butterscotch’s baby is the second from the left, happily nursing.

On the one hand, this is very encouraging. They are lively little squirmy worms. I even had quite a surprise when checking on them this morning. That kitten on the far left? I could see its face peeking out from under Beep Beep’s arm, when suddenly it blinked at me. It’s eyes are starting to open already!! Just barely – if it hadn’t blinked, I wouldn’t have noticed.

On the other hand, it’s kinda depressing, as it likely means Butterscotch really did smother her own kitten yesterday. 😦

As for Butterscotch, when I headed out to feed the critters and do my rounds, she was already meowing outside the sun room door (there are no longer any food and water bowls in the sun room. She also joined me and her boys while I continued my rounds.

While she was willing to rub against my legs, she didn’t really want me to pet her, and certainly didn’t want to be picked up. She has shown zero interest in going back into the house.

I think putting her baby with Beep Beep, and putting Butterscotch back outside, was the right call. 😦

Today turned out to be a day of driving. After dropping my daughter off at work, I headed home just to load the van up with stuff for the dump. We finally included the containers of mystery liquid we found while cleaning the basement. Unfortunately, I think one of them leaked. I ended up having to do the drive with the window open, because of the smell, which persisted, even after I unloaded.

When I dropped my daughter off, I offered to come back for her lunch break. With their lunch room closed off because of the physical distancing requirements, she had her lunch outside again. Yesterday was a lovely day, though, right?

In town, it rained.

My daughter had deferred, since I would be making and extra trip, but I decided to go, anyhow. The problem was, I didn’t know when she was going for lunch. After heating up some leftovers for my own lunch, I asked my other daughter if she knew, and the best she could figure was 11:30. So I figured I would leave at 11 and just meet her.

Then I checked the time and realized it was 10:59. LOL

So I packed my lunch up and headed into town.

Driving with the windows partly open, because of the smell from whatever leaked in the back. 😦

Once in town, I just parked near the pharmacy and had my lunch while I waited. I couldn’t see through the reflective glass, but it turned out my daughter had door duty again (apparently, she has a calming affect on people who might otherwise be upset over having to wait to be let in), so she could see me. While in the van, I realized I should have taken some antihistamines before I left. I have no idea what I’ve developed an allergy to, but it seems to be something that’s only around outside in the early mornings. So I went in to pick some up and got to talk to my daughter. She didn’t know when she was going to be getting her lunch.

It ended up at 1.

I didn’t mind the wait. It meant I could play some Pokemon Go during Community Day. I was also able to pick up some lunch for my daughter, so she just needed to join me in the van. We were able to head over to a park and play Pokemon Go together while she ate. 😀

Normally, I would have just staying in town after she went back to work, rather than drive all the way home and back again. Unfortunately, with so many places closed, there is a lack of open public washrooms, nor places to just sit and enjoy a beverage out of the weather.

Which means I’ll be heading back into town again, fairly soon, to pick up my daughter.

This did allow me to start on a project I had in mind, as an excuse to be in the basement with Beep Beep. It turned out rather well, and I will be sharing about that in another post.

While I was working, Beep Beep came out a couple of times to eat and drink, but otherwise stayed in her nest with the babies.

She is such a good mama.

The Re-Farmer

Another one gone. :-(

So… we seem to have a problem.

Butterscotch’s third orange kitten died today.

I checked on them this morning. Beep Beep’s kittens were sleeping in a pile, and she had even come to the stairs to greet me when I came down, before dashing back into her nest.

Butterscotch was in her nest, sitting like a loaf. I couldn’t see her kittens, so I felt around and found them. They complained a bit at being disturbed, and I was a bit concerned that they seemed to be under Butterscotch. Once they started complaining, she lay back and nursed them, and all seemed well.

One of my daughters had a shift today (one extra day this month, then nothing but Saturdays on the new schedule), and while I was in town, my other daughter checked on the kittens. They were all looking fine. She did have to dig the orange one out from under Butterscotch, so she continued to check throughout the afternoon, and again when I went back to town to pick up her sister.

Which is when she found the orange one, unresponsive.

At that point, she took the grey and white one and put it with Beep Beep, who had no problem nursing an extra baby.

I checked again when I got home, and there was no question. The kitten was gone.

We’re now left with a couple of possibilities.

Either these babies all had some sort of birth defect, and we’ll have to watch the last one carefully. Or Butterscotch smothered her own kitten.

The box we’d made a nest in that Beep Beep was using was starting to get kinda damp, so I ended up moving her and the babies into the crate that Butterscotch was using, and made up a new bed in an old laundry basket. It is too open for the moms’ preferences, though, and Butterscotch ended up trying to climb into the crate with Beep Beep and the babies.

She is now outside.

I noticed as I picked her up, she did not seem to be full of milk, either. When I had picked up Beep Beep, I could feel she was quite full of milk. This could be another part of the problem.

We will have to make a point of checking on Beep Beep and the babies often. The last I saw, all five kittens were nursing and wriggling around.

Hopefully, there will be no more losses.

The Re-Farmer

More sad news

My daughters and I went into the basement maternity ward to set up a new “nest” for Butterscotch and her babies, and block off the old radio so she wouldn’t go in there again.

As we took her babies out, however, we found another of her orange babies was struggling.

We spend the next while tending to it, and it did seem to be getting stronger again. Butterscotch is not particularly maternal, so we even tried to put it with Beep Beep. Eventually, it seemed strong enough to possible latch on and nurse, and I put it back with Butterscotch, as close to a nip as I could get it.

Even in this photo, you can see that it’s smaller than its siblings.

Sadly, after about an hour or more, the little guy passed away.

It’s hard to know what happened, since we were unable to monitor Butterscotch’s kittens as well as Beep Beep’s. Both kittens that passed were noticeably smaller than the remaining two, both of whom are strong, active, vocal and nursing enthusiastically. Both of the ones that passed also had irritated and messy rear ends. Given that they are only a few days old, I would guess that they had not been strong from the start.

If we had not been able to bring the mamas indoors to have their babies, we would never have known how many they’d had to start with. A sad downside to bringing them indoors is being there when there are losses.

The old radio is now stuffed with packing material and blocked off, so Butterscotch can’t move her babies into there again. We tried to make her new nest as cave-like as we could, so I hope she won’t feel the need to try.

Thankfully, the other kittens all look healthy, are nursing well, and becoming more active already.

With Butterscotch and her babies now right next to Beep Beep, Beep Beep has been showing an interest in her babies, too!

The Re-Farmer

Sad news

It is already turning out to be a very warm day today. We’re supposed to hit a high of 15C/59F this afternoon!

While doing my rounds this morning, I had a Potato demanding cuddles the whole time. 🙂

It was warm enough that I went to try and move the saw horses by the storage shed. The ground was thawed enough that I got one of them loose, but the other turned out to be in worse condition than I expected. Instead of breaking loose from the ground, it just broke. !!

Of course, I checked on the babies before heading out this morning.

Beep Beep and her brood are easier to check. They are even right in a sun spot, in the morning. 🙂

Butterscotch’s babies are harder to check on, since she tends to block the opening with her own head. I’ve been using the camera on my phone to try and see the babies.

Which is the only reason I was able to see a problem this morning.

In the photo, I could see one of her babies was pushed off to the side. I’d noticed this same kitten had been pushed off to the side yesterday, and had brought it closer to mom, but when I saw it this morning, I knew it was gone. Judging from the state of its hind end, something had gone wrong with it. My guess is, Butterscotch sensed it was not doing well and had been pushing it away from her healthy babies. It may well have been weak from the start.

My daughter and I have been talking about how we can set Butterscotch and her remaining babies up in a new nest, and block the inside of the old radio off completely. It’s just too difficult to see them in there. It’s unlikely it would have made a difference, to be honest, but at least we’d be able to check on them more easily.

A sad way to start the morning. 😦

The Re-Farmer

So many cats… and a bit of a hang up

I was talking to my daughter a little while ago when she happened to mention the current indoor cat count we have right now.

Eighteen.

I … really hadn’t thought about that. We’ve now got 8 cats upstairs, plus the 2 mamas and their 8 babies in the basement.

That is insane.

Two Face has changed noticeably after her surgery. She is so much more cuddly now. Lately, this is what I’ve been waking up to.

She now likes to lean hard against me while I’m sleep. Cheddar also likes to do that, so I woke up book ended in cats.

Then there are the boys outside. I think they’re lonely! All the ladies, except Rosencrantz (who didn’t make an appearance this morning) are now indoors.

Potato Beetle was funny this morning.

He wanted SO much attention!

One of the things I started to do this morning is dismantle the shelter we made with the old dog houses, so I can use the black tarp to help warm up the soil in one of the areas we want to plant.

There was a bit of a hang up.

The snow had accumulated in one area, enough for the cloth to touch the ground. Of course, that created a puddle when the snow melted.

Freezing the tarp to the ground.

I used a metal bar that was one of the weights keeping the tarp from blowing away to bash apart the ice, then left it to weigh down the tarp. The ice should melt away faster now.

But not today.

We’re barely above freezing temperatures today. Starting tomorrow, and for the next 14 days, according to the long range forecasts, we will finally hit double digit temperatures.

The dog houses were well used over the winter, I was happy to see.

I could see tamped down paths in the straw around them, the insides were flattened, and there was a hole leading under one of them. I even found a flattened spot on top of one of the dog house roofs, where something had curled up and made a nest in the straw, directly under the tarp.

The straw will be left here for now, though wind might be a problem.

In some places, it already is.

It’s been quite windy for the past couple of days. This tarp is being torn to shreds!

I would love to have someplace I could properly store this old post pounder, but the one shed that I could pull it into has a roof full of holes and is starting to fall apart. Like way too many other things around here! 😦 If I could clear enough space in a section of the barn, we might be able to store it in there, though at this point, I don’t even know how we would pull it. The hitch damaged, and both tires are flat.

We’ll figure something out.

I am really looking forward to the warmer temperatures. I’m just itching to get to work around the yard! Tomorrow, though, I have the rest of the seeds I have waiting to get started indoors.

Then I have to start scavenging around the various sheds and the barn, to see what’s available to build trellises out of.

I’m looking forward to the work! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Babies, bills and pills

This afternoon, one of my daughters and I brought our inside mama cat to the vet for a check up. She has been acting very ornery and out of sorts, and my daughter, sweetheart that she is, wanted to get her checked out.

They did some blood tests and even a quick ultrasound to make sure she wasn’t pregnant (ha!), and everything checked out okay. As she is an estimated 10 years old (we’re guessing she was about a year old when she first found us), it is most likely she is in pain from arthritis. My daughter got 2 weeks of pain killers, one every 24 hours, to try her out on and see if she improves.

They’re supposed to taste like cat treats, but she did not want to take it! Normally, I’m able to get the cats to take pills fairly easily (we just gave all of them worm pills, not long ago), but she was pretty upset and fought us off. We gave her more time, then tried giving her the pill in with a piece of meat.

She ate it right away.

Hopefully, this will make a difference. We were instructed to stop giving them to her immediately, if she starts to throw up. I don’t know how long it’ll be before we should be noticing a change, if any. After these are gone, we will know whether or not this is something to continue.

Thankfully, the bill wasn’t as high as we feared it would be. The vet recommended getting her fixed, even at her age, as apparently females that aren’t have a higher risk of urinary tract infections. With my daughter’s reduced hours at work, it’s going to be a while before she can afford to do that.

I really, really appreciate that she’s doing this, because we sure as heck can’t. 😦

Later in the day, my daughter and I disturbed the kitties. I wanted to give them clean bedding, which meant we had to take the babies out of their nests, then persuade the mamas to follow. We had a crate with one of the cat mats I’d crocheted at the bottom to put them in, which meant I could get a good photo of both litters in the process.

Butterscotch babies!

Here are Butterscotch’s babies. We now have a soft bed in the old radio she’s made a nest in that is large enough to cover the entire floor, plus go up the sides a bit. The babies will have softness and warmth around them, even when they start getting more squirmy and moving around in there.

Getting them out was a challenge. Two of them were attached, and did not want to let go of the nip! Butterscotch, at least, was fairly easy to lure out after the kittens were taken out.

Beep Beep, on the other hand, needed more persuasion! After taking her babies out, she stayed in the box her next is in and would not come out. The box is under a chair, and I ended up having to take the chair away, then we had to upend the box to get her out. I moved the box aside, as even the floor under it was damp, but as soon as I put it on the floor, she was right back in it!

Beep Beep babies!

We don’t have another box the same size, so we flipped it so the damp cardboard is now at the top and able to dry out, put a new clean bed inside, then shifted which chair it was under, so it was on dry floor.

The good thing about concrete floors; we’ll be able to clean and sanitize any messes much more easily!

As soon as the box was set up again, Beep Beep was right in there, and happy to get her babies back.

I think they were all glad to have new bedding, too!

Those furry little worms are so adorable!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, cold damage and more thinking ahead

Let’s play “can you spot all the kittens?”

I had to dig one of them out from behind Beep Beep’s head. 😀

Butterscotch’s kittens are much harder to get pictures of.

I finally just stuck my phone in and used voice activation to take some photos, hoping it was angled right.

I got one shot that managed to include all the babies. 😀

We want to move the kittens and mamas out of their nests so we can put down fresh, clean cat beds, but don’t want to disturb them so soon after birth.

In other areas…

I took a closer look at one of our surviving blue spruces, of a group of three that had been planted way two close together, some years ago.

Most of the remaining branches have cold damage like this at the tips. It should be okay, but might take a while to recover from having its newest growth killed off.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of one area we will need to address, when the time comes for us to plant the fruit and nut trees we are planning to do in the future. Here is another area we’ll have to figure out.

Among the trees I hope we will be able to plant are Korean pine. This is a tree that needs to have a “shade shelter” for the first couple of years, and this location naturally provides that for most of the day. However, as you can see, this is also where water pools in the spring. That shade also means the snow takes a lot longer to melt away, and the ground stays frozen longer.

What we eventually want to do is get this package of hardy nut trees. It will be some time before we can afford that. In the shorter term, I hope to slowly acquire a good variety of fruit trees and bushes from this site, that can survive in our growing zone. They even have a variety of apricot that can grow in a zone 3!

This is one of the reasons I want to expand the inner yard to include the outer yard. I see no point in replacing the old and broken fences around the inner yard. If we just get rid of those (the chain link fence is still sturdy, and can at least be used as a trellis), we’ll have easier access to areas we can plant food trees and bushes.

We just have to make sure the fence around the outer yard doesn’t have any gaps or weak spots the renter’s cows can break through, if his electric fence gives out again. 🙂

We still need to finish clearing and cleaning the inner yard, but if all goes well, I hope to get started on the outer yard this summer, too. Especially if we want to start salvaging some things we’re finding to use for gardening and so one. I can foresee a time when we’ll even have greenhouses in the outer yard area. But first, we need to do a lot of clean up out there – including cleaning up a collapsing log building, and figuring out how to salvage the log building that we used to use as a chicken coop, when I was a kid. That one still looks solid.

Little by little, we’re making progress! 🙂

The Re-Farmer