Critter of they Day: sad Keith

These photos were taken a few days after the ones taken in yesterday’s critter of the day post.

Little Keith had come back to the junk pile, though mom and sibling were nowhere to be seen. Why is he looking so sad?

We hard started to leave bowls of food and water for the junk pile family. Keith was spooked away from then by Not-Slick.

Between the other cats and the blue jays, it’s hard to say how much kibble the junk pile cats actually got!

Critter(s) of the Day: reunion

These photos go back to July 3; the day Dave and Keith were briefly reunited with their mom.

It was such a lovely reunion! It was hard to separate them again.

We really didn’t have much choice, if these two were going to get healthy. Even so, it didn’t take them long to leave Mom’s hideout, and their sibling, to just sit here, looking all forlorn.

It wasn’t too much longer before we brought Dave into the house permanently.

Matched Set, and hot water woes

When doing my morning rounds, I used to get followed by at least Beep Beep and Butterscotch. Sometimes, other cats would come along, but it was usually those two in particular. That changed after they had their kittens. Butterscotch no longer even likes to be picked up anymore (I think it has become uncomfortable for her) and she’s become a lot more stand-offish. Lately, I’ve been seeing her as infrequently as the male cats.

Beep Beep is a lot more homey and, while she doesn’t like being picked up as much as she used to either, it doesn’t seem to be out of any sort of discomfort. She has started to follow me again in the mornings, and the kittens are beginning to expand their territory.

Even Big Jim came out to see what was going on.

Continue reading

So, this happened…

Today, I stayed in town for my daughter’s short shift. One of the things I ended up doing while there was picking up a magnetic lifter. You know, the kind of thing you would use when you drop a screw and it rolls under a shelf. I wanted to try and see if it would help me find nails in the dirt in the old wood pile.

It kind of worked.

The first challenge involved kittens, who thought it was a springy new toy!

The second was the fact that I wasn’t completely sure if I was feeling a magnetic pull or not. I did find a nail in my test, but I don’t know that the magnet is quite strong enough to find things in that much soil. Sometimes, though, it felt like there was a constant magnetic pull, even though I could find nothing in the ground.

The third problem was… well…

…let me show you.

My attempts to get a photo of the nail it successfully found in the dirt was foiled by Doom Guy, who was absolutely desperate for snuggles!

His claws are incredibly sharp.

He is also having some major respiratory problems. 😦

Which meant I was stuck with a sneezing, snorting, snotty cat that was poking holes in my body while trying to get comfortable in my arms.

And shoulders.

And back.

And head…

Since I was in the area and not working on the area today (I try to keep Sundays as my day of rest, as much as possible), I decided to look beyond were I’d cleared, and get an idea of what I would be working in, next.

I found more of my mother’s flowers. Sort of.

I recognize those plants with the long, slender, pointed leaves. There is a bunch of them in the old kitchen garden. Those have finally started to show flower spikes. I doubt these will bloom at all. They are growing among many dead cherry trees that have new cherry shoots coming up at their bases. My mother had mentioned planting some flowers here, then blaming them for apparently killing some spruce trees I was telling her about. Except these aren’t near the spruce trees I was talking about. Anyhow, I did know she had deliberately planted flowers under the trees somewhere in this area, and now I have found them.

Once this area is cleared and more sunlight gets to the ground, I’m sure we’ll see more flowers, just as we are already seeing more flowers along the edges of the spruce grove that I’d already cleared a bit.

Then I found this.

That’s, my friends, a big patch of poison ivy.

Western Poison Ivy, to be precise.

sigh

We’ve been on the look out for poison ivy since moving here, and while we have seen some similar plants, I was able to confirm that they were NOT poison ivy. I had never seen poison ivy on the property before, even as a child who spent many, many hours roving wild among the trees. I had begun to hope I still wouldn’t.

sigh, again.

The patch doesn’t seem to be very wide, but I also can’t see how deep it extends into the trees – and I won’t be able to until I start clearing back there.

I’ve been looking up how to get rid of it, and not looking forward to the job. At this point, I think I will just leave it for next year. I can avoid the patch when I’m clearing behind the outhouse and moving the debris pile I’ve raked out of the wood pile area. If I have time this year to clear into where those flowering plants that aren’t flowering right now are, I can avoid it on that side, too.

I really could have done without this.

Ah, well. It is what it is. We’ll deal.

The Re-Farmer

Critter of the Day: breakfast

These are from this morning, when I brought kibble to the bowls I brought back to the pump shack.

Rosencrantz had already come out and looked to be heading for the house, but hung around when she saw me, then came to eat after I put food in the bowls. She comes to the house for food but, for some reason, Beep Beep and Butterscotch (especially Beep Beep) have been very mean to her and chasing her away. So even though I was mere feet away, I think she was glad to get food here!

Digital zoom, here. My apologies for the poor quality of the image.

She has the strangest dark patches on her cheeks, below each eye!

I had to walk past her to go back to the house, which made her nervous, but not enough to leave the food.

Where those noises I could hear in the pump shack?

Why, yes! Look who’s getting brave!

Since discovering them back in the pump shack, I propped the door open a few inches in such a way that it can neither blow open more, nor close, so it’ll be easier for them to come in and out. I think they like that.

Pump shack baby is also hungry!

I want to snuggle. That. Face!!!!

Unexpected Clean Up: pruning apple tree losses

Yesterday, I heard some odd meowing noises out my window, so I went to check it out.

I walked right by one of the apple trees by the old kitchen garden, completely missing it was the source of the meowing!

The base of this tree is one of the cats’ favorite rolling-in-the-dirt places. When I first spotted them, though, he was mostly hidden behind the tree. It was his Aunty Beep Beep that had me laughing. It looked like a pair of eyes was watching me from the ground!

Then she rolled around some more; the epitome of grace. Not. 😀

Since I was there anyhow, I stopped to take a good look at this apple tree.

You can see one branch is hanging quite low, weighted down by apples as they get bitter.

Much if it, however, did not survive the winter. It wasn’t doing well last year, and I guess that polar vortex that kept hitting us was too much for parts of it.

As you can see from its base, it has been cut back a few times. I don’t think there’s anything left of the original graft. The two main trunks that you see in the above picture seemed to be dead. With living and dead branches so entwined together, it was really hard to tell where one branch started another began. I couldn’t tell if they were completely dead, or if they still had a live branch or two on them.

Either way, down they came.

Not a living thing on either of them.

I cut them at about 3 feet above ground, with the intention of cutting the remains, further down. Instead, I decided to make use of them.

I took the branch that was hanging down the most and braced it against one of the remaining trunks. It had a secondary branch that immediately began leaning over in the other direction, so I used rope and the remaining trunk pieces to support them. If they survive, with this support, they will continue to grow stronger, upwards.

This is not a healthy tree, however, so we shall see.

This is how it looks now.

It’s hard to tell, with the maple grove in the background, and with the dead wood gone, there’s surprisingly little left. Basically, they’re just suckers that have survived while the rest of the tree has slowly died.

After finishing with this one, I turned to another apple tree next to it.

This tree had quite a bit pruned away, but also had signs of a fungal disease.

The branches that had the most signs of disease seem to have died.

Once again, with how twisted the branches were around each other, it was hard to see how much of any particular main branch was dead.

I ended up taking out three major branches.

One of them did have a still-living off shoot, but…

The part of it closest to the main branch is blackened. It almost looked burned.

One of the dead branches I cut out was so intertwined with others, it was really hard to pull out of the tree, with several dead branches breaking off and staying stuck among the living.

After cleaning it out, one of the living branches ended up hanging down almost to the ground. It turns out to have been supported by one of the dead sections. I could have mucked about to give it support, but in the end decided it would be better for the tree to take that weight off completely.

There was a third apple tree, growing between the plums, with a dead piece I cut off as well, though I neglected to take photos of that one.

I haven’t done much beyond maintaining what I did in this area last year, trying to focus on the East yard and the spruce grove, instead. Even so, I can see how the trees that seemed the weakest last year are either struggling even more this year, or have died outright. The row of apple trees to the north of the spruce grove is no exception. I don’t think we’ll be getting many apples this year. Not just in quantity, but they bloomed so late, it’s unlikely they’ll have time to ripen before the cold sets in. One that had been pruned back the summer before we arrived had started to recover fairly well, but not enough to survive this past winter. Others in that row have lost quite a few branches. Those, I think I’ll leave pruning back until next spring or so.

Something we will have to keep in mind as we plant more food trees: either they will be varieties hardy enough for our bitter winters, or we will have to ensure they get extra protection wrapped around them in the fall.

The Re-Farmer

A little bit of progress. And kittens

Today was a statutory holiday, and the pharmacy my daughter works at is closed for those, so my daughter had the day off. We still made a quick trip into town, as there was a festival going on. It was the market we wanted to check out, after I mentioned some of the vendors I saw. Unfortunately, half the market wasn’t set up today, so it was a bit of a wasted trip.

Except we got churros. Which makes up for that. These are a once a year thing, so it’s a really special treat. 😀

Another treat we had was when we got home and found the little furry bean, lying in a sun spot.

Is this little guy gorgeous, or what?

While things are starting to cool down, it still wasn’t until evening that I headed out into the yard to water a few things. I was pleasantly surprised to see Guildenstern coming into the yard with her baby.

After watching them for a bit, Junk Pile Kitten ran into the lilac bushes, so I settled myself on the steps at the door on that side and watched.

I was not disappointed.

What a beauty! Just look at those eyes!

He came pretty close to me, playing with a couple of the sun room kittens that came by. Including his brother, Keith. 🙂

I was able to get a bit of pruning done in the yard. Some of it was getting rid of low hanging branches that were starting to hang too low. Some of it was in the lilac near where I’ve planted the haskap berry bushes. Some of the branches were hanging low enough to be all stabby at me when I try to mow around the bed, but most of what I cut away was dead branches, twisted among and around the live ones. That opened the bush up quite a bit.

The kittens immediately took advantage of that.

There was 4 of them in there, at one point! 😀

As I was hauling the branches off to the wood pile, my husband went around to get some photos of the sun going down through the trees. We could see a cat off by the pump shack. After putting the wheelbarrow away, I decided to see which cat was out there, because Beep Beep has been pretty vicious about chasing Rosencrantz off in that direction.

It was, indeed, Rosencrantz, but I had another pleasant surprise, too.

She and her baby are using the pump shack again! It looks like the little guy can squeeze himself through that hole in the bottom of the door.

The hole was not that big before.

He is such a dark grey little kitty!

The other kittens came around, and he did play with one of them that came over, a little bit, but for the most part they stayed away from each other.

I’m really glad they have stayed nice and close. I hope Pump Shack Baby will make friends with the sun room kittens and start coming to the house for food.

I may not have gotten a lot of work done outside, but seeing the two other kittens is enough to make up for that. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Kitty Cuddles, and technical difficulties

First, the cute stuff.

My husband passed the furry little bean off to me this morning, while I was at the desktop. Dave promptly curled up in a ball and fell asleep on my chest, making the most interesting nose noises.

He then abruptly stood up, clambered up my shoulder, leapt across the chasm to my bed, and snuggled up to Fenrir.

He burrowed right into her fur and went back to sleep.

She didn’t even open her eyes.

That didn’t stop him from stretching out and luxuriating.

And twisting himself into this weird shape. That’s his bottom leg curled up in front. It’s like his head is coming out from under Fenrir, rather than attached to his body. 😀

Also on my bed was this furry black mama orb.

She typically ignores our new addition, but has been getting more accommodating; even a bit playful with him.

But cuddles?

This is a pretty huge new step in their relationship! 😀

As I was finishing up on my computer this morning, before heading into town for the afternoon, my husband came over to talk.

Our conversation was interrupted by a sudden, bizarre noise. I thought, for a moment, it was actually coming from outside.

Nope.

It was coming from my computer.

Once we established that, we could figure out that it was coming from a fan.

So I shut it down, and my wonderful, darling husband opened it up for me while I was away.

It was a mighty battle, but he was able to defeat the dust bunnies that had taken up residence in there.

Both fans were cakes on pretty solidly!

By the time I got home, my desktop was once again running on silent mode. 😀

Ah, but the technical stuff didn’t end there!

My husband gifted me with his new phone. My own phone plan is done next month, and he realized that his new tablet meets his needs quite well. So we’re transferring his new phone to me, then when my contract is done, we’re going to just switch things with the provider, and drop a phone off our bundle. This will knock a substantial chunk off our mobile phone bill (which is crazy high, considering we barely get any signal where we live).

So several hours were then spent getting those switched and set up.

I’ve been using Samsung phones for many years. The new phone is an LG. The user interface is going to take some getting used to! 😀

As I did my evening rounds, however, I had opportunity to test out the camera. It’s a dual lens camera, and supposed to be one of the better cell phone cameras out there.

Looks like Guildenstern has moved Junk Pile cat out of the yard.

Or maybe they’re just visiting another junk pile.

Well… not really a junk pile. The kitten is hiding under a hood that is over a pallet that it’s attached to. It has a handle attached to it. I think it was built to be a sort of sled, to be dragged behind a snowmobile.

Guildenstern was watching me suspiciously!

I do wish they would just stay with the other cats and kittens. The kittens would play with each other, but Butterscotch and Beep Beep have both been going after and chasing away Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, lately.

Rosencrantz seems to have taken her baby some place well outside the inner yard. No sign of that one, since the one day we saw it by the junk pile.

Ah, well. Such is life with semi-feral cats!

As for the camera… well, so far, the digital zoom does seem to be better than my old camera phone.

🙂

The Re-Farmer