Sissy was so flea-bitten and filthy when we found her standing in the middle of the road. Her tail had almost no hair from her chewing at the fleas. Once cleaned up, she looked and felt much better.
Someone took care of this dog fairly recently. She seems well enough fed, her teeth are ok and yet she is really shy. I hope there is a family missing her and that she was not cruelly dumped.
Sissy has been made a permanent member of the farmette family. She is about 10 years old, has a limp from birth, mild cataracts and a skin infection. But seeing this small creature look at me and wag her tail, probably the first time she wagged in a very long time, makes every day special.
There is no love greater than from a rescued animal.
Today, Sissy is a happy, smiling loved, indoor dog. Her "tight lip" stress face only shows if a cat walks too near. She loves to go for walks, sniff animal tracks and take long naps either on her bed or in the shade of a tree.
Slick is a rather large, 3 ½ year old (more or less) male cat that the vet thinks is part Siamese, part mongrel and also a rescue. This Slick’s rescue tale. One evening, soon after moving to the farmette, a friend of a friend of my sister’s, sent me an email. The text something like, this, “…sweet, adorable kitty is camped out on my front porch. He/she wants inside so much …he/she must have been someone’s pet that is now terribly lost and starving,especially starving for company as I have been feeding him/her daily. I really want to keep him/her but already have a dog and a baby and a husband, …please?”
The timing of the heart-wrenching email was perfect. Two weeks later, Slick become the next addition to the farmette herd. By a small stroke of luck, Slick was not only a he, but had also been neutered! WooHoo, a cheap vet visit! And Slick was not more than a kitten or 9-10 months old.
Three years and 8 lbs later, I often think that Slick should be re-named to Cramer. At times, that cat acts just like the Cramer character on Seinfeld. Slick will dart into a room, look around in a daze, then slowly walk away. He also has weird habits, like rubbing his cheeks on the corners of things. But in the end, he stays Slick.
Slick is the easiest managed cat in the farmette herd. He is friends with all of the other cats and gets along with human visitors too. His only weakness is having the very-cat-like trait of strong curiosity. Too many times he has gained outdoor time by body-slamming the back screen door enough to loosen the eyebolt. Fortunately, he never wanders far and is anxious to be back inside.
Slick and I share a love of naps, another one of this cat’s best features. All I need to do is lie on the couch, call his name and I will have a nap buddy for an entire, lazy afternoon.
Spooky was one of my first rescue kittens. His first four years of life were happy but spent as an outdoor barn cat. Well, actually more of an outdoor, back step cat. He never really ventured too near the barn, preferring the friendly comforts of the porch. Spooky was the ultimate indoor cat wanna-be.
So when the time came to move to the farmette, Spooky's wish was granted.
There is no gratitude so profound as the thankful-ness of Spooky when he realized his new found house cat status.
When seeing a door from the inside looking out, he avoids them as if they were entrances to the gates of hell. Even an open window makes him shudder.
Spooky spends his days lying on the couch, hiding under the guest bed of sprawled in the middle of the living room carpet. But regardless of where he chooses to sleep the day away, the look on his face is pure contentment and joy. He was destined to be an indoor cat.
Maybe due to his early years dodging night terrors, such as raccoons and possums, Spooky is not a terribly playful cat. He likes to occasionally sit in my lap, perhaps bat a toy mouse now and then, but mostly he just watches the other cats with those big green eyes. Once in awhile, he gets the urge to trap KC under a cabinet. He drops down, rolling side to side, almost daring her to make a run. After a few minutes, Spooky saunters away with almost a smirk on his face, to find a favorite sleeping spot.
Mama is a very elderly cat, well past her mouse-catching, bird-chasing prime of life. She lived with me as a barn cat before I moved to the farmette. She was a Mama to at least two litters of kittens the first year I began caring for her.
Mama has the longest fur I have ever seen, but unlike Spooky, poor Mama’s fur is thick and matted. Each spring, I use small cuticle scissors to help her remove the big knots and matted clumps. Her fur gets too dense for clipper and anyway, Mama would not like the sound of the clippers.
I bought a nice set of clippers and spent an hour removing the matts and long fur. Being my first attempt to shave a cat, I accidently cut her on the belly. hb helped me put in 4 stitches to close the wound. Mama healed perfectly.
Mama is also starting to lose her teeth so as a treat, I buy her kitten replacement milk. Actually, I think Mama does not have any teeth left at all. She likes the taste and can drink it with or without teeth.
Winters are getting harder and harder for Mama . . . I love her too much and worry her last one is just around the corner. At first, I set up a portable heater on the top floor of the farmette’s springhouse. There are two cat beds inside of a 50gal bin in which I cut a cat-size entrance hole (see building pics link). I also installed a cat door in the springhouse door that both Mama quickly learned how to push it open. So far, no raccoons have cracked the code. All in all, while Black y was alive, the spring house was a very comfortable quarters for two old barn cats.
But after Blacky passed away and Mama was the only outdoor cat, she looked lonely and had no one to keep her warm. So for the past two years, Mama has become an indoor cat.
Frodo has an amazing story describing his first weeks of life. One spring a few years ago while back, I decided to stock 30 pheasants, hoping a population would take hold and thrive. Around the first week of August, I heard a flock of crows flying and diving in a spot in a field. I ran up, thinking a pheasant had been killed. What I found was a pheasant nest with one egg still intact. I could tell from the broken eggs that the chicks were more mature than not, so I gathered up the remaining egg.
Back at the house, I constructed a makeshift incubator of a Kleenex box, towels and a heating pad. Really, I had very low expectations. Not fours days later, I heard that egg make noises. Within an hour, out popped a pheasant chick.
I was overwhelmed, speechless with shock, then quickly realized I had nothing for the poor thing to eat. I made a quick run to the local farm store, and returned home with chick food, a watering dish and much needed advice from the owner of the store. Soon, the chick had a name, Frodo, as in the hobbit.
Frodo grew very quickly, he was jumping out of his box within a week and taking short flights by 3 weeks. Watching him grow was too much fun. Soon he outgrew his box in the tub, so I built him a larger coop in the extra bedroom. When he began outgrowing that coop, I attempted to house him in the chicken coop. Three days later, I came home to discover my pheasant had been nearly scalped by the chickens. He recovered but the feathers on his head were never the right color again.
Within 3 months, he was living alone in a large coop outdoors and was grown enough to consider setting free to join his own kind. On the chosen day, I set him out of the coop, encouraging him to fly. He just sat there. Then the barn cats started closing in, the larger ones licking their cat lips. Frodo start ed to RUN. Not a smart pheasant. So, Frodo was returned to his coop to enjoy life as a pet. He is an amazing bird, as loud as a guinea making a fine guard bird.
As the years have past, his disposition has soured, squawking at everything real and imaged, and darting around his coop like his tail is on fire.
For several months during late winter into sring one year, hb and I spotted a large furry animal stalking through the fields. We used binoculars and were convinced that the creature was a bobcat. Its tail was HUGE, and was obviously some type of feline. As spring turned to summer, one day I saw the bobcat prowling close to the springhouse, near the chicken coop. I grabbed my camera and sure enough . . . not a bobcat, just an average domestic short hair. So the bobcat became known as Bob the Cat.
Bob is obviously very ferrel, possibly should be Bobette, and has a taste for canned cat food. Subsequently to verifying his lineage, we caught Bob twice in the racoon trap. Silly cat! Next time, he may find himself spayed and vaccinated.
Last year I decided the time was right to raise turkeys. So I ordered 2 Naragansettes and two Bourbon Reds. Well, the order was mixed up so I got the 2 Naragansettes but instead of 2 Reds, I got a Black Spanish female and a Slate Blue Tom. All of the poults did well and thrived. In November of that year, we decided to keep only two through the winter. The Naragansettes received names, Puff and Hilda. But Puff snd Hilda missed the two turkeys that we removed, calling for them for days, so we decided raising turkeys may not be our calling. Hilda laid eggs throughout the next summer but not poults. Seems that Puff was not doing his job.
Sadly, out of the blue, Hilda died on Labor day 2008. She showed no signs of illness and there were not any signs of trauma when I found her. I was completely distraught. She was buried in the pet burial grounds. I hope to find a cement turkey statue for her marker.
Hilda was one of the best birds I ever knew. She would call to me every time she saw me, as I got out of the car or came out of the house. Her chirps was so welcoming to me. And I found that she loved worms, so I would either feed her those I dug from the garden or buy a dozen nightcrawlers from the local bait shop for her. Fortunately, I saved a number of her egg shells so I feel that a part of her is still with me.
My flock of hens with their guardian rooster. There are too many of them so they do not have individual names, I just make up names when I talk to them. I tend to call the rooster Roger, a good name for him.
The first flock came as 12 chickies in 2007. There ended up being 3 roosters, which was fine until they all started fighting. So we pared the flock down to one rooster. Roger drew the long straw, mostly due to his mild temperment. He is a very nice, polite rooster and is very attentive to the hens.
Ove the next 3 years, we slowly lost a hen here and there to predators (fox or racoon and hawks) as well as to the road.
The spring, the hens were given a large fenced pen, with a nice gate. Everyone is happy and content and most importantly, safe.
So, in May, I decided to add 8 new chickies to the flock. The barred rock hens do the best, so all 8 are the barred rock breed. As soon as they chickies are large enough to not fit through the fence holes, I will integrate them with the flock.
Homer (aka Little Bunny FuFu)
Homer is the most recent addition to the farmette family. He was my friend's father's rabbit. When her father passed away, Homer needed a new home so . . . here he is. Homer loves snacks. In the summer, I pick red clover and dandelion leaves to feed him and in the wnter, he gets carrots or raw greens. I am not really sure Homer is a male, but I never plan to get a second rabbit so we may never know for sure.
I found Webster lying in the middle of the road, wounded from a speeding car. Carrying him home, I was not sure how long he would live as his leg and a wing were injured and he was bleeding.
After a couple of days of complete rest on a straw bed in the cool, quiet basement, I was confident he would recover. By now, having compared Webster to many pictures on the internet, I had determined that he was a young male.
I fed him Puff's cracked corn and japanese beetles. I offered him lettuce, dandelion leaves and clover but he wouldn't eat any greens.
Knowing ducks love water, I first filled my tub to see how badly his foot was injured. Even after 4 days, he did not move it much and never stood up.
So I made a quick trip to K-mart to secure an end-of the-season kiddie pool. There was space at one end of the chicken coop for Webster to have his own private swimming area. He thrived! Each afternoon, he spent 5-6 hours floating in the pool, eating cracked coorn from a floating food bowl. Eventually, that wounded foot started to paddle, and before the first week was through, Webster starting standing on both feet. He mainly stood on the brick I placed at one side of the pool.
Returning to the place where I found him, I was able to locate not only his flock but also his human family. They had been looking for him, and were so happy to hear he was alive and well.
Webster was thrilled to be back with his flock, and although his foot was still weak, having normal duck food was just the thing to complete his rehab.